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South America

Chile set aside 11 million acres of land for national parks aided by the largest private land donation from a private entity to a country.

The conservation effort of the Tompkins Foundation helped pave the way for Chile to greatly expand its conservation of the pristine Patagonia wilderness.

The Tompkins foundation was established by Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, the previous CEO of Patagonia, and the late Doug Tompkins, the co-founder of North Face and Esprit.

The couple, known for purchasing large chunks of land in Patagonia for conservation, have always had the ambition to protect and conserve the Patagonian wilderness for generations to come.

The Tompkins Foundation of one million acres will help form a network of 17 national parks along Patagonia that spans most of Chile. 

This donation will aid efforts in "rewilding" Patagonia, an effort to roll back decades of development and deforestation.  forbes.com
An Aztec tower made up of at least 676 human skulls has been unearthed in the depths of Mexico City.

While the Aztecs were hardly known as the “shy and retiring” types when it came to war and death, this discovery is leading archaeologists to believe this ancient culture was even more brutal than previously assumed.

Within this well-known archaeological treasure chest, they recently found hundreds of skulls and thousands of fragments of bone molded into a limestone cylinder, Reuters news agency reports.

"We were expecting just men, obviously young men, as warriors would be, and the thing about the women and children is that you'd think they wouldn't be going to war," Rodrigo Bolanos, a biological anthropologist, told Reuters.

The excavation, which started in 2015, is still ongoing and continually pumping out fascinating finds.

Just last month, archaeologists working on the site also discovered an area containing an ancient Aztec temple, a ball court, and a potential sacrificial area. iflscience.com
Brazilian President Michel Temer has been charged with accepting bribes by the country's chief prosecutor.

He is accused of receiving money from the boss of a giant meatpacking firm implicated in a corruption scandal, but Mr Temer denies any wrongdoing.

The charges have been delivered to a Supreme Court judge who must now decide if the case can be sent to the lower house of parliament.

The lower house would vote on whether President Temer should be tried.

Mr Temer has vowed to prove his innocence. He has faced a slew of accusations since taking office last year but these are the first formal charges against him. bbc.com
Imagine if the Watergate investigation had led not only to the downfall of President Nixon, but also to allegations against his successor, plus the Speaker of the House, the leader of the Senate, a third of the cabinet, and more than 90 members of Congress.

That gives you some idea of what's happening in Brazil right now.

The country is suffering through one of its worst recessions in history and a crisis of leadership caused in large part by a massive corruption investigation.

In Curitiba – a city far from the ruling elites of Brasilia and Sao Paulo – a small band of prosecutors is working long hours in cramped quarters on the biggest investigation Brazil has ever seen -- Operation Car Wash.

The prosecutors say Brazil's popular former president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, was the mastermind of the scheme and they've charged him with corruption and money-laundering.

 The once powerful leader of the lower house has been sentenced to 15 years in prison. cbsnews.com
The nephew of international fashion designer Carolina Herrera -- who's famously dressed First Ladies for decades -- was found dead in a truck in Venezeula after a violent kidnapping gone wrong.

Herrera's 34-year-old nephew, Reinaldo, was reportedly abducted from a restaurant in Caracas on Thursday night.

The attackers also took his 31-year-old business partner, Fabrizio Mendoza, hostage.

Officials say a ransom was paid, but the gang killed the men anyway and left their bodies in a truck on a highway just outside the city. tmz.com
Demonstrators in Venezuela, now on their sixth week of protests against the socialist government of Nicolas Maduro, have reportedly started responding to police’s tear gas attacks with so-called “poopootov cocktails” yep, glass bottles containing human excrement mixed with water.

The fetid bombs made their debut over the weekend during clashes in the city of Los Teques, a few miles from Caracas.

In the confrontation, according to the story that quickly became viral, a group of officers of the National Guard – militarized police – was the target of a feces attack and many were seen vomiting as they took cover.

On Monday, El Pais reported, this type of “bombs” were used in the cities of San Cristóbal, Merida, Valencia and Caracas.

Demonstrators clash with riot police while ralling against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, Venezuela April 10, 2017.

Paint bombs have also become popular among demonstrators, who throw them at anti-riot vehicles to block the driver's visibility. foxnews.com
In an incident loaded with symbolism, a handful of young men destroyed a statue of late leader Hugo Chávez in oil-producing Zulia state, according to videos circulating on social media on Friday evening.

Meanwhile, a 20-year-old Venezuelan protester has died after being shot in the head, authorities said, taking fatalities from a month of anti-government unrest to at least 37, as the opposition geared up for more demonstrations.

The state prosecutor’s office, which keeps an official count of deaths since protests began against socialist President Nicolás Maduro in early April, confirmed he died after being shot in a protest.

Another 717 people have been injured and 152 are still in jail from the hundreds rounded up in widespread unrest around the volatile nation of 30 million people, according to the office’s latest tally. theguardian.com