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Last update: Thu, 11 Feb 2016 01pm

South America

World - South America

Brazil army to go 'house to house' in Zika fight: report BRASÍLIA: Brazil is mobilizing more than 200,000 troops to go "house to house" in the battle against Zika-carrying mosquitoes, blamed for causing horrific birth defects in a major regional health scare, a report said Monday.Soldiers will fan out to homes across Brazil distributing leaflets and dispensing advice, Health Minister Marcelo Castro was quoted as saying by the newspaper O Globo, signaling a major ramping up of efforts against the Zika virus. Castro said that the government, under growing pressure to deal with the crisis, will also hand out repellent to at least 400,000 pregnant women on social welfare.Zika is linked to serious birth defects, including microcephaly, in which babies born to women infected during pregnancy have abnormally small heads.A surge in incidents across Latin America, notably in Brazil, has prompted the United States and other governments to warn pregnant women against traveling to the region -- an alarming prospect for ...

World - South America

Economic crisis rattles Brazil as Olympic year starts SAO PAULO: Brazil hoped to start 2016 making itself pretty for its turn on the world stage when its hosts the summer Olympics. Instead attention has turned to its deepening economic crisis.The world's seventh largest economy tipped into recession last year -- official figures show that 1.5 million jobs were destroyed.The downturn is due to last throughout this year, the International Monetary Fund says.That would be the first two-year recession since the 1930s in Latin ...

World - South America

Venezuela, Russia to fight falling oil prices: Maduro CARACAS: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Friday he and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin have agreed to work together to fight falling oil prices that have hit their economies."Without doubt we are going to defend the market. We have agreed with President Vladimir Putin to carry on working on a common vision and plan," Maduro told business leaders.He said he spoke to Putin by phone Friday about "the situation in the oil market."Venezuela has the ...

World - South America

Venezuela ministers shun hearing on economic crisis CARACAS: Venezuelan government ministers refused to go before their opposition rivals for a key legislative hearing on economic emergency measures in the crisis-hit nation, officials said.The opposition-controlled National Assembly is due by Friday to vote on a bid by President Nicolas Maduro to decree a state of economic emergency in the oil-rich South American state.His economic ministers were set to defend the measures in the assembly, but pulled out in the last minute saying they ...

World - South America

Colombia frees first FARC rebels under peace process BOGOTA: Colombia released 16 FARC guerrillas Thursday, the first to walk free under a pardon issued in peace negotiations that appear to be closing in on a deal to end a half-century conflict.The jailed rebels, the first out of a group of 30 to be pardoned, were released in a goodwill gesture to reciprocate for a unilateral ceasefire declared six months ago by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), said the office of the ...

World - South America

Brazil President called as witness in bribery investigation SAO PAULO: A federal judge in Brazil authorized President Dilma Rousseff to appear as a witness in an investigation into the use of bribes to influence the passage of legislation, a court spokesman said on Wednesday. Rousseff, who is not under investigation herself, was called by the defense of businessman Eduardo Valad?o, along with other politicians, for the bribery probe known as "Operation Zealots."Valad?o was charged in November with paying bribes to influence passage of ...

World - South America

Ecuador president says he's tired of fighting with OPEC QUITO: Ecuador President Rafael Correa said on Wednesday that his government was "tired" of pushing OPEC to decrease output and that the nation would keep working as if the oil cartel "did not exist."Correa, the leader of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' smallest member, has long pushed for a cut in production to boost prices. However, those calls have gone unheeded by OPEC's bigger members. "With a small cut in production, the price ...