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News Briefs: August 11-24, 2016

News Briefs: August 11-24, 2016

Bay Area

Purchase of rent-controlled buildings means tenants can stay

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The San Francisco Community Land Trust and the Mission Economic Development Agency have secured the purchase of six buildings containing 18 rent-controlled units from a landlord who had previously intended to evict all of the residing tenants. Among the residents who will be allowed to remain in their homes are revered Mission artists Yolanda M. Lopez, renowned Chicana feminist and conceptual artist, and René Yañez, a founding member of Galería de la Raza and considered the father of San Francisco’s annual Dia de Los Muertos festival. The purchase was made possible by the Mayor’s Office of Housing’s Small Sites Program.

ICE named in new lawsuit

The federal government is being sued by the Southern Poverty Law Center for allegedly failing to provide information about “deceptive practices” used by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. Immigrant advocates say ICE agents have lied when approaching residences, telling the occupants that they were police who had information about family members or who were looking for suspects. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Georgia, claims that ICE has ignored multiple Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests over the course of the past six months.

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National

Latina gymnast wins gold for Team USA in Rio

Laurie Hernandez, the 16-year-old second-generation Puerto Rican American from New Jersey, is now a gold medalist. Her Olympic debut on Aug. 9 helped catapult Team USA past team Russia and team China to win the gold medal in “team gymnastics.” Hernandez, who is the youngest member of Team USA, is one of only a handful of Latinas ever to make the Olympic team and the first to compete in the games since 1984. “This is a dream come true,” Hernandez said. “This whole experience is amazing. I’m so grateful.”

Latin America 

Court rules Chevron not financially responsible for rainforest damage

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A federal appeals court in New York has upheld a ruling by a lower court against Ecuadorean plaintiffs who were seeking $9 billion in damages from the U.S. energy company Chevron. The protracted and complex legal battle over the widespread contamination of Ecuador’s rainforests from the 1970s through the 1990s has stretched 23 years, and has been called the “biggest environmental case in the world.” The plaintiffs won a 2011 judgment in an Ecuadorean court, but Chevron argued that the judgment was obtained through “bribery, coercion and fraud.” The ruling is a major setback for the plaintiffs.

Brazilian lawmakers move forward with impeachment of president

The Brazilian Senate voted on Aug. 10 to formally indict Dilma Rousseff on charges of fraud, continuing the impeachment process of the embattled president, who was suspended in May 2016. The 59 to 21 decision is well above the simple majority required to begin the next stage of Rousseff’s removal from office, and enough to meet the two-thirds majority necessary to pass the final vote to remove her permanently after the trial is over. The trial will be overseen by Brazil’s Supreme Court, and is expected to conclude later this month.

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