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World Bank: Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay the countries with lowest poverty rates in Latin America

Info News
July 15, 2015

According to the agency Argentina has 10.8% income poverty, and that puts it in third place in Latin America.

The IADB (a unit of the World Bank) noted that Argentina, Chile and Uruguay are the Latin American countries with fewer poor and destitute, according to the social metrics the IDB published on its official website. Poverty in Argentina was measured at 10.8% and extreme poverty, 4.2%.

To reach these conclusions, information generated by the National Institute of Statistics and Census (Indec) was not taken into account; but was instead computed by the World Bank, which compared the purchasing power parity (of the dollar) in each country. Thus, for Argentina IADB recorded 10.8% poverty, ranking among the three countries in the region with the lowest indicators of this type, behind Uruguay, with 7.1%, and Chile with 7.5%.

The Bank takes as its poverty threshold spending per capita of below 4 dollars a day, i.e. 120 dollars per person a month.

According to the Bank's analysis Brazil recorded 20.4% poor and 10.8% indigent; Paraguay, 20.5% and 8.1%; Peru, 20.7% and 8.8%; Ecuador, 22.9% and 8.8%; Bolivia, 26.6% and 14.8%; Venezuela, 29.4% and 13.4%; and Colombia, 30.8% and 15.3%.

Income distribution by region

The Bank also compared this data with figures for 2013, through the Gini coefficient, where 0 indicates greater equality and 1 being the highest inequality and established that Argentina, with 0.420, is the third most egalitarian country in the region behind Venezuela, with 0.398; and Uruguay, with 0.384.

In this category Chile, with 0.531, was among the three most unequal countries in the region, behind only Colombia, with 0.539; and Honduras, with 0.553. In the same indicator, Brazil has a coefficient of 0.527; Ecuador, 0.485; Paraguay, 0.478; and Peru, 0.447.

At: http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.infonews.com/nota/234186/para-el-banco-mundial-argentina-esta-entre-los-paises-con-menor-pobreza&prev=search

The data: http://www.iadb.org/en/research-and-data//poverty,7526.html

US gymnast shares secret: drinking yerba mate

US gymnast Sam Mikulak won his second gold medal in the Pan American Games yesterday, and he’s almost certain to be in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics a year from now contending for a medal.

Not bad for starters. But he says his real passion, the secret behind his growing fame, lies with a herbal tea called “mate” (pronounced mah-tay), which is ever-present in Argentina, Uruguay and southern Brazil. Pope Francis is often seen drinking it, and Albert Einstein was reportedly a big fan of the beverage. “If I ever go there to the Vatican, I’ll know he (Pope Francis) drinks it,” Mikulak said.

Mikulak, who won gold medals in the team and overall competition, came close to Olympic medals three years ago in London — placing fifth in both the vault and team competition. He credits much of his success to drinking the infusion, whose complete name is “yerba mate.” The tea-like drink is traditionally brewed in a hollowed-out, dried gourd and sipped from the gourd through a metal straw, known in Spanish as a “bombilla.”

It’s ordinary to see people in Argentina or Uruguay walking the streets with a thermos of hot water and the gourd, prepared to brew the infusion almost anywhere. You can even see motorcyclists lugging around a thermos, tucked under an arm or hanging from a shoulder strap.

“I think it helps your mind and brain mellow and focus a bit more than normal,” Mikulak explained. “That’s why I drink it as an athlete.”

Mikulak said he was introduced to it by chance by friends in high school in southern California.

At: http://buenosairesherald.com/article/193889/us-gymnast-shares-secret-drinking-mate-

Argentine Supreme Court recognizes the right of every patient to a dignified death.

Source: Télam

The Supreme Court of Argentina ensured that a patient's will be respected so that measures that have artificially prolonged his life 20 years can be suspended - a "unique case" in national law, judicial sources emphasized.

Regarding the implementation of the resolution, the Court stressed the importance that, in enforcing the patient's will and proceeding in the withdrawal of life support, "all the precautions necessary for adequate control and relief of the patient's suffering shall be adopted."

The Court confirmed the decision of the Superior Court of the Province of Neuquén, in the application filed by the sister of the patient. As a result of a car accident, the patient has been bedridden since 1995, with a serious and severe frontal lobe lesions in the temporal and occipital lobes. To resolve the issue, the Court commissioned studies to the Favaloro Foundation (Buenos Aires), which corroborated the "irreversible" and "incurable" condition of the patient.

"It is indisputable that the patient is a person in the sense that their fundamental rights must be protected without discrimination and, therefore, has the right to full self-determination to decide to both receive the necessary services as well as to cease medical treatment," said the Court.

"No other branch of government, institution, or person other than the patient can decide whether his life as it is today, is worth living," the Court added.

The court, however, clarified that this is not a case of euthanasia.

"In cases of euthanasia one must act to disrupt life, whereas in this case there is therapeutic abstention," said the Court. With its characteristics, this is "a unique case" in national jurisprudence and with but a single precedent worldwide, "Lambert vs. France."

Read more: http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.telam.com.ar/notas/201507/111840-corte-suprema-muerte-digna.html&prev=search

Researcher Who Reported E-voting Vulnerability Targeted by Police Raid in Argentina

Trend Inside
July 4, 2015

Police have raided the home of an Argentine security professional (Joaquín Sorianello) who discovered and reported several vulnerabilities in the electronic ballot system to be used Sunday for elections in the City of Buenos Aires.

The vulnerabilities (exposed SSL keys and ways to forge ballots with multiple votes) had been reported to the manufacturer of the voting machines ("Magic Software Argentina", the media, and the public about a week ago. There has been no arrest; but his computers and electronic devices have been impounded.

Meanwhile, the information security community in Argentina is trying to get the media to report this notorious attempt to "kill the messenger."

At: http://www.trendinside.com/researcher-who-reported-e-voting-vulnerability-targeted-by-police-raid-in-argentina/

Please note that these black box voting machines are being used by the City of Buenos Aires - not the Argentine government. It's worth noting as well that the right-wing Mayor of Buenos Aires, Mauricio Macri, is the darling of the Wall Street and neocon press here in the U.S., and employs a dirty tricks adviser (Jaime Durán Barba) who previously did work for the CIA in Ecuador, Paraguay, and elsewhere in the region.

BBC highlights Argentine President Cristina Kirchner's popularity

Buenos Aires Herald. June 26, 2015.

The world is closely watching Argentina’s political scenario with the general elections just around the corner. The BBC, the UK’s public-service broadcaster, published an article on President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner highlighting the leader’s "popularity" as she readies to leave office in December.

“Years go by, crises multiply, her rivals are born and die; but Cristina Fernández de Kirchner - CFK or simply ‘Cristina’ - resists,” the piece reads while director of the Isonomía consultant agency Juan Manuel Germano tells the British media that “the president today has a positive image of 50 percent.”

Under the title “The secret behind the popularity of Cristina Fernández in Argentina,” journalist Ignacio de los Reyes describes some pictures and graffiti he finds in the City of Buenos Aires showing a triumphant and “resistant” CFK.

The scenario in neighboring countries Chile and Brazil is also brought up, mentioning public image rates of Michelle Bachelet (24 percent) and Dilma Rousseff (10 percent), “two leaders facing serious corruption cases.” A honeymoon the BBC also compares with Ms. Kirchner’s predecessors: “Raúl Alfonsín (1983-89), strangled by hyper-inflation, was forced to leave power six months sooner than expected; Carlos Menem (1989-99) left strongly questioned by numerous scandals and a broken economy,” the British paper says on its online version leaving a special part to Fernando de la Rúa (1999-2001), “a more dramatic case.” He left the Casa Rosada in helicopter after signing his resignation, having reached only half of his term, amid social and economic turmoil.

Quoting Germano again, the article says “the citizenship starts to tell the president goodbye, makes a balance of her administration with policies such as the Universal Child Allowance, the renationalisations of YPF or Aerolíneas Argentinas, and laws such as the legalization of gay marriage, with a high level of support (60-70 percent approval).”

“One of her Achilles heels is the economic question (40 percent); although there has been an improvement in the approval of her economic administration over the past months,” the consultant tells the BBC.

Reyes continues the article saying that “loved or hated, no one can question that 'The Boss' enjoys extraordinary power and influence” only six months ahead of handing in the “keys of the Casa Rosada” to her successor.

At: http://buenosairesherald.com/article/192556/bbc-highlights-cfks-popularity

Report: Many Mississippi politicians tied to group that radicalized Dylann Roof

Ashton Pittman
Deep South Daily, June 20, 2015.

A surprising number of Mississippi politicians have ties to the white supremacist organization that radicalized Dylann Roof, the gunman who killed nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday night. A list of state leaders with ties to the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) includes U.S. Senator Roger Wicker and former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour.

The Council describes itself as a group organizing for “the interests of European-Americans” and describes black people as a retrograde species. “Mississippi is toting a load of fat blacks on welfare,” the Council’s website once read. “Though disgust is a natural reaction when some blubbery welfare queens buys her pork chops and cream pies with food stamps, remember that the government is subsidizing this gluttony.”

On another occasion, the CCC railed against gay people in an editorial. “If the South seizes upon queer marriage and beheads that serpent, then a new era for States Rights will commence,” the Council wrote. “By the Grace of God, queer marriage may be the petard upon which Brown v. Topeka (the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision that desegregated public schools), and all other pernicious civil rights regulations, will be blasted down the memory hole.”

While both of those quotes were reported on in 2004, the CCC continues to use similar rhetoric today. The blog for the Mississippi Council of Conservative Citizens includes headlines from this decade such as, “Niggers Stir Up Racism in Pearl High School,” “Blacks fluck [sic] or have to cheat to pass test,” and “Military Homos” (in response to the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell).

So who exactly are the Mississippi politicians who have ties to the white supremacist organization? The list of politicians in Mississippi who have participated in CCC events, compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2004, includes 23 Mississippi current and former Mississippi politicians. Of the 23 listed, 15 still hold elected office in Mississippi today.

At: http://www.deepsouthdaily.com/2015/06/many-mississippi-politicians-tied-to-group-that-radicalized-dylann-roof.html

Also in the CCC were former Governor Kirk Fordice and former Sen. Trent Lott, as well as most white Deep South congressmen until the infamous Thurmond farewell dinner in 2002 put them in the spotlight - proving yet again that sunlight is indeed the best disinfectant.

Economist Stiglitz argues for international debt supervision

Buenos Aires Herald

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has reiterated his support for a wider system of control on international sovereign debt restructuring, citing the examples of Argentina, Greece and Ukraine to back up his assertion that the area needs more supervision to protect those involved.

"In Argentina, the authorities’ battles with a small number of “investors” (so-called vulture funds) jeopardised an entire debt restructuring agreed to – voluntarily – by an overwhelming majority of the country’s creditors," Stiglitz considered, in a column published today by The Guardian. The economist has on numerous occasions defended Argentina as the nation continues its litigation against holdout investors, who demand 100% payment on bonds.

"Those who claim that the system works well frame cases like Argentina as exceptions. Most of the time, they claim, the system does a good job. What they mean, of course, is that weak countries usually knuckle under. But at what cost to their citizens?"

Stiglitz continues to assert that the U.S. Treasury's belief that sovereign debt restructurings do not need to be under international law is "incredible". The column recognises that full legal backing would be difficult, but proposes a new framework which would include a stay against litigation during restructuring negotiations - "thus limiting the scope for disruptive behaviour by vulture funds."

Such a framework was proposed by the Argentine Government before the United Nations in 2014, after a victory for creditors in a lengthy legal battle which would oblige the nation to pay back in full those bondholders who did not enter restructuring. In September the UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favour of creating a legal framework, with 124 votes for and just 11 against.

Other ideas mooted by the economist include preferential treatment for lenders willing to give to countries in restructuring; an agreement that no country can sign away its basic rights; and limits on how much a single government can bind its successors to the deals made.

"The crisis in Europe is just the latest example of the high costs – for creditors and debtors alike – entailed by the absence of an international rule of law for resolving sovereign-debt crises," Stiglitz concludes, while adding that regulation of debt restructuring would have too take place away from organisations such as the International Monetary Fund ("too closely affiliated with creditors".

"Such crises will continue to occur. If globalization is to work for all countries, the rules of sovereign lending must change. The modest reforms we propose are the right place to start."

At: http://buenosairesherald.com/article/191756/economist-stiglitz-argues-for-international-debt-supervision

Stiglitz's column in full: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jun/16/sovereign-debt-needs-international-supervision

I should mention that said vulture funds are not demanding "100%", but 1,600%. The main litigant, GOP megadonor and TARP baby Paul Singer and his Cayman Islands-based NML hedge fund, rejected the 2010 Argentine swap offer and instead demands $832 million for Argentine bonds purchased for $49 million from resellers in 2008. Taking the Argentine offer today -and it's still very much on the table- would mean a nearly 400% profit for NML.

Nice work if you can get it.

Former Argentine Supreme Court Justice Eugenio Zaffaroni elected to InterAmerican Human Rights Court

Former Supreme Court Justice Eugenio Zaffaroni was elected yesterday to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights along with three other jurists from Chile, Costa Rica, and Ecuador.

Zaffaroni, who recently retired from the Supreme Court at 75, had been nominated by the Argentine Government, which celebrated his appointment by the Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly in Washington. “This election represents a great honour for Argentina as the commitment of our country to the promotion and protection of human rights has been recognized by the international community,” the Foreign Ministry headed by Héctor Timerman — who attended yesterday’s OAS hearing, said in a press release.

The former justice yesterday received 18 votes from the 23 countries that are part of the human rights body. A majority of 12 votes was needed.

Appointed to the country’s highest tribunal in 2003 by late former president Néstor Kirchner, Zaffaroni stayed on the Supreme Court for 11 years. He is considered to be a progressive law expert and with close links to the Kirchner administration and Legitimate Justice, the pro-judicial reform association.

Zaffaroni’s nomination was endorsed by the American Association of Jurists (AAJ). In its endorsement letter, the AAJ also made reference to the resurgence of a book about the Military Code of Justice published in 1980. According to the AAJ, Zaffaroni’s words have been distorted to make him appear as a defender of the 1976 military coup. “The book was a key element to promote the criminal investigations into state terror practices,” the members of the AAJ said. The organization also said that “the media do not forget his vote in the Broadcast Media Law case in 2013 and his support of the country against the attack launched by vulture funds.”

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights is made up of seven judges from seven different countries and four seats were up for grabs. Zaffaroni will be arriving at the Court along with Eduardo Vio Grossi (Chile), Elizabeth Odio Benito (Costa Rica), and Patricio Pazmiño Freire (Ecuador).

At: http://buenosairesherald.com/article/191791/zaffaroni-elected-to-interamerican-rights-court

First judge convicted for dictatorship era crimes in Argentina

Luciana Bertoia
Buenos Aires Herald
June 13, 2015

The Province of Tucumán was a witness to history yesterday when Manlio Torcuato Martínez became the first judge to be sentenced for crimes committed during the state-terror era. Family members of victims wept with relief after the verdict of 16 years in prison was read in court.

Martínez was found guilty of abuse of power, failing to comply with the obligation to prosecute crimes and the cover-up of the murder of María Alejandra Niklison, Fernando Saavedra, Eduardo González Paz, Juan Carlos Meneses, and Atilio Brandsen in what is known as the massacre of Azcuénaga Street.

In 2011, Gen. Luciano Benjamín Menéndez, the former head of the Third Army Corps — who commanded the repression in 10 northern provinces, was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of the five activists who were part of Montoneros, a Peronist left-wing organization. Now, the court analyzed Martínez’s role in the case and also convicted him for fabricating a case against Miguel Atilio Romano, who was the owner of the house where the activists were murdered by the armed forces on May 20, 1976.

Human rights organizations and family members of victims celebrated outside the courtroom. “A ruling like this was unthinkable several years ago,” federal prosecutor Agustín Chit told the Herald yesterday. The Attorney General’s Office had requested to sentence Martínez to 25 years; but, though the penalty was more lenient, they praised the judges’ decision.

Martínez became judge in 1975 and retired in 1983. “He started working when the Operation Independence was launched and left when democracy returned to the country. He played a key role during the state terror era,” Chit said yesterday.

In 1975, President María Estela Martínez de Perón deployed troops in Tucumán to “annihilate” the guerrilla groups that were carrying out activities in that province. Operation Independence set the basis for the repression that would be unleashed by the dictatorship between 1976 and 1983.

Martínez was mentioned in Tucumán’s Never Again report in 1984 for his role in the darkest years of the military regime.

At: http://buenosairesherald.com/article/191495/first-judge-convicted-for-dictatorship-era-crimes

Mississippi one of two state economies to shrink in 2014

Source: Clarion-Ledger

Mississippi was one of two states whose gross domestic product decreased last year.

Alaska was the other.

The state's GDP, which measures economic output, shrank 1.2% in 2014, marking the second consecutive year of decline. Overall, U.S. GDP grew by 2.2% in 2014.

The revelation was included in data the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis released Wednesday. The decline put Mississippi 49th in the U.S. The state's GDP decreased 1.1% in 2013. The state also had the lowest GDP per capita ($31,551) in the country.

Read more: http://www.clarionledger.com/story/business/2015/06/10/mississippi-economy-shrink-2014/71011438/#
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