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Fifteen Inmates Die In Prison Riot In Ecuador

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At least 15 prisoners died Monday in the latest unrest inside Ecuador’s prison system, officials in the South American country reported.

 

The agency that manages Ecuador’s prisons, SNAI, gave the death toll in a statement which also said 21 people were injured in the clashes between inmates.

 

It had earlier announced that tactical units conducted operations to regain control of the facility, located in the Ecuadoran city of Latacunga.

 

The prison houses about 4,300 prisoners and is one of the largest in the country.

 

Violence in Ecuador’s prisons, where drug gangs vie for power, is often carried out with knives and sometimes involves beheadings. The violence has left more than 400 prisoners dead since February 2021.

 

On Monday, inmates climbed onto roofs while detonations were heard, according to television news footage.

 

Jorge Flores, SNAI’s deputy director, told reporters that Leandro Norero appeared to be “among the victims”.

 

Norero, suspected of links to drug trafficking, became one of the inmate leaders.

 

Known by the alias “El Patron”, he was arrested last May for allegations of money laundering, in an operation in which $6.4 million, 24 gold bars, firearms and ammunition were allegedly seized.

 

“Regarding the death of the defendant #LeandroN., #FiscaliaEc reports that after the corresponding identification experts will be able to confirm or not his death,” said the country’s prosecuting agency.

 

Military and police tactical units worked to regain control of the prison, SNAI said, in what provincial authorities called a successful operation.

 

“Control was retaken,” Cotopaxi provincial governor Oswaldo Coronel announced in the evening.

 

– ‘Torture centers’ –

According to official estimates, the country’s overcrowded prisons contain about 35,000 inmates, many of them members of gangs linked to drug trafficking.

 

A government committee noted in April that Ecuadorian prisons “are considered warehouses of human beings and torture centers.”

Bordered by Colombia and Peru, the world’s largest cocaine producers, Ecuador serves as a departure port for drug shipments, primarily to the United States and Europe.

In 2021, Ecuador seized a record 210 tons of drugs, mostly cocaine.

Last year, the country of 17.7 million people had a murder rate of 14 per 100,000, nearly double that of 2020.

In a bid to improve the living conditions in Ecuador’s prisons, President Guillermo Lasso launched an inmate census in August.

During a television interview on Monday, he offered “a message of condolence and solidarity with the families of those who died today in (the prison)”.

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Landslide In Colombia Leaves 34 Dead

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Heavy rains in northwest Colombia sent a wall of earth crashing onto a winding road, swallowing up a bus and other vehicles and killing 34 people, emergency services said Monday.

 

The landslide Sunday evening prompted a large rescue effort, with dozens of people in hard hats using backhoes and excavators to dig through the earth looking for victims.

 

The National Unit for Disaster Risk Management said the fatalities included eight minors and that nine other people were injured in the disaster in the remote town of Pueblo Rico.

 

The bus had set out from the city of Cali with 25 passengers, and traveled 270 kilometers (170 miles) before being hit by the landslide as it passed through the Andes mountain region, civil defense officials said.

 

Colombian media reported that a child had survived and was pulled from the arms of its mother, who did not make it.

 

One survivor said the bus driver had at first managed to dodge the worst of the landslide.

“Part of it was coming down and the bus was a little bit back from that. The bus driver was backing up when it all came crashing down,” Andres Ibarguen told radio station Lloro Stereo.

 

The rainy season that began in August is Colombia’s worst in 40 years, according to the government, causing accidents that have left more than 270 people dead.

 

The country has declared a national disaster over the rains linked to the exceptionally long La Nina weather phenomenon, which cools surface temperatures and is currently causing drought and flooding around the globe.

 

Today, the landslide “puts this town in mourning, tomorrow it could be in another area, because we really have many unstable areas in the country, and the rainy season has not ended,” said Javier Pava of the UNGRD.

 

The UN’s World Meteorological Organization said last week the La Nina conditions could last until February or March 2023.

 

In Colombia, the phenomenon has also caused crop damage, compromising food supplies and leading to soaring prices.

 

In July, three children were killed in northwestern Colombia when a landslide buried a rural school. In February, 14 people died in a mudslide triggered by heavy rains in central-western Risaralda province.

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American Entrepreneur, Elizabeth Holmes Sentenced To 11 Years In Prison For Fraud

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Fallen United States biotech star Elizabeth Holmes was sentenced Friday to 11 years and three months in prison for defrauding investors with her Silicon Valley start-up firm.

 

The Theranos founder had been convicted on four felony fraud counts in January for persuading investors that she had developed a revolutionary medical device before the company flamed out after an investigation by The Wall Street Journal.

 

The closely watched case became an indictment of Silicon Valley, and US federal prosecutors had sought a 15-year jail term for Holmes. She was sentenced to 135 months.

US attorney Stephanie Hinds said the sentence “reflects the audacity of her massive fraud and the staggering damage she caused.”

 

“For almost a decade, Elizabeth Holmes fabricated and spread elaborate falsehoods to draw in a legion of capital investors, both big and small, and her deceit caused the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars,” the prosecutor said in a statement following the judge’s decision.

 

Holmes, who is pregnant, will not have to surrender herself until April next year, ordered US District Judge Edward Davila in a courtroom in San Jose, California.

Holmes’s lawyer indicated she would appeal her conviction.

Moments before her sentencing, a tearful Holmes told the court, “I stand before you taking responsibility for Theranos. I loved Theranos. It was my life’s work.”

 

She added, “I am devastated by my failings. Every day for the past years I have felt deep pain for what people went through because I failed them.”

 

“I gave everything I had to building our company and trying to save our company.”

 

– ‘Tragedy’ –

Holmes became a star of Silicon Valley when she said her now defunct start-up was perfecting an easy-to-use test kit that could carry out a wide range of medical diagnostics with just a few drops of blood.

 

At the time, Holmes often dressed soberly in black turtlenecks that evoked her hero, the late Apple icon Steve Jobs.

 

She sold investors on the idea that her invention would disrupt medical practice, replacing expensive lab tests with her cheap kits.

But prosecutors said Holmes knew her device was not producing accurate and reliable results, yet induced dozens of investors to contribute nearly one billion dollars, all without ever achieving meaningful revenue.

Holmes’s meteoric rise and fast demise has been the subject of books, movies and a TV series that framed her story as a cautionary tale on the excesses of the tech industry that blindly followed a charismatic founder.

At one point, the Theranos board included former US Defense Secretary James Mattis and former US secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and the late George Shultz.

 

Sentencing Holmes on Friday, Davila said the case was a “tragedy” and “troubling on so many levels.”

 

He described Holmes as “a big thinker” who had fought to get into an industry dominated by “male ego.”

 

But he noted “significant evidence about manipulation and untruths that were being used in the negotiation of the business.”

“What is it that caused that? Was it hubris? Was it intoxication with the fame that comes from being a young entrepreneur?” he asked.

 

– ‘Amazing things’ –

After hearing her prison sentence, Holmes hugged her partner Billy Evans, who is the father of her 15-month-old son, and her mother, Noel Holmes.

 

Lawyers for Holmes, 38, had asked for leniency, presenting her as a devoted friend who cares for a young child and has a second child on the way.

 

This was backed up by 140 letters of support filed to the court, including from her family, friends and a US senator.

 

“I am confident that on the other side of this, Elizabeth will do amazing things for society with her talents and boundless passion for changing the world for the better,” said one letter.

That was in sharp contrast to descriptions given at her trial that painted her as an ambitious con artist who harassed her workers.

 

In a letter, Holmes’s aunt, who was an early investor in Theranos, called on the court to give her a tough sentence, The Wall Street Journal reported.

 

Prosecutors want Holmes to pay $800 million in restitution to investors that included the Walton family of Walmart, the Walgreens chain of pharmacies and media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

A restitution hearing will be scheduled, although Holmes says she has no money to pay.

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‘Days Of Our Lives’ Star, John Aniston Dies At 89

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John Aniston, star of the long-running soap opera Days of Our Lives and father of Jennifer Aniston, has died at age 89.

 

The Friends star posted a tribute to her father on Monday on Instagram, announcing that he had died on Friday, Veteran’s Day.

 

“You were one of the most beautiful humans I ever knew,” she wrote.

 

Photos of them together were shared with her 40 million followers.

Her tribute drew comments from many famous friends, including Friends co-star Lisa Kudrow, Ryan Reynolds, Gal Gadot, her ex-husband Justin Theroux, and more.

 

The official Days of Our Lives account also posted a tribute to the talented member of their television family.

 

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