BBC Caribbean News in Brief

The UN Security Council is heading to Haiti next week to assess the country’s progress.

Libya’s acting UN Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi, the current council president, announced that the visit by representatives from the UN’s most powerful body will take place 11-14 March.

The UN has an 8,000-strong peacekeeping mission in Haiti.
The Council trip will immediately follow a visit by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and former US President Bill Clinton to promote international aid and economic security for Haiti.

Venezuela sets food price controls

In a move that’s angered Venezuelan food companies, the government has set new quotas on twelve staple food products which must now be produced in regulated quantities and at controlled prices.

The items include milk, rice, coffee and sugar.

The government argues that the measure is intended to stop food companies from evading existing laws on price controls, while also reducing the cost of the basic shopping basket of ordinary Venezuelans.

Food manufacturers say the measure will drive them into bankruptcy. Last week President Hugo Chavez ordered troops to the country’s rice processing plants, accusing the producers of sidestepping the law on regulated prices.

Massive job cuts loom in Puerto Rico

The governor of Puerto Rico, Luis Fortuno, has announced plans to slash up up to 30,000 jobs.

In a televised speech, he warned that the US territory must confront “the reality of a bankrupt government.”

Mr Fortuno said the job cuts involving 14 percent of the public workforce will begin on July 1, the start of the next financial year. The governor said he would also freeze salaries of government workers and raise some taxes to increase revenue for the cash-strapped government.

The administration says the measures are necessary even though Puerto Rico is counting on $5billion from the Obama administration’s stimulus package over the next two years.

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