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Pope Francis, in year-end message: 'good news don't make news'.

Source: Buenos Aires Herald

The media should give more space to positive, inspirational stories to counterbalance the preponderance of evil, violence and hate in the world, Pope Francis said today in his year-end message. Francis led about 10,000 worshippers in a traditional year-end solemn Te Deum vespers service of thanksgiving in St. Peter's Basilica.

In his brief homily, Francis said the outgoing year had been marked by many tragedies. But he said there had also been "so many great gestures of goodness" to help those in need, "even if they are not on television news programs (because) good things don't make news." The media, he said, should not allow such gestures of solidarity to be "obscured by the arrogance of evil."

The Argentine-born Pope Francis, marking the third New Year's season since his election in 2013, condemned the "insatiable thirst for power and gratuitous violence" the world had seen in 2015, without giving examples. But in his Christmas message last week, he urged the world to unite to end atrocities by Islamist militants who he said were causing immense suffering in many countries. Francis also condemned a political corruption scandal that hit Rome, the city of which he is also bishop. The scandal, known as "Mafia Capital" (in which mobsters and public officials were accused of embezzling millions of euros from public contracts), has spawned a massive trial with 46 defendants that began last month.

The 79-year-old pope, who appears to have held up well during his numerous public appearances over the Christmas and New Year's season, is due to celebrate a Mass on Friday in the basilica to mark the Catholic Church's World Day of Peace.

Read more: http://buenosairesherald.com/article/205904/in-yearend-message-pope-says-good-news-dontt-make-news

Vulture funds subpoena HSBC to block $5 billion Argentine bond offer.

Source: Buenos Aires Herald

Holdouts led by Paul Singer's Cayman Islands-based EML and London-based Aurelius Capital Management served HSBC with a subpoena for documents on the bank’s involvement in Argentina’s plan to raise US$5 billion to boost the Central Bank’s foreign currency reserves, a source close to the negotiations told Bloomberg yesterday.

International banks (including HSBC, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, Citibank, Santander, and BBVA) are on the verge of lending the country at least US$5 billion through a bond issuance at an annual interest rate of 7%, after meetings held by Argentine Finance Secretary Luis Caputo in New York with bank representatives.

Nevertheless, getting hold of the funds won’t come as easy as planned because the vulture funds are trying to find out whether the loan would violate United States District Judge Thomas Griesa’s order limiting the country’s capacity to raise money offshore. Holdouts may serve other banks with subpoenas as well, the same source told Bloomberg. The move is similar to the previous attempt by the holdouts at the beginning of the year to gather information from Deutsche Bank about US$1.4 billion worth in Bonar 2024 bonds issued by Argentina, denominated in US dollars but governed by Argentine law.

Getting access to such a loan would be an important aid to the Central Bank’s foreign-currency reserves, which stand at a nine-year low of US$25.2 billion partly as a result of annual foreign debt payments of US$14 billion.

Griesa raised the country’s bill with the vulture funds to around US$8 billion in October after he agreed that holders of US$6.1 billion of defaulted bonds must also receive payment when the country services restructured debt. An initial US$1.33 billion, plus interest, was granted by Griesa to NML and Aurelius in 2013; NML, the largest of the vulture funds, seeks nearly a billion dollars for bonds purchased on the secondary market in 2008 for US$48 million.

Read more: http://buenosairesherald.com/article/205788/%E2%80%98vultures%E2%80%99-subpoena-hsbc-over-loans
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