COLOMBIA: ELN Branch Threatens Blockades To Force Government Back To Talks

Trading 07 fév 2018 Commentaire »

The "Western War Front," a branch of the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla group, announced on Wednesday that its soldiers would impose land and river blockades between February 10 and 13. The threat was announced as an act of rejection of the government's refusal to resume peace talks in Quito, Ecuador.

According to the information released by the group in its Twitter account, "transporters and passengers" were warned to "refrain" from traveling this weekend and "avoid inconveniences."

The ELN branch claimed that "state terrorism moves on and the social persecution increased." They also said that the blockades would be extended to "roads and rivers, and sea and air routes."

The guerrilla threat comes amid the suspension of the fifth round of talks with the government. The peace talks were suspended after the end of a bilateral ceasefire.

Last week, the ELN guerrilla group announced that its military actions would continue until a new ceasefire with the Colombian government is agreed.

The guerrillas claimed that before the end of the ceasefire, on January 9, the Colombian Army had been expanding its presence and taking military advantage in several of the regions where the ELN is active. According to the group, the Army has now increased the persecution and attacks against its units in all cities and areas.

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VENEZUELA: Government Signs Peace Agreement

Trading 07 fév 2018 Commentaire »

The delegation of Venezuela's government on Tuesday signed the agreement for peace and coexistence proposed to opposition representatives in the framework of the peace talks held in the Dominican Republic. However, the opposition refused to sign the document.

The opposition bloc Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) claimed that "until now there is no agreement with the government."

The document, signed by the president of the National Constituent Assembly, Delcy Rodr?guez, and the diplomat Roy Chaderton, both of the government's delegation, sets guarantees and electoral timetable, as well as establishes the ground to issues such as respect for the rule of law, economic situation, Truth Commission and the establishment of a supervision group to the agreements.

Upon his departure from the meeting with the opposition in Santo Domingo, the head of the government delegation, Jorge Rodr?guez, denounced the pressure exerted by a call from the U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, to the leader of the mission opposition, Julio Borges, as the cause of the refusal.

"We remain open to this process of dialogue, and we insist on calling all political forces of Venezuela to this dialogue," said the head of the government delegation.

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RBNZ Keeps Official Cash Rate Unchanged At 1.75%

Trading 07 fév 2018 Commentaire »

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand on Thursday maintained its Official Cash Rate at the record low of 1.75 percent for the eighth straight meeting.

The decision was in line with expectations following a 0.25 percent rate cut in November 2016.

The central bank has pared a collective 0.50 percent from its benchmark in the last 16 months, lowering the rate in six of the last 18 meetings after six straight sessions with no change.

The global economy has continued to improve in recent months, RBNZ Governor Graeme Wheeler noted.

"While global inflation remains subdued, there are some signs of emerging pressures. Commodity prices have increased, although agricultural prices are relatively soft. International bond yields have increased since November but remain relatively low. Equity markets have been strong, although volatility has increased recently. Monetary policy remains easy in the advanced economies but is gradually becoming less stimulatory," Wheeler said in a statement accompanying the decision.

He also noted that the exchange rate has firmed slightly, due in part to a weaker U.S. dollar - although the exchange rate is expected to ease over time.

"GDP growth eased over the second half of 2017 but is expected to strengthen, driven by accommodative monetary policy, a high terms of trade, government spending and population growth. Labor market conditions continue to tighten," Wheeler said.

Annual inflation remained subdues in the third quarter but still remains well within the target range, the bank said.

Longer term inflation was lower than expected at around 1.6 percent, although the forecast suggests an upward trend - anchored at around 2 percent.

"Monetary policy will remain accommodative for a considerable period. Numerous uncertainties remain, and policy may need to adjust accordingly," Wheeler said.

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BRAZIL: Steel Companies To Visit The U.S. To Press Against Import Barriers

Trading 07 fév 2018 Commentaire »

The world steel industry may be under the threat of new import taxes from the United States, but the Brazilian Steel Institute (IABr), an association of steelmakers from Brazil, expects opposition to higher tariffs from the country and plans to send a new mission to the United States this month to avoid new trade barriers.

On January 12, the U.S. Department of Commerce concluded an investigation to verify if steel imports threaten the U.S. national security. The White House received the probe results, and President Donald Trump has 90 days to make a decision based on the reported conclusions.

Analysts see the investigation as a way for Trump to adopt barriers to steel imports using the Article 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, which grants the country's head of state authority to prevent certain products from entering the territory for reasons of national security.

"Behind the scenes, the U.S. government wants to close its market to protect the industry, but Brazil is not part of this problem, since more than 80% of our steel exports to the country are of semi-finished products, which are used and processed by the U.S. Industry," argues the IABr chairman, Marco Polo de Mello Lopes.

In 2017, Brazil steel exports totaled 15.353 million tons, of which 9,757 million was of semi-finished steel. The United States was among the main export destinations.

Mello Lopes noted that IABr already tried to argue for Brazil's exclusion from new trade barriers in September when the organization promoted a visit to the U.S. that included government officials and Brazilian business people. The mission took part in a series of meetings with U.S. lawmakers and the country's steel producers and consumers.

There was also an attempt to articulate a new mission in October 2017, but efforts to do so failed. Now, a new trade mission is being organized for this month.

"We are trying to consolidate the second trip with the minister to talk to Wilbur Ross [U.S. trade secretary]," Lopes told Ag?ncia CMA.

IABr's chairman expects Trump to either give up on new barriers for imported steel or to acknowledge local steel consumer's demands and apply soft obstacles for the commodity.

Wagner Parente, director superintendent of the foreign trade consulting Barral M. Jorge, said that China would be the first to retaliate against the U.S. in the case of new measures against steel.

"There is a lot of room for the Chinese to retaliate, whether in agricultural products, meat, or in manufactured goods, or in areas such as aviation," he noted.

Another possible consequence would be for some country to question the ruling in the World Trade Organization (WTO), which would open a consultation on the issue and could result in the opening of a panel.

To avoid a major showdown, Parente believes that Trump could also choose to place a barrier only on steel imported from individual countries and select the type of restriction, be it a surcharge, quotas, and other measures. However, he points out that the president has adopted a protectionist stance and that the steel sector has been a historical target of trade measures.

According to an IABr report, steel products are the target of a third of the trade defense measures in the world and this movement may continue to occur due to the global steel surplus.

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Video Shows Racist, Homophobic Student Chants At High School Basketball Game

Trading 07 fév 2018 Commentaire »
What should have been a normal basketball game between two Catholic high schools in Ohio became sinister Friday. Videos surfaced on the internet showing the student section at Elder High School shouting racist and homophobic chants aimed at the players on the opposing team, from St. Xavier, WLWT-5 reported.

‘The Amazing Race’ Season 30: Who Will Work Together During Partner Switch-Up?

Trading 07 fév 2018 Commentaire »
The remaining six teams on "The Amazing Race" will find themselves tested in a way they couldn't have expected as the race heads to Africa, with their pre-existing relationships with their partners no longer meaning anything once they arrive at their destination. In a preview clip for the upcoming episode, "All's Fair In Love And War," the teams will express dismay when they run into Phil, and he tells them that for the first time in the show's history, they will be switching their partners.

How To Watch Winter Olympics: Live Stream, Antenna, Cable Alternatives

Trading 07 fév 2018 Commentaire »
In the age of streaming services, there are only a few televised events that can draw a huge audience, but the Olympics is one of them. The Winter Games are set to officially begin Friday after the opening ceremonies, but some of the events are scheduled to be televised as early as Thursday. They continue until Feb. 25 when the closing ceremonies are scheduled to take place.

Sun’s UV Radiation Is Decreasing, But That Won’t Slow Climate Change

Trading 07 fév 2018 Commentaire »
The sun is going to stop sending as much energy to Earth later this century, but the decrease in heat will not be enough to mitigate climate changes occurring down here, according to researchers. During the period of reduced radiation, the Earth’s ozone will thin out and affect the world’s temperatures and weather patterns.

‘Little Women: Atlanta’ Season 4 Spoilers: Andrea Slams Minnie Over Amanda’s Engagement

Trading 07 fév 2018 Commentaire »
Last week’s episode of “Little Women: Atlanta” Season 4 marked a special time for Amanda and Jordan, who finally became engaged. But spoilers for episode 10, “Another Bad Romance,” reveal her twin, Andrea, is less than pleased Minnie was in on the proposal while she was left in the dark. In the previous episode, Jordan asked Minnie to come with him ring shopping and to keep the proposal to herself. However, she eventually told Sam and the two assisted him with setting up the perfect spot to pop the big question.

LA Clippers’ Lou Williams Signs 3-Year Contract Extension Before Trade Deadline

Trading 07 fév 2018 Commentaire »
While the impending trade deadline has most NBA teams in a frenzy, the Los Angeles Clippers inked a contract extension with guard Lou Williams, according to reports. The Clippers secured Williams on a three-year deal after reports indicated that both parties had been close to reaching an agreement before Thursday’s deadline.