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Traffic jam in Buenos Aires
Traffic jam in Buenos Aires
Pablo Novillo

BUENOS AIRES — Cash-strapped amid a deepening recession but still, in many cases, reluctant to take public transportation, Argentines are turning to car sharing or carpooling to move about.

This relatively environmentally friendly practice is well-established in some U.S. and European cities, but is still embryonic in car-loving Latin America. In Argentina it is catching on as fuel and car maintenance costs rise and public transportation remains defficient. Martín Rubio, one of the creators of SincroPool, a platform which facilitates sharing, says his firm provides companies with "a webpage allowing employees to coordinate their trips. We already have more than 30 firms including Volkswagen, Santander Río and Mercadolibre, with more than 15,000 users."

Some firms are opening pooling to employees of other firms. Mercedes Benz, for example — which created teneslugar.com for its employees — now shares this with Bayer. Its business development chief Verónica Pagniez says that in initial trials "20% of employees used the service daily. We are now open to other firms joining. People share trips to come and go to work and move between the main office and one of the car plants."

"Time is needed for Argentines to make the cultural change, but young people are responding well and we even have directors offering their cars," she said. Argentines between 25 and 35-years-old are responding best, preferring a "non-committal" style of sharing — nobody gets upset if a trip is cancelled and people agree on costs.

While sharing is usually between colleagues, often for security reasons, there are also more public networks like Vayamos Juntos. One of its creators Alejandro Van Morlegan says they have "60,000 users and while some share their daily commuting, many now get in touch for weekends and even for holidays."

Who is to say the love of your life isn't about to get into your car?

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Geopolitics

Minsk Never More: Lessons For The West About Negotiating With Putin

The longer the war in Ukraine continues, the louder calls will grow for a ceasefire . Stockholm-based analysts explain how the West can reach a viable deal on this: primarily by avoiding strategic mistakes from last time following the annexation of Crimea.

"War is not over" protests in London

Hugo von Essen, Andreas Umland

-Analysis-

Each new day the Russian assault on Ukraine continues, the wider and deeper is the global impact. And so with each day, there is more and more talk of a ceasefire. But just how and under what conditions such an agreement might be reached are wide open questions.

What is already clear, however, is that a ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine must not repeat mistakes made since the open conflict between the two countries began more than eight years ago.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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Contrary to widespread opinion, the so-called Minsk ceasefire agreements of 2014-2015 were not meant as a definitive solution. And as we now know, they would not offer a path to peace. Instead, the accord negotiated in the Belarusian capital would indeed become part of the problem, as it fueled the aggressive Russian strategies that led to the escalation in 2022.

In early September 2014, the Ukrainian army suffered a crushing defeat at Ilovaisk against unmarked regular Russian ground forces. Fearing further losses, Kyiv agreed to negotiations with Moscow.

The Minsk Protocol (“Minsk I”) – followed shortly thereafter by a clarifying memorandum – baldly served Russian interests. For example, it envisaged a “decentralization” – i.e. Balkanization – of Ukraine. An uneasy truce came about; but the conflict was in no way resolved.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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