ECUADOR DIGESTGovernment mandates new food health labels; Ecuador to launch second satellite; Bachelet faces run-off in Chile

Nov 18, 2013

The government is giving the country’s food industry six months to to add health labels to processed foods.

chl correa 16The Ministry of Health says that the labeling is designed to warn consumers of of “substances that are harmful to health,” including high sugar, fat and salt content. The contents will also provide information on calorie content and other added ingredients.

The health ministry says that 80% of processed foods contain ingredients considered harmful to humans. It provided a number of health statistics, including one showing a sharp rise in the rate of diabetes in Ecuador’s larger cities.

In his Saturday television broadcast, President Rafael Correa said the labeling is similar to that in other countries and that it is the right of consumers to know what they are eating. Correa said that the health ministry will begin a public education campaign to coincide with the new regulations.

The food industry has complained that the new regulations will raise the prices of many products.

Ecuador heads to space for second time

Ecuador will launch its second satellite into space on Tuesday. Ecuador’s Civilian Space Agency, or EXA, said that the satellite will be launched atop a Russian RS-20 rocket from the Dombarovsky missile complex in eastern Russia.

“Everything is set for the launch,” said Ronnie Nader, EXA director. “We’re eager to get back into space again.”

Ecuador’s first satellite, Pegaso, was launchend from China in April but was lost in a collision with Russian space debris in August. “It was a freak accident but we are pressing on with our plans for space exploration,” Nader said, adding: “We learned a lot from Pegaso and have used that knowledge to improve the systems on for the new satellite.”

The new satellite has been named Kryasor.

Leftist Bachelet faces run-off in Chile election

Chile presidential candidate Michelle Bachelet narrowly missed an outright victory in Sunday’s election and face a run-off on Dec. 15. Bachelet served as president from 2006 to 2010.chl bachelet

With nearly all votes counted, the moderate socialist Bachelet had nearly 48 percent, to 25 percent for conservative Evelyn Matthei. Seven other candidates trailed far behind.

Bachelet predicted she would win big in the second round and push forward major social reforms.

‘‘We’re going to have a decisive and strong victory that backs up the transformation program that we have been building,’’ she said.

Bachelet, 62, left office with an 84 percent approval rating in 2011 despite failing then to bring about many of the changes she had championed. This time, she has taken up the cause of protesters, vowing to revamp the constitution, raise corporate taxes to fund an education overhaul and reduce the wealth gap.

Although Bachelet’s center-left New Majority coalition won a majority in the Chilean congress, it failed to win a super-majority.

Matthei, 60, an outspoken former labor minister, says Chile must continue business-friendly policies she credited for fast growth and low unemployment under center-right President Sebastian Pinera. She favors funding programs through improved economic growth, not by raising taxes.

Bachelet and Matthei were childhood friends and neighbors, but found themselves on opposite sides after Chile’s 1973 military coup, when Matthei’s father ran the military school where Gen. Alberto Bachelet was tortured to death for remaining loyal to ousted President Salvador Allende.

Both families have said Gen. Matthei had no direct involvement in Bachelet’s father’s death and the two women have remained cordial over the years while they rose through political ranks on the right and left.

Photo captions: President Correa has pushed for food labeling;Chile’s Michelle Bachelet.

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