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Americas

Ottawa

One more sea border: Canada should change its motto to “From sea to sea to sea,” Canadian opposition leader Michael Ignatieff urged this week. The current motto, “A mari usque ad mare” or “From sea to sea,” acknowledges the country’s Atlantic and Pacific coasts but not its Arctic coast. As global warming makes the prospect of a northwest passage more likely, Ignatieff said, Canada’s northern border will become more important. Ignatieff’s support is considered crucial for any motto change because his great-grandfather, political activist George Monro Grant, was the driving force behind Canada’s adoption of the two-ocean motto in the early 1900s.

Guatemala City

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Accused by the dead: A lawyer who was killed this week charges in a videotape that he was targeted by Guatemalan President Álvaro Colom. Rodrigo Rosenberg was shot to death by unidentified assailants while riding his bicycle. The day after the killing, a video was distributed to local media in which Rosenberg says, “If you are watching this message, it is because I was assassinated by President Álvaro Colom with help from Gustavo Alejos,” the president’s private secretary. Rosenberg says the officials wanted him dead because he had proof of their involvement in the March slaying of his client, businessman Khalil Musa, who had refused to enter into corrupt deals with Colom. The president’s office issued a statement saying Colom “categorically rejects” the accusations.

Pedreiras, Brazil

Flood disaster: Dozens of people have drowned and at least 300,000 have been left homeless as Brazil battles its worst floods in decades. In a normally arid region of northern Brazil, weeks of heavy rains have soaked the ground, causing massive mudslides. And with rivers continuing to rise in the jungle state of Amazonas, displaced families huddled in barns, awaiting airlifts of supplies. “The situation is very difficult because the state is so large and there are places you can’t get to,” said Dorothea de Araujo of the international aid group World Vision. “Food and water are priorities because people are drinking contaminated water.” President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva blamed the floods on global climate change.

La Paz, Bolivia

Anger at Peru: Bolivia is demanding that Peru hand over three former Bolivian government ministers who have been charged with genocide. The three were key decision makers in 2003, when soldiers killed more than 60 anti-government protesters in El Alto, a stronghold of support for leftist activist Evo Morales. After Morales became president, in 2006, his government filed charges against former President Gonzalo Sánchez Lozada and 17 former ministers. Sánchez claimed asylum in the United States. Peru gave one minister political asylum last week, on the grounds that the charges were politically motivated, and it is considering doing so for two others. Morales called the granting of asylum an “open provocation.”

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