February 16 is Chinese New Year and marks the start of the Year of the Dog - one of the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac. Unlike Western astrology, each sign lasts for a whole year and each year takes the name of an animal whose characteristics color and influence everything that happens for the next 12 months.
Argentina is taking new steps to solidify its security relationship with the United States, a move that may be aimed at generating support — both political and material — for a shift toward more hard-line domestic crime-fighting policies. In a trip to the United States last week, Argentine Security Minister Patricia Bullrich met with several top US officials to discuss security issues.
Argentina's Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by 1.8% in January 2018, after increasing 3.1% in December 2017, said the country's statistics office Indec. Despite the deceleration, the reading was higher than market expectations for the monthly consumer price inflation (+1.5%). The result was primarily influenced by higher costs for entertainment and culture (+3.5%).
Brazil's President Michel Temer on Friday handed the military full control of security in Rio de Janeiro in an increasingly desperate fight to tame runaway gang violence. Army patrols are already used in Rio's gang-ruled favelas, but a decree signed by Temer will now give the military full control of security operations in Rio state, which the president said had virtually been seized by organized crime gangs.
European farm lobbies Copa and Cogeca sent a letter to EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker opposing the EU move to give further concessions on agriculture in return for gains in other economic sectors to Mercosur.
The Canadian government plans to open free trade talks with the four-nation Mercosur trading bloc in South America at a time when the future of NAFTA is facing increasing uncertainty. Canada sends around 75% of its goods exports to the United States and is looking for new markets to reduce the reliance on its southern neighbor.
Angela Merkel has said that she is not frustrated by Britain's lack of clarity in Brexit, but is still curious about what the UK government actually wants to achieve in negotiations.
Florida Governor Rick Scott called on Friday for FBI Director Christopher Wray to resign in the wake of revelations the bureau ignored a January 5 tip about Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz, who killed 17 when he opened fire on Valentine's Day. The agency said earlier Thursday in a statement that it received a call in January from a person close to Cruz through its Public Access Line tip-line to express concerns about Cruz's erratic behavior and disturbing social media posts.
The United Kingdom and Argentina, following on the September 2016 joint communiqué to establish additional air links with the Falkland Islands, jointly announced on Friday that third country airlines interested in such operations will be contacted. It is expected that by the end of February the commercial process will be initiated, led by the Falkland Islands, and sometime next October the new weekly air link, with a monthly call in Argentina, will become operational.