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Weekly News Summary: Jan. 9, 2010 – Jan. 15, 2010

January 15, 2010 By admin

TOP STORY: HAITI DEVASTATED BY MASSIVE EARTHQUAKE

Haiti suffered a devastating earthquake in the afternoon on Jan. 12, measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale and followed by more than 30 aftershocks. The precise magnitude of the damage to the hemisphere’s most impoverished nation remains unclear, but many believe that the death toll will reach into the tens of thousands.

Numerous governments worldwide, including that of the United States, have pledged to assist Haiti, but relief workers face continuing logistical problems, with the main airport at Port-au-Prince overwhelmed and the country’s phone and internet signals compromised.

The New York Times, along with many other world publications, are providing round-the-clock coverage of the disaster. The editors of the Latin America News Dispatch would like to call our readers’ attention to the New York Times’ section on “How To Help,” which we have displayed below.

How to Help

The White House is encouraging donations to the international fund of the Red Cross to support relief efforts in Haiti.

Cell phone users can text “Haiti” to the number 90999 and donate $10 to the Red Cross. The amount will be added to the donor’s cellphone bill. Other organizations have set up similar systems. Text “YELE” to 501501 to donate $5 to Yele Haiti.

Medical organizations based in Haiti before the quake are struggling to cope with its aftermath. Doctors Without Borders reports it has treated more than 1,000 people on the ground and has appealed for supportPartners in Health, a major non-governmental health care provider in Haiti, operates clinics in Port-au-Prince and is also soliciting donations.

The Times’ Lede blog has posted a list of various charity organizations that plan to provide relief.

Bolivia

Bolivian President Evo Morales enjoyed James Cameron’s film “Avatar,” which Morales applauded for its “profound show of resistance to capitalism and the struggle for the defense of nature.” Bolivian state news group Agencia Boliviana de Información (whose news stories are not indexed with permalinks, and therefore not linkable) broke the story, which was picked up by the Associated Press.

Chile

Chile signed an agreement on Jan. 11 that will make it the first South American country to join the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), according to a press release from the OECD.

The OECD is a forum composed of some of the world’s most developed countries, united by their commitment to market economics and representative democracy. Chile’s acceptance provides another indication that it is rapidly becoming the first Latin American country to gain wide, international recognition as a developed country.

Chile’s Congress must ratify the agreement for it to take effect.

Colombia

Colombia extradited the alleged mastermind of the country’s most notorious pyramid scheme, DMG, to the United States this week, according to the New York Times.

William Suárez left Colombia on Thursday morning for the United States, where he is wanted in a New York court on charges of money laundering.

Guatmemala

A United Nations investigation recently cleared Guatemalan president Alvaro Colom in involvement in the death of Rodrigo Rosenberg, the BBC reports.

Rosenberg, a prominent lawyer in Guatemala who was murdered last May, had warned in a video that he would be murdered on Colom’s orders. However, the U.N. now states that Rosenberg ordered his own assassination.

Honduras

High level military officers have been ordered by the Supreme Court to appear on Jan. 21 to face charges of abuse of power in connection with the ouster of President Manuel Zelaya last summer, reports the BBC.

Mexico

Mexican authorites captured a top drug lord Tuesday in the port city of La Paz, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Teodoro García Simental, better known as “El Teo,” who was allegedly responsible for mutiple massacres and beheadings in and around Tijuana was taken quietly into custody by Mexican fedreal police.

Mexico

The Dutch corporation Heineken bought FEMSA, Mexcico’s second-largest beer company and producer of the popular brands Dos Equis, Sol and Tecate. Heineken paid for the deal with $5.2 billion in stock and assumed FEMSA’s debt of over $2 billion, according to Business Week, who speculated that U.S. Anheuser Busch InBev is looking to purchase Mexican brewer Grupo Modelo.

Paraguay

Diego Zavala, brother of kidnapped Paraguayan rancher Fidel Zavala, donated 30 head of cattle to impoverished people in local indigenous communities in Northern Paraguay on Jan. 12 as part of a ransom demanded by the leftist rebel group known as the Paraguayan People’s Army (Ejército del Pueblo Paraguayo, EPP), according to reports from the Associated Press and the Folha de São Paulo.

The EPP, who kidnapped Zavala’s brother last October, also demands $5 million his return.

The Paraguayan government says the EPP has received training from the FARC, a Colombian guerrilla group, according to the Folha de São Paulo.

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