Brazil court deciding on fate of

da Silva’s presidential bid

SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil’s top electoral court on Friday began debating whether jailed former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva — the campaign front-runner — will be able to run in October’s presidential election or be barred due to a corruption conviction.

The first of the seven judges cast a vote against da Silva, but it wasn’t clear if the full court would reach a decision before adjourning for the night.

The left-leaning da Silva, who was hugely popular when he left office in 2010, started serving a 12-year-sentence for corruption and money laundering in April. By law, the former president is barred from running since his conviction has already been upheld by one appeals court.

However the former president and his Workers’ Party argue he should be able to run while he pursues further appeals.

Nicaragua to expel UN team

after critical report

MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) — The government of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega is expelling a United Nations human rights team two days after the body published a report blaming it for the violent repression of opposition protests.

Guillermo Fernandez Maldonado, chief of the U.N.’s human rights mission in Nicaragua, said in a news conference Friday that he and his team would leave the country Saturday.

“We put forward the report not to polarize, but rather to make known what we had seen,” Fernandez said. “This has had a lot of media coverage and we did not expect the government’s reaction in this sense. We only did our job.”

In a statement, the U.N. human rights regional office for Central America said that it had received a letter Thursday from the foreign ministry notifying it that the government’s invitation was over.

“The letter indicates that said invitation was extended with the purpose of accompanying the Verification and Monitoring Commission and that with the reasons, causes and conditions finished that spurred said invitation, the invitation is considered concluded,” according to the statement.

The U.N. statement said the team will continue monitoring and reporting on the situation remotely.