Medellín makes it to one-digit unemployment, but barely

agosto 1st, 2014

Medellín and the Metropolitan Area are now on the list of cities with the lowest unemployment rates in the country, with 9,9 percent for the second quarter of 2014. While Medellín’s rate is still far from the national unemployment rate, which was 9 percent between April and June,  it still dropped below 10 percent sooner than expected. Last year it didn’t reach that level until the third quarter.

The number of employed people in the Aburrá Valley rose to 1,785,000, an increase of 76,000. The sectors mainly responsible for the increase are construction, real estate, and retail.

CDO has no money, but Space will be demolished

agosto 1st, 2014

Towers 1 thru 4 of the Space apartment complex will come down and Medellin’s Mayoralty will be responsible for the demolition, a decision made after receiving notification that the construction company lacks the funds to carry it out. The 700 million-peso operation will be added to the 3,000 million Lérida CDO already owes the Mayoralty for responding to the emergency on October 12th, 2013, when tower 6 collapsed killing 12 and leaving hundreds homeless.

Dagrd director Carlos Alberto Gil said “we will move forward, because it’s a matter of risk. When the assets are all sold and the liquidation is worked out, the Mayoralty will be first in line on the list of those who must be paid back.”

The company that will demolish the buildings hasn’t been selected yet, but Atila Demolitions, which handled the process with tower 5, is a possibility. Experts said this will be an easier process because there are no longer neighbors to worry about. With tower 5, it was important to ensure that all remaining towers were left standing.

Seven foreign companies look to Colombia for expansion

julio 23rd, 2014

Seven foreign companies are planning to open industrial plants in Colombia, namely in Antioquia, Valle, Cundinamarca, and Cauca. With a joint investment of 1,3 billion dollars, Holcim, Unilever, Fukurawa, Whirlpool in partnership with Haceb, Grupos Incas, and Hero Motocorp will soon be a presence in Colombia.

“The Colombian market is going through a phase of economic growth, international firms know it’s a safe bet to plant part of their capital here,” said business expert Ricardo Mejía. He also explained that it’s important for the country to open its doors to new and different companies that handle products different from the national ones, “although it could generate competition, the productive benefits for Colombia will increase.”

Andres Felipe Arias is in Florida

julio 17th, 2014

Colombia’s Foreign Relations Minister, Maria Angela Holguin, confirmed to the press that former Minister of Agriculture Andres Felipe Arias is in the United States; once the Colombian Government knows what his sentence is, it will request his deportation.

A few days ago, Arias approached the Colombian Consulate in Miami to process some documents, and the Consul, “as was her duty, communicated with the Foreign Relations Ministry in Colombia, which in turn informed the Attorney General. Word on sentencing for Arias, convicted in the case of irregularities in contracts awarded as part of the Agro Ingreso Seguro program, should be known on Thursday.

Zuluaga speaks up in defense of Arias

julio 16th, 2014

Former presidential candidate for the Centro Democrático party, Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, spoke publicly in defense of recently convicted former Minister of Agriculture, Andres Felipe Arias.

“The situation Andrés Felipe has had to face really hurts me because he never stole a single cent,” Zuluaga said, adding that he doesn’t know where Arias is and that he hasn’t heard from him in several weeks.

Zuluaga believes that, along with the case of former DAS director, Maria del Pilar Hurtado, the Arias case has been highly politicized. “It’s odd how a Court ruling is leaked two days before the runoff presidential election,” he said.

Military parade will include all branches of armed forces

julio 16th, 2014

The Colombian Army’s 7th Division announced that for the first time in 18 years, the military parade on July 20th, Independence Day, will include the Armada, the Air Force, the Army and the Police.

The celebration will begin at 9:00 a.m.with a religious ceremony in the Metropolitan Cathedral with military and governmental authorities in attendance and end with a celebration in San Antonio Park.

Colombia’s first Starbucks will be on 93rd in Bogotá

julio 8th, 2014

The Mexican group Alsea, Starbucks’ representative in Colombia, confirmed that the chain’s first store in Colombia will be located in Bogotá’s 93rd St Park, specifically in the lobby of a seven-story building. The store will be presented to the media on July 16th at 10:00 a.m..

The new Starbucks’ location will truly put the public’s preference to the test as there is an Oma Café, a Juan Valdez Café and a Café Renault located on the same block. Starbucks will have the advantage of space, however, as it’s bigger than any of the others with 250 square feet and two levels.

“To be located at the park is synonymous with the principle that the products offered must be high quality given the high profile of the public that frequents the area, which has high purchasing power,” said hospitality expert Luis Pombo.

Colciencias director dismissed

julio 8th, 2014

The controversy sparked by a 125,000-million peso reduction in the Colciencias budget for 2015 precipitated the dismissal of the entity’s director, Paula Arias. Arias explained that she has a hard time understanding how National Planning could choose to go from 414,000 million to 289,000 million for next year, which would leave the entity’s hand’s tied as it would be unable to operate.

“In an effort to understand the magnitude of this budget cut, the doctorate scholarships would disappear, we wouldn’t have the resources.”

The losers, she explained, will be science, research and the nation’s development because 50,000 million were already cut in 2013. “We are the only country in Latin America with decreasing investment in science and technology.”

Andrés Felipe Arias convicted

julio 3rd, 2014

Colombia’s Supreme Court convicted former Minister of Agriculture, Andrés Felipe Arias, for his role as coconspirator in cases of irregular contract awards that failed to meet legal requirements and misappropriation favoring third parties.

The Court rejected the idea that Arias’ conduct was due to an administrative error and said his experience and academic background “gives him the knowledge to understand the importance of public contracts and the obligation to adhere to legal requisites.”

Economy gets a boost with World Cup

junio 27th, 2014

The fact that Colombia is back into a round of 16 at the World Cup after 24 years doesn’t just boost Colombians’ pride, the economy will also reap the benefits. Tomorrow’s game against Uruguay will rake in some 30,000 million pesos for restaurants, bars, liquor stores, and other locations in the Aburrá Valley where fans will gather to watch the game together and, as has been the case in the past three games, celebrate.

Fenalco’s director in Antioquia, Sergio Ignacio Soto, said Colombia’s participation in the World Cup 2014 is now the fourth highest grossing occasion after Christmas, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. “We know that there are no longer any tables available at many restaurants in popular areas like Lleras Park, la 70, and other places where people traditionally gather for celebrations (…)”he explained. In the quarter between April and June, television sales increased 50 percent; Colombian soccer-related merchandise has also been flying off shelves, giving another healthy boost to retail sales, both formal and informal.

septiembre 2014
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