TUESDAY, JUNE 23RD
By Debora Rey and Peter PrengamanJune 23, 2015BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Pope Francis’ homeland of Argentina is not on the itinerary for his South American tour in July.The pontiff hasn’t been back since he became pope more than two years ago, and the Vatican says he doesn’t want to influence October’s presidential election by visiting now. Francis has complained in recent months that he has felt “used” by Argentine politicians who take their picture with him in Rome.Instead, the pontiff will tour Ecuador and two countries that border Argentina: Bolivia and Paraguay.Although he will stay away, Francis nevertheless intensely follows what happens where he was born and spent most of his life before becoming world leader of the Roman Catholic Church, according to local journalists who have covered him for years, friends in the country and Vatican officials.“This is a pope who is very interested in politics and has considerable political sensibility,” said Mariano De Vedia, political editor for the Argentine newspaper La Nacion and author of “In the Name of the Father,” a book that examines Francis’ rocky relationship with President Cristina Fernandez and her predecessor and late husband, Nestor Kirchner.Much of what Francis says and does has an impact in Argentina, a majority Catholic nation of 41 million people where the church wields great influence.He has promised to open church files from Argentina’s 1976-1983 military dictatorship — a potential Pandora’s box that could spark more lawsuits and arrests related to the estimated 30,000 people killed or disappeared during the “dirty war.”Francis made headlines early this year by lamenting that a growing drug trade in Argentina could lead to a “Mexicanization” of the country. Many interpreted those comments as a scathing critique of Fernandez and her party, which has held power since 2003.Earlier this month, he received Fernandez at the Vatican for the fourth time, drawing the ire of some opposition leaders.“Don’t disappointment me, Francisco!” Elisa Carrio, an opposition congresswoman and aspiring presidential contender, posted to her Facebook page during his last meeting with Fernandez. “Make good on your promise not to get involved in politics.”The Vatican defended the meeting by saying that Fernandez, constitutionally barred from running for a third term, was not a candidate. Guillermo Karcher, the Vatican’s protocol chief and a fellow Argentine, told local media that the nearly two-hour meeting focused on Argentina but did not touch on the August primaries leading up to the October general vote.“The pope follows very closely and with much affection” what happens in his homeland, Karcher told Argentine radio station MDZ, adding that he and Fernandez “would certainly have talked about Argentina.”While many of Fernandez’s social welfare policies no doubt resonate with Francis, he had a frosty relationship with her when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires. The biggest fights were over social issues, such as a 2010 law that recognized civil unions of gay couples, and moves to expand sex education in schools. As a result, many interpret the pope’s meetings with Fernandez as attempts to influence her policies.Many Argentines are disappointed that he won’t be visiting.“He’s abandoned Argentina” since becoming pope, Norma Roch, 66, said after praying at Santa Catalina de Siena, a downtown Buenos Aires church where Francis would sometimes celebrate Mass when he was still Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio. “He needs to come home and spend some time with us.”But others say they understand.“He is making the right decision,” said Jorge Corna, 82, cutting Roch off. “The pope isn’t stupid. Politicians here would try to use him.”Francis clearly embraces his Argentine identity. He’s a self-proclaimed fan of the country’s San Lorenzo soccer team as well as its traditional tango dancing and milonga music. After being elected pope, one of the first things he asked to be sent from the Buenos Aires rectory was his agenda with cellphone numbers of bishops and priests in the diocese, said De Vedia. He remains in frequent communication with Argentines from all walks of life.Gustavo Vera, a Buenos Aires community organizer, periodically hears from the pope, and received a letter expressing his condolences when a sweatshop fire killed two boys in April.“What occurred caused me much pain,” wrote Francis. “I’m with you all and I ask for the Lord’s help so that these kinds of things don’t keep happening.”Massimo Faggioli, a Rome-based church historian, said Francis’ relationship with his homeland differs from those the previous two popes had with theirs. John Paul II often talked about his native Poland, but unlike Francis visited his homeland soon after becoming pope. Benedict XVI rarely mentioned his native Germany, where he hadn’t lived for nearly three decades.“Not being European gives Francis more freedom” to decide how to relate to home, said Faggioli. “In not visiting now, he sends a message that he is pope for everybody and that Argentines should not feel any special rights.”By Benedict Mander in Buenos AiresJune 22, 2015Investors have long awaited the moment when Cristina Fernández will vacate Argentina’s presidential palace in December. After eight years in power, and unable to run for a third term, many assumed her departure would inevitably herald a rosy new era for the country, free of anti-imperialist rhetoric and populist economic policies.Now they are no longer so sure. Argentine assets, after a year-long rally, tumbled last week when Daniel Scioli, the leading candidate ahead of October’s presidential election, announced that one of Ms Fernández’s closest advisers would run as his vice-president.The appointment of Carlos Zannini, Ms Fernández’s legal adviser, is widely seen as an attempt by the president to exercise power after she leaves office in return for her political support. She confirmed on Saturday that she will not run for another elected office as a legislator in the upcoming elections.The move has also left many wondering whether the election will represent another retreat of the “pink tide” of leftwing governments which rose across Latin America and are now struggling in countries like Brazil and Venezuela.The two strongest candidates to be Argentina’s next president are Mr Scioli, the 58-year old governor of Buenos Aires province, who preaches continuity with Ms Fernández’s party, and Mauricio Macri, the 56-year old centre-right mayor of Buenos Aires, who has pitched himself as a turnround candidate, representing change.“It is a completely open race, which has polarised strongly around these two candidates. Both have solid chances,” said Carlos Germano, a political analyst. Polls show them running nearly neck-and-neck with about 30 per cent each, although Mr Scioli has a slight edge.On the face of it, the two men represent diametrically opposed visions of where Argentina should go.Mr Scioli, who lost his right arm in a speedboat accident in 1989, has admitted the need to reactivate Argentina’s flatlining economy. His economic advisers also accept the need to fix its tangle of currency and trade controls, and to cut double-digit inflation by restraining fiscal spending — although any changes will probably be gradual.But the appointment of Mr Zannini now “bodes poorly for the post-election policy outlook as it will limit Scioli’s ability to make serious changes,” commented Eurasia Group, the risk consultancy.In a further downbeat development for investors hoping that the election would bring an end to Argentina’s long-running dispute with hedge fund holdout creditors, led by billionaire Paul Singer, Mr Scioli has even “been hinting that he would keep [current] Economy Minister Axel Kicillof in his post,” Eurasia added.In contrast Mr Macri, the former president of top Argentine football club Boca Juniors, aims for what economic adviser Federico Sturzenegger describes as a “credibility shock”. This would open the floodgates to much-needed foreign investment and would involve sending “a strong signal” that the judiciary is independent and “stopping lying about everything” such as statistics, he said.The question playing on investors’ minds now is just how much change could come in a government led by Mr Scioli even if he wanted to introduce reforms, given Mr Zannini’s appointment.One influential figure close to him recommended “not paying too much attention to what we say in public” because of Mr Scioli’s need to keep onside Ms Fernández, and also the votes she can deliver from the electorate and in Congress. She enjoys high approval ratings of around 50 per cent, despite a mixed record in power.Another argued that the differences between the economic policy proposals of the two main candidates are “not that striking”, and are mostly to do with the speed of implementation. Furthermore, as the vice presidency is largely a ceremonial role, Mr Zannini would have little real power.“There is no time bomb waiting to explode like some in the opposition say. There are macroeconomic imbalances, yes, but it’s all manageable,” said the source. “You will not gain credibility if you promise things immediately that you won’t be able to do,” he added, arguing that whoever wins the presidency will start off weak and need to build up support over time.One factor affecting the eventual outcome is the third trailing candidate in the polls, Sergio Massa, a 43-year old former cabinet chief in Ms Fernández’s government who turned against her; he could lend his support to either of the two leading candidates.In the meantime, investors are watching closely. Daniel Freifeld, principal of Callaway Capital Management, an investment firm, says that Argentina’s next president would be “foolish” not to take the economic measures needed to boost investor confidence and entice much-needed foreign investment. “There are massive amounts of money waiting on the side lines,” he said.By Katia PorzecanskiJune 22, 2015Argentine bonds rallied after President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s ruling alliance lost in Mendoza province, handing the opposition its first victory in regional elections this year.Dollar-denominated securities due 2024 gained 1.1 cents on the dollar to 95.57 cents. The rally helped pare last week’s losses of 4 cents, which were triggered after Daniel Scioli, the frontrunner for October’s presidential elections, named one of Fernandez’s closest aides as his candidate for vice president.Opposition candidate Alfredo Cornejo ended eight years of Peronist rule in Mendoza, Argentina’s fifth-largest constituency by population best known for its Malbec wine, in elections on Sunday. The victory shows that a change in Argentine leadership may still be possible, said Hernan Yellati, head of research at brokerage BancTrust & Co. Cornejo, who won 46 percent of votes, was backed by both main opposition candidates for presidency, Mauricio Macri and Sergio Massa.“The opposition is still alive,” Yellati said by phone.Additionally, elections in Tierra del Fuego went to a second round as the candidate from the ruling Victory Front alliance failed to get 50 percent of the votes needed to win. In Santa Fe province, a recount is ongoing after the vote was split three ways.Scioli would obtain 34 percent of intended votes compared with 27 percent for Macri for the Oct. 25 elections, according to a Poliarquia poll of 1,000 people taken during the first two weeks of May with a margin of error of 3.2 percentage points.By Merilyn Jackson23 June 2015Would you know the moment when you must flee your homeland? Where do you think is the safest place to go? What do you do once you find it isn’t a welcoming haven? How do you navigate the roadblocks of immigration, citizenship, language?These are questions choreographer Silvana Cardell and artist/sculptor Jennifer Baker asked themselves and their collaborators a year ago when they began work on Supper, People on the Move. The multimedia project runs Thursday through Sunday in Crane Arts’ Icebox space, with a free simulcast Friday evening on Independence Mall.Cardell has her own immigrant story. In the mid-1980s when she left Argentina for Philadelphia, she was not fleeing persecution or seeking asylum; she came to study dance at the University of the Arts, and returned to Buenos Aires to direct Armar Danza Teatro and her own company, S. Cardell Danza. Then, in 2002, she and her architect husband, Pablo Meninato, and their two children moved permanently to the Philadelphia area. With a master’s degree in choreography from Temple, she now directs Cardell Dance Theater and the dance program at Georgian Court University in Lakewood, Ocean County.In her sunny Fairmount living room, she talked over a carafe of strong coffee about her family’s experience. Her children “had visitors’ visas until we had a green card in 2007,” she said of their long path to citizenship. “Pablo, Lorenzo, and I became citizens in 2013. Paula is still on a green card.” (Both children are now in college.)But the family’s journey, though lengthy, did not involve the crushing hardships many endure in order to get to the United States and make their way in their new home. Contemplating those stories is what planted the seed for Cardell’s ambitious performance piece – specifically, an invitation to speak at her own citizenship ceremony.“I looked at all those faces yearning to be made Americans, and the enormity of it all finally hit me. I’m interested in performance theory and how you create social art, so I talked with [choreographer] Merian Soto, who has done a lot in that field, and invited her to be in the piece as a guest artist.”Cardell is a collaborative artist. At UArts, she wrote her thesis with feminist cultural critic Camille Paglia and studied with other humanities professors because “I didn’t want to just study dance or choreography. I wanted to learn about philosophy and analysis of art and criticism. I did a lot of arts research, for example, on installation art.”Jennifer Baker, Supper’s visual artist, has worked with Cardell before, most remarkably in NOW!, in which she drew life-size impressions of its cast in real time as they danced. She is designing the “Supper Table” and the costumes, and curating Portraits of People on the Move, a companion exhibition displaying individual photos and stories of immigrants in the Philadelphia region based on her interviews with 52 people.“The shortest time I spent with anyone was an hour and a half,” Baker said. “I was so focused on how they wanted to tell their own stories. All of them will be on the blog [supperdance/supper-blog] and portfolio, and 14 will be in the exhibit. I took 11 of the portraits, but mostly used photos they sent me, because it’s not an exhibit of my photographs, but how these people want to be seen.”It was sometimes difficult to get people to talk, she said. “For many, it was very painful to revisit their experience. Some came forward only at the last minute.”Their stories, told with wonderful candor, range from an Ecuadoran woman’s description of her harrowing, months-long odyssey to a Canadian’s conflicted feelings about living in the U.S.; from accounts of being driven from home by fear and misery (Nigeria, Albania) to tales of domestic and economic woes at this end – or, just as often, hard-won success and satisfaction.For a soundscape, Cardell sought a composer who could work with the resonant qualities of the echoing Icebox Project Space and create the right sonic atmosphere. A Pew funder suggested Nick Zammuto, founder and onetime half of the band the Books, an inventive duo invested in found sounds and folk melodies. Now based in Vermont, he creates dada energy, international vibes, and contemporary incisiveness with his eponymous band, Zammuto. In Supper, you’ll hear sounds like the creaking of a ship’s hull.“He came to Philadelphia to investigate the acoustics of the IceBox space,” said Cardell. “I gave him a Bach partita we’d been working with, just to give him an idea of the tempo and beat we wanted. I love what he’s created, especially the sonic imagery of the heartbeat during the duet” with Bethany Formica and William Robinson.At a recent rehearsal, the hour-long work brought to mind the body formations of Bella Lewitsky’s work, once described as “docu-dance.” Clusters of dancers crash together, uplift and crawl over one another, then explode away from the group as individuals – the dynamics of the dance mirroring the dynamics of immigration.“I was looking for an essence,” Cardell said, her hand groping the air. “I didn’t want to use texts.” But she does use a number of props, including eight large and dangerous-looking folding tables. “The objects that I use have to be super emblematic. I have to find objects that can be many things. There is nothing in the performance that is not used more than once. I have to figure it out why it is there and use it until I have no more use for it.”Because food is a major component of the immigrant experience – the lack of it, memories of family meals, elaborate farewell dinners – it’s a component of Supper, as well.During the performance, at the supper table – a place of solace and community – the bodies twist away from one another. But at the end of the journey, the dancers and Merian Soto, who holds together the space that everyone else has left, will distribute supper – empanadas and burritos – to members of the audience, inviting them to share a meal. And, perhaps, a story.DANCESupper, People on the Move8 p.m. Thursday-Sunday at Icebox Project Space at Crane Arts, 1400 N. American St. (free simulcast Friday on Independence Mall).Tickets: $15-$20.Information: supperdance.com.
MONDAY, JUNE 22ND
8. IT’S PATAGOMANIA ; AN END OF THE WORLD WITH ITS OWN FLORA AND (WOOLLY) FAUNA, POPULAR WITH ADVENTURERS FOR ITS GRANITE TOWERS, GLACIERS, AND HUGE ICE FIELD (The Boston Globe)9. ICE, ARGENTINE OFFICIALS TRAIN TO COMBAT SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN (Imperialvalleynews.com)
June 21, 2015BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — President Cristina Fernandez of Argentina won’t seek another office when her second term ends Dec. 10, defying recent speculation she might run for congress.With the passage of the filing deadline at midnight Saturday, Fernandez’s name did not appear on any list of candidates. She is barred by Argentina’s constitution from seeking a third presidential term.Expectations had been rising that Fernandez might not be willing to leave government completely after holding public offices for more than two decades and many speculated she could decide to lead the congressional slate in Buenos Aires province.Her son Maximo Kirchner, however, is seeking a seat in the House of Deputies for Santa Cruz province. He is the son of Fernandez and the late Nestor Kirchner, who preceded his wife as president.Fernandez still is expected to remain an influence in the left-of-center Front for Victory coalition that has supported her policies of government intervention in the economy.By Camila Russo and Andrey BiryukovJune 19, 2015Argentina’s Economy Minister Axel Kicillof said the government is considering selling more dollar bonds this year amid strong investor demand for the nation’s debt.“I have seen the spectacular response of the market when we went with our new bonds so I think that this is a possibility,” Kicillof said in an interview in St. Petersburg, Russia, when asked about issuing more dollar debt in 2015.The 43-year-old minister said any new debt should be used to finance development projects like infrastructure and that Argentina wants to have capital market access to solve “real economic problems.”In April, Argentina sold an additional $1.4 billion of its 2024 bonds, triple the amount originally offered. The sale was done in the local market as a legal dispute with holders of defaulted bonds from Argentina’s 2001 economic crisis is preventing the country from raising funds in the international market. The government has $6.26 billion of bonds coming due in October and an attempt to swap part of those notes for longer dated maturities in December was largely unsuccessful.The so-called Bonar 2024 bonds fell 1.2 cent to 94.65 cents on the dollar at 2:24 p.m. in Buenos Aires, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The yield rose 0.22 percentage point to 9.86 percent, the highest since Dec. 17.Kicillof said Argentina is ready to resume talks with holdout creditors led by billionaire Paul Singer’s NML Capital as long as the litigating hedge funds don’t insist on getting “scandalous returns.” The last time Argentina met with holders of defaulted debt who were awarded full payment in a U.S. court was last July, he said.“It’s not fair to bondholders that entered in our restructuring processes,” Kicillof said. “We want a solution for 100 percent of the bondholders. We give them messages that we are ready to discuss, but in rational terms. Without extortion.”By Hugh BronsteinJune 21, 2015Argentina’s Cristina Fernandez will step down as president in December, but her influence may remain strong enough to impede investment-friendly reforms in Congress if her ruling party wins legislative elections in October.Ending speculation she might run for Congress herself, the outgoing two-term president is letting her economy minister, the architect of her interventionist policies, lead the Front for Victory party’s fight to retain control of the House and Senate.“The candidate is the project,” Economy Minister Axel Kicillof told local radio on Sunday, following the deadline for candidates to register ahead of the August party primaries.“Those of us who represent the Front for Victory will be there to carry on and deepen a project that is now 12 years old,” he said, referring to Fernandez’s eight years in power and the four-year presidency of her predecessor and late husband Nestor Kirchner.Argentines will go to the polls on Oct. 25 to elect a new Congress and president. If Fernandez’s allies keep control of both legislative chambers, it may slow any market-friendly reform efforts by the next president, who is scheduled to take office on Dec. 10.The government’s fiscal accounts have deteriorated under Fernandez, who is barred from seeking a third consecutive term in October but may run for the presidency again in four years, while heavy-handed trade and currency controls have slowed the economy to a crawl.Fernandez’s son Maximo Kirchner, leader of his mother’s “La Campora” activist youth organization, is running to represent the southern province of Santa Cruz in Congress.Front-running presidential candidate Daniel Scioli, who is a member of Fernandez’s party but favors a more pro-market approach to policy, has named Fernandez’s top legal advisor, Carlos Zannini, as his running mate.“Zannini’s nomination together with the packing of Front for Victory legislative tickets with ‘Cristinista’ hard-liners will affect investors’ perceptions about policy change,” said Ignacio Labaqui, an analyst with Medley Global Advisors.“Scioli’s ability to make a clean break from Cristina might be negatively affected by her influence after the end of her presidential term,” Labaqui said.A Congress loyal to Fernandez could also hamper her successor’s efforts to put the country’s 2002 sovereign debt default behind it. The country is in a protracted legal battle with bondholders who rejected the roughly 70 percent reduction in payment terms offered by Argentina’s 2005 and 2010 debt restructurings.Argentina defaulted again last year when a U.S. judge barred it from paying restructured bonds without settling with the “holdout” investors.By Hugh BronsteinJune 19, 2015Argentina’s presidential contender Mauricio Macri on Friday picked a business-friendly senator with middle class appeal as his running mate, reinforcing his center-right challenge to the ruling party’s ticket.Senator Gabriela Michetti will join Macri in his campaign against front-runner Daniel Scioli, governor of Buenos Aires province. Scioli is allied with outgoing leader Cristina Fernandez, whose heavy-handed trade and currency controls have slowed Latin America’s No. 3 economy to a crawl.By picking Michetti, Macri confirmed his image as the candidate most likely to break with Fernandez’s policies, which have scared off investment in Argentina’s vast but barely developed shale oil fields. Scioli had already picked one of Fernandez’s closest advisors as his vice presidential candidate.The senator got her start in politics in 2003, years after being left in a wheelchair by an auto accident. A charismatic campaigner, the 50-year-old Michetti is popular among middle class voters and may attract support from outside Macri’s urban professional base.Michetti has been a stalwart of Macri’s Republican Proposal (PRO) party during her 12 years in politics.“Gabriela loyally represents all the values we have fought for,” Macri said.Her candidacy might also help him with voters offended by comments he made last year that were criticized as being sexist.In a radio show on the issue of catcalling, Macri defended the practice, saying “deep down all women like compliments.”“Some say ‘no, that’s offensive’, but I don’t believe any of that … Even if you say something rude, like ‘What a cute ass you have’… it’s all good,” Macri said.Fernandez is constitutionally barred from running for a third consecutive term in October. She is expected to try to remain influential after leaving the presidency in December, and may even run for the top job again in four years.Scioli is from Fernandez’s Front for Victory party, although he has positioned himself as more orthodox than her on economic matters. Scioli’s choice of the president’s key legal advisor Carlos Zannini as his running mate was panned by markets as a sign that his investment-friendly leanings may be constrained by Fernandez.Argentine bond prices fell on the announcement of Zannini’s candidacy for the vice presidency.“Argentina is headed towards a challenging and difficult transition,” said Eurasia Group analyst Daniel Kerner, adding that Scioli is likely to resist pressure from Fernandez to continue her policies and would be better positioned than Macri to manage the shift to a new government.“The risk that he fails, however, is not trivial,” Kerner said.The Michetti announcement was widely expected by markets and did not move bond prices on Friday.June 21, 2015Argentine President Cristina Fernandez will not run for any office in this year’s elections, but she has set up supporters in key candidacies for the primaries in which 13 presidential hopefuls are participating.The president’s decision not to run for any office was a big surprise when the registration deadline passed at midnight on Saturday, given that many in the local press had speculated that she would run for at least a Mercosur parliamentary seat with an eye toward obtaining legislative exemption and other benefits.Fernandez, who will leave the presidency on Dec. 10 when her second term ends, however, has put several of her ministers and influential La Campora leaders, including the founder of that group, her own son Maximo Kirchner, into candidacies of their own.La Campora is a political youth organization that supports Fernandez and the agenda of her late husband and predecessor Nestor Kirchner.“If and when the judicial situation and that of her entourage doesn’t substantially worsen, the president probably will seek seclusion starting in December at El Calafate, her ‘place in the world.’ Perhaps she will also devote herself to making international speeches – something that fascinates her,” analyst Patricio Giusto, the director of the Diagnostico Politico consulting firm, said Sunday.The president also has seen to it that the governing Front for Victory’s sole candidate for president in the Aug. 9 primaries, Buenos Aires Gov. Daniel Scioli, is a close confidant of hers and will guarantee the continuity of the Kirchnerist political movement if he wins the election in October.Carlos Zannini, the legal and technical secretary to the presidency since May 2003, when Kirchner became president, will be Scioli’s running mate.Although Fernandez will not be running, she will pull in votes if she involves herself actively in the campaign, said analyst Rosendo Frage, with the Nueva Mayoria consulting outfit.Maximo Kirchner, 38, will head the governing party’s list of parliamentary candidates for Santa Cruz province, the cradle of Kirchnerism.“If Scioli loses, … at least the continuity of Kirchnerism is guaranteed via the significant legislative representation it will have,” said Giusto, adding that Fernandez “leaves the presidency looking toward 2019, whoever wins this year.”Voter surveys agree at present that Scioli is favored by a plurality of between 30 percent and 35 percentBy Charles Newbery19 June 2015Buenos Aires (Platts)–19Jun2015/1131 am EDT/1531 GMT Argentina’s state-run energy company YPF is looking at a potential partnership with Russia’s state-owned Gazprom for developing the country’s large unconventional resources, CEO Miguel Galuccio said Friday.The joint venture would be “to find niches where we can complement each other,” Galuccio said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, according to a statement by the Argentine Economy Ministry.“Russia today has the resources and scale that Argentina does not have, and this could enhance the development of our fields,” Galuccio said. “Russia has know-how and the service companies, such as in seismic and directional drilling.”This is the latest move toward a partnership between the companies, which has been in the cards since shortly after YPF came under state control in 2012.Argentina has turned to Russian banks and state companies for investment in building hydroelectric and nuclear power plants, as well as for oil services. A next step would be for Gazprom to start working in the upstream sector, in particular for drilling for natural gas resources.Argentina is running a 30% gas deficit, which it is plugging with costlier supplies from Bolivia and the global market, a drain on its tight dollar reserves. While domestic gas prices range from $3.70-$7.50/MMBtu, it is paying $8-$12/MMBtu for imported supplies.Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has set as a goal to return the country to the energy self-sufficiency of the late 1990s and early 2000s. YPF is investing $7 billion/year to rebuild oil and gas production after a decade of decline, including by wringing more out of maturing reserves and putting into production giant resources in shale and tight plays including Vaca Muerta, among the largest in the world.Since coming under state control, YPF has increased gas production by 25% and oil by 10%, Galuccio said.“We foresee good prospects for future production,” Galuccio said. “We have the resources and we are able to exploit them.”To put more of the shale and tight resources into production, Galuccio said YPF needs more partners.It has already teamed with Chevron, and they are producing about 42,000 b/d of oil equivalent from Vaca Muerta, the first shale oil produced outside of North America. Another partnership for shale oil started this year with Malaysia’s Petronas, while ventures with Dow Chemical and Argentina’s Petrolera Pampa are producing tight gas.“We are producing 3% of the Vaca Muerta play, and we are looking for partners to come to Argentina and invest with us,” Galuccio said. “This would give Argentina a scale that would make it possible to reduce costs.”By Will Greenberg22 June 2015The “Safety Truck” is a Samsung creation that equips trucks with front-facing cameras that display to screens in the rear.In Argentina, traffic accidents are one of the leading causes of death but a new creation of Samsung’s is hoping to change that.The “Safety Truck” is a Samsung creation that equips trucks with front-facing cameras that display to screens in the rear that show trailing drivers what’s coming ahead. With extra visibility, drivers looking to pass the truck would no longer need to drive into the opposite lane to see if another vehicle is oncoming.A recent blog from Samsung Tomorrow noted the need for increased safety on Argentina’s roads and said their new trucks intend to “save lives.” The blog also features a video demonstrating how drivers interact with the truck. In it, Samsung notes Argentina’s high rate of traffic accidents, attributing it to the country’s many two-lane roads.The camera is equipped with night vision and should also help drivers be more prepared in the event of a sudden stop if, say, an animal jumps out in front of a truck. The company said the technology is proven to work.The blog post said the prototype truck was developed by a “local B2B client” but that it is no longer operational. The company said its next step is to work with NGOs and local government to “perform the corresponding tests in order to comply with the existing national protocols and obtain the necessary permits and approvals.”While the idea has the potential to increase road safety, it’s unclear how soon before anyone will see a Safety Truck on the road. Cost-efficiency could be an issue as the screens necessary for driver viewing are expensive, The Verge reported.Other recent advances in truck-related technology also include automated driving. Daimler Trucks North America unveiled their self-driving trucks in May in Nevada. However, much like the Samsung trucks, they will need national regulations changed before they are widely used.8. IT’S PATAGOMANIA ; AN END OF THE WORLD WITH ITS OWN FLORA AND (WOOLLY) FAUNA, POPULAR WITH ADVENTURERS FOR ITS GRANITE TOWERS, GLACIERS, AND HUGE ICE FIELD (The Boston Globe)By Rick Warner21 June 2015LOS GLACIARES NATIONAL PARK, Argentina — Following a brisk hike on the Perito Moreno Glacier, my wife and I shared a toast with our fellow trekkers, raising glasses of whiskey sprinkled with crushed ice from the frozen water beneath our crampon-strapped boots. We dubbed it Scotch on the glacial rocks.The celebration occurred in Los Glaciares National Park, part of a natural wonderland in southern Argentina known as Patagonia. Split between Chile and Argentina, it’s a South American version of Alaska with snow-capped mountains, blue-tinged glaciers, pristine waterfalls, and a cornucopia of plants and wildlife.To most Americans, Patagonia is a company that makes trendy outdoor clothing. It was also one of the South American hideouts used by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid before they were gunned down by Bolivian soldiers in a shootout immortalized in the 1969 movie starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford.Today, it’s a mecca for hikers, campers, climbers, and other outdoor enthusiasts from all over the world, a booming tourist area where backpacks are as common as empanadas.After flying from New York to Santiago, we spent three days in the Chilean capital before flying to Punta Arenas, a scenic city near the country’s southern tip.As part of our tour package, we were picked up at the airport and driven to our hotel in Torres del Paine National Park, a five-hour trip on a highway known as Fin del Mundo, or “end of the world” in Spanish, a fitting description for a remote region that has Antarctica for a neighbor.About halfway between Punta Arenas and Torres del Paine, we stopped for lunch at the Cerro Negro ranch, which is owned by the descendants of a Croatian immigrant who came to Patagonia in the early 1900s. (The family also owns Las Torres, the hotel we stayed at in Torres del Paine.) The ranch has 1,600 sheep and 300 cows, along with horses, goats, ostriches, and guanacos, speedy llama- like creatures prevalent in Patagonia.It was the start of sheep-shearing season — the animals are bathed and sheared once a year — so we got to see the process in person.The shearers work at a frenetic pace, trimming hundreds of sheep per day. A ranch hand told us the wool was headed for China, the world’s largest wool market.When we finally arrived at the entrance to Torres del Paine, several vehicles were stopped near a bridge where a puma was prowling. There are only 50 to 75 pumas in the 600,000-acre park, and they are are easily camouflaged, so sightings are relatively rare. By the time we got to the bridge, the puma was gone.Our rustic hotel was surrounded by frosted mountains and set in the middle of a working ranch, where beret-wearing gauchos herded horses outside our window every morning.The park is teeming with guanacos, a staple of the puma’s diet. We saw hundreds of skeletons, especially near fences, where pumas stalk guanacos that stumble while trying to leap over the barriers. We didn’t see any pumas until our third and final day in Torres del Paine, when my wife spotted a bobbing head in the distance.Pumas and guanacos are part of the park’s diverse fauna, which includes dozens of mammals and more than 100 bird species. We saw condors, eagles, vultures, rheas (flightless birds related to the ostrich), hares, foxes, and even pink flamingos. There are also 250 kinds of plants, including the calafate, a thorny bush that produces bright yellow flowers and dark berries.It’s almost always cold in Patagonia, regardless of the time of year, and the whipping winds don’t help. We were there in October, and the only jacket I brought was a light windbreaker. Big mistake. If you’re planning to go, pack as if you’re going on a ski trip, even during the summer.The park’s mountain range is marked by a trio of jagged granite peaks known as the Three Towers, ranging in height from 7,400 to 8,200 feet. Adventurous mountaineers regularly scale the peaks, though it requires a special permit and lot of climbing experience. I’m a daredevil who has skydived, paraglided, and bungy jumped, but my wife persuaded me that if I tried to climb one of the towers, it would be a one-way trip.From Torres del Paine we traveled to El Calafate, the closest town to Los Glaciares National Park. The trip took longer than scheduled because we got stopped at the Chile-Argentina border for two hours as guards questioned our driver about his license and passenger list. The guards let us through only because phone problems prevented them from finding another driver.The following day, we traveled by bus and boat to Perito Moreno Glacier, named after Patagonia explorer Francisco Moreno. After docking, we walked a short distance, stopped to put on crampons, and began our trek on the famous glacier that is part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, the world’s third-largest behind Antarctica and Greenland.Perito Moreno is one of the few glaciers in the world that is growing, not shrinking. Scientists have offered various explanations, but nobody is really sure why. Even so, we saw large chunks of ice splitting off into the water, a natural process known as calving that can produce huge waves and a loud cracking or booming sound.When we returned to El Calafate, a thriving tourist town that serves as the gateway to Los Glaciares, we visited an ice bar that’s attached to a futuristic glacier museum. Almost everything inside is made of ice, including the glasses and tables. Everyone is given an insulated silver jacket to wear, and you can only stay for 20 minutes. The $16 admission price includes all you can drink before your lips go numb.9. ICE, ARGENTINE OFFICIALS TRAIN TO COMBAT SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN (Imperialvalleynews.com)June 19, 2015Buenos Aires, Argentina – U.S. Ambassador to Argentina Noah B. Mamet and Buenos Aires State Attorney Martin Ocampo welcomed more than 150 law enforcement officials from throughout Argentina Monday for a one-day international training focused on combatting the online sexual exploitation of children.U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Southern Cone of the Americas Attaché Office co-hosted the event with the Buenos Aires Ministerio Publico Fiscal’s investigative unit known as Red 24/7.Law enforcement experts from the United States and Argentina traveled to Buenos Aires to partake in the training. Judges, prosecutors and investigators, representing various states throughout Argentina, participated.Experts from the International Center for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC), the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the International Association of Internet Hotlines (INHOPE) provided numerous training sessions and presentations discussing cutting-edge technology in the fight against the sexual exploitation of children.Ambassador Mamet said, “The United States and Argentina stand united as we tell child predators that they will be brought to justice. We are here to send the message that we will work together to find them, arrest them and ensure they never hurt another child.”“Protecting children from online sexual predators is paramount,” said Buenos Aires State Attorney Ocampo. “Last year alone, we tragically saw a 125 percent increase in these types of cases. Thus far this year, we’re approaching 800 cases. Trainings such as these are critical in helping us build the networks we need to operate quickly.”“When it comes to protecting children, there are no barriers or borders to stop us,” said HSI’s Southern Cone of the America’s Attaché Eddie Agrait. “We are committed to working with our Argentine counterparts in this important global fight.”HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or international number at 802-872-6199.For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI’s Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page.HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.