Ex-President Pinera Appears Headed Back Into Power in Chile

Billionaire and former President Sebastian Pinera appeared headed to a victory in Chile’s presidential runoff election, with more than 82 percent of the votes counted Sunday night.
Officials said Pinera had just over 54 percent of the votes to nearly 45 percent for center-left Sen. Alejandro Guillier.
Analysts had predicted a closer race, but there had not been any opinion polls on the election for several weeks.
The early results prompted Pinera supporters to celebrate at his campaign headquarters.
Pinera won last month’s first round, but his 36.6 percent vote share fell far short of what polls had projected. Guillier got 22.7 percent in the first round and had been counting on support from backers of other left-leaning candidates who were eliminated.

[Read More]

Iran TV Broadcasts Purported Confession Of Iranian-Swedish Academic Sentenced To Death

Iranian state TV aired what it calls a confession by an Iranian-Swedish academic who has been sentenced to death on espionage charges.
In the December 17 broadcast, Ahmadreza Djalali, a researcher at Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute, admits to supplying information to a foreign intelligence service about Iranian nuclear scientists who were later assassinated.
Djalali, 46, was arrested April 2016 and later convicted of espionage. He previously denied the charges.
In the 17-minute broadcast, Djalali said a man he identified as “Thomas” had approached him while he was doing research in an unnamed European country with a job offer.
He said the man later recruited him to that country’s foreign intelligence service, adding that the man had promised he would receive citizenship in the country.

Report Slams Local, US Hurricane Response in Puerto Rico

A report by Refugees International says housing is urgently needed for tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans who lack power and safe water nearly three months after Hurricane Maria damaged their homes.
The nonprofit group recently visited the U.S. territory to survey needs and review the local and federal response to the Category 4 storm. The visit marked the first time the group organized a mission to a U.S. jurisdiction.
Refugees International said in a report shared with The Associated Press that its team was shocked by what it called poor coordination and logistics across the island that have caused delays in aid. It noted the island is still in emergency mode and requires more help.
The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency did not return a request for comment Sunday.
Powered by <a href="http://www.wpematico.


Power Outage Disrupts Atlanta Airport, One of the World’s Busiest

A power outage at the international airport in the southern U.S. city of Atlanta has disrupted all flights in and out of the hub.
Authorities at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport said the outage occurred Sunday afternoon, affecting all airport operations.
The Federal Aviation Administration implemented a “ground stop” for flights headed to the airport. A ground stop means that flights headed to Atlanta are held on the ground at their departure airport.
Incoming flights, domestic and international, are being diverted to other regional airports.
According to website FlightAware, which tracks flights in real time, departures from the airport were delayed on average an hour and 42 minutes.
From the scene: A VOA reporter stranded in Atlanta sent this short video.
The area utility, Georgia Power, said it was aware of the problem was working to find the cause and restore electricity.


India Still Hopeful of Arresting Islamic Scholar Despite Interpol’s Rejection of...

Interpol has canceled the Red Corner Notice it issued on the request of the Indian government against controversial Islamic scholar Zakir Naik, citing insufficient evidence against Naik. But India’s National Investigative Agency (NIA) said it will file a fresh request.
Naik has been accused of hate speech, promoting terrorism and money laundering, and investigations against him are underway in India. Naik, who is currently in Malaysia where he has permanent residence, denies these charges.
In a video message after the Interpol decision, Naik said he was relieved to hear that.
“But I would have been much more relieved if my own Indian government and Indian agencies, they gave me justice and cleared me of all the false charges. I am sure, Inshah Allah (God willing) it will soon happen, for truth has a fantastic way of coming out.

[Read More]

Jones: Don’t Expect him to Always Side With Senate Democrats

Democrat Doug Jones, who won election to the Senate from staunchly Republican Alabama, insisted to both parties in politically divided Washington Sunday that he’ll leave “all the options on the table” when it comes to his votes next year on issues from immigration to infrastructure.
“I’m going to consider anything,” said Jones, explaining that he doesn’t plan on labeling himself a progressive or a conservative Democrat but a “Doug Jones Democrat.”
In an early sign, Jones reiterated that he would oppose spending money to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, as President Donald Trump insists upon, and expressed concern that a sweeping GOP tax cut proposal that was on track for approval this week was being “plopped into a vote too quickly.” At the same time, Jones said people should not “expect me to vote solidly for Republicans or Democrats.”
The 63-year-old former U.S.