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Clashes in Peru coca eradication operation leave at least two dead

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LIMA (Reuters) – Two farmers were killed in clashes in Peru that erupted on Friday as authorities launched an operation to uproot coca plants – used to make cocaine – in a region near the border with Bolivia, a local mayor and the police said.

A third person was in critical condition and had been taken to a local hospital, said Roger Larico, the mayor of the district of San Gaban in the region of Puno.

The eradication team – 158 civilian workers and 72 police officers – had arrived to San Gaban before dawn to destroy illegal coca farms in the coming days, but were attacked by people wielding machetes and sticks as they sat up their camp, the Peruvian National Police said in a statement.

But Larico said witnesses told him that the police had fired live bullets recklessly.

“They were shooting right and left. That’s why we have this bloodshed,” Larico told Reuters by phone.

The deaths are under investigation, said Victor Rucoba, the head of the government’s eradication agency.

“It’s very likely that to protect their lives and the lives of unarmed civilians, police had to increase the use of force,” he added in comments broadcast on local TV channel Canal N.

The unrest underscores the risks of forcibly eradicating illegal coca, a crop that tends to fetch a much higher price in Peru than alternatives such as coffee and cacao. It comes a day before U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visits the Andean country in a four-country tour of South America.

Peru has been one of the leading producer countries of cocaine for decades, despite efforts by consecutive governments to capture drug traffickers and shift farmers toward alternative crops from coca.

But in recent years, illegal coca farms in Peru have expanded.

The U.S. government said in November that Peru’s potential cocaine production had risen 20 percent to a 25-year high of 491 tonnes.

Police reinforcements were being sent to San Gaban to ensure the eradication team could work in the days ahead, said Rucoba, adding that coca cultivation had expanded “exponentially” in the area.

In a 2017 report, Peru’s anti-narcotics agency Devida said coca growers from the country’s most notorious drug-trafficking region, the VRAEM, had been migrating to Puno to start new farms. The coca produced in San Gaban is part of a supply chain that moves cocaine into Brazil through Bolivia, it added.

Peru plans to eradicate about 25,000 hectares (61,776 acres) of illegal coca crops per year through 2021, according to the country’s anti-narcotics plan.

Coca is also grown legally in Peru, where it is widely used as an infusion as well as in traditional indigenous rituals.

Reporting by Mitra Taj and Marco Aquino, editing by G Crosse

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India thump Proteas, sweep Test series 3-0

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Ranchi – India beat South Africa by an innings and 202 runs in the third Test to sweep the series 3-0 in Ranchi on Tuesday.

SCORECARD

Debutant spinner Shahbaz Nadeem claimed the final two wickets on successive balls to dismiss the Proteas for 133 while following on in just the second over on day four. The Proteas started the day on 132-8.

Theunis de Bruyn was out on his overnight score of 30 after coming in to the XI for concussed Dean Elgar, who got a nasty hit on the helmet off paceman Umesh Yadav on Monday.



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Justin Trudeau’s Liberals projected to form Canada’s next government: TV

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TORONTO (Reuters) – Canada’s Liberal Party is set to form a minority government after Monday’s federal election, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp projected. That means Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will have to rely on support from other parties to govern.

Liberal Party supporters react while watching the live federal election results at the Palais des Congres in Montreal, Quebec, Canada October 21, 2019. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

COMMENTS:

DAVID MOSCROP, POLITICAL SCIENTIST AT UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA:

“We’re seeing a much-needed chastening of the Liberal Party.

“I think when parties are forced to cooperate in Parliament they tend to produce great outcomes.

“Some of [the result] is a backlash against Liberal arrogance and entitlements. The Liberals set the bar so high they’re bound to run into it.”

KARL SCHAMOTTA, DIRECTOR GLOBAL MARKETS STRATEGY AT CAMBRIDGE GLOBAL PAYMENTS:

“The (results) suggest that Mr. Trudeau will require the support of leftist opposition parties to enact important pieces of legislation. The strongly environmentalist, anti-corporation and social spending-friendly New Democratic Party is likely to assume the king-maker role, meaning that investment-friendly pipeline and infrastructure initiatives could struggle to win approval.

“This is likely to exert drag on a Canadian dollar that might otherwise ride solid economic data, favourable interest rate differentials, and improving risk appetite higher.”

DANIEL BÉLARD, DIRECTOR OF MCGILL INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF CANADA:

“The Bloc Quebecois is surging in Quebec. The Liberals are not falling apart in Quebec altogether, they are slightly behind the Bloc in popular vote but they …. they’re not collapsing altogether. I will not say this was unexpected, the polls were quite accurate this time around.

“It’s a clear defeat for Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives.”

JOHN MANLEY, SENIOR BUSINESS ADVISOR AT BENNETT JONES, FORMER CANADIAN FORMER FINANCE, INDUSTRY MINISTER:

“A minority government always makes things difficult … the government doesn’t control parliamentary committees, they have trouble keeping their agenda moving, they may have to do things or not do things that they would otherwise be inclined to do based on needing the support of another party.

“I think a Liberal government supported by the (New Democratic Party) is likely going to lean farther left.

“It raises a series of issues about what are the demands that an NDP party would make. What’s the price of governing going to be? And I think businesses are going to be reluctant to make any moves until they get some satisfaction around that. I suspect most businesses would rather a small Liberal majority to a Liberal minority with the NDP supporting it.”

GREG TAYLOR, PORTFOLIO MANAGER AT PURPOSE INVESTMENTS

“Markets don’t like uncertainty so it will all depend on what coalition they can come up with and how sustainable that will become.”

“The energy stocks will be the most interesting to watch tomorrow and could be lower. The other fear was higher capital gains taxes and that is too soon to tell but would be a negative across all sectors.”

“The bigger problem is it seems that Canadians have never been more divided and the next government really needs to work to correct that. Alberta is at risk of a broader separatist movement and that would be a major negative for Canada.”

“Overall this should be pretty much as expected and markets shouldn’t move too much on it.” 

Reporting by Fergal Smith and Moira Warburton; Editing by Denny Thomas and Peter Cooney

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Deloitte Dragged Into South African State Corruption Sc…

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Deloitte LLP has become the latest international company dragged into South Africa’s government-linked corruption scandals.

State-owned power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. said on Monday that it wants the accountancy and advisory firm to return 208 million rand ($14 million) that it alleges were overpriced contracts.

The contracts were awarded during the tenure of former Chief Financial Officer Anoj Singh and ex-senior executive Prish Govender. Both have been tied to corruption probes at the utility. They deny wrongdoing.

“Deloitte was granted contracts when their prices were five times higher than those of their competitors,” said Jabu Mabuza, Eskom’s acting chief executive officer, in a statement. Correct procedures were not followed and in some cases proposals were submitted before tenders had been announced, he said.

Deloitte disputed the allegations saying its been in talks with Eskom for “some time” over the matter and had explained the processes that were followed.

“Deloitte Consulting therefore disagrees with and disputes the allegations made by Eskom,” the company said in a statement. “While Deloitte Consulting is disappointed by this recent development, we welcome the opportunity to put our version and the facts of the matter before a court.”

McKinsey & Co agreed to return money to Eskom after a dispute over the legality of its contract. Bain & Co. has returned money to the South African Revenue Service over an improperly awarded contract and KPMG LLP has apologized for poor quality work that led to the departure of key revenue service officials.

Gartner Inc. is in talks with the revenue service over a contract the agency says was improperly awarded and SAP SE suspended executives after a probe found it paid about $11 million in commissions to secure contracts with Eskom and state ports and rail company Transnet SOC Ltd.

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