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peppertree's Journal
peppertree's Journal
October 28, 2019

Robert Evans, Hollywood mogul of legendary bravado, dies at 89

Robert Evans, the Paramount Pictures executive who presided over a remarkable range of hits — notably “The Godfather,” “Chinatown,” “Rosemary’s Baby” and “Love Story” — and whose rakish and erratic personal style embodied the remarkable rise, fall and rise of a Hollywood player, died Oct. 26. He was 89.

With his gravelly voice, large-framed designer glasses, perpetual tan and fondness for gold chains and suede jeans, Mr. Evans brimmed with a rakish confidence and showmanship that propelled his career in the 1960s and 1970s.

He was long considered one of the savviest production chiefs in Hollywood, but cocaine abuse gradually derailed his career.

He pampered his stars, paid his writers generously and created — except for rare occasions of explosive conflict with temperamental filmmakers — an atmosphere where the art of moviemaking seemed to matter more than the bottom line. But eventually the profits came.

At: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/robert-evans-hollywood-mogul-of-legendary-bravado-dies-at-89/2019/10/28/27eb3712-97c3-11e2-814b-063623d80a60_story.html

Always in the picture: Robert Evans, 1930-2019.
October 28, 2019

Ruling liberal candidate Daniel Martinez leading Uruguay election

Ruling liberal coalition candidate Daniel Martínez is leading the Uruguay election but a determining second round will be needed, according to exit polls.

The liberal Frente Amplio (Broad Front) coalition has run Uruguay for more than 14 years; but Martínez, a former mayor of the capital Montevideo, faced a significant challenge from a resurgent conservative right.

Martínez polled 40% to rival Luis Lacalle Pou’s 29%, polls suggested. If no candidate gets over 50% of the vote, the two with the most votes will meet in a run-off on November 24.

At: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-uruguay-results/ruling-liberal-candidate-martinez-leading-uruguay-election-media-polls-idUSKBN1X700B

Daniel Martínez of the ruling, center-left Broad Front, after voting in today's elections.

Martínez touted the record of economic growth and reduced inequality during the last 15 years under the Broad Front, while right-wing opponent Lacalle hammered at rising crime rates.

They face each other in a November 24 runoff.

“A few powerful people seem to dislike the way the country is heading,” Martínez noted, warning that Lacalle might push Uruguay into the same crisis afflicting neighboring Argentina since the hard-right Macri - who was defeated today - was narrowly elected in 2015.
October 28, 2019

Alberto Fernandez elected president of Argentina

Amid high turnout, voters in Argentina denied incumbent President Mauricio Macri a second term, electing opposition candidate Alberto Fernández.

Some 34 million Argentines age 16 and over were registered to vote. Polls closed at 6 p.m. local time, and turnout was reportedly over 81%.

Early results show Fernández, a law professor running on the center-left 'Front for Everyone' with former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (no relation), ahead of Macri's right-wing 'Together for Change' by nearly 7%.

As of 9:30 p.m. local time, with 81% of precincts in, Fernández garnered 47.5% of the vote; Macri, 41%; and centrist candidate Roberto Lavagna's 'Federal Consensus' at 6.2%.

The Front for Everyone also wrested Buenos Aires Province - home to 3 out of 8 Argentines - from a close Macri ally, Governor María Eugenia Vidal, who lost to economist Axel Kicillof by 14%.

Surprise choice

Fernández, 60, served as chief of staff to the late populist President Néstor Kirchner, whose 2003-07 term is widely credited with raising Argentina from its 2001-02 collapse and default.

He and Cristina Kirchner were adversaries during most of her 2007-15 tenure - but have become close allies since 2017.

Now a senator, Mrs. Kirchner, 66, had been widely expected to run for president this year - but surprised many by announcing on May 18 that she would instead be Fernández's running mate.


Macri, 60, was narrowly elected in late 2015 on promises to slow inflation and spark sluggish growth with deregulation and tax cuts.

His tenure was instead marked by massive utility hikes, a financial crisis and a record IMF bailout, massive inflation, and the deepest recession in two decades.

Over the last 18 months GDP is down 6.7%, the peso has lost 70% of its value, inflation has doubled to 54%, and unemployment has risen to 10.6% - the highest in 14 years.

The pragmatic Fernández inherits a virtually bankrupt country - whose IMF debt alone ($45 billion) exceeds its central bank reserves ($43 billion), and with $150 billion in debt payments due over the next four years.

A partial default declared in August included the the first ever default on debts in Argentina's own currency.

"The days of 'Us' and 'Them' are over," Fernández said after voting today.

"We are in an enormous crisis. Everyone has to take responsibility for what's ahead."

At: https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&tab=wT&sl=es&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.eldestapeweb.com%2Fnota%2Fresultados-oficiales-de-las-elecciones-2019-alberto-fernandez-ratifica-la-victoria-y-es-el-nuevo-presidente-2019102719390

Argentine opposition candidate Alberto Fernández shows his ballot stub after voting in today's general elections.

The pragmatic Fernández, 60, inherits a debt crisis and a near-depression from his neo-con predecessor, Mauricio Macri.

Economic stimulus and debt renegotiation will top next year's agenda, along with the need to navigate an openly hostile Bolsonaro regime in neighboring Brazil (Argentina's closest partner) and an uncertain relationship with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Trump's support for Macri, a longtime friend, included forcing the IMF to lend Argentina a record $45 billion - a debt most analysts consider unpayable without a rescheduling.
October 27, 2019

Chile protests: UN to investigate claims of human rights abuses after at least 19 deaths

The UN High Commission on Human Rights is sending a team to Chile to investigate allegations of human rights abuses against demonstrators, amid a swell of furious street protests over inequality, falling wages and the rising cost of education and healthcare.

“Having monitored the crisis from the beginning I have decided to send a verification mission to examine reports of human rights violations in Chile,” the high commissioner and former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet announced on Twitter.

Since the unrest erupted on 19 October, the military and Carabineros police forces have made 2,410 arrests throughout the country and 535 people have been injured, according to Chile’s human rights commission (INDH).

At least 19 people have died in the violence - though activists claim the number is higher.

The INDH confirmed that it was compiling 55 legal cases related to five homicides and eight instances of sexual violence involving both police and military agents. The victims of rape allegedly included several minors.

At: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/24/chile-protests-human-rights-un-investigation

UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has ordered an inquiry into allegations of human rights abuses during this week's massive protests across Chile.

Bachelet served as president of Chile from 2006 to 2010 and 2014 to 2018.

Her father, Air Force Brigadier General Alberto Bachelet, was killed by the Pinochet dictatorship in 1974 - a regime that current President Sebastián Piñera has lauded in the past.
October 25, 2019

Bolivia's Evo Morales claims election victory after contested tally; opponents demand second round

Bolivian President Evo Morales said Thursday that he has won a fourth term in office after a controversial vote count that sparked protests across the South American nation.

Opposition leaders, meanwhile, accused Morales of election fraud and called for more demonstrations to demand a second round of voting. Morales has warned of a “coup attempt.”

Tensions continued to escalate in the Andean nation of 11 million, which this week became the latest in Latin America to erupt in violent anti-government demonstrations. Protesters burned and looted election offices Monday night after the socialist president emerged from an unexplained gap in the publication of election results in better shape than he entered it.

The government elections tribunal Thursday showed Morales approaching the 10 percentage-point lead needed to avoid a runoff election in December.

With 100% of the votes from Sunday’s election counted, Morales was at 47.1%; his main rival, former President Carlos Mesa, was at 36.5%.

At: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/bolivias-evo-morales-claims-election-victory-after-contested-tally-opponents-demand-second-round/2019/10/24/b17b592c-f666-11e9-b2d2-1f37c9d82dbb_story.html

Bolivian President Evo Morales during a press conference yesterday in which he accused the opposition of fomenting a coup.

Opposition candidate Carlos Mesa, a centrist, demanded a second round after results showed Morales barely exceeding the 10 percentage-point lead needed to avoid a runoff election in December.
October 23, 2019

Chileans go on strike as protest death toll hits 18

Chile has braced for more protests and a general strike by state workers, despite President Sebastián Piñera’s pleas for forgiveness and announcement of ambitious reforms to quell unrest that has rocked the country and led to 18 deaths.

Thousands of Chileans flooded the streets of Santiago and other cities Wednesday on day one of a general strike, upping the pressure on President Piñera after days of social unrest.

Students, professors and state workers walked off the job at the urging of the country's largest union, ignoring a package of measures announced by Piñera aimed at quelling the violence.

In an address to the nation late on Tuesday, Piñera apologised for failing to anticipate the outbreak of social unrest.

"I recognise this lack of vision," he said after a meeting with some of Chile's opposition leaders.

Beyond the dead, another 269 people have been injured and about 1,900 have been arrested, according to the National Institute for Human Rights (INDH).

At: https://www.sbs.com.au/news/chileans-go-on-strike-as-protest-death-toll-hits-18

October 21, 2019

Chile's president extends state of emergency after deadly riots

Chile’s government extended a state of emergency to several cities across the country, after a weekend of violent clashes, looting and arson attacks.

Five people were reported to have died on Sunday, after looters set a factory ablaze in a northern suburb of Santiago, the country’s capital city.

It brings the death toll from violent protests to at least eleven, the mayor of Santiago said earlier today.

A proposed hike in public transport fares, which has now been suspended, sparked nationwide protests last week. The demonstrations have since widened to reflect public anger at rising living costs and income inequality in one of Latin America’s wealthiest countries.

The military and police used tear gas and a water cannon against protesters over the weekend, with a night-time curfew also placed on residents in major cities.

It marks the first time since Chile returned to democracy in 1990 that the government has declared a state of emergency because of civil unrest in the capital.

Chile, a country of 19 million people, is known as Latin America’s most stable and business-friendly economy - but there is a sense that economic growth has failed to improve the lives of the majority of its citizens.

At: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/21/chile-protests-president-extends-state-of-emergency-after-riots.html

October 19, 2019

2019 budget deficit was just under $1 trillion, highest in 7 years: CBO

The federal budget deficit for fiscal year 2019 grew to $984 billion, or 4.7% of GDP, the highest since 2012 - the Congressional Budget Office estimated on Monday.

The total for 2019 is 26% higher than the 2018 deficit and 48% above 2017 levels. CBO noted that the deficit has now grown as a percentage of the economy for four straight years.

Revenues rose: Revenues in fiscal 2019 totaled $3.462 trillion, up 4% from 2018, CBO said. Individual income and payroll tax receipts rose by 4% while corporate income taxes increased 12%.

Outlays in fiscal year 2019 were $4.446 trillion, up $338 billion, or 8%, over 2018.

Net interest payments on the public debt rose by $52 billion, or 14%, because of higher average interest rates on short-term compared with 2018 and because the federal debt was larger than in the previous year.

The largest spending increase among federal agencies was at the Department of Defense (up $47 billion, or 8%). Outlays for Social Security and Medicare each rose by 6%, while Medicaid spending rose by 5%.

At: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/2019-deficit-just-under-1-215727204.html

The Deficit Duo
October 19, 2019

Chile students' mass fare-dodging expands into city-wide protest

Thousands of school and university students have joined a mass fare-dodging protest in Chile, flooding into metro stations in the country’s capital to vault turnstiles and vandalise equipment amid simmering unrest over the rising cost of living.

The campaign erupted when secondary school students began to jump barriers in groups following a fare rise on 6 October, which put Santiago’s metro among the most expensive in Latin America at 830 pesos ($1.17) during the rush hour - a considerable sum in a country where the median wage is around $4 hourly.

Bus prices also climbed as part of the changes.

The demonstrations have spread across the city, leading to violent clashes between protesters and police, who have used teargas to disperse crowds on concourses and platforms.

Protesters have vandalized barriers and electronic turnstiles, and pulled emergency brakes on trains, affecting the more than 2.5 million passengers who use the Santiago metro each day.

Police have made dozens of arrests and two officers were reportedly injured.

At: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/18/chile-students-mass-fare-dodging-expands-into-city-wide-protest

October 18, 2019

Bill Macy, who played Bea Arthur's husband in 'Maude,' dead at 97

Bill Macy, who acted alongside Bea Arthur in the sitcom “Maude,” has died. He was 97.

Macy played Walter Findlay, husband to Arthur's character Maude Findlay in the "All in the Family" spin-off series. The series ran from 1972 to 1978.

In a post to Facebook, his friend Matt Beckoff called Macy "a spitfire right up to the end."

"My buddy. Gonna miss you Bill," he added.

Macy was born Wolf Garber on May 18, 1922, to Michael and Mollie Garber in Revere, Massachusetts.

He had a long career in the theater and film before “Maude,” including as an original cast member of the 1969-72 New York stage sensation “Oh! Calcutta!” and the 1972 movie version of the musical about sexual mores.

Among Macy’s other movie credits are “The Holiday” (2006); “Analyze This” (1999); “Bad Medicine” (1985); the 1979 Steve Martin comedy “The Jerk;” and “My Favorite Year” (1982) starring Peter O’Toole - an affectionate behind-the-scenes look at a 1950s TV.

At: https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/celebrities/2019/10/18/bill-macy-maude-husband-dead-97/4022258002/

Bill Macy (1922-2019), with Bea Arthur in a scene from the 1970s hit sitcom 'Maude'.

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