October 22, 2015
BUENOS AIRES â€" In contrast with her fellow Latin American friends and allies â€" presidents Rafael Correa of Ecuador, Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela, Bolivia"s Evo Morales, Nicaragua"s Daniel Ortega â€" Cristina Fernández de Kirchner cannot immediately run for another presidential term. And without the "less-than-democratic" mechanisms those leaders use to hold onto power, there is no assurance her preferred candidate will win the upcoming election in Argentina to succeed her.
As it happens, the ruling party's candidate, Daniel Scioli, is nonetheless leading the polls, even if he was only reluctantly accepted as the candidate of the Victory Front â€" a coalition backing the Peronists or Justicialists, who include Kirchner's most radical supporters and close family members with their own political ambitions. Peronism is a political movement that aims to carry on the legacy of former Argentine leaders Juan Domingo and Eva Peron, mixing social justice and state paternalism.
What is not known is whether Scioli will win outright in the first round (needing 45% of votes or just over 40% but being 10 points ahead of the runner-up) or if he will have to contend in a second round.
He already reportedly has the support of Pope Francis, whose "Peronist" tendencies are practically a certainty and who has made no secret of his personal inclination in favor of Kirchner. As the Argentine historian Juan José Sebreli observed in Spain's El País, "the Pope is now backing Scioli." The historian qualified the candidate as an "obedient man" whom the Kirchner coterie had "turned into a rag." Would that be to clean up after them?
A second-round victory over Scioli by the center-right candidate Mauricio Macri, who is currently second in the pre-election polls, seems a tall order. For he would not be able to count on the votes of supporters of another of the candidates, Sergio Massa, the "dissident" Peronist.
Cristina Kirchner and Daniel Scioli back in 2013 â€" Photo: Patricio Murphy/ZUMA
Massa, a disciple of former free-market President Carlos Menem in the 1990s, could do better in a second round, able to count on Macri's votes. His challenge is to qualify for the head-to-head, since he is currently third in the polls.
Meanwhile, amid the jockeying of candidates, ordinary Argentines are anxious about what will come after the elections, and economic indicators show serious uncertainty from the business community. As they say in the badlands of Río de la Plata, best to "unsaddle" until the dust settles ...
The three main candidates have vowed not to devalue the peso â€" something the business sector and exporters in particular have been asking for. Wine producers insist it is the only way to inject some life into the economy. Some economists have observed that a devaluation would help balance the budget and reduce expenditures consisting in large part of excess subsidies and electoral "donations."
Devaluation would be the beginning of change: breaking with the past, starting to make Kirchner pay for her policies â€" and effectively destroying her legacy.
That would not be easy for Scioli, but not impossible either. He is in any case less likely to approach his presidency as a means to continue the Kirchner "regime," in spite of many efforts by her supporters to surround and contain him.
It is even less likely that Scioli will devote himself to "safekeeping" Cristina K"s presidential seat, so she could return in the 2019 elections, as some analysts suggest, and as her diehard supporters no doubt hope.
Scioli, maintaining his typical "casual" style, will act in line with his own interests, which would logically include his own reelection.
So if he does indeed win, he will not be attacking Cristina, but instead will try and quietly distance himself from her, govern well and avoid clashes with allies and opponents alike. In the end, he would govern according to his own criteria. No, it seems, his harshest critics are wrong: Daniel Scioli is nobody's rag.
The oldest newspaper in Colombia, El Espectador was founded in 1887. The national daily newspaper has historically taken a firm stance against drug trafficking and in defense of freedom of the press. In 1986, the director of El Espectador was assassinated by gunmen hired by Pablo Escobar. The majority share-holder of the paper is Julio Mario Santo Domingo, a Colombian businessman named by Forbes magazine as one of the wealthiest men in the world in 2011.
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Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger
October 26, 2021
Welcome to Tuesday, where violence erupts after Sudan's military coup, Australia finally gets onboard with climate change goals, and Harrison Ford stars in Raiders of the Lost Credit Card. From Bogota, we also see what the capture of drug kingpin Otoniel means for Colombia, a country long stained by cocaine trafficking.
[*Nĭhǎo - Mandarin Chinese]
Saving the planet is really a question of dopamine
The elite of the ecologically minded are set to descend on Glasgow next week for the Cop 26 conference on climate change. But beyond debating policy prescriptions, French daily Les Echos explores the role our own brains have on making the right choices for the planet:
Almost every week, a new scientific study alerts us to the degradation of the environment. And yet, we continue not to change anything fundamental in our systems of production and habits of consumption. Are we all suffering from blindness, or poisoned by denial?
In his popular books Le Bug humain (The Human Bug) and Où est le sens? (Where is the Sense?), Sébastien Bohler, a journalist in neuroscience and psychology, provides a much more rational explanation: The mechanism responsible for our propensity to destroy our natural environment is in fact a small, very deep and very primitive structure of our brain called the striatum.
This regulator of human motivation seems to have been programmed to favor behaviors that ensure the survival of the species.
Since the dawn of humanity, gathering information about our environment, feeding ourselves, ensuring the transmission of our genes through sexual intercourse and asserting our social status have all been rewarded with a shot of dopamine, the "pleasure hormone."
Nothing has changed since then; except that, in our society of excess, there is no limit to the satisfaction of these needs. This leads to the overconsumption of food and addictions to everything from sex to social media — which together account for much of the world's destructive agricultural and energy practices.
No matter how much we realize that this is leading to our downfall, we can't help but relapse because we are prisoners of the dopamine pump in the striatum, which cannot be switched off.
According to Bohler, the only way out is to encourage the emergence of new values of sobriety, altruism and slowness. If adopted, these more sustainable notions could be recognized by the striatum as new sources of dopamine reward. But there's the challenge of promoting inspiring stories that infuse them with value.
Take the photo-collage exhibition "J'agis ici... et je m'y colle" ("I'm taking action here... and I'm sticking to it"), a collection of life-size portraits of residents committed to the energy transition, displayed on the walls of the French coastal city of La Rochelle.
Backed by the French National Center for Street Arts, photographer Martin Charpentier may be employing artistic techniques, but he's also tinkering with neuroscience in the process.
— Stefano Lupieri / Les Echos
• Sudan in chaos following military coup: After Sudan's military seized power from the transitional government, defiant anti-coup protesters have returned to the streets of the capital city Khartoum, for a second consecutive day. At least seven people have been killed and 140 injured. Coup leader General Al-Burhan has announced a state of emergency across the country, while the military cut off access to the internet and closed roads, bridges, and Khartoum's airport. Washington condemned the coup and suspended aid, and the U.N. Security Council was expected to discuss Sudan behind closed doors later today.
• Egypt lifts state of emergency in force since 2017: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, announced the end of a four-year-old state of emergency, undoing powers that had given the government sweeping authority to quash protests, make arrests, search people's homes without warrants, and control everyday life in the most populous Arab country.
• Platforms take down Bolsonaro video linking vaccine and AIDS: Facebook, Instagram and YouTube have removed an anti-vaccine video from their respective platforms posted by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. Beyond blocking the video, in which Bolsonaro falsely linked the COVID-19 vaccine with developing AIDS, YouTube went further and suspended the far-right leader for a week.
• COVID update: The U.S. will launch a new travel system on November 8, imposing new vaccine requirements for most foreign national travellers and lifting severe travel restrictions over China, India and much of Europe. Meanwhile, authorities in northern China are reimposing lockdown, and other emergency measures as COVID-19 infections spread to 11 provinces.
• Australia pledges net zero emissions by 2050: As one of the world's largest emitters of greenhouse gases per capita and a major exporter of fossil fuels such as coal, Australia has finally committed to becoming carbon-neutral by 2050. This is a target already adopted by most nations heading to next week's COP26 international climate conference, but that Australia had so far refused to pledge.
• Japanese princess loses royal status over wedding: Japan's Princess Mako married her boyfriend Kei Komuro, giving up her royal status. Under Japanese law, female imperial family members lose their status upon marriage to a "commoner" although male members do not.
• Raiders of the Lost Credit Card: A tourist returned the credit card of American actor Harrison Ford, who had lost it in Sicily while shooting scenes for the latest Indiana Jones movie.
"Out of control," titles German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, reporting on the release of a series of articles by a consortium of 17 U.S. news outlets, called the "Facebook Papers," that reinforce whistleblower Frances Haugen's claims that the social media giant is prioritizing profits over the well being of its users and society.
After striking a deal to sell 100,000 electric vehicles to car rental firm Hertz, Elon Musk's Tesla has joined Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Google's Alphabet in the club of companies that have reached a $1 trillion valuation.
What the capture of a drug kingpin means for Colombia
While the capture of Otoniel, Colombia's most wanted drug trafficker, made global headlines, Bogotá daily El Espectador writes about the significance of the news for a country that has battled narcotrafficking for decades.
👮 The arrest of the Colombian mobster Dairo Antonio Úsuga David, a.k.a. "Otoniel," is a victory for Colombian intelligence, law-and-order forces and the broader fight against crime. Details of the eight-year-long pursuit of the head of the Gulf Clan, of the tireless and meticulous work, testify to the capabilities that the police and army have managed to develop in the fight against the narco-trafficking that has long been a stain on Colombia.
🇨🇴🇲🇽 Otoniel is responsible for a criminal organization with more than 3,800 members and influence on 12 departments and 128 districts in Colombia (though data from the Bogotá-based Peace and Reconciliation Foundation counts 211 districts). The Gulf Clan sends half the drugs going out of Colombia, and is the main exporter to Mexico. Its ties to the Mexican cartel chief Joaquín "el Chapo" Guzmán are well-documented — and Otoniel had aspired to fill the power vacuum left by Guzmán's capture.
⚖️ Some have observed that the ensuing power vacuum will engender more violence, which is true. But we are, in any case, far from eliminating drug trafficking in Colombia or cutting its tentacles across public life. That shows the limitations of the hard-line response to drugs, when we have seen it is not enough. Still, it is essential in any fight against crime for the state to show its operational capabilities. The message is clear: not even drug overlords are above the law in Colombia.
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
"I love Mako. I would like to spend my one life with the person I love."
— Kei Komuro said during a news conference after his wedding with Japan's Princess Mako, the niece of the current emperor and the sister of the likely future sovereign. The princess lost her royal status as a result of her marriage with Komuro, a "commoner."
An art installation "Greetings From Giza" by French artist and photographer JR faces the pyramids of Giza in Egypt, as part of the 2021 exhibition "'Forever Is Now," the first international art exhibition to take place there — Photo: Balkis Press/Abaca/ZUMA
✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger
Send all commoner and royal well wishes to Mako and Kei — and let us know what the news looks like from your corner of the world! email@example.com
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