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Why did Bolsonaro spend two nights at Hungary’s Embassy in Brasilia? — MercoPress

Why did Bolsonaro spend two nights at Hungary’s Embassy in Brasilia? Brazil’s Federal Police (PF) are investigating why former President Jair Bolsonaro spent two nights at Hungary’s Embassy last month, a fact that was disclosed by The New York Times, Agencia Brasil reported. Bolsonaro stayed at the Hungarian Embassy in Brasilia between Feb. 12 and 14, a few days after the findings of Operation Tempus Veritatis investigating the existence of a plan to stage a coup d’état were divulged. According to PF sources quoted by Agencia Brasil, the investigators now seek to check whether Bolsonaro has violated any of the restrictions imposed on him by the Federal Supreme Court (STF). The New York Times suggested that Bolsonaro, who is the target of criminal investigations, tried to evade justice since the former president cannot be arrested in a foreign embassy that hosted him because he would be legally beyond the reach of national authorities. The US outlet had access to images from the embassy’s security camera, which show that the ex-president stayed there for two days, accompanied by security guards and staff from the diplomatic office. Ambassador Miklós Halmai also appears to have accompanied the former head of state there. The publication analyzed images from the venue’s security cameras and satellite images, which show that Bolsonaro arrived on Feb. 12 afternoon and left on the afternoon of Feb. 14. The images also show that the embassy was practically empty, except for a few Hungarian diplomats who reside there. According to the newspaper, the staff were on vacation because Bolsonaro’s stay was during the Carnival holiday. On Feb. 14, the Hungarian diplomats contacted the Brazilian employees, who were due to return to work the following day, telling them to stay at home for the rest of the week. Bolsonaro’s defense team confirmed that he spent two days at the Hungarian embassy in Brasilia “to maintain contacts with authorities from the friendly country.” In a statement, Bolsonaro’s lawyers say that he has a good relationship with the Hungarian premier, with whom he recently met at the inauguration of President Javier Milei in Buenos Aires. “In the days that he stayed at the Magyar [Hungarian] embassy, at his invitation, the former Brazilian president spoke with numerous authorities from the friendly country, updating the political scenarios of the two nations. Any other interpretations that go beyond the information passed on here constitute an obvious fictional work, unrelated to the reality of the facts and are, in practice, yet another piece of fake news,” Bolsonaro’s legal team argued. Commenting on the case in São Paulo on Monday afternoon, Bolsonaro insisted that he visits embassies frequently and talks to heads of state who “often call me so that I can provide them with accurate information about what is happening in Brazil.” “I also visit embassies here in Brazil and talk to ambassadors. I don’t have a passport, it’s being held, otherwise, I’d be with Tarcísio [Freitas, governor of São Paulo] and Ronaldo Caiado [governor of Goiás] on this trip to Israel, a sister country, a fantastic country in every respect,” Bolsonaro insisted. Bolsonaro’s passport was seized by the Federal Police during Operation Tempus Veritatis on Feb. 8 by order of Federal Supreme Court (STF) Justice Alexandre De Moraes after Lieutenant Colonel Mauro Cid, Bolsonaro’s former aide-de-camp, signed a plea bargain with PF investigators. “That Bolsonaro is a confessed fugitive comes as no surprise. Once again, he has shown his plans to flee. He did it at the end of last year [2022], after the elections, fleeing to the United States,” said Minister of the Secretariat of Institutional Relations of the Presidency Alexandre Padilha, who noted that it was up to the courts to analyze whether the case constitutes any irregularity. The government guarantees “absolute autonomy for the institutional functioning of the Federal Police,” he also stressed. (Source: Agencia Brasil)

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Milei and Villarruel together at event marking anniversary of Israeli Embassy bombing — MercoPress

Milei and Villarruel together at event marking anniversary of Israeli Embassy bombing President Javier Milei and Vice President Victoria Villarruel were seen together Monday at the ceremony marking the 32nd anniversary of the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires after they were reported to be at odds following the Senate’s rejection of the head of state’s most-encompassing emergency decree (DNU) 70/2023 last week. They reportedly held a confidential meeting at Olivos Residence to lower tensions. Milei’s presence at the event was also a new sign of his alliance with Israel. He was the first president in more than two decades to participate in this yearly commemoration of the 29 dead, 22 of whom were identified, and more than 200 injured, as a result of the terrorist attack staged on March 17, 1992. The last one had been Fernando De la Rúa (1999-2001). No one has been arrested or convicted for the attack. During the ceremony, Israeli Ambassador Eyal Sela said that “every Israeli diplomat feels that these scarred walls could have been his offices.” “It has been 32 years since Hezbollah wiped out this building and sowed terror, two years later, Iran came back to plan another bombing that ended with the AMIA,” he added. “Only a few months ago, Hamas entered Israel and rewrote in blood the history of dozens of Argentines who were murdered or kidnapped. The Cuneo and Vivas families, [were made] hostages of Hamas. Argentines and Israelis were once again united in this pain,” he went on. ”We are not alone, and President Milei -¬a Catholic who is in the process of converting to Judaism- expressed it months ago when leaving Yad Vashem (Holocaust Museum). We must know how to be on the right side of history. Thank you, Mr. President,” he concluded. Milei traveled to Israel last month. He visited holy sites such as the Wailing Wall and the Kibbutz Nir Oz, one of the places hit by the terrorist group Hamas on Oct. 7. He also announced Argentina would shift its Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which is yet to happen.

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Rift between Milei and Villarruel goes public over DNU Senate debate — MercoPress

Rift between Milei and Villarruel goes public over DNU Senate debate Argentine President Javier Milei Wednesday cautioned Vice President Victoria Villarruel and a group of Senators as they were about to debate the most encompassing emergency decree (DNU) 70/2023 which liberalizes the economy but needs Parliamentarian approval (or silence) to remain in force. The Office of the President of the Argentine Republic (OPRA) mentioned in a statement the “hasty treatment” given by the Senate to convene Thursday to discuss the norm as well as the initiative of “promoting a retirement formula without consensus” in the Lower House. The OPRA expressed its “concern for the unilateral decision” of some sectors of the political class that “intend to advance with their own and unconsulted agenda to hinder the negotiations and the dialogue between the different sectors of the political leadership” as Milei bets on his so-called May Pact to garner support from federal lawmakers from each province in exchange for federal funding to the governors. Last Tuesday Villarruel agreed to the requests of a group of Kirchnerism senators to add the DNU to Thursday’s agenda, thus triggering a rift between the Senate’s Speaker and Casa Rosada. The opposition is believed to have enough votes to reject it. After Milei’s warning, Villarruel tried to adjourn the debate of the DNU but failed and told those present that she did not agree with the tone of the presidential message. “In the run-up to the joint signing of the May Pact, called by the Executive Branch to reconstitute the foundations of the Argentine Republic, the Office of the President expresses its concern about the unilateral decision of some sectors of the political class that intend to move forward with their own and unconsulted agenda, to hinder the negotiations and dialogue between the different sectors of the political leadership,” reads the OPRA statement. “Both the hasty treatment of DNU 70/23 and the initiative to promote a retirement formula without consensus violate the spirit of agreement promoted by the President in his call for the May Pact,” it went on. “The potential rejection of the DNU, which is currently close to a definition by the Supreme Court of Justice, would entail a serious setback to the rights and needs of the Argentine people, implying, for example, the return of the Rent Law, the return to the rigid system of union social works, the maintenance of the corrupt model of the Automobile Registries, and the annulment of the open skies policy, among others,” the document went on. “The National Government hopes that the Legislative will not be captivated by the siren song of those who pretend to ‘score’ short-term victories to the detriment of the future of the 45 million Argentines,” it further noted. Milei then thanked those lawmakers “committed to the interests of the Homeland and the path of change, [who] do not lend themselves to the perverse game of those who have deliberately decided to hinder the development of the Nation.” “Regardless of any legislative outcome, the Executive Branch reaffirms its unwavering commitment to the 0% deficit, leaving behind the failed recipes of the political caste and moving decisively towards the path of prosperity and greatness of the Argentine Nation.” In addition to Milei’s official reply, scores of Libertarian social media users threatened to hang Villarruel at Plaza de Mayo as some 40 Senators are believed to be willing to vote against the DNU, which would deal the head of state a second parliamentary defeat after what happened to the so-called Omnibus Law.

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Argentine Coast Guard charges for air rescue of South Korean fisherman — MercoPress

Argentine Coast Guard charges for air rescue of South Korean fisherman A crew member from a South Korean vessel operating in the South Atlantic was air-evacuated by the Argentine Coast Guard and hospitalized in Trelew following an emergency case of appendicitis. The patient is recovering successfully but the South Korean vessel agents, under the new ‘cost effective’ protocol, will have to pay for the whole rescue operation and hospitalization, (and a fine for ‘illegally’ fishing in Falklands/Malvinas waters with no Argentine authorization, based on Decree 256/2010) according to an understanding with the Seoul embassy in Buenos Aires. Apparently the rescue operation took place over a week ago some 261 nautical miles from the city of Puerto Madryn, outside the Argentine EEZ, and was coordinated from the Maritime Traffic Outpost in Comodoro Rivadavia. The fishing vessel involved was the SAE IN CHAMPION, when a crew member started suffering acute abdominal pains, considered compatible with a possible case of appendicitis. Following contacts with the vessel’s agents and the South Korean embassy in Buenos Aires, it was agreed on the Argentine Coast Guard high seas rescue/evacuation operation involving a helicopter and a guide aircraft. The crew member was air transported to a Trelew hospital where peritonitis was confirmed with a successful surgery, and currently quick recovery. End of story, according to the official report, the South Korean agents and embassy full filled their obligations.

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Falklands Legislative Assembly Celebrates International Women’s Day — MercoPress

Falklands Legislative Assembly Celebrates International Women’s Day On the occasion of International Women’s Day, the Falkland Islands Legislative Assembly proudly joins the global community in celebrating the achievements and contributions of women around the world. This annual observance serves as a reminder of the ongoing journey towards gender equality and the empowerment of women in all aspects of society, both locally and internationally. International Women’s Day holds significance in the Falkland Islands in equal measure to that across the globe. Women play vital roles in shaping the community, economy, and governance of our Islands. From leadership positions in government and business to essential roles in healthcare, education, conservation, and beyond. Throughout the history of the Falklands, women have always made invaluable contributions to our society and this continues today. MLAs Teslyn Barkman and Leona Roberts shared their thoughts on this day: “As we commemorate International Women’s Day, let us honor the achievements of our women and girls past, present, and future, and work together towards a world where gender equality is a reality for all. “Let us celebrate the resilience, strength, and diversity of women in our community. Together, we can continue to break down barriers, challenge stereotypes, and build a more inclusive and equitable society for all.” Despite the contributions of women, it’s important to note that there still exists a gender pay gap in the Falkland Islands. This underscores the ongoing need to address inequality and strive for gender parity in all sectors. The Falkland Islands Legislative Assembly reaffirms its commitment to promoting gender equality and advancing the rights of women and girls, whether by birth or self-determination. “Through ongoing efforts to address gender disparities, foster women’s leadership, and create opportunities for all, we strive to create a brighter and more equitable future for generations to come.”

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Argentina shuts down Telam news service — MercoPress

Argentina shuts down Telam news service Argentina’s state-run news service Télam came to an end Monday when 700 of its workers received emails telling them they should not show up for work because they had been placed on leave while the outlet’s website shows a sign reading it is “under reconstruction.” President Javier Milei had announced on March 1 that one of his spending cuts would involve closing what he dubbed “a nest of Kirchnerite propaganda.” Invoking the country’s 50% poverty levels and the subsequent need to adjust State expenditures, Milei argued that Argentine taxpayers should not have to support these companies. The president’s so-called “chainsaw plan” included a reduction of the number of ministries, the end of benefits for public officials, and the closure of institutions such as the National Institute against Discrimination, Xenophobia and Racism (INADI) and Telam. The Buenos Aires Press Union (SiPreBA) said Milei’s decision was one of the most serious attacks on freedom of expression in the last 40 years of democracy. Since Télam was created by law in 1945 under then-President Juan Domingo Perón, the legal basis for Milei’s action remains to be seen. No bill has been submitted to Congress, and no emergency decree (DNU) has been issued, which could bypass parliamentary approval, albeit for a limited period. With 27 correspondents and around 50 reporters and photojournalists nationwide, Télam’s closure is expected to have an impact on the many outlets that fed off its service of around 500 daily reports. The Association of Foreign Correspondents of the Argentine Republic (ACERA) issued a statement highlighting the need for the country to have a state – though non-governmental – news agency that guarantees access to plural information and supports the dissemination of news that, for obvious reasons, is not usually of interest to commercial media, but that is nonetheless vital for the public opinion. A state agency also strengthens the arrival of information to all geographical locations in the country, ACERA also pointed out. If, indeed, as the Government claims, Télam is no longer balanced and neutral, the path should be reformulated and not annihilated, the guild added while standing for the freedom of the press contemplated in articles 1, 7, 14, 33, 41, and 42 of the Argentine Constitution in as well as in international treaties of which Argentina is a signatory and which have Constitutional status. Fearing Télams demise, various opposition lawmakers were reported to be eyeing a bill to guarantee the service’s continuity. Kirchnerist Congressman Pablo Carro demanded “that the National Executive Power support Télam, as the only Argentine news agency with federal scope and correspondents in all provinces.” He warned that “a possible closure of Télam would affect not only the specific generation of daily use material of hundreds of medium and small companies and journalistic organizations nationwide but also hundreds of workers who practice journalism with professionalism and years of seniority. ”Its federal profile and its ability to generate diverse information, far from being eliminated, should be strengthened through a reorientation of this public company,“ Carro highlighted. Former Left Front presidential candidate Myriam Bregman submitted a bill rejecting ”any attempt to advance on the scrapping and emptying of the Télam Agency.“ She argued that ”behind the closure of the Agency lies a new attack on the right to communication, information, and freedom of expression.“ Unión por la Patria’s Eduardo Valdés had already sought last Thursday to have Congress prevent the closure of Télam. ”The Government has to understand that it cannot take everything that contributes to the construction of federalism, diversity, and quality of information.” In line with Milei’s policies, Radio Nacional (another state-owned media) Director Héctor Cavallero decided not to renew the contracts of over 100 workers in a move to have affiliates nationwide broadcast the same shows aired from Buenos Aires. He also asked the directors of the 48 provincial branches still in office to resign, Clarín reported. Cavallero is a well-known entertainment producer dating back to the 1970s and 1980s who intends to make Radio Nacional profitable while under the previous management of Rosario Lufrano, it was decided that the station should not include any advertising.

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Milei launches “May Pact” offer to governors in exchange for financial aid — MercoPress

Milei launches “May Pact” offer to governors in exchange for financial aid Argentine President Javier Milei Friday announced he was summoning the governors of the 23 provinces plus the mayor of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires as well as former heads of state and other political leaders to sign on the national May 25 holiday what he named “the May Pact,” a foundational agreement whereby the rules of the country’s future would be laid out. He launched this appeal during his speech opening the 142nd Legislature. In the meantime, he instructed Ministers Guillermo Francos (Interior) and Luis ‘Toto’ Caputo (Economy) to hold talks with every provincial leader at Casa Rosada to garner their support for the so-called Omnibus Law while discussing federal aid. The May Pact would focus on ten strategic items, such as the inviolability of private property; the non-negotiable fiscal balance; the reduction of public expenditure to historical levels (25% of the Gross Domestic Product); a reform to reduce the tax burden, simplify the life of the Argentine people and promote trade; the rediscussion of provincial co-participation in federal taxes, a commitment of the provinces to advance in the exploitation of the country’s natural resources; a modern labor reform that promotes formal work; and a reform to the retirement system whereby those who paid their dues overtime are respected and those who would rather subscribe to a private fund may do so, the President explained. Milei also pushed for a political reform that re-aligns the interests of the representatives with those whom they represent and Argentina’s opening to international trade. “These 10 ideas, which are the basis for the progress of any nation, may be conditions for Argentine growth for the next 100 years, so that once again we may be a beacon of light for the West,” he argued. On May 25 “we shall see who are sitting at the table working for the Argentine people and who want to continue on this path of certainty,” he added. “All politicians are summoned to join us, regardless of who they are, where they come from, or what ideas they have defended” in a move “to leave behind the antinomies of failure and embrace the ideas of freedom,” he went on. The President also announced his administration would seek to enact a so-called “Anti-Caste Package,” which would include the suppression of a privileged retirement wage for the President and Vice-President, and have labor unions elect their authorities through periodic, free elections supervised by the Electoral“ branch of the Judiciary so that there are no longer wealthy leaders who have been in office for decades, since they would only be allowed to run for reelection once. He also pledged that anyone convicted of corruption would be disenfranchised from any national elections while any former official convicted of corruption would no longer be eligible for benefits stemming from their prior civil service. He also said he would seek to reduce the number of advisors of national legislators, while state workers who join a strike would lose their day’s pay. ”We will eliminate public financing of political parties and each one will have to finance itself with voluntary contributions from donors or its own members,“ the head of state also promised as his supporters chanted that the caste was not applauding. As he left Congress, Milei said in statements to the press that he chose Córdoba for the May Pact because it is ”the country’s foundational place in terms of knowledge.“ The first Argentine university was founded there. ”And don’t forget something important, that Conan is from Córdoba,” he also pointed out about one of his deceased dogs.

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Bolivia’s Deputy Minister killed in road crash — MercoPress

Bolivia’s Deputy Minister killed in road crash Bolivia’s Deputy Transport Minister Israel Ticona Castro died in an accident when he was on his way to mediate in a road blockade in Cuatro Cañadas. The official’s vehicle collided with one of the trucks hindering traffic on the road to Trinidad. The crash took place between midnight Tuesday and early Wednesday morning. Israel Ticona Castro was a 44-year-old lawyer from La Paz. “This vice minister was going to the blocking point to persuade the measure to be lifted, allowing the circulation of hundreds of stopped vehicles,” Government (Interior) Minister Eduardo del Castillo explained. Franklin Terceros, the driver of the Bolivian Highway Administrator (ABC) vehicle sustained head injuries and is in a life-threatening condition while Tupac Valda, a coordinator from the Public Works Ministry, is also seriously injured, Del Castillo added. The demonstrations are led by the Greater Chiquitanía Transportation Federation, which demands proper road maintenance, the leveling of the cost of tolls, and operating licenses for new fuel stations in the Santa Cruz region. The Government claims that union leader Armando Apaza encouraged the blockades “without a single justification.” The measure was lifted after Ticona’s death. “With great sadness and consternation for what happened, we want to inform the country about the death of our Vice Minister of Transportation Israel Ticona”, said Public Works Minister Édgar Montaño. Ticona Castro was to turn 45 on April 19. He had worked at the Ministries of Environment and Water, Rural Development and Lands, and Public Works where he served as Deputy Minister of Transport. Before becoming a public official, Ticona was a legal advisor to the Confederation of Intercultural Communities of Bolivia and also advised the peasants of La Paz. About two hours later, another vehicle hit the same truck, leaving another person dead at the scene. Santa Cruz Prosecutor Roger Mariaca said three people were apprehended, including Terceros and the driver of the truck on the highway. Both Montaño and Del Castillo ultimately held Apaza responsible for Ticona’s death.

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Argentina: Feud with Patagonian provinces not settled despite judiciary ruling — MercoPress

Argentina: Feud with Patagonian provinces not settled despite judiciary ruling A Federal Judge in Rawson ruled Tuesday that the national government of Argentine President Javier Milei should have not withheld the so-called co-participation funds owed to the province of Chubut. Nevertheless, Buenos Aires will reportedly take the case to the federal Supreme Court. Hence, the matter is far from settled. The federal administration’s decision had prompted a joint reply by the governors of the six Patagonian provinces (Tierra del Fuego, Santa Cruz, Chubut, Río Negro, Neuquén, and La Pampa) who threatened to cut all oil output in retribution. Chubut Governor Ignacio Torres said Tuesday that he welcomed Judge Hugo Sastre’s decision in the case filed by his government claiming that “the automatic withholding of co-participation funds” was “a tool of political pressure.” In the 77-page lawsuit, the government of Chubut requested a measure ordering ”the cessation of the automatic withholding of the amounts to be received by the province of Chubut as reimbursements for loans agreed within the framework of the Trust Fund for Provincial Development (Decree No. 286/95), from the amounts to be received by the province of Chubut as Federal Tax Coparticipation,“ which should last ”for the term of the economic, financial and administrative emergency of the Provincial State provided by Law No. VII No. 94.“ The petition also demanded that the National State be ordered to ”renegotiate the debt under reasonable conditions.“ Read also: Bullrich warns rebel governors with reprisals After the favorable ruling, the Patagonian governors gave a joint press conference in which they demanded Milei to seek consensus. ”We do not want more sterile fights,“ they stressed. We want ”a Patagonian development agenda to generate more foreign currency,“ they added. Torres said that ”the issue is settled“ and asked for ”unity“ because there is no time for ”ideological arguments.“ ”The issue led to a false rift between the national State and the provincial States. Argentina needs unity and that we agree, we do not have time to give ideological arguments we have to guarantee health, education,“ and other issues, Torres insisted. ”The national government has to accommodate the macroeconomy which is a challenge that we accompany. It was a statement before the justice because we are convinced that it is the right thing to do, it is not a war with the president,“ he further explained. ”This could have been solved with common sense. All the governors are here to dialogue, to generate consensus, to generate foreign currency,“ he added from the federal Senate in Buenos Aires. ”No governor wants the national government to do badly, but we have the right to disagree. We want to live in peace, to be able to govern our provinces without false rifts that harm the citizens. We have to be able to reach a consensus,“ he also pointed out. Despite his words, Milei’s administration announced it would seek a so-called per-saltum measure whereby the federal Supreme Court would claim original jurisdiction in the case to avoid the full chain of appeals. According to Law 26,790, a per-saltum only applies to ”those cases of federal competence in which it is accredited that they involve issues of notorious institutional gravity, whose definitive and expeditious solution is necessary.” According to Buenos Aires media, the judiciary war between the national government and those of the provinces is bound to escalate.

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Prosecutor wants CFK sentenced to 12 years in corruption case — MercoPress

Prosecutor wants CFK sentenced to 12 years in corruption case An Argentine Prosecutor Monday requested that former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (CFK) be sentenced to 12 years in jail for her alleged involvement in a corruption case going through its appeal phase. CFK has already been sentenced to six years in Dece. 2022 in addition to her lifelong political disenfranchisement. Since leaving office as Vice President on Dec. 10, CFK has no legal immunity. Prosecutor Mario Villar insisted CFK headed an illicit association for the award of road works in obscure circumstances during her two consecutive terms (2007-2015) plus that of her late husband Néstor Kirchner (2003-2007). For Villar, the lower court’s decision first instance sentence “does not reflect the seriousness of the act, [neither] is it in accordance with the principle of guilt, and [also] encourages officials to commit crimes” after 51 public works contracts were awarded to firms owned by businessman Lázaro Báez. Villar also asked for the conviction of former Planning Minister Julio De Vido (2003-2015); former Secretary of Public Works, José López; and the former head of the National Roads Directorate (Vialidad Nacional – VN) Nelson Periotti, in addition to Báez, as well as other defendants who had been acquitted, such as De Vido. Villar added that Carlos Kirchner, cousin of the former president and former head of the Undersecretary of Coordination of Federal Public Works, should be sentenced for breach of duties of a public official, of which he had been acquitted in the first instance citing the statute of limitations. Despite losing her immunity, CFK is eligible for house arrest after turning 70 years old. She continues to claim she is being targeted by “lawfare” (legal warfare) maneuvers.

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