Want to know what the rest of the world is saying about news in the U.S.? You’re in the right place. Today’s top stories:
Canadian government pressures White House on new pipeline
Canada’s Natural Resources Minister, Joe Oliver, will travel to Chicago and Houston this week to build support for the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring 830,000 barrels a day of bitumen from Canada to the Gulf Coast.
“You can make a decision to take oil from some other countries like Venezuela and Mexico that have heavy crude coming in – or some other countries that may not be particularly reliable as sources of energy – or you can deal with your best friend and closest neighbour who has a robust environmental-protection regime and is friendly and has a long relationship of supplying oil to the United States,” Oliver said in comments carried by Canada’s The Globe and Mail.
Oliver also added that, in several respects such as coal emissions, Canada’s policies on global warming are more advanced than America. President Obama approved the southern half of the pipeline last year (which stretches from Oklahoma to Texas), but has since come under heavy pressure from environmental groups.
U.S. and Brazil go shot for shot
A new trade agreement between Brazil and the U.S. has alcohol distillers in both countries expecting more sales. The U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau recognized cachaça, a Brazilian sugar cane liquor, as a distinctly Brazilian product. In exchange, Brazil will recognize bourbon and Tennessee whiskey as uniquely American drinks, according to a report in the major Brazilian newspaper O Globo.
Now liquors exported to both countries must meet higher domestic standards if they want to earn the label of cachaça, bourbon or Tennessee whiskey. The president of the Brazilian Institute of Cachaça — yes, there is such a thing — tells O Globo that he believes sales in the U.S. will double. Meanwhile, American distillers are licking their chops: exports of bourbon and Tennessee whiskey grew by 519 percent between 2001 and 2011.
Obama gets an unsavory invitation
President Obama just received an invitation to visit his father’s homeland, Kenya, for the swearing in of Kenya’s fourth president. Obama is among a host of other dignitaries, including the UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron and the heads of state of other European Union countries. Voting starts today in Kenya, and if all runs smoothly the new president will be sworn in March 26.
But Obama is unlikely to make the journey, and not necessarily because the invitation comes on such short notice. As The Star, a Kenyan paper, reports, two of the race’s frontrunners, Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto, “along with [Head of Public Service Francis] Kimemia’s predecessor Francis Muthaura and radio journalist Joshua Sang are due to go on trial at The Hague for their alleged role as key perpetrators of the 2007-08 post-election violence.”
Not really a party where the president will want to be seen. EU nations have already declared they will only have “essential contact” with either man if he is elected today.