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CLARIN
Clarin is the largest newspaper in Argentina. It was founded in August 1945 and is based in Buenos Aires.
We Should Use The Pandemic To Rethink Death, And Life
CLARIN
Ignacio Katz

We Should Use The Pandemic To Rethink Death, And Life

Two years of restrictions and millions of deaths brought on by the pandemic might have had us reflect on the reality of suffering and death, but as booming pharmaceutical and retailing figures suggested, nothing can distract modern folk from their love of distraction. A view from an Argentine physician.

-Essay-

BUENOS AIRES - Talking about death gets bad press. Our culture hides it, and we shun it and can barely accept it as the final point of our lives. For philosophy, however, death is a star that has irradiated its dim light from the very dawn of thought. For medicine, it is akin to a calendar.

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A Russian soldier in Moscow in 1999.
Ideas
Juan Corradi*

Nothing More Dangerous Than A Clash Of Two Superpowers In Decline

The war in Ukraine is hastening the fall of major world powers Russia and the United States. There can only be one true victor from their protracted battle — China — and far too many risks for the rest of us.

-Analysis-

BUENOS AIRES — Worse than the Thucydides trap — a tendency towards war when a rising power threatens to displace an established one — is the struggle between two declining powers. In 1958, the sociologist C. Wright Mills published a book with a title relevant to our time, The Causes of World War Three. Four years later, the United States faced the Cuban missile crisis, which took the world to the brink of a nuclear war. Luckily, the leaders of both superpowers knew how to step back when a single miscalculation might have set the planet on fire.

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Mills elaborated in the book his controversial theory of the power elites. In both the U.S. and the Soviet Union, he stated, the system's three great pillars — military, industrial and political — merged at the top to form a narrow, cohesive group that wielded most of the power. That was his power elite. In the United States, the power elite manipulated a two-party, liberal democratic system, while in the Soviet Union, it ran a totalitarian state through a single party and top-down social and economic management.

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A farmer and his tractor in a wheatfield in Argentina.
Future
Clarín

Agrotokens Let Farmers Turn Surplus Grain Into Tangible Cryptocurrency

Digital currencies may be volatile, but one company in Argentina has found a way to allow farmers to purchase goods and services online using surplus grain.

BUENOS AIRES — Amid a boom in the price of farming products, an Argentine firm has devised a way for local farmers to turn surplus grain into digital credits that can be used to purchase goods with a debit card.

In partnership with Visa, Agrotoken, a firm founded by Eduardo Novillo Astrada and Ariel Scaliter, has created a card accepted by 80 million shops and businesses associated with its tokenized grains program. The firm is effectively linking Argentine farmers and exporters who have surplus grains with a global business network.

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Women cooking for young people in Argentina
CLARIN
Magali Salomon Gaido

The Argentine Diet Is A Perfect Recipe For Unhealthy Living

Like other Western countries, Argentina is struggling with an obesity epidemic. As young city dwellers adopt more diverse diets, the less well off rely on monotonous diets with low quality food.

BUENOS AIRES- Petrona Carrizo de Gandulfo, born in the 1898 and known familiarly to Argentines as Doña Petrona, was the first woman in Argentina to teach cooking recipes in the media. Her dishes were typically laden with copious amounts of sugar, butter and cream.

Dishes that may seem excessive today were common in the mid-20th century, and for a reason. They were made for Argentines doing physical work for long hours. As they expended more energy then, the average diet (which was an eating regimen, not a slimming plan), meant an intake of some 4,000 calories a day.

Today, that has halved, and as labels will tell you, percent daily values are based on a 2,000-calorie diet. The challenge now, living as we do with technology and the Internet, is not eating enough, but sedentary lifestyles. Clara Iturralde, a nutritionist at the private Cliníc Integral in Buenos Aires, says it was "totally necessary" to change to 2,000 calories, as people do much less physical work. "Today, people walk less, take transport to work, machines have replaced people in various industries, and people spend many hours sitting at the computer, which means you need less energy."

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Pink cocaine or the drug of the rich makes its way to Argentina
Geopolitics
Nahuel Gallotta

Pink Cocaine: New Mystery Drug Hits Buenos Aires Club Scene

'Tuci,' as it's known locally, is making its mark in the Argentina. But is it really the designer drug 2C-B, or just a dirty mix concocted by Colombian dealers?

BUENOS AIRESThe "menu" of options, sent every other week via WhatsApp, arrived like it always did, Josefina (not her real name) recalls. Only this time there was something that caught her eye besides the constantly increasing prices. "Tuci," it said.

Josefina's dealer was offering a new drug, one she'd never heard of before. And at 1,500 Argentine peso (46 euros) per gram, Tuci was the priciest of the lot. Surprised — and also curious — resent the list to a group of WhatsApp contacts. She wanted to see what her friends thought.

"Let's buy it. Come on, let's try it," one of them replied. "It can't be Tuci. It's too cheap," wrote another before adding: "You get 50 doses from one gram. It's nothing considering what the drug's really worth." That was the specialist opinion.

Tuci may be a new option in Argentina, but not elsewhere. In Europe it's known as the "cocaine of the rich," used by stars, models and politicians, according to a 2012 report in the Colombian weekly Semana. In other countries the drug goes by the name 2C-B. It is a synthetic version of a mind-altering substance developed in the United States in 1974. Its developer, Alexander Shulgin, called it pink cocaine.

In Argentina, it is consumed discreetly, and in exclusive circles. As far as Clarín could gather by taking to users, Tuci arrived about five or six years ago. It was initially linked to Colombian criminal elements, and consumed at electronic music clubs in the districts of Palermo and waterfront areas. People who were high on the drug caught the attention of other club goers, who wanted to try it themselves. If the interested person was a regular on the nightclub circuit and trusted, a meeting was arranged the following week.

At that time a gram cost 1,000 pesos (31 euros), about three-and-a-half times the cost of standard cocaine. Today it goes for twice that, making it the most expensive drug on the market. Normally it's bought outside discotheques. Last January, Government Decree 722/1991 included it on the list of the country's illegal substances. So far, though, police forces have reported just one pink cocaine bust — nearly three years ago, in Quiaca, Jujuy.

In Buenos Aires, Tuci is snorted, while in Colombia and Europe it is taken orally.

The word Tuci is short for tucibi (a phonetic spelling of 2C-B), which is also the alias (Alejandro Tucibí) of a drug pin known in Colombia as the "Pablo Escobar of synthetic drugs." He is said to have traveled to Europe in the decade after 2000, attracted by its electronic music bashes, and supposedly met two chemists there who introduced him to a drug they made for Colombians and the rich. He returned to Medellín with the recipe and began producing and selling the drug at electronic music parties.

The business spread to Cali and Bogota, and in time provoked a war between cartels seeking its formula. According to Semana, one of the crimes related to the fight over 2C-B was the 2012 killing, in Buenos Aires, of the Colombian paramilitary and drug-gang assassin Jairo Saldarriaga.

Tuci is reputedly under Colombian control in Buenos Aires. The drug is thought to arrive from Cali in western Colombia. But a Colombian NGO, Échele Cabeza, thinks the substance sold here is something else, that it may not really be 2C-B. "In 95% of cases they're fakes, adulterated substances, replacements and mixes of mind-turning substances that are very dangerous," the group told Clarín. "Most likely the mix includes Sildenafil (viagra) to increase stimulation. But that as raises the risk of tachycardia and heart attacks."

Tomás Pérez Ponisio, a member of PAF!, a civil association that works on drug-related social problems, says he used Tuci just once, at a party in Mar del Plata. He was offered it twice more. "It must be available... because you can get anything in Argentina. But it's not widespread like other drugs. We have had very few experiences reported to our webpage, and considering how they tell us they consumed it and the price paid for it, it wouldn't be 2C-B."

In Buenos Aires, Tuci is snorted, while in Colombia and Europe it is taken orally. The doses also vary greatly. In Argentina users buy it by the gram, which in other countries can last for various nights or be shared among a group.

"It is a drug to be taken in small doses," says Carolina Ahumada of PAF! "We're not used to that in Argentina." She says that taking it like cocaine or other drugs could be a problem. "There is a lack of information," she adds. "People don't know how to take it. In any case the Tuci we find in Argentina seems to be at a knock-down price."

A Colombian drug dealer currently jailed in Buenos Aires agreed to talk to Clarín. He admits he took Tuci in Bogota and says he found out about its arrival in Argentina while in jail. "Selling Tuci in Argentina is not good business for Colombians," he said. "Those who do it make us bring more than two kilograms per trip. Colombian drug dealers have never worked in small time dealing. This is only worth it if they stretch the drug with other products. There are people from my country who allow themselves the luxury of ordering some for their personal use, or ask relatives or friends traveling here to bring the odd 10 or 20 grams. Just to enjoy the "the original.""

Macron, Part Deux: France And The World React In 22 Front Pages
Geopolitics

Macron, Part Deux: France And The World React In 22 Front Pages

Newspapers in France and around the world are devoting their Monday front pages to Emmanuel Macron's reelection as French president.

Emmanuel Macron won a second term as president of France, beating far-right leader Marine Le Pen by a wide 58.5-41.5% margin ... oui, mais.

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If The Pope Won't Condemn Putin, He'll Wind Up On The Wrong Side Of History
Ideas
Ricardo Roa

If The Pope Won't Condemn Putin, He'll Wind Up On The Wrong Side Of History

Pope Francis must make a hard choice that supersedes his eagerness to heal the rift between Catholicism and Orthodoxy, which is diluting his already tepid postures on the Russian war in Ukraine.

-OpEd-

BUENOS AIRES — It is difficult to find an explanation for the Pope's choice for discretion in the face of the massacre in Ukraine. A month into the invasion, as the deaths and destruction mount, Pope Francis has yet to condemn Russia or its president, Vladimir Putin. As far as our Jorge Bergoglio, the former archbishop of Buenos Aires, is concerned, they are not at fault. Few in the world would agree; in fact he is swimming against the tide.

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Thousands have already died and 10 million Ukrainians have been forced from their homes, with 3.5 million fleeing abroad. This is the biggest outpouring of refugees in Europe since World War II.

The pope's strange, even bizarre, silence has been explained by some who seem to want to justify him. What are the apologists saying? They say Francis has yet to mention Russia or Putin by name because he wants to be a facilitator of negotiations, which he has yet to succeed in doing. In diplomacy, a facilitator is in a less risky position than a negotiator from a political standpoint.

Why not call this an invasion?

You can always use words to justify this omission (which is not an oversight, because it is deliberate) of a brazen aggression and the Russians' use of high-tech missiles on schools, hospitals and shopping malls; in other words, on innocent civilians .

The Pope's discourse is dense, but he won't say a simple thing: that one state has invaded another. He has repeatedly condemned the killings and sent messages and envoys to Moscow and Kyiv. His actions were also paltry — calling for a day of fasting and prayer for the victims — with seemingly paltry results. Again on Friday, Francis organized a special prayer for peace in Ukraine in a ceremony that evoked a century-old apocalyptic prophecy linked to purported visions of the Virgin Mary to three peasant children in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917. Still, prayers are not the only tools that Pope's can turn to

Saying nothing about Putin's war is definitely not enough

Yes, there have been two bolder diplomatic gestures in the past month. One was to visit the Russian embassy in the Vatican, 100 meters from Saint Peter's Square, in the same building as the Argentine embassy. It was exceptional as popes do not visit embassies. The other was more subtle, as he rejected the Russian label of a "special military operation" instead of war. That is the Kremlin's own use of words to hide some ugly facts.

Francis has received Putin three times, more than any other European head of state

Stefano Spaziani/dpa via ZUMA

Infighting within the Orthodox Church

A key personality in understanding this incredible silence is Kirill I, the Patriarch of Moscow, who calls Putin a "miracle of God." Francis is determined to bring the Western and Eastern churches closer and met with Kirill, the head of Russian Orthodoxy, in Havana in 2016. Moscow itself rivals the Patriarch of Constantinople as head of the Eastern Church, and was dealt a blow when the Ukrainian Orthodox Church declared itself independent of Moscow in 2019, with support from the Greek Church.

There is an intense fight going on in the Ukrainian Church. Kirill controls two of the three groups that make up its flock, and blocked the bishop of Kyiv's designation as a cardinal. Also, to help Francis, he authorized for the first time the designation of a Catholic archbishop in Moscow.

Kirill has been the pope's intermediary with Putin. Francis has received Putin three times, more than any other European head of state. The first time was in 2013, when the two asked the United States not to intervene militarily in Syria, then after the Russian takeover of Crimea, which Kirill praised, and lastly in 2019.

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In a word, Putin and Kirill share a nationalism that transcends religion. They want an empire and Russia as the center of opposition to the liberalism of Western democracies. Kirill blessed the cathedral Putin had built for the armies of Russia.

It is likely too much to ask the pope to visit Kyiv to stop the killings, as Ukraine has desperately urged. But saying nothing is definitely the wrong decision in the face of Putin's brutal war.

brain MRI
Future
Lautaro García Alonso

Data, Selfies, Prevention: How AI Is Transforming Healthcare

From testing for COVID through WhatsApp to taking selfies to check heart risks, AI programs are being used in Argentina to complement early-stage diagnoses. The technologies are in their early stages but are able to detect what the human eye might miss.

BUENOS AIRES —The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that every year 138 million patients suffer from medical misdiagnoses that prove fatal in 2.6 million cases. In the United States, medical errors relating to misuse of pharmaceutical products or misdiagnosis were the third cause of deaths there in 2015.

All this proves that medicine is not infallible, and even specialists can go wrong. The daily performance of all doctors is subject to factors like stress, overwork or exhaustion (they sometimes work 24 hours straight). In this context, technological advances of recent years may bring some good news. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has brought innovations that boost diagnosis and even detect conditions invisible to the naked eye.

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