Debate begins on Cuenca master plan
With Cuenca’s agonizing five-year ordeal of tram construction almost over, the municipal planning commission begins the discussion of how to incorporate the train system into the city’s master plan. Among the issues to be determined says commission member Norma Illares is the extent of pedestrianization along the tram route in the historic district, reducing vehicular traffic on surrounding streets and providing high quality infrastructure for tourists. “We must also make sure that the commercial interests in Centro are protected,” she said. “They have suffered tremendously from the tram project and we should make sure they have the advantages of it when it begins operations.”
Bodies of murdered journalists come home
The bodies of three members of the El Comercio news team murdered in Colombia returned to Quito Wednesday morning. The remains of Javier Ortega, Paúl Rivas and Efraín Segarra, arrived from Cali, Colombia at the Mariscal Sucre airport at 10 a.m. aboard an Air Force jet, greeted by friends and family and government officials. The journalists were kidnapped March 26 by the Óliver Sinisterra Front, a break-away unit of FARC rebels, and were murdered about a month later. The three were covering police and military operations against drug trafficking in Esmeraldas Province, near the Colombian border, when they were abducted. The bodies were recovered last week and positive identifications were made Monday in Cali.
U.S. Vice President Pence is in Quito
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence flew into Quito Wednesday afternoon for a series of talks with President Lenin Moreno and other government officials. Pence, who was accompanied by his wife, Karen Sue Pence, was greeted at airport by Ecuador Foreign Minister José Valencia and U.S. Ambassador to Ecuador Todd Chapman. Among the topics to be discussed in Thursday’s meetings are efforts to force Venezuela to hold new elections, trade relations between Ecuador and the U.S. and the efforts to combat illegal drug trafficking in the Ecuadorian-Colombian border region.
Intensity of Galapagos volcanic eruption decreases
Ecuador’s Geophysical Institute reported Wednesday afternoon that the intensity of the eruption of the Sierra Negra volcano on Isabela Island in the Galapagos had decreased significantly within the past 24 hours. The eruption began early Tuesday afternoon. The institute said that the number and strength of earthquakes under the volcano had decreased, as had the extent of lava flows. Some Isabela residents were allowed to return to their homes but with the warning that they may need to evacuate again if volcanic activity increases.