Venezuela rejects Colombian accusations of illegal incursion
The government of Venezuela reacted with anger to accusations by Colombia that a Venezuelan military helicopter had invaded Colombian air space.
The Venezuelan Foreign Minister, Nicolás Maduro, denied the incursion of a helicopter into the border city of Arauca and said that the accusation is part of a “brutal and dirty campaign of hate against President (Hugo Chávez) to promote feeling of contempt against out country”.
The Colombian foreign ministry sent a letter of protest for the alleged 20-minute invasion of Colombian air space, saying that many people witnessed the incursion, and the local military commander said that his forces are prepared “for any eventuality”.
The Colombian President, Alvaro Uribe, who is attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, said that he believes the incursion was a mistake and urged his ministers “to be prudent” in the way they treat the incident.
On more than one occasion, Colombia and Venezuela have accused each other of trying to undermine each other’s political processes.
El Tiempo (Colombia, Spanish)
El Nacional (Venezuela, Spanish)
Brazilian President cancels trip to Davos due to illness
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva cancelled his attendance to the ritual yearly World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos because of high blood pressure.
Lula had already boarded the plane that would fly him to Davos, when his closest advisers decided to take him to hospital as a precautionary measure because he showed signs of hypertension.
During a ceremony to remember the victims of the Nazi holocaust on Thursday, Lula had chest pains and problems speaking clearly. He was taken to the Recife Real Portugués Hospital. He is resting now in his own residence until next Monday.
According to medical sources, the high blood pressure was caused by a “variety of reasons”, among them the fact that Lula has started smoking again, against the advice of his doctors. News of his illness has caused concern because never during his seven years in power has he ever been ill or taken to hospital.
O Globo (Brazil, Portuguese)
El Pais (Spanish)
Peru: guerrilla leader “surrounded”
One of the last remaining leaders of the Shinning Path guerrillas, who terrorised Peruvian society in the 1980s and 1990s, is about to surrender, according to Peruvian authorities.
“Comrade” Artemio (pictured), the head of the Shining Path in the coca-producing region of Huallaga, in the central area of the Amazon Basin, has suffered the loss of two of his commanders and his forces lack food supplies.
The Peruvian Interior Minister Octavio Salazar rejected a proposal by Artemio to negotiate with authorities saying that the government does not talk to terrorists, and urged the rebel leader to lay down his weapons and surrender.
The remains of the Shining Path have been active in the Huallaga region, where it is believe they have been giving protection to drug traffickers in exchange for money and weapons. Some policemen have been killed and villages raided, but, since the arrest of their leader, Abimael Guzmán, and all his political committee in 1992, it has become a spent force with sporadic and failed attempts to rebuild its forces.
El Comercio (Peru, Spanish)
Chile: salmon production to fall
Chile is the second world producer of salmon and its salmon farmers make US$1.2 billion a year. But an infectious virus, which has affected the production of salmon, will have serious economic consequences for fish farmers, because exports are likely to fall by half.
The area most seriously affected is Chiloé Island in the southern region. Farmers have stated to farm the salmon at a young age to avoid major losses.
The Chilean parliament is due to discuss a proposal to regulate fish farming practices in order to reduce health problems.
Venezuelan parliaments discusses law for rubbish management
The Venezuela congress has approved in the first instance a law that will manage the way rubbish and food remains are disposed of.
The law will also encourage environmental education so the population becomes aware of the dangers of mismanaging rubbish and the harm that can be caused to the ecosystem if rubbish is not properly processed.
The law will order the “integral management of (…) the segregation, collection, transport, storing, transfer, treatment and final disposal” of food residues and non-solid residues, mainly in the capital, Caracas (pictured).
The new legislation will also promote more suitable consumption patterns and the protection of the environment.
Circulo Ambiental (Venezuela, Spanish)