Nine Killed in Barracas Fire: Nine people have died as a result of a fire in the Buenos Aires neighbourhood of Barracas. The fire started this morning at around 8.15am in a storage facility owned by US company Iron Mountain, its causes are still unknown. As firefighters worked to control the fire, a brick wall collapsed, trapping them under the rubble. Seven firefighters and two members of Civil Defence died due to the wall collapse, and 12 people were hospitalised. Security Secretary Sergio Berni confirmed this afternoon that six out of the 12 have already left hospital, and the remaining six are out of danger. Iron Mountain released a statement confirming that “all Iron Mountain employees are safe and accounted for” and assured that “we will investigate the cause of the fire and work closely with local investigators, police and fire authorities to understand what happened. The building was equipped with both fire-detection as well as a sprinkler system.” Authorities confirmed that the fire has now been contained.
Presidential Announcements: President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner announced yesterday an 11.31% increase in pensions and a 200% increase in the yearly school allowance. The increase brings the minimum pension to $2,757 and the maximum to $20,109, and the school allowance, which is paid at the beginning of every school year, to $510 per child. During the televised speech, the president also announced that the government will launch a new price agreement to cover school materials shortly. “We believe in the development of the economy through consumption and investment,” said President Fernández, as she criticised businessmen who “instead of taking their foreign currency earnings overseas” should “re-invest them in the country.” As wage negotiations approach, she also took aim at unionists, saying: “When I see union leaders who, before speculative maneuvers, the only solution they offer is increasing salaries and nothing else, I think they don’t understand what’s going on and that some want to enter a situation where the only ones who will be worse off are going to be the workers.”
Petrol Price Capped: Economy Minister Axel Kicillof announced this afternoon that the government has reached an agreement with oil companies in order to put a cap on petrol prices. Companies will only be allowed to put prices up by 6%. In this context, Shell, which had increase its prices by 12%, will have to bring them back down to last week’s levels, whilst the other companies included in the agreement -YPF, Oil, Axion (Esso), and Petrobras- will be able to increase them. Kicillof also informed that demand for petrol rose by 142% between 2003 and 2013, and by 9% in 2013 compared with the previous year.