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ARGENTINA | 25-01-2020 10:46

Jan 20th-27th: What We Learned This Week

Key stories from the last seven days...

VILLA GESELL KILLING

Holiday-maker Fernando Báez Sosa, 19, was beaten up and trampled to death by a violent group of rugby players in the Atlantic resort of Villa Gesell last weekend in a crime sparking public outrage throughout the week. Three of the 11 youths arrested (almost all from the delta town of Zárate) have been singled out as responsible with one of them identified by the sole of his shoe matching an imprint on the youth’s corpse.

 

TOURIST STABBING

Australian tourist Terrence Bulmer, 67, was still in an induced coma at the Hospital Fernández at press time after being stabbed outside the Law Faculty last weekend, remaining in “critical” condition and on an iron lung. His condition was reportedly complicated by picking up pneumonia in the hospital, according to medical sources. Bulmer, who was here with his wife en route to an Antarctic cruise starting from Ushuaia last Sunday, was apparently jogging in Recoleta around 7.10 last Saturday morning when he was assailed by a mugger who stabbed him in the chest after he refused to hand over his belongings (which he may not have had on him).

 

TRAVEL CHAOS

Holiday travel was even more chaotic than usual last Tuesday when the previous night’s storm knocked out downtown Aeroparque airport’s anemometer (a device measuring wind speed and direction) amongst other disruptions, causing nearly 20 flights to be cancelled or transferred to Ezeiza International Airport with delays in others.

 

CRISTINA SPENT 18 HOURS WATCHING NISMAN DOC

Early this week, shortly before becoming acting president, Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner showered praise on the six-part Netflix documentary on the death of special AMIA prosecutor Alberto Nisman but with a sting in the tail, acidly commenting: “Netflix did what Comodoro Py courthouse should have done while Comodoro Py did what would have been expected of Netflix, an Argentine paradox.” While praising the “objectivity” of Justin Webster, the British director of the documentary (which she saw three times), the veep accused the courts of producing “fictions scripted by the intelligence services.”

 

THE ‘D’ WORD

Shortly before departure to Israel, Buenos Aires Province Governor Axel Kicillof announced on Wednesday that the deadline for agreeing to roll over payments of US$250 million due on the Bono 2021 bond until May would be extended until the end of the month next Friday. The original deadline had been 1pm that day but his finance minister Pablo López said that more time was needed for continuing dialogue to add to the “significant” number of bondholders already on board and reach the requisite percentage of 75 percent in favour. The delay falls within the 10- day grace period contained in the bond terms. Meanwhile Economy Minister Martín Guzmán defended Kicillof’s delaying tactics by saying that this payment needed to be fitted into a more general context of restructuring while Guzmán’s mentor, the 2001 Nobel Economics Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz, forecast “significant haircuts” ahead.

 

ALBERTO IN ISRAEL

President Alberto Fernández made his first visit abroad, to Israel – to join other world leaders last Thursday in marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz extermination camp. 

 

DIPLOMATIC RESHUFFLE

Argentine Ambassador to Britain Carlos Sersale Di Cerisano has been recalled following publication of Decree 82 in the Official Gazette last Tuesday. Foreign Minister Felipe Solá also rescinded the services of three retired diplomats (Roberto García Moritán, Fernando Petrella and Jorge Herrera Vegas) who had returned to active service at the behest of Mauricio Macri during his presidency. In the last month of his presidency Macri had already made the anticipatory recall of 16 ambassadors, mostly political appointments.

 

MYSTERIOUS $10K

Production Minister Matías Kulfas yesterday denounced the discovery of an envelope stuffed with US$ 10,000 in the offices of his ministry.

 

ECONOMIC SLUMP

INDEC statistics bureau reported the economy as contracting by 1.9 percent last November as against the same month in 2018 and by 1.7 percent from the previous month. Economic shrinkage has thus reached 2.3 percent for the first 11 months of the year.

 

TRANSPARENCY RANKING

Argentina improved 19 places in the Transparency International rankings in the last year of the Mauricio Macri presidency, advancing from 85th to 66th place, its strongest improvement since 2012.

 

DEATH OF LORD MONTGOMERY

Lord David Montgomery, the only son of World War II hero Field-Marshal Bernard Montgomery of El Alamein, died yesterday in his 92nd year. Being one of the few leading figures in Britain to express open misgivings about the 1982 South Atlantic war (especially within his own Conservative Party) made him a natural spearhead for consolidating the Anglo-Argentine relations resumed as from 1990 and he was the automatic leader of British trade missions here for several years, as well as being president of the Anglo-Argentine Society in London and Canning House

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