02122016Fri
Last update: Fri, 12 Feb 2016 10am

South America

World - South America

Venezuela opposition sets out to oust government CARACAS: Venezuela's emboldened opposition laid claim on Wednesday to a big legislative majority that could empower it to oust President Nicolas Maduro, who came out fighting and reacted by reshuffling his cabinet.The lawmakers' defiant move further deepened a tense political standoff in the South American oil-producing country, which is mired in recession and seen analysts warn of the possibility of unrest on the streets.Leaders of the opposition, which has vowed to find a way to get rid of Maduro within six months, had portraits of the socialist government's late hero Hugo Chavez removed from the National Assembly building.The opposition has taken control of the assembly for the first time since 1999, the year that Chavez came to power.At its first regular legislative session on Wednesday, the opposition-controlled assembly swore in three anti-government lawmakers, defying Maduro, who had secured a court injunction to suspend them.The three extra deputies boost the total ...

World - South America

Venezuela opposition takes congress, defies president CARACAS: Venezuela's opposition on Tuesday broke the government's 17-year grip on the legislature and vowed to force out President Nicolas Maduro despite failing for the time being to clinch its hoped-for "supermajority."The National Assembly swore in deputies to 163 of the 167 seats, with four lawmakers -- three opposition and one pro-government -- suspended pending a lawsuit over alleged electoral fraud.The new opposition speaker of the assembly, Henry Ramos Allup, said his side soon would ...

World - South America

Brazil's Rousseff signs budget law, vetoes congressional amendments SAO PAULO: Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has overruled more than 50 amendments made by lawmakers in the nation's budget guidelines law for this year, including reductions to her flagship social program and a ban on state foreign financing for some projects.According to the government's official gazette, Rousseff signed the so-called LDO law on Thursday. Congress passed the LDO last month, following months of bickering over Rousseff's failure to meet deficit-reduction targets that almost led to ...

World - South America

Argentine president scraps media monopoly watchdog BUENOS AIRES: Argentine President Mauricio Macri on Wednesday scrapped a media watchdog aimed at preventing monopolies, his office said, the latest in a series of reforms reversing measures by his leftist predecessor.Macri's chief of staff Marco Pena said that by presidential decree a new state telecommunications body would be set up, absorbing the existing AFSCA regulator that prevents monopolies by media firms and the AFTIC technology regulator."We are launching policies for the 21st century. The ...

World - South America

Brazil raises minimum wage in economic crisis RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazil's crisis-hit government said Wednesday it will raise the minimum wage by more than the rate of inflation in the new year, despite the delicate state of its public accounts.The office of leftist President Dilma Rousseff said in a statement the minimum wage would rise by 11.67 percent to 880 reais a month -- still equivalent to only about $227.That was higher than this year's forecast inflation rate of 10.57 percent, which ...

World - South America

Venezuela opposition warns of 'judicial coup' by Maduro CARACAS: Venezuela's opposition urged the international community Wednesday to stop a "judicial coup" by President Nicolas Maduro after his party filed a legal challenge to its landslide victory in legislative elections.In an open letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and other top international officials, the opposition coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), condemned a court case brought by the ruling socialist party that threatens the super-majority it won on December 6."The country, the region ...

World - South America

Brazil's Rio state implements new tax on oil and gas production RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazil's Rio de Janeiro state, facing a budget shortfall caused in part by plunging oil prices, imposed new taxes on petroleum and natural gas on Thursday, a move critics say will slash investment in an already battered industry. Brazil's economy is suffering its worst recession in decades, while a corruption scandal at Petrobras, as the state oil company is known, has choked off investment and delayed new output. Rio de Janeiro state's ...