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Ecuador's ambassador to Peru proves that brawling in a supermarket doesn't have to end your diplomatic career

It's every diplomat's worst nightmare: being summoned back to the mother country after getting trounced in a supermarket slapfest. But that's exactly what happened, at least temporarily, to Rodrigo Riofrío, Ecuador's ambassador to Peru, who on April 21 in Lima was caught on a supermarket video camera swatting a number of women with a rolled-up magazine as they slapped and yanked his hair.  

Riofrío appears to have fallen into an argument with the women in the checkout line, where he allegedly struck and insulted them with racist slurs. (The YouTube video below shows the ambassador getting some pretty impressive extension as he goes on the offensive.)

Perhaps the most astonishing thing about the story, however, is that Ecuador is standing behind its diplomat. Despite being temporarily recalled, Riofrío will apparently remain at his post. According to a statement issued by Ecuador's Foreign Ministry, there is no reason to replace the ambassador: "If this happened, it would set a terrible precedent that would involve punishing someone who, as in this case, is the victim of an assault." That's right, Ecuador is claiming that Riofrío was the victim of an assault (the AP is reporting that the women involved in the clash were a mother and daughter, and that the daughter slapped Riofrío's wife first in reaction to an insult before the ambassador turned on them).

Even Ecuador's president, Rafael Correa, has weighed in on the fiasco, saying that the video clearly shows that the women were the aggressors. One of the women was "very young," according to Correa. "And you know, the ambassador is no longer a young man."

Peru's minister for women, Ana Jara Velásquez, isn't buying it, however: "There is no single argument that justifies violence against women," she fired back on Twitter. 

Perhaps this kerfuffle has yet to run its course. 

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Russian drivers can now turn right on red (at some intersections)

The following is a guest post from Leon Aron, director of Russian studies at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.

Suddenly there is a tiny bright spot on the decidedly bleak social canvass of Vladimir Putin's Russia. For the first time in history, the Russians will be able to turn right on red.

To be sure, after a year and half of discussions, it is still an "experiment," confined to only a few intersections in Moscow and the southwestern city of Belgorod. Yet amid Putinism's increasingly rigid dichotomies and the state's relentless strangulation and subversion of independent civil society institutions, first and foremost NGOs, the government ceding at least one iota of decision-making to its citizens by leaving it up to them to interpret the law and make their own choices is something to cheer.

Besides, one of the Moscow intersections at which the experiment is taking place is Andropov Prospekt, named after the Soviet Union's longest-serving KBG chief and general secretary from 1982 to 1984.

Go right on red, Russia! Go right on red!

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