Most Brazilian Voters Are Confident in Lula to Improve Economy

For most Brazilian voters, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is the best prepared precandidate to make the national economy grow, according to a survey published on Friday.

The poll, carried out by the Datafolha institute, shows that 32 percent of those surveyed consider that the founder and historic leader of the Workers' Party (PT) has the best conditions among all precandidates to the presidency of the Republic to boost Brazil's economic growth.

Like in the surveys on vote intention, the second best precandidate is the representative of the extreme right wing, Jair Bolsonaro (15 percent), followed by former Presidential Candidate Marina Silva, from Sustainability Network (8 percent).

Regarding the voters' wish for Lula to run in the October elections, 49 percent responded favorably and 48 percent think that he should not be authorized to do so.

  • Published in World

Let’s See. How is Cuba Doing?

Better, a lot better, as we all know, better than all the other suffering and exploited countries around them.

Miami. – Today in this world filled with turmoil, especially in our region, Cubans remain unaltered in their busy everyday lives making their society better whether they are aware or unaware of that fact. I have just returned from Havana, where the heat and the crushing humidity are everywhere. This reminds us that we are getting closer to the hottest season of the year, accompanied, thanks God by the famous cloudbursts of May. And I say, thanks God, because this year has been prodigal in rains, always welcomed by crops, as well as other trees and plants, especially the flowers, either in the countryside as in the city.

And in the city, in Havana, where I stay the longest, rains drag the dust off streets. A thick layer of dust accumulates in streets after only a week without heavy rains. The dust rarefies the atmosphere and makes heat unbearable. Although already late at night it freshens up the atmosphere and sleeping becomes pleasant.

The morning dawns are clear, although with the passing of hours, around noon, as usual in the entire Island, and the entire tropic, clouds gather, rain threatens, the result of high temperatures is palpable and the steam, and the lucky ones seek and find some shelter in the shades, wherever they can find it, especially if there’s some breeze with it, no matter how faint it is.

In this time of the year cloudbursts at times become storms that you come with blinding lightnings and deafening thunders that scare and wreck havoc, sometimes severe, to the electric devices, especially coolers and refrigerators, if you are careless enough to leave them plugged in to electricity before leaving home. Which brings along the great doubt –just like that of Hamlet¬--, to unplug or not unplug?

Ah!, how those beneficent storms are cursed by hundreds of thousands of compatriots –both young and old--, if that happens while exiting school or your workplace when they soak us through and through and mess with our shoes. Especially if you happen to be very tired, in afternoon hours, complicating a lot more your return home.

Thank goodness for umbrellas and raincoats that lately have been available for purchase in stores, and so many have gotten used to wearing. And thank goodness for some improvement in the public transportation system at least in Havana. The private sector, the almendrones (vintage cars), are still going strong, although due to complaints of those paying for their ride, and the subsequent actions of competent authorities, they have been able to diminish and regulate the avarice of the owners of the same cabs.

The garbage collecting services at homes as well as solid waste collection, like the remains of the trimming of trees and plants, the rubble left by construction sites has lessen enough. At least in Playa municipality where I live. I know that in other areas of that same municipality and other municipalities of the capital it’s not like that. There was a time not so long ago that that situation dragged for years, was unacceptable, dangerous and harmful for everyone, in all areas of all municipalities of the capital. The population's outrage forced the change we have seen.

Procrastination, that is, the lack of care and interest, on behalf of the responsible authorities to improve basic public services and other services and necessary procedures exasperates the population. That makes the population lose patience with them and the trust in the very ones.

But in Cuba authorities step forward, sometimes later than sooner, but they step. Cuban society, as socialist and revolutionary as it is sees the positive changes that are crucial to make of it, despite the griefs, a better society where they can live in peace, healthy, fed, educated, enjoying life, seeing the tangible results of so many decades of sacrifices, in the whole of its society, as well as in themselves, and in their children, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters and the rest of relatives.

One can feel that Cubans -Cuba--, in its vast majority, is still well; now with a new generation of men and women taking control of the State and the Government, certain of the path they chose, freely chosen, and in their dreams. Better, a lot better, as we all know, better than all the other suffering and exploited countries around them East, West, South, as well as… up North.

Cubasi Translation Staff / Amilkal Labañino Valdés

Chomsky: Trump Driving US to Another Economic Crash

A surge in Wall Street stocks after Donald Trump’s election and a billionaire-packed cabinet will lead to a 2008-like economic crisis.

The United States is heading toward another large economic crash as President Donald Trump packs his cabinet with billionaires and former executives in Wall Street, renowned political scientist and linguist Noam Chomsky said in a recent interview.

RELATED: Donald Trump's Cabinet One of Wealthiest in Modern History

In an interview with AlterNet, Chomsky pointed to the staggering number of Wall Street chiefs who have been appointed in his cabinet. "Anti-establishment is kind of a joke," Chomsky concluded. "Take a look at Trump and take a look at who's appointed for the cabinet."

He pointed to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin who "comes from Goldman Sachs, a major investment firm where he was for almost 20 years."

As a result, Wall Street has been cheering for Trump and his administration, Chomsky argued. “As soon as Trump was elected, and since, stock values in financial institutions escalated to the sky.”

Stocks like pharmaceuticals, banks and prisons have all soared under the promise of tax reform and less regulation.

Investors are “delighted he’s going to eliminate regulations, let them make more profit; of course, it’ll lead to another crash, but that’s somebody else’s problem. The taxpayers will take care of that.”

Trump has repeatedly promised to “drain the swamp” and fight against the establishment but as far as most experts and observers are concerned his administration is the richest in the country’s history.

RELATED: The Trump Silver Lining: Black, Muslim, Native American Unity

He had also promised to better the lives of working class people but his tax plans suggest that the top one percent and the wealthy in the U.S. are poised to benefit the most from his administration while white workers, who helped vote him in, will continue to suffer.

Trump has also introduced a new healthcare bill, which would replace the so-called Obamacare. Lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle have slammed the plan as a disaster and vowed to vote it down when introduced.

The bill would see millions of people losing their healthcare insurance, which would affect the very same people who voted for Trump: the poor white working class.

  • Published in World

Nestle Close to Signing off on Factory Worth Millions in Cuba

The factory, worth US$50 to $60 million, will help cater to a surge in tourism and replace imports with locally made products. 

Swiss firm Nestle (NESN.S) is close to reaching a deal with Cuba on forming a new joint venture to build a $50 million to $60 million factory to produce coffee, biscuits and cooking products, company Vice President Laurent Freixe said on Tuesday in Havana.

Freixe, head of Nestle's Americas division, was visiting the Communist-ruled island to negotiate the new investment in the Mariel special development zone west of Havana as well as to renew for another 20 years an existing joint venture producing ice cream.

Cuba has upped its drive to attract foreign funds in a bid to stimulate the economy in recent years, introducing a new investment law and creating the Mariel zone, which offers companies significant tax and customs breaks.

Nestle has been one of the largest investors in the country since it opened the door to Western capital in the 1990s after the fall of former benefactor the Soviet Union.

"The idea is to create a new joint venture to produce and distribute these products mainly for the Cuban market but also with the idea of exporting some products," Freixe said in an interview.

Nestle's new factory, set to begin operations in the second half of 2019, will cater to growing demand after a surge in tourism and help replace imports with locally made products, Freixe said. It will employ around 300 people.

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  • Published in Cuba

China ready to shoulder global leadership burden if others back out – senior Chinese diplomat

A senior Chinese Foreign Ministry official has hinted that Beijing may pick up the torch of global leadership if forced to do so by the withdrawal of other contenders for the role as Washington under Trump appears to become more immersed in domestic issues.

"If anyone were to say China is playing a leadership role in the world, I would say it's not China rushing to the front but rather the frontrunners have stepped back, leaving the place to China," Zhang Jun, the director general of the Chinese Foreign Ministry's international economics department, told reporters on Monday, according to Reuters.

READ MORE: Nobody ‘stealing’ your jobs, you spend too much on wars, Alibaba founder tells US

At the same time, he said that China would not shun the opportunity to lead the world if needed for the common good.

"If China is required to play that leadership role, then China will assume its responsibilities," the official added.

Zhang’s comments came on the hills of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week, in which he advocated the benefits of globalization and spoke on the perils of isolationism, which critics argue Washington may face if US President Donald Trump pursues his “America first” policy.

In his inauguration address, President Trump promised that on his watch Washington would not ignore the needs of ordinary Americans for the sake of foreign nations.  

“We’ve defended other nations’ borders while refusing to defend our own; and spent trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay,” Trump said, vowing, “From this moment on, it’s going to be America first.”

This and similar statements by Trump during the election campaign, including his call for other NATO members to contribute more to defense costs, has raised concerns among those who fear the US might voluntary loosen its grip as the “leader of the free world” and resort to isolationism and protectionism.

READ MORE: Beijing ready to talk to resolve trade issues with Washington

“The countries aren’t paying their fair share, so we’re supposed to protect countries. There’s five countries that are paying what they’re supposed to. Five. It’s not much,” Trump said in a recent interview to The Times and Bild, while branding the NATO alliance “obsolete.”

In contrast, speaking at Davos, Chinese President Xi likened protectionism to “locking oneself in a dark room” with no light or air.  

Xi also said that China would not use currency devaluation as a tool to gain a completive edge over other countries, thus responding to numerous claims by Donald Trump accusing Beijing of unfair competition.  

Echoing Xi’s sentiment, Zhang said that a potential trade war between US and China would be detrimental to US economy and prevent Trump from achieving his ambitious goal of 4 percent growth. 

"A trade war or an exchange rate war won't be advantageous to any country," the diplomat noted, adding that China hopes Washington and the West will make “an even bigger contribution to the world economic recovery.”

Recently, US-China relations have been on the rocks not only due to longstanding economic disputes, but particularly due to a string of controversial Trump statements on the one-China policy, which drew anger in Beijing as it views the one-China policy as the cornerstone of its foreign policy. 

In a recent interview to the Wall Street Journal ahead of his inauguration, Trump did not make any attempt to downplay his earlier statements, however, and instead reinforced his stance on the issue, arguing that “everything is under negotiation, including ‘One China.”  

Cautioning Washington against going ahead with the move, China’s official Communist party newspaper the Global Times issued a what looked like a warning, writing: “The Chinese people will demand that the government take revenge,” adding that “the mainland is fully prepared.” 

Tensions in US-China relations have been running high after Trump became the first American president since 1979 to speak directly with a Taiwanese leader. Taiwan’s Tsai Ing-wen placed a congratulatory call to Trump in December, which the president-elect took. While Trump insisted there was no political meaning to his conversation, it sparked a diplomatic scandal that does not seem to show signs of fading.  

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Cuban Economy Will Grow 2% in 2017, Predicts the President

Havana, Dec 28 (Prensa Latina) The Cuban economy is closing 2016 with a 0.9% decline of its Gross Domestic Product; however, despite ongoing challenges it will grow 2% in 2017, President Raul Castro predicted.

In closing the last session of the Cuban Parliament, the Head of State said, though, that to be able to reach that goal the country would need to ensure exports and timely charge for them; increase domestic production to replace imports; reduce non-essential expenses and rationally and efficiently use available resources.

Raul Castro stressed the need to boost foreign investments on the island, while saying he was not pleased with the slow pace things are being done on this key field.

He spoke of frequent excessive delays in their negotiations.

The Cuban president called to do away with a prevailing obsolete mentality, full of prejudices, against foreign capital, and get rid of false fears about it.

He reiterated that 'we are not going towards capitalism, but we should not put hurdles to what we can do in the framework of the existing laws'.

Amidst unfavorable scenarios, Cuba has continued to fulfill commitments in paying its renegotiated foreign debt, he pointed out.

Nevertheless -he added-, it has been impossible for the island to cover its temporary inability to meet current payments. Negotiations have been done, though, to resolve this issue, the President said.

On this, Raul Castro thanked trade partners for their trust and he gave assurance that this issue will be solved in a bid to clean the basis of the Cuban economy and avoid a repetition of this problem in the future.

The Cuban President also complained about the negative effects of the ongoing US economic, trade and financial blockade. He reminded that the island is still unable to make international transactions in US dollars, thus it is forbidden from doing potential business.

Acting on late Fidel Castro's will, the National Assembly passed a law banning the use of his name for naming streets and public institutions or making monuments on his memory.

Raul Castro stressed that Fidel's legacy is imperishable, full of optimism and trust on victory.

The best monument to his ideas and work -the president added- is to put into practice each day Fidel's brilliant concept of what Revolution is all about.

  • Published in Now

Expectations about China-U.S. Trade Talks

Beijing, Nov 21 (Prensa Latina) The 27th session of the China-United States Joint Commission on Trade and Business, which opened today in Washington, and the strengthening of economic ties between the world''s two major economies attract the attention of international analysts.

The meeting, scheduled to end on November 27th, will debate the implementation of the consensus between the two countries' leaders, who will exchange viewpoints about trade issues and are expected to explore new forms to expand mutually-beneficial cooperation.

According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Deputy Prime Minister Wang Yang and U.S. Secretary of Trade Penny Pritzker, along with Trade Representative Michael Froman, will chair the talks on Trade and Business, which will also be attended by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

The meeting has made headlines on global media, because it will be the last high-level session between China and the U.S. this year, and the two countries will exchange important ideas about the economy and trade, as well as the ways to further boost cooperation, according to Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang.

Beijing and Washington have fostered their commercial relations and investments over the past few decades, thus strengthening bilateral ties.

In 2015, the U.S. was China's second major trading partner, the main destination for Chinese exports and the world's fourth origin of China's imports.

For its part, China was the largest trading partner and origin of imports of the United States and the third major destination for U.S. exports. Bilateral trade totaled 558.4 billion dollars, and mutual investments exceeded 160 billion dollars.

However, there is uncertainty at present about the viability of free trade between the two countries after the election of Donald Trump as the president of the United States and the possibility that Washington closes to trade, not only for U.S. business circles, but also for its trade partners, including China.

As it is known, Trump promised, during his presidential campaign, to recover the jobs lost in the manufacture sector by renegotiating the free trade agreements and imposing high tariffs on the trade partners of the United States.

In such a case, experts think that restrictions to trade and investments will be insufficient and counterproductive.

However, China and the United States, which have noted that they have more common interests than differences, are expected to favor the defense of their economic and commercial cooperation and to reach consensus, while dealing with their differences in a spirit of respect, understanding and mutual agreements.

  • Published in World

India To Emerge As Economic Superpower In 15-20 Years: Rajnath Singh

Lucknow: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today exuded confidence that India will emerge as economic super power in 15 to 20 years following the steps being undertaken by the Centre to strengthen the economy.

"I cannot speak about a couple of years but on the basis of my limited understanding I can confidently say that no one can stop India from becoming an economic super power in 15 to 20 years if the economy continues to move in the direction it is being taken by the central government," Mr Singh said in Lucknow.

"We can proudly claim that India's economy is progressing the fastest in the world and its GDP growth rate has reached 7.9 per cent ... I have full confidence that it will be in double figures in a couple of years," he said.

Investors from world over are coming to India despite slowdown and the highest investment has taken place in India in 2015-2016, he said.

The country has emerged as a favourite investment destination, he added.

Citing various achievements of the Narendra Modi government on the economic front, Mr Singh said GST will come into force from April 2017 which will start a new taxation system.

The problems arising out of different taxation system in different states will come to an end and tax realisation will go up resulting in increase in government income and GDP growth will also go up by 1.5 to 2 per cent, he said.

Stressing that not a single minister in the Narendra Modi government is facing corruption charge, Mr Singh said that though he cannot claim that the entire administrative structure has been cleaned up but one thing is clear that there is no corruption at the top.

"When the Gangotri has been cleaned, the Ganga coming out from there will automatically be clean ...efforts were on to ensure maximum transparency", he said.

Speaking about foreign trade, Mr Singh said that it is facing slowdown which is being experienced by all the countries and India is no exception.

The Home Minister said that soon after coming to power it was decided that export has to be increased and India's share in world trade should be taken up to some 2.5 per cent from its present 1.6 per cent .

Claiming that ease of doing business will be achieved in a few years because of the steps to change the process and system of doing business, Mr Singh said there is an effort to bring transparency in economy.

Referring to the various schemes such as 'Make in India', 'Start ups and skill development' launched by the Modi government for the youth, he said that while coming to power, the Prime Minister had said that such schemes will help double the income of farmers by 2022.

Terming the contribution of construction sector as insufficient, Mr Singh said that it has to be taken to 25 per cent from the present 14 per cent.

  • Published in World
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