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Total solar eclipse 2019: South America awaits sky show
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Total solar eclipse 2019: South America awaits sky show

It's the turn of South America to enjoy the spectacle of a total solar eclipse.

Skywatchers in parts of Chile and Argentina will see the Moon pass directly in front of the Sun, blocking out the light for just a few minutes.

It will be late in the day, however, and anyone lucky enough to be in the "path of totality" will be looking at the event close to the horizon.

As always, people are urged to take great care during an eclipse. Gazing into the Sun can damage the eyes.

Proper protection is needed, such as the use of approved solar glasses.

The man who made Einstein world-famous
Americans gaze at eclipse wonder

This year's total solar eclipse begins out over the Pacific.

The Moon's great shadow, or umbra, first touches the ocean surface east of New Zealand.

Ships and planes will be heading out from French Polynesia to witness it.

The first – and only – piece of land in the Pacific to lie in the path of totality is tiny Oeno Island – part of the Pitcairns British Overseas Territory.

This uninhabited atoll will be plunged into darkness for nearly three minutes, starting at 10:24 local time (18:24 GMT).

The umbra then reaches across to the coast of Chile, near La Serena, arriving at 16:38 local time (20:38 GMT).

Passage over the Andes Mountains and through the South American continent is swift. Among those last to experience totality will be the inhabitants of Chascomús in the district of Buenos Aires at 17:44 local time (20:44 GMT), not long before sunset.

Everyone will be looking for the classic features of a full solar eclipse. These include "Baily's beads", which arise as the last shafts of sunlight drive through valleys on the Moon; and the "Diamond Ring", which is the single brilliant point of light that signals the beginning and end of totality.

"You're completely mesmerised by totality," says astronomer Patrick McCarthy.

"But I have to say, no matter how long it lasts – it feels like eight seconds. You're so completely caught up, you find yourself saying, 'go back, go back; I wasn't done! It all goes by in an instant."

Dr McCarthy will be watching this event in Chile. He's Vice President of the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) facility, which is being built in the Atacama Desert.

The telescope site is fractionally to the north of totality, and so the astronomer, colleagues and friends will be making a short drive to make sure they are in just the right spot.

"Going into a total solar eclipse is a remarkable feeling," says Dr McCarthy. "The colours get bluer, the shadows change and everything on the ground looks washed Read More – Source

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‘Football pitch’ of Amazon forest lost every minute
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‘Football pitch’ of Amazon forest lost every minute

An area of Amazon rainforest roughly the size of a football pitch is now being cleared every single minute, according to satellite data.

The rate of losses has accelerated as Brazil's new right-wing president favours development over conservation.

The largest rainforest in the world, the Amazon is a vital carbon store that slows down the pace of global warming.

A senior Brazilian official, speaking anonymously, told us his government was encouraging deforestation.

How is the forest cleared?
Usually by bulldozers, either pushing against the trunks to force the shallow roots out of the ground, or by a pair of the machines advancing with a chain between them.

In one vast stretch of recently cleared land, we found giant trees lying on their sides, much of the foliage still green and patches of bare earth drying under a fierce sun.

Later, the timber will be cleared and sold or burned, and the land prepared for farming.

In other areas, illegal loggers carve new tracks through the undergrowth to reach particularly valuable hardwood trees which they sell on the black market, often to order.

What does this mean for the forest?
Satellite images show a sharp increase in clearances of trees over the first half of this year, since Jair Bolsonaro became president of Brazil, the country that owns most of the Amazon region.

The most recent analysis suggests a staggering scale of losses over the past two months in particular, with about a hectare being cleared every minute on average.

The single biggest reason to fell trees, according to official figures, is to create new pastures for cattle, and during our visit we saw countless herds grazing on land that used to be rainforest.

Over the past decade, previous governments had managed to reduce the clearances with concerted action by federal agencies and a system of fines.

But this approach is being overturned by Mr Bolsonaro and his ministers who have criticised the penalties and overseen a dramatic fall in confiscations of timber and convictions for environmental crimes.

Why does this matter?
The forest holds a vast amount of carbon in its billions of trees, accumulated over hundreds or even thousands of years.

Every year, the leaves also absorb a huge quantity of carbon dioxide that would otherwise be left in the atmosphere adding to the rise in global temperatures.

By one recent estimate, the trees of the Amazon rainforest pulled in carbon dioxide equivalent to the fossil fuel emissions of most of the nine countries that own or border the forest between 1980-2010.

The forest is also the richest home to biodiversity on the planet, a habitat for perhaps one-tenth of all species of plants and animals.

And it is where one million indigenous people live, hunting and gathering amid the trees.

What does Brazil's new policy mean?
According to a senior Brazilian environment official, the impact is so "huge" that he took the risk of giving us an unauthorised interview to bring it to the attention of the world.

We had to meet in secret and disguise his face and voice because Mr Bolsonaro has banned his environment staff from talking to the media.

Over the course of three hours, a startling inside picture emerged of small, under-resourced teams of government experts passionate about saving the forest but seriously undermined by their own political masters.

Mr Bolsonaro swept to power on a populist agenda backed by agricultural businesses and small farmers, many of whom believe that too much of the Amazon region is protected and that environment staff have too much influence.

He has said he wants to weaken the laws protecting the forest and has attacked the civil servants whose job it is to guard the trees.

The result, according to the environment official, is that "it feels like we are the enemies of the Amazon, when in fact we should be seen in a completely different way, as the people trying to protect our ecological heritage for future generations".

"They don't want us to speak because we'll say the truth, that conservation areas are being invaded and destroyed, there are many people marking out areas that should be protected."

So what could happen next?
The official believes the figures for deforestation could be even worse than officially recognised.

"There's a government attempt to show the data is wrong, to show the numbers don't portray the reality," he told me.

Ministers are considering hiring an independent contractor to handle information from satellite images of the region, questioning the work of the current government agency.

Also, the rainy season is only now coming to an end, and because deforestation typically takes place in the drier months of the year, the official fears that the pace of losses could pick up speed.

"In truth, it can be even worse," he said, because many of the areas recently damaged haven't yet been picked up by satellRead More – Source

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Óscar Martínez drowning: El Salvador takes blame
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Óscar Martínez drowning: El Salvador takes blame

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El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele has said his country is to blame for the death of a father and daughter who drowned while trying to reach the US.

Mr Bukele told the BBC his government had to fix the issues that forced people to migrate in the first place.

Mr Bukele, who took office a month ago, promised he would work to make El Salvador a safer and better place.

The bodies of Óscar Martínez and his daughter, who drowned in late June, have been returned home for burial.

Drowning photo exposes US border risk for migrants

A photograph of them lying face down in the water of the Rio Grande shocked the world and reignited the debate about illegal immigration and US President Donald Trump's hardline policies.

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President Bukele said the father and daughter had been fleeing El Salvador, not the United States.

"People don't flee their homes because they want to, people flee their homes because they feel they have to," he told the BBC in the capital, San Salvador.

"Why? Because they don't have a job, because they are being threatened by gangs, because they don't have basic things like water, education, health.

"We can blame any other country but what about our blame? What country did they flee? Did they flee the United States? They fled El Salvador, they fled our country. It is our fault."

Key facts on migration from El Salvador:

In 2016, 1 in 10 Salvadoreans had no access to drinking water or sanitation service, according to the UN
Almost one-third of the country lives below the national poverty line
In 2015, El Salvador had the highest murder rate in the world but the latest official data indicates that the rate has been falling since then
The number of Salvadoreans apprehended at the US border has increased significantly in recent months. In the fiscal year to October 2018 the figure was 31,369. Since then, it has nearly doubled.

Salvadoreans apprehended at the Southwest US bRead More – Source
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LatAm Consumer Insights: 90% of Colombian Credit-Card Holders Afraid of Identity Theft
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LatAm Consumer Insights: 90% of Colombian Credit-Card Holders Afraid of Identity Theft

A summary of the most relevant LatAm consumer insight research. If you're trying to keep up with the latest happenings, this is your one-stop shop.

In-Store Media, together with research agency IPSOS, conducted a study to understand the consumer behavior of digital grocery buyers in Mexico. The survey covered questions about their shopping habits, channels, demographic characteristics, favorite categories, and other preferences. The results show 39% of online grocery shoppers buy their groceries exclusively online. Moreover, 35% of online grocery purchases are completed via smartphones. Online-exclusive shoppers said it's fundamental to receive their order on time (92%), while shoppers who combine online vs brick-and-mortar purchases think the priority is receiving products in good condition.

According to Unisys' 2019 Safety Index Colombia has the second highest credit-card consumer distrust level just after the Philippines. Unisys' Safety Index found that 90% of Colombian credit-card holders are afraid of having their card information misused by third parties. Furthermore, 87% of survey respondents said they are seriously worried about identity theft and personal data breach.

Reuters' Digital News Report shows Latin American consumers have increased their use of Instagram and WhatsApp as news sources. The survey was conducted in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico, with around 2,000 people interviewed in each country. When looking for news content, the region shows an average growth of 7.5% for Instagram and 4.2% for WhatsApp from 2018 to 2019. Even though Facebook only grew by 1.7%, it's still the most-used social network for news consumption in the four countries, followed by WhatsApp in all except Mexico, where YouTube takes the second spot.

DAlessio Irol & Berensztein's latest survey shows 9 out of 10 Argentine middle-class homes have started buying cheaper food-and-beverage brands in recent months, reported Impulso Negocios. The survey found 89% of the higher-middle class, and 83% of the middle and lower-middle class have chosen second or own brands. In average, all consumers have lowered consumption of 13 food-and-beverage products. In the last 9 months, ArgentRead More – Source
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Mexico hail: Ice 1.5m thick carpets Mexico’s Guadalajara
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Mexico hail: Ice 1.5m thick carpets Mexico’s Guadalajara

Six suburbs in the Mexican city of Guadalajara have been left carpeted in a thick layer of ice after a heavy hail storm.

The ice was up to 1.5m (5ft) thick in places, half-burying vehicles.

Civil protection machinery was deployed to clear streets in the city of five million located north of Mexico City.

Local officials also reported flooding and fallen trees, but no-one is thought to have been hurt.

You may also be interested in:
The city had been basking in temperatures of more than 30C. It has been hit by hail storms before, but seldom this heavy.

The authorities say 200 homes have been damaged and dozens of vehicles swept away in the city and surrounding districts.

State governor Enrique Alfaro described it as incredible, accordingRead More – Source

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Venezuela crisis: Navy captain’s death in custody condemned by opposition

Venezuela's opposition has denounced the death of a navy captain held over an alleged plot to assassinate President Nicolás Maduro and called for an investigation.

Rafael Acosta, 49, was among six policemen and soldiers arrested on Wednesday.

They were detained weeks after a failed military uprising against Mr Maduro.

Facing charges of treason and sedition, Mr Acosta appeared in court on Friday, but fainted before proceedings began.

He was rushed to a military hospital in the capital, Caracas, but died in the early hours of Saturday morning, Venezuela's defence ministry said in a statement.

"Despite providing him with the appropriate medical attention, he died," the statement said.

Opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who orchestrated the attempted uprising against Mr Maduro on 30 April, claimed in a video that Mr Acosta was "savagely and brutally tortured".

"This isn't the first time in Venezuela we have denounced this type of act," he said.

Mr Acosta's wife, Waleska Pérez, says the navy corvette captain was barely conscious when he appeared at the military tribunal in a wheelchair, with signs of torture visible on his body.

"They tortured him so much that they killed him," Ms Pérez, speaking from Colombia, told TV channel EVTV Miami.

Venezuela's government has said it will investigate Mr Acosta's death, but has not elaborated on the cause or circumstances preceding it.

His death comes after UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet finished a visit to the country to investigate claims of human rights abuses, including torture and extrajudicial killings.

President Maduro has intensified a crackdown on the opposition since April's failed military uprising.

More than 700 people have been detained in Venezuela for political reasons, including 100 members of the military, according to local rights group Foro Penal.

The crisis in Venezuela deepened in January after Mr Guaidó, head of the National Assembly, declared himself interim president, arguing that Mr Maduro's re-election last year had been "illegitimate".

He has since been recognised by more than 50 countries, including the US and most of Latin America. But Mr Maduro retains the loyalty of most of the military and importRead More – Source

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SALES LEADS LATAM: Fandango, Linio Colombia, JetBlue…
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SALES LEADS LATAM: Fandango, Linio Colombia, JetBlue…

Sales Leads LatAm is a summary for Corporate Marketers, Media Sales Executives and Advertising Agencies to see what clients are moving into the market and/or targeting Latin American consumers right now.

For prior Sales Leads LatAm editions, click here.

Fandango

Fandango Latin America, the regions leading online movie ticketing service, announced that it is leveraging CleverTaps Intent Based Segmentation (IBS) capability to improve marketing results and accurately predict campaign ROI. IBS helps the Fandango team optimize purchase experience, increase retention rates and improve outcomes for undecided users with personalized content. IBS is a segmentation technique that uses CleverTaps Coeus Data-Science Engine to segment an audience based on how high (or low) their intent is to perform (or not perform) a set of actions such as uninstalling an app or purchasing a ticket. Using three Intent Segments – Most Likely, Moderately Likely and Least Likely – IBS enables highly-targeted messaging campaigns that drive niche user groups toward a path of conversion. Fandango LATAM is moving away from static rule-based marketing to goal-based marketing that identifies the most likely customer segments to accomplish an outcome based on dynamic, real-time digital interactions of users for a much more contextual and scalable approach.

Linio Colombia

Ingenico ePayments, the ecommerce division of Ingenico Group, announced that it will provide Linio Colombia with advanced payments services, offering its customers an enhanced shopping experience. Linio is a leading online marketplace in Latin America where customers demand smooth and intuitive payment. Ingenico will lead this effort by providing optimized payment solutions to Linos customers. Linio and its shoppers will benefit from Ingenico's extensive experience working for leading ecommerce companies and global partners in more than 170 countries. Ecommerce is one of the most developed sectors in Colombia. Sales have increased by more than a whopping 230 percent from 2013 to 2017.

JetBlue announced it will introduce new nonstop service between New Yorks John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) and San José, Costa Ricas Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) beginning November 1, 2019 (a). Service will operate three times weekly on Fridays, Sundays and Tuesdays.San José – Costa Ricas capital and largest city – is home to more than 300,000 people and boasts museums, parks, cultural spots, as well as a variety of bars and restaurants. It also serves as a central jumping off point for travelers interested in hiking, visiting rain forests or exploring national parks.New York-JFK service in San José will complement JetBlues daily service between Costa Ricas capital and the airlines focus cities in Fort Lauderdale and Orlando. Additionally, JetBlue also offers nonstop service, including seasonal Mint flights, to Liberia, Costa Rica from the airlines home at New York-JFK. JetBlue first began serving Costa Rica with San José service more than a decade ago in March 2009.

Latin America's second-largest Coca-Cola bottler, Arca Continental has rolled out its Isolite functional soft drink brand. Produced and developed in Mexico, the coconut water-based beverage aims to bring hydration levels to consumers exposed to high temperatures, strenuous work conditions or to avoid a hangover.Isolite, which will be available in three flavours, was created by the Coca-Cola Center for Innovation & Development in the country. The brand has also secured 'official rehydrator' status for the Mexican Red Cross.Earlier this year, Arca confirmed a MXN13bn (US$680m) investment this year across its operations in Mexico, the US and South America.

Sales Leads LatAm is a summary for Corporate Marketers, Media Sales Executives and Advertising Agencies to see what clients are moving into tRead More – Source

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CHANGING PLACES LATAM: Agustina Di Genaro, Andrea Davila Jolly, Pancho Cassis…
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CHANGING PLACES LATAM: Agustina Di Genaro, Andrea Davila Jolly, Pancho Cassis…

Changing Places LatAm: people change positions, get promoted or move to other companies. Portada is here to tell you about it.

(Looking for your next Career move? Check out Portada's Career Board!)

Business Bureau names Agustina Di Genaro MBA | Planning & Operations Director.

Andrea Davila Jolly is Banco Azteca new Marketing Director. Andrea comes from BBDO México, where she was VP Client Services Director & Latin America Regional Director for the last 7 years.

Pancho Cassis has been named agency DAVID new Global Chief Creative Officer & Partner.

Loraine Ricino joins Gol Líneas Aéreas Inteligentes as the new Marketing Director. Prior to this appointment, Loraine was the CMO of Smiles loyalty program.

Nokia announced the appointment of Fernando Sosa as the new Head, Southern Cone, Central America, Andean & Caribbean Region.

Thomas Owsianski is Volkswagen Group Argentina new President & CEO, effective SeptRead More – Source

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EU and Mercosur agree huge trade deal after 20-year talks

The EU and South American economic bloc Mercosur have clinched a huge trade deal after 20 years of negotiations.

EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said it was the EU's biggest deal to date and, at a time of trade tensions between the US and China, showed that "we stand for rules-based trade".

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro said it was "historic" and "one of the most important trade deals of all time".

Mercosur consists of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay.

Venezuela is also a member but it was suspended in 2016 for failing to meet the group's basic standards.

The deal aims to cut or remove trade tariffs, making imported products cheaper for consumers while also boosting exports for companies on both sides.

It is set to create a market for goods and services covering nearly 800 million consumers, making it the largest in the world in terms of population.

Five things about the EU-Japan trade deal
What is Mercosur?

The two parties began negotiating in 1999 but talks accelerated after US President Donald Trump's election in 2016. As a result EU-US talks were frozen.

The EU has also concluded trade agreements with Canada, Mexico and Japan since Mr Trump's election.

However, the EU deal with Mercosur could see savings on tariffs that are four times as big as those made in the Japan deal, EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said.

Narrow window to close the deal
Analysis by Daniel Gallas, South America business correspondent

It is no small feat to close such a complicated deal at a time when free trade is under attack globally. Protectionism is clearly on the rise – with Brexit and the trade war between China and the US.

The deal could significantly change the way Europeans do business in countries like Brazil – which has one of the world's most closed economies. High tariffs have historically kept European competitors at a disadvantage against national industries.

Similarly, South American farmers will finally gain access to European food markets.

Europeans and South Americans had a narrow window to close this deal, as elections in Argentina later this year could potentially shift the mood against free trade, as is happening in other parts of the world.

What is the reaction?
Ms Malmstrom said negotiations had begun 20 years ago to the day.

"They have been long negotiations – tough, difficult, and at least I have said many times 'we are almost there'. Now we are. This is a landmark agreement," Ms Malmstrom said.

She said it sent a strong message that both the EU and Mercosur were in favour of "open, sustainable and rules-based trade".

Speaking to reporters, Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie said Mercosur had hitherto been a "very closed commercial space" but that the deal with the EU sent a "very clear message about where we are going".

Argentina's Secretary of International Relations Horacio Reyser said it would boost GDP, create jobs and attract investment.

He tweeted a video of the moment the deal was confirmed.

However, the environmental group Greenpeace said the deal – and the likely growth in demand for Latin American agricultural products – amounted to a "disaster for the environment on both sides of the Atlantic".

Ahead of the deal's announcement, it said the agreement would lead to more destruction of the Amazon rainforest and attacks on indigenous peoples.

Cattle farming is already the biggest driver of deforestation, Greenpeace says.

Critics say Mr Bolsonaro's plans to weaken environmental protections also threaten the Amazon.

What's in the deal?
The EU is already Mercosur's biggest trade and investment partner and its second largest for trade in goods, Reuters reports.

The EU wants to increase access for firms that make industrial products and cars – which are currently subject to tariffs of up to 35% – and also enable them to compete for public contracts in Mercosur countries.

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Venezuela crisis: US announces sanctions against Maduro’s son
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Venezuela crisis: US announces sanctions against Maduro’s son

The United States has announced new sanctions against the son of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

Nicolás Ernesto Maduro Guerra, 29, known as Nicolasito, is a member of the pro-government Constituent Assembly.

Juan Guaidó, who is seen by the US as the country's legitimate leader, heads up a rival parliament that has been side-lined by the government.

The sanctions will freeze any US assets Nicolasito has and bars US firms and individuals from working with him.

Announcing the move on Friday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said they were punishing him for serving his father's "illegitimate regime".

"Maduro's regime was built on fraudulent elections, and his inner circle lives in luxury off the proceeds of corruption while the Venezuelan people suffer," Mr Mnuchin said in a statement.

"Maduro relies on his son Nicolasito and others close to his authoritarian regime to maintain a stranglehold on the economy and suppress the people of Venezuela."

The statement also accused the president's son of engaging in propaganda and censorship on behalf of the government.

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He joins dozens of other Venezuelans already under economic sanctions.

The US has been ramping up pressure since it recognised Juan Guaidó as the country's legitimate leader.

Since he declared himself interim president in January, Mr Guaidó has won the backing of more than 50 countries, but has struggled to take power.

Mr Maduro has largely retained the support of his military and key allies including Russia and China.

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