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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Entrepreneurship Turns Viral in Latin America

Latin America’s poor record in entrepreneurialism and businesses might change as people begin their own small businesses because of the large unemployment rate in the country. The efforts of Peru and Chile had allowed many Latin Americans the chance to create start-up companies that could help the country’s economy and high unemployment rate falter

The Chilean government had become more lenient in terms of allowing start-up companies the chance to flourish. ProChile Director Carlos Honorato said that the Chilean government’s decision to cut the 27-day wait to begin a businesses in Chile had radically increased the chances of entrepreneurs to begin doing business.

Peru’s innovation fund had helped Cinepapaya.com, a ticket-selling application used on popular smartphone and tablet operating systems, and its owner, Gary Urteaga. Urteaga said he has not known the term start up until two this year.

New ideas are pouring into Latin America and government support is helping entrepreneurs try new ideas for businesses, which could eventually lower the unemployment rate and raise the domestic products of the region.

However, according to observers, Latin Americans have a few challenges to become successful entrepreneurs. Latin America rivals against Asia, Middle Eastern Countries and Africa in terms of speaking English, which is the universal language for entrepreneurialism worldwide.

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Illegal Mining Operations Widely Spread in Latin America

According to Peru’s government study regarding mining in Latin America, illegal mining is the new “cocaine” of Latin America. Countries such as Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia and including Peru, are obtaining high profits from unlicensed mining activities instead of drug trafficking.

Illegal mining is considered for mining activities that are unregulated, which could cause grave and irreversible ecological damage to the environment.

In Colombia, drug gangs are still present in its wilderness but are resorting to illegal gold mining to fund their activities along with rebels that some of such gangs partner themselves. However, since the peace talks between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the rebels have taken authority over their territories.

In Venezuela, illegal mining is hampering government efforts for deforestation. According to both foreign and local endeavour groups dedicated to Venezuela’s indigenous people, more than 4,000 illegal miners are working in the country near the borders of Colombia and Brazil.

Illegal mining activities had spread damages on the Amazon and Latin America’s water sources.

Ecuador’s soldiers fought against indigenous miners in the Amazon in an attempt to confiscate river dredges and dislodge the illegal miners from their positions.

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Two Dead From Brazil World Cup Stadium Accident

An accident in the Sao Paulo World Cup stadium left two dead due to a collapsed crane that destroyed the façade of the stadium. The Sao Paulo stadium, being rushed to be completed by December, will host the Fifa World Cup of 2014.

Brazilian authorities admitted that they were having some trouble meeting the deadline and getting the other 11 venues ready. According to local police, two people were killed instead of the three pushed by the local fire officials.

The crane operator was taken to the hospital and was released on account that the entire incident was an accident.

The contractor of the stadium, Odebrecht Infrastructure, said that the accident happened around 1PM local time. The crane was moving the last module for the metal roof of the stadium when the crane’s neck collapsed and the part of the east building fell along with the crane. However, the integral structure of the stadium was not damaged.

Fifa President Sepp Blatter said that he was deeply saddened by the accident. He stressed that Fifa is highly concerned and always prioritizes the safety of workers who build their stadiums. He added that the association’s thoughts are with the families of the accident’s victims.

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Venezuelan President Says Twitter Plans to Sabotage Him

Internet microblogging giant Twitter is said to be the culprit of a massive social media attacks against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and other 6,600 accounts in Latin America in order to suspend the Dec 8 elections in the country. According to Maduro, it was time Latin America had freed itself from multinational corporations capitalizing on social media.

According to Venezuelan Communications Minister Delsy Rodriguez, around 6,600 followers of the President’s account disappeared within 10 minutes. Maduro had 1.4 million followers previously.

However, the opposition and critics of the Venezuelan president said that he was fretting over something very petty but had failed to address the country’s economic problems effectively. Opposition figurehead Henrique Capriles asked the President at a public meeting why he was more concerned by Twitter rather than Venezuela’s 50% inflation rate.

Maduro has a long history of speaking about alleged plots against the Venezuelan government, including five attempts on his life that had not been backed by evidences and facts.

Social media such as Twitter and Facebook are highly popular in Venezuela and Latin American countries earning its position as third against Southeast Asia and Europe.

Maduro said that he will be working with Mercosur, Unasur and the ALBA in fighting against Twitter’s conspiracy.

PPI News: Banks Still Playing Foul On Customers

The Financial Conduct Authority revealed that banks continue to unnecessarily delay customers mis sold payment protection insurance and it said that only 6 out of 18 financial institutions are doing their jobs properly based on their investigation in PPI claims handling. The FCA said one of the remainder of the firms is subject to enforcement action, while the rest might face fines.

The image of banks still playing foul on their customers is further supported by the Financial Ombudsman’s 26% increase in the number of PPI complaints. The FOS said it received 226,238 PPI complaints from customers dissatisfied with their banks’ decisions. Around 80% of these claims are upheld in favour of customers, signifying the failure of banks to take in important details.

If your bank sold you an insurance policy you were not eligible for alongside your loan or other financing, you are mis sold PPI. You could know the total compensation you deserve by using a free PPI calculator online.

The FCA said that the common among the 12 includes the failure to consider the circumstances of the customer upon purchasing the insurance, taking note of the insurance’s inclusions and exclusions in its policies and the lack of a proper explanation to customers delayed their mis sold PPI refunds.

Any customer with a PPI claim could get no win no fee legal services from claims management companies such as PPICalculatorCompany.org.uk, who have PPI claims handlers who could do all the work.