06292016Wed
Last update: Wed, 29 Jun 2016 01am

South America

World - South America

Mediators push for 'national dialogue' to calm Venezuela crisis CARACAS: Foreign mediators trying to bring crisis-hit Venezuela back from the abyss announced Thursday a bid to get embattled President Nicolas Maduro's government and the opposition to sit down for talks.But the "national dialogue" initiative, unveiled by former Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero in a Caracas news conference, will be an uphill battle given the unrelenting antagonism and obstinancy shown so far by both sides, and Venezuela's economic meltdown.Indeed, both sides dug in hours after the talks were announced."It is a long, hard and difficult path," Zapatero admitted, urging support from the international community."We must be prudent" about the chances of success, he said.The opposition coalition issued a statement saying the talks must focus on a recall referendum that it is orchestrating against Maduro.Maduro has previously dismissed the proposed vote as "not valid" and vowed it will not go ahead.On the mediated talks, he said Thursday evening he ...

World - South America

Brazil lower house OKs measure to benefit seven power utilities BRASILIA: The lower house of Brazil's Congress approved late on Wednesday a government measure to extend a compliance deadline and boost subsidies for power distributors in northern Brazil, including subsidiaries of state electricity utility Centrais El?tricas Brasileiras SA . The measure lengthens a deadline to 10 years from five for seven power utilities in northern Brazil to comply with regulations from the electricity watchdog Aneel as a condition to retain their operating licenses, a statement ...

World - South America

Brazil's suspended president launches online fightback BRASÍLIA: Critics branded her aloof and inaccessible in leadership, but since being suspended as president pending impeachment proceedings, Brazil's Dilma Rousseff is reaching out to the nation in a feverish online campaign.This week the 68-year-old leftist leader took to Facebook to answer users' questions -- taking the opportunity to lay into one of the men who got her suspended, the now acting president Michel Temer.Ahead of her suspension, media had painted a picture of a ...

World - South America

Venezuela protesters brave tear gas to call for Maduro's ouster CARACAS: Venezuelan protesters demanded a referendum on ousting President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday, defying riot police who fired tear gas and a state of emergency that the opposition has blasted as unconstitutional.But Maduro warned that if anti-government acts turned violent "I will not hesitate" to ratchet up the extraordinary measures in force, "to fight for the peace and security of this country."The opposition organized the demonstrations in Caracas and two dozen other cities and towns ...

World - South America

Ecuador coast hit by two earthquakes; one dead QUITO: Two earthquakes struck Ecuador's coast on Wednesday, leading to one death and light damage in the same region where a magnitude 7.8 tremor killed more than 650 people last month. Wednesday's tremors, measuring 6.7 and 6.8 in magnitude, according to the US Geological Survey, cut electricity in some coastal areas and sent people running into the streets as far away as the highland capital of Quito, witnesses said. President Rafael Correa said the epicenter ...

World - South America

Leading ally of Brazil's Lula sentenced to 23 years BRASMLIA: A leading ally of Brazil's leftist icon and ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was sentenced Wednesday to 23 years prison for his part in a giant corruption scheme that has shaken the country's elite.Jose Dirceu, a former chief of staff under Lula and a co-founder with the ex-president of the Workers' Party, was sentenced for "crimes of corruption, money laundering an membership of a criminal group," Judge Sergio Moro said in the sentencing ...

World - South America

Brazil's new govt sees primary deficit hitting 160bn reais RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazil's new interim government estimates that its primary budget deficit could hit 160 billion reais ($45 billion) this year, including losses from state electricity holding Eletrobras, a source with knowledge of the situation told Reuters on Wednesday. Planning Minister Romero Juca was set to meet on Wednesday afternoon with members of the Congressional budget committee and with Senate President Renan Calheiros to discuss increasing the deficit target for the year, the source ...