Paraguay elects business magnate as new president

April 22, 2013

A wealthy businessman wins the presidency in Paraguay, victims mobilize after deadly China quake, and Indians rage as another suspect is arrested in relation to a young girl’s rape. Today is Monday, April 22, and this is the World Wrap, brought to you by @dwbronner.

Paraguayan presidential candidate Horacio Cartes of the Colorado Party gestures before speaking to supporters as he claims victory in the election in Asuncion, April 21, 2013. REUTERS/Jorge Adorno

Paraguay magnate becomes president. Horacio Cartes, one of Paraguay’s richest men, was elected president on Sunday, returning the center-right Colorado Party to office and raising hopes of a leader who won’t succumb to greed:

His election bucks the trend in South America where leftists have made steady gains in recent years. Only Colombia and Chile are ruled by conservatives. Fernando Lugo, a leftist former Roman Catholic bishop, won Paraguay’s presidency in 2008 in a vote that inspired hopes of deep reform, but he was impeached last June when the center-right Liberal Party abandoned his ruling coalition and then took over the reins from him.

Cartes won 46 percent of the vote, beating the ruling Liberal Party’s Efrain Alegre by a comfortable margin. The president-elect hopes to invest in Paraguay’s infrastructure and to reform the historically corrupt Colorado Party. During his campaign, Cartes apologized for dedicating himself to making money, but said his business experience prepares him to rule a country where nearly 40 percent of Paraguayans are poor.

Quake victims protest in China. Hundreds of survivors of a major earthquake in Lushan, China took to the streets, calling for aid and shouting at police officers:

China has poured resources into Sichuan since the early Saturday quake, including 1 billion yuan ($161.9 million) from central coffers for disaster relief and compensation. About 18,000 troops are in the area. The earthquake killed at least 186 people and injured more than 11,000, state media said. But while many have praised the government for its swift response, growing anger among some underscores the government’s challenge, magnified by the fact that Sichuan bore the brunt of a 7.9 earthquake in 2008 that killed nearly 70,000 people.

Aid workers are having difficulty reaching victims due to Lushan’s mountainous terrain. Roads are blocked by landslides caused by aftershocks, and government controls restrict access to the town in hopes of preventing traffic congestion. Businesses and roads appear to have sustained limited damage.

Another suspect is arrested in rape case in India. A second man was arrested in connection to last week’s rape and torture of a 5-year-old girl in New Delhi as enraged citizens protested:

Activists planned a fourth day of street action amid heavy security in Delhi after protesters tussled with police and tried to reach the homes of India’s leaders at the weekend. The protesters are calling for Delhi’s police chief to resign.

According to police, the victim was abducted last Monday and held captive in the basement of the building she lived in. She was discovered by neighbors who heard her cries days later. The current demonstrations echo those that followed the gang-rape of a 23-year-old student in December, which galvanized the nation and prompted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to pass tougher sex crime laws in March. Critics say the laws are not strong enough to deter sex offenders. A sex crime is reported every 18 hours in New Delhi, and many more likely go unrecorded.

Nota Bene: According to anti-Assad activists, 85 people were killed by Syrian government forces in the previously less violence-prone capital of Damascus.


Dread for Muslims – Unease spreads among Muslim community leaders in Boston, reports Reuters columnist David Rohde. (Reuters)

Google crackdown – Google was fined 145,000 euros for taking photos for its Street View service in Germany (Bloomberg)

No country for old men – China’s Avian flu is disproportionately affecting elderly men. (Quartz)

Double vision – Aryn Baker spoke with a fighter who fought for both sides in Syria’s bloody conflict. (Time)

In the weeds – Thanks to political conflict, Pakistan’s hash business is taking a hit. (The Washington Post)

From the File:

  • Afghan Taliban say they captured all aboard a crashed helicopter
  • Hopes rise for new Italy government after Napolitano re-elected
  • Man kills five in western Russia
  • EU should open Serbia membership talks, Commission says
  • Dutch detain student, close dozens of schools after shooting threat

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