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ARGENTINA | 03-06-2022 11:29

News that caught our eye: May 29 to June 3

Some of the stories that caught our eye over the last seven days in Argentina.

 

ALBERTO WILL GO TO THE SUMMIT

President Alberto Fernández will be attending the ninth Summit of the Americas running all next week in Los Angeles as from Monday after considerable back and forth (including talk of a counter-summit) until Wednesday when he confirmed his presence in a 25-minute telephone conservation with summit host Joe Biden. President Fernández began the week in Paraguay where he joined his Paraguayan colleague Mario Abdo Benítez in announcing the expansion of the capacity of Yacyretá hydro-electric dam by up to 20 percent with an investment of over US$310 million and the creation of 2,000 jobs, direct and indirect. Fernández underlined the need to work closer together in Mercosur.

 

THE WEEK IN CORRUPTION

Oscar Centeno, the former Federal Planning chauffeur who is a key witness and whistleblower in the cuadernos (notebooks) graft trial probing public works corruption during Kirchnerite presidencies, last month insisted that he had burnt the original copybooks giving the case its name, thus casting doubts as to their authenticity, his lawyer Sergio Steizel revealed last Monday. If the doubts are sustained, the whole trial could be quashed. 

 

AMIA ALERTS EXTENDED

Federal judge Daniel Rafecas on Monday extended the validity of the Interpol red alerts against Iranian officials accused of masterminding the 1994 terrorist bomb destruction of the AMIA Jewish community centre until at least November, 2027. The Iranians were named as Mohsen Rezai, Ahmad Vahidi, Alí Fallahijan, Ahmad Reza Asghari and Mohsen Rabbani, all of whom are the target of international arrest warrants.

 

URRIBARRI REMOVED FROM EMBASSY

Argentine Ambassador to Israel Sergio Urribarri, the former two-term Peronist governor of Entre Ríos who was sentenced to eight years in prison for corruption last April, has been removed from the Jerusalem embassy via an executive decree 287/2022 published in the Official Gazette last Tuesday. Urribarri will be transferred to the Foreign Ministry while he appeals his sentence. Juntos por el Cambio opposition deputies had been complaining that over six weeks had passed since his conviction without Urribarri budging from the Jerusalem embassy. Since the verdict the prosecutor nailing him for graft, Cecilia Goyeneche, has been fired after being probed for conflict of interest in another case and the ex-governor’s defence is optimistic that this might serve as a basis for quashing his conviction but this development has not stopped the government from removing him from his diplomatic posting.

 

RECORD EXPORTS ON WAY

Grain exports have set new records to the tune of US$15.3 billion so far this year with US$4.23 billion of that total last month, 33 percent more than in April. This harvest dollar bonanza is expected to continue this month and next, thanks to high international prices, before falling off. Grain accounted for 48 percent of total Argentine exports last year, according to INDEC statistics bureau.

 

DIESEL SHORTAGES SPARK CONCERN

Cabinet Chief Juan Manzur reported shortages of diesel fuel in eight provinces last Wednesday and promised more imports to redress the shortfalls. The provinces of Jujuy, Salta, Formosa, Tucumán, Misiones, Corrientes, Santa Fe and Entre Ríos have all reported little or no fuel in their service stations after supplies have been falling off over the last two months. Manzur’s statements came on the same day gas and electricity bills were hiked by 20 percent.

 

44,000 TOBACCO-RELATED DEATHS IN ARGENTINA

There are 44,851 tobacco-related deaths annually in Argentina, the Argentine Federation of Cardiology (FAC in its Spanish acronym) revealed on Tuesday, adding that although only 22.2 percent of the adult population are smokers, such low consumption, still one of the highest in Latin America, cannot be considered “innocuous.” Their studies showed that most smokers start between the ages of 12 and 15. The FAC also expressed their “growing concern” over the e-cigs (electronic cigarettes) now consumed by 1.1 percent of the population, especially the younger generations, since they were not an “inoffensive alternative.” The FAC’s annual Congress beginning on Thursday ends today.  

 

POLAR WAVES BITES

Sub-zero temperatures of up to minus 15 degrees Centigrade in parts of Argentina last week, especially Patagonia, as most of the country shivered. Even Ezeiza International Airport experienced sub-zero temperatures on Tuesday morning while even in such northern semi-tropical provinces as Formosa or Salta the temperatures were in the range of 10-11 degrees. The Andean provinces of Mendoza and San Juan received warnings of snowfalls of 20-50 centimetres. In other Andean provinces (Catamarca, Jujuy and Salta) there were winds of up to 90 kilometres per hour.

 

ARGENTINA SET UP CAMP IN ABU DHABI

Argentina will be based in Abu Dhabi as they prepare for this year's World Cup finals in Qatar after the Argentina Football Association (AFA) entered into a strategic cooperation agreement with Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC). The Albiceleste will play friendlies in Abu Dhabi as part of their preparations for what is likely to be superstar Lionel Messi's final chance to win the trophy – he will be 35 by the time the tournament kicks off. "After months of joint-work exchanges, ADSC together with the AFA, a long-term agreement has been consolidated," read a statement by the ADSC. "Abu Dhabi will host the Argentine national team preparing camp for the 2022 World Cup, which will include friendly matches in November. As part of Argentina's collaboration with the UAE, the SuperCopa Argentina finals will be played for four consecutive years in Abu Dhabi starting from this January 2023 until the year 2026.

 

COLDPLAY FANS SNAP UP TICKETS AT SPEED OF SOUND

The British band this week confirmed they will stop at River Plate’s Monumental stadium for nine magic shows in late October and early November – equalling the record run of gigs at the same venue put on by ex-Pink Floyd rocker Roger Waters in March 2012 with his show ‘The Wall.’ Coldplay, fronted by Chris Martin, will play at River’s stadium on October 25, 26, 28 and 29 and November 1, 2, 4, 5 and 7, as part of their ‘Music of the Spheres World Tour.’ Tickets for the shows, put on by DF Entertainment, sold out in hours, with fans sure to shiver given the chance of seeing their heroes up close. With a head full of dreams, they’re sure to enjoy the adventure of a lifetime. Coldplay has a special relationship with local fans that began with their first visit in 2007 at the Teatro Gran Rex and was strengthened in 2010 when they performed at River. The band returned to the country in 2016 at the opening of its so far last world tour "A Head Full of Dreams" occurred at the Estadio de La Plata, a place it also chose for its closing a year later. Support for the new run of shows in Argentina comes from US  singer H.E.R., while in Colombia and Chile, Camila Cabello will open for the group. 
 

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