Wednesday, December 11, 2013

» Sánchez Betances reiterates that erred, but does not respond to the press 11/12/13 00:24 from Primera Hora: News The Secretary of Justice merely read a short written statement returned from Costa Rica

7104 stories

Gobernador de P. Rico pide al secretario de Justicia explicar recientes actos

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El gobernador de Puerto Rico, Alejandro García Padilla, reclamó hoy a su secretario de Justicia, Luis Sánchez Betances, que vuelva de forma inmediata del viaje oficial que realiza en Costa Rica para esclarecer su intervención en el caso de un amigo que conducía ebrio.

Comienza la construcción de la primera sinagoga ortodoxa en Puerto Rico

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La construcción de la que será la primera sinagoga ortodoxa de Puerto Rico arrancó hoy en una turística zona de Puerto Rico, a las afueras de San Juan, con la ceremonia de colocación de la primera piedra.

Weapons Diplomacy: Russian Defense Minister Skips Venezuela During Latin ... - Eurasia Review

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Weapons Diplomacy: Russian Defense Minister Skips Venezuela During Latin ...
Eurasia Review
Nevertheless, one particularly intriguing issue regarding Shoigu's visit to the Western Hemisphere is the fact that the Russian leader chose not to visit any of the members of the left-of-centerALBA bloc, which are known for having an anti-Washington ...

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Beyond 'Occupy' - Why Brazil's Black Bloc Protesters Go Too Far - Worldcrunch

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Beyond 'Occupy' - Why Brazil's Black Bloc Protesters Go Too Far
If the goal of the “black blocs” wasn't necessarily the end of the pacification policy, it is nonetheless what they've achieved. The time when the inhabitants watched in silence as the Pacifying Police Unit occupied the favelas is over. The gunfight is ...

The Decline of the US (and Everyone Else …) - The People's Voice

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The People's Voice

The Decline of the US (and Everyone Else …)
The People's Voice
It serves as a springboard to weaken regional trading blocs like MERCOSUR and ALBA, which exclude Washington. Meanwhile, the CIA, the State Department and their NGO conduits are engaged in an all-out economic sabotage and political destabilization...

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ALBA Supports Creation of Palestinian State at UN Assembly - Radio Cadena Agramonet

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ALBA Supports Creation of Palestinian State at UN Assembly
Radio Cadena Agramonet
During Monday and Tuesday debates in that forum, Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua, three member nations of the integration bloc founded in 2004, defended the right of Palestinians to a sovereign state with East Jerusalem as capital, with borders that...

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Weapons Diplomacy: Russian Defense Minister Skips Venezuela ... 

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Nevertheless, one particularly intriguing issue regarding Shoigu's visit to the Western Hemisphere is the fact that the Russian leader chose not to visit any of the members of the left-of-center ALBA bloc, which are known for ...

Who Will Observe the Observers in Honduras? - PanAm Post

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... have repeatedly tried to delegitimize the OAS by framing it as a vulgar extension of US foreign policy, the record shows that OAS representatives with sympathies for the ALBA bloc have achieved decisions highly favorable ...

JetBlue launches service to Haiti from JFK and Fort Lauderdale

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This Week Editorial Outside investors are important when jobs are created. Read:... 

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This Week Editorial Outside investors are important when jobs are created. Read:

Obama shakes hands with Raul Castro

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Obama shakes hands with Raul Castro

JOHANNESBURG — President Barack Obama has shaken hands with Cuban President Raul ...

Flat job market expected for PR in 1Q

Puerto Rico’s dim job market is not tracking to show substantial signs of bright ...

A former president of Sea Star Line has been sentenced to serve five years behin ...
Justice chief draws heat in friend’s arrest
Issued: December 10, 2013
Puerto Rico Justice Secretary Luis Sánchez Betances is drawing fire for com ...
Draco battling cancer once again
Issued: December 10, 2013
Puerto Rican singer-songwriter Draco Rosa is once again battling cancer.
Index: PR economy still shrinking
The Government Development Bank says economic activity in Puerto Rico has t ...
Gov. Alejandro García Padilla said Monday that the long-ailing Puerto Rico ...
Popular Inc. is poised to further reduce its stake in Evertec through an underwritten public offering of shares in the San Juan-based transa ...
Issued: December 9, 2013
The U.S.-based Red Mango frozen yogurt chain ins expanding to Puerto Rico through a master developer agreement with Good For You Franchise, ...
Issued: December 9, 2013
Fitch Ratings has completed a peer review of four rated Puerto Rican banks and affirmed their long-term issuer default ratings (IDR).
Authorities said a 30-year-old tourist from Minnesota has died while snorkeling off the island’s north coast.
Economic experiment shows limits of NKorean change
Issued: December 10, 2013
RAJIN, North Korea — Many of the ways in which this dusty, windswept area differs from most of North Korea are easiest to see at night.
Obama urges world to act on Mandela legacy
Issued: December 10, 2013
JOHANNESBURG — President Barack Obama says Nelson Mandela earned his place in history through struggle, shrewdness, persistence and faith.
Europeans open marathon talks on bank rescues
Issued: December 10, 2013
BRUSSELS — Finance ministers of the European Union are discussing what they still need to do to create centralized controls over banks.

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Gov. Gives Puerto Ricans Good Economic Data, Withholds More Significant Bad News 

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Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla (“Commonwealth” Party) began this week by misleadingly giving Puerto Ricans information suggesting that the territory’s economy was improving — and trying to distract attention from bad economic news.
The effort was initiated Sunday when his office leaked favorable data in a new report on the economy — but not the more significant negative facts — to Puerto Rico’s most widely circulated newspaper.  This resulted in the front-page headline that the Governor’s Administration wanted.
The favorable data was that the Commonwealth Government Development Bank’s Economic Activity Index increased 1.1% in September and .6% in October (‘spun’ as favorable even though the rate of increase fell from September to October).  These were the first increases since October 2012.
The negative facts in the Index withheld from Puerto Rico’s dominant news outlet were that the September economic activity number was 5.2% below the figure a year before, the October number was 5.3% lower than a year before, and the July-October figure was 5.3% below a year earlier.
The Governor’s strategy of focusing attention on the good news and ignoring the more significant bad news was continued with a news conference yesterday morning in which the Garcia said that the economy had reached a “turning point” and was improving.
The economy “was going downward and has started to stabilize to return to growth,” he claimed.
Respected, independent economists and other news media quickly disagreed with the Governor’s assessment.  Several economists explained that data from one or two months do not suggest a trend.  News organizations reported the year over year drop in economic activity.
The Governor’s statements yesterday also contradicted his own assertion in October that the economy was already improving and “gathering speed and strength.”
At the time, he dismissed negative facts as politically motivated “pessimism.”
His contentions then were disproven not long after when his Administration’s Planning Board predicted that the economy would contract .8% during the fiscal year ending next June 30th.
Garcia’s campaign to convince Puerto Ricans that the territory’s economy is improving also came as his secretary of the Treasury, chairman and interim president of the Government Development Bank, and Office of Management and Budget director met in New York with analysts at Moody’s, one of the three major national firms that assess risks associated with borrowing by governments and big businesses.
Reporters yesterday asked whether the rating agency was expected to issue a new report on the Commonwealth’s bonds.  Puerto Rico’s second most widely circulated newspaper today quoted experts as saying that Moody’s might downgrade the Commonwealth’s debt during this fiscal year.
The Commonwealth’s general obligation bonds are rated at one step above ‘junk’ levels, although some Commonwealth bonds are rated higher.
A downgrade to junk levels would force some national mutual funds that own a lot of the bonds to sell.  Even though still rated investment grade, however, Commonwealth bonds are already selling at junk bond prices in the public market.
A re-evaluation of the Commonwealth’s ability to repay purchasers of its bonds has been expected after the territory’s fiscal year ends.  Observers, however, said that new information on Puerto Rico’s economy and the Commonwealth’s revenue collection and spending could result in an earlier rating alert or action.
The high interest rate that the Commonwealth would have to pay buyers to successfully issue new bonds has kept the Garcia Administration from doing so.  The territorial government needs to borrow money to pay at least $820 million in operating expenses this fiscal year and needs much more in addition to pay off previously incurred debt.
Unable to borrow at reasonable rates in the bond market, the government is using Government Development Bank funds, leaving the Bank with low cash margins.  It is also borrowing from private banks on a short-term basis, hoping that it will be able to sell new bonds again for prices that are not too high before too long.
A downgrade in would make that even more unlikely.
Another sign of the Commonwealth’s inability to issue bonds at reasonable prices — bad economic news not explained by Garcia yesterday — came today as it was revealed that the Government Development Bank paid Barclays Bank $400 million it borrowed on a short-term basis that it initially planned to repay with proceeds of a new bond offering.
Garcia’s latest effort to convince Puerto Ricans that the territory’s economy is improving also came a day before the Manpower Group’s Manpower Employment Outlook Survey reported that on average employers in Puerto Rico did not expect to hire more workers during the first quarter of calendar year 2014.
The survey a year ago projected an increase of hiring by 3% more employers than would cut or maintain the same number of jobs during the first three months of 2013.  In September, it reported a 2% decrease was expected during the current quarter year.
The territory’s jobless rate rose from 13.5% in July to 14.7% in October even though fewer people out of work looked for jobs and Puerto Ricans continued to move to the States.
The increase to 14.7% in October came as the rate in the States dropped to 7%.
The discouraging hiring projections by employers in Puerto Rico contrasted with encouraging estimates of companies in the States.  The survey reported that a net of 13% more would increase jobs than stay at current workforce levels or reduce employment.
Garcia has continued to claim that 25,256 jobs have been created during his administration.  In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor has reported, 17,115 jobs have been lost in the territory.
A pledge that 50,000 jobs would be created during the first 18 months of his administration was a key factor in Garcia’s narrow election in November 2012.

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Puerto Ricans fleeing debt battle 

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Tax increases, pension cuts and a fall in jobs are part of the strategy to save Puerto Rico from another rating downgrade
Boxes and wooden crates filled with household items bound for the US mainland are stacked high in the Rosa del Monte moving company's cavernous warehouse, evidence of the historic rush of people abandoning Puerto Rico.
The economy has been in recession for nearly eight years, crimping tax revenue and pushing the jobless rate to nearly 15%. Meanwhile, the government is burdened by staggering debt, spawning comparisons to bankrupt Detroit and forcing lawmakers to severely slash pensions, cut government jobs and raise taxes in a furious effort to avert default.
The implications are serious for Americans outside Puerto Rico both because a taxpayer bailout would be expensive and a default would be far more disruptive than Detroit's record bankruptcy filing. A federal bailout is not on the table, but the situation is being monitored by the White House, which recently named an advisory team to help Puerto Rican officials navigate the crisis.

» Sánchez Betances reiterates that erred, but does not respond to the press
11/12/13 00:24 from Primera Hora: News
The Secretary of Justice merely read a short written statement returned from Costa Rica.

They force the attorney general to stand up
11/12/13 00:00 from Primera Hora: News
Luis Sánchez Betances had just one day of his official visit and the governor ordered him to return.

» Uruguay votes to legalize marijuana
12/10/13 23:20 from The Americas News: News and Headlines from Canada, South America & More - The Washington Post
MEXICO CITY - Lawmakers in the small South American nation of Uruguay voted Tuesday to legalize and Regulate marijuana, going further than any other country in the world Toward decriminalizing the plant and lift the stigma from its us ...

Obama and Raul Castro shake hands
12/10/13 23:15 from Metro - Latest News
HAVANA (AP) - It was a brief moment of just seconds: narrowing the two presidents ...