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Chile, SANTIAGO, Oct 13, 2010 (IPS) - "This country has to understand that changes must be made," said Mario Sepúlveda, the second Chilean miner -- of the group of 33 trapped 700 metres underground for over two months -- rescued in the early hours of Wednesday morning. But what changes? What lessons has the mining accident in the northern region of Atacama left Chile, the world's largest producer of copper? In the media frenzy surrounding the rescue operation that started Tuesday night, no one has bothered to mention that there were more than 191,000 workplace accidents in this South American country of 17 million people in 2009, including 443 deaths, and 155 deaths in the first quarter of this year alone.
Juan Cole on the Chile mine disaster: So here are the questions that a social historian would ask about the sorry episode, and which I never heard anyone on television news ask during all the wall to wall coverage...
Honduras: The drum beat of violence and assassinations targeting union members and others in the National Resistance Front continues in Honduras, as human rights defender Berta Oliva described during a Chicago visit before receiving the Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award from the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in Washington D.C. Wednesday on behalf of a coalition of Honduran human rights groups including her group, COFADEH. (The award is named for Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier and IPS staffer Ronni Karpen Moffitt, murdered by agents of then-Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1976.) Just in the last month, numerous acts of violence and intimidation have occurred: a social security unionist and a member of the campesino group MUCA were killed; 22 university union employees were illegally ordered arrested; and an opposition journalist survived an attempted murder. Oliva noted that 83 members of the resistance movement have been murdered or disappeared since current president Pepe Lobo Sosa took office in January.
GUATEMALA CITY - Spain will contribute a total of $58.6 million for Guatemalan reconstruction over the next two years, Madrid's secretary of state for international cooperation said on Tuesday. (...) Of the $58.6 million offered by Spain for the reconstruction of this Central American country, $3.7 million will go to housing construction, while some $2.2 million will be channeled through Unicef to finance programs to fight juvenile malnutrition. Spain's AECID foreign aid agency will contribute $7.2 million for the recovery of educational infrastructure, while $15 million more, which was originally approved in 2009 for infrastructure projects for the water supply, will be "reprogrammed" for relief projects. Another $30 million - 10 percent of Spain's total budget for Latin America within the Water Fund - will be directed to preventing the effects of climate change.
Caracas, 13 Oct. AVN .- The State Enterprise In Support Food Production (EMAP) of Bolivia will expand rice sales to Venezuela and Cuba by the Unified Regional Compensation System (Sucre), said Bolivian Vice Minister for Domestic Trade and Exports, Huascar Ajata, on Wednesday. The deputy minister said that the sale could be in the order of $ 6 million, while recalling that on Friday his country has completed the first sale of 5,000 tons of crude soybean oil to Caracas, as quoted by Prensa Latina.
MIAMI, USA -- At 8:00 pm EDT Wednesday, the centre of Hurricane Paula was located near latitude 21.8 north, longitude 85.6 west. Paula was moving toward the north-northeast near 3 mph. A turn toward the northeast and east is expected on Thursday. According to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, on this track Paula will be passing very near or over western Cuba on Wednesday night or early Thursday. Maximum sustained winds are near 85 mph, with higher gusts.
Mexico, AguachileWhile many a proverbial eyebrow were raised by the presence of el innombrable during the bicentennial festivities, Carlos Salinas' return to the public view was in a quite institutional role: Felipe Calderón invited all current presidents to attend. Similarly, at a forum yesterday celebrating the 20th anniversary of the IFE, the Federal Electoral Institute, the "unnameable" was invited and held a speech. (...) Salinas was invited to the forum for the simple fact that the IFE, in its initial form, and despite all its deficiencies, was set up in 1990 under his watch. It was, however, the first time in quite a few years that the reviled ex-president made a public discourse. It is worth reading in its entirety, and can be accessed here.
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