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New York gallery owner denied entry to US

Source: CNN

An Argentine art gallery owner based in New York will miss the opening of his institution's newest show because he was denied entry to the United States.

Juan García Mosqueda, founder and owner of Chamber Gallery in New York City, claimed in an open letter that he was detained at John F. Kennedy International Airport after returning from a visit to Argentina. García Mosqueda says he was held for 14 hours without access to legal counsel. He was allegedly ushered by armed officers onto a return flight to Buenos Aires later in the day.

"During the following fourteen excruciating hours, I was prohibited from the use of any means of communication and had no access to any of my belongings, which were ferociously examined without any warrant whatsoever," García Mosqueda wrote in his letter. "I was deprived of food. I was frisked three times in order to go to the bathroom, where I had no privacy and was under the constant surveillance of an officer."

In a statement, US Customs and Border Protection said that while they wouldn't comment on individual cases because of the Privacy Act, "CBP not only protects U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents but also ensures the safety of international travelers who come to our country to visit, study and conduct legitimate business."

Chamber, located in New York's art gallery-filled Chelsea neighborhood, is described as a "21st century cabinet of curiosities for one-of-a-kind, rare and limited edition objects of design and art." García Mosqueda, who was born in Argentina and educated in the United States, where he has lived for 10 years, opened the gallery in 2014.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/01/us/gallery-owner-detained-argentina-trnd/


Bad hombre: Chelsea art gallery owner Juan García Mosqueda[/center]

Argentina's Macri pledges transparency as prosecutors probe family ties

Speaking to a joint session of Argentina's Congress, President Mauricio Macri announced on Wednesday he would issue decrees aimed at cracking down on conflicts of interest in Argentina's politics, as prosecutors pushed to investigate more of his family's business ties.

"I want everything to be transparent and open, and for nobody to doubt the decisions this president makes," said Macri, son of one of Argentina's richest men, Francesco "Franco" Macri.

Federal prosecutors have brought cases against the president and his family over allegations of various conflicts of interest, putting political pressure on his right-wing "Let's Change" coalition before legislative elections in October.

Last month, Macri was criticized over a deal his government reached on a 15-year old debt the Argentine Postal Service incurred when it was owned by Macri's father between 1997 and 2003. Prosecutors claim the deal, which writes off up to 98% of a $270 million tax debt, improperly benefits his family.

Macri said at the time the deal had been handled legally; but apologized for a lack of transparency and revoked the agreement.

On Wednesday, a federal prosecutor asked a judge for permission to investigate Macri and other officials over allegations they favored Colombian airline Avianca in a plan to open more domestic air routes in Argentina. Avianca was given access to Argentina's domestic air traffic market two months after the Macri family conglomerate, SOCMA, sold a small charter airline, MacAir, to Avianca Holdings last April.

Members of Macri's administration and his family have also come under scrutiny over a bribery scandal involving Brazil's largest builder Odebrecht, which has admitted to paying nearly $800 million in bribes across Latin America.

Prosecutors announced in January they were investigating whether Macri's spy chief, Gustavo Arribas, received a $600,000 bribe from Odebrecht - a charge Arribas has denied despite proof Odebrecht wired the funds to his Swiss bank account.

Brazilian newspaper Estadào reported on Monday that Odebrecht e-mails from 2010 revealed that at least $20 million in bribes were arranged jointly with Argentine builder IECSA, owned by the president's cousin, in a scheme to win a contract for a rail project during the previous government.

The $3 billion Sarmiento rail tunnel project, awarded to a consortium led by Odebrecht and IECSA, was green-lighted by Macri last June.

At: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-argentina-politics-idUSKBN1685GS?il=0

Full Democratic response from former Gov. Steve Beshear

Bernie Sanders' response to President Trump's address to Congress

Lava Jato scandal: Odebrecht e-mails show $20 million in bribes involving key Macri rail project

The São Paulo-based news daily Estadão reported that the Brazilian bribery investigation known as Lava Jato (Car Wash) identified five e-mails in which $20 million in bribes were agreed upon between Odebrecht, the Brazilian construction giant at the heart of the scandal, and IECSA - the construction firm controlled by the family of Argentine President Mauricio Macri.

The e-mails, dating from 2010, were between Mauricio Couri Ribeiro, an Odebrecht executive in Argentina, and a IECSA representative, Javier Sánchez Caballero. Lourenço Ghella, of the Italian construction firm Ghella, is also mentioned.

Their exchanges detail a scheme to funnel some $20 million in bribes, in three tranches, to secure a lucrative rail tunnel contract in Argentina. Couri Ribeiro confirmed to Brazilian Federal Police that the terminology used in the e-mails - "DGI-Direct Contact" - referred specifically to bribes.

The controversial $3 billion project to convert the Sarmiento commuter rail line, which connects Buenos Aires to its western suburbs, into an underground line, was awarded in June to the IECSA-Odebrecht-Ghella consortium, and is the centerpiece of Macri's $7 billion federal public works program.

IECSA, Argentina's third largest public contractor, was founded and is owned by the Argentine president's father, Francesco Macri, and has since 2007 been led by the president's first cousin Ángelo Calcaterra.

Odebrecht CEO Marcelo Odebrecht was sentenced in March to a 19-year prison term for paying nearly $800 million in bribes in 12 countries since 2001 to secure contracts.

At: https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=es&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.politicargentina.com%2Fnotas%2F201702%2F19632-correos-de-odebrecht-involucran-al-primo-de-macri-en-la-corrupcion-de-la-empresa-brasilena.html&edit-text=

Pope Francis suggests its better to be an atheist than a hypocritical Catholic

Source: Washington Post

On a typically busy morning at the Vatican, Pope Francis spoke at least twice on Thursday in ways that recognized the values of other religious outlooks while he promoted the faithful practice of Catholicism.

The subject of Francis’s homily at the daily Mass was hypocrisy. He criticized the “scandal” of “saying one thing and doing another.”

“A totally double life: ‘I am very Catholic, I always go to Mass, I belong to this association and that one; but my life is not Christian, I don’t pay my workers a just wage, I exploit people, I am dirty in my business, I launder money …’ A double life. And so many Christians are like this, and these people scandalize others.”

He then quoted a sentiment that he said he has heard expressed repeatedly: “But to be a Catholic like that, it’s better to be an atheist.”

Francis has surprised Catholics before with his warmth toward atheists. He remarked soon after becoming pope that even atheists can go to heaven thanks to the redemption of Jesus. He granted an interview to an atheist journalist, and told the reporter that efforts to convert people to Christianity are “solemn nonsense” and each person “must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them.”

He has also been friendly toward Jews, particularly through his longtime friend, Argentine Rabbi Abraham Skorka. On Thursday, Skorka led a group of rabbis to the Vatican, where they gave Francis a new edition of the Torah.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/02/23/pope-francis-praises-the-torah-and-suggests-its-better-to-be-an-atheist-than-a-bad-catholic/?utm_term=.904bc8804d0e

Spanish parliamentarian Inigo Errejon denounces Prime Minister Rajoy for being "Trump's errand boy"

Speaking in Spain's national assembly, the Chamber of Deputies, Íñigo Errejón of the progressive Podemos caucus criticized Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy for subordinating the country's foreign policy to an "ideological affinity" for right-wing governments in Brazil and Argentina and for becoming "Trump's errand boy."

The remarks were made during a state visit by Argentine President Mauricio Macri, who, like Rajoy, enjoys the support of conservative Catholics and right-wingers generally; but whose austerity policies and authoritarian measures have reaped criticism both at home and abroad.

Errejón was especially critical of Rajoy's foreign policy.

"This administration doesn't view Latin America as the crucial geopolitical partner it is," Errejón said. "On the contrary: it's viewed as something to be kept in a drawer and pulled out during electoral campaigns - the use of Venezuela as a straw man when you have no real arguments, for example."

"Its foreign policy is part and parcel with its party's policy, which is to serve as Trump's errand boy."

Referring to Argentina, Errejón described its right-wing president as similar to Rajoy on a number of points:

"Macri's obviously like you when he enacts sharp utility rate hikes; or when his policies have resulted in over 200,000 layoffs in his first year alone; or whenever his name comes up in the Panama Papers - like some in this administration have."

"He's like you as well in that instead of fighting poverty he fights the poor, which is why Milagro Sala is still in jail."

Sala, an indigenous activist, was incarcerated without charges 13 months ago on orders from a governor closely allied with Macri; the UN, the OAS, Amnesty International, and others have for months called for her immediate release.

"Like yourselves, he rationalizes human rights atrocities during (Argentina's) last dictatorship," Errejón added, "just as you've done with the many victims of Franco's regime here at home - something you still refuse to prosecute."

Errejón nevertheless agreed with the importance of maintaining close ties with Argentina.

"We are not going to ask him (Rajoy) not to get along with Mr. Macri," he said; "but to the Argentine people, the majority of whom are suffering abuse and cutbacks, we say one thing: stay strong - we're coming back."

At: https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=es&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.politicargentina.com%2Fnotas%2F201702%2F19536-nigo-errejon-macri-en-vez-de-combatir-la-pobreza-decidio-combatir-a-los-pobres.html&edit-text=


Íñigo Errejón[/center]

Colombia death toll rises as gangs fill vacuum left by FARC rebels

After a 64-year-old activist, Porofirio Jaramillo, was dragged from his home and murdered by four men on motorbikes, the head of the Colombian government’s victims unit did not mince his words. The country was facing a massacre in slow motion, he warned.

The attack on Jaramillo was the 17th murder of a community leader since Colombia signed a peace deal with the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) rebels last December. The agreement won President Juan Manuel Santos a Nobel Peace Prize, for offering a country racked by half a century of war the prospect of security again. But for many activists, politicians and campaigners seeking to shape the new Colombia, peace has proved more dangerous than war, as they have been picked off by assassinations.

The killings grew more frequent even as the government and guerrillas lurched slowly towards a deal, with about 100 murdered last year as the final negotiations were hammered out.

“We are extremely worried about these acts, because the truth is that social leaders are being massacred,” said Alan Jara, who heads the Victims Unit seeking reparations for the eight million people caught up in the war.

Violence is spreading particularly fast in areas abandoned by guerrillas under the peace deal because the promised state security forces have not arrived. There is little clarity about who is behind the killings; but areas once held by guerrillas are often places where illegal mining or farming of coca – the raw ingredient for cocaine – make a tempting target for armed gangs or dissident rebels who refused to hand in their guns.

And the pace of the killings is feeding fears here that a government which battled long and hard for a peace deal is being dangerously lax about making paper plans a reality.

“They are leaving a power vacuum, even though this was anticipated. The government said they were going to move the armed forces into these zones and they haven’t. And the people in these areas are very concerned,” said Marc Chernick, director of the Center for Latin American Studies at Georgetown University in Washington.

At: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/19/colombia-farc-activist-killings

Switzerland's ABB hit by $100 million South Korean fraud

Source: Reuters

Swiss engineering group ABB fell victim to a "sophisticated criminal scheme" at its South Korean subsidiary, it said on Wednesday, with the chief suspect an executive responsible for ethics training.

The executive, named by a source in South Korea as Oh Myeong-se, was treasurer and one of two integrity ombudsmen for ABB Korea - to whom staff were supposed to report any ethical concerns - according to an online company magazine available on ABB's Korean website.

He was also the head of compliance at ABB in Korea until 2010, said a source familiar with the investigation, a role that carries responsibility for maintaining legal and ethical integrity.

The executive is suspected of forging documents and colluding with third parties to steal funds, ABB said, estimating it would take a pre-tax charge of about $100 million for the affair, which analysts said raised concerns about its corporate oversight.

Oh Myeong-se disappeared on February 7 and ABB subsequently discovered significant financial irregularities, the company said.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-abb-fraud-idUSKBN16114L

Far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen 'admits' setting up fake job for her bodyguard

Source: Daily Mail

French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has admitted setting up a fake job in the European parliament for her ex-paratrooper bodyguard nicknamed 'The Gorilla', according to a report by the European Anti-Fraud Office.

It was all part of a criminal scam worth up to £300,000 ($375,000) to Ms Le Pen's far-right National Front (FN) party that could now see the 48-year-old jailed. A previously confidential report by Olaf, the European Anti-Fraud Office, contains the allegations, all of which are today published in French investigative outlets Mediapart and Marianne.

They show how Ms Le Pen, who is an MEP, made Thierry Légier - the 6ft 2ins, 224lb. stone former soldier who revels in his 'Gorilla' nickname - a 'parliamentary assistant' on £6000 ($7,500) plus a month. Légier, 51, is regularly seen accompanying Ms. Le Pen to events, and in the past has protected Hollywood celebrities ranging from Charles Bronson and Mel Brooks to Sean Penn.

Before starting work for Ms. Le Pen in 2011, he spent decades looking after her father, the convicted racist and anti-Semite Jean-Marie Le Pen, who founded the FN in the 1970s.

Le Pen has denied the allegations and said on Friday that she has not admitted to the claims.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4234080/Marine-Le-Pen-set-6000-month-fake-job-bodyguard.html?ITO=1490
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