Puerto Rico

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In Referendum, 97% Support Making Puerto Rico 51st State

But almost 80% didn't bother voting

(Newser) - Going by votes cast, statehood was the overwhelming winner in a referendum Puerto Rico held Sunday. But going by the actions of most Puerto Ricans, staying home or going to the beach was the runaway winner. The island, a US territory since 1898, held a non-binding referendum on statehood Sunday,... More »

Puerto Rico's Unprecedented Move to Ease $123B Debt

Step toward bankruptcy would dwarf Detroit's restructuring

(Newser) - Puerto Rico has taken a big step toward a bankruptcy that would be unprecedented in two ways: It would be the first by an American state or territory, and it would be by far the biggest of its kind, dwarfing Detroit's $18 billion restructuring in 2013. Puerto Rico's... More »

Man Sentenced for Biting Chihuahua Puppy's Head Off

Puerto Rico man gets 7 years

(Newser) - Jose Arroyo is going to spend the next seven years in prison and he will not be a popular man if fellow inmates discover what he is in for: biting the head off a chihuahua puppy. The 40-year-old Puerto Rico man was sentenced this week after pleading guilty to domestic... More »

Puerto Rico to Vote on Becoming 51st State

'Colonialism is not an option' in June referendum

(Newser) - Puerto Ricans are getting another shot at voting on statehood after the island's governor on Friday approved a non-binding referendum to determine the US territory's political future. The referendum will be held on June 11 and gives voters two options: statehood or independence/free association. If a majority chooses... More »

Bill Seeks to Make Puerto Rico 51st State by 2025

'We are treated as second-class American citizens': prominent pol

(Newser) - Puerto Rico's new rep to the US Congress filed a bill Wednesday that would turn the island into the 51st US state by 2025. The bill is the first step in a renewed quest for statehood that's to include a referendum letting Puerto Rico voters choose between independence... More »

Election Could Help Give America Its 51st State

Leading Puerto Rico candidate supports statehood

(Newser) - If Ricardo Rossello has things his way, this is going to be one of the last elections where there are a mere 50 American states voting. The New Progressive Party candidate has a big lead in the race to become the island's next governor, and he has come out... More »

Thousands of Endangered Tadpoles Fly to Puerto Rico

Crested toad is on the comeback trail

(Newser) - More than 4,000 wiggling tadpoles conceived via wine fridges in California and then packed in a passenger plane headed to Puerto Rico this week as part of a program to re-establish a technicolor native toad once thought extinct. Since 2014, the Oakland Zoo has taken part in a campaign... More »

Puerto Rico Emerges From Island-Wide Blackout

Millions are in darkness for 2nd night

(Newser) - Cheers erupted as lights slowly began to flicker on across Puerto Rico overnight as the US territory struggled to emerge from an island-wide blackout following a fire at a power plant that caused the aging utility grid to fail. More than 390,000 of 1.5 million homes and businesses... More »

500 Rescued From Burning Cruise Ship

Fire erupted a mile away from Puerto Rico

(Newser) - More than 500 passengers and crew were evacuated from a burning ship about a mile off Puerto Rico's north coast on Wednesday, and many required medical care, though there were no reported fatalities or life-threatening injuries. The fire, which erupted in the engine room, burned as hundreds slid down... More »

Banker's Unsolved Murder Gets Much Stranger

Bloomberg looks into unsolved case of Maurice Spagnoletti

(Newser) - In 2011, a New Jersey transplant named Maurice Spagnoletti was gunned down in Puerto Rico while driving home from work. The murder, which remains unsolved, made international headlines given Spagnoletti's work: He was a 57-year-old bank executive who was trying to turn around the failing Doral Bank in San... More »

Congress Passes Puerto Rico Rescue Bill at Last Minute

The bill to relieve the debt-ridden territory heads to Obama for signing

(Newser) - Congress delivered relief to debt-stricken Puerto Rico on Wednesday, sending President Obama a last-minute financial rescue package to help the US territory of 3.5 million Americans, the AP reports. The Senate passed the bill on a bipartisan 68-30 vote, three weeks after the House overwhelmingly backed the measure. The... More »

Supreme Court Rejects Puerto Rico's Sovereignty

Case was on the narrow grounds of a criminal prosecution

(Newser) - The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled against Puerto Rico in a politically charged dispute over the island's power to enforce its own criminal laws. The justices ruled 6-2 that the US territory can't prosecute people for local crimes if they've already been convicted of similar charges in... More »

Clinton Wins in Puerto Rico

She overwhelmed Bernie Sanders, AP reports

(Newser) - Hillary Clinton overwhelmed Bernie Sanders in Puerto Rico's Democratic presidential primary on Sunday, putting her within striking distance of capturing her party's nomination, the AP reports. After a blowout victory Saturday in the US Virgin Islands and a decisive win in the US territory, Clinton is now less... More »

Puerto Rico to Default on $370M Debt Bill

An even bigger payment of $1B is due July 1

(Newser) - Big financial trouble for Puerto Rico: The government won't make nearly $370 million in bond payments due Monday after a failure to restructure or find a political solution to the US territory's spiraling debt crisis. Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla said Sunday he had issued an executive order suspending... More »

Guy Knocked Off Boat Swims 7 Hours to Puerto Rico

68-year-old had to travel 4 miles through rough seas

(Newser) - On Sunday morning, Michigan man David Thompson sailed away from Puerto Rico, bound for Florida. Sunday night, he staggered into a Puerto Rico hotel restaurant bleeding, exhausted, and wearing only a shirt that he had fashioned into makeshift shorts. The 68-year-old retired engineer had been knocked off his sailboat by... More »

Marco Rubio Wins Primary in Puerto Rico

GOP candidate is apparently aiming for Florida victory

(Newser) - Marco Rubio is dominating the Republican primary in Puerto Rico on Sunday and will likely grab all of the island territory's 23 delegates, Politico reports. With nearly half of precincts reporting, Rubio had 71% and second-place Donald Trump only 12%. Rubio just needs 50% to take all of Puerto... More »

3 Puerto Rico Cops Killed by Fellow Cop: Officials

There was allegedly a fight at Ponce headquarters before shootings

(Newser) - Authorities say an argument between a cop and three of his colleagues apparently led the officer to shoot and kill all three of them Monday at police headquarters in Ponce, Puerto Rico, the AP reports. The officer, identified by Puerto Rican newspaper El Vocero as 50-year-old Guarionex Candelario Rivera, allegedly... More »

Puerto Rico Narrowly Avoids Multimillion-Dollar Default

'Let us be clear: We have no cash left'

(Newser) - Puerto Rico narrowly avoided a multimillion-dollar default on Tuesday by announcing a last-minute bond payment while warning that a deepening financial crisis has forced the government to divert money slated for future debt payments to avoid a shutdown of basic services "Let us be clear: We have no cash... More »

Feds: Only Congress Can Help Puerto Rico Now

Broke US territory faces looming humanitarian crisis

(Newser) - These are tough times indeed for the people of Puerto Rico: The US territory has been in a recession for almost a decade, has a $72 billion debt it can't pay —and it has now been informed that its only hope is quick action from Congress. The federal... More »

Hurricane Danny Weakens, but Puerto Rico Braces

It's now a category 1, expected to become tropical storm

(Newser) - The drought-stricken northern Caribbean is preparing for heavy rains and wind as a weakening Hurricane Danny approached Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. The Category 1 hurricane was 600 miles east of the Leeward Islands this morning, with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph. It was traveling west-northwest at... More »

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