CARACAS, Venezuela – Chávez orders expropriation of U.S. rice processor Cargill: Venezuelan government officials and National Guard troops took control of a rice processing plant belonging to U.S. company Cargill. Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez ordered the expropriation of the facility on accusations that the company is “in violation” of local laws pertaining to food production and price regulation. Agriculture and land minister, Elías Jaua, said that the Venezuelan government is seeking an “amicable agreement” with the company to calcualte the value of Cargill’s assets, which will then be settled by the government.
[El Universal, Reuters]
ASUNCIÓN, Paraguay – Lugo announces visit by Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa: Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo announced that his Ecuadorian counterpart, Rafael Correa, will visit Asunción during the second fortnight in March to sign several bilateral agreements. The Paraguayan president, a former catholic bishop, has often spoken sympathetically about Ecuador, where he performed part of his pastoral duties as a priest.
[AFP, AP, Notimex]
SÃO PAULO, Brazil – Brazilian industrial production suffers greatest fall in 18 years in January: Brazilian industrial production fell 17.2 percent in January, as compared to the same month in 2008, reported the coordinator of the Brazilian Geography and Statistics Institute (IBGE), Silvio Sales. This is the greatest monthly fall since measurement began in 1991. The lack of credit and a decline in international demand have forced several of the country’s industries in the mining, iron and steel and automotive sectors to reduce production, halt some plants, dismiss employees and offer unplanned holidays. However, overall production during the past 12 months grew by one percent compared to the period comprising February 2007 to January 2008.
[Folha de Sao Paulo, EFE]
SANTIAGO, Chile – Chilean Navy searches for U.S. tourist who jumped off cruise ship: The Chilean Navy deployed aircraft and patrol boats in an attempt to find a U.S. tourist who threw himself into the sea from a cruise ship sailing close to Antofagasta, northern Chile on 5 March. The U.S. citizen was identified as Dennis Lowe, aged 63, and was a passenger on the “Carnival Splendor” cruise ship. He had left a suicide note in his cabin. The cruise ship set sail from Miami in February.
[El Mercurio, Radio Infinita, 123 Chile]