miércoles, 26 de marzo de 2014

Vast majority of residents in Lima say "feel unsafe"

Over 90 per cent of residents in Lima felt unsafe in the capital in 2013 according to an independent survey that revealed that for the fourth year running, crime, public transport and pollution were the top concerns of Lima residents. Only 8.6 per cent of residents felt safe on the streets of the Peruvian capital, and 80.3 per cent of people cited crime as one of its main problems, Perú 21 reported on 26 March, citing a poll taken by the non-governmental organisation Lima Como Vamos. The group presented on 25 March its fourth poll on residents' perception of life in the capital, compiled between November 2013 and January 2014. Among respondents, 61.4 per cent cited public transport as among the city's main problems, 36.7 per cent cited pollution, and 24.9 per cent public cleaning and trash on the streets. Forty two per cent of respondents identified central Lima (including the districts of Cercado or the centre, Breña, San Borja, Surco, San Isidro and La Victoria) to have the highest rates of street crime. Yet the same website had reported San Isidro as enjoying the highest security perception among residents in October 2013. In the latest poll, car traffic was cited by 74 per cent of respondents as the top environmental problem, followed by insufficient green spaces (40.9 per cent), Perú 21 reported.

Putin calls to thank Argentina for "support" on Ukraine

Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner held a "friendly" telephone conversation on 25 March with the Russian President Vladimir Putin, hearing his appreciation over "supportive" remarks made on the crisis in Crimea. The conversation was reported to have irked Ukraine's ambassador in Buenos Aires, belying his earlier impression that Argentina supported his country's territorial integrity, La Nación reported on 26 March. While Argentina has not backed Crimea's secession from the Ukraine, Russia was apparently grateful for recent comments by Mrs Kirchner on the "double standards" of some Western powers toward UN resolutions and territorial integrity. Argentina is in a dispute with the United Kingdom over the Falkland Islands. Mrs Kirchner wrote on Twitter that Western sanctions on Russia would merely impede "constructive dialogue" and her country favoured the "peaceful resolution" of conflicts, Télam agency reported. The conservative daily La Nación qualified the call as another instance of the Kirchner government's foreign policy double standards. Why send "positive" signals to Russia it asked, when Argentina condemned Crimea's secession in the UN Security Council. It stated that Ukraine's ambassador in Buenos Aires, Yurii Diudin, was "shocked" by the reportedly "friendly tone" of the conversation, when a week earlier a deputy-foreign minister had given him "Argentina's total support" over Crimea.

Three Venezuelan generals held over "coup" plans, opposition mayor jailed

Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro said in Caracas on 25 March that three air force generals were arrested the night before, suspected of plotting an "uprising" against the Government. He revealed this at a meeting with foreign ministers of the regional association UNASUR, adding that the officers were "linked to the opposition," Europa Press reported. Colleagues reportedly denounced them, though Mr Maduro said they were being observed for an unspecified period. Separately, Venezuela's Supreme Court sentenced the detained mayor of San Cristóbal in the state of Táchira, Daniel Ceballos, to a year and 15 days in jail and ordered him dismissed for failing to remove protesters' barricades from the streets of San Cristóbal. The mayor is a member of the opposition and San Cristóbal was one of the first centres of anti-Government protests in early February. The court convicted Ceballos after hearing the testimonies of eight witnesses, in a verdict his wife later said was "expected," the newspaper 2001 reported. While Mrs Ceballos said the magistrates were "waiting for a phone call," presumably instructing them to issue a verdict, President Maduro qualified the sentence as "justice." He told a radio program on 25 March that "you fight fascism with justice," referring to his conservative and liberal opponents, the broadcaster NTN24 reported. The socialist majority in Venezuela's parliament also voted on 25 March to confirm the expulsion of the conservative member María Corina Machado, a day after its praesidium accused her of breaking the law over a recent trip to Panama. A representative of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, Andrés Eloy Méndez, was cited as warning that she could be prosecuted for treason, now that she lacked parliamentary immunity. He said associating with hostile powers could lead to a 30-year prison term, Europa Press and El Universal reported. Opposition MPs challenged Ms Machado's "overthrow," filing an appeal with the Supreme Court, EFE reported.