Around the Region

Plan to convert military base to park raises rights concerns

Campo de Mayo, the biggest military base in metropolitan Buenos Aires and one of the largest in the country, would be converted into a national park under a proposal announced recently by Argentine President Mauricio Macri. Located 30 kilometers (19 miles) from the national capital, the 4,000-hectare (9,900-acre) base is associated with political turbulence and human rights violations. In 1930, the country’s first military coup was launched from Campo de Mayo. And in the 1970s, it was the site of one of the largest clandestine centers of imprisonment and torture operated by the military regime then prosecuting the so-called “dirty war” on terrorism. The more recent of those two historical chapters has come into play in debate about the park proposal. The...

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Dolphin deaths from virus have subsided in Brazil

A viral epidemic that has killed dolphins in a highly polluted bay on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro appears to have subsided, scientists say, but has wiped out one quarter of the roughly 800 members of the animals’ local population. The deaths of some 200 Guiana dolphins (Sotalia guianensis) began last December in Sepetiba Bay when the first dolphin carcasses were found bobbing in bay waters, their fins decomposing, their bellies bloated and blood seeping from their eyes. Scientists blamed the die-off on morbillivirus, a genus of typically airborne viruses that attack the immune systems of mammals. In humans, the virus can cause measles; in mammals, it can trigger everything from rashes and fever to respiratory infections as a result of weakened immune...

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Mexican officials at a loss to explain sea lion deaths

Mexican authorities say they have yet to turn up information explaining a spate of sea-lion deaths near the Pacific coast community of Mazatlán. The Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (Profepa) reports that a dozen dead sea lions have been found at different locations in Mazatlán’s harbor since late December with no apparent injuries or wounds. Officials said the sheer number of deaths was highly unusual, adding that the carcasses were too decomposed to determine the cause. “We know that this is something that happens in this coastal area, but it was shocking to know there were [so many] of them,” says Jesús Avendaño, a Profepa representative in the state of Sinaloa. In Mazatlán, there was speculation that members of the fishing community were to...

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