Spanish opposition parties have launched a fierce campaign to end the conservative government of Mariano Rajoy after courts ruled that his Partido Popular profited from a large kickbacks-for-contracts scheme. The Socialist opposition announced a vote of no confidence against the prime minister with the backing of anti-establishment and left-wing parties, while the pro-business Ciudadanos (Citizens) – which had supported the conservative minority government until now – urged Mr Rajoy to call a fresh election.
Chancellor Philip Hammond has criticized claims from European Union officials that Britain has a “fantasy” approach to Brexit negotiations. Mr Hammond insisted that talks with EU officials were “constructive” after reports from the continent that Britain was being “unrealistic” and little progress made in discussions in recent days.
Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht SA's will use part of a 2.6 billion reais (US$709.96 million) bank loan to repay a loan in arrears with state-controlled bank Banco do Brasil SA, according to sources quoted by Reuters. Under the terms of an agreement announced on Friday, the engineering group, at the center of a corruption scandal, will repay a 100 million reais debt to Banco do Brasil.
Thousands of Argentines on Friday protested the government’s bid to secure a credit line from the International Monetary Fund, which they blame for hardship during a past financial crisis. Opposition parties, unions, human rights organizations and artists took part in the march near the capital Buenos Aires’ emblematic obelisk, under the banner “the country is in danger.”
BYD, China’s biggest electric vehicle maker by sales, signed a 2.5 billion Brazilian real (US$ 689 million) deal this week to build a monorail system in Brazil’s Salvador city, the firm said. It’s the company’s biggest overseas monorail investment yet, according to a company spokesperson. Construction will start on the 20-kilometer route this year, and it’s expected to begin operations in 2021.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) announced on Friday that Colombia would be officially invited to join the group. The Paris-based economic organization was founded in 1961 and has traditionally included industrialized nations, though in recent years it has extended its membership to emerging economies.
South Korea and Mercosur agreed to begin formal negotiations for a trade deal in the latter half of this year to facilitate commerce and investment, the Seoul government said on Friday. South Korea signed an agreement to launch the negotiations with four Mercosur member states -- Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay -- during a ceremony held in Seoul. Mercosur expelled Venezuela in 2016 for failing to meet its basic standards.
The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) declared Brazil free of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) with vaccination on Thursday, opening new export prospects for the world’s largest beef exporter. The OIE already considered most of Brazil to be free of foot-and-mouth with vaccination. The declaration, which the government had been expecting since the start of the year, extends certification to the whole country.
At least two people were killed and 50 wounded as clashes flared in Nicaragua after peace talks between the government and opposition collapsed, the Red Cross and victims' relatives said on Thursday.
The trade dispute between the United States and China has benefited Brazil so far but could prove harmful long term as higher grain prices will make the country’s exports less competitive, Brazil’s farm minister said. Brazil is the world's leading poultry exporter.