In Argentina, Orangutans Now Have Some Human Basic Rights

Sandra, the Orangutan at the Buenos Aires zoo, was granted some basic human rights by an Argentinian court. Lawyers have fought to free Sandra from the Buenos Aires zoo by arguing that she should be given legal rights and that she was illegally detained.

Sandra is clearly not a human, but the court case clarified whether orang-utans, or primates for that matter, was a “thing” or a “person.”

Lawyers for Argentina’s Association of Professional Lawyers for Animal Rights considered Sandra as “a person.” However, they made it clear that she was a person in the “philosophical sense.” She was detained in a situation of illegal deprivation of freedom as a “non-human person.”

They filed that she was unjustifiably detained while she has probable cognitive capability.

Sandra was born in 1986 in a German zoo and arrived in Buenos Aires in September 1994.

She regularly tried to avoid the public in her enclosure.

If there is no appeal against the court’s decision from the Buenos Aires zoo, she will be transferred to a primate sanctuary in Brazil where she can live in partial liberty.


Dilma Rousseff Promises to Introduce Reforms After Winning Elections

Re-elected Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said that dialogue will be her top priority. She has also promised to re-unite Brazil and become a “much better president than I have been until now.”

The fight for Brazilian presidency had been a closely fought battle. Both Rousseff and Centre-Right candidate Aecio Neves fought bravely against each other with a respective score of 51.6% and 48.4% respectively.

Rouseff had remained in power since 2010 as she remains highly popular with poor Brazilians, which her administration had helped thanks to her welfare programs.

However, it was clear that Brazilians were trying to look at the other way. The Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB) attracted many of the wealthy and developed southern parts of Brazil.

Despite Rousseff’s call for unity and dialogue, millions of Brazilians are left unsatisfied with her work. The standards of public services in the country for health, education and basic sanitation are still too low despite Brazil having the seventh largest economy in the world.

She said that “sometimes in history, closer outcomes trigger results more quickly than ample victories. It is my hope, or even better, my certainty that the clash of ideas can create room for consensus, and my first words are going to be a call for peace and unity” during a speech in the country’s capital, Brasilia.


AT&T Interested In Mexico Despite Its $48.5 Billion Deal

AT&T is highly interested in buying some of the assets of Carlos Slim’s America Movil. The latter company is selling some of its assets, including some offered to AT&T.

John Stankey, AT&T President and Chief Strategy Officer, said that AT&T is only “interested” but did not comment further regarding the extent of its interests. He said “I think we would be asleep at the wheel and we are not historically known to do that,” expressing AT&T’s high intrigue regarding the assets.

Stankey added that he “wouldn’t rule anything out. And I think when you are in the M&A game, you learn that you can’t always force your timing. Sometimestiming has to come to you. And exactly how that is going to work out, who knows.”

America Movil intends to sell its Mexican operations to cut its market share below 50% in anticipation for new Mexican regulations that would reduce its large market in Mexico.

After the announcement of their intrigue, AT&T shares went up to 0.71% with $34.94. Wall street periodicals are indicating AT&T stocks as a “Buy” because of its continuous growth and stability based on increases in return on equity, low debt-to-equty ratio and large profit margin at 56.37%


Chinese Visits See Kindred Souls in Latin American Politics

According to political analysts, the Latin American Tour of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba in July reflects the interests of China to create a flourishing business in Latin America. He has also participated in the BRICS and strongly hinted that China is willing to create long-term businesses with Latin America as a diplomatic ally.

They added that Xi’s tightening of Latin American interests will help it gain influence in the region as it loses ground in the Southeast Asian territories, where China has territorial disputes with other countries to whom the United States had pledged military and tactical assistance.

Xi had signed bilateral investment deals worth $10 million in one credit line to the members of CELAC and $5 billion for the Chinese-Latin American cooperation fund.

According to studies by the Blouin News, Chinese lending had reached its peak by 2010, lending $35 billion to almost the entire bloc of Latin America with Venezuela borrowing $20 billion.

In 2013, Venezuela gains 50% of the total lending from China. Meanwhile, Brazil’s exports are leading in 2012 in terms of GDP, with Venezuela coming in second for that year while Argentina remains third.

Latin America also shares the political disapproval of China against the United States’ recent actions, which had them find kindred political souls in each other.


China-Latin America Economic Partnership: ‘Give and Take’

After Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit in Brazil for the BRICS Summit, which highlights the partnership between Latin America and China in developing each other’s economy, he is touring Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba. Political analysts say it is an attempt of China to gain support over the region. Latin America must pay for diplomacy to gain Chinese support.

According to Professor of International Relations at Simon Bolivar University in Caracas Victor Mijares, Beijing’s support for the Latin Americans  will come at a heavy price, especially now that China is in adversary with the United States, who had gained a large following in Asia as China’s territorial waters conflict between nations continues.

The political analyst said that China, despite its massive but slowing economy, is looking for new sources of support, both in military, diplomatic and economic ties, and Latin America is ripe ground for China, as majority in the area harbour anti-US sentiments.

Large imports of oil for China come from Venezuela, but it is also China’s top debtor. The political analyst said that Xi Jinping is looking to deepen ties with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to improve their energy, public finances, military and aerospace technology. Venezuela proves to be an effective Chinese ally because it wishes to do away with all US influence in Latin America.


Biden Urges Latin America, Other Countries to Take In Guantanamo Prisoners

US Vice President Joe Biden called upon Latin America to take in more Guantanamo prisoners. He had also asked other countries to aid in the effort as it is the only solution to accelerate the closure of the Guantanamo case. Biden said it was the only way to close the prison, which remains a high priority for the United States.

Uruguay had agreed to take in five of the Guantanamo prisoners, and local Latin American media had also said Brazil had also agreed to help. Bogota and several others have also agreed to take in some of the 149 detainees.

The US is still pushing for other countries that will take the prisoners.

The United States is wary that the prisoners may cause trouble for the US security or may be persecuted once they reach the country.

The Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp is where Former US President George Bush ordered the detainment of highly dangerous prisoners, who may have committed war crimes and other atrocious acts against humanity, for interrogation and prosecution. The Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp is outside the US jurisdiction.

Since 2009, US President Barack Obama had been pushing for the closure of the detention camp. Some of the prisoners have been transferred to the Thomson Correctional Centre, while they are still finding other countries willing to accept some of the camp’s remaining detainees.


UN Report Says Latin America is the World’s Most Violent Region

According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime or UNODC, Latin America ranks highest in the level of violence in the world. On average, there are 25 murders per 100,000 people in the country compared to the global average of 6.2 per population based on 2012 statistics.

The UNODC pointed out that youth gangs in different areas of the country, drug-trafficking and the availability of weapons make it easier for people to commit atrocities. High levels of impunity are also the main causes of violence.

Latin America’s government has no definite strategies to combat the high level of violence in the country. The UN reforms to the local police and judicial systems were found to be ineffective. The high level of violence may also hinder business and economic growth in the country.

Latin American police also have very low numbers of clearances, or identifying suspects for prosecution. According to experts, it is possible that the police themselves are affiliated with some of the bigger gangs and drug-trafficking organisations in the area.

Aside from Latin America, Southern Africa also has a level of violence on par with Latin America. Colombia had reduced, but still high, crime rates and Venezuela and the Carribean are now having a higher rate of violence because of the new drug routes bound for the United States.


Maduro Blames Anti-Government Protests on United States

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said that the United States is responsible for the violent protests in Venezuela and it is using the country as its scapegoat for its internal problems. According to Maduro, US President Barack Obama should not heed US factions and should join a high level commission, the UNASUR in discussing about Venezuela’s peace and sovereignty.

In a speech, President Maduro addressed the public and called on President Obama to “giv peace and respect a chance, and let’s set the foundation for a new type of relations between the US, Venezuela, and if possible, Latin America and the Carribean.

Maduro said the US factions were “extremists” who had plans of having Obama assassinate or kill the Venezuelan leader. In his speech, he said that it would be Obama’s worst mistake as it will fill Venezuela with violence.

Protests in Venezuelan areas of Caracas continued as Venezuelan opposition leaders continued to criticise the pro-government march, which they speculate Cuba had instigated.

Maduro also announced that he may use military force in dispersing the crowds.

The actions of the Venezuelan government is urging the US congress to put forward sanctions.

Protesters were fighting for Venezuela’s high inflation, food shortages, crime rate and violence, which Maduro and his government had failed to address in the last few years.


Compensation Claims Story: Was It Me, the Construction Worker, or the Driver?

One day, I was riding the bicycle path on my way to work. In the UK, we have bicycle lanes, which allow us our own safe path away from fast-moving vehicles. Sometimes, these paths get blocked by vehicles especially during times of heavy traffic. We don’t actually mind, but if we get into an accident with a vehicle while we were using the bicycle lane, they are in the wrong regardless of the situation.

Sadly, that day a few years ago was quite fateful.

A construction worker had laid an obstruction just outside the tent doors. They were bringing in construction supplies from a truck that allowed only a narrow passage on the side for bicycles in the bicycle lane. I passed by the side as fast as I can, but I got myself hit by a hard object from the truck, which had me on the floor with a bruised shoulder and scratches all over. To make matters worse, a car that took a wrong turn in the bicycle lane almost crushed my leg to pieces.

Fortunately, it was only a small, thin fracture on the leg. My family contacted different no win no fee solicitors and the one who pointed that both sides had contributed to my dilemma won me at least £10,000 from each side. The driver had to pay a larger amount because she had fractured my leg, including temporary impairment damages. The car driver was at fault as well because she took a swerve inside the bicycle lane

So, the moral of the story is that it isn’t always the case that you have a bike lane in your country, you are always safe.  However, I guess I’m also part of the fault here; I trusted the bicycle lane so much.