Updated Mar 31, 2018

Costa Rica to pick president after campaign defined by gay marriage

Fabricio Alvarado at a campaign event. Photo: EZEQUIEL BECERRA/AFP/Getty Images

Sunday's presidential runoff in Costa Rica pits a conservative evangelical singer against a former cabinet minister from the ruling center-left Citizens’ Action Party, and has been fought largely over gay marriage.

Why it matters: Costa Rica is Latin America's oldest democracy, but crime, high unemployment and corruption allegations have jolted the country's historically stable politics. The gay marriage debate has added fuel to the fire. Per the Economist, "dissatisfaction is showing up as support for unconventional candidates."

  • Fabricio Alvarado Munoz, the 43-year-old singer and former TV host, surged to a first place finish in the first round on February 4, after denouncing a court ruling calling for same sex marriage to be legalized.
  • Carlos Alvarado Quesada, 38, has slammed his opponent's "homophobic positions." He has also trailed him consistently in the polls — though some show a close race and, per Reuters, "polls have a patchy record in Costa Rica."

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Assault weapons ban dies in Virginia Senate despite Democratic control

Gun-rights ralliers at a protest outside the Virginia Capitol Building in January. Photo ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images.

An assault weapons ban died in the Virginia Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday despite a Democratic majority in the assembly, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: Democrats flipped the Virginia House and Senate last year after campaigning hard on gun control. The assault weapons bill would have banned future transfers and sales of all assault weapons in the state.

What we know: Deadly Storm Dennis whips at England, Wales and Ireland

Photo: OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images.

At least two deaths are being attributed to Storm Dennis on Monday as it continues to strike at parts of England, Wales and Ireland, per AccuWeather.

The big picture: Dennis is the second-strongest nontropical storm ever recorded in the North Atlantic Ocean. Its hurricane-force winds and heavy rains have caused widespread flooding across the United Kingdom. The army has been deployed in the U.K. to help with flood relief.

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Coronavirus cases rise as 14 American evacuees infected

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

14 Americans evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship tested positive for the novel coronavirus before being flown in a "specialist containment" on a plane repatriating U.S. citizens back home, the U.S. government said early Monday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 1,775 people and infected more than 70,000 others. Most cases and all but five of the deaths have occurred in mainland China.

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