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Uruguay: The little country that changed tobacco laws
9 July 2016 - Uruguay won a major case against Philip Morris in a World Bank ruling that could embolden other small countries that want to deter tobacco use. The court ruled to upheld two strict laws on cigarette packaging. This marks the second case this summer in which a government has won the right to restrict tobacco packaging in court. (more)

Uruguay's blind 'bird man' can identify 3,000 bird sounds
10 June 2016 - Born blind, Juan Pablo Culasso has never seen a bird. But through his gifted sense of hearing, he can identify more than 3,000 different bird sounds and differentiate more than 720 species. The 29-year-old said he realized he had perfect, or absolute pitch, when he was a boy. Absolute pitch, the rare ability to hear a tone and immediately know it's a C-sharp, for example, is so unusual that only one of every 10,000 people has it, Culasso said. Alicia Munyo, who heads the phonology department at Uruguay's Republica University, says that perfect pitch has more to do with the brain than the ear. (more)

Uruguay makes dramatic shift to nearly 95% electricity from clean energy
3 December 2015 - In less than 10 years, Uruguay has slashed its carbon footprint without government subsidies or higher consumer costs, according to the country's head of climate change policy, Ramón Mendez. In fact, he says that now that renewables provide 94.5% of the country's electricity, prices are lower than in the past relative to inflation. There are also fewer power cuts because a diverse energy mix means greater resilience to droughts. (more)

Uruguay launches first BYD battery-electric buses; projecting 500 by 2015
23 May 2013 - Buquebus and CTS Auto S.A., in partnership with Chinese automaker BYD Ltd, introduced the first battery-electric 12-meter rapid transit bus in Uruguay and the region. The bus can be charged overnight, while the electricity pricing is lower. By 2015 it is expected that more than 500 BYD electric buses will be running on the streets and roads of Uruguay. (more)

Guns swapped for 'weapons for life' in Uruguay
29 April 2013 - Members of the public in Uruguay are now able to exchange guns they own for laptops or bikes, thanks to a pioneering new scheme. Officials hope that the initiative, called Weapons for Life, will help to reduce gun crime as well as improve the lives of former gun owners. The Association for the Fight for Civilian Disarmament (AFCD) has praised the scheme, saying that it hopes it will change attitudes towards guns. (more)

Tobacco control campaign in Uruguay: a population-based trend analysis
14 September 2012 - In 2005, Uruguay initiated a series of comprehensive anti-smoking measures. In this article, researchers present findings from their population-based trend analysis, which show a clear decrease in the prevalence of smoking in Uruguay between 2005 and 2011. The found that Uruguay's comprehensive tobacco-control campaign is associated with a substantial, unprecedented decrease in tobacco use. Decreases in tobacco use in other low-income and middle-income countries of the magnitude seen in Uruguay would have a substantial effect on the future global burden of tobacco-related diseases. (more)

Feisty Uruguay wins respect from neighbours, investors
15 August 2011 - Uruguay, a plucky little country led by a former guerrilla leader whose most valuable possession is an old Volkswagen Beetle, is angling to become a new darling among global investors. It is poised to regain investment-grade status after getting two credit rating upgrades in the last month, and its 2003 voluntary debt renegotiation is cited as an example for crisis-struck Europe. (more)

Uruguay's economy continues expansion
10 June 2008 - Uruguay's economy grew 10.9 per cent in the first quarter compared with the same period of 2007, the government said on Tuesday. Uruguay's economy grew 7.4 per cent in 2007, marking its fifth straight year of expansion after deep crisis. (more)

Advertising of tobacco banned in Uruguay
29 February 2008 - Uruguay's Congress passed a law on Friday banning tobacco advertising, the latest anti-smoking measure in a government-led crackdown, a parliamentary spokesman said. President Tabare Vazquez, an oncologist, has taken a tough line on smoking. In 2006, his government passed the stiffest restrictions on smoking in Latin America. (more)

Uruguay children try low-cost laptops
18 May 2007 - Uruguay children are the first to receive low-cost laptop computers from the 'One Laptop Per Child' project, which hopes to put low-cost portable PCs in the hands of children in developing countries. Still in a pilot phase, the group has also placed machines at one school in Nigeria, and another in Thailand. The machines come loaded with children's books in local languages, along with encyclopedias, and more. (more)

Short Summaries of Top Stories

Tobacco industry lobbies for flavorful cigarettes
19 November 2010 - Public health officials from around the world agreed this week on some new anti-smoking rules, but others that could have sharply reduced global tobacco consumption remained out of reach at an international conference Friday. Host Uruguay got unanimous support from the 171 countries that have signed on to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control treaty, encouraging President Jose Mujica to promise a fierce defense of the country's tough anti-smoking policies against a legal challenge by Philip Morris International, the world's second-largest tobacco company. With several dozen other countries now requiring graphic warning labels on up to 50 per cent of the package, Philip Morris is seeking to block the trend by asking World Bank arbitrators to find Uruguay in violation of its trade agreement with Switzerland, where the company has a headquarters. company spokesman Peter Nixon said the company's monetary claim would be 'substantial,' although he declined to give a specific dollar amount. (more)


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