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Argentine scientists march against Macri's budget cutbacks; Minister of Science threatens to quit.

Scientists, researchers, and students organized a march in front of the Argentine Congress in Buenos Aires Thursday to protest steep cuts to federal science and research budgets proposed by the right-wing Mauricio Macri adminsitration. Similar demonstrations were held in the cities of Bariloche and Córdoba, home to important federal research centers.

The Macri administration's FY2017 budget request included a new round of cuts for Argentina's three main federal scientific agencies: the Ministry of Science and Technology, the National Research Council (CONICET), and the National Space Commission (CONAE).

Their combined budgets had already been reduced from $1.3 billion in 2015 (the last fiscal year before Macri took office) to $950 million in 2016, and would, per the administration's FY2017 budget passed by Congress this month, decline further to $775 million - a 40% cut compared to 2015 levels.

Other research agencies, such as the National Industrial Technology Institute (INTI) and its agricultural counterpart (INTA) are also being cut in real terms by nearly 30%. President Macri was denounced last December by INTI staff for appointing Javier Ibáñez, a soccer hooligan and former municipal official with no credentials, as its director.

One bright spot was at CONICET, whose budget ($565 million) was maintained at current levels after its board of directors issued an open letter to President Macri on October 22. The largest research agency in the country, CONICET employs 20,000 researchers and technicians - nearly 40% of the nation's total, including the private sector.

Its budget is nevertheless down significantly from its high in 2015 of $750 million.

Brain drain

The cuts are steepest at the Ministry of Science and Technology itself, which had a $276 million earmark in the 2016 budget but only $114 million for FY2017 - a 59% cut. The Ministry of Science, established in 2007 by former President Néstor Kirchner, finances research and imports costly precision equipment for scientific use, such that while its budgets are assigned in pesos its real costs are highly dollarized.

"These cutbacks are very deep, and are creating the conditions for a renewed brain drain," the director of CONICET's Tucumán office, Daniel Campi, said. "This defunding process is entering its second year, but would probably take a decade to recover from due to all the research projects that would have to be discontinued and all the teams that would be broken up."

An estimated 15,000 scientists, engineers, and technicians emigrated from Argentina between the dictatorship of Gen. Juan Carlos Onganía, which fired 1,400 academics in 1966 for political reasons, and the 2001-02 economic crisis. One of the policy centerpieces of the Ministry of Science, the Roots Program, led to the return of over 1,300 scientists to Argentina since its inception in 2003. The program is, for the 2017 fiscal year, being largely defunded.

Out of orbit

Argentina's budding satellite program, lauded by NASA as "the leader in its field in Latin America" after its successful manufacture of two communications satellites (ARSAT 1 and 2) in 2014 and 2015, has also been put on the chopping block by Macri. The CONAE budget was slashed from $170 million in FY2016 to $97 million next year, and work on the ARSAT 3 and 4 satellites, cancelled.

Foreign firms have meanwhile been given permits for new ground stations in Argentina, further undermining ARSAT's viability.

Science and Technology Minister Lino Barañao, who has held the post since its establishment in 2007 and was the only prominent official retained by Macri from his predecessor, former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, stated that "if funds are not forthcoming, it will be very difficult for me to stay on. I can't be complict in the destruction of something so important for the nation as well as for me personally."

At: https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.infonews.com/nota/303012/cientificos-se-movilizaron-contra-el-ajuste&prev=search

And: https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.energypress.com.ar/85840-el-presupuesto-que-el-gobierno-propuso-a-ciencia-y-tecnologia-para-2017-representa-el-porcentaje-mas-bajo&prev=search


Defendamos la ciencia - Defend science[/center]

Argentine judge, first to refer to 1970s Dirty War as genocide, forced to resign by Macri gov't.

Argentine Federal Judge Carlos Rozanski, best known for presiding the 2006 trial of convicted Dirty War murderer Miguel Etchecolatz, submitted his resignation last Thursday. While reading Etchecolatz's sentencing Judge Rozanski became the first magistrate in Argentina to refer to the 1975-79 Dirty War, during which up to 30,000 dissidents disappeared, as a "genocide."

Judge Rozanski resigned amid an investigation ordered by the Disciplinary and Prosecutorial Commission of the Council of Magistrates for alleged abuse of authority, falsification of public documents, and prevarication. The Council of Magistrates is controlled by President Mauricio Macri's right-wing "Let's Change" alliance.

The investigation follows a complaint by the longtime head of the Judicial Employees' Union, Julio Piumato. Rozanski's attorney, Eduardo Barcesat, noted however that the complaint had been previously filed and found without merit.

"The complaint," Barcesat alleged, "is being revived with the administration's connivance in order to roll back the trials for crimes against humanity currently being presided over by Judge Rozanski. Rozanski had been denouncing ongoing intimidation on the part of the Council of Magistrates and the country's powerful right-wing media since President Macri took office in December.

Rozanski, 65, has presided over the First District Federal Court of La Plata (30 miles SE of Buenos Aires) since 2000. He rose to international prominence during the 2006 trial of former Buenos Aires Province Police Inspector Miguel Etchecolatz, who on September 19 of that year became only the second officer convicted of crimes against humanity after President Néstor Kirchner's signature of a bill rescinding amnesty for such perpetrators in 2003.

The Etchecolatz case has been marked by repeated cases of intimidation against not only the judge, but numerous witnesses as well - notably the late Jorge Julio López, who disappeared the day before Etchecolatz's sentencing to life in prison. More recently, the National Penitentiary Service physician who determined that there were no medical grounds to grant Etchecolatz house arrest, Dr. Virginia Creimer, found her dog stabbed to death in her garden; the bloody knife was left by her front door.

Ten days later, on August 20, a La Plata tribunal granted Etchecolatz house arrest - a ruling condemned by local and international human rights associations.

A scam

At least 36 Dirty War convicts have been granted house arrest since Macri, who described human rights as "a scam" during his 2015 campaign, took office. The pace of prosecutions has likewise slowed dramatically since then.

This approach was further underscored by Defense Minister Julio Martínez's decision to allow Dirty War convicts to be treated in military hospitals (which had been banned due to a numerous escape attempts), as well as by revelations that Justice Minister Germán Garavano had held secret talks in April with Argentina's leading Dirty War apologist, Cecilia Pando.

These developments mark a sharp departure from the Kirchner era, when 2,389 officers were accused, 1,132 arrested, and 681 convicted - marking the first time in world history that human rights abuses were systematically prosecuted (rather than a few top officials).

At: https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.politicargentina.com/notas/201610/17290-despues-de-denunciar-presiones-renuncio-el-juez-federal-que-condeno-a-etchecolatz.html&prev=search

And: https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.resumenlatinoamericano.org%2F2016%2F08%2F15%2Fargentina-mataron-al-perro-de-la-medica-que-reviso-al-genocida-etchecolatz-convocan-nueva-concentracion-para-rechazar-prision-domiciliaria%2F

Freedom of the press faces judicial harassment in Brazil

The same judicial system that exists to ensure rights can instead become a tool to violate rights and restrict freedom of the press, as seen with the recent wave of lawsuits against journalists and the media in Brazil.

The latest high-profile case involves the Gazeta do Povo, the main daily newspaper in Curitiba, the capital of the southern state of Paraná. The news daily faces 48 lawsuits from judges and public prosecutors who are suing the paper and several of its employees for reporting their incomes in February.

“There were weeks when four workdays out of five were spent running from one town to another in Paraná, to appear at hearings. I think overall we traveled more than 10,000 kilometres,” Rogerio Galindo, one of the three reporters facing legal action, told IPS.

Elvira Lobato, a journalist who writes for the Folha de São Paulo newspaper, went through a similar ordeal after publishing a December 15, 2007, article titled “Universal celebrates its 30th birthday, with a business empire.” The article dealt with the obscure dealings of the evangelical Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, which owns television and radio networks and newspapers.

Lucio Flavio Pinto, an award-winning journalist who has published the independent newsletter Jornal Pessoal since 1988 in Belém, the capital of the northern state of Pará, has faced 33 legal actions brought by the local media empire “O Liberal” since 1992, after he uncovered illegal activities allegedly engaged in by its owners, the Maiorana family.

There have been other “attempts to curtail freedom of the press that in turn help to prevent new cases” with their strong repercussions, Ángela Pimienta, head of the Institute for Journalistic Development that maintains the internet portal Press Observatory, told IPS.

“Recurrent legal actions are the most efficient form of censorship,” said Pinto, recognised as an “information hero” by the Paris-based Reporters without Borders. In his case he did not receive solidarity from the National Association of Newspapers, which, like other newspaper owners' associations in Latin America, are often seen by news staff themselves as tacitly reinforcing, rather than combating, judicial harassment against journalists.

At: http://www.ipsnews.net/2016/10/freedom-of-the-press-faces-judicial-harassment-in-brazil/

Amid spate of attacks on women, Argentina's Macri seeks to cut Gender Violence Prosecutor's office.

A congressional bill sponsored by the administration of Argentine President Mauricio Macri was denounced by opposition lawmakers as rescinding the office of the Federal Prosecutor on Gender Violence (UFEM) by omission.

The UFEM office was created by a bill signed on June 3, 2015, by Macri's predecessor, former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, to coordinate prosecutions of violence against women as well as abatement measures. One in ten Argentine women polled in 2013 said they had suffered domestic violence at least once in their lives; of 286 women murdered in Argentina in 2015, 89% were murdered in the home and 72% by a husband, partner, or ex.

The ranking member of the Committee on Institutional Affairs, Marianela Labozzetta of the center-left FpV, stressed that because UFEM operates under the purview of the Office of the Attorney General, any bill that proposes to modify the AG charter would eliminate UFEM it the clause governing it were excluded, as is the case in the current version of the bill.

The bill was introduced by members of President Macri's right-wing PRO party primarily to impose an unrenewable term limit of five years for the post of Attorney General, the nation's top prosecutor. Opposition lawmakers denounced its true intent that of removing the current Attorney General, Alejandra Gils Carbó.

Gils Carbó, 58, was appointed to her post by former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in August 2012, and is seen by the administration as a key obstacle to its push to exert tighter control over Argentina's federal prosecutors.

News of the UFEM omission emerged the same day that marches took place nationwide to protest violence against women under the banner of Ni Una Menos - 'Not One Woman Less'. The October 19 marches were prompted by the brutal slaying of 16-year old Lucía Pérez by rapists; similar marches were held the same day in neighboring Chile following the murder of 9-year old Florencia Aguirre by her stepfather.

Congressman Pablo Tonelli, a senior PRO member and chairman of the Committee on Institutional Affairs, claimed the rescission was an "oversight" and promised to include the UFEM in the final draft. Similar oversights, however, in decrees signed by President Macri - notably decrees rescinding the 2005 Education Financing Law (which established that public education spending be no less than 6% of GDP) and the 2006 National Education Law (which made high school compulsory to grade 12) - were never remedied.

Congresswoman Labozzetta believes that preventing violence against women "isn't on the administration's agenda," and pointed out that Buenos Aires Province Governor María Eugenia Vidal - whom Macri is grooming for the PRO nomination in 2019 - has spent a mere 2% of the budget passed by the Provincial Legislature for gender violence abatement.

At: https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.diariohuarpe.com/actualidad/nacionales/el-gobierno-eliminaria-la-unidad-fiscal-de-violencia-contra-la-mujer/&prev=search

And: https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.politicargentina.com%2Fnotas%2F201610%2F17278-omitieron-la-creacion-de-cualquier-estructura-fiscal-que-investigue-los-crimenes-de-genero.html

The computer voting revolution is already crappy, buggy, and obsolete

Six days after Memphis voters went to the polls last October to elect a mayor and other city officials, a local computer programmer named Bennie Smith sat on his couch after work to catch up on e-mail.

The vote had gone off about as well as elections usually do in Memphis, which means not well at all. The proceedings were full of the technical mishaps that have plagued Shelby County, where Memphis is the seat, since officials switched to electronic voting machines in 2006. Servers froze, and the results were hours late. But experts at the county election commission assured both candidates and voters that the problems were minor and the final tabulation wasn’t affected.

That story might have held up if Smith, a financial software developer and church organist, hadn’t been conducting an election night experiment. The precinct, No. 77-01, is a Democratic stronghold and has one of the largest concentrations of African American voters in a city known for racially fractured politics. According to the tape, 546 people had cast ballots.

When he got an e-mail a week later with Shelby County’s first breakdown of each precinct’s voting, he ran down the list to the one precinct where he knew the tally for sure. The count for Unity Christian showed only 330 votes. Forty percent of the votes had disappeared.

Shelby County uses a GEMS tabulator — for Global Election Management System — which is a personal computer installed with Diebold software that sits in a windowless room in the county’s election headquarters. There was no indication from the technician running Shelby County’s GEMS tabulator that any voting machine hadn’t checked in or that any votes had gone missing. Yet as county technicians followed up on the evidence from Smith’s poll-tape photo, they discovered more votes that never made it into the election night count, all from precincts with large concentrations of black voters.

Multiple lawsuits in Shelby County over the past 10 years have alleged that voting machines and computerized tabulators have been used to steal or suppress votes — deepening the distrust of a system some locals see as stacked against them.

For the members of Congress, who in 2002 provided almost $4 billion to modernize voting technology through the Help America Vote Act, or HAVA — Congress’s response to Bush v. Gore — this probably wasn’t the result they had in mind. But voting by computer has been a technological answer in search of a problem. Those World War II-era pull-lever voting machines may not have been the most elegant of contraptions; but they were easy to use and didn’t crash. Georgia, which in 2002 set out to be an early national model for the transition to computerized voting, shows the unintended consequences. It spent $54 million in HAVA funding to buy 20,000 touchscreen voting machines from Diebold. Today, to support the older Windows 2000 operating system, the state had to hire a contractor to custom-build 100 servers — which, of course, are more vulnerable to hacking because they can no longer get current security updates.

By 2006 every state but New York had dumped their pull-lever and punch-card machines in favor of computerized voting. The voting tech vendors rushed systems to market, often without adequate testing. California declared almost all of the electronic voting machines in the state unfit for use in 2007 for failing basic security tests. San Diego County put its decertified machines in storage and has been paying the bill to warehouse them ever since: No one wants to buy them, and county rules prohibit throwing millions of dollars’ worth of machines in the trash bin.

Mark Earley, an election official in Tallahassee during the 2000 Florida recount, says the competition solved the revenue problem by focusing less on making equipment and more on long-term contracts. It was an enhancement of the old razors-and-blades strategy: Sell the razors cheap and make money on the blades, and make even more money by making the razors so hard to use that customers pay you to give them a shave.

At: https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-voting-technology/

Racist truck driver plows his truck through Columbus Day protesters in Reno

Source: Daily Kos

An apparently racist truck driver plowed through a group of peaceful protesters in Reno, Nevada on October 10, injuring five with an elderly woman still in the hospital. The marchers were mostly American Indian and speaking out against Columbus Day and the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The marchers stationed themselves under the famous Reno Arch when the white truck pulled up, the driver revved his engine threateningly and after people standing at his window demand that he stop, drove right through the crowd.

Full video taken by Taylor de Lao on Facebook Live shows the driver yelling profanities and shaking his fist at the crowd as he drives by a few minutes earlier.

Taylor Paniagua Sr. said he jumped in front of the pickup in an effort to stop the driver from fleeing. Paniagua said he caught the hood of the truck, but the driver kept going. He grabbed one of the side doors and was dragged toward Second Street, he said. He eventually let go and slid, scraping his arms.

“I had to stand up for my rights,” he said. “I’m Native American myself, and I’m from Oklahoma. It was just uncalled for.”

Paniagua described the men as white, “chubby,” and in their 20s. The driver, who telephoned police to tell his side of the story, is said to be cooperating.

Read more: http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/10/11/1580999/-Racist-truck-driver-plows-his-truck-through-Columbus-Day-protesters-in-Reno

Argentina commemorates centennial of swearing-in of first democratically elected president

Argentina today marks the 100th anniversary of the swearing-in of its first democratically elected leader, President Hipólito Yrigoyen.

The anniversary was celebrated last Thursday in a Buenos Aires rally addressed by among others writer Mempo Giardinelli, former House Speaker Leopoldo Moreau, and former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. The rally was organized by MNA/FORJA, a faction that broke with Yrigoyen's party, the UCR, over its decision to back the hard-right candidate Mauricio Macri in last year's election.

Macri was narrowly elected in November partly as a result, and has moved quickly - often by decree - to rescind the populist policies of his predecessor, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. MNA/FORJA, led by Moreau (MNA) and former Kirchner Deputy Chief of Staff Gustavo López (FORJA), formed an alliance with fellow center-leftist Mrs. Kirchner despite her being a Peronist - the UCR's traditional political rivals since the 1940s.

Yrigoyen had co-founded the UCR, the country's oldest political party still in existence, in 1891. Historically centrist, the UCR has lurched steadily to the right since 1999.

A number of speakers at the rally compared Mrs. Kirchner's 2007-15 administration with that of Yrigoyen, whose two terms from 1916 to 1922 and from 1928 to 1930 were marked by significant strides in economic independence, labor rights, pensions, education, and living standards. Like Kirchner, Yrigoyen was opposed and even personally despised by conservative factions controlled by Argentina's small but powerful landowning clique.

These factions took advantage of the Great Depression to prevail on the Army to overthrow Yrigoyen in 1930 - ushering an era of right-wing military intervention in Argentine politics that culminated in a brutal and disastrous 1976-83 dictatorship.

"Whereas conservatives overthrew Yrigoyen and Juan Perón (the populist leader toppled in 1955) by force, in recent years they've opted for economic coups," Moreau noted. "They did so against Raúl Alfonsín (in 1989) and certainly tried with Cristina. They failed; but not out of a lack of trying, given the financial runs they attempted to provoke while she was in office."

About Yrigoyen

Hipólito Yrigoyen, born to a middle class Buenos Aires family in 1852, became a lawyer in 1874 and later a leading local Free Mason. He co-founded the UCR with his uncle, Leandro Alem, and other lawyers in 1891, and the UCR quickly became the most vocal advocate of electoral reform in Argentina.

The country's electoral system, dominated at the time by the landowner-controlled PAN, was popularly known as the "vote song" on account of its reliably predetermined script and outcome. Yrigoyen's efforts led to the enactment of the universal (male citizen) secret ballot in 1912 by President Roque Sáenz Peña, a friend of Yrigoyen's and fellow Free Mason who signed the bill into law despite his own elite background.

The introverted, melancholy Yrigoyen was elected by a 25% margin on April 2, 1916, and sworn in as president on October 12. He presided over an economic boom with 40% GDP growth in six years and a doubling of real wages from 1918 to 1922. A construction boom transformed downtown and uptown Buenos Aires into the "Paris of South America," as well as improving most other cities, as Argentines came to have the highest living standard in the region.

He had 3,000 schools built in a country of just 9 million, nationalized the universities, and established YPF - the first state oil firm in the world. Despite staunch obstructionism by the conservative-dominated Senate (whose members were selected by provincial legislatures) Yrigoyen practically introduced labor unions; pension funds; mortgages; workplace and product safety regulations; and small business/farm lending in Argentina.

He was, however, quick to remove opposition governors and was particularly intolerant of Anarchist activity, being slow to intervene in a right-wing massacre against them in 1919 and giving the Army carte blanche to quash a lengthy strike by sheephands in Patagonia in 1921.

Yrigoyen feuded with his successor, who led a more conservative faction of the same party; his reforms, however, were largely continued. He was overwhelmingly returned to office in 1928; but the sudden onset of the Great Depression allowed conservatives, with support from Standard Oil (which wanted YPF dissolved), to prevail on the Army to topple the aging leader on September 6, 1930.

Yrigoyen was detained in an island garrison for 18 months, during which his health deteriorated, and he was allowed to return to his ransacked home in February 1932. He was again detained from January to May 1933, and died that July at age 80.

At: http://www.buenosairesherald.com/article/222684/%E2%80%98an-electoral-scam-has-taken-place%E2%80%99


"Democracy doesn't consist simply of political freedoms; but also of the freedom for all to pursue at least some happiness."

Hipólito Yrigoyen[/center]

Macri administration caught spying on two leading opposition journalists.

Leaked documents from Argentina's Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI) reveal that the Mauricio Macri administration has been illegally spying on two leading opposition journalists.

The targeted journalists, Mauro Federico, 49, and Gustavo Sylvestre, 53, co-host the top-rated nightly economic current events program Minuto Uno (First Minute) and had been critical of the right-wing Macri administration over its austerity policies, the deepening recession, the Panama Papers and dollar futures corruption scandals, and other controversies.

Both took to Twitter to express rejection and concern over the revelations. "I'm not surprised," Sylvestre noted; "but it is very serious and the government should give an immediate response." Sylvestre added that this is part of a pattern of harassment that began when his SUV was destroyed by arson in 2014 in an as-yet unsolved incident that he believes was planned.

Federico, who is also editor-in-chief of Argentina's leading business daily Ámbito Financiero, stated that "the intelligence services are so incompetent they leave their fingerprints on every act of wrongdoing they commit. Nevertheless, we musn't let them off for these things."

This isn't the first time Macri has come under fire for using warrantless surveillance against critics, or even personal rivals.

He and the head of his newly-created Metropolitan Police, Jorge "Fino" Palacios, were indicted in 2009 for running illegal wiretaps on among others Sergio Burstein (head of the main victims' rights group representing relatives of those killed in the 1994 AMIA Jewish community center attack), bidding competitors of his father's (a top local contractor), and Macri's own brother-in-law (with whom his father had a dispute). The charges were dropped last December, two weeks after taking office as president.

Nor was this the first time journalists critical of his administration have been harassed.

While sacking public radio and television hosts seen as critics in January, officials informed a number of those laid off that "we've reviewed your Twitter pages."

A clause buried in a tax amnesty bill introduced by the administration in May would have punished journalists reporting on those benefiting from said amnesty with up to two years in prison and a fine equal to whatever amount was repatriated. The Argentine Journalists' Forum (FOPEA) denounced the clause as unconstitutional, and Macri withdrew it in June.

The production offices of Tiempo Argentino, a center-left Buenos Aires news daily, and its companion radio station, Radio América, were ransacked in July. Local police, controlled by a city government run by Macri's same party, refused to intervene or to allow employees to intervene as the destruction was taking place, and were later filmed escorting a number of vandals out without issuing arrests or removing their ski masks.

Three prominent Macri critics - including a journalist, Cynthia García - had their homes or offices broken into within days of each other in August. García had nothing stolen except two computers, external hard drives, tablet, spiral notebooks, and other research being used in a forthcoming investigative piece.

The country's most popular variety show host, Marcelo Tinelli, was also the target of a massive social media harassment campaign after satirizing Macri in July. The campaign was revealed to have been directed by a partisan "troll center," and that at most 2% of all derogatory posts were in fact linked to real individuals.

Jorge Halperín, one of the public radio hosts fired shortly after Macri took office, noted that spying on journalists was "a matter of course, as if part of Macri's DNA - but no less serious even so."

At: https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.d24ar.com/nota/argentina/385197/sylvestre-mauro-federico-consideran-muy-grave-haber-sido-espiados-afi.html&prev=search

Macri's suspension of Chinese hydroelectric project in Argentina prompts soy oil boycott by China

The Argentine Embassy in Beijing confirmed that China has suspended purchases of soybean oil from Argentina, its largest supplier, for at least the remainder of 2016.

While Chinese officials have not officially disclosed reasons for the move, the boycott follows a unilateral decision by the right-wing Mauricio Macri administration to indefinitely suspend construction of two large hydroelectric dams that were to be built with China in southern Argentina.

The Néstor Kirchner-Jorge Cepernic Hydroelectric Complex, slated for the Santa Cruz River in Argentina's windswept Patagonia region, was awarded in August 2013 to the Chinese state construction firm Gezhouba and the private Argentine firms of Hidrocuyo and Electroingeniería. The complex, 85% of whose $5 billion price tag was to be financed by China, was designed to add 1,740 MW to installed capacity once completed in 2020 (nearly 5% of Argentina's total).

The Macri administration had already strained relations with China in April by cancelling construction of two 750 MW nuclear power plants (the fourth and fifth in Argentina) agreed to last November. China had similarly agreed to finance 85% of this second project, worth some $15 billion.

Both commitments were secured by Macri's predecessor, former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner - leading to speculation that the projects were scuttled for political reasons. In the case of the canceled nuclear power plants, industry sources have also pointed to "U.S. business interests, which have been intensely lobbying Macri to nix the project."

Rising trade deficit

While soy oil made up only about 7% of Argentine exports to China, the boycott is likely to exacerbate Argentina's yawning trade deficit with the Asian giant. This trend, which began in 2008, led to a similar dispute in April 2010, when China suspended Argentine soy oil imports in retaliation for anti-dumping measures taken by former President Fernández de Kirchner.

The dispute was resolved in May 2011; but Argentina's trade gap with China has continued to worsen, growing nearly 12-fold from $537 million in 2008 to $6.4 billion in 2015 on rising demand for Chinese industrial goods.

China imported 808,000 tons of soybean oil in 2015, of which Argentina supplied 65% (525,000 tons). Argentina, the world's top exporter of soy oil, shipped a record 5,757,000 tons in 2015 - representing $4 billion, or nearly 7%, of all merchandise exports. The largest market, however, was by far India, which purchased 37% of Argentine soy oil exports in 2015; China's share was 9%.

At: https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://supercampo.perfil.com/2016/10/china-paralizo-la-compra-de-aceite-de-soja-a-la-argentina/&prev=search

Colombian leader Juan Manuel Santos wins Nobel Peace Prize

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for his efforts to end a five-decade civil war that has killed more than 200,000 people — and said he received the award in the name of the Colombian people.

The award came just days after Colombian voters narrowly rejected the peace deal that Santos helped bring about. Nobel judges conspicuously did not honor his counterpart, Rodrigo Londoño, the leader of the rebels.

"The referendum was not a vote for or against peace," the Norwegian Nobel Committee said, insisting the peace process wasn't dead. "What the 'No' side rejected was not the desire for peace, but a specific peace agreement."

Santos said the Colombian people deserved the honor.

"Especially the millions of victims that have suffered in this war that we are on the verge of ending," Santos said in an interview posted on the Nobel Foundation's Facebook page. "We are very, very close. We just need to push a bit further to persevere."

Reacting to the award on Twitter, Londoño said "the only prize to which we aspire" is one of social justice for Colombia, without far-right militias or retaliation.

At: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/colombian-leader-juan-manuel-santos-wins-nobel-peace-prize/ar-BBx7A7m?li=BBnb7Kz&OCID=ansmsnnews11
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