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US writer who accused Trump of rape sues for battery, defamation

Photo: CBS News

| By AFP |

A journalist who alleges that Donald Trump raped her in the mid-1990s filed an upgraded lawsuit on Thursday under a new law that protects victims of sexual assault decades after attacks may have occurred.

The new filing by lawyers for E. Jean Carroll came minutes after a New York state law took effect that allows victims to sue without regard to statutes of limitation.

Carroll, 78, filed a federal civil defamation suit against Trump in November 2019, and that suit is ongoing. Both Carroll and Trump filed sworn depositions before a New York judge in October.

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The upgraded lawsuit by Carroll, an author and former columnist for Elle magazine, accuses Trump of battery, “when he forcibly raped and groped” her, and for defamation in a post on his Truth Social account last month where he denied the alleged rape.

In this new suit Carroll seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for psychological harm, pain and suffering, loss of dignity and damage to her reputation.

Carroll’s previous lawsuit is scheduled to head to trial at the beginning of 2023. The presiding judge may decide to include the new claims in the trial.

Carroll first made her claim of sexual assault against Trump in a 2019 book, alleging that Trump raped her in a changing room at Bergdorf Goodman, an upscale department store in New York, in late 1995 or early 1996.

But until New York’s new Adult Survivors Act took effect Thursday, Carroll could not file the battery claim because the alleged incident had occurred too long ago.

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Trump has denied raping Carroll, or even knowing her, saying she was “not my type” and asserting that she was “totally lying.”

Trump’s lawyer in the case, Alina Habba, said she respects and admires those who come forward under the new New York state law.

But “this case is unfortunately an abuse of the purpose of this Act which creates a terrible precedent running the risk of delegitimizing credibility of actual victims,” she told AFP in an email.

The new law gives sexual assault victims in New York state a one-year window to sue their alleged abusers even when the abuse occurred long ago. 

In her new complaint, Carroll reiterated that she remained silent for more than 20 years out of fear of reprisals but changed her mind after the #MeToo movement in 2017 against violence toward women.

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In his October 12 posting on his Truth Social account, Trump said Carroll “completely made up a story that I met her at the doors” of Bergdorf Goodman. “It is a Hoax and a lie, just like all the other Hoaxes that have been played on me.”

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International

Food prices send hunger soaring in Latin America: UN agencies

Photo: AP News

| By AFP |

Rising food prices in Latin America and the Caribbean caused the number of people going hungry in the region to rise by more than 13 million between 2019 and 2021, a United Nations report said Tuesday.

The report by three UN agencies said the region was particularly vulnerable to the global food crisis caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine due to a high reliance on wheat, maize and fertilizer imports.

“The number of people in the region suffering from hunger increased by 13.2 million to 56.5 million,” read the report, released at a press conference in Santiago, Chile.

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In addition, moderate or severe food insecurity affected 267.7 million people — 40.6 percent of the region’s population — in 2021. 

This is “far above the world average” of 29.3 percent, said the report.

“The rise in food inflation and extreme poverty is one of the factors behind the increase in food insecurity and hunger,” said the report by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

According to the FAO, food insecurity refers to a lack of regular access to healthy and nutritious food.

“The heavy reliance on imported fertilizers, and fluctuating food prices, have an unavoidable negative impact on livelihoods — mainly of the rural population — and access to healthy food,” said Mario Lubetkin, FAO Assistant Director-General.

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Colombia landslide kills 34

Photo: AFP

| By AFP |

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.

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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.

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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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International

At least 27 killed in Colombia landslide: president

Photo: AFP

| By AFP |

At least 27 people were killed when a landslide engulfed a road in northwest Colombia, trapping people in a bus and other vehicles, said President Gustavo Petro on Monday.

“It is with sadness that I must announce that, so far, 27 people, including three minors, have lost their lives in the tragedy” that struck on Sunday in a remote area of the Pueblo Rico municipality, Petro wrote on Twitter.

On Sunday evening, the president reported three dead, as dozens of rescue workers searched for survivors.

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One survivor said the driver of the bus 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 bus had set out from the city of Cali with 25 passengers, civil defense officials said.

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.

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