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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Puerto Rico News Digest For October 21, 2015


TOURIST DIES AFTER ZIP LINE FALL

















From Yahoo! News:

"A 56-year-old cruise ship passenger from New Mexico has died after
falling from a zip line in Puerto Rico, police said Tuesday, prompting
calls for greater oversight of adventure tours in the U.S. territory. Poli-
ce said Marsha Boekeloo fell 20 feet (6 meters) from the line at the
Hacienda Campo Rico just east of the capital of San Juan. The death
occurred Oct. 15, but police released information on it for the first time
Tuesday...Police said Boekeloo could not move her legs and complai-
ned of chest pain after falling. She died at a hospital hours later..."


COMMERCE SECRETARY CALLS CRITICS 'LOSERS'


From The San Juan Daily Star:

"Economic Development and Commerce Secretary Alberto Bacó des-
cribed critics of Laws 20 and 22, which have helped lure wealthy Ame-
rican investors to Puerto Rico on the promise that they won’t pay taxes,
as “born losers.” “They are born that way. They are born losers. They
have never been able to succeed,” he said in a Fault Lines program aired
Monday night by Al Jazeera titled “The Puerto Rico Gamble.” Bacó ma-
de his remarks after the interviewer noted the marked inequalities in Pu-
erto Rico and that such laws exacerbate the gap between the rich and the
poor. Bacó defended the law by saying that the billionaire investors crea-
te jobs..."


UNIONS PROTEST PREPA PRIVATIZATION


From Caribbean Business:

"Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority's (Prepa) Alliance of Active &
Retired Employees and Irrigation & Electrical Workers Union (Utier
by its Spanish acronym) held a protest Tuesday along Condado's Dos
Hermanos Bridge to denounce government proposals to privatize the
utility and eliminate worker rights. The protest was in addition to an
island-wide strike Tuesday called by the Utier, which resulted in the
closing of some of the utility's offices..."


TOURISM INDUSTRY STILL HEALTHY


From News Is My Business:

"Puerto Rico is $73 billion in the hole, a sustained drought recently
led to severe water shortages — at one point forcing some San Juan
residents to limit their showers to two a week — and potential rival
Cuba is about to open up the floodgates to U.S. visitors. But tourism
appears to be the island’s shining star on an otherwise bleak horizon.
In fiscal 2015, a record 1.5 million cruise ship visitors came to the
island — up by 24.8 percent compared to the year-ago period and a
45.8 percent jump compared to fiscal 2013. That pumped $200 milli-
on into the island’s troubled economy, sustaining 5,500 jobs, accord-
ing to Ingrid Rivera Rocafort, executive director of the Puerto Rico
Tourism Co..."


PREPA CHIEF CONFIDENT ON BOND DEAL


From Bloomberg:

"Puerto Rico’s main electricity provider is confident it will reach a deal
with insurance companies that guarantee repayment on a portion of its
$8.3 billion of debt, the utility’s chief restructuring officer said. Puerto
Rico Electric Power Authority, known as Prepa, is in discussions with
insurance companies that guarantee debt on how to reduce its obligati-
ons and rehabilitate a system that relies heavily on crude oil to produce
electricity. A forbearance agreement with some bondholders and fuel
lenders expires Thursday night, unless the parties extend that deadline.
The contract keeps restructuring talks out of court. Bondholders and f
fuel lenders last month agreed to a tentative plan that would include a
15 percent loss..."



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