President Colom removed his finance minister, Edgar Balsells, while in the middle of budget negotiations with Congress. Colom stated that Balsells was removed because he increased the nation's budget by nearly 200m dollars without seeking authorization from the president or cabinet.
Congress is once again considering approving a bill that would allow authorities to confiscate money and property obtained from illegal activities. The bill contains a list of 47 crimes (including embezzlement, drug trafficking and activities of organized crime, such as exporting stolen vehicles) for which confiscation would be applicable.
The Missouri Surpreme Court is reviewing a custody battle between a Guatemalan woman and a couple from Missouri. Encarnacion Romero was arrested during an immigration raid at a chicken plant in Barry County. Romero's sister ended up taking care of her son following the raid and her two-year prison sentence for using forged documents. At some point the sister could no longer care for the baby and the baby boy was adopted by a Missouri family, the Mosers. Romero's attorneys are seeking to have the adoption reversed and her parental rights reinstated. They won a major battle in July, when the adoption was overturned by the Missouri Court of Appeals in Springfield. Last week, the case was argued in front of the Missouri Supreme Court.
The Central American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Panama have begun the First Round of Negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement in Lima (FTA). During this first round that will last until Friday, leaders will discuss access to goods markets, origin rules, sanitary measures, obstacles to trade, intellectual property, among others.