Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Arguments Arise over Gun Control Law

Last Thursday, the judges who listened to the cases of nine persons arrested for violation of the gun control law each adopted different criteria for deciding the status of such persons.

A spokesman for the judiciary said that the judges opinions were based on the view that the legislation does not clearly specify that persons arrested for carrying unlicensed firearms must be sent to prison.

However, various social groups and Oliverio García Rodas of the Partido Patriota (PP) argue that the law is clear in that the section that discusses application of the law against organized crime states that bail shall be denied to those arrested for carrying guns without a license. He went on to say that judges should consider amending article 264 of the Criminal Procedure Code to include these new crimes among those not entitled to bail.

The judge in the Mixco division sent César Augusto Sontay Colón, 32, Héctor Édgar Saldaña, 51, and Jimmy Estrusbal Saldaña Acevedo, 24, to prison, but not for carrying unlicensed weapons but because they had violated restraining orders.

The Court of First Criminal Instance in Nebaj, Quiché, sentenced Nicolás Terraza Santay to house arrest for carrying a firearm without a license. the court decided that the weapon was damaged and had no ammunition.

First Case of AH1N1 Confirmed in Guatemala

Health authorities in Guatemala this morning confirmed the first positive case of influenza A (H1N1). The test was confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control, in Atlanta, USA.

This patient is an 11 year old girl who returned from Cuernavaca, Mexico about 10 days ago. She is isolated and doing well.

Guatemala now joins Mexico, United States, El Salvador and Costa Rica with confirmed cases of influenza in the Americas. There are 17 countries worldwide with confirmed cases.

With the discovery of a positive case, Conred will now escalate the nationwide alert level from Yellow to Orange. Usage of protective masks and gloves will become more widespread as will increased surveillance.

Minister of Health, Celso Cerezo assures that Guatemala has sufficient supplies of medicines and anti-viral drugs which are being stockpiled around the country, should the epidemic become more serious.

There is no cause for alarm yet. For the time being, school, public activities, and work can continue as usual.

Thunderstorm Kills One, Damages 800 Homes in Poptún

Yesterday a thunderstorm with hurricane force winds in Poptún, Petén, caused wind and lightning damage, and left one person dead.

The winds began yesterday at about 3 :00 PM and left a path of destruction as they approached the town.

During the storm, observers said that hundreds of sheet metal roofs were ripped loose and were flying through the air. Two schools were left without roofs.

The one casualty was Esau Segura, who crashed his car into a truck when the wind lifted the hood of his car, blinding him.

Emergency personnel responded from a wide area. Government agencies and neighbors worked together and counted some 800 homes damaged by the high winds.

Observers also reported hail several centimeters in diameter.

The mayor Kilkan Angel Ochoa reported that two shelters were activated for those left homeless by the storm.