In a video message released ahead of his weeklong trip, which kicks off on Monday, Pope Francis has said he will be visiting Chile and Peru as "a pilgrim of the joy of the Gospel" who intends to share "peace and hope" with everyone. He will first arrive in Chile, a country he knows well — the pope lived here for several years while training to become a Jesuit. But his teachings do not seem to have resonated much with this Latin American country. Read more: Attackers firebomb churches ahead of Pope Francis visit Chile: Political transition phase Since conservative candidate Sebastian Pinera won Chile's presidential election in December, the country has been caught up in a political transition phase. Pinera already served as president between 2010 and 2014. When he assumes office on March 11, he will replace the socialist Michelle Bachelet. Read more: Farewell to the last female president in the Americas During his visit, Pope Francis will honor the victims of the … [Read more...] about Chile, Peru await tricky Pope Francis visit
In a video message released ahead of his weeklong trip, which kicks off on Monday, Pope Francis has said he will be visiting Chile and Peru as "a pilgrim of the joy of the Gospel" who intends to share "peace and hope" with everyone. He will first arrive in Chile, a country he knows well — the pope lived here several years while training to become a Jesuit. But his teachings do not seem to have resonated much with this Latin American country. Read more: Attackers firebomb churches ahead of Pope Francis visit Chile: Political transition phase Since conservative candidate Sebastian Pinera won Chile's presidential election in December, the country has been caught up in a political transition phase. Pinera already served as president between 2010 and 2014. When he assumes office on March 11, he will replace the socialist Michelle Bachelet. Read more: Farewell to the last female president in the Americas During his visit, Pope Francis will honor the victims of the … [Read more...] about Chile, Peru await Pope Francis visit
There are very different opinions on how safe it is to travel to Mexico, and sometimes the debate about the safety of tourists can drift off into the absurd. One example: the US' most recent travel advisory for its neighbor to the south. "No more travel warnings for most important tourist destinations," Forbes Mexico summarized the new advisory. And Mexican Tourism Minister Enrique de la Madrid rejoiced: "Eighty percent of all destinations in Mexico are safe." But El Diario de Yucatan wrote: "Five states on the blacklist." So what's the deal? In theory, the US government's new travel advisory system is supposed to simplify information released to the public. It puts countries and regions into four categories. They reach from Level 1 ("Exercise normal precautions") to Level 4 ("Do not travel"). As a whole, Mexico, where 23,000 people were killed last year, receives the same classification as Germany: Level 2, which means traveling there is fine, but tourists should "exercise … [Read more...] about How dangerous are vacations in Mexico?
Venezuela, a country of 30 million people, sits on the world's largest oil reserves but has been suffering a massive economic downturn since global crude prices fell dramatically three years ago. The government has not published inflation data for more than a year. But the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has forecast an inflation rate of 2,350 percent for 2018. In an attempt to cushion the effect of inflation at the end of December, the Venezuelan government implemented the sixth wage and pension increase in a year, raising the minimum wage by 40 percent. A grinding challenge to live "In the mornings, you see well-dressed people looking for leftovers in the garbage before going to work," Miguel Angel Hernandez, a 24-year-old lawyer who is in the middle of his MA studies, told DW. "With a salary like mine, people used to be able to buy a car and make a down payment on a house. I can't afford to buy a pair of shoes. Facing this reality destroys your expectations," he said. "Inflation … [Read more...] about Venezuela: A country in meltdown
Up until 48 hours ago, the basic battle lines drawn by Republicans and Democrats in Congress around the fate of DACA, an Obama-era program rescinded by the Trump administration that protects hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who were brought to the US by their parents illegally years ago, looked something like this: Democrats as their key goal wanted to get a quick and permanent fix for those covered by DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and were intent on using an upcoming government funding deadline as leverage to get a deal passed. Any bill, said the Democrats, aimed at keeping much of the government working beyond January 19, when current funding runs out, would also have to solve the issue of those people formerly shielded by DACA. Republicans, however, wanted to decouple those issues, pass their key goal; a clean budget bill, and deal with DACA separately. In addition, they knew they also had … [Read more...] about Is a US government shutdown looming after Donald Trump’s DACA meddling?
Why is Donald Trump undergoing a physical? Because he chooses to. There is no legal requirement for Trump or any other US president to undergo a physical examination by a medical doctor while in office. Having said that, Trump, in this case, is keeping with prior precedent as all presidents since Ronald Reagan have scheduled physicals while in office and released the results to the public. Still, the decision to schedule a physical for this coming Friday was ultimately up to Trump. What was interesting about the public announcement of the exam by the White House was its timing. It came one day after Trump's speech on recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital in early December. During his remarks Trump appeared to slur his words, prompting questions about the health status of the oldest man elected president. The decision to schedule a physical could thus be interpreted as a move to tamp down talk about Trump's physical and mental health that surfaced during his campaign and since … [Read more...] about Think Donald Trump’s physical will offer insight into his health? Think again
If there is one thing to keep in mind about what makes President Donald Trump tick, it is this: Ultimately everything is always about Donald Trump and his core family. This simple, but essential rule helps shed light on what to make of Steve Bannon's nasty public banishment from Trump's circle of friends, advisors and donors. Applying this rule helps explain the split between Trump and Bannon. What hurt Bannon more than anything else were probably his vicious comments about Trump himself, and his children Ivanka and Donald Jr., not his political musings or the fact that he spilled the beans about the inner workings of the White House to the author of a brutal take-down book. But applying this rule that when push comes to shove Trump ultimately only cares about himself and his family also helps explain why Bannon's demise does not mean the end of Trumpism. Because Trumpism, to the extent it exists, was never about Steve Bannon, nationalism, isolationism, or for that matter … [Read more...] about Opinion: Steve Bannon’s demise is not the end of Trumpism
"The talks must not be suspended because the ceasefire is coming to an end. On the contrary, the points on the agreed agenda need to be further elaborated," said Nicolas Rodriguez Bautista, known as Gabino, in a video message to the Colombian people on December 29. Gabino is the top Colombian ELN guerrilla (Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional – the National Liberation Army). By "talks" he means the peace negotiations between his guerrillas and the government led by President Juan Manuel Santos. Since February 2017, negotiators from both sides have been working on a possible peace agreement in Quito, the capital of neighboring Ecuador, and even though Gabino's words may sound like a commitment to peace, they were not taken unanimously as such. The fact that he called into question the extension of the ceasefire, which expires on Tuesday, was perceived by some as a declaration of war. Colombia's Minister of Defense, Luis Carlos Villegas, made the government's position clear a few days … [Read more...] about Colombia: Saber-rattling as ceasefire with ELN comes to an end
Relations between the European Union and Cuba have not exactly been characterized by fast-paced progress over the years. Now, though, Brussels has declared its desire to implement its Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) with Cuba in "ambitious and swift fashion." And it is exactly for that reason that the bloc's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, arrived in Cuba on Wednesday. The EU's new partnership agreement entered into force provisionally in November last year. Prior to that, Cuba had been the only Latin American country with which Brussels had no association or cooperation agreement. Nevertheless, the ratification of all 28 EU member state parliaments is required before the agreement can be fully enacted. That process is currently ongoing. Read more: Raul Castro's presidency prolonged by National Assembly Mogherini began her visit by meeting with Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz, where the two discussed plans to deepen … [Read more...] about EU eyes a fresh start in Cuba relations
1. He really calls himself Darth Vader It may be playing on his opponents' fears or he could be serious: Both in The New York Times and The Hollywood Reporter, Bannon likened himself to the force of darkness from Star Wars. "Darkness is good," he told the Reporter. "Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That's power." Before being fired as Trump's chief strategist, Bannon was often called the ideological puppet master behind many of Trump's decisions, including the infamous travel bans. Read more: - Steve Bannon calls Donald Trump Jr.'s Russia meeting 'treasonous' - Donald Trump-Steve Bannon spat: President's lawyers issue legal threat 2. Bannon empowered the 'alt-right' Bannon has a long record to support his ideology. He became politically aware in the 1970s, he said, while serving on a US Navy destroyer in the Indian Ocean. President Jimmy Carter did not respond hard enough to the Iran hostage crisis, in his view. The event pushed him to the right - … [Read more...] about Stephen Bannon: Four facts about the former ‘Darth Vader’ of the White House