Thursday, June 7, 2012

Daily Headlines: June 7, 2012

* Latin America: The Organization of American States General Assembly may’ve concluded with deep divisions over the group’s human rights system but members did back Argentina's claim to the Falklands Islands.

* Cuba: Malaysian-based Petronas became the next foreign oil firm to drill off the Cuban coast though it remains to be seen if they will have the same misfortune as Spain’s Repsol.

* Chile: Representatives from Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico met in Antofagasta and signed a pact creating the Pacific Alliance bloc.

* Brazil: With two years left to go until the Brazil hosts the World Cup, President Dilma Rousseff signed into a law a resolution removing a ban on alcohol sales during soccer matches.

Video Source – YouTube via TVPublicaArgentina

Online Sources- BusinessWeek, Miami Herald, AFP, BBC News

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

World Watch: Remembering Ray Bradbury

Prolific science fiction author Ray Bradbury died on Tuesday night at the age of 91.

He is best known for his novels "Fahrenheit 451" and "Something Wicked This Way Comes" and his many literary works have been adapted for movies and television shows. (Famed French auteur Francois Truffaut directed the 1966 film version of "Fahrenheit 451", for example).

Bradbury received widespread criticial acclaim for his texts and received numerous honors including the National Institute of Arts and Letters Award, a National Book Foundation medal, and even an Emmy.

In an essay published days ago in "The New Yorker", Bradbury described how he became inspired to write fiction. "I memorized all of John Carter and Tarzan, and sat on my grandparents' front lawn repeating the stories to anyone who would sit and listen. I would go out to that lawn on summer nights and reach up to the red light of Mars and say, 'Take me home!'"

Daily Headlines: June 6, 2012

* Paraguay: President Fernando Lugo, who has been named in four paternity lawsuits, admitted that he fathered a child years ago when he was still a Roman Catholic bishop.

* Latin America: According to a MIT study “95 percent of major cities in Latin America are planning for climate change, compared to only 59 percent of such cities in the United States”.

* Central America: More than 1000 banana plantation workers from Costa Rica and Panama are suing a group of companies including Dole and Dow Chemical over alleged pesticide poisoning.

* El Salvador: A World Bank arbitration panel ruled that Canadian mining firm Pacific Rim can go ahead with their case against the Salvadoran government.

Video Source – YouTube via canalNTN24

Online Sources- Reuters, MIT News Office, Bloomberg, BBC News

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tourism Continues Upward Climb in Mexico

According to new data the numbers of foreign tourists to Mexico continues to increase despite rampant violence in several parts of the country.

Mexico's Tourism Department reported on Monday that there was a 5.3% increase in foreign visitors to the country between January and April of this year compared to the same period in 2011. Nearly five million tourists representing 147 nationalities visited Mexico in the first four months this year according to the government data.

Despite State Department travel warnings against visiting areas of Mexico hurt by drug related violence the U.S. is the country with the highest amount of tourists visiting Mexico during the first four months this year. One of the reasons for this could be the 7.2% increase in spring breakers traveling to Mexico this year compared to 2011. (Perhaps this explains why some of the main destinations for foreign travelers were Puerto Vallarta, Cancun and Cozumel).

The data also revealed significant increases in visitors coming from overseas countries like Russia (71.0% increase), Sweden (40.8% increase) and China (34.8% increase). Mexican tourism also received major increases in visitors from Latin American countries such as Brazil (69.5% increase), Argentina (27.4% increase) and Guatemala (83.4% increase).

Daily Headlines: June 5, 2012

* Guatemala: Roman Catholic Cardinal Rodolfo Quezada Toruno, a key figure in the negotiations that led to the end of Guatemala's civil war, died Monday at the age of 80.

* Latin America: Should the Organization of American States’ human rights system be reformed or kept as is?

* Argentina: A groundbreaking gender identity law that allows people to change their names and genders without prior legal or medical approval went into effect yesterday.

* Venezuela: The government banned the sales of guns and ammunition in a measure aimed at curbing rampant violent crime.

Video Source – YouTube via Rome Reports

Online Sources- AS/COA Online, Voice of America, Houston Chronicle, Fox News

Monday, June 4, 2012

Today’s Video: Art from Trash

After thirty-four years of operation the Jardim Gramacho landfill in Rio de Janeiro will be shut down.

The closing of the massive open-air dump comes just over two weeks before the start of the Rio+20 environmental summit.

The move is expected to leave more than 1,700 people out of work including hundreds of "catadores," garbage pickers who would sift through mountains of trash seeking recyclable materials.

Local authorities claimed former workers will get compensation of about $7,000 and will be retrained. Yet one local community leader was reportedly skeptical:

Daily Headlines: June 4, 2012

* Venezuela: President Hugo Chavez and campaign rival Henrique Capriles both sent messages to Johan Santana congratulating him for throwing a no-hitter on Friday night. (Note: link is in Spanish).

* Latin America: Argentina tops the South American World Cup qualifying standings after routing Ecuador 4-0 while FIFA is looking into a match-fixing scandal involving games played by the Guatemalan national team.

* U.S.: The ACLU and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project filed a lawsuit against the Forest Service over alleged discrimination against Latinos.

* South America: Authorities in Venezuela captured Diego Perez Henao, a high-ranking member of Colombia's Los Rastrojos neo-paramilitary drug gang.

Video Source – YouTube via ESPN (Johan Santana became the fourth Venezuelan and first member of the New York Mets to pitch a no-hitter).

Online Sources- El Universal,,, Fox News Latino, Reuters