Feature

The world at a glance . . . Americas

Americas

Toronto
Deadly cold cuts: Canada last month experienced the worst outbreak of the bacterial infection listeriosis ever recorded, the country’s top medical journal reported this week. The outbreak was traced to contaminated deli meat from a Maple Leaf Foods plant in Toronto. The meats were recalled last month, but as of last week, 16 people had died after eating the contaminated cold cuts. And because listeriosis can remain dormant for up to three months, “the deaths, illnesses, and other effects such as spontaneous abortions may not be over yet,” the Canadian Medical Association Journal said. The journal called for “a full-scale public inquiry into the major failings of Canada’s food inspection system.”

Tijuana, Mexico
Deadly prison riot: The top two commanders of La Mesa prison in Tijuana fled this week after allegedly beating a prisoner to death, an incident that sparked a 12-hour riot. Three inmates were killed and 25 wounded, and six police officers were injured, as prisoners set fires and took one another hostage. More than half the prison facilities, including dining rooms and visiting areas, were torched or torn apart. Prison Commandant Mario Antonio Ibarra and Subcommandant Daniel Ibarra Perez left the prison during the riot and are now considered fugitives, Mexican officials said. The notoriously overcrowded La Mesa prison has been the site of numerous murders and uprisings.

Lima, Peru
American prisoner pregnant: Lori Berenson, an American serving a 20-year sentence for aiding Peruvian terrorists in the 1990s, is pregnant, her family announced this week. A former MIT student, Berenson was convicted in 1996 of aiding the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, which had committed numerous terrorist attacks while trying to overthrow the Peruvian government. Now 38, Berenson is married to Anibal Apari, a Tupac member whom she met in jail. Apari is free on parole and is allowed conjugal visits. Berenson is scheduled to be released in 2015. If she gives birth in prison, the child would stay with her until the age of 3 and then live with family members.

Rio de Janeiro
Police are murderers: The police are responsible for one in five murders in Rio de Janeiro, a U.N. investigation concluded this week. Philip Alston, a U.N. special envoy on extrajudicial killings, said police kill an average of three people a day in Brazil’s second largest city, and that few of those killings are in the line of duty. “A remarkable number of police lead double lives,” Alston said. “While on duty, they fight the drug gangs, but on their days off, they work as foot soldiers of organized crime.” Clashes with police killed a record 1,260 civilians in Rio last year—more than the total number of murders in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles combined. Rio de Janeiro State Security Chief Jose Beltrame disputed Alston’s findings. “I want him to prove it,” he said.

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