Oct. 9 News Brief Central America/Caribbean

MEXICO CITY, Mexico – 20 tons of drug ingredients seized: Mexican authorities in the port of Manzanillo have seized 20 tons of phenylacetic acid, a major ingredient used to make crystal meth. The operation involved the Attorney General's Office and Maritime Customs, and is the second-largest seizure in Mexican history after another 37 tons of chemicals were seized a week ago. The substance, originally from India, is used as a substitute for pseudoephedrine and arrived at the port concealed in a container.

[La Jornada, El Universal]

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala – Inflation on the rise: Inflation in Guatemala at the end of September measured a slight year-on-year increase of 0.62 percent, thus reversing a deflationary trend that began in November 2008. So far in 2009, overall inflation has reached -0.09 percent, while year-on-year inflation stands at 0.03 percent, as shown by the Consumer Price Index released by the National Statistics Institute. The increase is due to the higher prices of gasoline and a number of basic goods that depend on transport from rural areas.

[La Hora, El Periódico]

PANAMA CITY, Panama – Fiscal transparency agreement with Italy progresses: The Italian and Paraguayan governments have begun negotiations toward an agreement on double taxation, announced Panama's Deputy Economy Minister Frank De Lima. With this agreement, President Ricardo Martinelli and his government hope to comply with the requirements established by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to remove Panama from its blacklist of tax havens. The pact is designed to improve the transparency of the local banking system and thus prevent Italian banks from abandoning Panama, as French bank BNP Paribas has already announced.

[La Estrella, PA Digital]

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – New outbreak of Influenza A feared: In preparation for a second potential wave of Influenza A (H1N1), the Salvadoran government has assured that it will enforce precautionary measures and provide vaccines for vulnerable population groups in December. The measures were announced by Health Minister María Isabel Rodríguez, who explained that the country has stocks of 250,000 doses of the vaccine donated by the World Health Organization (WHO). El Salvador has registered 763 cases of H1N1 flu and 20 deaths.

[La Prensa Gráfica, Salvador.com]

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