The Spanish government has vowed to block plans by parties in Catalonia to hold a referendum on independence on 9 November of next year. The poll will not be held, Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon told journalists moments after Catalonia's President, Artur Mas, announced a deal.
Brazil will raise interest rates on some state-subsidized credit lines in 2014 withdrawing part of the stimulus that helped boost investments but also hurt public finances this year. Interest rates on loans for the purchase of capital goods and trucks will climb to 6% per year, from 4%, while a special credit line for exports will climb to 8% from 5.5%.
The European Union has asked for a one-month delay in the exchange of proposals to kick off free-trade negotiations with Mercosur, Argentine Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich confirmed on Thursday. The news was first reported by Sao Paulo newspapers on statements from Brazilian Foreign minister Luiz Fernando Figuereido.
Pope Francis attacked mega-salaries and big bonuses saying in the first peace message of his pontificate that they are symptoms of an economy based on greed and inequality
Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel García-Margallo has expressed confidence that Madrid would win a legal case over jurisdiction of Gibraltar’s isthmus, though he was less certain about success in any challenge over the waters. He said the isthmus was not ceded to Britain under the Treaty of Utrecht and “illegally” occupied, but that Spain had yet to decide whether to “legally reclaim it or not”.
Chileans are set to head to the polls this Sunday to choose their next president, but experts fear much more than half the electorate will opt not for Michelle Bachelet or Evelyn Matthei, but to stay at home on election day instead. The election’s first round, held Nov. 17, saw the debut of the voluntary voting system in Chilean presidential elections and a turnout of 6.7 million, half-a-million-votes less than were counted in 2010, when voting was still mandatory for those on the electoral role.
Royal Bank of Scotland has been fined 100 million dollars by US regulators for violating US sanctions against Iran, Sudan, Burma, and Cuba. The settlement follows from a 2010 internal investigation by RBS into its historical US dollar payment processes and controls. The violations took place between 2005-09, the US Treasury said.
In a statement, RBS said it acknowledges and deeply regrets these failings.
Citing a potential threat to public health, the United States Food and Drug Administration is taking steps toward phasing out the use of some antibiotics in animals processed for meat. In the US many cattle, hog and poultry producers give their animals antibiotics regularly to ensure that they are healthy and to make the animals grow faster.
Heavy ice loss in West Antarctica has weakened it mantle underneath, allowing the stronger East Antarctica mantle to push it around, according to Ohio State University researchers. The discovery was made after recording GPS measurements, which clearly showed that the West Antarctic bedrock is being pushed at an alarming rate of half an inch per year.
It turns out that the ozone hole may not be completely healed--at least according to new NASA data. Scientists have examined the inner workings of the ozone hole that forms annually over Antarctica and have found that declining chlorine in the stratosphere has not yet caused a recovery of the ozone hole.