International

Chile’s Michelle Bachelet

to be new UN human rights chief

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Secretary-General Antonio Guterres selected Chile’s former President Michelle Bachelet on Wednesday to be the next U.N. human rights chief, a high profile and often controversial job that has sparked criticism from governments targeted for rights abuses.

Guterres sent a note to the General Assembly announcing his choice of Bachelet and urging approval by its 193 member states. Assembly President Miroslav Lajcak followed up, sending letters to all U.N. ambassadors saying a meeting will take place Friday morning to vote on her nomination, which is virtually certain to be approved.

Bachelet is no stranger to human rights abuses.

The daughter of an air force general, she was a medical student when Marxist President Salvador Allende was overthrown in a coup in September 1973. Her father, Gen. Alberto Bachelet, was imprisoned for treason for opposing the coup and then-23-year-old Michelle and her mother were tortured in a secret prison for two weeks before they fled into exile. Following months of torture, her father died of cardiac arrest in March 1974.

Bachelet has also been a pioneer for women and women’s rights as a pediatrician, a moderate socialist politician, and a single mother of three.

Quake put life on hold in

damaged, hungry Indonesian village

KEKAIT, Indonesia (AP) — Ever since Rafikah escaped her crumbling home when a massive earthquake struck the Indonesian island of Lombok, life in her lush rural village has come to a screeching halt.

No children are going to school. No adults are working. Nothing is open.

“This quake paralyzed everything,” said the traumatized mother of two, who spoke under a large blue tent perched in a field where she and her family have slept since Sunday’s 7.0 magnitude quake. “Our lives have just stopped.”

The problem in impoverished places like Kekait, where most homes were either destroyed or cracked so badly they’re unsafe, is that nobody knows when or even how they’ll manage to rebuild.

In the meantime, “there’s hardly anyone left in our village,” said the 33-year-old mother who grew up there. “It’s like a ghost town now.”

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