Friday, June 19, 2015

Daily Headlines: June 19, 2015

* Brazil: Police arrested twelve individuals including the head Latin America's largest engineering and construction company as part of a corruption probe at state-run oil firm Petrobras.

* Bolivia: The Bolivian government announced plans for oil exploration at eight national parks and the finding of the first domestic oilfield since 1992.

* Mexico: Mexico's Southern Border Program has been credited as the main cause behind the deportation of nearly 93,000 migrants between October 2014 and April 2015.

* Colombia: A new U.N. study found that Colombia has the world’s second highest number of refugees and individuals displaced by armed conflict.

YouTube Source – CCTV America

Online Sources – Reuters, Fox News Latino, U.S. News and World Report, The Miami Herald

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Daily Headlines: June 18, 2015

* Puerto Rico: Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla admitted that he considered seeking Congressional approval to declare bankruptcy for Puerto Rico but instead decided that it “would have been less than impossible to obtain approval for such a measure.”

* South America: Colombia men’s national soccer team broke a 24-year-long winless streak against Brazil, while the female sides from both countries made it through to the Round of 16 at the Women’s World Cup.

* Cuba: Twitter execs are planning to expand service to Cuba despite the poor communications infrastructure on the island.

* Vatican: Pope Francis urged developed countries to take stronger actions against climate change, advocated phasing out fossil fuel usage and rejected population control as a tool to protect the environment.

YouTube Source – Monocle Magazine

Online Sources –, Politico, BBC Sport, The Guardian, Fox News Latino

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Brazilian Women’s Soccer Chief Focused on Looks, Not Talent

Brazil is one of the favorites to win the Women’s World Cup (WWC) currently taking place, and the team has excelled to a perfect two wins in two matches in group play. Yet for Brazil’s top women’s soccer official, Marco Aurelio Cunha, the talent on the field doesn’t matter as long as the players look pretty for the spectators.

 “Now the women are getting more beautiful, putting on make-up. They go in the field in an elegant manner,” Cunha said in a June 14th article from Canada’s The Globe and Mail. “Women’s football used to copy men’s football. Even the jersey model, it was more masculine. We used to dress the girls as boys. So the team lacked a spirit of elegance, femininity. Now the shorts are a bit shorter, the hairstyles are more done up. It’s not a woman dressed as a man.”

Cunha later claimed his comments were taken out of context and were not meant to sound chauvinist.

His remarks appeared as part of a news piece calling attention to how women’s soccer has been largely ignored in Brazil. Sadly this has been the case in the case of most Latin American nations whose women’s teams are participating at this year’s WWC.

Take the case of Colombia, which shocked France last Saturday in one of the biggest upsets in WWC history but is the only South American country without a female national soccer league.  Ecuadoran columnist Alejandro Ribadeneira, meanwhile, bemoaned the local press for generally ignoring the women’s national team despite La Tri qualifying to the tournament for the first time.

Rather than emphasizing appearances, national soccer federation leaders like Cunha perhaps should reflect inward and provide greater support to promoting and nurturing players. Last month Mexican soccer officials announced the launch of two new ladies youth competitions that will begin playing in September.

“The CBF (Brazilian soccer federation) doesn’t give a damn,” said Fernando Ferreira, the head of Brazil’s leading sports-development consultancy firm. The CBF has recently announced a $15 million investment in the women’s game yet Helena Pacheco, the former coach of Brazilian soccer star Marta, noted that the federation and affiliated soccer clubs must do more:

Daily Headlines: June 17, 2015 (Updated)

* Caribbean: Hundreds of thousands of Haitians living in the Dominican Republic could end up stateless and be the victims of mass deportations after midnight tonight.

* Venezuela: Venezuelan university students critical of the government have joined imprisoned political dissident Leopoldo Lopez on his four-week long hunger strike.

* U.S.: Comments made by Pope Francis in favor of preserving the environment and warning about climate change have been viewed unfavorably some U.S. presidential hopefuls.

* Chile: Chilean soccer star Arturo Vidal could miss the rest of the Copa America after police detained him last night for driving under the influence(Update: Vidal will not be removed from the Chilean squad according to team coach Jorge Sampaoli.)

YouTube Source – Deutsche Welle (Video uploaded in May 2014).

Online Sources – The Root, Reuters, The Huffington Post,

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Daily Headlines: June 16, 2015

* Colombia: "What you can do, count on us," exclaimed Pope Francis who offered to help with peace talks between the Colombian government and FARC that have continued amid a recent rebel offensive.

* Mexico: Education authorities dropped “costly and cumbersome” requirements for hundreds of thousands of foreign-born children attending Mexican schools.

* Brazil: As part of the debate over youth crime in Brazil, legislators are expected to vote this month on a controversial proposal to lower the age a suspect can be tried as an adult from 18 to 16.

* Venezuela: Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro indicated that meetings this weekend between officials from his country and the U.S. could help improve bilateral diplomatic relations.

YouTube Source – euronews (Colombia’s FARC guerrillas have gone on a violent offensive since ending their unilateral ceasefire nearly one month ago).

Online Sources – ABC News, Fox News Latino, UPI, The Guardian

Monday, June 15, 2015

Daily Headlines: June 15, 2015

* Dominican Republic: The Vatican officially indicted Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, the former papal nuncio for the Dominican Republic, on sexual child abuse charges and will stand trail starting in July.

* Brazil: In a bad sign for the Brazilian economy, car sales in the world's fourth-largest auto market is expected to fall by 18% this year.

* Venezuela: A study found that 27% of Venezuelans between 15 and 29-years-old are considering emigrating mainly due to the weakened economy and a perceived lack of opportunity.

* Mexico: “As the purpose of matrimony is not procreation, there is no justified reason that the matrimonial union be heterosexual, nor that it be stated as between only a man and only a woman,” according to a landmark Mexican Supreme Court decree issued earlier this month.

YouTube Source – euronews (Video uploaded in September 2014).

Online Sources – CNN, NBC News, Fox News Latino, UPI