The news at a glance ... Americas


San Juan, Puerto Rico

Recession hits lawmakers: Puerto Rico’s governor wants to cut costs by firing nearly one-third of the U.S. territory’s legislators. Gov. Luis Fortuño submitted a bill this week to cut Puerto Rico’s House from 51 seats to 39 and the Senate from 27 seats to 17. “It’s a lot bigger than it needs to be,” the territory’s Secretary of State Kenneth McClintock said of the legislature. “Every seat represents at least half a million in expenditures.” Puerto Rican lawmakers earn $73,000 a year, plus thousands more in per diem accounts, higher than legislators in all but four U.S. states. Meanwhile, 45 percent of Puerto Ricans live below the poverty level.

Cancún, Mexico

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U.S. producer is a suspect: Bruce Beresford-Redman, a former producer of the reality shows Survivor and Pimp My Ride, is a suspect in the murder of his Brazilian wife, Mexican police say. Beresford-Redman and his wife, Monica, 42, were vacationing in Cancún, where they were heard arguing the night before he reported her missing. Her beaten and strangled body was found a few days later in a sewer close to the couple’s hotel room. Relatives said Monica suspected that her husband may have been cheating. “That’s why they went to Mexico—because she decided she wanted to try and reconcile the marriage,” Carla Burgos, Monica’s sister, told RadarOnline. Police ordered Beresford-Redman not to leave Mexico while the investigation is ongoing.

Volta Grande do Xingu, Brazil

Avatar comes to life: Director James Cameron is taking on the role of the hero of his blockbuster film Avatar, fighting for the rights of indigenous peoples. Cameron was in Brazil last week, wearing face paint and a native headdress, to join an Indian protest against a proposed hydroelectric dam in the Amazon jungle. The locals, who reportedly had never heard of Cameron before he announced he was coming, prepared for his visit by watching a DVD of Avatar at the chief’s house. “What happens in the film is what is happening here,” said Chief José Carlos Arara. While the Brazilian government says the dam will be a clean source of energy, opponents complain that it will displace tens of thousands of indigenous residents and threaten wildlife.

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