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Mossack Fonseca offices in El Salvador have been raided by police, the attorney general’s office says.

The Panama law firm is at the center of a recent massive data leak, known as the Panama Papers.

Documents and computer equipment were seized from the Mossack Fonseca office, officials said on Twitter.

The attorney general’s office said the Mossack Fonseca sign had been removed a day earlier and quoted an employee as saying the company was moving.

The leak showed how some wealthy people use offshore companies to evade tax.

The raid was overseen by El Salvador’s Attorney General Douglas Melendez.Mossack Fonseca El Salvador

Mossack Fonseca’s El Salvador branch was able to provide “back office” functions for the company’s clients all over the world, according to a document posted on Twitter by the attorney general’s office.

Local news website El Faro reported that Salvadorans had used Mossack Fonseca to buy property in the country without declaring the purchases to the Salvadoran authorities.

Mossack Fonseca has denied it has done anything wrong and says the information is being presented out of context.

Mossack Fonseca offices in El Salvador have been raided by authorities, the attorney general’s office says.

The Panama law firm is at the center of a recent massive data leak, known as the Panama Papers.

Documents and computer equipment were seized from the Mossack Fonseca office, officials said on Twitter.

The attorney general’s office said the Mossack Fonseca sign had been removed a day earlier and quoted an employee as saying the company was moving.

The leak showed how some wealthy people use offshore companies to evade tax.

The raid was overseen by El Salvador’s Attorney General Douglas Melendez.

Mossack Fonseca’s El Salvador branch was able to provide “back office” functions for the company’s clients all over the world, according to a document posted on Twitter by the attorney general’s office.

Local news website El Faro reported that Salvadorans had used Mossack Fonseca to buy property in the country without declaring the purchases to the Salvadoran authorities.

Mossack Fonseca has denied it has done anything wrong and says the information is being presented out of context.

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The beatification of Oscar Romero, Latin America’s martyr and hero, is attracting hundreds of thousands of people at the El Salvador ceremony.

The Roman Catholic archbishop murdered during the 1980-1992 civil war.

At least 250,000 people are expected to fill the streets of the capital San Salvador for the ceremony.

It is the last step before Archbishop Oscar Romero is declared a saint.

Oscar Romero was shot dead by a sniper as he celebrated Mass in a hospital chapel on March 24, 1980. No-one has been prosecuted for the murder.Oscar Romero beatification 2015

About 80,000 people died and 12,000 disappeared during the war in El Salvador.

The Archbishop of San Salvador, Luis Escobar Alas, and Vatican envoy Cardinal Angelo Amato are expected to preside over Saturday’s beatification ceremony.

The event will begin with a procession from the cathedral – where Oscar Romero’s remains lie in a crypt.

A letter will then be read proclaiming the archbishop “blessed”.

Giant TV screens have been placed across the capital so that those away from the stage can watch the ceremony.

Thousands of police officers have also been deployed.

Archbishop Oscar Romero was not just a churchman. He took a stand during El Salvador’s darkest moments.

When the US-backed Salvadorean army was using death squads and torture to stop leftist revolutionaries from seizing power, Oscar Romero was not afraid to speak out in his weekly sermons.

“The law of God which says thou shalt not kill must come before any human order to kill. It is high time you recovered your conscience,” he said in his last homily in 1980, calling on the National Guard and police to stop the violence.

“I implore you, I beg you, I order you in the name of God: Stop the repression.”

That was a sermon that cost him his life. A day later, while giving mass, he was hit through the heart by a single bullet.

Several conservative Latin American cardinals in the Vatican had blocked his beatification for years because they were concerned his death was prompted more by his politics than by his preaching.

Pope Benedict XVI finally reversed this in 2012.

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Pope Francis has lifted a ban the Catholic Church put on the beatification of murdered Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero over his suspected Marxist ideas.

An outspoken critic of the military regime during El Salvador’s bloody civil war, Archbishop Oscar Romero was shot dead while celebrating Mass in 1980.

Beatification, or declaring a person “blessed”, is the necessary prelude to full sainthood.

Oscar Romero was one of the main proponents of Liberation Theology – an interpretation of Christian faith through the perspective of the poor.

On Monday, Pope Francis said he was hoping for a swift beatification process.

“For me Romero is a man of God,” the Pope told journalists on the plane bringing him back from a trip to South Korea.

Pope Francis has lifted a ban the Catholic Church put on the beatification of murdered Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero over his suspected Marxist ideas

Pope Francis has lifted a ban the Catholic Church put on the beatification of murdered Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero over his suspected Marxist ideas

“There are no doctrinal problems and it is very important that [the beatification] is done quickly.”

Archbishop Oscar Romero denounced the right-wing death squads that operated in the Central American nation at the time and the oppression against the poor, calling for an end to all political violence.

Left-wing rebels fought an insurgency against the US-backed right-wing government.

Some 75,000 people were killed in the civil war, which began in 1980 and ended in 1992 with an UN-brokered peace agreement.

Archbishop Oscar Romero was killed on March 24, 1980, aged 62, after ending his sermon in the capital, San Salvador.

No-one has ever been convicted in connection with his murder.

In 2010, then President Mauricio Funes – El Salvador’s first left-wing leader since the end of the civil war – made an official apology.

“I am seeking pardon in the name of the state,” Mauricio Funes said as he unveiled a mural honoring Oscar Romero at El Salvador’s international airport.

Archbishop Oscar Romero, President Mauricio Funes said, was a victim of right-wing death squads “who unfortunately acted with the protection, collaboration or participation of state agents”.

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According to health officials, the number of suspected and confirmed cases of chikungunya virus in Caribbean countries has risen sharply over past weeks.

Tens of thousands of new cases have been reported in the Dominican Republic and its neighbor, Haiti.

There is currently no vaccine or treatment for the mosquito-borne virus which resembles dengue fever and can cause fever, skin rash and joint pain.

European health authorities have warned travelers to take extra precautions.

The number of suspected and confirmed cases of chikungunya virus in Caribbean countries has risen sharply over past weeks

The number of suspected and confirmed cases of chikungunya virus in Caribbean countries has risen sharply over past weeks

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control told people travelling to the Caribbean to apply insect repellent and avoid mosquito bites.

France has detected more than 70 imported cases of chikungunya, mainly in people returning from holidays in the French Antilles.

The Centre said there was a risk the virus could spread in Europe if infected patients were bitten by mosquitoes upon their return home and those mosquitoes then infected other people.

There are also signs chikungunya is spreading further to Central and South America.

According to the latest figures released by the Pan American Heath Organization (PAHO), almost 265,000 suspected and confirmed cases have been recorded since the outbreak began in December.

More than half of those have been in the Dominican Republic, which has stepped up its fumigation efforts in an attempt to reduce the number of mosquitoes.

Health officials warn that the true numbers may be much higher as some countries have been slow in testing and reporting cases.

Chikungunya is rarely fatal but according to the PAHO, 21 people have died in the Caribbean after contracting the virus.

There have also been cases in Central America, with El Salvador the hardest hit with 1,300 suspected incidences.

Paraguay recorded its first citizen with the virus on Tuesday, but said the man had contracted it while travelling in the Dominican Republic.

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Left-wing rebel Salvador Sanchez Ceren’s victory in a tight presidential run-off election has been confirmed by El Salvador’s electoral court.

The electoral court said Salvador Sanchez Ceren won 50.11% of the votes in the March 9 poll, defeating conservative candidate Norman Quijano, who polled 49.89%.

Norman Quijano had challenged the result, alleging fraud.

The court’s decision makes Salvador Sanchez Ceren the country’s first ex-rebel to serve as president.

Salvador Sanchez Ceren won 50.11 percent of the votes in the March 9 presidential poll

Salvador Sanchez Ceren won 50.11 percent of the votes in the March 9 presidential poll (photo Reuters)

On Sunday, the court said that there was not enough evidence to back Norman Quijano’s claim.

“Based on the results, Salvador Sanchez Ceren and Oscar Samuel Ortiz are declared president and vice-president elect respectively, for the period from 1 June 2014 to 1 June 2019,” court president Eugenio Chicas was quoted as saying by Reuters.

El Salvador’s outgoing President Mauricio Funes said he would meet Salvador Sanchez Ceren later on Monday to begin the handover process.

Salvador Sanchez Ceren became vice-president of El Salvador in 2009, while Norman Quijano was the mayor of the capital, San Salvador.

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Salvador Sanchez Ceren – a former El Salvador left-wing rebel – has won a tight presidential run-off election, the country’s electoral tribunal has announced.

However, Salvador Sanchez Ceren’s rival has the right to appeal and officials say a final declaration cannot yet be made.

Conservative candidate Norman Quijano had earlier called for a new poll after preliminary results indicated a margin of victory of fewer than 7,000 votes.

Salvador Sanchez Ceren would be the first ex-rebel to serve as El Salvador’s president.

Salvador Sanchez Ceren would be the first ex-rebel to serve as El Salvador's president

Salvador Sanchez Ceren would be the first ex-rebel to serve as El Salvador’s president

He became vice president of El Salvador in 2009, while Norman Quijano was the mayor of the capital, San Salvador.

The election body has already rejected calls from Norman Quijano’s party for a rerun.

The Supreme Electoral Tribunal announced on Thursday that Salvador Sanchez Ceren, a member of the Farabundo Marti Liberation Front (FMLN), had won 50.11% of the vote after a manual count.

Norman Quijano, of the conservative Arena party, won 49.89%, the election body said.

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El Salvador castaway Jose Salvador Alvarenga – who says he spent more than a year adrift in the Pacific – has finally arrived home.

Jose Salvador Alvarenga, 37, was met by family members and officials after flying from the US.

The man was found washed up two weeks ago in the Marshall Islands. He says he left Mexico for a trip in a boat in December 2012 with a friend who died on board.

Jose Salvador Alvarenga apparently survived the 8,000 km (5,000-mile) ordeal by catching fish, birds and turtles with his bare hands.

For fluids, he claimed to have drunk urine, rainwater and the blood of birds.

Jose Salvador Alvarenga was rescued on January 30 by people living on the island of Ebon Atoll.

Jose Salvador Alvarenga says he spent more than a year adrift in the Pacific

Jose Salvador Alvarenga says he spent more than a year adrift in the Pacific

He was found dehydrated and suffering from back pain and swollen joints.

Jose Salvador Alvarenga landed at El Salvador’s international airport, near the capital San Salvador, at about 20:00 local time on Tuesday after flying from Los Angeles.

At the airport’s VIP lounge, Jose Salvador Alvarenga was met by El Salvador’s foreign minister and other government officials.

Dozens of journalists also gathered at the airport.

On his way from the Marshall Islands Jose Salvador Alvarenga had long stopovers in Hawaii and Los Angeles, where doctors had checked his health and ability to continue the trip.

Jose Salvador Alvarenga will now undergo further checks before a decision is taken whether he should stay overnight in a local hospital or can return to his coast fishing village of Garita Palmera.

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El Salvador is voting to elect a new president.

The main rivals are current Vice-President Salvador Sanchez Ceren of the left-wing FMLN party and Norman Quijano of the conservative Arena alliance.

Neither is expected to win outright because a third candidate standing for a new independent party is likely to make a strong showing.

The campaign has been dominated by poverty and crime. El Salvador’s murder rate is among the highest in the world.

Correspondents say there are signs that a recent truce agreed between the two main street gangs is falling apart.

The main rivals are current Vice-President Salvador Sanchez Ceren of the left-wing FMLN party and Norman Quijano of the conservative Arena alliance

The main rivals are current Vice-President Salvador Sanchez Ceren of the left-wing FMLN party and Norman Quijano of the conservative Arena alliance

Salvador Sanchez Ceren, 69, was a rebel commander when the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) was a guerrilla group during the 1980-1992 civil war.

He has promised to tackle crime through education and social programs.

Opinion polls suggest he had a lead over Norman Quijano, who stood down from his position of mayor of San Salvador to stand for president.

Many voters are critical of the 2012 truce with gangs, and Norman Quijano has accused the administration of outgoing President Mauricio Funes of negotiating with criminals. He is advocating tougher policies against drug gangs.

The truce has led to a decrease in El Salvador’s murder rate, but gradually the number of killings is going back up.

Analysts say the vote may hinge on the popularity of the third candidate, former President Antonio Saca who is running for the new Unidad party.

The second round of voting, if needed, is to be held on March 9.

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El Salvador has resumed evacuating residents living on the slopes of the Chaparrastique volcano.

The 7,000 ft-high volcano started erupting on Sunday morning, spewing ash and gases.

Officials from the Salvadoran environment ministry said there was a risk the volcano could erupt again, this time emitting a lava flow.

The last time the Chaparrastique spewed lava was in 1976. It also caused a strong tremor in the area in 2010.

During Sunday’s eruption a 5,000m-high ash cloud rose from the cone of the volcano. Since then, it has been emitting gases.

Volcanologist Francisco Barahona of the University of El Salvador said that a further increase in the emission of sulphur dioxide could be a sign that another eruption was approaching.

Chaparrastique volcano started erupting on Sunday morning, spewing ash and gases

Chaparrastique volcano started erupting on Sunday morning, spewing ash and gases

Another eruption “could trigger not ashes, but a lava flow”, Herman Rosa of the environment ministry said.

More than 2,000 people were evacuated after the first eruption on Sunday, but Civil Protection Director Jorge Melendez said almost half of them had decided to return to their homes against official advice.

Jorge Melendez said people had been “reluctant” to stay in the shelters provided, but he warned the authorities would use coercion in the case of an emergency.

Chaparrastique is one of more than 20 volcanoes in the small Central American nation.

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Thousands of people in eastern El Salvador are leaving their homes after the Chaparrastique volcano erupted on Sunday morning.

Residents in the region said they had heard a powerful explosion before the Chaparrastique volcano began spewing hot ash and smoke into the air.

No one has been hurt, say the authorities. Anyone living in a 2 mile radius will be evacuated.

Temporary shelters are being set up in the area.

Thousands of people in eastern El Salvador are leaving their homes after the Chaparrastique volcano erupted

Thousands of people in eastern El Salvador are leaving their homes after the Chaparrastique volcano erupted

Civil protection authorities say that some 5,000 people live in the area, in San Miguel province.

The eruption began at 10:30 local time.

The Salvadoran government says it had been monitoring the situation since December 13, when they detected increased activity inside the volcano.

There are more than 20 volcanoes in the small Central American nation.

At 2,129 metres (7,000 ft) above sea level, Chaparrastique is the third highest volcano in the country.

Chaparrastique spewed lava in 1976 and caused a strong tremor in the area in 2010.

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