Friday, March 2, 2007

More tunes for the weekend

Now that the weekend is here why don’t we listen to some really great music?

  • Brooklyn Vegan lists this year’s tour dates for Mexican-American alt-country artist Alejandro Escovedo (image). According to Wikipedia, Escovedo was unhappy to be on President George W Bush’s iPod playlist.(It could’ve been worse, Alejandro; you’re not Vice president Cheney’s playlist!)

Alejandro Escovedo - Five Hearts Breaking

  • La Onda Tropical clues us in to Cuban salsero Alberto Alberto whose album was deemed as “too perfect” by Chapin. (Better too much rather than too little, no?)

Alberto Alberto – Tu Canción

  • When you’re wrong, you’re wrong, and several readers rightly took me to task for not posting this week on the Academy Awards. No excuses folks; I definitely dropped the ball on that one.Hopefully I can make up for that mistake by including a pair of songs from two notable movies from 2006- The Science of Sleep starring Gael Garcia Bernal and Pan’s Labyrinth, which won several Oscars last Sunday.

The Science of Sleep – If You Rescue Me

Javier Navarette – The Labyrinth

  • Let’s revisit a musician we talked about recently- José González. Congratulations to González for recently receiving an award from the EU for his critically acclaimed debut album, and we look forward to his next album scheduled for release later this year.

José González – Love Will Tear Us Apart

  • One of Audioversity’s latest posts discussed recently released music by a few artists including Brazilian legend Caetano Veloso. Veloso’s latest album- Ce- “finds the shape-changing musician in a stripped down setting featuring just guitar, bass, drums and the occasional keyboard”. Veloso’s simplicity works and Ce is worth listening to from start to finish.

Caetano Veloso – Musa Hibrida

  • Lastly, is a group that is a personal favorite mine- the Pixies. They are a very influential, albeit underrated, alternative rock quartet whose heyday in the late 1980s and early 1990s enjoyed more success overseas than in their native U.S.Before forming the band, leafed singer Frank Black spent some time on a student exchange trip in Puerto Rico where he learned some Spanish.Black sang several Pixies songs in Spanish including the song included below which is a cover of The Yardbirds’ Evil Hearted You.

Pixies - Evil Hearted You

Image- PBS

Links- Brooklyn Vegan, La Onda Tropical, Thoughts Etcetera, The Smudge of Ashen Fluff, puddlegum, Audioversity, The Latin Americanist, Wikipedia

Gay marriage bill proposed in Argentina

A bill is currently being considered by Argentina’s legislature that would permit same-sex marriage rights throughout the country. Though two regions in the country allow for civil unions, Argentine homosexual couples do have some important rights including adoption, inheritance, and survivor pensions.

The rights of homosexuals have gained more prominence in Latin America over the past year. Same-sex civil unions have been okayed in several areas in Mexico, while Colombian courts ruled in favor of inheritance rights for some gay couples.

Image- Pagina 12 (2005 gay rights march in Argentina)

Links-,, The Latin Americanist

Mexico court overturns HIV military restrictions

In an 8-3 vote Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled earlier this week that the country’s military cannot exclude HIV-positive members from its ranks. Lawyers representing the military disgracefully argued that HIV-positive soldiers are “useless” but the Court strongly disagreed and ruled that the military could only kick out those medically unfit or with full-blown AIDS. “Everyone who viewed this law as unconstitutional has shown that it violates the rules of equality” mentioned in Mexico’s constitution, said Supreme Court president Guillermo Ortiz Mayagoitia during the proceedings.

Links-, BBC News, Reuters AlertNet

Image- BBC News

Marcela Sanchez: No Child Left Behind & Hispanic community leaves non-English speakers behind

Marcela Sanchez’ latest column looks at the need to improve the educational status of Latino students who are learning English. She cites a pair of studies: one by the Urban Institute that found that “many children are not learning English even after seven or more years” in U.S. schools, and one that will be released by the Pew Hispanic Center showing that students learning English are “trailing way behind” other students. She notes that:

“These latest findings will probably do little to change the minds of those looking for proof that No Child Left Behind is failing and needs reform, or for those supporters of English-only policies or opponents of immigration. They'll see what they want to in the numbers”.

Yet at the same time, Sanchez points out the need for Latino families and the Hispanic community to step up in order to ensure that Latino children do not end up at such an educational disadvantage. While she acknowledges the difficulties of immigrant families she also brings up how Asian children have had more educational success than Latino children. Sanchez concludes her column with this:

“We might learn something about community-based after-school programs in which even working class Asian immigrants enroll their children to improve academic performance. According to Min Zhou, professor of sociology and Asian-American studies at UCLA, it isn't ‘hard to teach a community to do more.’ After all, she added, ‘culture is made by people.’ In other words, cultural differences should not be allowed to become a justification for inaction.”

What do you think? Is Sanchez accurate in her assessment or has she placed blame where it doesn’t belong? Is she treading on thin ice by comparing cultures or is she right?

Image- Washington Post

Links- Washington Post, Wikipedia

Prohibition possible against Guatemala adoptions

The U.S. government is threatening Guatemala with banning all adoptions from there unless major improvements are made to the adoption process. Several countries that permit adoptions are under severe scrutiny from the U.S., yet most of the near 5000 adoptions from Guatemala go to the U.S. and the State Department deemed the Guatemalan adoption environment as “volatile and unpredictable.” According to Casa Alianza- a child advocacy group:

“The ‘jaladoras’ (adoption brokers) start out by offering to pay the expectant mothers’ medical bills and to provide them with economic support, and in some cases they eventually deceive the pregnant women into signing a blank paper, who thus unknowingly authorize the adoption of their child.”

The need for Guatemala to improve its adoption process was emphasized in an editorial in el Periódico de Guatemala, though it also observed that more illegal adoptions may occur if the U.S. ban becomes reality.

Links- Chicago Tribune,,, Alterinfos, el Periódico de Guatemala

Image- BBC News (UNICEF poster warning against illegal adoptions)

India wants Argies to extradite bribery suspect

The Indian government has requested the extradition from Argentina of Otavio Quattrocchi- an Italian businessman who is accused in an arms bribery case that had scandalized India. In 1986, Quattrocchi allegedly handled over $13 million in bribes between a Swedish arms manufacturer and the Indian government; the Bofors scandal (as it was called) eventually toppled the regime of then-Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Quattrocchi’s lawyer claims that his client is a victim of political persecution by politicians opposed to the Gandhi clan and the Indian National Congress party.

Image- Voice of America

Links- Voice of America, Daly News and Analysis, Monsters & Critics, Reuters, Wiipedia

Daily headlines: March 02, 2007

* A car bomb exploded on Thursday in the southern Colombian city of Neiva (image), injuring eight people.

* The world’s biggest copper producer- which is owned by the Chilean government- posted a 14% jump in its fourth quarter profits due to rising demand from China.

* March 1st was the first day of the implementation of CAFTA for the Dominican Republic.

* Norway agreed to receive a Cuban doctor who was expelled from Bolivia after supposedly criticizing president Evo Morales.

* The Venezuelan press reported that state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela will pay off billions of dollars of debt with crude oil rather than raise cash.

* Honduras named its first ambassador to Cuba since 1962.

* Quick follow-up: A Guatemalan policeman voluntarily handed himself in to the authorities after being accused of killing four police officers while they sat in jail.

Links-, Bloomberg, Voice of America, Guardian UK, Prensa Latina, The Latin Americanist

Image- El Tiempo

Thursday, March 1, 2007

RIP: Arthur Schlesinger Jr. and Ronald Hilton

Historian and author Arthur Schlesinger Jr. (image, from April 2006) died after suffering a heart attack last night. He was a close advisor to President John F. Kennedy and would play a key part of the failed Bay of Pigs invasion by suppressing information from the media even though he deemed it a “terrible idea” (more on that below). Schlesinger also helped define liberalism in the U.S.; for instance, he strongly supported the New Deal measures of the 1930s and defended economic intervention by governments.

Nevertheless, Schlesinger was not a fan of multiculturalism and he expressed these views in his 1991 book “The Disuniting of America.” According to Professor Bruce A. Goebel:

“Schlesinger evaluates the growing awareness of ethnic heritages that extend beyond the Euro-American history, literature, and traditions of the United States. For him this represents the evolution of race from a unifying concept to one that is diverse. The advocates of this cult of ethnicity want a ‘nation of groups, differentiated in their ancestries, inviolable in their diverse identities.’ In short, this cult ‘threatens to become a counter-revolution against the original common culture, a single nation.’”

“The Disuniting of America” has been praised by conservatives as “an epitaph to the disastrous policies…that threaten the nation's European character,” while Edward Said deemed Schlesinger’s analysis as “understandably troubled by the fact that emergent and immigrant groups in the US have disputed the official, unitary national fable.”

The information on the Bay of Pigs invasion that Schlesinger helped cover up came from Latin America scholar Ronald Hilton, who passed away last week at the age of 95. In a 1960 editorial, Hilton uncovered covert U.S. intelligence preparations to invade Cuba five months before it occurred. The press downplayed Hilton’s information and the Kennedy administration forced the New York Times to hide an article on the Bay of Pigs invasion days before it happened. Who knows how history would have changed had Hilton been paid more attention to.

Image- Graduate Center - City University of New York

Links- ABC News, MSNBC, TIME, Bloomberg, Wikpedia,,,,, New York Times,

FIFA head emphatically rejects Colombian World Cup bid

The president of the world’s governing authority slammed Colombia’s bid for the 2014 soccer World Cup by calling it a “public relations” campaign designed to divert attention from the country’s problems. Sepp Blatter (image) commented the following on Wednesday:

“For 2014 there are two candidates-one is Brazil and the other is Colombia. Yet Colombia’s bid is merely a public relations presentation that is, in effect, not only due to what’s in the news but also for soccer.”

However, Blatter did not discard the possibility that Brazil may not win their bid for the 2014 World Cup and that the tournament “could be moved north” to the North America.

Links- TSN, El Tiempo, ESPN Soccernet

Image- CBC

Study: Immigrants raise wages of most natives

A study from the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) concluded that immigrants do not compete with a majority of the jobs held by people that already live in the U.S. By looking at census data, PPIC researchers concluded that low-skilled immigrants push better-qualified people into jobs that are more productive and are higher paying. According to the study (PDF document):

"These results should certainly be taken into account by policy-makers as they consider immigration reform. The findings would seem to defuse one of the most inflammatory issues for those who advocate measures aimed at `protecting the livelihood of American citizens.'"

Not all the news in the PPIC’s report is so positive, however; immigrants who came to the U.S. 15 years ago and before suffered wage declines since they were competing with newer generations of immigrants.

Links-, Kansas City Star, Public Policy Institute of California, Contras Costa Times

Image- WCCO

Follow-up: L. American stocks try to overcome Tuesday’s nosedive

Stock indexes from around Latin America posted modest gains yesterday after suffering massive losses on Tuesday. Argentina’s main stock index fluctuated like a roller coaster ride throughout the day trading before rebounding by 0.72%. Meanwhile, Brazil’s Bovespa index went up by 1.73%, and shares of Latin American companies in the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ finished to mixed results.

Update (2:00pm): Uh-oh: Latin American stock indexes have been slumping during Thursday trading.(Link via Reuters).

Update (9:45pm): Brazil's Bovespa index fell during trading on Thursday. (Link via Bloomberg).

Links- The Latin Americanist, Reuters, Forbes

Daily headlines: March 01, 2007

* Ultimatum by the U.S. federal government to schools in Virginia- give students learning English the same proficiency exams as native speakers or you receive no more federal funds.

* This year will be the beginning of “the end of the long domination” of Cuba by Fidel Castro, said U.S. National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell during a Senate committee hearing on Tuesday.

* Bolivian president Evo Morales declared the entire country as a “National Disaster” due to weeks of heavy rains and widespread flooding.

* Haiti’s government will collapse unless it receives cooperation from the international community, according to a senior U.N. official.

* The remains of fourteen Colombians killed by right-wing paramilitaries were unearthed in order to receive proper funerals.

Links- WTOP,, Prensa Latina, The Latin Americanist, International Herald Tribune

Image- WJLA

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Paging Doctor Bachelet – Chilean prez tends to fainting boy

Here’s a solid reason why it’s hard to dislike Chilean president Michelle Bachelet: after a boy fainted and fell 3 feet from a stage, Bachelet stopped in the middle of her speech to attend to the injured child (image). "His head does not hurt, he has a scratch on the elbow because he fell, but he's in good shape," remarked Bachelet who used to be a pediatrician in the 1980s.

Links- Reuters AlertNet, Wikipedia

Image- La Nacion

“Aló Fidel” - Fidel Castro talks to Chavez on the radio

“I feel good and I’m happy,” uttered Fidel Castro when he made a surprise phone call to huge Chavez on his live radio broadcast last night. Fidel- who ceded power to his brother last July- said that his health “gave him time for reading” though the exact state of health remains secret. Fidel even took some shots at the U.S. by noting that “capitalism was in crisis” based on yesterday’s stock market mess.

Speaking of Hugo Chavez, on Monday he ordered by decree a take of over 60% of foreign oil projects in eastern Venezuela. “The privatization of oil is over,” declared Chavez. “Petroleum now belongs to all Venezuelans.” Four foreign oil companies are directly affected by the measure including France’s Total SA whose chairman expressed worry over the “operational constraints” caused by nationalization.

Image- China Daily (Fidel and Chavez appearing together earlier this year)

Links- CNN, The Latin Americanist, BBC News, Monsters & Critics, Playfuls, BusinessWeek

Peru: Cabinet shift attempts to “fight corruption”

Peru’s new Interior Minister vowed that he would weed out the corruption that claimed his predecessor over the weekend. "There is no doubt that I will implacably fight corruption" said Minister Luis Alva who was sworn in yesterday to replace Pilar Mazetti whose office overpaid for the purchase of almost 500 police cars.

Links- People’s Daily Online, International Herald Tribune

Image- Living in Peru (Outgoing and incoming Peruvian Interior Ministers)

Latin America stocks took a pounding in Tuesday trading

Stock markets around the world took a severe plunge on Tuesday and Latin America was no exception. Mexico’s main stock index fell by 3.7% and the peso tumbled to its lowest point since last July. Meanwhile, Argentine stocks decreased by nearly 7.5% and Brazil’s Bovespa Index recorded its largest drop since September 2001.

The trigger of Tuesday’s worldwide slump was China where it’s stock index dropped by nearly 9%. It may be possible that yesterday’s downturn was just an anomaly but China has made some serious economic inroads into Latin America. The region would certainly feel serious repercussions if China’s economy undergoes problems. Perhaps it may be time to change the old saying on the region's economic ties to the U.S. and rephrase it to “when China sneezes, Latin America catches a cold.”

Links- San Jose Mercury News, Reuters, Bloomberg, The Latin Americanist,

Image- The Age (Chinese stock traders at the end of a grueling day on Tuesday)

Thousands of “Ticos” protest against CAFTA ratification

Several thousand Costa Ricans took to the streets on Monday to demonstrate against a free trade deal with the U.S. and several Central American states. The protestors worry that the free trade deal would lead to disadvantages for small businesses as well as rapid privatization of state-run industries. Costa Rica is the only country which has signed but not ratified the Central American Free Trade Agreement though a plurality of Costa Ricans support ratification according to a poll published by local newspaper al Día.

Links- New York Newsday, CNN, al Día

Image- Washington Post

Daily headlines: February 28, 2007

* Guess who’s the new U.S. Deputy Secretary of State? John Negroponte (image, at the swearing-in ceremony) - former intelligence head and ex-Ambassador to Honduras during the early 1980s.

* Democracy is most in danger in Venezuela and Bolivia, said a senior U.S. intelligence official yesterday.

* Shares of a Canadian renewable energy firm dropped by 34% on news that Nicaragua’s government is reexamining a concession made to the firm several years ago.

* U.N. emergency aid will be sent to over 300 displaced Colombians that fled across the border to Ecuador.

* Chile’s biggest wine exporter reported a near 17% decrease of its net profit in 2006.

Links- The National Security Archive, People’s Daily Online, El Universal, Toronto Star, UPI, Reuters

Image- Xinhua

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Prof who spied for Cuba may get 5 years in prison

Last week I talked about the brouhaha surrounding a “game” on illegal immigrants at the school I attend- New York University. Not comes word that this week a verdict is expected at the trial of a former professor from my alma mater- Florida International University- who pled guilty to charges of spying for Cuba. Prosecutors in the case of Carlos Alvarez and his wife Elsa are seeking the maximum penalty- five years in jail- for the couple who supposedly relayed information on Cuban exile groups and prominent members to Cuban intelligence services. Yet Alvarez’ attorney claimed that he was “ensnared” in a web while trying to “open avenues of communication” between the U.S. and Cuba.

Update: The prosecutors got their wish- Carlos and Elsa Alvarez were sentenced on Tuesday to 5 years in prison. (Link via China Daily)

Links- The Latin Americanist,,,


Aristide vows to return to Haiti, but not to politics

Former president of Haiti Jean-Bertrand Aristide said that he would return from exile from South Africa “once the conditions are right.” In an interview published in this month’s London Review of Books, Aristide also mentioned that he would like to return to teaching “from outside the structure of the state” should he go back to Haiti.

Here are several quotes by Aristide on leadership, democracy, and the coups that forced him out of power:

  • Liberation theology can itself only be a phase in a broader process…(which) carries us a long way from paternalism, from any notion of a ‘saviour’ who might come to guide the people and solve their problems.
  • Don’t underestimate the inferiority complex that still so often conditions these relationships. You are black, but sometimes you get to feel whiter than white, if you’re willing to get down on your knees in front of the whites.
  • (The coups on 1991 and 2004) could easily happen again soon, so long as the oligarchy who control the means of repression use them to preserve a hollow version of democracy. This is their obsession: to maintain a situation that might be called ‘democratic’, but which consists in fact of a superficial, imported democracy imposed and controlled from above.
  • The coup of September 1991 was undertaken with the support of the US administration, and in February 2004 it happened again, thanks to many of the same people
  • We never had any illusions that the Americans shared our deeper objectives. But without them we couldn’t have restored democracy.
  • This is what democracy requires. Either you allow for the free expression of diverse opinions or you don’t. If people aren’t free to demonstrate and to give voice to their demands there is no democracy.
  • (The presidential elections in) February 2006 shows…how far down the path of democracy we have come, even after the coup, even after two years of ferocious violence and repression. What remains unclear is how long it will take.

Links- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, London Review of Books

Image- CNN (Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004)

Puerto Rican Senate chief off to DC to lobby for referendum bill

The president of Puerto Rico’s Senate will go to Congress this week and lobby for a bill that would allow for a vote on the future of the island’s political status. According to

"Passage in Congress of the Puerto Rico Democracy Act would lead to the first congressionally authorized referendum on statehood in the territory's history

Democrat Kenneth McClintock, president of Puerto Rico's Senate, said he would push mainly for more Democratic support for the bill in Congress.

Introduced in Congress by Rep. José E. Serrano (D-N.Y.) and Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico Luis Fortuno, a Republican, the bill establishing a referendum in Puerto Rico has strong backing in the House. Its 95 co-sponsors include Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) and Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.)".

Three previous plebiscites on Puerto Rico’s status have all come in favor of remaining as a commonwealth though the most recent vote in 1998 supported commonwealth status by default. A report released last year by the White House controversially said that Congress is the only body that can lay down the rules for any future referendums on the island and not the Puerto Ricans themselves.

Image- CNN

Links-, Wikipedia,, The Latin Americanist,

Daily headlines: February 27, 2007

* Despite protests and divisions amongst Bolivians, President Evo Morales’ approval rating went up over the past month.

* Ecuador wants the World Trade Organization to decide if banana tariffs imposed by the European Union are excessive.

* Several multinational oil companies have begun talks with the Guyanese government in order to drill off that country’s coast.

* Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva tried to strengthen trade relations with Uruguay during his visit to that country on Monday.

* Environmentalists in Panama protested the use of the Panama Canal by a ship carrying radioactive material.

* Lastly, here is some amazing video of a majestic 52-meter goal scored by Boca Juniors’ Martin Palermo over the weekend in Argentina (original link via The Offside):

Links- Angus Reid Global Monitor, The Latin Americanist, BBC News, Houston Chronicle, International Herald Tribune, People’s Daily Online, The Offside, YouTube

Image- BBC News

Monday, February 26, 2007


Hey everybody! Just a quick reminder that we appreciate any feedback you may have about The Latin Americanist as well as any articles, reviews, etc. you would like to submit to the blog. Please contact us by e-mailing us at or by leaving comments to this post or this post we wrote on Friday.

Hasta mañana!

Venezuela becomes L. America’s largest arms purchaser, says NYT journalist

Venezuela has become the largest buyer of weapons in Latin America and has spent on arms more than Pakistan and Iran, according to Simon Romero from the New York Times. In an article published yesterday, Romero wrote that:

“(The) retooling of Venezuela's military strategy, which includes creating a large civilian reserve force and military assistance to regional allies including Bolivia, has been part of a steadily deteriorating political relationship with the United States.

Pro-Chavez analysts also say the president is less adventurous in relation to military policy outside Venezuela than predecessors like Luis Herrera Campíns, who supported Argentina in the Falklands War in 1982 to detract attention from a decline in oil revenues and climbing inflation.

But critics of the arms purchases say they are being made with little participation from or discussion with the National Assembly, which recently allowed him to govern by decree for 18 months”.

One of the main sellers of arms to the Americas is Russia; Romero’s article cites recent Venezuelan acquisitions dozens of fighter jets and approximately 100,000 Kalashnikov rifles. Increasing Russian influence in Latin America has largely flown under the media’s radar, though one analyst noted that “Russia is certainly making a strong comeback in Latin America, with Venezuela as one of it’s lynch pins”.

Links- Barre Montpelier Times Argus, The Latin Americanist, Council on Hemispheric Affairs

Image- (Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez during a military event)

Guatemalan murder suspects slain in jail

A shocking new twist has developed in the murders of three Salvadoran members of the Central American Parliament. Four Guatemala policemen who were arrested last Thursday for their possible involvement in the assassinations were killed over the weekend while they sat in jail. There has yet to be an official reason for the deaths of the four policemen, though different versions of events have circulated such as prison guards purposefully letting in hitmen to kill the jailed policemen or that the officers were killed “by a commando unit” during a riot at the prison.

Update: Guatemala's president told local media that he suspects gangs were behind the murders of the four jailed policemen. (Link via BBC News).

Links- CNN, The Latin Americanist, BBC News, Melbourne Herald Sun, Agencia EFE

Image- Siglo XXI (Officers controlling El Boquerón prison in Guatemala Sunday night)

FCC slaps Univision with massive fine

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) levied a record $24 million fine against Spanish-language network Univision for trying to pass off “telenovelas” as educational children’s programming. Though the penalty imposed by the FCC is almost triple the previous record, the fine against Univision allows it to continue its $12 billion sale to a group of private investors including ex-FCC chairman Michael Powell.

One of the programs Univision deemed as “educational” for children was from Mexican television giant Televisa called “Complices al Rescate” (“Friends to the Rescue”). Televisa’s website on Complices…” called it a “great telenovela for kids with music…adventures, and a positive message of friendship and family unity.” (Perhaps Univision’s programmers should have read that first).

Was it right for “Complices…” to pass itself off as educational children’s programming? Does the FCC fine make sense? Judge for yourself via the following YouTube clip of “Complices…”:

Links- USA TODAY, CBS News,,, Wikipedia, YouTube

Image- CBS News

Follow-up: Mexican cardinal should be on trial in Mexico, says attorney

The lawyer of a Mexican cardinal accused of covering up child abuse in insisted that his client should not be tried in the U.S. “The plaintiff is Mexican, complaining about alleged acts that happened in Mexico City in 1994, and the suit is against Mexicans. Mexican tribunals should oversee this case,” said the attorney for Cardinal Norberto Rivera yesterday. However the lawsuit filed in a Los Angeles court last year alleged that Father Nicolas Aguilar sexually abused approximately a dozen alter boys in California as well as sixty more in Mexico.

Links- Guardian UK, The Latin Americanist, Los Angeles Times


Daily headlines: February 26, 2007

* “Sorry” said the members of Coldplay (image) to Chileans who paid as much as $160 for concert tickets earlier this month.

* This is nationalization? Bolivia’s president said that he would not pay a Swiss mining company for nationalizing its tin smelter.

* Former Puerto Rico governor Pedro Rosello was cleared of charges relating to the falsification of documents and the illegal appropriation of funds.

* Argentine president Nestor Kirchner is enjoying more popularity from his countrymen according to the latest poll numbers.

* Bahamians are getting sick and tired of the foreign media brouhaha surrounding Anna Nicole Smith’s death.

Links- Ireland On-line, Miami Herald, Caribbean Net News, Angus Reid Consultants, Popmatters