From Casablanca to Athens, Doha to Prague, 28 finalists have been chosen in the New 7 Wonders Cities competition. Cuenca, which made it to the third round of 77 cities, did not make the final cut but Quito did.
The competition, created by Swiss-born filmmaker and explorer Bernard Weber, has received millions of online votes. In 2007, Weber’s competition for the New 7 Wonders of the World drew more than 100 million votes. The Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China were the winners.
“This outstanding shortlist of 28 cities mirrors the diversity of urban society, especially when, for the first time in history, more than half of our planet’s population lives in cities,” Weber said. “Going forward, the New 7 Wonders Cities campaign will encourage debate about how cities should respond to the challenges of the present and the future. By voting in this worldwide campaign, people everywhere can decide the seven cities that best represent the achievements and aspirations of our global urban civilization.”
Besides Quito, Athens, Doha and Prague, other finalists were Bangkok, Barcelona, Casablanca, Chicago, Havana, Kyoto, La Paz, Perth, Reykjavik and Vancouver.
Finalists in the competition face an online vote to be tabulated in July 2014, with the winners announced in December 2014.
Correa may veto medical malpractice law
Following more than a week of protests by Ecuadorian doctors and medical students, objecting to proposed medical malpractice legislation, President Rafael Correa says he may use his veto pen.
Correa met with some of the protesting doctors over the weekend and said that they presented a strong argument. “I welcome peaceful protests that make legitimate claims,” said. “We need to find a balance between protecting the public and allowing doctors to do their jobs in a non-threatening atmosphere.”
While the main protests have been held in San Francsico Square in Quito, outside the government palace, there have been other protests in Guayaquil, Ambato and Cuenca.
A 5.1% growth rate predicted for 2014
Ecuador’s Office of Economic Analisys is predicting that economic growth will accelerate to 5.1 percent in 2014, despite less revenue from the oil industry, with inflation slowing to 3.2 percent.
The agency expects to end 2013 with growth between 3.7 percent and 4.0 percent.
“Hopefully we’ll manage to reach a rate higher than 5 percent of GDP growth,” President Rafael Correa said during his Saturday television broadcast. “This will prove that our economy continues to strengthen.”
Ecuador’s annual inflation rate eased to 1.71 percent in September, and the government says it is confident of beating its overall target of 3.93 percent for the year.
Correa said the forecasts for economic performance in 2014 would have been stronger were it not for ongoing maintenance work that has closed the nation’s biggest oil refinery.
A $750 million overhaul of the 110,000 barrel per day Esmeraldas refinery began in September and is expected to take several months.
Photo cutline: Quito’s colonial era cathedral.