Latin America considers fund
The Union of South American Nations has proposed establishing a fund to serve as a regional response to international financial crises, Argentinian Minister of Economy Amado Boudou said on Friday. The fund could draw from monetary reserves or central banks from countries in the region, which manage about US$500 billion, according to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. The funds would possibly be an extension of the Latin-American Reserve Funds (FLAR), which already serves as an assistance mechanism to its seven-member countries in case of financial turmoil. Created in 1978, FLAR brings together Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. The two largest economies in the region, Brazil and Argentina, could increase the funds’ effectiveness if they decide to join.
Hacker claims new tricks
A mobile security expert says he has found new ways for hackers to attack phones running Google Inc’s Android operating system. Riley Hassell, who caused a stir when he called off an appearance at a hacker’s conference last week, said he and colleague Shane Macaulay decided not to lay out their research at the gathering for fear criminals would use it to attack Android phones. He said in an interview he identified more than a dozen widely used Android applications that make the phones vulnerable to attack. “App developers frequently fail to follow security guidelines and write applications properly,” he said. “Some apps expose themselves to outside contact. If these apps are vulnerable, then an attacker can remotely compromise that app and potentially the phone using something as simple as a text message.” He declined to identify those apps, saying he fears hackers might exploit the vulnerabilities. Google spokesman Jay Nancarrow said Android security experts discussed the research with Hassell and did not believe he had uncovered problems with Android.
Honda to build Mexico plant
Japanese automaker Honda announced plans on Friday to build a new plant in Mexico that will employ 3,200 people and build fuel-efficient subcompact vehicles for the Mexican, US and Canadian markets. Honda will invest US$800 million to build the plant, which is expected to begin operations in 2014 and will have the capacity to build 200,000 vehicles a year. “With growing demand for fuel-efficient vehicles, this plant will increase Honda’s ability to meet customer needs for subcompact vehicles from within North America,” said Tetsuo Iwamura, chief operating officer for Honda’s North America Region.
Union, negotiators to meet
South Africa’s mine workers union was to again meet negotiators at Impala Platinum yesterday in a bid to avert a wage strike that could hurt the world’s second-largest producer and curb growth in an already stagnant economy. The talks add to a wave of disputes that have already disrupted operations in the mining and fuel sectors. South Africa’s “strike season” is already expected to intensify when at least 145,000 municipal workers walk off the job tomorrow, disrupting garbage collection and other services in major cities. The National Union of Mineworkers, seeking a 14 percent raise for its 26,000 workers at Implats, has been discussing a revised, but as yet undisclosed offer from Implats. It has rejected the company’s previous offer of between 7.5 percent and 8 percent.