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TOPIC: ecuador

In The News

Ardern Resigns, Chopper Crash Probe, French Strikes

👋 नमस्कार*

Welcome to Thursday, where New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces her surprise resignation, a probe is opened into the helicopter crash that killed Ukraine’s interior minister and French workers go on a nationwide strike. Meanwhile, feminist digital media outlet LatFem reports on a women-led agricultural program that offers valuable lessons on sustainable farming methods in southern Ecuador.

[*Namaskār - Marathi, India]

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Indigenous Women Of Ecuador Set Example For Sustainable Agriculture

In southern Ecuador, a women-led agricultural program offers valuable lessons on sustainable farming methods, but also how to end violence.

SARAGURO — Here in this corner of southern Ecuador, life seems to be like a mandala — everything is cleverly used in this ancestral system of circular production. But the women of Saraguro had to fight and resist to make their way of life, protecting the local water and the seeds. When weaving, the women share and take care of each other, also weaving a sense of community.

With the wrinkled tips of her fingers, Mercedes Quizhpe, an indigenous woman from the Kichwa Saraguro people, washes one by one the freshly harvested vegetables from her garden. Standing on a small bench, with her hands plunged into the strong torrent of icy water and the bone-chilling early morning breeze, she checks that each one of her vegetables is ready for fair day. Her actions hold a life of historical resistance, one that prioritizes the care of life through the defense of territory and food sovereignty.

Mercedes' way of life is also one that holds many potential lessons for how to do agriculture and tourism better.

In the province of Loja, work begins before sunrise. At 5:00 a.m., the barking of dogs, the guardians of each house, starts. There is that characteristic smell of damp earth from the morning dew. Sheep bah uninterruptedly through the day. With all this life around, the crowing of early-rising roosters doesn't sound so lonely.

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North Korean Missiles Over Japan, Zelensky To Never Negotiate With Putin, Ian Toll Tops 100

👋 Shlamaloukh!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where North Korea reportedly fires a missile over Japan for the first time in five years, Ukrainian President Zelensky signs a decree vowing to never negotiate with Russia while Putin is in power, and a lottery win raises eyebrows in the Philippines. Meanwhile, Argentine daily Clarin looks at how the translation of a Bible in an indigenous language in Chile has sparked a debate over the links between language, colonialism and cultural imposition.

[*Assyrian, Syria]

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Putin In Tehran, Record Heat Across Europe, Dinosaurs In The City

👋 Demat!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Vladimir Putin heads to Tehran to meet with the Iranian and Turkish leaders for his first trip abroad since the start of the Ukraine war, the UK records all-time-high temperatures and dinosaur footprints are found in a Chinese restaurant courtyard. Meanwhile, a Japanese ice-skating legend retires and a new Australian report quantifies the dire state of the environment.

[*Breton, France]

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In The News
Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Lila Paulou, McKenna Johnson, Joel Silvestri and Lisa Berdet

BRICS Meeting, Maradona Homicide Charges, Longer Tweets

👋 Mandi!*

Welcome to Thursday, where BRICS members are meeting for the first time since the Ukraine war began, a judge in Argentina orders a homicide trial for medical staff of football legend Diego Maradona and Twitter tests a new feature to push its character limit. Meanwhile, Ukrainian media Livy Bereg looks at the reasons why Belarus might not be so keen on joining the war against Ukraine.

[*Friulian, Italy]

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In The News
Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou, Anne-Sophie Goninet

Russia Strikes Odessa, Marcos Wins In Philippines, Warhol’s Record Marilyn

👋 Osiyo!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Odessa is in the Kremlin’s crosshairs, the Marcos are back to power in the Philippines and an iconic pop art portrait by Andy Warhol sets a new record. Meanwhile, German daily Die Welt looks at the debate surrounding postmodern architecture and its preservation.

[*Cherokee]

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In The News
Jane Herbelin and Anne-Sophie Goninet

UN Clash Over Ukraine, Myanmar Coup One Year On, Record Lightning

👋 Shwmae!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where tensions between Russia and the U.S. over Ukraine arrive at UN, Myanmar marks one year since its coup and record-breaking lightning has been measured, by length. We also look at what Boris Johnson’s “partygate” means for the West's united front against Russia.

[*Welsh]

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Society
Ricardo Bada

The Hispanic World: United By Spanish, Divided By Spanish

Latin Americans are proud to be part of a "brotherly" region united by its Hispanic heritage, until they suffer hearing each other's "Spanish."

BOGOTÁ — In February this year, my friend and fellow columnist Juan David Zuloaga expounded on the reality of a historic, cultural and linguistic community known as Spanish or Hispanic America. It includes Spain and the nations that were once a part of its American empire. I won't dismiss the idea, but I do question it.

Days ago, I read the most interesting article by Itziar Hernández Rodilla, in Vasos Comunicantes, a translators' journal, which began, "I read these words in Claudia Piñeiro's Catedrales: "The way we name plants, flowers, fruits, while still using the same language reveals our origins as much as any tune, if not more. That is where we are from, the place where every word blooms or gives fruit."

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Geopolitics
Diana Castro Salgado

Latin America Needs New Deal With China, For The Planet's Sake

Pummeled by the pandemic, the fragile economies of Latin America are desperate to recover. But is turning to China for loans and as a market for raw materials the best long-term solution?

-Analysis-

QUITO — The coronavirus pandemic has impacted humanity and all its forms of economic, social and political organization. This is not just a global health crisis, but the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. And it's happening, furthermore, in one of the hottest years on record.

A year into the pandemic, Latin American countries are not just seeing more poverty, unemployment, insecurity, economic slowdowns and public spending gaps, but also some dire effects of climate change such as floods, droughts and deforestation, among others.

China is an important agent of this aggravated pollution, as its rapid growth over three decades has fueled demand for goods and services to meet its energy demands, provide food security and keep its industrial activity humming.

China's presence in Latin America has hastened environmental degradation.

China only has 7% of all arable lands and 6% of the world's water resources (ECLAC, 2017). Latin America, in contrast, has 24% of all forests and arable land, more than 30% of the world's water resources and extensive oil and mining resources (Isabel Studer, 2019).

Little wonder that China has had an increasingly marked presence in Latin America and the Caribbean, especially in the last decade. That presence has come about through four channels tied to the extraction of raw materials and related industries: trade (based on exchanging raw materials for manufactures), investments (concentrated on extractive sectors like oil, mining, coal and big farming), financing (mostly conditional on payment with oil or use of Chinese firms), and construction of mega-infrastructures (often in environmentally fragile and socially vulnerable territories).

All these activities have hastened environmental degradation through increased pollution and overuse of water resources, deforestation and expansion of farming lands, exhaustion of non-renewable resources, threats to the survival of local communities, and the renewed dependence of Latin American economies on primary or raw materials.

A part of Peru's Amazonian forest devastated by illegal gold mining — Photo : Olivier Donnars

In 2020, measures taken by world governments to curb the spread of COVID-19 gave the planet a breather as fuel use, movement and industrial activity, and their emissions, slowed down. The lull was temporary, however, as large economies like China's are now focused on recovering their pre-pandemic production levels.

Meanwhile, vulnerable Latin American economies trying to revive their economies and meet public spending needs are turning to China for loans, or to renegotiate existing ones. That has meant shelving criticism of environmental problems that have emerged in the pandemic. Examples include the balsa wood frenzy in Amazonian lands, fed by growing Chinese demand (Águilar, 2021), and the presence of Chinese fishing fleets with dragnets in the territorial waters of Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Argentina (GFW, 2020).

But this scenario is also an opportunity to consider the possibility of structural reforms so as to move on from the extractive and unsustainable model that governs Sino-Latin American relations. China's recovery and the renewed impulse given to the Belt and Road initiative will bring new financing packages, infrastructure projects and investments in coming years.

Regional countries are thus at a crossroads in their relations with China. They can keep extracting resources for China, which is the model that marks all aspects of their relations (trade, investment, loans and infracture) and incidentally curtails efforts to build inclusive and sustainable societies. Or they can revise the big economic and financial models that sustain their links and strive to reduce their climate footprints. At this juncture, when entire nations have clearly shown vulnerability to natural events, the second option seems more viable.

Protecting the environment means reflecting on areas like access to drinking water, electricity and food security.

The pandemic has also brought some big steps to defend the environment. In China's case, it made changes last year to its investment strategy with the publication of several, environmentally-minded financing and development guidelines. These include obligating all its banks to use classification mechanisms and filters for projects within the Belt and Road initiative. The aim is to make environmental sustainability a decision-taking criterion in financing projects, both in China and abroad (Sálazar, 2021).

We may add to these the rise of several civic and environmental groups in China that have opened a dialogue with banks and firms.

In Latin America, the Escazú Accord, which regulates people's right to access environmental information and seek environmental justice, recently entered into force as a long-awaited pact to fortify regional environmental governance. It is also an important framework for the development of ties with China.

There are also innovative proposals like debt exchange for natural habitats (biodiversity finance), which China, as one of the world's main creditors, can consider with Latin American states. They can provide it with attractive opportunities to assert itself in the fields of climate and environment, while relieving part of the debt burden weighing on regional states.

Protecting the environment has become essential, and it means reflecting on areas like access to drinking water, electricity and food security. These and other areas are key to assuring a sustainable economic recovery from the pandemic, in a world where more than half of all GDP depends on nature. (F4B, 2020).

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BBC

The Latest: Myanmar Protests, Glacier Burst, Annual COVID Shots

Welcome to Monday, where South Africa halts AstraZeneca vaccine after poor results on local variant, 180 are feared dead in India glacier collapse, and Tom Brady makes Super Bowl history. We also look at the unlikely feud involving Indian farmers, top cricket stars — and Rihanna.

COVID-19 latest: South Africa halts use of AstraZeneca vaccine after a clinical trial showed "disappointing" results on the coronavirus variant first detected in the country. Israel has begun easing its third strict nationwide lockdown amid the world's fastest per-capita vaccination campaign.

Mass protests in Myanmar: Tens of thousands protested in Myanmar yesterday, a week after a military coup and the arrest of charismatic leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Himalayan glacier collapse: At least 170 people are missing after a massive glacier broke in the Himalayan mountains of northern India.

Netanyahu in court: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pleads not guilty to corruption charges as his trial resumes six weeks before voters again head to the polls in national elections.

Trump impeachment trial: The U.S. Senate trial begins tomorrow of the second impeachment charges of former President Donald Trump, accused of inciting the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol and preventing the peaceful transfer of power after his election loss to Joe Biden.

China arrests Australian journalist: TV anchor Cheng Lei has been formally arrested after having been detained since August without charge. Chinese authorities have now charged the Chinese-born, Australian-raised journalist on suspicion of illegally supplying state secrets overseas.

Super Bowl legend: At the age of 43, legendary quarterback Tom Brady won his record 7th Super Bowl, leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the Kansas City Chiefs.

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Economy
Mauricio Ríos García

How Dollarization Saved Ecuador's Economy

When Ecuador ditched its currency for the dollar in 2000, it deprived governments the possibility to overspend, and gave ordinary people control of their money.

-OpEd-

LA PAZ — This month marks 20 years since the most successful monetary policy in Ecuador's history: dollarization and the shutting down the Central Bank. While some still criticize the move, and the former president even tried to reverse it, the economic benefits of dollarization are clear. On this anniversary, it's worth looking more closely at what the move has meant for the country.

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Geopolitics
Roberto Pizarro

Uprising In Ecuador: Lenin Moreno And The Price Of Betrayal

Moreno is now reversing course on austerity measures that provoked nearly two weeks of mass protests. But it may be too little too late to salvage his reputation.

-OpEd-

SANTIAGO — A hike in fuel prices proved to be the straw that broke the camel's back in Ecuador. But the root of the problem is President Lenín Moreno's 180-degree shift to the right.

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