Varney & Co. are having a ball.
Without further comment,
Brazilian oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras, plans to request part of the record anticorruption settlement that construction company Odebrecht SA signed earlier this week with Brazilian, U.S. and Swiss authorities.
Petrobras has said it was the victim of the vast bid-rigging and kickbacks scheme that Odebrecht admitted to helping run. Investigators say the graft ring, which included a group of builders, cost Brazilian taxpayers and Petrobras shareholders an estimated $13 billion.
After months of negotiations, Odebrecht agreed Wednesday to pay between $2.6 billion and $4.5 billion to Brazilian, U.S. and Swiss authorities over 23 years, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, which had brought suit against the firm under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
A really, really big ship that can carry 10,589 standard containers:
Largest Ship to Transit Panama Canal Arrives in Colombia
Valparaiso Express, the largest capacity vessel to transit the Panama Canal since the inauguration of new neo-Panamax locks in June, has arrived in Colombia’s Caribbean port of Cartagena.
The ship, owned by German-Chilean cargo container shipping line Hapag-Lloyd and christened on Dec. 8 in Valparaiso, set sail from that Chilean port on an inaugural commercial journey that has taken it to Callao, Peru, through the Panama Canal and to Cartagena on Thursday.
“This new vessel is state-of-the-art, which translates into navigational speed between ports, better freight rates, and much more connectivity with the countries with which Colombia has free-trade agreements,” said Alfonso Salas, manager of the Cartagena Port Authority.
The first of five neo-Panamax class vessels that will renew Hapag Lloyd’s fleet, Valparaiso Express also became the largest container ship to pull into Cartagena.
The route starts in Asia, crosses the Canal using Cartagena, Colombia as a hub, and sails to Europe.
Read more about Valparaiso Express.
Good news for Mexico:
Unemployment in Mexico fell to its lowest level in nine years in October amid strong private-sector job growth that has supported consumption and helped keep the economy expanding.
. . .
The jobs numbers and an apparent stabilization of the balance of payments suggest the economy may not be performing as far below capacity as generally perceived, although an expected economic slowdown and uncertainty following the election of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump could begin to undermine a so-far resilient labor market, he added.
Mexican cement firm Cementos Chihuahua says it is prepared to help US President-elect Donald Trump fulfill one of his key election pledges: to build a wall along the 3,000 kilometers of border that runs from Tijuana-Imperial Beach on the Pacific to Matamoros-Brownsville on the Gulf Coast.
“We cannot afford to be choosy. We have to respect our customers on both sides of the border,” said Cementos Chihuahua’s CEO, Enrique Escalante in an interview.
participation in this year’s Black Friday looks like it may be the worst in history: according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll of 1,639 adults showed 63%, or nearly two-thirds, did not plan to shop on Black Friday this year. Some 32% said they plan to finish about half of their holiday shopping on that day. While selling tactics are certainly a factor, one wonders how much of decline in spending is due to lack of disposable income for the tapped out US consumer?
“The holiday season is expanding, and Black Friday is no longer the kickoff for the season,” said Natalie Kotlyar, who heads retail and consumer products at business advisory firm BDO Consumer, adding many start holiday shopping at Halloween, Labor Day or even Amazon’s Prime Day on July 12.
Still, retailers are not only not giving up but, as Reuters reports, are on the verge of panic, and have not only redoubled efforts this year to boost sales with familiar tactics but greater intensity, all of which assure even lower margins, but are rolling out the heavy artillery to draw in those consumers who will go out on Friday.
I’ve never understood Black Friday.
Some of it is cultural: I grew up around people who were not shoppers. The women purchased their Christmas items when they were not at work, the men waited until the very last minute, and I don’t recall stores in Puerto Rico doing Black Friday promotions. I’m not certain, but I don’t think stores in Latin America did then, either.
Another reason is that I have been shopping on line for years since, no matter where I live, I always have friends and relatives in other areas. Before the Internet, I shopped at stores that shipped.
The third reason is that, while I certainly like purchasing things, I hate shopping in stores, especially during Christmas season with the sensory overload of music-decorations-parking messes. When I shop in stores, my “inner guy” takes over: I decide ahead of time what it is I’ll get, go directly to find that item, pay, and leave.
And lastly, my gift wrapping skills are woefully non-existent. Thank goodness for colored tissue and decorative little bags.
And now for the pitch: If you may want to shop through my Amazon links and my advertisers, you will help support this blog, which I truly appreciate,
What do they all have in common?
Capitol Hill Cubans explain:
Brazil’s state development bank (“BNDES”) has frozen loan disbursements for Cuba’s Mariel port and “special economic development zone” (“SEDZ”), as part of a major corruption investigation.
As we all know, the Mariel port and SEDZ project was built pursuant to a shady deal between Cuban dictator Raul Castro and former Brazilian president Lula da Silva.
Pursuant to the deal, Brazilian engineering firm Odebrecht would receive nearly $800 million in financing from BNDES, in partnership with a shadow company of the Cuban military called Almacenes Universales, S.A.
This past Monday, Brazilian prosecutors charged Lula da Silva; Odebrecht CEO Marcelo Odebrecht, who is already serving a 19-year sentence for separate corruption charges; and nine others over allegations that Lula secured BNDES funding for Odebrecht projects in Angola. In return, prosecutors said, Odebrecht bribed Lula and some people close to him.
Have no doubt, Cuba’s Mariel project will be next.
Go to the link for more, as CHP has been following this story for years.
Marta works for free, does not require mandated paid leave, payroll tax paperwork, and you don’t need to worry about checking her credit rating or her criminal record, or spend money on marijuana or drug screening, and never complains.
Read my post, Goodbye, $15/hr; hello Zume pizza