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Friday, July 6, 2012


8:42 AM Unknown



The key figures in Argentina’s military dictatorship of 1976 to 1983 were finally brought to justice in Buenos Aires..
  They received sentances ranging from 50 to 15 years for the reign of terror they inflicted on Argentina

 Their pretence that they had fought a noble war was stripped away from them as the eleven men were convicted of a systematic plan of baby theft and illegal adoptions.

The 11 included former Junta leader Jorge Videla, Reynaldo Bigone, and Jorge (the tiger) Acosta. All already serving life for countless other human rights abuses and murders.


     During the dictatorship 76 to 83 it is estimated that up to 30,000 Argentines were kidnapped off the streets and taken to illegal detention centres. Once there they were horribly tortured and many of the women raped by Argentina’s so called guardians.

    Of these 30,000 it is estimated that up to 500 were pregnant women. These women gave birth in captivity and were then killed. Usually by being hurled drugged and naked from military aircraft into the River Plate (Rio De La Plata) or some times dumped in pits or sometimes their bodies would simply be burned along with old tyres in order to conceal the smell.

     But justice has returned to Argentina and via a huge DNA testing programme the authorities have managed to find 105 of the stolen babies to reunite them with the surviving members of their extended families.

     And with each reclaimed life came more evidence against Argentina’s brutal dictatorship. Culminating in this trial where they were exposed to the country and the world for what they truly were/are.

JB Buenos Aires  

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Frinking a new word in the dictionary From Buenos Aires

5:17 PM Unknown
In 2010 a group of expats in Buenos Aires decided to start meeting up on Fridays after work for a few drinks. The group soon became known as the Frinkers (The Friday Night Drinkers) And the group has grown and grown sometimes attracting upto 70 people. They have now hit the magical number of One hundred Frinking nights.
And the group has now been rewarded by the urban dictionary adding the word frinking to their updated dictionary. See example Below
The act of heading out for a drink on a Friday night after work with friends. (FRIday driNKING). Frinks (the drinks) and Frinkers (those that head out Frinking) all stem from the root verb "To Frink". Originated amongst ex-pats in Buenos Aires in 2010 and has spread to other English language countries as travelers have passed on.
I'm heading out Frinking tonight.

Every week since 2010, Frinking has taken place in Buenos Aires on a Friday night, with a Facebook Events Group, and Meet Up Group to promote it.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Argentine Footabll Relegation System 2012

12:57 PM Unknown
Its a match in which they can win the league title and get plunged into a relegation battle at the same time.
This has been brought about by Argentinas convoluted relegation system in which relegation is worked out by deviding a teams points by the number of games played over a 3 year period.
This has in the passed served to protect the big clubs and make it very dificult for a newly promoted clubs to stay up.
Tigre plight is still unsure but i will try to explain the situation.
They are joint top with Arsenal so if we both win we will go into a play off against each other to decide the title.
If we both draw then Boca could join us in a 3 way play off if they win their final game.

Now the other end of the table.
If Rafaela win and San martin draw and union lose.
Then Tigre would have to go into a 3 way play off against san Martin and Union .
The losers of this 3 way play off would then have to go into a playoff against the team that finished 4th in the second division.
And 4th in that division could still be River Plate the Buenos Aires Giant
Thus setting up a titan battle in the north of Buenos Aires.
This battle would decide who is finally relegated.
So while the season could finish on Sunday Tigre's season could drag on for another 6 matches in which time they could be crowned champions and demoted to the second division. A bigger travesty of justice is hard to imagine.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Buenos Aires ranked worlds 121st most expensive city

2:52 AM Unknown

Regional focus

Europe, the Middle East and Africa
The Americas
Asia Pacific
Notes to Editors
City rankings

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Tokyo is the world’s most expensive city for expatriates, pushing Luanda, Angola, down to second position, according to Mercer’s latest Cost of Living Survey. Osaka is in third position, up three places from last year, whereas Moscow remains in fourth and Geneva in fifth positions. Singapore and Zurich share sixth place, up two and one places respectively since 2011. Ndjamena, Chad, drops five places, but Hong Kong retains its ninth place.

Karachi (214) is ranked as the world’s least expensive city for expatriates, less than one-third as expensive as Tokyo. Recent world events, including economic and political upheavals, have affected the rankings for many regions through currency fluctuations, inflation, and volatility in accommodation prices.

In the UK, London (25) is the most expensive city for expatriates, down seven places from last year. At 133, Birmingham is up 17 places, having overtaken Aberdeen (144) and Glasgow (161). Belfast (165) is the UK’s least expensive city, up 13 places in the ranking since 2011.

The survey covers 214 cities across five continents and measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment. The cost of housing is also included and, as it is often the biggest expense for expatriates, it plays an important part in determining where cities are ranked. Mercer's cost-of-living survey is the world’s most comprehensive and is designed to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation allowances for their expatriate employees. New York is used as the base city and all cities are compared against it. Currency movements are measured against the US dollar.

Nathalie Constantin-Métral, Principal at Mercer, is responsible for compiling the ranking each year. She commented: “Deploying expatriate employees is becoming an increasingly important aspect of multinational companies’ business strategy, including expansion. But with volatile markets and stunted economic growth in many parts of the world, a keen eye on cost efficiency is essential, including on expatriate remuneration packages. Making sure salaries adequately reflect the difference in cost of living to the employee’s home country is important in order to attract and retain the right talent where companies need them.”

“When compared to New York, our benchmark city, most European cities have witnessed a decline in cost of living. Some exceptions exist where accommodation prices have increased or additional VAT taxes have pushed the cost of living up. In North America, most cities have gone up in the ranking, as the US dollar has strengthened against a large proportion of the world’s other currencies. In Asia, more than six in ten cities moved up in the rankings, including all surveyed cities in Australia, China, Japan and New Zealand. Cities in Australia and New Zealand witnessed some of the biggest jumps, as their currencies strengthened significantly against the US dollar.”

Europe, the Middle East and Africa

At number four in the global ranking, Moscow remains the most expensive city in Europe for expatriates. Geneva follows in fifth position and Zurich in sixth (up one place from last year). The next European city in the ranking, Bern (14), is up two places from last year, following the strengthening of the Swiss franc against the US dollar.

With a few exceptions, the remaining European cities have all dropped in the rankings, mainly due to a considerable weakening of local currencies, including the euro, against the US dollar. Oslo (18) is down three places from 2011, whereas the next European city on the list, London (25) is down seven places. In 28th position, St. Petersburg is up one place. Paris (37) is down 10 places, whereas Milan (38), Rome (42), Stockholm (46), Vienna (48) and Amsterdam (57) are all down from seven to 13 places. Helsinki (65) and Prague (69) have both slid down the list, 23 and 22 places respectively. Brussels (71) dropped a more moderate nine places, followed by Dublin (72) – down 14 places. Ranking 207, Skopje, Macedonia, is the least expensive city for expatriates in Europe.

Ms Constantin-Métral explained: “Despite some marked price increases across the region in the first half of last year and widespread increases in VAT charges, most European cities dropped in the ranking. This is mainly due to the unstable economic situation across Europe, which has led to the depreciation of most local currencies against the US dollar. Countries badly hit by the Eurozone crisis, including Greece, Italy and Spain, have also experienced drops in rental accommodation prices.”

Tel Aviv (31) continues to be the most expensive city in the Middle East for expatriates, despite dropping seven places since 2011. Ranking 67 and up eight places from last year, Beirut has overtaken Abu Dhabi (76, down nine places from last year). Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (186), continues to rank as the least expensive city in the region. “On the whole, most Middle Eastern cities have dropped in the ranking, mainly because price increases on goods and services have been more moderate here than in our benchmark city, New York. Slight decreases in expatriate accommodation costs were also observed in Abu Dhabi and Dubai,” said Ms Constantin-Métral.

Despite dropping off the top spot on the global list, Luanda, Angola (2), remains the highest ranking city in Africa. Ndjamena, Chad (8), follows, dropping five places since 2011. Dropping eight places, Libreville, Gabon (20), is the next African city on the list, followed by Khartoum, Sudan (26), which is up 18 places. “It might be surprising to see 20 African cities in the top third of the ranking. The main driver behind this is the difficulty finding good, secure accommodation for expatriates. So the limited supply of acceptable accommodation is very expensive. The cost of imported international goods is also high, contributing to many regional cities moving up the ranking,” said Ms Constantin-Métral.

In South Africa, Johannesburg (154) and Cape Town (179) have fallen 23 and 21 places, respectively, reflecting the considerable weakening the South African rand has suffered against the US dollar in the last year. Tunis, Tunisia (209), remains the least expensive city for expatriates in the region, down two places from last year.

The Americas

São Paulo (12) and Rio de Janeiro (13) remain the most expensive cities for expatriates across both North and South America, and are closely trailed by Caracas (29), which jumped 22 places since last year. In South America, Brasilia (45) is now the fourth most expensive city, down 12 places. Dropping from 53rd position, Havana (99) experienced the largest drop in the region as the US dollar strengthened considerably against the Cuban peso. At 121, up from 159, Buenos Aires made the region’s biggest jump up the list following strong inflation, which considerably increased the cost of goods, and an increase in accommodation cost.

Ms Constantin-Métral commented: “Inflation pressures continued to push some South American cities up the ranking, whereas for some of the region’s cities, weakening of the local currencies caused them to rank lower.”

Ranking 33 (down from 32 in 2011), New York City remains the most costly city in the United States. Los Angeles (68) and San Francisco (90) are slowly catching up, however, having jumped a respective nine and 16 places since last year. Amongst other major US cities, Washington (107) is up one place, Miami (110) is up five places and Chicago, also at 110, is down two places. Portland, Oregon (178), and Winston-Salem, North Carolina (195), remain the least expensive surveyed cities for expatriates in the United States. Ms Constantin-Métral said: “Although price increases have remained moderate overall, most US cities have gone up in the ranking, mainly as a result of the strong US dollar.”

Toronto (61) remains the highest ranking city in Canada, closely followed by Vancouver (63). Montréal (87) has dropped eight places, whereas Calgary (92) has climbed four.

Asia Pacific

This year, Tokyo (1) emerged as the most expensive city for expatriates both in Asia and globally. Climbing three places since 2011, Osaka (3) is the next Asian city on the list, followed by Singapore (6) and Hong Kong (9). Nagoya, Japan (10), is up one place, and Shanghai (16) and Beijing (17) climbed five and three places respectively, overtaking Seoul (22, down three places). Two more Chinese cities follow: Shenzhen (30) and Guangzhou (31), up 13 and seven places respectively since 2011. “The combination of increased prices on goods and a strengthening of the Chinese yuan has pushed Chinese cities up the ranking. Continued high demand for accommodation has also led to moderate increases in rental costs,” said Ms Constantin-Métral.

In India, New Delhi (113) and Mumbai (114) have dropped considerably – by 28 and 19 places respectively. Elsewhere in Asia, Jakarta (61) is up eight places, Bangkok (81) is up seven and Kuala Lumpur (102) is up two places. Hanoi’s position remained unchanged at 136, and Karachi (214) remains the region’s least expensive city for expatriates.

Australian cities continue to rank high on the list in the Asia Pacific region and, following the strengthening of the Australian dollar, have all experienced further jumps up the global list since last year. Sydney (11) and Melbourne (15) experienced relatively moderate jumps, up three and six places respectively, whereas Perth (19) and Canberra (23) both jumped 11 places. Brisbane (24) rose by seven places, and Adelaide (27) shot up 19 places. Australia now has three surveyed cities in the top 20 and all six surveyed cities in the top 30. In New Zealand, both Auckland (56) and Wellington (74) both jumped a very significant 62 places.

“The leap up the list by cities in New Zealand follows large increases in both accommodation cost and demand, coupled with a stronger New Zealand dollar,” explained Ms Constantin-Métral. “Demand for rental properties has also increased significantly in all the Australian cities we rank. Coupled with very limited availability, the result has been very tight markets and increased prices.”

Mercer produces individual cost of living and rental accommodation cost reports for each city surveyed. For details, or to purchase copies of the individual city reports, visit or call Client Services, Warsaw on +48 22 434 5383.

Notes to Editors

Important: The list of rankings is provided to journalists for reference, and should not be published in full. The top 10 and bottom 10 cities in either list may be reproduced in a table. The figures for Mercer’s cost of living and rental accommodation costs comparisons are derived from a survey conducted in March 2012. March 2012 exchange rates and Mercer’s international basket of goods and services have been used as basis measurements.

The information is used by governments and major companies to protect the purchasing power of their employees when transferred abroad; rental accommodation costs data is used to assess local expatriate housing allowances. The choice of cities surveyed is based on the demand for data.

Mercer provides advice and market data on international and expatriate compensation management, and works with multinational companies and governments worldwide. It maintains one of the most comprehensive databases on international assignment policies, compensation practices, and data on worldwide cost of living, housing, and hardship allowances. Its annual global mobility forums provide companies with the latest trends and research on mobility issues. Follow Mercer’s mobility activities on Twitter @MercerMobility.

Mercer is a global leader in human resource consulting and related services. The firm works with clients to solve their most complex human capital issues by designing and helping manage health, retirement and other benefits. Mercer’s 20,000 employees are based in more than 40 countries. Mercer is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies (NYSE: MMC), a global team of professional services companies offering clients advice and solutions in the areas of risk, strategy and human capital. With 53,000 employees worldwide and annual revenue exceeding $10 billion, Marsh & McLennan Companies is also the parent company of Marsh, a global leader in insurance broking and risk management; Guy Carpenter, a global leader in providing risk and reinsurance intermediary services; and Oliver Wyman, a global leader in management consulting. Follow Mercer on Twitter @MercerInsights

City Rankings

Top 50 cities: Cost of living ranking
Mercer international basket including rental accommodation costs
Base City: New York, US

March 2012
March 2011

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Greece 2012 = Argentina 2001 Same Crash Different ...

10:06 PM Unknown Blog: Furnished Apartments in Buenos Aires: Greece 2012 = Argentina 2001 Same Crash Different ...: Watching the slow motion car crash that is the Greek exit form the Euro is all to familiar to the average Argentine. They have been that don...

Greece 2012 Mirrors Argentina 2001 Economic Disaster

9:28 PM Unknown
Watching the slow motion car crash that is the Greek exit form the Euro is all to familiar to the average Argentine. They have been that done that and gone step by step through every little horror show that the Greek population are now enduring.
   A brief history of the Argentine crash.
1976-83 Military Dictatorship. 30,000 Argentines Murdered by the state.
83-90 Weak demorcracy and hyper-inflation
1990 Argentine peso pegged one to one with the U$S
Dec 2001 Argentina defaults on over 100 billion U$S of Public Debt.
   The key to the Argentine crises is in the peg to the U$S Dollar.(Much as Greece is pegged to the Euro) It stopped the inflation and it brought an end to the chaos. But it also pinned Argentina to the US currency and in the 90s Bill Clinton was US president ,he had a balanced budget and a very strong Dollar. This made Argentina very uncompetetive with other countrys in the region and by 1998 Argentina plunged into a deep recesion. (As Greece did in 2007)
    At this point both coutrys needed to be able to have some wriggle room to kick start their economys. Both were given more loans and dragged deeper and deeper into debt.

   In Buenos Aires the capital flight bagan and Argentines shipped over U$S100 billion Dollars to the safety of US banks. Mainly in Miami for some reason. For this they received 4% interest and the security of knowing that their money was in real greenbacks and not the pegged peso that was being used in Buenos Aires.
  The Argentine Government finding the coffers were empty had to go to the lending agencys (the US banks) and borrow back the money but at 16%.
In Greece the capital flight is all but over ,thought this week its citizens still managed to pull another 800 million Euros out of the system before its innevitable collaspe.
The bigger suprise was that any one still had any money in those banks in the first place. The greek goverment finds itself paying at least 16% to borrow back the money that its own citizens have sent abroad.
   When Argentina finally defaulted the country exploded in rage and anyone who still had money in the bank lost 70% of their savings from one day to the next. And millions lost their jobs and food kitchens were set up all around the country in order to prevent starvation.
    I remember walking past the Parliament Building(Congresso) at about 8pm in Febuary 2002 and seeing hundreds of people queing for food. What struck me most was that this food kitchen was right in front of Government building so that the politicians could not help but see the mess they had been a party to.
   The default though very harsh set Argentina free and soon growth returned and for most years since the economy has grown at over 8%.This year growth is forcast at 4%.
Peoples savings were decimated for example U$S100 became $100 pesos approx U$S33. But if you had a mortgage of US$100,000 that became $100,000pesos Approx U$S33,000. So there were also winners.
    Much of the Billions that had been removed off shore returned and a building boom took off. Argentina became one of the cheapest places in the world ,so tourism took off and hotels shot up all over the country.
    So with Greece the imediate future is bleak but there is a silver lining. The money to kick start their economy is already in place . Just overseas or in Banco de la Mattress
or in safty deposit boxes. And its Greek money that they have not had the confidence to spend in a recesion hit economy. When they see the first signs of growth the money will flood back in as it did in Argentina.
  The down side of default is the vulture funds.  They will buy distressed and defaulted bonds for cents on the dollar and sue for the full amount. Thus leaving default and accessing the global finance markets becomes impossible until these vulchers have been paid off.
   Argentina has still not exited default and so long as comodity prices remain high maybe she will soldier on without the international markets.
   But i will always remember the saying i heard in Buenos Aires in 2002.
If you owe the bank a thousand dollars its your problem.
If you owe the bank 130 Billion dollars its their problem.
Buenos Aires

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Currency Exchange Buenos Aires The Informal Dolar

10:06 AM Unknown
    Getting your hands on the almighty U$S Dollar in Buenos Aires is fast becoming a game of whispers trust and and meetings in tiny offices where the money is counted quickly, handshakes are exchanged and the deal is done. No names are asked and any conversation is minimal.
   The reason behind this is that the Goverment in order to stem capital flight has made it almost impossible for Argentines to buy the Dollar legally at todays rate of $4.53 pesos (2nd July 2012) to the Dolar. Hence the Argentines are seeking out the black market and paying over $5.93 pesos each for Dollars. Why would they do that you ask? Simply because inflation in the pesos is out of the bag and there is no earthly point in holding a currency that devalues at approx 20% per annum.
    The knock on effect of the dollars drying up has been to stall what was a vibrant housing market and bring new starts in building projects to a grinding halt. With asking prices coming down by 10% and more and the potential buyers still not showing an interest. The fact is that just holding onto the Dollars now looks safer than the property market.
    Import restrictions have sent locally produced goods through the roof, as the local producers are always quick to exploit a captive market. And the removal of the opposition means Xmas has come early.
  In short Argentina needs to deal with the inflation or it will continue killing off one bussiness sector after another.
   The latest sector to find itself struggling is Hotels, As with fixed costs rising at 20% per year (minimum). They cannot pass this on to the tourists and any sudden down turn leaves them very exposed to high fixed outgoings and very low tourists numbers.
   Only a few years ago Argentina had more than 200 hotels either in construction or about to break ground. Now it has many hotels on the brink of going bust and not much sign of a light at the end of the tunnel.
   Many tourists are findings the furnished apartment rental market to be a much cheaper option with companys such as offering over 260 different furnished  apartments to suit all budgets and in all the major barrios of Buenos Aires. As apartments don't have staff costs as such they have managed to fend off the ravages of inflation and have become a bastion of good value in troubled times.
   Remember as the tourist coming in ,You have the stronger currency and therefore the advantage in all most all negotiations, You should try to use this to your advantage.
Buenos Aires is a fantastic city and there is still great value to be found, and you can still eat the best beef and drink great red wines at very reasonable prices.

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