All dead soldiers honored: Soldiers who die in service-related accidents in Afghanistan will now qualify for a newly created medal intended for military casualties, the Canadian military said this week. The Sacrifice Medal was unveiled last year to recognize only those killed or severely wounded by enemy fire. But after objections by the families of soldiers killed by friendly fire or in accidents, the military expanded the criteria. Even soldiers who commit suicide will receive the medal, if the suicide is found to have been related to trauma from duty. The silver medal features an image of Queen Elizabeth II wearing a crown of alternating maple leaves and snowflakes. Canada has lost 131 soldiers in Afghanistan since the war began in 2001.
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Flap over Márquez film: Activists are trying to block the filming of a movie based on Nobel Prize–winning author Gabriel García Márquez’s latest novel, saying it promotes child prostitution. The book by the Colombian author, Memories of My Melancholy Whores, tells the story of a 90-year-old man who decides to give himself a birthday gift of a night of “wild love with an adolescent virgin.” Filming was supposed to begin in Puebla this month, but an anti-human-trafficking group filed a lawsuit, and now there will be a delay while a court considers the case. Producer/director Ricardo del Río said the suit is baseless, since the screenplay skirts the issue of the prostitute’s age. “They are censoring a film before it’s been made,” he said “without knowing either the script or the director’s vision.”
Leftists invent new currency: At a summit in Bolivia this week, leftist leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean agreed to create a new, regional currency aimed at reducing the use of the U.S. dollar. The “sucre,” for the Spanish acronym of “unified system of compensation for reciprocal payments,” will be used in commercial exchanges among the nine countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas—Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Antigua and Barbuda—starting next year. Eventually, the alliance hopes to use the sucre as a basis for monetary union. “This is an important step for the sovereignty of our people in liberating ourselves from the dictatorship of the dollar,” said Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.
No amnesty for military: A law shielding officials of Uruguay’s last military government from prosecution for abuses is unconstitutional, the Supreme Court has ruled. During the military rule from 1973 to 1985 hundreds of Uruguayans disappeared; they are presumed to have been murdered by the regime. The amnesty law was passed in 1986 in an effort to allow the country to put its “dirty war” behind it. But over the years, many citizens and politicians have demanded justice for the victims. Similar amnesty laws were passed in Argentina, Brazil, and Chile, after military dictatorships there ended. Argentina has since revoked its amnesty.
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