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Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has made her first public appearance in six weeks, ending a long silence that led to questions about her health following brain surgery.

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was welcomed by hundreds of supporters at the presidential palace in Buenos Aires.

In a televised address, she announced a plan to help unemployed young people.

The president dismissed speculation about her health and criticized Argentina’s media.

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was welcomed by hundreds of supporters at the presidential palace in Buenos Aires

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was welcomed by hundreds of supporters at the presidential palace in Buenos Aires

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner had an operation on October 8 to remove a blood clot from her brain and returned to work on November 18.

But she had not spoken in public since a high-profile ceremony in Buenos Aires on December 10.

“They wanted to create the impression among the Argentine people that I couldn’t do it anymore,” she said, referring to the media, which is largely hostile to her government.

“The truth is I had some problems, but I would like to see who, facing the same problems, would have continued to govern for 40 million Argentines,” the president said.

“I hope nobody criticizes this nationally televised address after demanding my presence so much,” she added ironically.

The opposition said Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner had “disappeared” as the country’s economic crisis worsened.

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Argentina has restricted online shopping as part of efforts to stop foreign currency reserves from falling any further.

According to new conditions, anyone buying items through international websites will now need to sign a declaration and produce it at a customs office, where the packages have to be collected.

The procedure will need to be repeated for every new purchase.

Argentina’s reserves of hard currencies dropped by 30% last year.

The government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has introduced a number of restrictions on transactions with foreign currency.

Items imported through websites such as Amazon and eBay are no longer delivered to people’s home addresses. The parcels need to be collected from the customs office.

Argentina has restricted online shopping as part of efforts to stop foreign currency reserves from falling any further

Argentina has restricted online shopping as part of efforts to stop foreign currency reserves from falling any further

Individuals are allowed to buy items up to the value of $25 from abroad tax free every year, but it has been hard for custom officials to keep accurate records of consumers’ transactions.

Once the $25 level is reached, online shoppers in Argentina need to pay a 50% tax on each item bought from international websites.

The government hopes that new declaration will make it easier for customs officials to enforce the import tax.

New currency controls were introduced a week after Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was re-elected in 2011.

Among the restrictions introduced more recently was a 35% tariff on credit card transaction abroad.

Despite the government’s efforts, Argentina’s reserves are now below $30 billion – their lowest level since 2006.

Currency controls, which were common in most countries until the mid-1980s were dropped in Argentina in 1991. Finance Minister Domingo Cavallo pegged the local currency, the peso, to the dollar.

The plan collapsed 10 years later, when the government was forced to devalue its currency.

Argentina eventually froze bank accounts and defaulted on its debts. It has since struggled to attract foreign loans at market rates.

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About 70 people were injured in Argentina on Christmas Day, when a swarm of carnivorous fish attacked at a beach near the city of Rosario, on the Parana River.

Argentina state-run Telam news agency described the fish as a relative of the piranha.

No one was killed, but swimmers suffered various injuries, including a 7-year-old girl who lost a part of one of her pinky fingers, Telam reported.

About 70 people were injured in Argentina on Christmas Day, when a swarm of carnivorous fish attacked at a beach near the city of Rosario, on the Parana River

About 70 people were injured in Argentina on Christmas Day, when a swarm of carnivorous fish attacked at a beach near the city of Rosario, on the Parana River

Ricardo Biasatti, sub secretary of Natural Resources for the province of Santa Fe, described the incident to the agency as “isolated and insignificant,” when the size of the river is taken into consideration.

Julian Aguilar, president of a local fisherman’s group, also downplayed it, saying the likelihood of such an event happening again was low, as attacks by this type of fish on humans are “occasional.”

The area is a popular swimming spot this time of year in Argentina, where it is summer.

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Argentina has agreed in principle to compensate Spain’s Repsol for the nationalization of energy firm YPF.

Argentina seized YPF last year without paying anything. The Spanish company had been demanding $10.5 billion in compensation.

In Buenos Aires, Repsol, YPF and Mexico’s Pemex, which holds a stake in Repsol, said they had reached a process for determining compensation.

No other details were released.

The agreement must be ratified by Repsol during a board meeting on Wednesday.

Argentina has agreed in principle to compensate Spain's Repsol for the nationalization of energy firm YPF

Argentina has agreed in principle to compensate Spain’s Repsol for the nationalization of energy firm YPF

YPF produces about a third of Argentina’s oil and a quarter of its gas.

Argentina has some of the world’s largest reserves of shale oil and gas.

The authorities in Argentina had accused YPF of not investing enough to increase output from its oil fields. Repsol replied that it had invested $20 billion in the country.

Repsol and the investment firm Texas Yale Capital Corp sued Argentina and demanded that it makes an offer for the YPF stake.

The EU also had filed a suit against Argentina’s import restrictions at the World Trade Organization.

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Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has been ordered to take a month off work after bleeding was found on her brain.

The 60-year-old Argentine president was undergoing medical checks for another condition when the bleeding – a subdural hematoma – was discovered.

Vice-President Amado Boudou is flying back from France to take over her duties.

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has been campaigning ahead of congressional elections.

The break from campaigning is considered awkward for the president as some opinion polls have suggested the government could lose control of Congress in the poll on October 27.

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has been ordered to take a month off work after bleeding was found on her brain

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has been ordered to take a month off work after bleeding was found on her brain

Her spokesman, Alfredo Scoccimarro, issued a statement saying her doctors had carried out a brain scan in August after a previously undisclosed trauma – thought to be caused by a fall.

However, they found nothing untoward.

On Saturday, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner went to hospital for checks for an irregular heartbeat and also complained of headaches.

A further scan revealed the subdural hematoma – bleeding between the brain and the skull.

The condition is said to be “chronic” but not “acute” according to the presidential statement, and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner will not be staying in hospital.

Her doctors are to monitor the bleeding using imaging technology.

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, a centre-left Peronist, was first elected in 2007 and then returned to power by a comfortable majority in 2011.

There have been hints that she may seek a third term, though Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has never confirmed this.

This would also require a change to the constitution – only possible if her party keeps control of Congress.

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Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has criticized her country’s elite for trying to create a negative image of her government.

“These small sectors have done well through history, they have kept the lion’s share,” Cristina Fernandez said in an interview with state television.

The president added that most Argentines are better off now than when she came to power.

“Argentina is growing by 5% a year in a world that is collapsing,” she said.

She accused the country’s media of misleadingly “creating an image people believe in”.

“Many want to go to back to the Argentina of the past, where labor cost was much lower and profit margins from speculation much higher,” Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner told Television Publica.

She said privileged sectors in Argentina “have failed to learn from history, or believe that history can be repeated indefinitely.”

Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has criticized her country's elite for trying to create a negative image of her government

Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has criticized her country’s elite for trying to create a negative image of her government

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s government had reduced unemployment and raised the standard of living, she said, through successful development and growth public policies.

She said Argentina’s transformation began when her late husband, Nestor Kirchner, took office as president in May 2003.

Nestor Kirchner took over a country recovering for the financial collapse which culminated in street riots at the end of 2001.

Argentina enjoyed several years of strong economic growth during his government.

Nestor Kirchner was succeeded by Cristina Fernandez, who was first elected in 2007 and re-elected in 2011 with 54% of the vote.

But her popularity has since declined, according to opinion polls, and protesters have taken to the streets to denounce widespread corruption and high inflation.

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has also had a difficult relationship with the country’s media. Under her government, the Congress approved a new media law that critics say restricts freedom press.

She also introduced tighter regulations for Argentines attempting to buy foreign currency.

In her interview with state television, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said the measure was necessary.

“As president I look after the interests of 40 million Argentines. So, as I don’t print dollars, I need dollars to pay the debt I haven’t created.”

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Argentina has been ordered again to pay back more than $1.3 billion to a group of American investors – 11 years after its record debt default.

A New York appeals court unanimously rejected every Argentine argument against the payout.

The decision is the latest twist in the long-running legal saga.

Argentina refuses to pay anything to investors who declined to participate in a previous debt reduction deal involving most of the nation’s lenders.

“What the consequences predicted by Argentina have in common is that they are speculative, hyperbolic and almost entirely of the Republic’s own making,” the judges said in their decision.

Argentina refuses to pay anything to investors who declined to participate in a previous debt reduction deal involving most of the nation's lenders

Argentina refuses to pay anything to investors who declined to participate in a previous debt reduction deal involving most of the nation’s lenders

But the appeals court held off forcing Argentina to pay pending an appeal to the US Supreme Court – which is considered unlikely to hear the case, but puts off any decision to 2014, well after Argentina’s congressional elections in October.

The appeal came after a Manhattan court ruled last February that Argentina had violated its contractual obligation to treat all creditors equally. That meant the country would have to pay the bondholders, led by NML Capital and Aurelius Capital Management.

Argentina defaulted on some $100 billion of debts in 2002, and has since restructured its debt twice, cancelling around 75% of the nominal value of the bonds.

Almost 92% of the country’s bondholders agreed to write off most of the amount owed to them.

NML Capital and Aurelius are demanding 100% repayment of the $1.3 billion, plus interest.

The investors were so determined to get their money that they went to court to have an Argentinean ship, the Libertad, impounded in Ghana last year. After several weeks, the ship returned home.

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The Italian Football Federation has announced they will play Argentina in a friendly match to honor the soccer-loving Argentinean Pope Francis.

The match will be held August 14 in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico.

Pope Francis will watch the match not far away from the Vatican with audiences from both sides, according to the Associated Press.

It’s a long-awaited announcement for Italian manager Cesare Prandelli.  The 55-year-old stated outwardly back in March that he would be ecstatic over a matchup of these two countries for the pope.

The Italian Football Federation has announced they will play Argentina in a friendly match to honor the soccer-loving Argentinean Pope Francis

The Italian Football Federation has announced they will play Argentina in a friendly match to honor the soccer-loving Argentinean Pope Francis

“We’ve played friendlies with all the best national teams, only Argentina is missing,” Cesare Prandelli said back on March 27 following a World Cup qualifier with Malta.

“If we could arrange it, it would be nice to have an audience with the pope, who comes from Buenos Aires and loves football, and then go all together with both squads on one bus to the stadium. I couldn’t dream of anything better.”

The matchup has plenty of meaning for the religious Cesare Prandelli.  He brought his whole coaching staff out on a trio of half-hour long nighttime trips to a Polish monastery during the European championships last year.

It’s been a while since these two sides met.  Their last meeting was in 2001, also a friendly where Argentina came out on top 2-1.  Prior to that, Argentina knocked out Italy in the semifinals of the 1990 World Cup on penalties, led by Diego Maradona.

Argentina and Chile have ordered the evacuation of some 3,000 people living near the Copahue volcano in the south of their shared border.

The authorities in both countries issued a red alert – the highest possible – saying the Chilean volcano could erupt imminently.

The 2,965 m (nearly 10,000ft) volcano – which sits in the Andes cordillera – has so far only spewed gas.

Thousands of minor earth tremors have been registered in the area.

“This red alert has been issued after monitoring the activity of the volcano and seeing that it has increased seismic activity,” Chilean Interior Minister Andres Chadwick said in a news conference.

“There is a risk that it can start erupting.”

According to Chile’s Emergency Office, the evacuation will affect some 460 families living within a 25km (15 miles) radius of Copahue.

Argentina and Chile have ordered the evacuation of some 3,000 people living near the Copahue volcano

Argentina and Chile have ordered the evacuation of some 3,000 people living near the Copahue volcano

It said it could last about 48 hours, but could be delayed because of heavy rains in the region.

In Argentina, the authorities had first declared a “yellow alert,” but later revised it to the highest level.

They have now ordered the evacuation of about 600 people from the town of Caviahue to the neighboring city of Loncopue.

Last December, Chile also issued a red alert after Copahue – one of the most active volcanoes in the region – began spewing ash and gas, with smoke raising nearly 1.5km in the sky.

Nearby residents were temporarily evacuated, and planes flying over the southern Andes warned to avoid the area.

Hundreds of flights were cancelled last year due to the eruption of another volcano in southern Chile.

The Puyehue eruption caused huge economic damage not only to property in the area but also to tourism in Bariloche and other resorts.

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General Jorge Rafael Videla, Argentina’s former military leader, has died aged 87 while serving a life sentence for crimes against humanity.

Jorge Rafael Videla is reported to have died from natural causes in prison.

The general was jailed in 2010 for the deaths of 31 dissidents during the 1976-83 military dictatorship, of which he was overall leader until 1981.

Up to 30,000 people were tortured and killed during this period, in a campaign known as the “Dirty War”.

Gen. Jorge Rafael Videla had been sentenced to life in prison for torture, murder and other crimes in 1985, but was pardoned in 1990 under an amnesty given by the president at the time, Carlos Menem.

In April 2010, the Supreme Court upheld a 2007 federal court move to overturn his pardon.

Eight months later Jorge Rafael Videla was found “criminally responsible” for the torture and deaths of 31 prisoners and jailed for life.

Most of the left-wing activists were taken from their cells in the central city of Cordoba and shot dead shortly after the military took power.

The army said at the time that they were killed while trying to escape.

General Jorge Rafael Videla, Argentina’s former military leader, has died aged 87 while serving a life sentence for crimes against humanity

General Jorge Rafael Videla, Argentina’s former military leader, has died aged 87 while serving a life sentence for crimes against humanity

Gen. Jorge Rafael Videla was one of 30 members of the security forces charged with the murders.

Last year, he was also convicted of overseeing the systematic theft of babies from political prisoners.

At least 400 babies are thought to have been taken from their parents while they were held in detention centres.

More than 100 children given for adoption to military or police couples have since been reunited with their biological families.

A court in Buenos Aires sentenced Jorge Rafael Videla to 50 years in prison, while another ex-military leader, Reynaldo Bignone, received 15 years for his alleged role in the crime.

In an interview with an Argentine journalist last year, Jorge Rafael Videla said the crackdown he oversaw was the price Argentina had to pay in order to remain a republic.

“War, by nature, is cruel,” he said.

“An internal war, between brothers, is especially cruel.”

Jose Miguel Vivanco, director of Latin America for US-based Human Rights Watch, said Jorge Rafael Videla presided over one of the region’s cruellest repressions in modern times.

“He was arrogant to the end and unwilling to acknowledge his responsibility for the massive atrocities committed in Argentina,” he said.

“Many of the secrets of the repression will die with him.”

Argentina’s Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel told Reuters news agency: “Death has brought an end to his physical existence but not what he did against the people.”

The head of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, an association that works to uncover the real identities of the stolen children, described Jorge Rafael Videla as a “bad man”.

“I’m reassured that a discredited man has departed this world,” said Estela de Carloto in a statement to local media.

Jorge Rafael Videla was born in 1925, the son of an army colonel.

In 1976, he and two other military leaders staged a coup against President Isabel Peron, the widow of former leader Juan Domingo Peron.

Argentina’s dictatorship:

  • 1976: Military junta under General Jorge Rafael Videla seizes power – thousands of political opponents are rounded up and killed in what becomes known as “the dirty war”
  • 1982: Jorge Rafael Videla’s successor, General Leopoldo Galtieri, orders invasion of British-held Falkland Islands – more than 700 Argentine soldiers killed in its unsuccessful defense
  • 1983: Civilian rule returns to Argentina, and investigations into human rights abuses begin
  • 2010: Jorge Rafael Videla is sentenced to life imprisonment for murders during his term in office
  • 2012: Jorge Rafael Videla sentenced to 50 years for overseeing systematic theft of the babies of political prisoners

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Argentina has made an official protest after Uruguay’s President Jose Mujica was caught on microphone apparently referring to President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner as an “old hag”.

President Jose Mujica was overheard saying: “This old hag is even worse than the one-eyed man.” (Esta vieja es peor que el tuerto.)

A Uruguayan newspaper has posted audio of Jose Mujica’s comments on its website.

It has claimed that Jose Mujica was referring to Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and her late husband, who she succeeded as president.

Cristina Fernandez’s husband, Nestor Kirchner, had a lazy eye. He died suddenly of a heart attack in 2010.

Uruguayan President Jose Mujica was caught on microphone apparently referring to Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner as an old hag

Uruguayan President Jose Mujica was caught on microphone apparently referring to Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner as an old hag

President Jose Mujica has denied that he had been talking about the Kirchners, but has so far failed to explain who else he was referring to.

Jose Mujica made the comments at the start of a news conference while speaking quietly with another official.

El Observador newspaper posted the audio on its website, claiming that the president did not realize that the microphones were on.

The newspaper said that its website has crashed because of historically high levels of traffic generated by its coverage of the incident which has also gained the attention of social media.

Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman summoned the Uruguayan ambassador in Buenos Aires, Guillermo Pomi, to protest about the comments.

“It is unacceptable that derogatory comments that offend the memory… of a deceased person, who cannot defend himself, have been made, particularly by someone to whom Nestor Kirchner considered his friend,” a statement issued by the foreign ministry said.

Correspondents say that President Jose Mujica, 77, a former guerrilla leader who took office in 2010, has clashed in the past both with Cristina Fernandez and Nestor Kirchner.

Relations between Uruguay and Argentina have recently been strained because of concern in Montevideo over what it sees as protectionist measures enforced by Buenos Aires.

Nestor Kirchner was Argentina’s president from 2003 to 2007. Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner succeeded him and won re-election in 2011.

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HSBC, which was hit with a $1.9 billion US fine for money laundering last year, is facing fresh accusations of illegal activity in Argentina.

Argentina has alleged that HSBC used “fake receipts” to facilitate money laundering and tax evasion, and launder 392 million pesos ($77 million).

The country’s tax authority said it had filed criminal charges against HSBC.

HSBC said that it would cooperate with the investigation, adding that the allegations were “of great concern”.

“We are committed to working cooperatively with authorities to ensure a thorough review and appropriate resolution of the matter,” said Lyssette Bravo, a spokeswoman for HSBC.

Last year, HSBC agreed to pay US authorities $1.9 billion in a settlement over money laundering, the largest paid in such a case.

Argentina laid out its case against HSBC late on Monday.

“On the basis of what’s been investigated so far, in six months we’ve recorded 392 million pesos in fraudulent transactions, generated by evasion and money laundering,” said Ricardo Echegaray, head of Argentina’s tax agency.

Ricardo Echegaray added that HSBC also helped clients evade taxes on an additional 224 million pesos.

“We hope to recover what is due and see the courts apply an appropriate penalty,” he said.

HSBC is facing fresh accusations of illegal activity in Argentina

HSBC is facing fresh accusations of illegal activity in Argentina

Money laundering is the process of disguising the proceeds of crime so that the money cannot be linked to the wrongdoing.HSBC, which has previously admitted to having poor money laundering controls, has been taking steps to tighten its operations.

Last year, the banking giant said that it had spent $290 million on improving its systems to prevent money laundering.

At the same time, HSBC also appointed a former US official, Bob Werner, to work as its head of financial crime compliance, a new position the bank has created.

The bank said that he will be responsible for beefing up its anti-money laundering and sanctions compliance systems.

Bob Werner was previously the head of the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, the agency responsible for enforcing the US sanctions on countries, including Iran.

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The Vatican has denied that Pope Francis I failed to speak out against human rights abuses during military rule in his native Argentina.

“There has never been a credible, concrete accusation against him,” said Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi, adding the Pope had never been charged.

Federico Lombardi blamed the accusations on “anti-clerical left-wing elements that are used to attack the Church”.

Former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis I, led Argentina’s Jesuits under the junta.

Correspondents say that like other Latin American churchmen of the time, Jorge Mario Bergoglio had to contend, on the one hand, with a repressive right-wing regime and, on the other, a wing of his Church leaning towards political activism on the left.

One allegation concerns the abduction in 1976 of two Jesuits by the Argentina’s military government, suspicious of their work among slum-dwellers.

As the priests’ provincial superior at the time, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was accused by some of having failed to shield them from arrest – a charge his office flatly denied.

The Vatican has denied that Pope Francis I failed to speak out against human rights abuses during military rule in his native Argentina

The Vatican has denied that Pope Francis I failed to speak out against human rights abuses during military rule in his native Argentina

Judges investigating the arrest and torture of the two men – who were freed after five months – questioned Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as a witness in 2010.The new Pope’s official biographer, Sergio Rubin, argues that the Jesuit leader “took extraordinary, behind-the-scenes action to save them”.

Another accusation leveled against Pope Francis I from the Dirty War era is that he failed to follow up a request to help find the baby of a woman kidnapped when five months pregnant and who was killed in 1977. It is believed the baby was illegally adopted.

Jorge Mario Begoglio testified in 2010 that he had not known about baby thefts until well after the junta fell – a claim relatives dispute.

The Falkland Islands voters are going to the polls on Sunday and Monday in a referendum on whether to remain a British Overseas Territory.

Argentina has constantly reiterated its claims to sovereignty over the islands.

This is the case more than 30 years after Argentina invaded the Falklands and its troops were ousted by a British Task Force in a 74-day conflict.

Relations between Buenos Aires and the Falkland Islands are at one of their lowest ebbs since the war.

The islanders decided to hold the referendum in response to Argentine statements about the islands and economic measures taken against the Falklands.

Argentina has continued to insist on its sovereignty over the South Atlantic islands, and the government of Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has said the inhabitants’ wishes do not count.

Falkland Islanders will have their voices heard in the referendum, with 1,672 people eligible to vote out of the islands’ total population of about 2,900.

While the result is in little doubt, there are worries that the bad weather could hamper the return of ballot boxes from some remoter places.

The hope was that Argentina and other nations would listen to the islanders’ wishes for the future – but few on the islands believed that this Argentine government was in any mood to listen.

The Falkland Islands voters are going to the polls on Sunday and Monday in a referendum on whether to remain a British Overseas Territory

The Falkland Islands voters are going to the polls on Sunday and Monday in a referendum on whether to remain a British Overseas Territory

International observers will oversee the vote.

There are mobile polling stations, some of which will have to be flown out to and from the outer islands, hence the voting being held over two days.

Those who cannot vote include those aged under 18 and people who are not Falkland islanders.

Some Argentines living on the islands have “Falklands status” which makes them eligible to vote.

A “yes” vote would back the status of the islands remaining as it is.

Argentina has long laid claim to the islands, which it calls Las Malvinas.

Argentine forces invaded the Falkland Islands on April 2, 1982, entering the capital Port Stanley early in the morning.

The garrison of Royal Marines was overwhelmed and other British South Atlantic territories including South Georgia were also seized.

In two months of fighting 255 British and about 650 Argentine servicemen were killed, along with three Falklands civilians, before Argentina surrendered.

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The authorities in Argentina and Chile have issued an alert over increased activity at the Copahue volcano, which has begun spewing smoke and gas.

Many residents have already left the area as a precaution.

An orange volcano alert, the second highest, has been issued in both countries.

The 3,000 m (10,000 ft) volcano is in Argentina’s south-western Neuquen province, which borders the Biobio region of Chile.

The authorities in Argentina and Chile have issued an alert over increased activity at the Copahue volcano, which has begun spewing smoke and gas

The authorities in Argentina and Chile have issued an alert over increased activity at the Copahue volcano, which has begun spewing smoke and gas

Ash has been raining down on the nearby villages of Copahue, Caviahue and Zapala.

Residents who have stayed behind have been told to monitor the situation and be prepared to evacuate.

Planes flying over the southern Andes have also been warned.

Hundreds of flights were cancelled last year due to the eruption of Puyehue volcano, in Chile.

Spain has warned it will defend its interests as a row with Argentina over the nationalization of oil company YPF Repsol.

Promising a “clear and overwhelming” response, the Spanish government summoned the Argentine ambassador to Madrid to express its concern.

The majority stake in YPF is owned by Spanish oil firm Repsol.

Repsol shares fell by 8% in early trading in Madrid and the firm has vowed to demand compensation.

It said it would seek international arbitration over its 57% stake in YPF if necessary.

“These acts will not remain unpunished,” Repsol executive chairman Antonio Brufau told reporters.

According to AFP news agency, Repsol will seek compensation of at least $10 billion (7.7 billion Euros).

Spain has warned it will defend its interests as a row with Argentina over the nationalization of oil company YPF Repsol

Spain has warned it will defend its interests as a row with Argentina over the nationalization of oil company YPF Repsol

Argentina’s ambassador to Madrid, Carlo Antonio Bettini, is due to arrive at the foreign ministry at midday.

Earlier, Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said the “climate of friendship” between the two countries had been broken.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is due to visit Mexico and Colombia, where he is expected to seek support for Madrid’s position.

The nationalization was announced to applause on Monday at a meeting between Argentine President Cristina Fernandez Kirchner, her cabinet and provincial governors.

Reading out a statement at the meeting, an official said YPF had been “declared a public utility and subject to expropriation of 51% of its assets”.

Argentina wants to reduce its expensive energy imports from elsewhere.

Before rumors surfaced several weeks ago that Argentina might take YPF from Repsol, Spain and Argentina generally enjoyed good political ties, and important economic ones.

Spain does a significant amount of trade in the country, so there is likely to be an economic fallout to this dispute too.

Antonio Brufau accused President Cristina Fernandez Kirchner of resorting to nationalization “as a way of hiding the economic and social crisis which Argentina is suffering”.

Argentina’s crisis, he argued, was rooted in “a mistaken energy policy”.

He accused Argentina of running a campaign of “harassment” in recent weeks in order to push down the price of YPF shares and get a bargain price for the expropriation.

“It is not appropriate for a modern country, Argentina does not deserve this,” he said.

Repsol’s Argentine partner, the Eskenazi family’s Grupo Petersen, has a 25.5% stake in YPF which will not be affected by the nationalization.

However, Reuters notes that it is unclear how Petersen will be able to repay a $1.9 billion loan provided by Repsol.

 

Argentina has decided to nationalize a controlling interest in country’s biggest oil company YPF owned by Spanish firm Repsol.

President Cristina Fernandez said a bill be presented to the Senate allowing the government to expropriate 51% of YPF shares.

The move, announced on national television, was welcomed by her cabinet and Argentine governors.

Spain and the EU have already expressed concern at such a state takeover of YPF, in which Repsol has a 57.4% stake.

Shares in YPF fell some 18% on Wall Street following the announcement.

YPF has come under sustained criticism from the Argentine government, which accuses it of failing to invest enough in local oil fields.

Argentina has decided to nationalize a controlling interest in country’s biggest oil company YPF owned by Spanish firm Repsol

Argentina has decided to nationalize a controlling interest in country’s biggest oil company YPF owned by Spanish firm Repsol

The Argentina authorities have accused YPF of not investing enough to increase its output and so lessen the need for imports, an accusation it rejects.

The company has been stripped of a number of leases, including in some of the biggest oil fields in the country.

In recent weeks, speculation has grown that the Argentine government was planning to force through a bigger state role in the firm.

Spain has previously warned Buenos Aires that a takeover of YPF could have consequences for Argentina’s international image.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, has made it clear it backs Spain’s position.

In November last year, YPF, which was privatized in 1993, announced a major find of 1 billion barrels of shale oil.

Argentina has some of the world’s largest reserves of shale oil and gas, hydrocarbons trapped deep underground.

Argentina is ranked number three in the world in terms of recoverable resources, behind China and the US, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

 

Argentine officials confirms 49 people have been killed and at least 600 injured in the worst train crash in the country in the last 40 years.

The train hit the end of the platform at Once station in the capital Buenos Aires during the morning rush hour.

“We assume that there was some fault in the brakes,” Transportation Secretary JP Schiavi said.

Dozens of people were trapped for hours in the wreckage but all have now been successfully taken to safety.

“The train was full and the impact was tremendous,” a passenger identified as Ezequiel told local television.

Medics at the scene were overwhelmed by the casualties, he added.

“People started to break windows and get out however they could,” another eyewitness told Reuters.

“Then I saw the engine destroyed and the train driver trapped amongst the steel. There were a lot of people hurt, a lot of kids, elderly,” the eyewitness added.

Police outside Once station had to “keep back the curious and concerned as paramedics treated the injured”, eyewitness Tom said.

 

Argentine officials confirms 49 people have been killed and at least 600 injured in the worst train crash in the country in the last 40 years

Argentine officials confirms 49 people have been killed and at least 600 injured in the worst train crash in the country in the last 40 years

 

The train had hit the barrier at about 12mph (20km/h), destroying the front of the engine and crunching the carriages behind it, JP Schiavi said.

One of the carriages was driven nearly 6m (20 ft) into the next, he added.

Survivors told local media that many people had been injured in a jumble of metal and glass.

Emergency medical system director Alberto Crescenti said that some passengers who survived had to have limbs amputated. Many suffered from arrested breathing and trauma to the thorax region.

Many are in a critical condition in the city’s hospitals and there are concerns that the death toll could rise.

Five similar accidents have occurred in and around the city in recent months.

Many parts of Argentina’s rail network are antiquated and in need of repair and this incident will increase concern about lack of investment in the system.

“This is the responsibility of a company that is known for insufficient maintenance and… improvisation,” Edgardo Reinoso of the train workers’ union told Reuters.

“Lack of controls” on the part of state agencies was also to blame, Edgardo Reinoso added.

In September 2011, 11 people died when a commuter train in Buenos Aires hit a bus crossing the tracks and then hit a second train coming into a station.

This latest accident is Argentina’s worst train crash since February 1970, when a train smashed into another at full speed in suburban Buenos Aires, killing 200 people.

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