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Archive for July 2009

APEC trade ministers meet

July 21, 2009 - SINGAPORE

Among several tasks at their meeting, trade ministers of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum will be monitoring members’ compliance with pledges made by APEC leaders at the Nov 2008 summit. In their statement, the leaders strongly advocated the principle of multilateral free trade, opposed trade protectionism and promised not to create new investment and trade barriers. United States Commerce Secretary Gary Locke could be assailed because several US plans hint at non-compliance.

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Bolivia opens bicentenary events in Latin America ;

July 18, 2009 - BOLIVIA

The town was Sucre, formerly Chuquisaca, and La Paz commemorate the bicentenary of uprisings that were unsuccessful but regarded as the opening salvo of the continent’s struggle for independence from Spain. Their bicentenary events will be repeated in varying degrees of lavishness over the next two years as Latin America celebrates 200 years of independence from colonial rule, coordinated by the Bicentennial Group. In Bolivia, the colonial drama is still in play.

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No easy Bastille Day for President Nicolas Sarkozy

July 14, 2009 - FRANCE

As every year, Paris and all France celebrate the country’s commitment to Liberté Egalité Fraternité. French jets sweep over Paris, and the country’s president reviews a military parade down the Champs Elysees. President Nicolas Sarkozy can’t count on a stellar Bastille Day in 2009. Strikes could spoil the party, which follows the first anniversary of his struggling Union for the Mediterranean. The founding of the union was celebrated at the 2008 Bastille Day parade.

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President Barak Obama visits for arms talks

July 6, 2009 - MOSCOW

United States President Barack Obama visits Russia on Jul 6-8 for talks aimed at cuttings stockpiles of nuclear weapons. The two leaders want a deal that would replace the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I), which expires in December. The remaining differences between the two sides are described as narrow. One of the sticking points is the US plan, made by the last US administration, to deploy an anti-missile shield in Europe.

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Legislative mid-term election planned

July 5, 2009 - MEXICO

Mexico’s mid-term election for its 500-member Chamber of Deputies, six governors and mayors and local legislators in 11 states is scheduled for Jul 5. There was speculation that the ballot would be postponed due to the swine flu outbreak, but the rate of infection now appears to be ebbing. Swine flu could play into the results as opposition parties criticize the handling of the crisis by the governing National Action Party (PAN). The drug war could also play into the election.

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United States celebrates Independence Day

July 4, 2009 - UNITED STATES

Many cities and towns will cancel or trim their Independence Day fireworks spectaculars because of hard times, but New York won’t be one of them. Department store Macy’s plans to stage its Jul 4 pyrotechnics extravaganza as usual, but will move it from the East River to the Hudson River in the city to mark the 400th anniversary of English explorer Henry Hudson’s voyage to New York. The reopening to visitors of the Statue of Liberty’s crown is New York’s other star turn on Jul 4.

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Gambling halls ordered to close

July 1, 2009 - UKRAINE

Strained financial times have set back plans for four new Las Vegas-style gambling zones in remote areas of Russia to replace gambling facilities ordered to close on Jul 1, but Russian authorities insist the country’s casinos and slot machine parlors will close on time. The zones are aimed at focusing tourism and development in areas where they are needed. Gambling workers unions want the closure delayed, predicting economic upheaval when some 500,000 of their members are laid off.

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