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Venezuelan president to ax moustache if he misses housing target CARACAS: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro pledged Thursday to cut off his moustache if the government fails to meet a goal to provide a million new homes by year's end."If by December 31 I have not turned over home number one million, I will cut off my moustache in self-punishment so everyone will know that I failed," Maduro said.He was referring to an ambitious housing construction project launched by Hugo Chavez in 2011 to relocate thousands of families that lost their homes in devastating flooding in 2010.Chavez, who died in 2013, pledged to build three million homes by 2019.Maduro's government says that so far it has handed over 800,000.With legislative elections a month off, Maduro said that the drop in oil prices will not affect the government's social aid programs. Oil is Venezuela's main source of revenue.Venezuela has the world's largest proven oil reserves but its economy is a mess, with ...

Castro visits Mexico amid Cuban migration wave MEXICO CITY: When Cuban President Raul Castro arrives for a visit here Thursday, hundreds of his compatriots will have crossed Mexico's southern border in a migration wave headed to the United States.Castro and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto are expected to discuss the issue when they meet in the eastern city of Merida on Friday, in their latest effort to relaunch ties strained under previous governments.More than 1,500 Cubans reached Mexico in October alone, the ...
Brazil, land of water, goes thirsty DUQUE DE CAXIAS: The sign -- "risk of drowning" -- outside one of Rio de Janeiro's freshwater reservoirs looks like a joke: there's no water here left to drown in.Instead, the Saracuruna reservoir near Duque de Caxias, outside Rio, is an expanse of sand, mud and vegetation. Four stray dogs scamper and cattle come to drink from a stream still running through the middle."It's been a long time since there was any water here," said ...
Colombia killing rebels despite truce offer: FARC BOGOTA: The leader of Colombia's FARC guerrillas, Timoleon Jimenez, accused the government Thursday of escalating its campaign against the rebels even as it proposes a bilateral ceasefire to advance peace talks.Speaking a day after President Juan Manuel Santos offered to enter into a ceasefire from January 1 -- granting a longstanding rebel demand -- Jimenez lashed out at the government for nevertheless stepping up operations against the FARC.Just before Santos's ceasefire offer, the army announced ...
Cuba's Raul Castro to visit Mexico next week MEXICO CITY: Cuban President Raul Castro will travel to Mexico next week for talks with President Enrique Pena Nieto, his first visit to the country since taking office in 2006, officials said Thursday.The Mexican foreign ministry said the state visit will take place in Merida, capital of the eastern state of Yucatan, from November 5 to 7."This state visit has a special significance, as it comes in the context of a deep relationship for both ...
Argentina's Scioli seeks first-round presidential vote win BUENOS AIRES: Argentines voted for a new president on Sunday in an election that will shape the recovery of the South American country's troubled economy, with outgoing leader Cristina Fernandez's candidate the favorite to win on a platform of "gradual change".Voting was orderly in polling stations in the capital Buenos Aires where children joined their parents in line and there were no reports of logistical problems from the country's jungle north to its windswept Patagonian ...
Inflation in Venezuela forecast at 60 pc in 2016 CARACAS: Venezuela's government on Tuesday forecast an inflation rate of 60 percent in 2016, in a budget bill presented to the National Assembly.The number was below the nearly 80 percent that President Nicolas Maduro forecast for 2015. He cited official data from the central bank.The central bank has not released inflation figures since December 2014. It said then that prices had risen 69 percent for that year.Economists and private consultants see the inflation scenario as ...


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Foreign Debt $62.649bn
Per Cap Income $1,512
GDP Growth 4.24%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-2.197 bln
Exports $1.729 bln
Imports $3.926 bln
WeeklyNovember 23, 2015
Reserves $19.713 bln