Debt restructuring in Puerto Rico: US Senate

The PROMESA Bill plans to give a U.S. federal board control of Puerto Rico’s economy to pursue austerity and debt restructuring.

The United States Senate voted on Wednesday to advance a controversial bill to address Puerto Rico’s crippling US$70 billion debt crisis, just days before the Caribbean island is poised to default on a US$1.9 billion debt payment.

Senators voted 68-32 for cloture of the bill, setting up a vote on final passage no later than Thursday afternoon.

Lawmakers predicted that the vote will be tight as supporters scramble to get the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act, also known as the PROMESA Bill, through Congress before Puerto Rico’s July 1 debt payment deadline.

PROMESA proposes to hand control of Puerto Rico’s economy, including debt restructuring, over to a Washington-appointed federal oversight board.

Both Republicans and Democrats back the bill. Though several Democrats have raised concerns about the structure of the legislation, many also argue that the consequences of a default without a plan in place are too serious to justify opposing the bill.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, who has voiced criticisms of the bill, said a failure to pass PROMESA would mark “a tremendous win for the unscrupulous hedge funds that have held this bill up for six months demanding to be first in line over the needs of the people of Puerto Rico.”

Debt expert Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA, argued in a letter to the Senate on Tuesday that the “very serious” impacts on Puerto Rico if the bill fails would include threats to social services and pension protections, as well as a swoop of predatory “vulture funds” looking to exploit the economic crisis on the island.

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Argentina cries. Chile celebrates

 Chile against Argentina . Messi against Vidal

 Lionel Messi missed during penalty shots, ultimately handing the victory to Chile.

Lionel Messi, the man whom Argentina was expecting to lead the country to victory, was ultimately responsible for their defeat.

The scrappy match was determined via penalty shots after a scoreless extra 30 minutes of play. Chile came out on top, scoring four penalty shots to Argentina’s two.

The Argentine keeper managed to block Chile’s first attempt, but that was followed by a errant kick by Messi.

Lucas Biglia’s shot was blocked by the Chilean keeper Claudio Bravo, leaving the match in Francisco Silva’s hands who put his shot past Sergio Romero.

Chile successfuly defended its crown, having won the Copa America tournament in 2015. Argentina has now gone 23 years without winning a major tournament.

Match Preview Argentina vs. Chile

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Britain has voted to leave the European Union in the Brexit referendum

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Britain has voted to leave the European Union in the Brexit referendum, with results Thursday morning showing 51.9 percent voted for the exit versus 48.1 percent for the “remain” campaign, or a margin of over 1 million votes.

But as the outcome begins to send shockwaves through the U.K. and across the EU and the world, what’s next as Britain gears up for the Brexit?

  1. Leaving the EU Won’t Happen Overnight

Britain will now have to prepare to negotiate with the European Union to implement the decision to make an exit. The process will take years. The U.K. first has to formally notify the EU of the plan to quit the bloc under what’s called Article 50 of the EU’s governing treaty before negotiations on an agreement can get underway.

The first step doesn’t need to happen right away. And with Prime Minister David Cameron’s decision to resign, he said he will leave the timeline to the new prime minister to decide, meaning the move is at least months away. That aligns with the view of Vote Leave Chief Matthew Elliott, who told Reuters Friday morning that it would be “foolish” to act immediately, suggesting leaders should “take stock” of the situation. Labour party and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, on the other hand, told BBC that he believes Article 50 should be invoked straight away to begin negotiations for a good deal as soon as possible.

Once invoked, Article 50 gives a two-year deadline to negotiate an exit. The process will be a navigation of uncharted territories since no member state has ever left the EU.

The negotiations over a withdrawal agreement, or what some media have called a divorce settlement, will cover economic issues, immigration, regulation, and other questions. Trade talks will also be necessary to determine whether Britain’s access to EU markets will be under EU rules or new trade deals.

Although the referendum is not legally binding, there is no reason to believe that the government will defy the popular vote, a move that the BBC described as “political suicide.”

  1. Who Fills David Cameron’s Shoes Once He Quits?

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Mexico: Leaders of Oaxaca’s Striking Teachers Union

The CNTE teachers union demanded the immediate return of their leaders, Francisco Manuel Villalobos Ricardez and Ruben Nuñez, whom they said were forcibly disappeared by the governments of President Enrique Peña Nieto and Oaxaca Govenor Gabino Cue.

The federal government said Villalobos, who serves as head of the CNTE in Oaxaca, was detained Saturday on charges of aggravated robbery. The charges stem from the seizure of textbooks by the teachers union in 2015.

His arrest came after nearly 500 protesters were violently evicted from a public square by at least a thousand police officers in the city of Oaxaca.

Teachers belonging to the dissident CNTE union were occupying the headquarters of the Oaxaca State Institute of Public Education, located in the historic center of the capital, as part of the general strike to protest the education reform.

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Florida Nightclub Massacre: 50 Dead After Attack on Gay Latinos

At least 50 people have been killed after a shooting early Sunday morning at a gay nightclub in Orlando, according to the city’s mayor. Police confirm the gunman was killed after taking more than 30 people hostage. At least 53 people were injured.

Orlando police said the shooting is being treated as an “act of domestic terrorism” and are urging people to stay away from the area. They identified the shooter as Omar Mateen, a U.S. citizen of Afghan descent.

U.S. officials said on Sunday they had seen no immediate evidence of any direct connection between the worst mass shooting in U.S. history and Islamic State or any other foreign extremist group.

Despite quick accusations that the incident was inspired by the Islamic State group, two officials familiar with the investigation said they had yet to uncover any direct contacts between any extremist group and the suspect who opened fire in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

The FBI had him on file since 2013, when he made inflammatory comments at work, according to an FBI official. He was interviewed twice, and again in 2014 when he was suspected of links to a U.S. suicide bomber, but investigations proved inconclusive. Mateen then reportedly called 911 pledging allegiance to the IS group, said the official at a press conference in Orlando.

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Manta Military Base : CIA operations

Declassified documents have been able to prove that the Central Intelligence Agency,CIA, infiltrated and meddled in Latin America.

The documents from the U.S. intelligence agency itself, released by WikiLeaks, show how the CIA intervened in the region under the guise of diplomacy.

The CIA actions were aimed at achieving the continental blockade against Cuba in the 1960s after the triumph of the Cuban revolution. The goal was to prevent the rise of the left in the region at any cost.

The actions of the CIA in Ecuador between 1960-1963 were outlined in “Inside the Company,” a book first published in 1975 by former CIA agent in Ecuador, Philip Agee.

CIA, Its Creation and Goals

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Covert operations in Ecuador

Promoting the idea that a government is bad and unpopular is essential to the objective of overthrowing it.

Since the beginning of the ‘pink tide’ in Latin America, much of the international media have been actively smearing progressive Latin American countries.

These media outlets, who have the means to reach global audiences, selectively report the news in what some consider to be an effort to destabilize leftist governments that dare to challenge the economic privileges of big business, banks and financial corporations.

Several South American leaders have argued that private media discredit their governments as parts of plots to overthrow them and replace them with governments more aligned with U.S. interests.

Late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez warned of this repeatedly, and in 2002 this materialized into a short-lived coup. The coup was broadcast live and media were shown to have played an active role, deliberately distorting information to the Venezuelan public as well as to the international community in order to justify the usurpation of democracy in the country. Though the coup failed, media attacks against Chavez continued, and have now focused intensely on his successor, President Nicolas Maduro.

Since taking office in 2007, Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa has also been the target of a media smear campaign both within and outside of the country. Correa has not only championed laws to democratize media in order to break up the power of monopolies, but he has also been vocal in calling out the attacks on his and other progressive governments.

“Do you think really that the difficult situations (faced by) Dilma Rousseff … in Brazil, Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, Michelle Bachelet in Chile, Cristina Fernandez in Argentina and the difficulties that Evo Morales has had in Bolivia before winning an overwhelming majority, are all accidental?,” Correa told a groups of reporters in 2015. “They are all leaders of leftist governments … None of this happens to right-wing leaders.”

The Goal: End Latin American Integration

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ONG: Covert operations in Latin America


For the United States, “non-governmental organizations” are playing an increasingly prominent role in “democracy promotion” across the planet.

In Latin America, there is increasing awareness about the activities of these groups and those who fund them to undermine elected governments and subvert the region’s autonomy.

Modus Operandi

Starting in 1999, the United States has increasingly lost the ability it once had to determine policy in Latin America.

The Bolivarian Revolution that began in Venezuela quickly grew throughout the region, and over the decade the idea of reclaiming national sovereignty through regional integration gained momentum. A decade later, organizations like ALBA, CELAC and Unasur were formed by countries from Latin America and the Caribbean, who came to consensus on the benefits of excluding the United States (and to a lesser extent, Canada).

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Nicaragua: Daniel Ortega for re-election in November

The Sandinista leader said he will not invite international observers to witness the vote because he considers that a form of intervention.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has been elected by the Sandinista National Liberation Front, or FSLN, as its candidate to run in the November 6 presidential elections.

The decision was announced last night at the party headquarters in the capital of Managua and was backed unanimously by the 1,910 delegates.

Delegates loudly applauded Ortega, who said he’s not interested in having international observers during the elections, as he consider them “interventionists ambassadors.”

“Scoundrel observers, observation is over here, you can go and observe your own countries,” Ortega said.

This is the seventh time that Ortega will be candidate of the FSLN. The first time was in 1984 when he was elected president. He ruled six years in his first term before losing in the 1990 election. He returned to power in 2007 and won again in 2011.
Ortega’s main opponent in this election is Luis Callejas, a doctor who supported the anti-Sandinista Contras during the U.S.-stoked civil war of the 1980s.

The socialist leader has broad popular support, with recent polls showing he has the support of 64 percent of voters. In the 2011 election the former Sandinista guerrilla was re-elected with 63 percent of the vote.

Under Ortega’s government, Nicaragua has become one of the safest countries in the Americas, with a murder rate lower than that of neighboring Costa Rica, with the president’s popularity buoyed by strong economic growth.