Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Coca-Cola will suspend production in Venezuela due to lack of sugar

Coca-Cola paralyzes production in Venezuela.  Cans of Coca-Cola. BLOOMBERG | REUTERS-QUALITY 
The measure was announced after the state company that processes sugar cease activity. The bottler of Atlanta-based company said that production will be affected in the "coming days" and does not clarify at what point can resume normal production of Coca-Cola Classic in Venezuela. The situation in the country does nothing but get worse and economic hardship also affects imports of commodities for the production of beverages and food. Last week, the Venezuelan state company in charge of processing the sugar temporarily cut production. "We are advancing specific actions that allow us to face this situation with suppliers, authorities and our workers," said the firm in a statement over the weekend.

Coca-Cola Femsa which operates four bottling plants and employs about 7,300 workers in Venezuela, said that factories are consuming the remaining sugar inventory. "If not recover this inventory as soon as possible, temporary interruptions in the production of sugar beverage portfolio will be generated." In late April Empresas Polar had to stop production of beer because the government does not give the dollars needed to purchase raw materials.

Coca-Cola Femsa is the largest bottling company in the world, with plants also operate in countries like Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Argentina. The partner of the US corporation explains that "90% of production" of its popular soft drink needs sugar, so it has no choice but to temporarily suspend its operations for that product. Also they make clear to the company that they will not leave the country. Now Coca-Cola Femsa are looking for other alternatives to gain refined sugar it needs for refreshments. The temporary cessation does not affect sugar - free drinks, where operations continue normally and its headquarters will remain open. Multinationals also face problems for the continued depreciation of the Venezuelan currency, as reflected in the results of PepsiCo, General Motors and Ford Motor.

In the Chavista was the popular drink bottler has faced numerous trade disputes. In May 2013 was the last major. Valencia plant in the center of the country, spent at least a week without producing bottled water and juice-based drinks and tea, part of the products they offer. All past conflicts have originated in the differences between the aspirations of the accused and supply of Coca-Cola. But the lack of raw material and deepening scarcity inaugurate an era whose consequences are still to be seen.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Sustainable fisheries in the Mediterranean

Sustainable fisheries in the Mediterranean
European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella. EFE / File
The facts are indisputable: the Mediterranean fish stocks are declining. Some of them are even on the verge of exhaustion. Overall, 93% of fish stocks that have been assessed are overexploited. The European Commission, which reaffirms its commitment to the growth and jobs agenda, is very concerned about what this may mean for the thousands of fishermen fishing in the Mediterranean. Therefore, it has launched a Mediterranean Strategy to improve the situation of fish stocks. On 27 April a ministerial conference was held after a major forum held under the main meeting of European industry: Fair seafood (Seafood Expo Global).

There are several reasons for the poor state of fish stocks. Pollution and climate change, no doubt, are partly to blame. However, it is clear that the massive overfishing is one of the root causes. It is true that, in the case of many populations (too many) still do not know enough. In the eastern Mediterranean, for example, there are significant gaps in time series that prevent us draw meaningful conclusions. In addition, half of all fish caught in the Mediterranean is not even registered. Therefore, we have only a partial view of this matter. But the evidence is equally devastating: fishermen report that caught fewer fish from year to year. In fact, their livelihoods, their own industry, are at risk.

The new Mediterranean Strategy of the European Commission is a commitment to the recovery of fish stocks, so that we can fulfill our commitment to the recovery of fishing. Our strategy is based on many years of work to inspire a sense of solidarity among fishermen. In 2003 the Mediterranean nations signed a declaration which laid the foundations for improving scientific research, protect vulnerable areas and limit fishing. The EU Member States reduced their fleets in an effort to ensure sustainable fisheries. Our legislative proposal provides management plans national and international fishing, catch limitations and environmental requirements. A strong multilateral cooperation encourages all countries bordering the Mediterranean to respect the same rules.

And experience shows that we can succeed if we tackle the challenges together. Take for example the extraordinary recovery of bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean. We got together, we agreed, and thus achieve results. Fishermen who recently questioned the recovery plan today laud their results. But we must go further. Fortunately, there is now a genuine shared that we must act with all populations feeling. At a recent conference, held in February in the Italian city of Catania, I met with fishermen's associations, European scientists and NGOs. All were aligned with government representatives present. This political will is what is needed to achieve a comprehensive approach to all neighboring Mediterranean countries to join.

The EU took the initiative in the case of bluefin tuna and has been shown that it was the right decision. Now we extend this successful performance to other fish species, across national borders and fishing traditions.

Several ministers of EU fisheries and coastal Mediterranean countries outside the EU were in Brussels on the occasion of the fair Global Seafood Expo in late April. What I intend to build on the momentum that was generated in Catania. We have started monitoring a joint statement on sustainable fisheries in the Mediterranean, at this time next year, you should give new impetus and provide a new vision for conservation and sustainability in the Mediterranean.

For this I have also been in contact with some major EU partners in the Mediterranean. Only in the last month I was in Algeria and Turkey, and met with representatives of Tunisia. They all expressed their understanding for the urgency and willingness to act. This feeling of involvement of all stakeholders in the largest possible number of Mediterranean countries is what they need fishermen. Joint efforts and commitment to our long-term strategy offset, as they deserve, fishermen from all over this great sea.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Lessons from Netherlands

Pro-European concentration of students in Kiev, on the eve of the Dutch referendum on the association agreement between Ukraine and the European Union. SERGEY Dolzhenko EFE
Holland, officially, the only country of the 28 that has not ratified the association agreement between the EU and Ukraine adopted by the Dutch Parliament. The objective of the agreement, signed in 2013, is to promote political dialogue and develop the economy of Ukraine. The referendum went ahead thanks to a Eurosceptic digital environment and the action of a group of same - significantly called Geenpeil profile, Clueless - which took the government has just lowered the necessary 300,000 signatures to call a referendum on any matter. The he did not win, but more than two - thirds of voters stayed home. Only 20% of the electorate supports the negative.

Above the difficulties of the Dutch government to manage the outcome and complications that can arise for Brussels, what happened interesting lessons for all extracted. It has become a commonplace to say that representative democracy is in crisis and you need to open new channels to give citizens a voice in public affairs. In the catalog of measures aimed at correcting this alleged deficit of representation are the use of referenda, advisory or binding; popular legislative initiatives, whose use is intended to stimulate; the recall commands that allow depose public office without calling elections; or electronic mechanisms of direct democracy, which in theory would allow parliaments without a large number of topics.

But as evidenced by the case of the Netherlands, however discredited that is representative democracy, direct democracy mechanisms that arise as an alternative are far from a panacea. On the contrary, as we see throughout Europe-from Greece to the UK via Hungary and the Netherlands, referenda are likely to become the favorite tool of populist to delegitimize democracies, put in crisis the European project and, to make matters worse in this case, make a huge gift to Putin, recipient of the consultation on Wednesday and allegedly ultimately responsible for the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight in July 2014 that killed nearly 300 people.

Again, as in most referendums on European issues during the last two decades, the electorate has not answered the question that has been asked, but which had wanted to be formulated; Also ignoring the consequences of their vote. However, the high abstention rate of nearly 70%, is the most relevant data. If direct democracy does not improve participation with respect to representative democracy and discredits over the political system, its usefulness is diluted completely.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Football and random incentivized

Football and random incentivized

Complaints by an article in which it is assumed that not only luck favored Real Madrid in the last draw of Champions. The emphasis is, as you know, a brief comment on a topical issue that is published daily on the front page of Opinion. Entitled It's not a matter of hot balls, but highborn , on Saturday March 19 was dedicated to the draw for the quarter-finals of the Champions, held in the Swiss town of Nyon yesterday. In the article, signed by Jesus Mota, editor of Opinion, he made ​​the following statement: "To the question of whether the draw for the Champions is pure, the answer is no. The road to the end of some clubs is paved with rivals chusqueros comfortable", It is mainly referring to Real Madrid, paired in the draw with Wolfsburg and according Mota, not merely a matter of luck. "Almost from the first Sumerian tablets" he wrote, "it is known that chance exists but can be stimulated by mechanical, physical, metaphysical or mesmeric procedures. That lived Bugsy Siegel casinos and lotteries rigged by the Mafia (and not just US)".

The article provoked numerous protests. "Is it logical and fair that insinuate, without any data, the draw was rigged in favor of Real Madrid?" He asked in his e - Sisinio Juan Pérez Garzón, newspaper subscriber. Pedro Luis Egea Vega qualified article "regrettable pamphlet." A reader of El Puerto de Santa María (Cádiz), Carlos Matallanas, journalist and "football man", sent me a long message in which he said: "I ask the protection of the defending reader to speculation tavern, which are not admissible in any means claim to have rigor, not again elPaís". Matallanas added: "Speculating that the drawings are prepared not commit anyone in a private get - together, but do so from an editorial by means of such importance it is foolhardy plus it contravenes all manuals of good journalistic practice. As regular readers know that the accent always has a more relaxed look on his analysis, but even there text Mota explained". According to this reader, "if the journalist or media note that there is a popular rumor that he senses that there is something wrong, what they should do is investigate silent, that is the main reason for the existence of journalism. And once I proved something, publish it".

The same complaint raised Felix Rodriguez. And Juan Ignacio Martínez Pastor wrote: "Readers Mota we would like to prove such a claim with evidence." Although 'The accent' is a comment, not fit in the unproven charges. Jesus Mota sent me an email which explains: "The accent is not information; therefore, there is nothing to "contrast". It is a comment that, until now, admitted some kind of irony and intended to reflect the general scornfully that the draw was received. Apparently, that's not possible. The Accent mentioned does not contend that the draw for the Champions "is not clean wheat", although clearly been understood well, but "is oriented" in the same way as the drawings in which are awarded 'heads are oriented serial 'so that outstanding athletes or teams do not compete with each other and the competition will depreciate (in economic and sporting terms)".

No doubt that pretend Mota satirize the fate of Real Madrid, similar to Barca in the last 10 draws quarterfinals of the Champions lucky that day as reported by the Sports section. However, it can only be taken as an indictment of his claim that the draws of Champions are not "pure" or are "oriented" as clear in his message, because it would be a scandal that so. Football is not governed by the rules of court, which are allocated effectively 'seeded' to avoid competing with each other in the early rounds of the top - ranked tournaments. And although the accent is a comment, not fit into the allegations without proof. The Mota himself criticized in another few days ago Acento - and rightly so French former minister Roselyne Bachelot, by accusing Rafael Nadal of doping based on mere rumors. Bridging the gap between UEFA, Real Madrid and Nadal, the requirement not to make accusations without proof it is the same in all cases.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Obama seeks to close the past

Barack Obama, along Mauricio Macri, the wreath to the victims of the military dictatorship, on 24 March. David Fernandez EFE
The US president, Barack Obama, has chosen Argentina, precisely the day they met 40 years into one of the most heinous Latin American dictatorships, to break with the dark past of their country and its relationship with those military coups so infamous memory. Obama did not go as far as they would have liked to victims (has not apologized for Henry Kissinger operations, the School of the Americas and Operation Condor), but admitted "a debt in the past." and seeks a reconciliation between the US and Latin America in a very conflicted relationship by US interventionism.

It is a good time for self-criticism, which should be more emphatic if they want to break the mistrust and old suspicions of the victims of those dictatorships. The absence in the act of Obama Estela de Carlotto, leader of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, shows that there is still a long way to go. The step taken by Obama, however, is loaded with significance, "democracies must have the courage to admit when you are not up to the situation," said Plaza of memory and begin to acquire greater consistency at least in the Southern Cone when they start to open the military archives from that era and they can be known with sufficient perspective, important details of what happened then.

The US president took the opportunity to send a message of unequivocal support for Mauricio Macri, the key new ally in the region. With this trip it is clear the 180-degree turn that has given Argentina with respect to the old anti-Americanism. Macri must solve very serious problems affecting Argentines, especially inflation, which suffer more those who have less. That is their internal challenge. Outside, international support can not be clearer. Now you need to know to use it.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Baseball, the diplomacy and tragedy

Baseball, the diplomacy and tragedy
Without the baseball-that shared way of being and being in the world could not tell the story of Cuba and the US. The presence of Obama in a match next Tuesday will help normalize the so visceral relationship between the two countries. The first two countries in the world where baseball was played were the United States and Cuba and, since the nineteenth century, the sport that Cubans call "the ball game" intricately part of spirituality and imagination in both countries. No baseball could not tell the story of any of the two nations, because baseball is in the soul and identity of these countries so close and sometimes so far. In Cuba, for example, it is said to be his ball as well is the country.

Following the announcement of the visit of President Barack Obama to Cuba as part of the process of strengthening the resumed bilateral diplomatic relations, all information agree to ensure that during his stay in Havana, the president will participate in the exhibition game of baseball teams Rays of Tampa and the Cuban national team. Obama, they say, will have the honor of throwing the first ball of the sporting event, which will reach immediately, historical and symbolic value within the new diplomacy proportions. Because, finally, the ballgame is very serious for those who were born on either side of the Straits of Florida. And because baseball has been one of the many discordant relations between the two countries in the past six decades apples.

The last time I after a break of forty years that a team of professional circuit of Major American Leagues visited Cuba was in 1999. On that occasion, as in many others throughout the years of tension, the parties concluded they lived by managers and Cuban players as battles of war. Because even at that time the political rivalry between the systems even expressed through the concepts of sport, embodied in the existence of professionalism and market. One win apiece this exhibition was closed and the Cuban sports system won the game was a demonstration of the stature and competitiveness of the socialist formula.

And since the 1960s, when the Cuban government decreed the elimination of sports professionalism, every challenge sustained by amateurs Cubans and also amateurs Americans, devenía a demonstration sport and ideological rivalry. Cuban successes in Pan American Championships, World and even Olympic Games (Barcelona 92 and Atlanta 96), served to reaffirm the success of a sporting, economic and social concept.

However, with global political changes that happen after the fall of the Berlin Wall, also in sports walls they fell, as separating amateurs and professionals in almost all competitive disciplines. Cubans then touched their players face a higher level than hitherto confronted. And the usual victories became more difficult and, in recent years, even rare. But almost at the same time, he had begun an internal process in Cuba which has now reached crisis proportions: the departure of players looking for contracts in professional leagues. If the brain drain practically did not exist in the 1960s to 1980, late last century began a trickle of players, to become in the last three years in a torrent. Today it is estimated that during this period have been over two hundred of the island's baseball players who have left Cuba by the most diverse means looking for opportunities in professional baseball.

This situation, which has allowed several Cuban athletes achieve sporting and economic success in the world's most competitive baseball in turn has involved various tragedies. The problem essence of the relationship of the players on the island with most circuits governed by the system of the majors has been unable to claim a contract as Cuban citizens, vetted by the Embargo Act. Thus, for a Cuban can hope to compete in the US rented baseball is essential to leave the country and take the residence of a third nation. To achieve this possibility the players have exhausted all ways, from the desertion during a competition abroad (considered a political betrayal in Cuba) to the clandestine departure. Both solutions, as is expected, pose many dangers and both have resulted in more than one occasion that Cuban talents have had to negotiate with traffickers, related traffickers contracts, characters that have occasionally come to threaten to physical integrity of athletes.

However these risks and internal political condemnation involved, the Cuban players still choose to search for a better sporting and economic luck. The difference between winning fifty dollars a month to play in Cuba and hundreds of thousands or millions each year on the professional tours is too powerful and beyond the power of political speeches. In recent weeks perhaps the event that has moved to Cuba has been the defection during a tournament developed in the Dominican Republic two players, by other brothers, one of them considered the best player who remained on the island and the other one of the most sought after prospects in the country. This flight was the icing on uastel which was already baked: the crisis of baseball played in Cuba has touched a depth that was not and when professionalism and hundreds of players was abolished lost the chance to compete in the country.

While this decline occurred, several players triumphed in different leagues, demonstrating the quality of Cuban player. And, to the tragedies that predated or around these successes, the structure of Major League Baseball and the Cuban Baseball Federation began a complex talks in search of the only possible solution: the special license from the US Treasury Department to allow direct hiring players on the island. That step, which the Cubans finally authorities have now agreed, would be the first major obstacle to overcome, but then would have to target your results: either through individual contracts or by the Cuban Federation, the way already practiced with the Japanese league. Only then it would be possible to get some treatment for Cuban baseball players that rid themselves of the real dangers of desertions and leak which are legally unprotected.

Perhaps the party on March 22 with the honorific speech by President Obama not take just as a diplomatic gesture, but also help achieve normalcy in this very visceral and active relationship for more than a century and a half have supported Cuba and the United States through a game that is a shared way of being and being in the world. Because if something should change in relations between the two countries, that change has to include something as important as baseball.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Syria: Five years of destruction

syiria war

Although there have been clear advances as the ceasefire or reverse jihadist forces, the conflict is far from resolved. The Syrian exodus has worsened and the differences between the contenders remain abysmal. The Syrian war has entered a phase of no return. Five years after the convening of the first demonstrations against Bashar al-Assad, the situation is out of control, as evidenced by the magnitude of the tragedy: five million refugees, seven million displaced and a range of deaths of between 300,000 and 470,000 according to different estimates. Most worrisome is that there is no reason to believe that the storm will abate in the short term. Despite the fragile ceasefire reached it could invite us to think otherwise, contending approaches remain entirely irreconcilable.

Western countries have reacted late and wrong to this crisis. Only when they saw the wolf ears with the Jihadist attacks in Paris and the arrival of hundreds of thousands of refugees into its territory, they came out of his reverie and activated diplomatic channels. One day after the slaughter in the French capital, the International Action Group for Syria stressed "the urgent need to end the suffering of the Syrian people, the destruction of the country, to the destabilization of the region and the increased number of terrorists involved in military actions. " The resolution 2254 of the Security Council, adopted on December 23, raised a roadmap to try to close the vicious circle in which we find: a transition process and a ceasefire that should be done simultaneously in time. However, this proposal seems unrealistic, since it is based on the establishment of a national unity government with executive powers within six months and the holding of free elections under the supervision of the United Nations in a year and a half Nations, unviable goals. According to the resolution, all parties to the negotiations, which are expressly excluded jihadist groups, should commit to preserve Syria's territorial unity and the secular nature of the system.

This is similar to the proposed formula in Geneva in 2012, but the situation on the ground has changed dramatically. The regime is in a strong position after the Russian intervention which has enabled it to recover some lost ground. When the initiative was launched in the Al-Nusra Front, Syrian branch of Al Qaeda, was irrelevant and was not even the self-styled Islamic State, which now dominates the basin of the Euphrates. The same can be said of Popular Protection Units, which control the Syrian Kurdistan, and which have been inexplicably excluded from negotiations.

Assad is seen as a lesser evil, when it is responsible for most civilian casualties
The resolution 2.254 commitment to constructive ambiguity in regard to the future of El Asad. While much of the international community considered the main responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by its army, Russia and Iran, its main allies, continue to opt for its maintenance in office, they consider vital to preserve their regional interests. In recent months, Western countries have been modulating his speech and now admit that holds the presidency during the transition phase. Some even begin to consider him as a lesser evil before the advance of the Islamic State, which is a real blunder if we consider that the regime is responsible for most civilian casualties, many of them caused by explosive barrels launched on densely populated areas. Various human rights organizations have repeatedly denounced during these five years, extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances and widespread use of torture in Syrian prisons.

Faced with the insurmountable obstacle, in other areas other advances appreciate that. Probably the most hopeful is the fragile ceasefire started on 27 February. Despite the usual defaults, the fact is that the fighting and bombing have been reduced drastically, which could result in a reduction in the number of victims and the progress of negotiations in Geneva which, by the way, to far it has been nothing more than a dialogue of the deaf.

Another positive aspect is the access of humanitarian organizations to various embattled localities (especially by the regime and jihadi groups) in which 400,000 people live badly. Donors have already entered Madaya populations, just 45 kilometers from Damascus, where they have met and fifty Dantesque scenes of deaths from malnutrition. However there is still a long way to go, since in 2015 the United Nations could only offer medical aid to 3.5% of the population under siege and provide food to 0.7%. All this despite the fact that Article 8 of the Rome Statute considered a war crime "doing Intentionally using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare by depriving them of objects indispensable to their survival, including willfully impeding supplies relief in accordance with the Geneva Conventions ".

Western countries continue in the short term and have not drawn lessons from his disastrous management. Beyond these limited progress, the main concern is that the differences between the contenders remain abysmal and nothing seems willing to submit draft concessions. The terrorist Asad continues deeming all who oppose his permanence in power and blood and fire fighting them. The heterogeneous opposition, grouped in the Alto Negotiating Committee sponsored by Saudi Arabia, are economically dependent on the oil monarchies of the Persian Gulf, much more concerned about the growing power of Iran in the Middle East that the future of the Syrian population.

Western countries, meanwhile, continue to be guided by short-termism and seem to have learned any lesson from his disastrous management of the Syrian crisis. If last year the priority seemed to be fighting the Islamic State, today especially concerned about the arrival of hundreds of thousands refugees to Europe. The future of the Asad is still considered a minor issue when in fact represents the Gordian knot of the problem. If there have been clear advances in the fight against the jihadists, the Syrian exodus instead has worsened as a result of the intensification of the bombing of the civilian population. The indispensable condition to stop it through the success of the Geneva talks and the expulsion of the jihadist armies, which today no longer political fiction.