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16 января, 17:43

Land Grabs Are Partly To Blame For Skyrocketing Violence In Central America

In 2013, San Pedro Sula in Honduras was the world’s murder capital, with a murder rate of 187 murders per 100,000 inhabitants, driven by a surge in gang and drug trafficking violence. Nationwide, the year before, Honduras’s murder rate was 90 murders per 100,000 people ― the highest in the world. What’s behind this ongoing surge in gang and drug trafficking violence? The answer is multi-faceted but a key element has been overlooked again and again: Local elites and foreign corporations gained control over much of the land that could grow crops, forcing smallholder farmers off their land.  After a land grab, large cities are often the only places farmers and others from rural parts of the country can go. But the cities offer few economic options for the migrants, and in response, they too often are targeted by gangs that make up a murderous urban sub-culture. Thus, many Central American refugees showing up at America’s door are both refugees of urban violence and, before that, of land grabs.  Many Central American refugees showing up at America’s door are both refugees of urban violence and, before that, of land grabs. Honduras is a prominent example. Land grabs accelerated there in the 1990s after the government passed the Agricultural Modernization Law, which privatized collective landholdings. This favored large landholders and destroyed the claims of smallholders, who typically do not have modern-style contracts affirming their land ownership. According to Tanya Kersson, author of Grabbing Power: The New Struggles for Land, Food and Democracy in Northern Honduras, a few powerful landowners grabbed more than 21,000 hectares in a short period between 1990 and 1994. This accounted for 70 percent of peasant lands in the Lower Aguan Valley, one the most fertile areas in the country and the site for much of the land conflict in Honduras. Land grabs and violence against rural Hondurans have gotten worse since the 1990s. The 2009 military coup gave the large landholders even more flexibility in expelling small landholders from their land. The incentives for doing so also grew with the entry of rich foreign corporations and strong World Bank support. A prominent company called Dinant Corporation, which is owned by one of Honduras’s most powerful men, has been accused of killing over 100 peasants in recent years. Dinant is financed by the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, supported by the U.N. Clean Development Mechanism and has links with global corporations like Mazola Oils. Honduras is not the only country where this is happening. Large corporations have been taking control of rural land in many parts of the world over the last decade. That access is sometimes lawful but other times shadowy, and it is sometimes accompanied by brutal armed conflict against unarmed peasants. Globally, land grabs accelerated in the mid-2000s, putting a large number of smallholders in crisis. Large foreign corporations joined in, and there have been killings and terrorizing of smallholders who fight back. Much of what gets registered as “modernization and development” by governments and institutions like the World Bank looks very different to local peasants and local activists, journalists and scholars. They see environmental destruction and criminal activity. The companies do create some rural jobs but those workers are underpaid and overworked. The costs associated with some development projects have been known for years, especially in Honduras, where dozens of legal practitioners and human rights defenders, not to mention farmers and environmentalists, have been killed over the past few years. Many of these crimes remain unsolved. The consequences of these rural expulsions are varied, and the connections with land grabs are rarely made. For instance, the U.S. Border Patrol was taken by surprise when 63,000 unaccompanied minors, most from Central America, crossed the southern border of the U.S. between Oct 1, 2013 and July 31, 2014. This was nearly twice the number of previous years. The explanation given by the children was “La Violencia,” referring to the violence in the cities. Fear led them to cross the whole of Mexico to get to the U.S. For most, their parents were dead or in prison. Neither the border patrol nor most analysts of this surge in unaccompanied migrant children connect La Violencia with the fact that many of their parents were forced from their land and fled to the cities.  Much of what gets registered as 'modernization and development' looks very different to local peasants. Toward the end of 2014, the U.S. Border Patrol predicted up to 90,000 unaccompanied children would cross into the U.S. that year. The U.S. government asked Mexico to control its southern border to stem the flow of migrants from Central America. Between October 2014 and April 2015, Mexico detained almost 93,000 Central American migrants. Detention by Mexico’s guards at its southern frontier was brutal and put the U.S. in a dubious position. Washington eventually loosened the pressure on Mexico’s southern border detentions. So once again, the flow of Central Americans to the U.S. border, if they could make it that far, jumped sharply. Countless individuals and families making this long trip have died, given up, stayed somewhere in Mexico or been kidnapped to work in plantations, mines or the sex economy. And these migrations are not likely to end. In addition to the violence, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador are among the poorest nations in Latin America with 21 percent, 11 percent and 4 percent, respectively, of their people living on less than $2 a day. Little will be learned from all this as long as the explanation from entities, such as the World Bank, and other experts is focused on gang violence in poor areas of cities. La Violencia is out of control. But these cities were not always this way. Violence does not fall from the sky. It is made. In this case, it is made partly by large modern corporations that expel small farmers.   -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

16 января, 17:43

Land Grabs Are Partly To Blame For Skyrocketing Violence In Central America

In 2013, San Pedro Sula in Honduras was the world’s murder capital, with a murder rate of 187 murders per 100,000 inhabitants, driven by a surge in gang and drug trafficking violence. Nationwide, the year before, Honduras’s murder rate was 90 murders per 100,000 people ― the highest in the world. What’s behind this ongoing surge in gang and drug trafficking violence? The answer is multi-faceted but a key element has been overlooked again and again: Local elites and foreign corporations gained control over much of the land that could grow crops, forcing smallholder farmers off their land.  After a land grab, large cities are often the only places farmers and others from rural parts of the country can go. But the cities offer few economic options for the migrants, and in response, they too often are targeted by gangs that make up a murderous urban sub-culture. Thus, many Central American refugees showing up at America’s door are both refugees of urban violence and, before that, of land grabs.  Many Central American refugees showing up at America’s door are both refugees of urban violence and, before that, of land grabs. Honduras is a prominent example. Land grabs accelerated there in the 1990s after the government passed the Agricultural Modernization Law, which privatized collective landholdings. This favored large landholders and destroyed the claims of smallholders, who typically do not have modern-style contracts affirming their land ownership. According to Tanya Kersson, author of Grabbing Power: The New Struggles for Land, Food and Democracy in Northern Honduras, a few powerful landowners grabbed more than 21,000 hectares in a short period between 1990 and 1994. This accounted for 70 percent of peasant lands in the Lower Aguan Valley, one the most fertile areas in the country and the site for much of the land conflict in Honduras. Land grabs and violence against rural Hondurans have gotten worse since the 1990s. The 2009 military coup gave the large landholders even more flexibility in expelling small landholders from their land. The incentives for doing so also grew with the entry of rich foreign corporations and strong World Bank support. A prominent company called Dinant Corporation, which is owned by one of Honduras’s most powerful men, has been accused of killing over 100 peasants in recent years. Dinant is financed by the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, supported by the U.N. Clean Development Mechanism and has links with global corporations like Mazola Oils. Honduras is not the only country where this is happening. Large corporations have been taking control of rural land in many parts of the world over the last decade. That access is sometimes lawful but other times shadowy, and it is sometimes accompanied by brutal armed conflict against unarmed peasants. Globally, land grabs accelerated in the mid-2000s, putting a large number of smallholders in crisis. Large foreign corporations joined in, and there have been killings and terrorizing of smallholders who fight back. Much of what gets registered as “modernization and development” by governments and institutions like the World Bank looks very different to local peasants and local activists, journalists and scholars. They see environmental destruction and criminal activity. The companies do create some rural jobs but those workers are underpaid and overworked. The costs associated with some development projects have been known for years, especially in Honduras, where dozens of legal practitioners and human rights defenders, not to mention farmers and environmentalists, have been killed over the past few years. Many of these crimes remain unsolved. The consequences of these rural expulsions are varied, and the connections with land grabs are rarely made. For instance, the U.S. Border Patrol was taken by surprise when 63,000 unaccompanied minors, most from Central America, crossed the southern border of the U.S. between Oct 1, 2013 and July 31, 2014. This was nearly twice the number of previous years. The explanation given by the children was “La Violencia,” referring to the violence in the cities. Fear led them to cross the whole of Mexico to get to the U.S. For most, their parents were dead or in prison. Neither the border patrol nor most analysts of this surge in unaccompanied migrant children connect La Violencia with the fact that many of their parents were forced from their land and fled to the cities.  Much of what gets registered as 'modernization and development' looks very different to local peasants. Toward the end of 2014, the U.S. Border Patrol predicted up to 90,000 unaccompanied children would cross into the U.S. that year. The U.S. government asked Mexico to control its southern border to stem the flow of migrants from Central America. Between October 2014 and April 2015, Mexico detained almost 93,000 Central American migrants. Detention by Mexico’s guards at its southern frontier was brutal and put the U.S. in a dubious position. Washington eventually loosened the pressure on Mexico’s southern border detentions. So once again, the flow of Central Americans to the U.S. border, if they could make it that far, jumped sharply. Countless individuals and families making this long trip have died, given up, stayed somewhere in Mexico or been kidnapped to work in plantations, mines or the sex economy. And these migrations are not likely to end. In addition to the violence, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador are among the poorest nations in Latin America with 21 percent, 11 percent and 4 percent, respectively, of their people living on less than $2 a day. Little will be learned from all this as long as the explanation from entities, such as the World Bank, and other experts is focused on gang violence in poor areas of cities. La Violencia is out of control. But these cities were not always this way. Violence does not fall from the sky. It is made. In this case, it is made partly by large modern corporations that expel small farmers.   -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

16 января, 10:48

Текила помогла спасти редкий вид летучих мышей

Производители текилы внесли решающий вклад в сохранение летучей мыши – малого длинноноса Соссюра (Leptonycteris yerbabuenae). Он распространен в Мексике, Гватемале, Сальвадоре и Гондурасе, во время летних миграций прилетает в Аризону, Калифорнию и Нью-Мексико. Длина тела у этого вида восемь сантиметров, вес взрослой летучей мыши 15 – 25 граммов. Питаются они нектаром растений, цветущих ночью, в частности агавы и некоторых видов кактусов. В 1994 году этот вид был признан вымирающим в Мескике, а четыре года спустя и в США. Теперь же, по сообщению Федеральной службы рыбных и животных ресурсов США (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), численность малого длинноноса Соссюра значительно возросла и достигла 200 000 особей. Вероятно, в наступившем году его смогут исключить из списка исчезающих. Как отметил заместитель директора департамента охоты и рыболовства Аризоны Джим де Во (Jim deVos), значительную роль в спасении вида сыграли производители текилы. Многие из них поддержали программу «bat-friendly tequila», инициатором которой стал мексиканский эколог Родриго Медельин (Rodrigo Medellín). Она состояла в том, чтобы не начинать сбор урожая на плантациях голубой агавы (Agave tequilana)до конца срока цветения, что обеспечивает местные колонии летучих мышей кормом. Ученые отмечают, что летучие мыши со своей стороны содействуют производителям текилы, так как именно они являются основными опылителями агавы. 

15 января, 10:29

Фуфлономика_в двух коротких частях

Р.Смирнов снова сетует на экономические диспрропорции нашего безумного мира:"Текущая монетарная система не соответствует реальным экономическим процессам, способствует дальнейшей виртуализации финансовой системы, снятию сливок с мировых цепочек добавленной стоимости за счет владения станком...Ну и конечно наделению некоторых асоциальных дегенеративных элементов неоправданными преимуществами в естественном отборе, впрочем это отдельная тема ).Один из самых ярких примеров с текущей моделью "денег", натяжения совы на глобус это конечно механизм присвоения так называемой кадастровой стоимости, не говоря уж о "рыночной" - особенно актуально в контексте _возможного_ принятия закона - первого шага к лишению права на жилье, приравнивающего Россию к остальному несчастному миру....(уверен, что не примут).Так вот по поводу кадастровой стоимости, когда интересовался Дальним Востоком - выгрузил весь кадастр по Сахалину.150 тысяч участков.Приведу часть таблички (отсортировано по цене):Если сложить их кадастровую стоимость.Как думаете что получится -- 350 миллиардов рублей это только земля.Сахалинский округ не такой уж большой и освоенный, при том, что у нас в стране всего сейчас 36,5 триллионов ( http://www.cbr.ru/statistics/?PrtId=ms ) денег, то уверен что сумма "ценностей" по кадастру в десятки раз больше (база большая еще грузится).Но уже понятно Москва или Питер, даже только земля, без висящих в воздухе нескольких кубометров пустоты между бетонных стенок, "стоимостью" эквивалентной оплате труда нескольких поколений обычных людей, это десятки триллионов.Т.е. это такой конкретный дериватив или растянутый во времени кидок.По идее в идеальном мире сумма всех бабок независимого государства должна быть равна приведенной сумме всех его ресурсов + немного на операционные расчеты между населением и если это не так, то любой перекос в доллароцентричной мировой экономике рано или поздно может привести ее к "венесуэле", не смотря на все ресурсы оной.Кстати никто не задумывался о том, чтобы перевести по текущим курсам денежные агрегаты всех стран к одному знаменателю, то что получится?Ведь границы стираются прямо на глазах - даже Белорусь уже включила "безвиз", шенген, америкосовские зоны...И рост населения беспокоит наших "партнеров" еще и потому, что эти триллиарды "потребителей" в африке с азией и арабском мире, даже имея по 10 баксов в кармане, даже с учетом того, что они резанные, при относительной политической стабильности, мгновенно приводят к нулю базу первого мира, при открытых границах, а они уже по большому счету открыты.10 миллионов обеспеченных немцев со средним миллионом тугриков на депозите, менее интересны транснацикам 1 миллиард китайцев с 10 тысячами у каждого.Тем более что скорость оборота у 10 тысяч гораздо выше чем у 1 миллиона.Задумайтесь на досуге.У западоидов уже поджилки трясутся от перспектив.Без военной машины подавления будет очень тяжело.Последние 20 лет еще как то держали с помощью изобретенного ЦРУ интернета с его гуглами и фейсбуками, вацапами ..., до этого за счет скупки мозгов экспердов или марионеточных правительств по всему миру, но... просто перестает работать. Отсюда и убийства от Милошевича с Хусейном, до Ассада с Кадафи.Еще на эту тему.Один сербский программист, работавший в гугле, уволившись запустил в 2009 простенький, но достаточно интересный сайт - numbeo, где САМИ пользователи могут сообщить текущие цены на жилье, еду и прочее, типа сколько что стоит в его местности.Основные индексы - цена за квадрат, средняя зарплата по отраслям, уровень преступности, загрязнения, цена на такси, на бензин, сколько стоит машина и все остальное, вплоть до индекса макдака, вобщем чел реально заморочился и сделал относительно адекватное описание реальной экономической реальности.База данных достаточно точная, ибо независимая - алгоритмы отсева инфомусора в отличии от статистики еврокомиссии или мирового банка хорошо описаны и вроде адекватны ( https://www.numbeo.com/common/motivation_and_methodology.jsp )Например цены на макдаки:Currency:Search:RankCountryMcMeal at McDonalds(or Equivalent Combo Meal)1 Switzerland 13.882 Iceland 13.823 Bermuda 12.004 Israel 11.785 Norway 11.776 Denmark 10.027 Luxembourg 9.058 Uruguay 8.929 Belgium 8.5110 France 8.5111 Malta 8.0112 Iraq 8.0013 Tanzania 8.0014 Lebanon 8.0015 Italy 7.9816 Ireland 7.9817 Sweden 7.8618 Brazil 7.7619 Argentina 7.5720 Dominican Republic 7.5221 Australia 7.5022 Finland 7.4523 Germany 7.4524 Spain 7.4525 Austria 7.4526 Netherlands 7.4527 New Zealand 7.1328 Jordan 7.0629 Ghana 7.0030 Fiji 7.0031 United States 7.0032 Costa Rica 7.0033 Bahamas 6.9934 Libya 6.9835 Canada 6.8636 Puerto Rico 6.8637 United Arab Emirates 6.8138 Palestinian Territory 6.5439 Oman 6.5040 Greece 6.3941 Cyprus 6.3942 Kuwait 6.3843 United Kingdom 6.0944 Uganda 6.0945 Qatar 6.0446 Mongolia 6.0047 Panama 6.0048 El Salvador 6.0049 Ecuador 6.0050 Honduras 6.0051 Guatemala 5.9752 Trinidad And Tobago 5.9553 Portugal 5.8554 Japan 5.8555 Bolivia 5.7956 Bangladesh 5.6757 Chile 5.5758 Bahrain 5.5759 Singapore 5.5760 Mauritius 5.5661 Saudi Arabia 5.3362 Latvia 5.3263 Estonia 5.3264 Slovenia 5.3265 Slovakia 5.3266 Lithuania 5.3267 Pakistan 5.2568 Hungary 5.2069 Colombia 5.1370 South Korea 5.1171 Russia 5.0372 Iran 5.0073 Venezuela 5.0074 Belarus 5.0075 Zimbabwe 5.0076 Morocco 4.9977 Croatia 4.9478 Ethiopia 4.9379 Kenya 4.8180 Jamaica 4.7781 Nigeria 4.7782 Czech Republic 4.7383 Sri Lanka 4.6784 Namibia 4.6385 Nepal 4.5886 Thailand 4.5287 Kazakhstan 4.5188 Hong Kong 4.5189 Peru 4.4690 Macao 4.4491 Vietnam 4.4392 Georgia 4.4293 Bulgaria 4.3594 China 4.3595 Bosnia And Herzegovina 4.3096 Romania 4.2697 Poland 4.1398 Armenia 4.1299 Serbia 4.04100 Turkey 4.03101 Zambia 4.02102 Cambodia 4.00103 Moldova 3.97104 Taiwan 3.80105 Mexico 3.72106 South Africa 3.70107 Algeria 3.63108 Tunisia 3.44109 Syria 3.40110 Indonesia 3.38111 Azerbaijan 3.32112 Montenegro 3.19113 Albania 3.11114 India 2.93115 Malaysia 2.69116 Egypt 2.64117 Macedonia 2.59118 Ukraine 2.43119 Philippines 2.41Если отбросить некоторые экстремумы обусловленные национальной культурой видно, кто и где.Тоже самое с недвигой и зарплатами - причем картинка с каждым годом меняется не в пользу "первого" мира.Страны, точнее мега города постепенно выравниваются - ранжируются, провинция, что в Уругвае, что в Польше остается примерно одинаковая, также следующий этап секционирование городов с гетто.Кстати сейчас монетаристы пытаются сохранить позиции путем внедрением "лохчейна" - не даром его вслед за нарко и работорговцами из албании, поторопилась запустить для сервисов, используемых сотрудниками, гвардейская пехота транснацистов - большая четверка (Пивиси, маккинзи, делойт энд туш, кепеэмжо).Эти уродцы прекрасно понимают, что реальное решение проблемы давления растущих рынков это двухконтурная система денежных потоков с фильтром между ними - ибо роскошь безумия сранивать цены на землю для добычи ресурсов и цены на макдаки в постинформационном мире могут позволить себе уже далеко не все экономики.Поэтому "биткоинами" никогда не будут рассчитываться транснациональные корпорации между собой. А вот за макдаки... почему бы и нет. Жрите, не обляпайтесь.Второй вариант это конечно война всех со всеми и окукливание людских масс внутри своих контуров, ну тогда советую читателям поторопиться поездить по миру, пока еще можно.В России при любых раскладах на мировом фоне будет ок.Хотя с учетом малочисленности населения и огромных запасов ресурсов, уже построенной дешевой и качественной инфраструктуры, можно сделать так, чтобы было супер ок, даже с учетом климата.Правда только не с морально и техническими устаревшими экономиздами вроде тех, что на днях трындели на гайдаровском форуме.=============Японцы собираются сделать IPO своего мессенджера Line, фишка которого в обмене "стикерами" (причем платными), а не словами.Цена компании составит порядка 7 миллиардов баксов, это 500 миллиардов рублей.Для понимания Норникель со всеми потрошками оценивается спекулями примерно в 1,5 триллиона. Совсем сдурели.Несколько средненьких датацентров, далеко не самое сложное ПО и не такой уж долговременный "мем" в головах нескольких сот миллионов потенциальных камикадзе...Пожалуй скоро даже до самых упоротых хипстеров дойдет бредовость текущей ситуации и массовое бегство обратно в коммодитис не за горами.Ссылка на новость - http://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-07-14/line-an-ipo-worth-its-8-6-billionПри этом вот щелкнул бегущую строку того же блумберга: падение - золото, серебро, платина, палладий, каучук, кофе ...Коммуникации становятся все проще и проще, при этом информационный поток нарастает, а его плотность падает, что ведет к дальнейшей деградации человечества.Для "высокоскоростного" конструктивного обмена знаниями необходимо, чтобы у всех сторон был одинаковый и самое главное объемный "багаж" этих самых общих знаний, это позволит сократить размер и сложность "вводных", сэкономить время и сосредоточиться на сути.Когда же с утра до вечера в уши массам льется примитивная, повторяющаяся, мгновенно устаревающая жвачка "новостей", ни о каком накоплении багажа и тем более конструктивном "обмене" и речи быть не может.Обмен же "стикерами" тем более платными это просто дно.Попробуйте ими с нуля объяснить, что такое например агрегат М2 или откуда "бабки" у ФРС )).Падение качества информ обмена ведет и к тому, что те, кто тупо пытается повторить механизмы используемые западоидами для так называемых "инноваций", попадают в ловушку разницы менталитета и мотивационных моделей.Попытки воссоздать среду, сформировавшуюся вокруг того же МИТа с крупными транснациональными корпорациями ради всего лишь "общего глобального языка", как мы видим по отчетности роснано, ни к чему хорошем не привели.Результат обезъяничания с созданием "общего языка" практиками "корпоративного управления" тоже вызывает только усмешку.Ни один совет директоров в России не спас акционеров от вывода дивидендов, не говоря уж о вакханалиях в некоторых "гос компаниях".Способы оценки "активов", как видим из бредовости стоимости уберов с фейсбуками или этими торгующими смайликами "лайнами" тоже вызывают конкретные такие вопросы.Так может стоит задуматься о каких то своих экономических и управленческих подходах?тыц

14 января, 21:52

Пекин: Принцип "единого Китая" - непоколебим

Министерство иностранных дел Китая призвало "соответствующие стороны" в Соединенных Штатах признать деликатность тайваньского вопроса

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14 января, 04:14

A Remarkable Event in El Salvador: A Day Without Murder

The police had no explanation for the pause, which did not last. The killing rate has fallen since a police crackdown began, but gang violence is still rampant.

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13 января, 12:27

Сальвадор прожил первые за два года сутки без убийств

В Сальвадоре в среду, 11 января этого года не было зафиксировано ни одного убийства. Об этом сообщил комиссар национальной полиции Говард Котто. Последний раз такое событие фиксировалось в стране почти два года назад, в январе 2015-ого. Еще один день без убийств случился в 2013 году.

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13 января, 08:42

A rare murder-free day recorded in El Salvador

One of the world’s deadliest countries recorded its first day without a single killing since January 2015.

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13 января, 08:26

Впервые за два года в Сальвадоре зафиксирован день без убийств

Директор национальной полиции Сальвадора Говард Котто заявил, что 12 января в известной высоким уровнем насилия республике за сутки не произошло ни одного убийства.

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13 января, 07:43

El Salvador to strengthen ties with Taiwan during Tsai's visit

SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) - El Salvador said on Thursday it will strengthen ties with Taiwan as President Tsai Ing-wen visits Central America at a time when China suspects she is seeking formal independence from the mainland.

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13 января, 06:45

В Сальвадоре впервые за два года в течение дня не было совершено ни одного убийства

В Сальвадоре, стране, уровень насилия в которой является одним из самых высоких в мире, накануне прошел день, в течение которого не было совершено ни одного убийства. Об этом рассказал Говард Котто, глава Национальной полиции. Подобный же день без насилия был зарегистрирован в Респулике Сальвадор два года назад, 22 января 2015 года сообщает «Лайф» со ссылкой на The Associated Press. По словам Котто, в этот знаменательный день умер только один человек, раненный пару дней назад. Однако уже на следующий день в Сакатеколуке в разборке уличных банд были застрелены два человека.  

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13 января, 04:58

El Salvador: No murders reported for 24 hours

The gang-plagued Central American nation goes 24 hours without any murders reported.

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13 января, 04:52

В Сальвадоре впервые за два года не зафиксировано ни одного убийства за сутки

Комиссар национальной полиции Сальвадора Говард Котто заявил, что 12 января в республике впервые за два года не было зафиксировано ни одного убийства за сутки. Об этом сообщает Associated Press. Читать далее

13 января, 04:02

On-the-Record Press Call on Cuba Policy Announcement

ON-THE-RECORD PRESS CALL BY DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR BEN RHODES AND SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY JEH JOHNSON ON CUBA POLICY ANNOUNCEMENT Via Telephone 5:55 P.M. EST MR. PRICE:  Good evening, everyone, and thanks so much for joining this call, especially on such short notice.  We wanted to convene this call to discuss the changes to the policies and regulations affecting Cuban nationals that were announced late this afternoon.  First, the ground rules.  This call is on the record.  We have on this call, for your awareness, Ben Rhodes, the Deputy National Security Advisor.  We also have the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, along with another senior DHS official for question. We'll do this call on the record, but it will be embargoed until the conclusion, so we ask that you please not use this material until the call concludes. And with that, I will turn it over to Secretary Johnson to begin. SECRETARY JOHNSON:  Good evening.  This is Jeh Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security.  As part of the normalization of relations with the government of Cuba, effective immediately I have repealed the "wet foot, dry foot" policy with regard to Cuban migrants that has been in place since the mid-1990s.  Going forward, those Cuban migrants who arrive in the United States illegally, with some exceptions which I'll get into in a moment, will be subject to deportation consistent with our laws and our immigration enforcement priorities. To the extent permitted by the laws of both our countries, the aim here is to treat Cuban migrants in a manner consistent with migrants who come here illegally from other countries, particularly other countries in the same region.  This is a move toward equalizing our immigration policies with regard to those who come here illegally as part of the overall normalization process with the government of Cuba.  Along with the repeal of the policy, which I have done today, this is a product of an agreement with the government of Cuba.  Essentially, what the agreement means is that past is past, but that the future will be different with regard our migration relationship with the government of Cuba.  Going forward, if a Cuban migrants arrives here illegally, the Cuban government has agreed to accept that person back, specifically if the time -- between the time a Cuban migrant leaves Cuba, as demonstrated to us by the Cuban government, and the time that we commence a deportation proceeding against the individual is less than four years, the Cuban government has agreed to take that person back. Now, the reason for the four-year period is because of the existence of a law in Cuba enacted in response to the Cuban Adjustment Act of the United States, the law in Cuba essentially says that if a person has left Cuba, after two years they are considered to have effectively migrated from Cuba.  In the course of our negotiations, the Cuban government agreed, therefore, that if a person has been out of Cuba more than four years because the time they left and the time we commenced a deportation proceeding against them, which tolls that clock, they will take that migrant back. Ultimately, we seek to get to a place fully consistent with the international law under which the Cubans will agree to accept everyone back who is ordered deported by our country.  This is regarded by us as an interim arrangement until their laws are repealed.  We also welcome repeal by Congress, by our Congress, of the Cuban Adjustment Act.  Under our agreement with Cuba, there was also the possibility that the Cubans will accept back migrants outside of this arrangement, but on a case-by-case basis.  We are also today repealing the Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program, which you should be familiar with.  That, too, is effective immediately.  We are leaving in place the Cuban Family Reunification Program.  That program will continue.  I'll also add that with regard to interdictions of Cuban migrants at sea, by our Coast Guard, that is status quo.  That policy and that approach will continue, as well. So I'm happy to take any questions.  But first, let me turn it over to Ben Rhodes if he has any comments. MR. RHODES:  Thanks, Jeh.  Just a few contextual points.  This grows out of the normalization of relations between our countries.  What we've seen in recent years is a continued uptick in Cuban migrants coming to the United States.  We attribute that to a variety of factors -- one, that Cuba has liberalized its own exit policies with respect to Cubans leaving the country; two, the change in our policy -- the normalization of relations that began on December 17, 2014 -- I think created an expectation in Cuba that this change might take place and therefore people were motivated to migrate.  Also, though, the increase in resources available to the Cuban people, particularly through our remittance policies, also made it more possible for Cubans to travel. What we've seen, therefore, is a steady increase to some 40,000 Cubans granted parole in fiscal year 2015; 54,000 roughly in fiscal year 2016.  And what we had also seen is a growing number of Cubans who had begun a journey to try to reach the United States who were in a variety of Central American countries that was creating both humanitarian challenges and strains within those countries as large numbers of Cubans were essentially stuck there and then facing a very difficult and dangerous -- journey to our southern border in some cases. So we wanted to ensure that we normalized our migration policies to the extent that we could and that we brought them in line with the way in which we treat other countries, as Jeh referenced.  And so, again, what this does going forward is repeal the "wet foot, dry foot" provision such that we are returning to Cuba those people who come into our custody who traveled here illegally.  I'd just say a couple of other things here.  Ultimately, of course, we believe that we'd like to see people be able to increase their economic prospects within Cuba.  That is why we have taken steps to open up a greater commercial and people-to-people relationship, and have encouraged the Cuban government to pursue economic reforms.  That, ultimately, is the best way to ensure opportunity for the Cuban people going forward. And lastly, as Jeh said, the Cuban Adjustment Act is the legislative architecture around these policies.  That provides preferences including adjusted status, green card status, and certain benefits to Cubans who are paroled into the country.  That remains statute.  But obviously under this change, we will not be granting parole to people who arrive here illegally by land or by sea.  We do believe it would be the appropriate step for Congress to repeal the Cuban Adjustment Act, even with the four-year clock that is embedded into Cuban law that, frankly, provides Congress with four years within which to assure full normalization of these policies to repeal the Cuban Adjustment Act.  And the Cubans have indicated that they will repeal their law, which is reciprocal to the Cuban Adjustment Act if and when Congress takes that action. And with that, we're happy to move to questions. Q    Thank you both so much for doing this call.  I was just wondering, for the last two years whenever the topic of "wet foot, dry foot" policy came up, the administration was adamant that the rule belonged to the Cuban Adjustment Act and, as an act of Congress, it had to be repealed by Congress, even if it was discussed as a presidential fiat.  So why do this now with only a week left in the administration?  And what changed that made you decide that this was possible and something that could be rescinded? MR. RHODES:  Well, Serena, a couple of things.  First of all, we've been working sequentially through the normalization process.  So there was the initial announcement December 17th, then we had to establish embassies, then we were focused on making a series of regulatory changes.  So part of this was we arrived at the issue of migration later in the process.  That's the first point I'd make. The second point I'd make is that we saw the increase in migration, which I think is attributable to the factors I mentioned -- the liberalization of Cuba's own exit policies, the increased resources, particularly through remittances for Cubans, and, frankly, just the expectation in Cuba that this change might happen.  And that increased the sense of urgency. But the last point, which is an important one, is this policy is often discussed here as if it is purely unilateral.  But for this to work, the Cubans had to agree to take people back.  And we did not have that indication from them -- it was not part of my discussions with them leading up to December 17th and after.  And it was only in recent years, as the uptick in migration continued, that they entered into those discussions with us.  And then we, again, had to determine how to ensure that this was the best possible agreement, even as we both knew that our laws were in place -- in other words, the Cuban Adjustment Act, which the Cubans object to, was still in place.  The Cubans made the adjustment to their law to extend this clock to four years, so it took time to negotiate various elements.  But again, I think this was the appropriate step at the appropriate time, and it makes sense from a perspective of our Cuba policy, it makes sense from a perspective of our immigration policy.  Look, the last thing I’d say is -- we do get asked about this a lot -- frankly, we did not want to speculate publicly about the likelihood of this change for fear of inviting even greater migration flows, and everything we said is actually entirely what we believe, which is that we do think Congress should repeal the Cuban Adjustment Act.  It’s the cleanest way to fully normalize our immigration relationship. Q    Hi, hi, thank you for doing this, and my apologies because I was late to the call, so I’m not sure if you already talked about that, but I was wondering what are the Cubans agreeing to -- the Cuban government?  Are they agreeing to taking all Cubans back, including those with deportation orders?  Is this happening, as well?  And also, can you set a timeframe, just to find out -- just to realize what’s going to happen with those Cubans, I don’t know, now entering the border in Mexico?  What’s going to happen to them? SECRETARY JOHNSON:  I’ll take that.  Essentially, as I described in the first part of the call, what we’ve agreed to is, past is past and future will be different.  Going forward, the Cuban government has agreed to take back those who have been ordered by an immigration court, deported from this country.  Consistent with our laws, we will still hear claims for asylum like we do for everybody else.  And I explained earlier that if the period of time between the time they left and the time we begin a deportation is four years or less, they have agreed to take them back.  The reason for the four years is because of the state of their laws in Cuba, which we expect will be repealed as part of the normalization process, and so that’s generally how it works. And as I mentioned earlier, interdictions at sea will continue, and those people will be returned as well. MR. RHODES:  I’d just add one thing.  As Jeh indicated, it’s a prospective policy.  Going forward, the Cubans will be taking people back.  Looking back, in addition to the case-by-case review that we can seek for individuals who have removal orders, you’ll note in the joint statement that Cuba has agreed to accept the list of 2,746 people out of the Mariel boatlift.  So there is a particular agreed-upon list of individuals who have procedure for return.  But our goal was to set the policy direction going forward and to normalize, essentially, this migration relationship prospectively.  There’s obviously an enormous number of -- there’s a very large Cuban American population, and many Cuban migrants are already here.  It was going to be too complicated, frankly, to significantly return people who are already here.  We wanted to get things right going forward. Q    Hi.  So just the first question I wanted to make sure I understood.  So this would not impact Cubans who are already here?  And so I just wanted to make sure I was clear on that.  So this will be Cubans migrating to the country going forward? And the second part was -- I’m obviously not an expert on this -- but it was my understanding that also under the “wet foot, dry foot” policy there was a lottery for a certain number -- 20,000 or so Cubans -- who could come here each year through that, and that also under the policy the U.S. was less, I don't know, vigilant in deporting Cubans who’d committed some sort of deportable offense.  So I wondered if I’m correct on those points, if those also will change -- the lottery will go away, and the U.S. would become more aggressive at deporting Cubans who have made some sort of deportable offense. SECRETARY JOHNSON:  Let me take that.  First of all, the policy, as Ben mentioned, is prospective.  Going forward, effective immediately, those who arrive here going forward.  With regard to your question about the lottery, I’m going to turn it over to a DHS senior official.  Go ahead. DHS SENIOR OFFICIAL:  Hi.  So under our agreement -- so the 20,000 -- so we agreed in the 1994-95 Migration Accords with Cuba that we would accept for admission 20,000 Cubans per year.  That continues to be the case under this agreement.  This new agreement does not change that commitment by the United States. MR. RHODES:  But again, those are people who would come here through authorized procedures.  So what this does is allow us to deal with Cubans arriving irregularly by land, as well as sea. Q    Hi, good afternoon.  I saw a statement by Senator Menendez saying that Congress was not consulted on this.  I just wanted to confirm that with you.  And I also wanted to know -- the Cuban Adjustment Act actually leaves a lot of discretion for the Attorney General to grant -- well, a lot of this question for him to decide on whether to grant that green card for Cubans who have been here a year.  So I was wondering, since you think that Congress should lift the act, do you also think that the Attorney General should exercise that discretion and stop granting parole to -- well, granting residency to Cubans who have been here a year legally? SECRETARY JOHNSON:  The discussions leading up to this were very sensitive.  The policy that we're announcing today is effective immediately.  We did not want for there to be a mass exodus from Cuba in anticipation of a change in policy.  So these were very sensitive discussions.  And I’m going to turn it over to the DHS senior official to describe how the Cuban Adjustment Act works. One point I’ll make is, references in the law to the Attorney General back then now are to me, the Secretary of Homeland Security, because DHS was created after the enactment of the law. Go ahead. DHS SENIOR OFFICIAL:  So I think the point you're trying to raise is that to some degree the decision whether to adjust the status of a Cuban national who has been paroled into the United States under the Cuban Adjustment Act is discretionary.  I don't know if you can still -- is that the point you were trying to make?  Well, I’m assuming that's the point you were trying to make, assuming you can't answer my question.  So there is case law that limits our authority to grant or deny adjustment under that law.  But that is something that we will continue to consider and analyze moving forward. MR. RHODES:  I’d just add a couple things.  On the congressional point, while we did not have regular updates on what were very sensitive negotiations, we have over the course of the last year or so, frankly, heard from members of Congress, from both parties, who were expressing increasing concern about the migration flows.  In fact, in some cases, we were being urged to do something about it.  And we've also heard increasing interest and even pieces of legislation being introduced that seek to amend or repeal the Cuban Adjustment Act, whether it's the benefits provided under the Cuban Adjustment Act or the act itself.  So this is an issue that we've discussed with members of Congress from both parties, and around this announcement of course we're doing many notifications to those interested members. And I should add to Serena's original question here -- that congressional interest is one of the things that gave us a greater impetus to act.  It was clear to us that Congress was taking a greater interest in this issue, given the uptick in migration flows and the strain that that was placing on certain communities. On CAA, again, the cleanest way to fully normalize is to repeal the act.  So that is the -- that would be our recommendation.  We have seven days, so it's not going to happen in that timeframe, but I do think actually there is bipartisan support for that type of effort going forward. Q    Hi, thanks for doing this call.  I wanted to ask two things.  One is just sort of a more technical thing.  This happened by a Department of Homeland Security rule, right, so presumably in a subsequent administration, it could be undone and then the Cuban Adjustment Act is still there.  I'm just wondering if for some reason this wasn't followed up on, and our Congress doesn't repeal the Cuban Adjustment Act, and the Cubans don't revise their policy with that four-year window, could we be left with the same situation sort of de facto that we have now?  And then secondly, just if you guys could put this in context a bit.  This was a policy initially designed to give Cubans who are fleeing persecution a special way of getting to the United States.  In making this move, is the administration essentially taking the position that this is no longer necessary or appropriate, I guess, giving the détente? MR. RHODES:  Jeh, you take the first question.  I can handle the second. SECRETARY JOHNSON:  It's important to remember that this is the ending of a policy that was put in place 20 years ago.  This is not the enactment of a policy that can be repealed by a subsequent administration.  This is us repealing a policy unique to Cuba, given the nature of the relationship 20 years ago, which is very different right now.  So I wouldn't characterize it as creating a policy that could be repealed. Go ahead, Ben. MR. RHODES:  Yeah, I'd just say a couple of things.  I just want to clarify, Julie, because of the nature of the way you phrased it.  Keep in mind that the four-year provision is not six.  So, in other words, it's four years from whenever the individual leaves Cuba.  So, in other words, the earliest that that could enter into question is four years from today.  But if an individual leaves Cuba a year from now, that's five years from today.  It is a peculiarity, but Congress will have four years to repeal the Cuban Adjustment Act.  During that time, we will be putting individuals who come into our custody, who have arrived here illegally, into removal proceedings.  And again, the Cubans have committed to repeal their law, which was passed to be reciprocal to the Cuban Adjustment Act. To your second question, I think a number of things have changed.  First of all, I think as a general matter there are certainly individuals -- well, put it this way -- early in the post-revolution history, it was very clear that the overwhelming number of Cubans who came to the United States and ended up doing incredible things here in the United States absolutely had to leave for political purposes, or very much were leaving for political purposes.  I think increasingly over time, the balance has tilted towards people leaving for more traditional reasons in terms of seeking economic opportunity and, frankly, having not just the benefits of "wet foot, dry foot" and the adjusted status, but also literal benefits under the Cuban Adjustment Act.  That's not to say that they're not still people who have political cause to leave Cuba.  And as we do with any other country, political asylum continues to be an option for those individuals.  But we have seen the balance shift to more similar reasons in terms of people pursuing economic opportunity. The second thing I'd say is that we believe that ultimately the best future for Cuba is one that is determined by the Cuban people, both in terms of their economic livelihoods and in terms of their political future.  And, frankly, it's important that Cuba continue to have a young, dynamic population that are clearly serving as agents of change and becoming entrepreneurs, and being more connected to the rest of the world.  And, frankly, we believe that this change is in service of creating more incentive for there to be the economic reforms that need to be pursued on the island in terms of opening up more space for the private sector, allowing foreign firms to hire Cubans, so that they can be responsive to the economic aspirations of their people. So in the long run, the best way for Cubans to have this opportunity is for them to be able to pursue it at home through an economy that has continued to pursue market-based reforms. Now, we believe very strongly, in this administration, of course, that our Cuba opening is the best way to incentivize that economic reform; that as more Americans travel, as more Americans do business, as there are greater commercial ties, that ultimately is going to create more opportunity for people in Cuba, as well as creating opportunities for Americans.  And so that's very much the approach we'd like to see continued going forward, and ultimately the one that has the best opportunity to deliver results to the Cuban people. The links between Cuban Americans and Cubans will remain as robust as ever.  And, in fact, what we've done is open up for space for those links, because Cuban Americans can now travel, they can send unlimited remittances.  Many of them are people who are focused on -- many of the commercial opportunities include Cuban Americans who want to contribute to the building and development of Cuba.  So those links will remain very strong in the context of this policy change. We'll take one more question. SECRETARY JOHNSON:  I just would like to emphasize something my colleague said a moment ago coming from me.  Cuban migrants, like everybody else, will still be able to apply for asylum, consistent with our laws.  So this is -- what we’re doing is putting, to the full extent permitted under each nation’s laws, putting Cuban migrants in the same place and on the same footing with migrants who come here from other countries who are available -- who are allowed to apply for asylum and the like.  It’s an effort to normalize the relationship and equalize it in the region and how we treat migrants from around the world. MR. RHODES:  We’ll take the last question. Q    Thank you very much.  Just wanted to clarify the situation on the U.S.-Mexico border.  If a Cuban approaches the border tomorrow and presents himself to immigration with a Cuban ID card and nothing more than that, in the past they’ve been allowed entry and parole.  Will they still continue to be allowed to cross the border into the United States to apply for asylum, or will they be turned away like other people?  Will they still -- in other words, will they still have some kind of privilege under the Cuban Adjustment Act that will allow them to set foot in the country to make that asylum claim? SECRETARY JOHNSON:  The policy repeal is effective immediately.  So a Cuban migrant, like a Guatemalan migrant or a migrant from El Salvador, can assert a claim of credible fear at the border when they arrive.  But effective immediately, that policy -- our approach to Cubans arriving tomorrow will be the same as those arriving from other countries in Central America, Mexico, and otherwise. MR. RHODES:  And just to put a fine point on this, the Cubans will be treated like everybody else.  People from anywhere can issue a claim of asylum; that does happen frequently.  This is an important point, though:  Under the current policy, they would have been paroled in, and then that would have put them into a position where they could begin to receive the benefits under the Cuban Adjustment Act.  They’re not going to be paroled in during whatever adjudication might take place of a claim.  So essentially they are being treated like people from any other country that arrives.  There’s not going to be a separate queue for Cubans.  So just like any other migrant who reaches our border, they have certain claims that they can pursue, but they’ll be treated as other individuals from other countries are.  And if they are not paroled in, they will not be able to adjust and achieve the benefits under the CAA, which would be the current context.  So I think that’s an important change, particularly in light of how this issue has been debated and discussed in parts of the country -- because, again, if people knew that they could achieve that parole into the country immediately, they also know that that would put them on a track towards the potential benefits afforded to them under the CAA.  That changes -- it just treats the Cuban migrants like migrants from other countries. MR. RHODES:  Okay, thanks, everybody, for getting on the call.  And we look forward to answering any other inquiries you may have going forward.  Jeh, is there anything else you want to say? SECRETARY JOHNSON:  No, that's it. MR. RHODES:  Great.  Thanks, everybody.  END 6:29 P.M. EST  

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13 января, 03:37

Впервые за два года в Сальвадоре прошел день без убийств

Впервые за два года в Сальвадоре прошел день без убийств

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13 января, 03:19

Сальвадор впервые за два года прожил день без убийств

При этом уже в четверг в ходе столкновения с полицией в городе Сакатеколука были убиты двое членов уличной банды

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13 января, 02:41

Жители Сальвадора впервые за два года смогли прожить день без убийств

В наступившем году Сальвадор прожил первый день, когда во всей этой центральноамериканской республике не произошло ни одного убийства. Об этом со ссылкой на директора Национальной полиции Говарда Котто сообщает The Associated Press. Агентство напоминает, что последний такой день в республике, печально известной своим высоким уровнем насилия, имел место почти два года назад, 22 января 2015 года. — Вчера у нас не произошло ни одного убийства, — сказал Котто. — Единственный человек, который умер, был ранен два дня назад. Впрочем, уже на следующий день в городе Сакатеколука в результате столкновения с полицией были убиты два члена уличной банды.

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12 января, 23:52

A day without murder: no one is killed in El Salvador for first time in two years

One of the world’s deadliest countries recorded on Thursday as the first day without a single homicide since January 2015El Salvador, one of the world’s deadliest countries, has recorded a rare day without a single homicide. Related: Central America's rampant violence fuels an invisible refugee crisis Continue reading...

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12 января, 23:38

El Salvador has rare murder-free day, 1st in nearly 2 years

El Salvador, one of the world’s deadliest countries, has recorded a rare day without a single homicide.

12 января, 18:13

Fleeing gang warfare, more Central Americans seek refuge in Mexico

TAPACHULA, Mexico (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - As Juan walked to school one morning a year ago in El Salvador, two men on a motorbike sped by and fatally shot a boy on the street in front of him.

26 января 2016, 09:11

Северный треугольник насилия в Центральной Америке

"Не ту страну назвали Гондурасом". Это, пожалуй, все, что рядовой россиянин знает про так называемый Северный треугольник, три страны в Центральной Америке, одно из наиболее опасных для жизни мест на планете.