Saturday, August 28, 2010

Weekend Headlines: August 28-29, 2010

* Brazil: President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva gave the green light for the construction of a massive hydroelectric dam in the Amazon region despite protests from some indigenous groups and environmentalists.

* Haiti: Wyclef Jean may’ve been barred from running for the Haitian presidency yet that hasn’t stopped the singer from blasting the government including current leader Rene Preval.

* Puerto Rico: Could the coastal city of Fajardo become “the Hollywood of the Caribbean?”

* Argentina: Soccer midfielder Javier Mascherano will reportedly sign a four-year deal to leave Liverpool and play for Barcelona.

Image – BBC News (“The proposal to build a dam on the Xingu river has long been a source of controversy.”)
Online Sources- Vancouver Sun, AP, AFP, The Latin Americanist, LAHT

Friday, August 27, 2010

Today’s Video: Alive!

It is very difficult to fully understand the situation faced by 33 Chilean miners trapped 2300 feet below ground for over three weeks. On Thursday, however, they were able to provide a glimpse of their experiences through a 45-minute video where they described how they pass the time and even sang in unison the Chilean national anthem. The following is an excerpt of that video via

Families of all but five of the miners filed lawsuits against the government agency that permitted that San Jose mine to reopen in 2008 as well as the San Esteban mining firm. One of San Esteban’s owners, Alejandro Bohn, denied any negligence and told the local press that “now is not the time to take the blame nor to ask for pardon.” Nevertheless a judge has already ordered that $1.8 million of San Esteban’s funds be withheld in anticipation of the lawsuits.

In addition, the miners have already been told that they may not be freed from the emergency shelter at least until December. But as reported by The Telegraph the miners in the above video appear “motivated and optimistic – a sense that they have a role in their own destinies.”

The trapped workers have also been advised to slim down in order to fit the escape tunnel that is expected to be a mere 26 inches wide. (In order to understand how narrow the passageway will be, the AP cited Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data showing that the average U.S. waistline is 39.7 inches for men).

Online Sources- ABC News, The Telegraph, The Guardian, BBC News, The Latin Americanist, El Espectador, YouTube

Daily Headlines: August 27, 2010

* Puerto Rico: Approximately 30,000 teachers went on a one-day strike on Thursday to protest against problem's with the island's education system and government-backed reforms.

* U.S.: There may be a record this year in the number of deaths of migrants crossing into Arizona’s Pima County despite a local push for tougher immigration policies.

* Latin America: Is there an arms race in Latin America? Not in the opinion of one senior U.S. diplomat.

* Colombia: Most residents living near the Galeras Volcano have opted not to evacuate despite an increased risk of eruption.

Image – Kansas City Star
Online Sources- LAHT, UPI, CNN, The Latin Americanist

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Honduras: Ninth reporter killed since March

Yesterday we examined the risks of reporting in Mexico yet an even worse crisis has developed for members of the media in Honduras.

Radio International broadcaster Israel Zelaya Diaz was found shot to death in San Pedro Sula on Tuesday. Police have yet to report a motive in the death of the veteran journalist who worked in the press for more than 20 years. But a pair of his former colleagues told the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) that Zelaya’s “home was damaged in a fire of undetermined origin three months ago.”

International media groups like the CPJ have strongly condemned Zelaya’s death as well as those of other Honduran journalists. A communiqué from Reporters Without Borders called for authorities to “give priority” to the possibility that Zelaya’s death was related to his work. In addition:
“While the motive behind the attack on Mr. Zelaya is not yet known, we would like to again underscore the fact that Honduras has become one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists," said Anthony Mills, press freedom manager at the International Press Institute.
In May, a group of U.N. human rights experts urged officials to create an “independent inquiry” into the violence and harassment against the Honduran press. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights noted in April that the government led by President Porfirio Sosa “bears responsibility for safeguarding civil liberties and human rights.”

Image- CNN (“Family and friends of murdered journalist Joseph Hernandez Ochoa protest in front of the U.S. embassy” in April).
Online Sources- CNN, The Latin Americanist, Canadian Press, Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders

Mexico: Migrant corpses dumped in ranch

72 dead bodies found in a mass grave in northern Mexico belonged to migrants from Central and South America according to numerous reports.

Police in Tamaulipas state found the six-dozen corpses after they were tipped off by an Ecuadorian man claiming to have survived the executions at a ranch. As was mentioned in Mexico’s Reforma, the person told police on Tuesday that he was kidnapped with other migrants by the Zetas drug gang and ordered to pay a ransom or be killed. (Another Mexican daily reported that the migrants were slain after supposedly refusing to be hired as hitmen). The eyewitness was shot and survived but 72 others, including 14 women, met a much crueler fate.

Preliminary information indicated that at least four of the dead were from Brazil though it’s also suspected that the dead also came from El Salvador, Honduras, and Ecuador. The incident in Tamaulipas has been the largest dumping ground found so far this year; in July 51 bodies were uncovered near Monterrey while 55 corpses were found near Mexico City in May.

Mexican president Felipe Calderon lamented the barbarity of the discovered corpses and said yesterday that “we’re in the middle of a criminal spiral that we have to cut.” He also emphasized the need to continue his government's offensive against the drug gangs despite an increase in deaths due to organized crime since he took office in 2006.

The incident shows the many risks that migrants from countries south of Mexico face in their journey for a better life. A 2009 study by Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission concluded that drug gangs between September 2008 and February 2009 kidnapped nearly 9800 Central American migrants. An April report by Amnesty International said that violence against migrants in Mexico represented a “major human rights crisis” that has been largely ignored by authorities.

For one analyst the dumping ground in Tamaulipas is reminiscent of a more infamous killing:
”This may be the biggest attack against civilians in Mexico since at least the 1968 massacre,´´ said Jaime Lopez- Aranda, a researcher at Mexico City’s Center for Research for Development, or CIDAC. ”The government will have to react strongly, arresting some local Zetas drug gang heads and establishing more protection for migrants.”

Government and military officials were charged in the deaths of protesters days before Olympic Games opened in Mexico City in 1968. The government reported about 30 people died at the Tlatelolco Square massacre, while unofficial estimates were many times that figure.
Image- Sky News (“A mass grave was found near the city of Monterrey in July.”)
Online Sources- The Guardian, BBC News, The Telegraph, Bloomberg, The Latin Americanist, New York Times, Amnesty International

Daily Headlines: August 26, 2010

* U.S.: Members of Baltimore’s Latino community are worried and concerned after a rash of attacks against residents of Honduran background.

* Argentina: President Cristina Fernandez has clashed with the press after accusing two major newspapers with collusion and illegally driving out competition for over three decades.

* Bolivia: Authorities have declared a health alert for areas of northern Bolivia after a teen died from bubonic plague.

* Cuba: According to Cuban stat television Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez met for five hours in Havana with Fidel Castro.

Image – Baltimore Sun (51-year-old Martin Reyes was killed on Saturday allegedly by mentally disabled man who said he hated "Mexicans").
Online Sources- Sky News, MSNBC, The Guardian, Baltimore Sun

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Today's Video: Hot hot heat

Strong winds and very dry land have led to forest fires in parts of Sao Paulo state. As you can see in the video below, a so-called "fire tornado" developed from the flames that troops are trying to wipe out:

Online Sources - Huffington Post, YouTube

World Watch: Gridlock

* China: A “mini-economy” of food vendors and “opportunists” has grown amidst a 60-mile traffic jam that has lasted almost two straight weeks.

* Pakistan: Hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis continue to be stranded and in dire need of help as floodwaters continue to rise.

* U.S.: The Wikileaks website published a February 2010 C.I.A. report that examined how nations could view the U.S. as an "exporter of terrorism".

* Afghanistan: 55 people including 49 schoolgirls were treated in a Kabul hospital after supposedly being poisoned.

Image – The Guardian (“A cleaner picks up waste beside the Beijing-Zhangjiakou highway in north China's Hebei province. Roadworks are blamed for causing the 60-mile jam that has lasted 10 days. Photograph: Alexander F. Yuan/AP”)
Online Sources- Vancouver Sun, The Guardian, BBC News, CBC

Mexican press under fire says U.N., OAS

Representatives from the U.N. and Organization of American States have warned against the dangers the Mexican press faces on a daily basis.

Representatives from both organizations concluded a two-week tour of Mexico including Ciudad Juarez in order to investigate violence against journalists. Frank La Rue of the U.N. and Catalina Botero of the OAS met with government officials, NGO representatives, and members of the media during their investigation. The pair concluded that organized crime is the primary threat against the media and even claimed that Mexico is the riskiest country for journalists.

La Rue and Botero also urged the government to take a more active role in helping the press such as creating a “high-level body” to investigate threats and harassment. "Due to the serious situation facing freedom of expression and journalists in the country, it is urgent that the Mexican government adopt a comprehensive policy of prevention, protection and law enforcement," according to a preliminary report.

According to a the Center for Journalism and Public Ethics study there were “documented aggressions against 183 journalists and 19 media organizations for reasons connected to their work” in 2009. In July police freed two cameramen who were kidnapped while investigating possible corruption while an explosive was detonated weeks ago outside the Monterrey headquarters of media giant Televisa. It should come as no surprise then that a coalition of media groups and labor unions united this month to call for an end to the “atmosphere of affronts and violence” against the Mexican press.

Image- AFP (“A Mexican Federal police officer takes care of Televisa cameraman Alejandro Hernandez Pacheco after his rescue” in July).
Online Sources- The Latin Americanist, BBC News, AP, LAHT, Laredo Sun

Chile cave-in highlights LatAm mining accidents

The survival of 33 Chilean trapped several hundred yards below ground in the San Jose mine has been described as “miraculous”. Yet that incident in Copiapo brought increased attention to the issue of mining safety in Latin America.

As we mentioned on Monday, the Chilean government has accused the company that owns the San Jose mine of having a shoddy safety record. Relatives of three miners who died in a 2007 accident have sued the Esteban Primera firm and accused them of ignoring demands to improve work safety conditions. Furthermore, local officials alleged that the company “didn't take measures for the precaution of emergencies” at the San Jose mine.

Chilean President Sebastian Piñera recently vowed that he will implement widespread mine safety reform and that those responsible for the August 5th cave-in will not be in impunity. Yet one union spokesman told the Christian Science Monitor that the state needs to do more instead of allowing a “a free-market economy where the first principle is to maximize profit without any other consideration.”

The incident in Copiapo has not been the most recent mining accident in Latin America; six workers were killed on Monday after laboring in an illegal mine in El Callo, Venezuela. Local authorities have tried to crackdown on these “wildcat” mines, yet they are still common in other parts of the region such as Peru where eight workers died in an “informal” coal mine six months ago. Large mine-owning companies have not been exempt from accidents such as the Grupo Mexico-owned Pasta de Conchos coalmine where 66 workers died in a 2006 explosion.

Aside from the Pasta de Conchos explosion one analyst told Reuters that there are big differences in safety between large mines and smaller operations:
"In general, the big companies meet international standards, with skilled labor, modern machines and relatively good safety records," (Chilean professor Jorge) Pontt said.

"But with the small mines there is a huge gap, so it's with the small ones where safety standards are very low," said Pontt, who is an expert on mine safety issues for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers…

Pontt says the only way to improve safety at small mines -- many of which are marginal producers that can only turn a profit when prices are high -- is to introduce more automation, mechanization and remote-control machines.
Image- CBC (“Carlos Araya stands next to Chilean flags representing the 33 miners trapped at the San Jose collapsed mine in Copiapo, Chile, Monday.”)
Online Sources- Reuters, The Latin Americanist, Christian Science Monitor, Xinhua

Daily Headlines: August 25, 2010

* Brazil: With five weeks to go in the race for Brazil’s presidency, ruling party candidate Dilma Rousseff widened her lead in the polls over Jose Serra.

* Cuba: Local Catholic Church officials said that the government would release six more jailed dissidents on top of the 26 already freed in recent weeks.

* Mexico: Troops found 72 bodies in a northern Mexico ranch suspected of being a dumping ground for drug gangs.

* Latin America: The price of coffee futures has plummeted partly due to investor anxiety over upcoming exports from Brazil and Colombia.

Image – LAHT
Online Sources- MarketWatch, LAHT, CNN, Reuters

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Iran, Peru Compare Interests

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad continues his quest to befriend all Latin American nations.

Meeting with the new Peruvian ambassador, the leader confirmed that Iran has a special interest in the region.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran attaches special importance to the expansion of ties with all countries of Latin America, including Peru," Ahmadinejad told ambassador Javier Paolini Velarde.

Paolini Velarde reciprocated, saying Peru is interested in the "reinvigoration" of relations, according to Iran's Fars News Agency.

Meanwhile, the AP reports that Iran started production on two new assault boats, a missile-armed Zolfaghar and high-speed patrol boat, the Seraj. This was shortly after unveiling an unmanned bomber.

Ahmadinejad has previously visited Latin America to meet leaders and boast of their common interests and distaste for the United States.
Sources: Fars, AP

Photo: Fars

U.S. Official Embarks on LatAm Tour

An American official will begin a 10-day tour of Latin America today.

Judith McHale, the under-secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, will visit Argentina, Uruguay and Chile.

She has a busy few days scheduled: visits lined up are with Argentine social media entrepreneurs and Uruguayan science students.

She's also scheduled to meet with Chilean academics to discuss expanding English language instruction, RTT reported.

She's going to speak Thursday at the Americas Society/Council of the Americas and Argentine Chamber of Commerce conference focused on Argentina's economic and political perspective.

Uruguayan news reports say she'll scheduled to speak with government representatives and visit Alianza Cultural Uruguay.

Sources: Al Dia, RTT


Today's Video: Five years later

This month marks the five-year anniversary since Hurricane Katrina swept through the Gulf Coast of the U.S. leaving at least 1400 dead and devastation in its wake. Since then, the region including the city of New Orleans has undergone a major reconstruction effort that has included a major influx of Latinos and immigrants.

We will have more to say on the matter later this week. For the time being please check out the following video focusing on New Orleans' growing Latino population:

Online Sources - YouTube, ABC News

Mexico captures Miss Universe crown

The Miss Universe title continues in Latin America after Mexico’s Jimena Navarrete won the crown last night.

AFP described Navarrete’s victory as “an upset” yet she was one of several favorites who made it to the final five along with the representatives from Jamaica and Australia. The 22-year-old received high scores from the judges during the swimwear and evening gown sections of the program. Yet she appeared to clinch the competition after skillfully answering her final round question on unsupervised Internet use while others faced tougher queries on topics such as capital punishment.

Prior to the contest betting agency Paddy Power gave 14-1 odds for Marelisa Gibson to win three consecutive Miss Universe crowns for her native Venezuela. Gibson was cut early in the competition, however, and Navarrete would win the title with Miss Jamaica Yendi Phillipps as the first runner-up.

Before being crowned Navarrete, who becomes Mexico’s second-ever Miss Universe, mentioned one of her aims as the winner:
Navarrete, a nature enthusiast from Guadalajara, revealed earlier in the competition that she wanted to work with women who suffer from eating disorders.

“I studied nutrition and I would like everyone to understand that it is not about your looks it is how you feel inside,” the 5-foot-nine brunette said through an interpreter. “And when you feel good inside you look good.”
Navarrete’s victory came at the end of a gaudy ceremony from Las Vegas that included a dancing troupe of Elvis impersonators.

Image- El Universal
Online Sources- AFP, CBC, CBS News, Time, Toronto Sun

Daily Headlines: August 24, 2010

* Latin America: A tropical storm warning was put into effect for areas of Mexico’s pacific coast while roughly 600 Guatemalans were homeless due to a tropical wave (image).

* U.S.: Rest in peace Mario Obledo; the Latino civil rights leader and co-founder of MALDEF died last week at the age of 78 years.

* Brazil: Security for the upcoming World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics have come under renewed scrutiny after gunmen briefly invaded a luxury Rio de Janeiro hotel on Saturday.

* Central America: Would Central America benefit from a massive anti-drugs package similar to the Merida Initiative?

Image – EFE
Online Sources- Miami Herald, The Latin Americanist, MSNBC, Fresno Bee, LAHT, CNN, Reuters

Monday, August 23, 2010

World Watch: Wipeout

* World: At least 300,000 people were evacuated due to a series of floods in parts of China while recovery efforts have just begun in flood-ravaged Pakistan.

* Middle East: With key peace talks coming up next week Israeli and Palestinian representatives have been quarreling over issues such as security concerns and settlements.

* Australia: Leaders of the country’s two main political coalitions are forced to seek political alliances after neither group won a majority of parliamentary seats in Saturday’s elections.

* Philippines: Eight people including seven hostages died after a former police officer briefly took control of bus filled with Chinese tourists in Manila.

Image – The Guardian (“A road along the Yalu river which was destroyed by a flash flood. Four people have been killed and more than 100,000 evacuated in the border region between China and North Korea. Photograph: Jacky Chen/ Reuters Photograph: Jacky Chen/Reuters.”)
Online Sources- Reuters, CNN, The Age, BBC News, CBC

The Latin American Tech Bust

For all of the hubbub about exploding growth in Latin America this year, the region remains a challenging place for knowledge companies to do business.

The uncertain legal climate faced by internet companies is highlighted in cases that Yahoo! and Google are battling in Argentina. An Argentina entertainer, Virginia Da Cunha, sued Google because searches of her name turned up links to third-party pornography sites. Da Cunha had sued Google claiming that they were responsible for the third-party content that came up in Google's search results.

Naturally, Google feels they aren't - after all, Google simply indexes information on the web and displays it based on their search algorithms without any claim to police or monitor it preemptively. To do so would be a form of censorship. And because the internet is, well, the internet, it's also pretty impossible. Google and Yahoo! recently won an appeal overturning an original ruling that held them liable for controlling such content.

Yahoo!, also sued in the case, had a novel solution when faced with a similar lawsuit from Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Yesica Toscanini: since they say it's impossible to filter out what Toscanini doesn't want her name associated with, they simply blocked virtually all results to searches and deliver a link to the judicial order.

In a sign of the challenges facing tech firms in the region, the NY Times reports that "Google currently faces at least 600 lawsuits in Brazil."

As the Times rightly points out, this type of legal environment makes it very difficult for firms to innovate. The big guys have the cash to fight off every legal challenge - petty and legit - but small start-up firms (like Google, Yahoo! and Twitter were once) struggle to take risks and innovate in such an environment.

New firms are still sprouting up in the region, but as Sarah Lacey at TechCrunch chronicled here and here, the success stories tend to come from a very creative adaptation to the environment rather as a result of it (this despite the fact that in the 1990s Argentina ranked fifth in the world in registered web domains).

Another TechCrunch contributor, business professor Vivek Wadwa, recently pointed out that emerging markets can take advantage of a legal loophole to re-purpose technology that's patented in the US and other Western countries but not emerging ones. That and moving towards "fair use" laws that make every news aggregator (from Huffington Post to Drudge to THIS SITE) possible could do wonders to making Latin America as open as it should be to fostering web-based businesses.

Online Sources: New York Times, Sports Illustrated, TechCrunch

U.S. to take in freed Cuban prisoners says Spain

Will the U.S. accept recently freed Cuban dissidents? This is a possibility mentioned by some officials in Spain, a country that has already allowed the migration of twenty-five liberated prisoners over the past few weeks.

According to the one source, Spain's Foreign Ministry Miguel Angel Moratinos was told by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that her country “would be prepared to accept dissidents so long as the transfer did not break any laws.” If these allegations are true then it could help ease the freeing of several jailed dissidents who have expressed their desire to go to the U.S. rather than countries that have already accepted prisoners such as Chile.

In the meantime, political activists in Cuba continued putting their pressure on the ruling Castro government. Reina Luisa Tamayo, the mother of an activist who died in February after a lengthy hunger strike, showed her solidarity with the Ladies in White dissidents. She marched with them in Havana on Sunday, one week after “government supporters” allegedly interfered with a Ladies in White rally:
The Catholic Church helped ease tensions. After last Sunday's march was broken up, the Rev. Eugenio Aranguren, the top Catholic authority in Holguin province, which includes Banes, met with Tamayo and said the Church would take humanitarian, not political steps, in the matter.

Cardinal Jaime Ortega then met Friday in Havana with members of the Damas de Blanco, or "Ladies In White," a support group for wives and mothers of political prisoners, and discussed Tamayo's march. Less than 48 hours later, it went off without a hitch.
Image- AP (“Members of Cuba's dissident group Ladies in White hold photographs of the late political prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo during their weekly demonstration in Havana, Cuba, Sunday Aug. 22, 2010.”)
Online Sources- AP, Reuters, MSNBC

Mexico: Headless corpses hung off a bridge

In a particularly gruesome crime over the weekend four decapitated bodies were hung off a bridge in the central Mexican city of Cuernavaca.

The horrible incident has been attributed by police to fighting between drug gangs; indeed, a message was left on one of the corpses “warning supporters of a rival gang leader of a similar fate.” Other sources claimed, however, that the terrible murders occurred as a result of infighting within the Beltran Leyva gang that has intensified since its former leader was killed last December. Ultimately, police were shocked that four dead young men were hung off the bridge and their severed heads were found on a nearby roadway.

The incident in Morelos occurred hours before a shootout between Mexican police and drug gangs left one dead in Ciudad Juarez. The gunfight reportedly occurred a mere thirty yards south of the U.S.-Mexico border, thus leading to a shutdown of portions of El Paso, Texas. Though the only damage from the shooting may’ve been a bullet hole in a university building, some El Paso residents were rattled:
"I've never experienced anything like this. It's kind of shocking, but its reality and it's a sad thing going on over there,” said Ray Campos, a West El Paso resident…

UTEP political science professor and border expert Tony Payan said the incident likely will not be the last.

"West of Ciudad Juarez overlooking downtown and UTEP are some of the most dangerous areas in Ciudad Juarez," Payan said.
Image- BBC News
Online Sources- Al Jazeera English, AP, UPI, KFOX

Wyclef to appeal Haiti presidential ruling

On Friday Haiti’s provisional electoral council ruled that musician Wyclef Jean was ineligible to run for the Caribbean country’s presidency. Though the council did not specify why Jean was disqualified from running it had been rumored that he never fulfilled the residency requirement of living five straight years in Haiti.

After initially saying that he would abide by the council’s decision Jean went on the offensive yesterday vowing that he would appeal. “We have met all the requirements set by the laws. And the law must be Respected” said Jean on his Twitter page and he claimed that his attorneys would seek an appeal sometime today. He further alleged that politics, not the law, was behind the decision that halted his run for Haiti’s highest office.

A spokesman for the election board told the AP that Jean has yet to file paperwork seeking to overturn the tribunal’s decision. That could be a moot point according to one analyst who told the Christian Science Monitor that the “decision is final and there can be no appeal.” Yet Jean’s supporters strongly back him:
Many people in Jean's hometown have voiced their support for him. "I love what Wyclef is doing," said Paul Jean Augustine, a 27-year-old mechanic. "We're ready to die for Clef, and without him there's no election. We are with him 100%."
Image- The Guardian
Online Sources- The Latin Americanist, The Age, Christian Science Monitor, New York Times, The Guardian

Chile: Trapped miners found alive

In what has been described as a miracle thirty-three miners trapped for over two weeks in a Chilean mine have been found alive. As you can see in the video below from MSNBC, the workers stuck 700 meters below ground made contact with rescuers by attaching notes to a drill and subsequently by camera:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The workers are stuck in a protective shelter in the San Jose mine and it’s possible for them to receive food and other supplies for survival. This will be vital since experts believe that they will not be freed until December at the earliest.

The accident that has left the miners trapped since August 5th has led to increased scrutiny of mining safety in Chile. "This company has got to modernize," wrote one of the stuck workers in a note to his family regarding the mine owned by a small local private company. The San Jose mine has had a spotty safety record including the deaths of sixteen workers in recent years according to the government. The incident has led President Sebastian Pinera to call for a major overhaul of mining oversight in a country that is the world’s largest copper producer.

Online Sources- NPR, MSNBC, BBC News, Al Jazeera English, Reuters, Bloomberg, The Telegraph

Daily Headlines: August 23, 2010

* U.S.: According to a study from the Center For Responsible Lending the foreclosure rate for Latinos in California is higher than most other groups.

* Mexico: Six police officers were arrested and charged with the kidnapping and murder of mayor Edelmiro Cavazos.

* Venezuela: A judge overturned an order barring “violent, bloody or grotesque" photos from appearing in newspapers.

* El Salvador: The White House made four recess appointments including selecting Maria del Carmen Aponte as ambassador to El Salvador.

Image – ABC News (“In this (AP) file photo taken July 21, 2010, a "bank owned" sign is seen on a home that is listed as a foreclosure on a HUD website, in Hawthorne, Calif.”)
Online Sources- Reuters, BusinessWeek, BBC News, CNN