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  • SAO PAULO— Moody's Investors Service has downgraded the credit rating of Brazil's state-owned oil company because of the widening kickback-corruption scandal affecting Petrobras. Authorities allege that firms bribed former Petrobras executives to win inflated contracts worth as much as $4 billion, and that some of that money was then funneled back to...

  • BOGOTA, Jan 30- Colombia's central bank will likely keep its key lending rate unchanged for a fifth straight month on Friday, in an effort to bolster slowing economic growth amid plunging oil revenue and a mounting crisis in Europe. The vote comes as world economies grapple with a slump in prices for crude, Colombia's biggest export and source of foreign exchange,...

  • SANTA URSULA, Mexico— People in the hamlet of Santa Ursula began to worry when the logging started. In Santa Ursula, some 1.5 miles away, the ground shook and cracks formed in homes, some residents say. "For us, the arroyo is life," said Federico Cohetero, a farmer in Santa Ursula, a hamlet in Oaxaca state six hours southeast of Mexico City.

  • MEXICO CITY— A Mexican party isn't complete without a piñata, and Melesio Vicente Flores and Cecilia Albarran Gonzalez have spent the last 25 years making high-end versions of the papier-mache figures to later be stuffed with candies and broken open with a stick or club. At their four-story house built into a hillside on the east side of Mexico's sprawling...

  • BRASILIA, Jan 29- Brazil's government has no preferred model for consolidation of the country's telecom market, a source told Reuters on Thursday, leaving behind the days when Brazilian telecom company Oi SA was held up as a "national champion." Oi has been in talks with Spain's Telefonica SA and Mexico's America Movil SAB about making a joint bid to buy rival TIM...

  • China's new playground: America's backyard Thursday, 29 Jan 2015 | 3:35 PM ET
    Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, right, walks with Chinese President Xi Jinping as they arrive to a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People on January 7, 2015 in Beijing, China.

    China is moving into the United States' backyard——but it's not clear if its Latin America investments are a negative for American interests.

  • WASHINGTON— Key U.S. senators said they want more oversight of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the federal government's development finance agency that was the subject of an Associated Press investigation earlier this week into a failed $217 million energy project in western Africa marked by insider connections and questionable due...

  • RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan 29- Brazilian miner Vale's mega-ships have been able to dock at five ports in China, the firm's head of investor relations said on Thursday, as a ban that had been in place since 2012 is relaxed. In 2012, China's Ministry of Transport banned the ships from the country's ports, citing safety concerns. A month later, one of the ships docked at a port in...

  • Declining oil prices to hurt Colombia's economy Thursday, 29 Jan 2015 | 12:27 PM ET

    BOGOTA, Colombia— Investors are dumping stocks in Colombia's largest private oil company as the government prepares for mass layoffs sparked by the plunge in crude prices. The company, a major tax revenue generator, is also ending its sponsorship of Colombia's national soccer team. Colombia's Labor Ministry said Thursday it expects the oil industry to shed up...

  • RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan 29- A Brazilian state court froze the assets of former Petrobras Chief Executive Officer Jose Sergio Gabrielli on Wednesday amid an investigation of graft and money-laundering in the government-run oil producer's contracts with construction companies. State prosecutors in Rio de Janeiro suspect Gabrielli participated in a scheme to...

  • Several top executives from Brazil's biggest construction and engineering firms remain jailed as the investigation continues, with a judge saying they're a flight risk and cannot be freed. It was the first time they have said how much money they think was involved in bribes and kickbacks in the case, which they call the largest known corruption scheme in...

  • RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan 29- A Brazilian state court froze the assets of former Petrobras Chief Executive Officer Jose Sergio Gabrielli on Wednesday amid an investigation of graft and money-laundering in the government-run oil producer's contracts with construction companies. State prosecutors in Rio de Janeiro suspect Gabrielli participated in a scheme to...

  • BRIDGEPORT, Connecticut— A Venezuelan-American hedge fund manager was sentenced Thursday to 13 years in prison for running a Connecticut fraud scheme involving hundreds of millions of dollars from Venezuela's state oil company. As an adviser to Venezuela, he devised a currency arbitrage market that, according to him, generated $60 billion for the...

  • NEW YORK— For the seventh quarter in a row Facebook beat profit and revenue forecasts, continuing to win more mobile advertising revenue as most users shift to using the site on smartphones and other portable devices. The world's biggest online social network said Wednesday that advertising revenue jumped 53 percent to $3.59 billion for the fourth quarter—...

  • Branson AirExpress to fly from Cincinnati-area airport Wednesday, 28 Jan 2015 | 2:05 PM ET

    CINCINNATI— Branson AirExpress is set this spring to start flights from the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport to destinations including New Orleans and cities in Missouri and Mexico. They say the airline operated by Orange Air will start flights to New Orleans and to Branson, Missouri, and Cancun, Mexico, on May 7. The airline says it will...

  • Petrobras releases profit drop in 3rd quarter 2014 Wednesday, 28 Jan 2015 | 10:29 AM ET

    SAO PAULO— Brazil's scandal-plagued state-run oil company Wednesday released its third quarter report for 2014, showing that profits dropped 9 percent compared to the same period in 2013.. Authorities allege that top officials from Petrobras and executives from some 15 of the Brazil's biggest construction firms operated a kickback scheme on contracts...

  • US govt tells agents to ID immigrants not to deport Wednesday, 28 Jan 2015 | 12:24 AM ET

    WASHINGTON— The Obama administration has ordered immigration agents to ask immigrants they encounter living in the country illegally whether they might qualify under President Barack Obama's plans to avoid deporting them, according to internal training materials obtained by The Associated Press. The directives from the Homeland Security Department...

  • TV star's plastic surgery disaster tests Brazil Wednesday, 28 Jan 2015 | 12:16 AM ET

    SAO PAULO— Andressa Urach went from being a single teenage mom nicknamed "Beanpole" to a reality TV bombshell in Brazil thanks to silicone implants, anabolic steroids, a nose job, and gel and botox injections, a fact she wasn't ashamed to share with fans. The 27- year-old Urach, arguably Brazil's most outspoken advocate of advancement through cosmetic surgery,...

  • NEW YORK, Jan 27- U.S. regulators have given the go-ahead for Argentina's biofuel makers to qualify for U.S. biofuel credits, potentially making it more attractive for South American exporters to sell into the U.S. market and potentially pressuring local prices. In a statement on Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency said it has approved a request from...

  • MEXICO CITY— The number of Monarch butterflies that reached wintering grounds in Mexico has rebounded 69 percent from last year's lowest-on-record levels, but their numbers remain very low, according to the World Wildlife Fund. The orange-and-black butterflies are suffering from loss of milkweed habitat in the United States, illegal logging in Mexico and...