martes, 29 de enero de 2013

Pacific block to lift tariffs on most goods

Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico, member states of the Pacific Alliance trading block, were to agree before 31 March on removing tariffs on 90 per cent of their traded products and gradually reduce tariffs on remaining goods and services after that, Chile's President Sebastian Piñera announced in Santiago de Chile on 27 January. The four states' presidents were attending the summit of Latin American States and the EU (Cumbre Celac-EU) concluding that day. The states were also to set rules to define the origins of traded products and regulate access to their markets and investment flows. Piñera said the block was the "most important and profound integration process in Latin American history." The annual value of exportations was placed at USD 500 billion and the four countries currently provided a market of some 215 million people, the website peru21 reported. The Alliance formed in 2011, is to hold a summit in Cali in 2014. Beside the four members several states have the status of Observers; Costa Rica was reportedly to become the next member. Separately Colombia and Peru signed a free trade agreement with the European Union expected to enter into force in the first half of 2013, Peru21 reported. This has been ratified in Peru and is to be ratified in Colombia.

Musicians' bodies found in northern Mexico

Four or five of 12 bodies found "so far" in a ditch or well on an estate near Mina in the northern state of Nuevo León were reported on 28 January as belonging to the musical band Kombo Kolombia, whose 18 or 20 members were likely kidnapped by criminals early on 25 January, the state's security affairs spokesman Jorge Domene Zambrano declared. One of the victims was Colombian. Police were investigating the motives for the killing, although media were already speculating this could have been a punishment meted out to the band by one gang or cartel for having performed for a rival gang, Milenio reported. The bodies indicated the victims had been stripped, tortured and shot. Separately, two unidentified "civilians" were killed on 28 January in a shootout between soldiers and gunmen in the district of Lagunillas in Michoacán, west of Mexico City; firing began when troops arrived at the locality of El Correo after residents had called authorities to report the presence of armed men, Milenio reported. Three suspected criminals were killed the same day in the north-central city of Zacatecas when presumed rivals stopped their car and shot them, Milenio reported.

Colombian ministry reports drug arrests, equipment found

The Colombian Defence Ministry reported on 28 January several arrests and confiscations of equipment it cited as significant blows against international drug trafficking. It reported the arrests on 20 January and later of three leading members of a trafficking ring working in the San Andrés Archipelago in the Caribbean, and reputed to have sent drug shipments to Central America, Mexico and the United States. The detained were named as Amaury and Mario Smith Pomare and a deputy arrested after 20 January on the island of San Andrés, identified as Benjamín James Walters, the Ministry stated. The three, whom the ministry associated with one of Colombia's main gangs the Rastrojos, were likely to be investigated on drug trafficking and murder charges. The navy also found and confiscated at an unspecified date communication equipment thought to belong to the criminal gang called the Urabeños, in two localities in the western department of Chocó. These included radios, GPS equipment and related items used to direct boats on the high seas, as well as guns and bullets; the items were found under houses in the localities of Charambirá and Togoromá in the Litoral de San Juan district, the Defence Ministry stated on 28 January.