Tag Archive | "Argentina"

Bolivia to Investigate Pilcomayo River Pollution


Pilcomayo River (image: Wikipedia)

The Pilcomayo River (highlighted) is part of the Río de la Plata basin (image: Wikipedia)

The Bolivian Public Prosecutor’s Office has announced that a prosecutor specialised in environmental issues will be appointed to investigate and bring to court those responsible for the collapse of a tailing dam that polluted the Pilcomayo River last week.

The incident occurred on 10th July in the district of Potosí, when the tailing dam of a mine owned by mining company Santiago Apóstol burst, dumping residues from a lead, silver, and zinc mine into the river. A report confirmed high levels of pollution from toxic substances such as sodium, iron, chromium, and magnesium.

Provincial prosecutor José Luis Ríos said that “the company did not comply with environmental laws. The dam didn’t even have a protective geomembrane, which ended up producing the collapse of the dam that contained toxic residues.” As a first measure, Ríos ordered that all the mine’s activities be suspended.

The Environmennt and Mother Earth Secretary of the district of Chuquisaca, Eddy Carvajal, informed that “mining company Santiago Apóstol does not hold an environmental licence, and neither do other mining companies and cooperatives,” whilst the inter-institutional commission in defence of the Pilcomayo River stated that as many as 80% of mining companies and cooperatives from the municipality of Tacobamba, Potosí, do not hold environmental licences.

The Pilcomayo River, which goes through the districts of Potosí, Chuquisaca, and Tarija in Bolivia, is also shared with neighbouring Paraguay and Argentina. The Paraguayan Foreign Affairs Ministry, currently presiding the Tri-national Pilcomayo River Commission, has requested its embassy in La Paz to provide a report on the river’s situation. Didier Olmedo, Foreign Trade Secretary at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, also said they were considering sending experts from the Commission to the affected site.

A Bolivian delegation headed by Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Juan Carlos Alurralde will provide information on the incident to the Argentine and Paraguayan governments in a meeting in Buenos Aires next week.

Posted in News From Latin America, Round Ups Latin AmericaComments (0)

Indy Eye: Thousands Celebrate Despite Argentina’s World Cup Final Loss


Tens of thousands took to the streets last night to celebrate Argentina making it to the World Cup final for the first time in 24 years. Despite losing 1-0 to Germany in extra time, festivities went on into the early hours in public plazas around the country. However, in Buenos Aires, despite the mostly peaceful gatherings, at the Obelisco the celebrations ended violently after groups clashed with police. Around 120 people have been detained.

This morning, hundreds of people turned out to greet the squad upon their return to Argentina, and various kilometres of cars packed the streets around Ezeiza international airport and the Argentine Football Association terrain, where the players went after landing. President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner travelled to the AFA site to meet with the players in an official ceremony.

Foto: Alejandro Amdan/enviado especial/Télam/lz

Argentina’s hopes lay on the shoulders of these 11 men (Photo: Alejandro Amdan/enviado especial/Télam/lz)

 

Vecinos de la Villa 31 palpitaron la final de la Copa Mundial 2014 en la calle, donde se instaló una pantalla gigante. Foto: José Romero/Télam/dsl

Thousands turned out to watch the final on giant screens in public plazas around the country, such as this one in Villa 31 (Photo: José Romero/Télam/dsl)

 

Foto: Juan Roleri/enviado especial/Télam/cf

Many were inconsolable at Argentina’s extra time defeat to Germany (Photo: Juan Roleri/enviado especial/Télam/cf)

 

Foto: Juan Roleri/enviado especial/Télam/cf

But Argentina’s star striker Lionel Messi won the tournament’s ‘Golden Ball’ (Photo: Juan Roleri/enviado especial/Télam/cf)

 

Foto: Pepe Delloro/Telam/cf

Although that wasn’t enough for some, like this girl in Neuquén (Photo: Pepe Delloro/Telam/cf)

 

 Foto: Osvaldo Fanton/Télam/dsl

Thousands headed to Buenos Aires Obelisco despite the loss, to celebrate Argentina making it to the final for the first time in 24 years (Photo: Osvaldo Fanton/Télam/dsl)

 

Foto: Alejandro Santa Cruz/Télam/dsl

Celebrations continued into the early hours, in a carnival-like atmosphere (Photo: Alejandro Santa Cruz/Télam/dsl)

 

Foto:Víctor Carreira/Télam/dsl

And whilst the real cup will be heading to Germany, some took the chance to pose with this giant model (Photo: Víctor Carreira/Télam/dsl)

 

Foto: José Romero/Télam/ddc

This morning fans flocked to Ezeiza to greet the national squad upon their return (Photo: José Romero/Télam/ddc)

 

Foto: Leonardo Zavattaro/Télam/lz

Star players Messi, Lavezzi, Demichelis, and Mascherano touch down in Argentina (Photo: Leonardo Zavattaro/Télam/lz)

 

Thousans lined the steets to wait for the team's bus to pass (Photo: José Romero/Télam/ddc)

A multitude lined the steets to wait for the team’s bus to pass (Photo: José Romero/Télam/ddc)

 

Foto: Presidencia/Télam/dsl

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner with the national team (Photo: Presidencia/Télam/dsl)

 

Posted in Photoessay, Sport, TOP STORYComments (5)

Brazil: Environmentalists link Deforestation to Flooding


Map shows how the Bosque Atlantico has shrunk over the past decades (image courtesy of Fundación Vida Silvestre)

Map shows how the Bosque Atlantico has shrunk over the past decades (image courtesy of Fundación Vida Silvestre)

Environmental NGOs have publicly denounced the high levels of deforestation in Paraguay, Brazil, and north-east Argentina as being the principal cause of the devastating flooding in the region.

Nine people have died and thousands have been evacuated as a result of the floods, and a state of emergency has been declared in the south of Brazil.

Greenpeace and Fundación Vida Silvestre have pinpointed the loss of the native Bosque Atlántico and shift towards industrialised agriculture as being behind the high levels of water in the Paraná and Iguazú rivers.

Hernán Giardini, coordinator of Greenpeace Argentina’s Forests campaign, said: “Woods and rainforests, as well as being packed with biodiversity, play a fundamental role in climate regulation, the maintenance of sources and flows of water, and the conservation of the ground. They are our natural sponge and protective umbrella. When we lose the forests we become more vulnerable in the face of rains and we run serious risks of flooding.”

Whilst heavy rains are common in the region, four months’ worth of rainfall has fallen over the past few days, a phenomenon that has been linked to climate change. The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned that extreme weather phenomenons, such as increased rainfall, drought, and hurricanes, can be attributed to climate change, and the advance of the agricultural frontier, which has stripped the previously forested region bare, has increased the effects of these heavier rains.

On the Argentine side of the border, just 7% of the original 2m hectares of forest remain, whilst in Paraguay and Brazil the forest has been practically destroyed. The forest, located mostly in the province of Misiones, with a small part in the north of Corrientes, is one of the most biodiverse regions in Argentina, with over 550 species of birds, 120 mammals, 80 reptiles, 55 amphibians, and 200 fish. More than 200 tree species are also registered. 

 

Posted in News From Latin America, Round Ups Latin AmericaComments (0)

Argentina Invited to Join July BRICS Summit


Foreign Affairs Minister Héctor Timerman (photo courtesy of Casa Rosada)

The announcement came after ForeignMinister Héctor Timerman met with his Russian counterpart (photo courtesy of Casa Rosada)

Argentina has been invited to join the sixth Brics Summit, due to take place in July in the Brazilian city of Fortaleza. The country will join the bloc of major emerging economies, made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

The news was released by Russia after a meeting between the country’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Argentine counterpart Héctor Timerman, which saw the ministers sign a joint declaration on the non-proliferation of arms in outer space.

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner is currently the only non-bloc head of state who will attend the summit, and some analysts believe this is the latest indication that there is interest in Argentina joining the group, who between them are responsible for a quarter of the world’s economy.

China also recently announced a state visit to Buenos Aires in July.

The Casa Rosada responded to the news as being “a new sign that the country is not isolated from the world, but ever more and ever better integrated”.

 

 

Posted in News From Argentina, Round Ups ArgentinaComments (0)

Government Reaches Debt Agreement with Paris Club


Economy Minister Axel Kicillof  (photo: Florencia Downes/Telam/dsl)

Economy Minister Axel Kicillof led the negotiations for Argentina (photo: Florencia Downes/Telam/dsl)

After months of negotiation, the government and the Paris Club yesterday reached an agreement over the repayment of Argentina’s US$9.7bn debt owed to the group. The deal will see the amount repaid in full in installments over the next five years.

Economy Minister Axel Kicillof met with the Paris Club leader Ramón Fernández in France to finalise the debt agreement. After the meeting, Kicillof hailed the historic deal, which is seen as a victory for Argentina, as closing a “sad chapter” in the country’s history.

The first payment, of US$650m, will be made in July, with the second payment of US$500m due in May 2015. The remaining debt installments will be managed by the government voted in at next year’s elections.

Interest has been set at 3%, and if Argentina fails to fully repay the debt over the five-year period, it the option of extending repayments for a further two years, with additional interest. The deal also allows for higher interest rates if the creditor nations invest in Argentina.

“Realisation of an initial payment under a formal commitment of Argentina to fully clear its arrears is a necessary and important step for the normalisation of financial relationships between Paris Club creditors and Argentina,” the Paris Club said.

“During the meeting, the delegation of the Argentine Republic provided a description of the economic and financial situation of its country and presented the measures implemented by the Argentine government aimed at enhancing inclusive growth and strengthening resilience to external shocks.”

The agreement allows for credit agencies from Paris Club member countries to resume doing business with Argentina, which is seeking foreign investment to develop its oil and gas industry. Referring to the deal, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner said on Twitter: “The financing we will obtain will not be, as in previous decades, for the financial casino. It will be for infrastructure, development, technology, and all Argentines.”

News of the deal has been welcomed in Argentine markets, with the Merval rising 2.2% after opening today.

Germany is Argentina’s biggest Paris Club creditor with about 30% of the outstanding debt, followed by Japan with about 25%. Other debt holders include the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, and the US.

 

 

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Five Dead After Private Plane Crashes in Río de la Plata


Authorities have confirmed five dead after a light aircraft crashed in the Río de la Plata this afternoon. Another four people remain in hospital, according to reports.

The private plane, travelling from San Fernando in Argentina with nine on board, crashed less than 10km southwest of its destination Carmelo, on the Uruguayan coast. The pilot had allegedly reported a technical problem before communication was lost.

Map of the crash site (via Infobae.com)

Map of the crash site (via Infobae.com)

Emergency services were alerted by passengers calling from on board as the plane fell soon after 2pm and rescue helicopters and boats were immediately dispatched from both countries.

Early reports suggested one fatality, though the increased figure of five was later confirmed by spokesperson for the Uruguayan navy Gastón Juansolo. Two of the survivors were taken to Buenos Aires, and the other two to Colonia, where they continue to receive treatment for injuries.

Argentine Security Secretary Sergio Berni said that the causes of the crash were still unknown, though noted that “experience tells us its was an engine failure,” according to Pagina 12. Berni added that there was extensive fog in the region of the crash.

The plane is owned by Federico Bonomi, of the clothes label Kosiuko, though he was not on board today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Argentina Names Preliminary World Cup Squad


Argentina's manager, Alejandro Sabella (photo: Juan Roleri/Télam)

Argentina’s manager, Alejandro Sabella (photo: Juan Roleri/Télam)

The preliminary Argentine squad for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil was confirmed this afternoon by manager Alejandro Sabella.

The 30-man list, which will be reduced to 23 before the squad departs for Brazil, includes a call up for Martín Demichelis, who has not featured in the squad since November 2011. Other surprises include River Plate defender Gabriel Mercado and Catania’s Fabián Rinaudo. However, Carlos Tevez, who has over 60 caps and helped his club Juventus win the Italian first division, was left out. Star player Lionel Messi is the squad captain.

The World Cup kicks off on 12th June, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, with Argentina’s first game three days later against Bosnia-Herzegovina in Rio de Janeiro.

The full squad

Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero, Mariano Andújar, Agustín Orion.

Defenders: Ezequiel Garay, Federico Fernández, Pablo Zabaleta, Marcos Rojo, José María Basanta, Hugo Campagnaro, Nicolás Otamendi, Martín Demichelis, Gabriel Mercado, Lisandro López.

Midfielders: Fernando Gago, Lucas Biglia, Javier Mascherano, Ever Banega, Angel Di María, Maximiliano Rodríguez, Ricardo Alvarez, Augusto Fernández, Enzo Pérez, José Sosa y Fabián Rinaudo.

Strikers: Sergio Agüero, Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuaín, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Rodrigo Palacio, Franco Di Santo.

 

 

Posted in News From Argentina, Round Ups ArgentinaComments (0)

Mexico: Amnesty Warns of ‘Critical’ Human Rights Situation


Amnesty International Secretary General, Salil Shetty, at launch of Stop Torture Campaign (photo courtesy of Amnesty International)

Amnesty International Secretary General, Salil Shetty, at launch of Stop Torture Campaign (photo courtesy of Amnesty International)

Amnesty International today published a letter sent to Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto expressing concern over the ‘critical situation’ for human rights in the country.

“It is vital that measures are taken to tackle current patterns of disappearances, torture, and arbitrary arrests, as well as the regular attacks against those supporting human rights, journalists, migrants, and women,” said the letter, which was signed by Amnesty International’s secretary general, Salil Shetty. It also urged an end to impunity by ensuring that any members of the government of armed forces involves in these crime be swiftly handed over to the judiciary.

The organisation said it had also handed the president 170,000 signatures collected over the last year from people demanding concrete action to deal with these problems.

The letter was sent to coincide with Amnesty International’s global report on the use of torture, in which Mexico was one of five countries singled out as where torture is “rife”.

According to the report: “The use of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment by military and police forces remains widespread throughout Mexico, with impunity rife for the perpetrators.”

According to Amnesty’s global survey, at least 44% of respondents from 21 countries said they feared torture if taken into custody. In Mexico, that rate stood at 64%.

Other Latin American countries included in the survey were Brazil, where 80% of respondents said they would not feel safe from torture if arrested, Peru (54%), Argentina (49%), and Chile which reported the lowest regional figure of 30%.

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President Meets Chilean Counterpart


Chilean president Michelle Bachelet and Argentine president Cristina Fernández (photo: María Candelaria Lagos/Télam/lz)

Chilean president Michelle Bachelet and Argentine president Cristina Fernández (photo: María Candelaria Lagos/Télam/lz)

President Cristina Fernández de Kichner met Chilean president Michellet Bachelet today at the government house, in the latter’s first official overseas trip. After the meeting, the presidents gave a press conference where they referred to the need to strengthen the relationship between the countries, amongst other topics.

President Bachelet highlighted that “it is neither an accident or a coincidence” that she chose Argentina as the first overseas destination of her second term. “It is time to strongly resume the [cooperation] agenda,” she said, while president Fernández pointed out that Bachelet’s predecessor, Sebastián Piñera, “had other urgencies, other initiatives, and he had all the right to do so.” Both mentioned the need to re-launch the Treaty of Maipú, a cooperation treaty which was signed during the presidents’ first terms.

During the meeting, the presidents talked about an initiative to double the number of border crossings between Chile and Argentina, something they said would bring economic benefits to both countries. Referring to drug trafficking, while both heads of state acknowledged the need to include the issue in the bilateral agenda, they also highlighted that it is something that must be tackled at the regional level, with “common protocols” throughout all the Unasur countries.

Asked about the situation of the Pascua Lama bi-national mining project, currently halted, the presidents preferred not to answer, saying that the issue was in the hands of the judiciary.

Posted in News From Argentina, Round Ups ArgentinaComments (0)

Out Now: Mujeres Con Pelotas


“En Argentina, hay fútbol para todos… y para todas?”

In Argentina, anyone can play football… unless you are a woman. With this, ‘Mujeres con Pelotas’ dives into an absorbing discussion about women’s football in Argentina. In a country where football is considered a basic cultural right, female players must tackle taboos, discrimination, and ridicule just to make it onto the pitch. It is, as the film’s English title explains, a ‘story of women with balls’, in more ways than one.

Girls play football in Villa 31 (photo courtesy of Mujeres con Pelotas)

Girls play football in Villa 31 (photo courtesy of Mujeres con Pelotas)

The documentary centres on the story of ‘Las Aliadas de la 31′, a team of girls in Villa 31, the sprawling shantytown hidden behind the Retiro bus and train stations. In this impoverished neighourhood, as far away as you can get from the glamour of professional football, the girls overcome personal trials and break social norms to pursue their passion for the sport.

Leading from the front is Mónica Santino, coach of ‘Las Aliadas’ and relentless campaigner for women’s football. The camera follows Santino, who sports a tattoo of a football hovering above the famous Rolling Stones ‘tongue’, as she clears groups of boys from the dusty playing field, deals with indifferent authorities, and guides the girls both on and off the pitch as they prepare for the ‘Homeless World Cup’ in Brazil.

It was Santino and the girls in Villa 31 that inspired filmmakers Ginger Gentile and Gabriel Balanovsky to begin work on a documentary in 2008. As the project developed, their story became the jumping off point for a broader investigation into the state of women’s football in Argentina. A little over five years later, and after successful screenings in this year’s BAFICI, the film will be on limited public release from today.

“We are hoping to achieve two key things with the film,” says Gentile. “Firstly, to find support for Mónica in her dream of founding the first female football club in Argentina, and second to make the sport more visible. When a girl’s team wins a tournament overseas there is nothing in the news, and many fans don’t even know their club has a women’s team.”

“It’s crazy that half the population is left out of something so bound to Argentine culture,” adds Balanovsky.

The 75-minute documentary gathers voices of women and men from many fields – players, coaches, journalists, fans – to discuss the social difficulties facing female footballers. In vastly different contexts, the girls share experiences of discrimination at both a personal (“you must be a lesbian!) and societal (“girls don’t have the genetics for football”) level. Sometimes the friction comes from within the family, often, surprisingly, from the female members. “They would tell us that men wouldn’t let them play, but when we asked for names, it was ‘my mother’, or ‘my aunt’,” says Gentile.

At an institutional level, it is indifference and a lack of support, rather than direct opposition, that perhaps represent that biggest obstacles to developing women’s football. From the squad at Estudiantes that had to lie down on the club’s training pitch to prevent the men’s team from taking their slot, to the Boca Juniors players who have to travel over five hours at their own expense to train, it is clear from the film that clubs are not too interested in the women’s teams. And while the Argentine Football Association (AFA) says it wants to encourage female participation, its limited resources are almost all funnelled into the men’s game. As a result, as women’s football expands and becomes more professional in other countries, the number of registered club teams in Argentina has fallen from 24 to 12.

However, while the governing body shirks responsibility, change is happening from the bottom-up. “Compared to when we began filming [in 2008], women are playing a lot more,” says Balanovsky, noting that the number of girls playing in Villa 31 has increased from eight to around 60. “Society has advanced a great deal in dealing with certain prejudices, and I think it is now more open to this type of debate.”

If that is true, then ‘Mujeres Con Pelotas’ can offer an important contribution, not least because the filmmakers are working with local authorities to try and bring girls from poor neighbourhoods to special screenings in the city.

The film also makes its strongest point when it allows the football to do the talking. Extended montages of ‘Las Aliadas’ training are a real highlight: here, away from the multitude of opinions and arguments of others about their validity as footballers, the girls are allowed to get on with what they enjoy most.

After all, giving them the opportunity to play football is what this is all about, and watching them is perhaps the most effective way to change sexist attitudes — one goal at a time.

Mujeres con Pelotas will be shown at Cine Gaumont (Av. Rivadavia 1635, $8) at 11.45am and 7.50pm daily from 9th to 14th May.

It will be screened at the Sala Cultural San Martín (Sarmiento 1551, $20) on Thursday 8th and 15th May at 8pm; Saturday 10th and 17th May at 8pm; Saturday 24th and 31st May at 5.30pm; and Sunday 1st June at 5.30pm.

For more information about the documentary and showings around Argentina, or about how to support Mónica Santino, visit the website or Facebook page.

Posted in FilmComments (1)

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