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Bulletin 12 December 2010



Chile: Run-off campaign speeds up

The candidates in the second round of the presidential elections in Chile, due to take place this coming Sunday, will concentrate their efforts on the big cities in the last days of the campaign.

The opposition candidate, Sebastián Piñero, and his rival, former president Eduardo Frei, representing the government coalition, will lead rallies in cities where 65% of the electorate lives.

Mr. Piñero is the favourite to end almost two decades of the Concertación government, an alliance of socialists and Christian Democrats that has ruled Chile since it the return to democracy in 1989 after years of military dictatorship.

The last day of the campaign, on Thursday, will see both candidates addressing supporters in the capital, Santiago.

El Mercurio (Chile, Spanish)

Colombia: respect human rights and you will get help, says the USA

The US State Department is imposing new conditions on the Colombian government for its continued support in the fight against drug trafficking.

The US Congress approved a package of economic aid late last year but with strings attached, among them protection and support for human rights activists, journalists, trade unionists and opposition politicians.

This is not the first time that the controversial Plan Colombia imposes conditions on the Colombian government.

In the past, Washington has demanded the sacking and prosecution of government officials and military personnel who violate human rights. However, this time the conditions are stricter, because the government of President Alvaro Uribe has to produce evidence that  violations have not occurred.

El Tiempo (Colombia, Spanish)

Honduras: protests over amnesty for coup plotters

Representatives of the civil society staged on Monday a protest against the decision by the new government to issue an amnesty for those who were involved in the coup d’etat that deposed former President Manuel Zelaya, in June last year.

The amnesty, which was even rejected by former de facto president Roberto Micheletti, is being discussed by the new parliament.

Those who oppose the amnesty say that this is not part of the agreement that put an end to the political crisis that has affected Honduras for the past year.

La Tribuna (Honduras, Spanish)


Unemployment increased in 2009 says ILO

The International Labour Organisation says that more than 2 million Latin Americans lost their jobs in 2009. According to its annual report for last year, the ILO says that it will be very difficult fort those who become unemployed to rejoin the labour market in 2010.

According to the ILO’s Regional Director for Latin America, Jean Maninat, the region needs to implement policies that promote employment and protect the income of the labour force.

The report says that the economic crisis put an end five years of sustained growth. However, not everything is bad news. The ILO believes that this year the economy of the region will grow by 4% and that urban unemployment will be 8%, which, although high, is less than last year.

ILO (Spanish)


Save the environment, do not wear jeans

Wearing jeans is cool, practical and widespread. But, it seems that this garment, which has dressed succeeding generations and people of all ages, is contributing to environmental deterioration.

According to a study in France, the production process in making high resistance clothes and the need to use more water and washing powder to keep them pristine means higher CO2 emissions in factories and the excessive use of chemical substances to cleanse them.

Only in Mexico there are almost 4,000 maquilas (sweatshops) making millions of pair of jeans a year. After stitches and buttons have been put in place, jeans need to be washed before they hit shops and markets.

In Tehuacán, there are 25 laundries, using 100 million litres of untreated water a week. Making 160 pairs of jeans fashionable by treating them to lose colour requires 65 kilos of chlorine. So, next time you buy a pair of jeans, think first.

Analitica (Spanish)


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