Category : South America

(Reuters) Captive orangutan has human right to freedom, Argentine court rules

An orangutan held in an Argentine zoo can be freed and transferred to a sanctuary after a court recognized the ape as a “non-human person” unlawfully deprived of its freedom, local media reported on Sunday.

Animal rights campaigners filed a habeas corpus petition – a document more typically used to challenge the legality of a person’s detention or imprisonment – in November on behalf of Sandra, a 29-year-old Sumatran orangutan at the Buenos Aires zoo.

In a landmark ruling that could pave the way for more lawsuits, the Association of Officials and Lawyers for Animal Rights (AFADA) argued the ape had sufficient cognitive functions and should not be treated as an object.

The court agreed Sandra, born into captivity in Germany before being transferred to Argentina two decades ago, deserved the basic rights of a “non-human person.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Animals, Anthropology, Argentina, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, South America, Theology

An NPR piece on what Happens when the "monster" of Marijuana comes to Uruguay

Foreigners are dreaming big, but the locals seem a bit overwhelmed with all the interest in a new law that was passed legalizing marijuana in the last year.

The law allows Uruguayans to register to grow their own weed, or join growing clubs ”” cooperatives of up to 45 people ”” for personal consumption.

Under President Jose Mujica’s maverick leadership, Uruguay went further than any country in the world: The government will plant, cultivate and ultimately distribute marijuana, too.

Mujica says decades of failed drug war policies necessitated a radical new approach to curb drug violence and addiction. If the government sells dope, the idea goes, the criminals can’t. But the reality has proven complicated, and some advocates say the government has bitten off more than it can chew.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, South America, Theology, Uruguay

(WSJ) Falling Oil Prices Test OPEC Unity

“The upcoming OPEC meeting is going to be the most difficult one during this century,” said Mohammad al-Sabban, a former senior adviser to Mr. Naimi. “It seems that OPEC has forgotten how to cooperate.”

Within the group, officials are increasingly worried its divisions contribute to weaker prices. “If OPEC fails to reach an agreement,” one OPEC official said, “oil prices will keep on falling….”

A collective move to cut output could boost prices, but it would also rob OPEC members of revenue. It is unclear how long such vulnerable OPEC economies as Venezuela and Nigeria could afford to limit production without reopening the spigots.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, History, Middle East, Politics in General, South America, Theology, Venezuela

(Economist) Dilma Rousseff, Brazil's president, has left herself a really big Mess

As she hobnobs with the other G20 heads of state in Brisbane this weekend, Dilma Rousseff, re-elected last month to a second four-year term as Brazil’s president, will have precious little besides her (narrow) victory to boast about. Every day seems to bring more evidence of just how big a mess she has left herself. Official data released in the past three weeks have shown a bulging budget deficit, falling industrial production and rising poverty. Even the job market, until recently a rare bright spot, with unemployment near historic lows of around 5%, is beginning to falter. This week payroll numbers showed a net loss of 30,000 jobs in October, the worst result for the month since 1999 and well below the average market expectations of a gain of 56,000.

Days before a kerfuffle broke out over a bill sent to Congress that would let Ms Rousseff in effect turn a primary fiscal surplus (before interest payments) of 1.9% of GDP promised in the 2014 budget into a deficit. Since the primary balance showed a hole equal to 0.5% of GDP in the nine months to September (because of a pre-election spending splurge), the government was merely facing up to reality. The opposition leapt on the opportunity to bash Ms Rousseff for fiscal incontinence and obfuscation. Some threatened to contest this budgetary meddling before the Supreme Court.

If that weren’t enough, on November 14th the federal police rounded up dozens of suspects in an ongoing corruption probe into Petrobras, the state-controlled oil giant, in which Ms Rousseff’s left-wing Workers’ Party (PT) and some coalition parties have been implicated. They include a former Petrobras director, as well as executives at several big construction firms with contracts worth 56 billion reais ($21.5 billion) with the company; 720m reais-worth of their assets were frozen.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Brazil, Economy, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, South America

(Pew Research) Religion in Latin America–Widespread Change in a Historically Catholic Region

Latin America is home to more than 425 million Catholics ”“ nearly 40% of the world’s total Catholic population ”“ and the Roman Catholic Church now has a Latin American pope for the first time in its history. Yet identification with Catholicism has declined throughout the region, according to a major new Pew Research Center survey that examines religious affiliations, beliefs and practices in 18 countries and one U.S. territory (Puerto Rico) across Latin America and the Caribbean.

Historical data suggest that for most of the 20th century, from 1900 through the 1960s, at least 90% of Latin America’s population was Catholic (See History of Religious Change). Today, the Pew Research survey shows, 69% of adults across the region identify as Catholic. In nearly every country surveyed, the Catholic Church has experienced net losses from religious switching, as many Latin Americans have joined evangelical Protestant churches or rejected organized religion altogether. For example, roughly one-in-four Nicaraguans, one-in-five Brazilians and one-in-seven Venezuelans are former Catholics.

Overall, 84% of Latin American adults report that they were raised Catholic, 15 percentage points more than currently identify as Catholic. The pattern is reversed among Protestants and people who do not identify with any religion: While the Catholic Church has lost adherents through religious switching, both Protestant churches and the religiously unaffiliated population in the region have gained members. Just one-in-ten Latin Americans (9%) were raised in Protestant churches, but nearly one-in-five (19%) now describe themselves as Protestants. And while only 4% of Latin Americans were raised without a religious affiliation, twice as many (8%) are unaffiliated today.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Latin America & Caribbean, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, South America

(WSJ) World Income Inequality Even Worse Than Within U.S Says a Study by the St. Louis Fed

The income gap between rich and poor nations is more severe than the more highly publicized disparities between the top and bottom of the U.S. income ladder, according to a new study from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

“While not to diminish the ample income inequality in the U.S., a focus on absolute inequality would suggest income disparity among the world’s population is a far greater concern,” write Lowell Ricketts and Christopher Waller, economic researchers at the St. Louis Fed.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Asia, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, Globalization, History, Personal Finance, Politics in General, South America, Theology

Fifa talks to Lionel Messi after the World Cup Final

Before going up to collect his award, Messi sportingly accepted the commiserations of his opponents, including Bastian Schweinsteiger, who gave him a warm embrace at pitchside. He also took time to congratulate Manuel Neuer, who had followed him up to receive the adidas Golden Glove, and posed for the obligatory photos. Messi then rejoined his team-mates as they filed past the victorious Germans, before climbing the steps once more to pick up their runner’s up medals.

And still he kept his anguish and disappointment in check. Afterwards, following almost an hour in the dressing room, he made time to stop off for a photo with his side’s conqueror Mario Goetze, before making his way to the mixed zone to face the world’s media.

“Right now, nothing can console me ”“ not the award or anything else,” said Messi. “Our only goal was to take home the World Cup and enjoy our victory with everyone in Argentina. We deserved a bit more after the game we played, and it was very painful to lose that way,” added the Albiceleste No10, understandably anxious to conclude his round of interviews.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Argentina, Globalization, Men, South America, Sports

Congratulations to Germany, World Cup 2014 Champions

There were definitely the best team–well done.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Argentina, Europe, Germany, Men, South America, Sports

(Fox Sports) David Beckham backs Lionel Messi and Argentina to win World Cup final

David Beckham is thrilled to see Lionel Messi feature in the World Cup final and is backing the Argentina star to lead his team to victory.

Messi has often faced criticism that he has not reproduced his Barcelona form on the international stage, but has played a key role as the Albiceleste progressed to Sunday’s final against Germany.

“He’s amazing,” Beckham said in an interview on Adidas football’s YouTube channel.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Argentina, Europe, Germany, South America

One short video of what it meant to Argentina fans to see their Team Beat the Netherlands

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Argentina, Europe, Globalization, South America, Sports, The Netherlands

The Netherlands win 3-0 over Brazil to secure 3rd place in the World Cup

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Brazil, Europe, Globalization, Men, South America, Sports, The Netherlands

Great ESPN Video–Men in Blazers: Favourite World Cup memories

Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Brazil, Globalization, Humor / Trivia, Media, Men, South America, Sports

A Preview of Today's World Cup Match Semifinal between the Netherlands and Argentina

The second semi-final at Brazil 2014 features another tussle for supremacy between Europe and South America, with the Netherlands and Argentina renewing acquaintances in Sao Paulo. The two teams most famously contested the Final in 1978, when Argentina won 3-1 after extra time to record their only success in four FIFA World Cupâ„¢ meetings with the Oranje.

Their hopes of posting a second could well depend on Lionel Messi, who has driven the team forward in Brazil and regularly made the difference, with a haul of four goals and one assist so far. Performing a different role than he does for Barcelona, Messi pulls the strings for La Albiceleste thanks to his exceptional ball protection, devastating bursts of speed and precision passing.

He will have to make do without injured lieutenant Angel Di Maria, but the player whose absence will arguably be felt most is Nigel de Jong….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Argentina, Europe, Globalization, Men, South America, Sports, The Netherlands

Handicapped Brazil Slammed by Germans 7-1 in World Cup Semi-Final

John Doyle says “this wasn’t about a Brazilian collapse”¦ It was all about German engineering”. Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Brazil, Europe, Germany, Men, South America, Sports

(NYT Upshot) How England, Italy and Germany Are Dominating the World Cup

…as the table shows, the European leagues are still dominating the tournament.

The world’s best players come from around the world. Yet the money is in Europe, which means that most of them spend their professional peaks in England, Germany, Italy or Spain.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Brazil, England / UK, Europe, Germany, Globalization, Italy, South America, Sports

Brazil and Germany move on to the World Cup Semifinals

Congratulations to both teams.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Brazil, Europe, Germany, Globalization, Men, South America, Sports

Argentina Barely Survive to Beat the Swiss in the World Cup

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Argentina, Europe, Men, South America, Sports, Switzerland

Congratulations to Colombia who go on to the World Cup Quarterfinals

James Rodriguez wow; just wow.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Colombia, Men, South America, Sports, Uruguay

Brazil Beat Back the tension to reach the quarterfinals of the World Cup

Penalty shoot outs are so tough.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Brazil, Chile, Men, South America, Sports

(Do not Take Yourself Too Seriously Dept) FIFA World Cup Ad Featuring Nobel Prize Winners

Watch it all–LOL.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Brazil, Globalization, Media, Movies & Television, South America, Sports

USA Make Knockout Stage at World Cup 2014

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Brazil, Europe, Germany, Globalization, South America, Sports

(SMH) Luis Suarez bite: British press take a chunk out of Uruguay star for his apparent bite

Along with the Jaw III headline, former English referee Graham Poll, who is widely regarded as one of the best modern referees, argued that Suarez, “should not be allowed to kick another ball in this World Cup tournament”.

“Referee Marco Rodriguez clearly missed the coming together of Suarez and Italian Giorgio Chiellini,” Poll said. “And replays are clear enough to me for the Uruguayan to be charged by FIFA’s disciplinary panel.”

Adding to the discontent of the English press at the despicable behaviour of Suarez, Everton boss Roberto Martinez chimed into the conversation on ESPN and questioned whether the 2013-14 EPL player of the season is in the right state of mind to be playing football given his brain explosions of late.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Brazil, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Men, Psychology, South America, Sports, Theology, Uruguay

Did you know Dept.–Nigeria and Iran could be forced to draw lots in the World Cup

Nigeria and Iran could see their World Cup fate decided by the drawing of lots.

Argentina play Nigeria and Iran face Bosnia-Herzegovina in Group F’s final matches on Wednesday, and if Iran and Argentina were both to win their games 1-0 then the FIFA Organising Committee would need to draw lots to determine whether the Super Eagles or Team Melli would advance.

Iran and Nigeria drew 0-0 in their opening match, with Iran then losing 1-0 to Argentina and Nigeria beating Bosnia & Herzegovina 1-0 in their second games.

FIFA rules determine that teams should be separated first by points, then goal difference, then goals scored and then their head-to-head record. However, lots are used as a last recourse if they cannot otherwise be set apart.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Brazil, Globalization, Iran, Men, Middle East, Nigeria, South America, Sports

Very Cool Chart Department–of the 144 Possible USA Scenarios in World Cup, the ones where we go on

Take a look and yes, you read that right, it says “coin toss” for some of them.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Brazil, Globalization, Men, South America, Sports

Huge Huge Moment for USA Soccer

Go Team USA go!

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Brazil, Men, South America, Sports

(FIFA) Memories of revivals past buoy wounded Portugal in World Cup 2014

Beaten 4-0 by Germany on their Group G debut and deprived of the services of some of their first-choice players through injury and suspension, Portugal have made an inauspicious start to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™. Nevertheless, a look at the history books shows that they need not despair. After slow starts at UEFA EURO 2004 and 2012, A Selecção das Quinas went far on both occasions.

Sunday’s meeting with USA is a crucial one for Paulo Bento’s men, and victory would certainly give them a timely lift, especially with Fabio Coentrao having gone back to Lisbon, with his World Cup having come to a premature, injury-enforced end, and Pepe serving a one-match suspension. To make matters worse, Rui Patricio and Hugo Almeida have both picked up knocks that will keep them sidelined until after the group phase, while Bruno Alves is also an injury doubt. All five started against the Germans and their absences ”“ temporary or otherwise ”“ have given coach Bento plenty to ponder as he assesses his options for the USA game.

The Portuguese need not feel too downcast, however, not when they have shown an ability to recover from similar situations in the past.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Brazil, Europe, History, Men, Portugal, South America, Sports

(Telegraph) World Cup 2014: Wayne Rooney apologises for England's exit

England’s footall players have apologised for being eliminated from the World Cup, saying they were “gutted” not to have performed better.

Wayne Rooney and Joe Hart were among members of the squad to publicly lament their exit from the tournament on Friday night.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Brazil, England / UK, Men, South America, Sports

Heartbreak for English Football Fans Again in World Cup Loss to Uruguay 2-1

They not only lose they find a way to break your heart while doing it.

In fairness, the offense had moments of light, but the defense just wasn’t good enough–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Brazil, England / UK, Globalization, Men, South America, Sports

(London Times) Daniel Finkelstein–England’s chances of winning the World Cup down to 1.2%

The (England-Italy) outcome deserves to be regarded as a disappointment because there was a 50 per cent chance of victory. Italy had a 23
per cent chance, similar to the probability of Holland beating Spain. England’s good fortune was the unlikely result of Costa Rica beating Uruguay, an outcome that only had a 15 per cent chance.

Before the Italy game, England had a 77.7 per cent chance of proceeding. This has been cut almost in half, to 39.6 per cent. Much of this chance has leaked not to Uruguay (who are only on 25 per cent to go through) but to Costa Rica, who are 58.1 per cent likely.

This reduction has also taken England’s chances of winning the World Cup down to 1.2 per cent.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Brazil, England / UK, South America, Sports

(Economist) An up-to-date interactive guide of every goal ever scored in the World Cup, by minute

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Brazil, Globalization, South America, Sports