Online classes suffer cyber-attacks; Law would allow confiscation of criminal property; VAT hike proposal debate; Symphony plays Tchaikovsky

Jan 18, 2024 | 0 comments

Miércoles, 17/1/2024

Hola, Todos –

Actividades –

Música y teatro en el teatro Carlos Cueva – <Now if you can’t translate that for yourself, my condolences for your birth at the shallow end of the gene pool.> There will be 2 performances at the Teatro Carlos Cueva. The first will be El Flautista de Hamelín (The Pied Piper) el viernes, 19/1 a las 19:30, and performed by the Colectivo Teatral Tentenpie and directed by Marcelo Luje. The 2nd performance will be by the Orquesta Sinfónica de la U. de Cuenca which will present Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony and the Concert for Guitar by Villa-Lobos. It will be el 25/1. Both events are free, but donations will be accepted. <I wonder what the percentage of donors will be between gringos and Cuencanos since gringos have the reputation of being stingy. (elbow bumps)>

A patient at Cuenca’s Vicente Corral Moscoso hospital was implanted with a cardiodefibrillator. The procedure would have cost $20,000 to $25,000 if performed in a private hospital. (El Mercurio)

2 “Noches de Lectura” en la Alianza Francesa (2 “Reading Nights” at the Alianza Francesa) – The Alianza Francesa will present its 2nd “Noches de Lectura” from 18-20/1. The 1st event el 18/1 a las 17:00 will be “juego de escape” (escape game) which is intended to promote the spirit of the Olympic Games. 2 hours later a las 19:00, there will be a talk on reading. There will be a book launch el 19/1 a las 19:00 of “Quebrar el cuerpo” (Breaking the body) <You know, that’s what happens when I try touch my toes.> by Jennifer Zambrano. She will also lead a writing workshop el 20/1 a las 10:00.

Titular –

Ley para recuperar bienes ilícitos (Law to recover illicit assets) – Pres. Noboa has sent his 4th urgent economic law to the Asamblea which intends to reform 7 legal bodies, mainly related to public contracting, forfeiture, and seizures of arms for the use of police and military. Currently, 93% of organized crime cases do not result in seizure of assets so there is economic impunity. The proposal would dedicate 10% of the money from the sale of seized assets for technical modernization and development of the Fiscalía General del Estado (A.G.’s office) <This should give Diana Salazar, Ecuador’s Elliot Ness, more money to chase down more criminals.> The other 90% will be used for social programs, addressing natural disasters, and for development projects. This is in addition to another urgent economic law he submitted last Thursday which proposed the increase of the IVA. <I don’t understand the legal arguments in the article about constitutionality and proper application of the laws.>

According to Andrés Altamirano, coordinator of the Observatorio de Contratación Pública, Noboa’s current proposal will implement important changes to prevent money laundering in public purchases, allow the UAFE to evaluate contractors, boost creation of citizen observers to monitor these proceedings, and bring flexibility to contracting. As far as the urgent economic part of the law, it will have a special process for contracting by SNAI (Servicio Nacional de Atención Inegral a Personas Privadas de la Libertad) to improve the prison system.

The proposal will also establish that all seized, confiscated or decommissioned arms will be destined for the Policia Nacional or Fuerzas Armadas. <So cops and military will get the narco-traffickers hand-me-down guns. Probably a big improvement on what they’ve been issued by the government.> The law will also permit the decommissioning of assets, machinery, equipment, supplies and vehicles used in illegal mining which can be reused immediately for environmental remediation or risk prevention without previous judicial authorization.

Cuenca –

Docentes deben vigilar quién ingresa a las class virtuales (Teachers must monitor who enters virtual classrooms) – 36 educational institutions have reported that unidentified and unauthorized people dedicated to intimidating the educational community, have interrupted virtual classes since el 9/1. <Is this the Ecuadorian version of a school mass shooting?> The Ministerio de Educación is not treating these as cyber-attacks but unauthorized access by people apart from the students and teachers. The ministry provided for teachers to do a debugging of the passwords used by students and professors. If this is repeated, teachers have the power to close the classroom and report to their superiors which will active other protocols. As of now, virtual classes will be maintained until today in public, fiscomisionales, municipal and private schools and high schools. If there are changes, the ministry will inform the public through social media.

De El Mercurio del jueves, 16/1 >(1 article):
Innovadoras cirugía en dos hospitales (Innovative surgeries in two hospitals) – <This is for all of you with heart problems> For the first time, at the “José Carrasco Arteaga” IESS hospital, a pacemaker was implanted in a baby who was born with blocked artery. This procedure usually costs about $10,000. At the “Vicente Corral Moscoso” hospital, a woman was admitted with chest and back pains, and received an implantable cardiodefibrillator. This device recognizes arrhythmias <Geez, no way I could have figured out how to spell that without the translation program.> and generates an electrical shock inside the heart to avoid the death of the patient. This operation would cost between $20,000 & 25,000 in the private sector.

Nacional –

De El Mercurio del jueves, 16/1 >(2 articles):
Anuncian más rutas y frecuencias aéreas (More air routes and frequencies announced) – The Ministerio de Transporte y Obras Públicas announced an increase in new international routes and frequencies for 2024. Low cost airline Jetsmart Airlines will serve Ecuador with cheap fares on the Lima-Quito-Lima route and add a Lima-Guayaquil-Lima route in abril. Copa will increase its Panamá-Manta-Panamá route from 3 to 4 weekly flights in marzo, and Iberia will increase the frequencies of its Madrid-Guayaquil-Madrid route in junio. <Some good news for you jetsetters.>

Alza del IVA elevará el precio de combustibles (IVA increase will raise fuel prices) – Juan Carlos Vega, minister of the Economía y Finanzas, defended the Government’s proposal to increase the Impuesto Valor Agregado (IVA) since the financial situation of the country is insostenible (unsustainable – your word for the day. Use it and everyone will think you speak a lot of Spanish.) The country finished 2023 with a deficit of $5.373 billion, and internal debts of over $4 billion. An increase in the IVA would affect fuel prices, which were frozen for extra and ecopaís at $2.40, and diésel at $1.70 by the previous administration. Oswalo Erazo, president of the Fuel Distributors Federation, said if the Government respects that agreement and does not raise the IVA on fuel, someone has to assume that cost. The fuel sellers can’t since it’s been decades since their profit margin has been revised.

One of the conditions from the Asamblea Nacional for accepting the IVA increase the IVA is a sunset date which the Government says isn’t possible since it’s impossible to predict the length of the internal armed conflict against the gangs nor when the country can overcome the current economic crisis. Daniel Falconí, Finance vice-minister said that the Armed Forces has said that maintaining a war effort will cost the country $1.020 billion per year. Added to that is the $1.132 billion the Estado owes the GADs, $2.245 billion owed to the IESS, and $422 million to outside providers – a total of $4.457 billion. He emphasized that an increase in the IVA would mean the country would receive $1.306 billion annually, and if applied from marzo on, it could collect $1.071 billion. The increase would allow the country to pay down debts and access international credit. Without the increase the deficit at the end of 2024 would be $10 billion.

And that’s all for today so Hasta ? –

Jeanne

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