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Colombia Reports: A land restitution plan to return land to over 130,000 families is announced by Colombian Agriculture Minister Juan Camilo Restrepo, reports Caracol Radio. The government plans to implement a series of measures to start the process before the legislation is approved by Congress. "From now until April 2011, interventions will be made to restore land to over 130,000 families who have been dispossessed by violence or should be formally granted ownership of their land" said Restrepo.
Colombia Reports: Indigenous leader Rodolfo Aricate Amaya was killed by two gunmen outside his home in the Cauca department, south-western Colombia. Amaya, a leader in the Paez community, had been receiving threats for many months before he was gunned down.
Cuba, HAVANA - Several former political prisoners and the family of a dissident who died behind bars earlier this year are being given the opportunity to leave Cuba, members of the internal opposition said Thursday. The Catholic Archdiocese of Havana conveyed the government's offer to Reina Luisa Tamayo, mother of the late Orlando Zapata, a spokesperson for the Ladies in White group of political prisoners' relatives told Efe.
LAHT, LONDON - Survival International warned the United Nations of "massive oil operations" in the northern Peruvian Amazon that could "decimate" uncontacted tribal people. "By permitting companies to operate in this region, Peru's government is flagrantly violating international law," the London-based group said in a letter to the U.N. special rapporteur on indigenous peoples,
VALPARAISO, Chile - The Chilean Congress has approved a new tax, or "royalty" fee, on the largest mining firms to help cover reconstruction costs after a massive earthquake earlier this year. The legislation pushes the highest royalty rate to 9 percent initially. Starting in 2017, royalties will range from 5 percent for companies with an operating margin equal to or less than 35 percent up to 14 percent when a firm's operating margin climbs to as high as 85 percent.
LA Times Blog: As metal prices rise and companies continue to seek Latin America's rich deposits of minerals and coal, the industry grows faster than some countries can regulate it, says a Forbes report. There are regular conflicts with workers over pay and safety conditions, as well as numerous reports of illegal mining operations -- with hardly any safety oversight or regulations -- in so-called wildcat mines.
NACLA, Cuba's Crossroads: On September 13, the Cuban government made a stunning announcement: Within the next six months, state payrolls will shed half a million workers. Additionally, the government will allow a great expansion of self-employment - known in Cuba as cuentapropismo - which it hopes will offset the planned layoffs. The new measures mark a sea change in Cuba. They signal the end of full employment as a right of citizenship and the arrival of a new relationship of the state and private sectors. In a way, they will turn the clock back to the mixed and undoubtedly more vibrant economy of the 1960s, when small, privately-owned shops and kiosks still dotted Cuban streets, until the 1968 "revolutionary offensive" nationalized all small businesses. And while these measures clearly come at a time of great economic hardship for Cuba, there is no indication they are meant to be temporary. A small and growing private sector within the Cuban economy is here to stay.
BELMOPAN, Belize -- The Belize government is trying to get to the bottom of a human trafficking racket in the country. The latest is the arrival of 33 Chinese who deplaned at the Phillip Goldston International Airport on chartered flights from Port au Prince, Haiti, on September 18, 19 and October 3. Reports state that they presented Japanese passports that were not authentic and the Belizean visas on these passports were also not genuine.
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