TPP without U.S.
A year after President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the proposed free-trade pact known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the remaining 11 nations are going ahead with the deal. The new pact, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, eliminates tariffs on many goods and services between the prospective signatories, which include Canada, Japan, Mexico, Australia, and seven other Pacific Rim nations. It also sets rules on environmental standards and labor safeguards. “Today is a great day for Canada,” Trudeau said, and “a great day for progressive trade around the world.” Intended to counter Chinese economic clout, the deal will cover markets that make up about 14 percent of global gross domestic product.
Mexican police say the remains of a woman missing for over a week were found in pots on a stove at a restaurant owned by her ex-husband. Magdalena Aguilar Romero, 25, disappeared in the city of Taxco, after telling family that she was on her way to pick up her children from her ex, police said. Authorities are now searching for her former spouse, César Gómez Arciniega, who is accused of murdering, dismembering, and cooking Romero. Mexico is experiencing a wave of killings of women, usually by current or ex-partners. Last fall, thousands of people marched against femicide in cities across Mexico, and speakers vowed to force authorities to prosecute domestic violence. But there has been little progress. An average of seven Mexican women are killed each day.
Pope defends bishop
Pope Francis triggered outrage during his tour of Latin America last week after he voiced support for a Chilean bishop accused of covering up clerical sexual abuse. Victims of Father Fernando Karadima had testified in court that Bishop Juan Barros was present when Karadima groped and kissed them when they were boys. But during his weeklong trip to Chile and Peru, Francis said there was no proof that Barros had been involved in a cover-up and that the accusations against him were “all calumny.” Barros’ accusers called the pope’s words “offensive and painful.” Francis later apologized, saying his words must have felt like a “slap in the face” to victims. But he again defended Barros, saying his accusers might be guilty of slander.
Yellow fever spreads
São Paulo closed major public places this week, including its zoo and botanical gardens, because of an outbreak of yellow fever that has killed at least 70 people in three Brazilian states. The World Health Organization is recommending that anyone traveling to Brazil for the five-day-long Carnival celebrations, which start this year on Feb. 9, be vaccinated against the illness. São Paulo state officials are scrambling to inoculate half of the state’s 45 million people by the end of February. Yellow fever is transmitted by mosquitoes and kills about 15 percent of those infected. The disease had largely been brought under control in the Americas but returned in force to Brazil last year, killing hundreds of monkeys in the country’s Atlantic rain forest. ■