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China's Tsingshan looks to strengthen presence in Argentine lithium industry

Chinese stainless steel and nickel company Tsingshan Holding looks to double capacity of Argentina’s Centenario Ratones project to 50,000 tons annually of lithium carbonate and reach exports of US$4 billion a year from 2024, the Argentine Foreign Ministry announced on Wednesday.

Lithium carbonate is the raw material used in lithium-ion batteries, as well as some pharmaceuticals.

Tsingshan owns 49.9% of the project in Salta Province (in NW Argentina), which it shares with French mining and metals multinational Eramet.

The Centenario Ratones salt flats is located at an altitude of 3,800 m (12,500 ft) and has resources estimated at 10 million tons of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE), says Eramet.

Chinese companies have stakes in nine mining projects in Argentina, six of which are lithium.

China was the main destination for Argentine lithium exports in 2021, representing 42% of the total; the U.S. purchased 19%.

Chinese investment announcements in Argentina amounted to US$2.62 billion in 2020-22, and acquisitions and mergers involving Chinese companies totaled US$1.76 billion.

At: https://www.bnamericas.com/en/news/chinas-tsingshan-looks-to-strengthen-presence-in-argentine-lithium-industry

The Centenario Ratones salt flats in NW Argentina.

While Argentina is the world's fourth-largest producer of lithium, output has largely stalled since 2016.

Tshingshan's announcement - together with similar initiatives from Australia's Río Tinto and South Korea's FOSCO - could boost the country's lithium output in coming years.

Demand for lithium carbonate is projected to quadruple by 2030, and the compound's price has soared this year from around $14,000 a ton to over $80,000.

Cash envelopes and 'beat the shit out of him': Chats expose Buenos Aires security chief D'Alessandro

Argentine politics have been rocked by a series of Telegram chats leaked over the past three weeks, many appearing to show Buenos Aires Security Minister Marcelo D'Alessandro in the center of schemes involving judicial favors, bribery - and outright revenge.

Chats which first came to light on December 3, revealed a trip that D'Alessandro, 47, made with several right-wing allies on October 13 to Lake Escondido, a secluded property in the southwestern Argentine Andes owned by British billionaire Joe Lewis.

Lewis, 85, has defied repeated court rulings since 2009 ordering him to cease blocking a stretch of provincial road leading to the scenic lake, which has effectively cut off public access.

Besides D'Alessandro, the junket included high-profile public figures such as federal judges Pablo Cayssials, Julián Ercolini, Carlos Mahiques and Pablo Yadarola; Buenos Aires chief prosecutor Juan Bautista Mahiques (Carlos' son); former Intelligence Agency (AFI) officials Leonardo Bergroth and Tomás Reinke; and well as Clarín Group executives Pablo Casey (nephew of CEO Héctor Magnetto) and Jorge Rendo.

The chats also reveal an elaborate scheme to conceal the funding for the trip - which the participants reveal having been paid for by the Clarín Group.

Clarín is the country's dominant media and communications conglomerate - and its myriad publications have been staunch backers of Lewis' claims, as well as of the right-wing Together for Change opposition.

Together for Change (JxC) has been in opposition since late 2019, when a debt bubble "Macrisis" triggered by a freewheeling policy under then-President Mauricio Macri made Macri the first Argentine president in history to lose re-election.

A nice welcome

Later chats revealed that the group believed Airport Police (PSA) Director José Glinski to be behind initial reports of the “secret” flight - despite such information being in the public domain.

“Give me the pleasure of letting me have one of my units pick him up,” D'Alessandro winks at Judge Yadarola, “so I can beat the shit out of him.”

Judge Carlos Mahiques - a prominent member of the right-wing Opus Dei Catholic power group - suggests using allied media to “make an issue out of the idea of espionage in the PSA - making sure they know we'll fire heavy ammunition against them, so they had better not publish anything else.”

“I already let him (Glinski) know,” Clarín's Pablo Casey replies. “He asked me if I wanted to talk, and I told him that we'll cross paths sometime. I have the best jailhouse to give him a nice welcome with.”

D'Alessandro pledged in the chat to “dissolve the PSA” should he become the nation's Security Minister after elections next year.

Buenos Aires Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta - a likely contender in the upcoming presidential primaries - has rebuffed calls to dismiss D'Alessandro.

Lyrics, bulletproof vests and dollar bills

Chats released on Thursday, dated last November, show D’Alessandro colluding with Silvio Robles - spokesman and right-hand of Supreme Court Chief Justice Horacio Rosatti - on strategies to favor the JxC caucus in its ongoing dispute with the ruling, center-left Front for All (FdT) over an open seat in the powerful Council of Magistrates (which oversees Argentina's federal judiciary).

“At 5 I’ll give you the lyrics so you can move it,” Robles assures him - followed by a list of arguments as to why Vice President Cristina Kirchner can't appoint Senator Martín Doñate to the Council (JxC is pushing to have hard-right Senator Luis Juez seated instead).

“Use it as your (idea),” Robles reminded him.

Other chats leaked yesterday show D’Alessandro chatting with former Macri-era Argentine Intelligence (AFI) number two Silvia Majdalani in October on ways to skirt regulations on a municipal bulletproof vest purchase from a firm with ties to her.

Majdalani and 37 other Macri officials were indicted in 2021 for their roles in warrantless surveillance against hundreds of public figures in Argentina during Macri's 2015-19 tenure.

Earlier chats feature Buenos Aires towing company owner Marcelo Violante, whose firm Dakota is one of two running the city's tow services since 1990 - under permits that expired in 2001.

“I have the 60 greens (US$6,000), and the 50,000 pesos (US$1,100 at the time) that Claudio owes you,” Violante explains to D'Alessandro in a July 11, 2019, chat.

The two envelopes (with US$3,000 each) are open,” Violante worries. “Give it to him,” D'Alessandro replies.

Dakota reportedly pays the city a fee of around US$300 a month for the lucrative concession (equal to around 0.2% of the firm's tow revenues). The fee (55,000 pesos) has not been updated since 2014, when it was worth some US$6,500.

City legislators for the FdT - which hold only 19 of 60 seats in the municipal body (compared to 32 for JxC) - have called on D'Alessandro's to resign, and President Alberto Fernández has called for a federal investigation - though right-wing control of key Buenos Aires courthouses have made this unlikely.

At: https://argentina.detailzero.com/news/163911/More-chats-were-leaked-from-the-cell-phone-of-Marcelo-D%E2%80%99Alessandro-Buenos-Aires-Minister-of-Security.html

Five of the ten Argentine right-wing figures involved in the recent Telegram-gate, in which a number of chats show them discussing schemes involving judicial favors, bribery - and outright revenge.

But key Buenos Aires courthouses - as well as the Supreme Court - are largely stacked with Macri appointees or close allies however - making any prosecutions related to these chats unlikely.

Pele, Brazil's mighty king of 'beautiful game,' has died at 82

Pelé, the Brazilian king of soccer who won a record three World Cups and became one of the most commanding sports figures of the last century, died Thursday. He was 82.

The standard-bearer of “the beautiful game” had undergone treatment for colon cancer since 2021. The medical center where he had been hospitalized for the last month said he died of multiple organ failure as a result of the cancer.

“Pelé changed everything. He transformed football into art, entertainment,” Neymar, a fellow Brazilian soccer player, said on Instagram. “Football and Brazil elevated their standing thanks to the King! He is gone, but his magic will endure. Pelé is eternal!”

Widely regarded as one of soccer’s greatest players, Pelé spent nearly two decades enchanting fans and dazzling opponents as the game’s most prolific scorer with Brazilian club Santos and the Brazil national team - which he led to World Cups in 1958, 1962 and 1970.

At: https://apnews.com/article/pele-soccer-star-dead-f2c5f7d2771b96dbd854cb025ab2563a

Legendary Brazilian football forward Edson Arantes do Nascimento - Pelé - celebrates Brazil's World Cup victory in 1970 - the country's third, and the third in which he played a key role.

Argentina win World Cup, beating France in penalty shootout

Source: The Athletic

Argentina have won the 2022 World Cup.

Argentina beat France 4-2 on penalty kicks after a thrilling 3-3 draw which saw Lionel Messi score twice and Kylian Mbappe score a hat-trick.

Read more: https://theathletic.com/live-blogs/argentina-vs-france-world-cup-2022-final-live-score-result/5vwJ9BknaKUL/

Argentina's National Team - known as La Scaloneta, in honor of General Manager Lionel Scaloni - celebrates today's World Cup victory in Qatar - their first since 1986, and third overall.

Tom Hanks was on Pelosi attack suspect hit list, court hears

Source: Yahoo! News

The man accused of a hammer attack on the husband of House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi also wanted to target other public figures, including actor Tom Hanks, a court has heard.

A police officer who interviewed David DePape told the hearing that President Joe Biden's son Hunter and Democratic California Governor Gavin Newsom were also on the suspect's "hit list."

Mr. DePape is facing six charges, including attempted murder, for the 28 October incident. He pleaded not guilty to all counts last month.

At the end of Wednesday's nearly four-hour hearing, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Stephen Murphy ruled there was enough evidence for the trial to proceed.

Read more: https://www.yahoo.com/now/pelosi-hammer-attack-suspect-had-020722598.html

Hollywood great Tom Hanks: On Paul Pelosi assailant David DePape's hit list - along with Hunter Biden and California Governor Gavin Newsom.

France gets past underdog Morocco, advances to World Cup final vs. Argentina

Theo Hernández and Randal Kolo Muani scored as France defeated underdog Morocco, 2-0, in Qatar on Wednesday, sending Les Bleus into the World Cup final against perennial powerhouse Argentina.

Attacking from a sharp angle six yards out, Hernández scored on an acrobatic volley in the fifth minute at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, giving France the only goal it would need.

The Frenchmen, winners of soccer's most coveted trophy in 1998 and 2018, are seeking to become the first team to win back-to-back World Cup titles since Brazil did in 1958 and 1962.

And on the other side of Sunday's massive match, 35-year-old Argentine legend Lionel Messi and his teammates will seek to capture their nation's first World Cup title since 1986 - a tournament best known for Argentina's quarterfinal victory over England, thanks in part to Diego Maradona's "Hand of God" goal.

Even as one of his sport's greatest players, Messi has long been the unfair target of frustrated fans back home for the national team's failure to win the World Cup.

At: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/france-gets-underdog-morocco-advances-world-cup-final-vs-argentina-rcna61680

National football team captains Lionel Messi (Argentina) and Hugo Lloris (France) greet during their last World Cup encounter in 2018.

The two countries' teams will face off in the 22nd World Cup final this Sunday - the fourth for France, and the sixth for Argentina.

Argentina seals tax info exchange deal with the United States

President Alberto Fernández’s administration has signed a new agreement on Monday with the United States to exchange tax information.

The agreement, covering both individual persons and corporate entities, was signed by Economy Minister Sergio Massa Massa and U.S. Ambassador to Argentina Marc Stanley during a ceremony at the Kirchner Cultural Center in Buenos Aires.

"Access to this information is an act of fiscal justice because by detecting tax evaders we will be able to reduce the tax burden on all those who comply with their obligations every day, while seeing others hiding their money in tax havens," declared Massa.

The U.S. Embassy published a communiqué specifying that "this agreement will permit the reciprocal exchange of certain information regarding financial accounts" between the two countries while "guaranteeing adequate data protection."

The pact, which provides for automatic and periodic exchanges of information, will kick in with the new year. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will transmit annual data every September 30.

According to Economy Ministry estimates, undeclared funds held by Argentines in United States accounts stand at around US$100 billion out of a estimated US$400 billion worldwide.

The incoming information could mean an additional $1 billion annually for Argentina - over 1% of the $88 billion in total 2021 federal revenues.

At: https://www.batimes.com.ar/news/economy/massa-seals-tax-info-exchange-deal-with-united-states.phtml

Argentine Economy Minister Sergio Massa shakes hands with U.S. Ambassador Marc Stanley in Buenos Aires on Monday, after signing a historic account information sharing agreement covering Argentine nationals and firms.

Argentine taxpayers are estimated to hold around $100 billion in U.S. accounts - largely opened over the past four decades in order to evade taxes.

The country's influential Clarín Group - among the loudest opponents of the agreement - controls at least two Delaware accounts under Wilmington's The Corporation Trust, a reputed tax shelter whose clients have included vulture fund king Paul Singer.

Clarín was vocally supportive of Singer's claims on defaulted Argentine bonds during his 2012-16 dispute with Argentina - a claim which eventually earned his Caymans vulture fund NML a $2.4 billion payout after Mauricio Macri (whom Clarín backed) narrowly won the 2015 election.

Dina Boluarte becomes Peru's first female president

Dina Boluarte was virtually unknown on the Peruvian political scene a year and a half ago, when she rode into office in July 2021 as Pedro Castillo's vice-president.

But on Wednesday she made history -becoming Peru's first female president after Castillo was ousted from office amid an attempt to avoid an impeachment vote by dissolving Congress and ruling by decree.

A 60-year-old lawyer and mother, Boluarte became one of the Castillo government's best-known faces due to her position as Development and Social Inclusion Minister, a post she held simultaneously with the vice presidency up until two weeks ago.

Castillo, 53, who after being removed from office on Wednesday was detained on charges of rebellion, had sidelined Boluarte from his latest cabinet reshuffle - the fifth of his short presidency.

At: https://www.batimes.com.ar/news/latin-america/dina-boluarte-perus-first-female-president.phtml

Perú's new President, Dina Boluarte, speaks to the nation's Congress upon being inaugurated yesterday.

Elected Vice President on a left-wing ticket led by Pedro Castillo, who was ousted after ordering Congress dissolved following his impeachment, Boluarte is the sixth president in as many years in the troubled South American nation of 34 million.

FIFA pays tribute to veteran World Cup sportscasters and photographers

In recognising the role played by the media in making football the most popular of all sports, FIFA has paid homage to the longevity and commitment of the reporters who have covered eight or more FIFA World Cup competitions.

Organised with the support of the International Sports Press Association (AIPS), a special ceremony was held in Doha for the nearly 80 journalists and photographers who have reached that landmark figure.

The fact that the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is being played in a single city, the country’s capital, provided a unique opportunity to bring all of these honourable members of the press together to receive their awards – a mini-replica of the FIFA World Cup Trophy – from two-time Brazilian world champion Ronaldo, 46.

The dean of active World Cup sportscasters, Argentina's Enrique Macaya Márquez, 88, still remembers his first journey to the FIFA World Cup - when he travelled to Sweden in 1958.

"It was an adventure to us," he recalled. "Between the adventures and the football, we divided our time accordingly - and today, I'm a bit of a representative for all my colleagues who have the opportunity to travel to and witness games as important as those of the World Cup."

This year's World Cup was his 17th - a new record among journalists.

At: https://www.aipsmedia.com/aips/pages/articles/2022/33143.html

Argentina's Enrique Macaya Márquez, the dean of active World Cup sportscasters, is presented a miniature replica of the World Cup by legendary Brazilian football striker Ronaldo at a FIFA/International Sports Press Association ceremony honoring sportscasters and photographers who've covered 8 World Cups or more.

"I think the most important thing is the love one feels for this profession," Uruguay's Jorge da Silveira, 79, said.

"That your family comes to understand that there are no weekends, that your duty to your viewers, readers and listeners comes first - and that's why this (award) is for my family, who knew to understand my love for my job."

Clarence Gilyard, 'Die Hard' and 'Walker, Texas Ranger' star, dead at 66

Clarence Gilyard, the actor best known for playing computer hacker Theo in “Die Hard” and naval flight officer Marcus “Sundown” Williams in “Top Gun,” has died at the age of 66.

His death was announced on Monday in a statement from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), where he had been working as an associate professor at the College of Fine Arts.

Gilyard ventured into acting after studying Theatre Arts at California State University. He landed his first role on the TV show “Diff’rent Strokes” in 1981.

In 1986, Gilyard made his film debut in “Top Gun,” in which he played Sundown, one of the elite fighter pilots.

Two years later, he was cast as Theo, the computer expert who helps Hans Gruber’s terrorist group, in the thriller “Die Hard.”

He got his big primetime TV break in 1989, when he landed the role of Conrad McMasters on the NBC legal drama “Matlock,” starring opposite Andy Griffith. He then portrayed Chuck Norris’ crime-fighting partner Jimmy Trivette on “Walker, Texas Ranger.”

Gilyard’s acting credits also include “The Karate Kid Part II,” “CHiPS” and the “Left Behind” films.

UNLV film chair Heather Addison remembered Gilyard as a “beacon of light and strength for everyone around him at UNLV.”

She added: “Whenever we asked him how he was, he would cheerfully declare that he was ‘Blessed!’ But we are truly the ones who were blessed to be his colleagues and students for so many years. We love you and will miss you dearly, Professor G!”

At: https://www.cnn.com/2022/11/29/entertainment/clarence-gilyard-jr-die-hard-dead-intl-scli/index.html

Clarence Gilyard, 1955-2022, with co-star Andy Griffith in the hit series Matlock.
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