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Ecuador's Correa rebukes 'intrusions' by UN, Americas court

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa on Saturday rebuked requests by major international bodies for clarification on his anti-abortion position and decision to extract oil from an Amazon reserve. The president revealed that his government had received letters from the UN and Inter-American Court of Human Rights pressing him on the matters, which he says are domestic. Speaking on his weekly radio and television program, Correa said the inter-American court had inquired into the government's controversial plans to extract oil in Yasuni Park.

Ecuador's Correa rebukes 'intrusions' by UN, Americas court

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa on Saturday rebuked requests by major international bodies for clarification on his anti-abortion position and decision to extract oil from an Amazon reserve. The president revealed that his government had received letters from the UN and Inter-American Court of Human Rights pressing him on the matters, which he says are domestic. Speaking on his weekly radio and television program, Correa said the inter-American court had inquired into the government's controversial plans to extract oil in Yasuni Park.

Cuba privatizes taxi service in latest economic reform

Taxi drivers in Cuba, who until now have been government employees, are to become self-employed workers, the latest in a raft of economic reforms on the Communist island. State-run media reported on Wednesday that the government was making the change with the goal of improving the island's slow and unreliable livery service. It also hopes to pare down the bloated government payroll on this island of some 11.1 million people.

Ecuador orders policeman who tried to kill president detained

Ecuadoran authorities Wednesday ordered a policeman accused of involvement in a failed 2010 coup bid against President Rafael Correa be held pending investigation. Prosecutor Franz Valverde in Quito ordered the detention of the officer, whose name was not disclosed. The officer faces a charge of attempting to kill the president; if convicted he could spend up to 12 years in prison. The prosecutor's office said the arrest was made based on a videotape in which the suspect allegedly appears.

Venezuela says murder rate plunges under Maduro

By Andrew Cawthorne and Patricia Velez CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela's murder rate has fallen by about a quarter this year, the government says, dismissing opponents' talk of ever-rising crime as propaganda. Violent crime has been Venezuelans' No. 1 concern in recent years. Awash with guns, the South American nation is one of the world's most violent, with an official homicide rate of about 52 per 100,000 people last year, or more than 15,000 victims.

Bolivian leader confident of bid to host 2018 South American Games

Bolivian leader confident of bid to host 2018 South American Games LA PAZ, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Bolivian President Evo Morales said Thursday he was confident of his country's bid to host the 2018 South American Games. After meeting earlier in the day with members of the evaluating committee, Morales told a press conference their comments made him hopeful and confident of a positive decision for Bolivia.

Government takes over retail chain in Venezuela

Venezuela's leftist government Tuesday ordered the temporary takeover of a chain of appliance stores targeted in a crackdown on price speculation. The action involved the Daka chain, and its five electronics and appliance outlets in Caracas and other Venezuelan cities. President Nicolas Maduro set off a pre-Christmas season shopping spree November 8 by ordering Daka and other stores to slash prices that the government claimed were marked up as much as 10 times cost.

Cuba, Russia discuss energy cooperation

Cuba's President Raul Castro met with the head of Russia's state-owned oil company Rosneft to discuss deepening cooperation in the energy sector, the communist party newspaper Granma said Monday. A government statement published in the official government newspaper said Castro and Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin held the wide-ranging talks on Saturday. Granma said there are "broad possibilities" for working together, including in training oil industry technicians and specialists.

Fire sale TVs and Chavez-style theatrics heat up Venezuela vote

By Brian Ellsworth and Eyanir Chinea CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is firing up supporters for the upcoming mayors' election through a theatrical confrontation with businesses that has showered voters with cheap consumer goods, echoing the style of late socialist leader Hugo Chavez.

Venezuela fines General Motors over spare parts' prices

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela's socialist government said on Tuesday it was fining the local subsidiary of General Motors <GM.N> nearly $85,000 for allegedly selling spare parts at exorbitant prices. The measure came as part of an aggressive drive by President Nicolas Maduro's government to tackle Venezuela's high inflation rate by forcing businesses to lower prices.
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