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peppertree's Journal
peppertree's Journal
September 28, 2022

Texas couple finds fully automatic military-grade M16s in storage cases purchased online

A couple in Houston recently discovered a number of fully automatic M16s inside gun storage cases they bought from an online government surplus store.

The couple has a business where they buy surplus items and resell them on eBay, which is why they purchased the 108 storage cases.

According to ABC13, a friend helped to stack and store the cases over the weekend so the couple gave that person one of the cases as a thank you.

When the person opened the case, he discovered 12 fully-automatic M16s inside. The weapons are designed specifically for military use only.

All the weapons had tags that designated the military branch and names of service members who had previously handled the weapons, ABC13 reported.

Retired Houston police captain and former Marine Greg Fremin said the military carefully tracks all of its weapons because any misplaced weapons can be extremely dangerous.

At: https://www.ksat.com/news/2022/09/27/texas-couple-finds-fully-automatic-military-grade-m16s-in-storage-cases-purchased-online/

September 27, 2022

Inter-American Development Bank President Claver-Carone ousted after ethics probe

Mauricio Claver-Carone has been terminated as president of the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), its board of governors announced Monday.

His departure will set off a formal process to find a replacement for the bank to help counter China's influence in Latin America.

The termination comes after a report revealed that he allegedly threatened to "burn" or "bring" the bank down over an investigation into claims that he had an affair with a staffer, which he denies.

Claver-Carone, 47, who was nominated by former President Trump, was the first American to hold the position. His exit will set off a scramble among member countries on who should head the bank.

He told Reuters on Monday that he plans to pursue legal action.

It also demonstrates that the Biden administration - whose representative voted to expel the Cuban-American hard-liner - is willing to cut loose Trump appointees, which could spell trouble for David Malpass at the World Bank.

At: https://www.axios.com/2022/09/27/inter-american-development-bank-president

Outgoing IDB President Mauricio Claver-Carone in happier days, after former President Trump nominated him to the powerful post in 2020 - which since the IDB's establishment in 1959 had been held by a Latin American official instead.

Claver-Carone was forced out following revelations he had installed his underqualified lover into a high-level, $400,000-a-year post with an office adjacent to his.

The hard-line Cuban-American had previously been installed by Trump into the IMF board of directors - during which he earned notoriety for forcing through a record, $57 billion bailout for former Argentine President Mauricio Macri, a longtime Trump friend who faced an ill-fated re-election fight in 2019.

Claver-Carone had recently blocked $1.2 billion in loans to cash-strapped Argentina already approved by the bank's board of directors - though a meeting with Economy Minister Sergio Massa resolved the delay.
September 13, 2022

Renowned jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis dies aged 87

Source: The Guardian

Ramsey Lewis, the renowned jazz pianist whose music entertained fans over a more than 60-year career that began with the Ramsey Lewis Trio and made him one of the country’s most successful jazz musicians, has died. He was 87.

Lewis is revered in jazz circles for 1960s hits like The In Crowd, Hang on Sloopy and Wade in the Water.

He earned three Grammy awards and seven gold records. The trio’s first record in 1956 was Ramsey Lewis and the Gentlemen of Swing.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/sep/12/jazz-artist-ramsey-lewis-death

Grammy Award-winning Jazz pianist and composer Ramsey Lewis, 1935-2022.

September 12, 2022

Exchange rate incentive prompts record soy exports in Argentina

Argentine Agriculture Minister Juan José Bahillo announced that the Export Increase Program, which established a differential exchange rate of 200 pesos per dollar for soy exporters during September, was “a success.”

Some 4.6 million tons of soybeans and soy products - mainly flour, oil, and animal feed - were exported within a week after the program's announcement by Economy Minister Sergio Massa, earning the hard currency-strapped country over $2 billion in foreign exchange.

The measure, Bahillo explained, “allowed producers to receive an average price almost 40% higher than the one they received on August 31st - which is practically equivalent to a reduction in export taxes to zero.”

Anticipating - some say, pushing - a devaluation, Argentine farmers and exporters had stockpiled an estimated 28 million tons of grains (mainly soy) - equivalent to $14 billion in export revenue.

“(The incentive) motivated sales to speed up,” Bahillo noted.

Soy exports - which accounted for 30.6% of the country's $78 billion in merchandise exports last year - pay the highest export tax rates: 33%.

Export taxes brought in over $10 billion in revenue last year - equal to 11% of federal revenues, and 13% of goods exports.

At: https://www-eldestapeweb-com.translate.goog/economia/juan-jose-bahillo/bahillo-destaco-que-el-dolar-soja-permitio-el-ingreso-de-mas-de-us-2-000-millones-en-una-semana-202291114500?_x_tr_sl=es&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en&_x_tr_pto=wapp

Argentine Economy Minister Sergio Massa makes a point during a meeting with farming representatives shortly after his appointment last month.

The Export Increase Program he announced last week - which, through September, offers soy exporters a preferential exchange rate of 200 pesos (compared to an official buyer's rate of 142) - has succeeded in unlocking some of the $14 billion in estimated grain stockpiles for export.

While Massa had envisaged some $5 billion in soy exports this month under this program - over $2 billion were exported last week alone.
September 9, 2022

They'll never walk alone

September 5, 2022

Plebiscite in Chile: New Constitution rejected by wide margin

A plebiscite held today in Chile as to the adoption of a new constitution was rejected by a wide margin, preliminary results show.

With 88% of the vote tallied, 'Reject' votes outnumbered those to 'Approve' by 62% to 38%.

Turnout among Chile's 15.2 million registered voters was estimated at an extraordinarily high 85% - or 13 million, compared to around 7 million for most presidential elections since the country regained its democracy in 1989.

The proposed charter is intended to replace a constitution imposed by the military dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet in 1981.

The plebiscite climaxes a process that began when the otherwise stable country exploded in student-led street protests in 2019. The unrest was sparked by a hike in public transportation prices - but it quickly expanded into broader demands for greater equality and more social protections.

The following year, just under 80% of Chileans voted in favor of changing the country's constitution.

A bridge too far?

After months of work, delegates came up with a document with 388 articles that, among other things, focuses on social issues and gender parity, enshrines rights for the country's Indigenous population, and puts the environment and climate change center stage.

It also introduces rights to free education, health care, and housing.

Its designating Chile as a "plurinational state" - not unlike neighboring Bolivia - proved controversial with even many supporters however, and by 2022 approval for the new charter had dissipated.

President Gabriel Boric, 36, has been one of the main proponents of the new constitution, and has pledged to submit a new constitutional proposal for public approval.

Analysts say voters also likely view the vote as a referendum on Chile's youngest-ever president, whose popularity has plunged since taking office in March.

At: https://www-eldestapeweb-com.translate.goog/internacionales/chile/plebiscito-en-chile-ya-votaron-boric-pinera-y-bachelet-por-la-nueva-constitucion-20229413290?_x_tr_sl=es&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en&_x_tr_pto=wapp

Chilean President Gabriel Boric waves holds up his ballot in today's historic vote to replace the country's 1981 constitution - a holdover from the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship.

Following a massive media campaign against it however, the progressive new charter was rejected by around 24%.

President Boric has pledged to submit a new constitutional proposal for public approval.
September 2, 2022

Man detained after pointing handgun at Argentine Vice-President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner

A man has been detained by police after he aimed a handgun at Cristina Fernández de Kirchner at point-blank range as the Argentine vice-president returned to her apartment in Recoleta, Buenos Aires.

Fernández de Kirchner, 69, was not injured in the suspected assassination attempt Thursday night, said government officials. The perpetrator was quickly detained by the federal police and the former president's bodyguards.

A 35-year-old Brazilian national, Fernando Sabag Montiel, pointed the gun at the vice-president's head at 9 p.m. as she got out of a car that was driving her from Congress to her residence.

The suspected attacker reportedly approached Mrs. Kirchner from a waiting crowd of supporters that have been holding a vigil outside her apartment block, before asking for an autograph for a copy of her best-selling 2019 autobiography, Sinceramente.

As the vice-president greeted supporters, he pulled the weapon - though the gun did not fire. A melée ensued and the vice-president was removed from the area, although she continued to speak with others who were present.

At: https://www.batimes.com.ar/news/argentina/man-arrested-for-attempting-to-assassinate-vice-president-cristina-fernandez-de-kirchner.phtml

News camera footage showing Argentine Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner greeting supporters outside her Buenos Aires apartment at 9:00 p.m. tonight, during which an assailant can be seen pointing and firing a .38 caliber handgun at her.

The weapon did not discharge.

Mrs. Kirchner, who was unharmed, is facing charges of self-dealing related to highway contracts signed during her 2007-15 administration - a trial which has further divided the country's already polarized politics.

While the assailant's motives have yet to be determined, he reportedly had a black sun tattoo - commonly associated with neo-Nazis. A right-wing sympathizer had been arrested on August 5th after screaming death threats at her though a megaphone at the same site.

President Alberto Fernández called it "the gravest incident since we regained our democracy (in 1983)," and declared a federal holiday for Friday.
September 1, 2022

Democrat Mary Peltola wins special House election, will be first Alaska Native elected to Congress

Democrat Mary Peltola was the apparent winner of Alaska’s special U.S. House race and is set to become the first Alaska Native in Congress, after votes were tabulated Wednesday in the state’s first ranked choice election.

Peltola led Republican former Gov. Sarah Palin after ballots were tallied and votes for third-place GOP candidate Nick Begich III were redistributed to his supporters’ second choices.

Peltola, 49, a Yup’ik former state lawmaker who calls Bethel home, is now slated to be the first woman to hold Alaska’s lone U.S. House seat.

If results are confirmed as expected by the state review board later this week, she will succeed U.S. Rep. Don Young, the Republican who held the office for nearly five decades — since before Peltola was born. The special election was triggered by Young’s death in March.

It is an outcome largely seen as an upset. Peltola would be the first Democrat to join Alaska’s three-person congressional delegation since U.S. Sen. Mark Begich lost reelection in 2014 - and the first Democrat to represent Alaska in the House since the late Rep. Nick Begich's disappearance 50 years ago.

At: https://www.adn.com/politics/2022/08/31/democrat-mary-peltola-wins-special-us-house-election-will-be-first-alaska-native-elected-to-congress/

Congresswoman-elect Mary Peltola.

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