Feature

The week at a glance...Americas

Americas

Esquimalt, British Columbia
Warships collide: Two Canadian warships limped back to port this week after crashing during an exercise in towing. “This is a maneuver that’s done in order to give the ship drivers practice,” said navy spokesman Lt. Paul Pendergast. “Something went wrong in this case.” The crash tore a gash in the side of the destroyer HMCS Algonquin, while the supply vessel HMCS Protecteur, which rammed it, sustained damage to its bow. The Algonquin is the only destroyer Canada has on the Pacific coast; it’s unclear how long it will be out of commission.

Ciudad Juárez, Mexico
Female vigilante: Juárez police are searching for the woman who murdered two bus drivers last week in revenge for attacks on female passengers. Witnesses said a woman in a blond wig boarded a bus, shot a driver in the head, and left. The next day, the same woman apparently executed another driver on the same route. Mexican newspapers got an email from someone calling herself “Diana, the hunter of bus drivers,” who declared herself “the instrument of vengeance” for women who were raped by bus drivers while trying to get to their night shifts at maquiladoras, the factories on the border. “I myself and other women have suffered in silence, but we can’t stay quiet anymore,” she wrote. Sexual violence is notoriously rampant on Juárez buses.

Mexico City
Teachers’ fury: As tens of thousands of enraged teachers demonstrated across the country, Mexico this week passed a sweeping reform to the nation’s abysmally performing education system. Lawmakers needed riot police to escort them past the crowds of protesters outside Congress. President Enrique Peña Nieto’s reform mandates competency exams for teachers and allows the firing of those who fail. Under the old system, teacher certification was regulated only by the teachers union, and teachers often bought their positions. In the weeks before the vote, Mexico City was clogged with massive, often violent demonstrations by rock-throwing, balaclava-wearing teachers.

Brasília, Brazil
U.S. spied on presidents: Brazil and Mexico are demanding explanations after a Brazilian TV news show reported that the U.S. National Security Agency had intercepted phone calls and emails of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. The broadcast cited documents obtained from NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden showing messages in which Peña Nieto discussed his cabinet nominations, and others detailing communications between Rousseff and her staff. “From our point of view, this is an inadmissible and unacceptable violation of Brazilian sovereignty,” said Foreign Minister Luiz Alberto Figueiredo. “The United States gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations,” the White House said.

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