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Zorro

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Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 50
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 10,600

Journal Archives

Venezuela replaces hardline economic czar after 1 month

Source: AP

Venezuela's President Maduro has replaced his economic czar just five weeks after appointing the hardline leftist as the country grapples with increasingly bleak economic indicators and fears of default.

Maduro said Monday Luis Salas is leaving his post as vice president for the economy for family reasons.

He will be replaced with a more business-friendly figure, Miguel Perez, who had been serving as commerce minister. Perez previously led a business chamber and has said that Venezuela must simplify its byzantine exchange rate system.

Salas had sparked concern among the opposition by blaming the Venezuela's mounting economic problems on sabotage. Salas said the country was suffering from the world's worst recession and triple-digit inflation because business interests are colluding with the U.S. to sabotage the economy.

Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/venezuela-replaces-hardline-economic-czar-141147762.html



That didn't take long.

Assembly in Venezuela approves pardon for political prisoners

Source: AFP

Lawmakers in Venezuela's opposition-controlled legislature approved an amnesty for jailed foes of President Nicolas Maduro, who has pledged to veto the bill.

The elected socialist president maintains that there are no political prisoners in Venezuela; The opposition disagrees.

"This law is aimed at ending the era of prison and persecution for those who simply think differently. We cannot talk about justice when there are political prisoners, and political exiles," lawmaker Delsa Solorzano said on presenting the bill.

Elias Jaua, a pro-government lawmaker, slammed the bill as "criminal amnesia."

Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/assembly-venezuela-approves-pardon-political-prisoners-015426069.html

Trial under way in $100 million lawsuit against Venezuela

Source: AP

A federal trial over a $100 million investors' lawsuit against Venezuela includes allegations of fraud, hints of an international criminal conspiracy, and references to diamonds, German junk bonds and a mysterious house fire in Switzerland.

At issue in the 2004 complaint are three-decade old promissory notes issued by a now-defunct government-sponsored Venezuelan bank.

Venezuela has confirmed the debts belonging to an agricultural development bank known as Bandagro are the government's obligations and must be paid, argue attorneys for Skye Ventures in Columbus, where the 2004 purchase of the notes happened.

"This case is straightforward: It's about a bank's refusal to honor a debt," Charles Cooper, a Columbus attorney representing Skye Ventures, wrote in a Jan. 27 court document summarizing investors' arguments.

Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/trial-under-way-100-million-lawsuit-against-venezuela-164045073.html

Shops' electricity rationed in crisis-hit Venezuela

Source: AFP

Venezuelans are accustomed to severe shortages of cooking oil, diapers and other staple products. But those hoping to buy what they could find got a new unpleasant surprise this week.

They found malls dark and shuttered under a government electricity rationing regime.

"This is madness, this is not the solution!" said Nataly Orta, 48, at the locked gate of the Lider mall in eastern Caracas.

"It's a drastic measure that will only create more unemployment and worsen an economy already in crisis."

Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/crisis-ridden-venezuela-electricity-scarce-035644120.html

Cruz app data collection helps campaign read minds of voters

Protecting the privacy of law-abiding citizens from the government is a pillar of Ted Cruz's Republican presidential candidacy, but his campaign is testing the limits of siphoning personal data from supporters.

His "Cruz Crew" mobile app is designed to gather detailed information from its users' phones — tracking their physical movements and mining the names and contact information for friends who might want nothing to do with his campaign.

That information and more is then fed into a vast database containing details about nearly every adult in the United States to build psychological profiles that target individual voters with uncanny accuracy.

Cruz's sophisticated analytics operation was heralded as key to his victory in Iowa earlier this month — the first proof, his campaign said, that the system has the potential to power him to the nomination.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/cruz-app-data-collection-helps-184608683.html

Rafael Cruz is the Antichrist.

Top Republicans stay quiet on release of their tax returns

Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential candidate, offered this year's hopefuls advice about a hard-learned lesson: Release your tax returns before the primaries and avoid tough scrutiny later. But the top three Republicans leading in national polls don't appear to be listening.

Even as other candidates — most notably Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush — have already disclosed years' worth of private tax returns to dispel questions about their personal finances, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have failed to do the same despite promises to do so, sometimes after events that have now come and gone. None of the campaigns will say why they've delayed or when the candidates will release their returns.

The best explanation: It's postponing an unpleasant moment, said Joseph Thorndike, a contributing editor for Tax Notes who maintains the organization's tax history project.

"If you say you're going to do it, you've got to do it," Thorndike said. "I don't like the disingenuousness of 'we're working on it.'" He said the candidates' tax returns for 2014 were long ago filed with the government.

http://news.yahoo.com/top-republicans-stay-quiet-release-tax-returns-184240066--election.html

Wonder why it's taking them so long to reveal their 1040s?

Fiorina Cheers Self Up by Firing Campaign Staff

NEW HAMPSHIRE (The Borowitz Report)—After suffering a poor showing in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday night, the former Hewlett-Packard C.E.O. Carly Fiorina cheered herself up by firing her entire campaign staff, fired staffers confirm.

Minutes after the returns started coming in, revealing that Fiorina had no chance of making a respectable showing, the former business executive acknowledged that she was “sad at first—but then I realized that every failure is an opportunity, and in this case I had an opportunity to give some people the axe.”

After delivering pink slips to her entire campaign staff, Fiorina said, “I started feeling better already.”

“That’s the one thing you have to understand about Carly Fiorina—she doesn’t stay down for long,” she said.

http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/fiorina-cheers-self-up-by-firing-campaign-staff

Tesla ramps up sales, sets date for new model

Source: AFP

Tesla said Wednesday its 2015 sales were up 51 percent as the electric carmaker reaffirmed plans for its new model that aims at a wider market.

The California company led by Internet entrepreneur Elon Musk said it sold 25,202 Model S vehicles in the year, up from 16,689 in 2014.

Tesla, which is investing heavily in new vehicles and battery technology to drive the market for electric cars, reported a fourth quarter loss of $320 million on revenue of $1.2 billion.

The company said its Model 3 -- with an estimated price of $35,000 or around half that of its best-selling car -- would be unveiled on March 31, with production and deliveries to start in late 2017.

Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/tesla-ramps-sales-sets-date-model-224829478.html



I'm getting quite interested in seeing their Model 3 design next month.

Tesla's walking a financial tightrope right now, but I think they'll make it.

Santos says referendum will be held on peace deal regardless of FARC

President Juan Manuel Santos on Monday said a referendum would be held on a possible peace deal with Marxist FARC fighters, whether the rebels want a vote or not.

The FARC and the government have said they aim to sign a peace deal by March 23.

"Whatever gets signed in Havana, I will submit to a referendum vote, whether the FARC likes it or not," Santos said in a Twitter post.

The FARC's lead negotiator Ivan Marquez earlier in the day had said he was opposed to the idea.

http://news.yahoo.com/santos-says-referendum-held-peace-deal-regardless-farc-001959772.html

Wonder what the basis of the FARC's opposition is to a referendum. It's the democratic way, isn't it? Let the people's voices be heard on the deal?

Legislatures consider special protections for gun industry

Source: AP

A terse letter from Andrew Clyde's credit card-processing company explained it was discontinuing his corporate account because his Georgia firearms business "no longer met our underwriting guidelines." In a panic, Clyde called three other companies, which denied him, too.

After hearing from Clyde and others in the gun business who reported similar treatment, the industry's trade association launched efforts in several Republican-led Legislatures over the past year seeking to restrict discrimination by financial institutions.

But the legislation being pushed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation wouldn't offer a blanket protection for all businesses — just those "engaged in the lawful commerce of firearms or ammunition products."

"You have to think that someone's targeting us," said Clyde, who is set to testify on Georgia's version of the bill during a legislative hearing Tuesday.

Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/legislatures-consider-special-protections-gun-industry-230402700.html



It will be interesting to see competing business interests and their armies of lobbyists duke it out in state legislatures. It may be corporations that end up muzzling the gun industry to reduce their risk exposure.
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