Friday, May 20, 2016

Daily Headlines: May 20, 2016

* Brazil: Jose Dirceu, a former aid to ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, was among ten people sentenced to prison for their role in the “Lava Jato” corruption scandal.

* Colombia: Will drug maker Novartis accede to a Colombian government request to lower the price of imatinib in order to keep its monopoly on the cancer medication in the South American country?

* Chile: Chile’s Supreme Court urged that the U.S. extradite three former security agents believed to have been involved in the 1976 kidnapping, torture and murder of a U.N. official.

* Argentina: Argentina’s opposition-led legislature handed President Mauricio Macri a defeat by approving a proposal to prevent mass layoffs.

YouTube Source – France 24 (Then-President Dilma Rousseff last March failed in her attempt to install her predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, as her chief of staff.)

Online Sources – Deutsche Welle, Vice News, Reuters, Nasdaq

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Human Rights Watch Blasts Venezuelan “State of Exception”

Human Rights Watch (HRW) today called on Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro to eliminate controversial “state of exception” measures enacted amidst increased political tension and economic uncertainty in the South American country.

“Until recently, the Maduro administration has been able to jail opponents and trample the rights of ordinary citizens without fearing any response from the other branches of government,” said HRW Americas managing director Daniel Wilkinson in a statement from the group.

“But now that the opposition controls Venezuela’s National Assembly, the president has given himself the power to deprive this body of its authority to sanction government officials,” he added.

Under the sixty-day “State of Exception and Economic Emergency” that went into effect on Monday, power to the opposition-led legislature is curbed by directly allowing Maduro to spend funds and enter into contracts. The new law permits the government to employ the military and police to ensure “the correct distribution” of goods, and permits the Foreign Ministry to suspend agreements by Venezuelan individuals and groups accused of purportedly attempting to "destabilize" the Maduro regime.

Maduro earlier today defended the “state of exception” that he enacted against perceived domestic and foreign threats against Venezuela, and threatened with expanding it beyond the sixty-day period.

“The National Assembly wants to remove me and tie my hands, you know why? If they had my hands tied and I could declare a state of emergency then we wouldn’t have been able to make any decisions,” he added.

Daily Headlines: May 19, 2016

* Puerto Rico: Relief may finally arrive for Puerto Rico after House Republicans and the Obam administration agreed to a proposal that would help restructure the commonwealth’s $70 billion debt.

* Argentina: The revelations from the Panama Papers leak may have been an embarrassment for Panama and Argentine President Mauricio Macri but it could help alleviate the South American country’s financial woes.

* U.S.: A Government Accountability Office study released last Tuesday found that U.S. public schools have become more racially segregated including an increase in the percentage of Latino children enrolled in “impoverished K-12 public schools.”

* Mexico: Mexican authorities rescued 271 people, including 112 minors, of an overcrowded drug rehab clinic where patients were reportedly tortured and grossly mistreated.

YouTube Source – PBS NewsHour

Online Sources – NBC News, UPI, Reuters, The Latin Americanist, Bloomberg

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Daily Headlines: May 18, 2016

* Dominican Republic: Luis Abinader conceded Sunday’s president election to Danilo Medina but not before blasting the policies of the incumbent and denouncing problems at voting stations.

* South America: The Paraguayan Congress is considering a bill to help combat a recent surge in femicides, while lawyers for the Bogota, Colombia government have come under fire for blaming the female victim of having been raped and killed in a 2012 murder.

* Argentina: Monsanto will reportedly “suspend future soybean technologies” as part of a dispute with the Argentine government and framers of genetically modified soybeans.

* Mexico: President Enrique Peña Nieto proposed expanding the legalization of same-sex marriages from a few locations like Mexico City to the entire Mexican nation.

YouTube Source – euronews

Online Sources – ABC News, teleSUR English, Colombia Reports, Reuters, The Huffington Post

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Daily Headlines: May 17, 2016

* Peru: Presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori has come under fire roughly three weeks prior to a runoff over allegations that a close ally of hers is under investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

* Brazil: Beleaguered Brazilian state-run oil giant Petrobras, which last week reported a first quarter loss of $358 million, has dropped from having been a “major player” in the floating production systems market.

* Haiti: The African Union next month will admit Haiti as the bloc’s first non-African member in a move expected to boost the economy of the Caribbean nation.

* Mexico: A second Mexican judge approved the extradition request from U.S. prosecutors to possibly extradite imprisoned drug cartel chief Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

YouTube Source – CCTV America (Video uploaded last April).

Online Sources – teleSUR English, MercoPress, The Latin Americanist, GlobalPost, The Guardian

Monday, May 16, 2016

Daily Headlines: May 16, 2016

* Venezuela: A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said that his country, which has given Venezuela about $50 billion in financing since 2007, views the South American state’s economic crisis as a domestic matter but did not specifically mention if more aid will be provided.

* Argentina: President Mauricio Macri may be seen as “business-friendly” but that hasn’t stopped him from siding with farmers in a dispute that could lead to Monsanto removing its biotech soybean seeds from Argentina.

* Colombia: The Colombian government and FARC took a big step towards a final, full peace deal after the rebels pledged to free all solders under the age of 15 years.

* Dominican Republic: Danilo Medina is expected to easily win a second straight term as president of the Dominican Republic following an election marred by problems with new technology at voting stations.

YouTube Source – euronews (“Opposition protesters have rallied in Caracas. Their calls to remove the Venezuelan president are taking on a more urgent tone.”)

Online Sources – New York Daily News, euronews, Buenos Aires Herald, ABC Online, Reuters