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The world at a glance . . . Americas

Americas

TorontoHide those smokes: Stores in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec may no longer publicly display cigarettes, under new rules that will soon be expanded nationwide. The measures are designed to curb impulse buying and reduce cigarettes’ “perceived popularity,” advocates said. Stores must now hide cigarettes in drawers or behind curtains. Canada’s smoking rate has declined from 25 percent to 19 percent over the past eight years, after most forms of cigarette advertising were banned. “The pack is all that remains to us” as a promotional platform, said Andre Benoit of tobacco company JTI-Macdonald. Anti-smoking advocates are working on that. “We want plain packaging on cigarettes,” said Rob Cunningham, a lawyer for the Canadian Cancer Society.

Zihuatanejo, MexicoShark attacks: Mexican marine biologists announced a plan this week to tag hundreds of sharks, after a rare spate of attacks in the popular resort towns of Zihuatanejo and Ixtapa. In the past few weeks, two people have been killed by sharks and one badly injured, prompting beaches to add lifeguards and raise black warning flags. It had been three decades since the last fatal shark attack on Mexico’s Pacific coast, and researchers hope the radio tags will help them figure out what has changed. “One theory we’re investigating is that a group of sharks has developed a taste for humans,” said Jose Leonardo Castillo Geniz, chief shark investigator for the National Fishing Institute.

La Paz, BoliviaDemanding ‘justice’ from the U.S.: Thousands of Bolivians marched on the U.S. Embassy this week after learning that America has granted political asylum to a former defense minister implicated in the deaths of 60 people. Carlos Sanchez Berzain, now a resident of Key Biscayne, Fla., was in charge of the nation’s military in 2003, when soldiers opened fire on Aymara Indians protesting their “marginalization” at the hands of the government. After Berzain revealed last week that he had been granted U.S. asylum, and so could not be extradited, Bolivian President Evo Morales filed a strong protest. “We want the United States to help us bring to justice those who have done so much harm to Bolivia,” Morales said. Philip Goldberg, the U.S. ambassador to Bolivia, deflected comment, saying that Berzain’s status was up to the “independent judicial branch in the United States.”

Buenos Aires, ArgentinaDecriminalizing drugs: A young man charged with possession of marijuana was set free last week when a federal tribunal ruled that punishing people for using drugs is unconstitutional. It was the third such ruling in Argentina in recent months, as courts have moved to effectively decriminalize drug use. The Argentina legislature has been rewriting anti-drug laws to shift the focus from users to traffickers, but courts have been moving more swiftly. Anibal Fernandez, Argentina’s minister of justice, security, and health, said there was no reason to treat people who abuse marijuana and cocaine more severely than alcoholics, whose drug of choice is legal. “We have to stop being hypocrites,” he said.

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