Live Coverage

Today's News: April 1, 2017

Protesters in Paraguay set fire to the parliament building, a deadly landslide in Colombia, and Venezuela’s supreme court backtracks on the country’s move toward dictatorship.

Opposition supporters holding a placard that reads, "No more dictatorship" shout slogans. Carlos Garcia Rawlins / Reuters

—Protesters in Paraguay set fire to the parliament building to demonstrate against a bill that would strip presidential term limits.

—Heavy rains caused a landslide in Colombia that has killed dozens and left hundreds still missing.

—Venezuela’s supreme court has reversed a decision to strip congress of its powers, a move that was widely criticized as a step toward dictatorship.

—We’re tracking the news stories of the day below. All updates are in Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -4).


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Ford Issues Its Fourth Recall of the Week

Rebecca Cook / Reuters

Ford Motor Company announced its fourth safety recall of the week Saturday, saying its F-250 pickup truck sold in the U.S. and Canada can slide backward after being put in the park position. The recall affects 2017 models, and includes more than 50,000 trucks. The company said it was unaware of any injuries, deaths, or accidents the faulty transmission lever may have caused. Earlier this week, on Wednesday, Ford recalled 211,000 vehicles to replace faulty side door latches; 550 vehicles because of a faulty driveshaft; and 230,000 cars after reports of engines overheating and catching fire. For Saturday’s recall, Ford said it intends to replace the defective transmission lever for free, but that it doesn’t yet have the parts.

Death Toll in Colombia's Flood Rises to 150


Updated on April 1 at 6:00 p.m. ET

Heavy overnight rains caused rivers to overflow and triggered mudslides in southern Colombia that have killed more than 150 people and left hundreds missing. Worst hit was the southwestern province of Putumayo, near the border of Ecuador, where authorities said mud, boulders, water, and uplifted trees buried entire neighborhoods. President Juan Manuel Santos flew to the area on Saturday afternoon, where he blamed the disaster on the effects of climate change. In one night, he said, the area received the amount of rainfall typical of a month. "These rains are increasingly more intense, so we have to be ready," Santos said. Colombia’s military was working to help survivors, and while it has been said hundreds of people are still missing, there is still no exact estimate, and the death toll will likely rise. Altogether, the military said 15 neighborhoods were impacted and much of the area is without power and water. The region has experienced an unusual heavy amount of rain this season, and in Peru more than 90 people have died this year in landslides and flash floods.

Protesters in Paraguay Set Fire to the Congressional Building

Jorge Adorno / Reuters

Protesters in Paraguay set fire the country’s congressional building during a demonstration against a bill that would lift presidential term limits. One person was killed in the protest, although the cause is uncertain. Protesters ransacked buildings in the country’s capital, Asuncion, smashed windows and the fire in the congressional building was said to have burned for two hours before firefighters doused it. The protests were in reaction to an amendment to the country’s constitution pushed by supporters of President Horacio Cartes that would allow him to run for reelection. Paraguay currently limits the president to a single five-year term. Senators were set to meet this weekend to discuss the amendment, but that will no longer happen. In response to the demonstration, mounted police rode into the crowds while others fired rubber bullets and sprayed water cannons to disperse the crowd. There are some reports that more than 30 people were injured. Paraguay’s new constitution was written in 1992 after about four decades of military rule under General Alfredo Stroessner, who seized power in a coup.

Venezuela's Supreme Court Reverses a Ruling Criticized as a Step Toward Dictatorship

Carlos Garcia Rawlins / Reuters

Venezuela’s supreme court on Saturday reversed a ruling made earlier this week that would have stripped congress of its power, a move critics called a step toward dictatorship. The decision came shortly after President Nicolas Maduro appeared on TV and said the court would review the decision, saying, "This controversy has been overcome, showing the power of dialogue," BBC reported. The supreme court, which is packed with Maduro’s supporters, ruled Wednesday that the congress was in contempt after it swore in three officials from Amazonian states accused of electoral fraud. The court then said it would take over legislative responsibilities until the matter was resolved. But the decision was immediately rebuked by the opposition, and even some within Maduro’s ruling Socialist party, including the attorney general. The country is in near-economic collapse, and Maduro’s move was viewed as an attempt to consolidate power as his popularity plummets. Last year, Maduro’s government stopped a referendum to recall him. It also postponed local elections.