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Member since: Thu May 18, 2017, 11:36 AM
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Clarence Gilyard, 'Die Hard' and 'Walker, Texas Ranger' star, dead at 66

Clarence Gilyard, the actor best known for playing computer hacker Theo in “Die Hard” and naval flight officer Marcus “Sundown” Williams in “Top Gun,” has died at the age of 66.

His death was announced on Monday in a statement from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), where he had been working as an associate professor at the College of Fine Arts.

Gilyard ventured into acting after studying Theatre Arts at California State University. He landed his first role on the TV show “Diff’rent Strokes” in 1981.

In 1986, Gilyard made his film debut in “Top Gun,” in which he played Sundown, one of the elite fighter pilots.

Two years later, he was cast as Theo, the computer expert who helps Hans Gruber’s terrorist group, in the thriller “Die Hard.”

He got his big primetime TV break in 1989, when he landed the role of Conrad McMasters on the NBC legal drama “Matlock,” starring opposite Andy Griffith. He then portrayed Chuck Norris’ crime-fighting partner Jimmy Trivette on “Walker, Texas Ranger.”

Gilyard’s acting credits also include “The Karate Kid Part II,” “CHiPS” and the “Left Behind” films.

UNLV film chair Heather Addison remembered Gilyard as a “beacon of light and strength for everyone around him at UNLV.”

She added: “Whenever we asked him how he was, he would cheerfully declare that he was ‘Blessed!’ But we are truly the ones who were blessed to be his colleagues and students for so many years. We love you and will miss you dearly, Professor G!”

At: https://www.cnn.com/2022/11/29/entertainment/clarence-gilyard-jr-die-hard-dead-intl-scli/index.html

Clarence Gilyard, 1955-2022, with co-star Andy Griffith in the hit series Matlock.

Argentina: 100 days of Sergio Massa's balancing act

Like the dog that didn’t bark in the famous Sherlock Holmes story, the most notable events of Argentine economy minister Sergio Massa’s first 100 days in office might be the ones that did not occur.

High inflation did not become hyperinflation. Argentine foreign reserves were not completely depleted. The political crisis did not escalate. The core group of Kirchneristas did not leave the government in revolt. And the country did not default on the IMF deal signed in March 2022 — to refinance a record, $45 billion bailout lent to former President Mauricio Macri (reportedly at Trump's behest).

None of these things were certain at the end of July, when Massa replaced the short-lived Silvina Batakis at the head of the economy ministry.

The three-month tenure for the veteran Peronist moderate and lawyer by training might not seem like a great achievement; but he deserves some credit simply for lasting this long. And he’s done more than that: He has given the ruling Frente de Todos coalition the shot in the arm it needed to reach 2023 still on its feet. Not a lot—and yet, plenty.

Massa’s ascent to the economy ministry was the outcome of a months-long and very public tug-of-war between President Alberto Fernández and Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner over the direction of economic policy.

But Massa, 50, has not used his power to make radical shifts.

He did not go either for a redistributive shock, as some had hoped — nor for an adjustment shock, as others had feared. Instead, he has focused his messaging on Argentina’s natural resources, touting its opportunity to become a source of “energy, proteins and minerals” for the world. His attempt to project authority and decisiveness has been combined with an attempt to build an alliance with the industrial sector, with generous pro-industry regulations.

In the process, he has won admirers in the U.S.

At: https://americasquarterly.org/article/100-days-of-sergio-massas-balancing-act/

Argentine Economy Minister (then House Speaker) Sergio Massa, President Alberto Fernández and Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner confer shortly before Massa's August appointment to the Economy Ministry.

The pragmatic Massa, whose decision to join the center-left 'Front for All' coalition in 2019 was decisive in Fernández's victory over hard-right incumbent Mauricio Macri that year, has once again proved his political mettle by balancing the president's commitment to fiscal restraint — with the vice president's call for more vigorous social policies in light of 88% inflation.

While the economy has been recovering, a foreign debt crisis inherited in 2019 from the Macri administration was aggravated this year by massive hikes in oil and natural gas import prices.

World population reaches 8 billion

Source: CBS News

The world's population reached 8 billion on Tuesday, growing by 1 billion in the last dozen years and reflecting the rapid population spike of the past few decades, with India projected to become the world's most populous country by next year, surpassing China.

The world's population milestone of 8 billion people has long-term significance for both rich and poor countries. While it took hundreds of thousands of years for the world's population to reach 1 billion, the world grew from 7 billion to 8 billion just since 2010, a reflection of advancements in health.

As the world is expected to grow even more to over 10 billion during the next 60 years as the U.N.'s population division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) reported, population growth is slowing relative to the past, and the U.N. warns that the challenges of feeding, housing and keeping that level of people from polluting the climate will be significant.

Read more: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/world-population-reaches-8-billion/

The world's population has doubled since 1974 - despite growth rates slowing by half, to 1% annually, since then.

Gal Costa, piercing voice of Brazil's Tropicalia movement, has died at 77

Gal Costa, the Brazilian singer and key figure in the Tropicália movement of the late 1960s, died Wednesday. Costa's official social media channels shared the news; no cause of death was given. She was 77.

Maria da Graça Costa Penna Burgos, who went by Gal Costa, was born Sept. 26, 1945 in Bahia, the northeastern Brazilian state that was also home to influential Brazilian musicians Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, Maria Bethânia and Tom Zé.

As they moved to São Paulo, together this adventurous group of musicians fused traditional rhythms with the surging (and insurgent) sounds of psychedelic rock in the 1960s.

Costa was self taught, with ''no professional training at all,'' she told the New York Times in 1985. ''I didn't study music, and I don't read music; I sing by feeling.''

At: https://www.npr.org/2022/11/09/1135562321/obituary-gal-costa-tropicalia

Renowned Brazilian vocalist Gal Costa, 1945-2022.

"Gal Costa was one of the greatest singers in the world," President-elect Lula de Silva tweeted today.

"Her talent, technique and daring enriched and renewed our culture, shaped and marked the lives of millions of Brazilians."

Brazil, Indonesia and DRC in talks to form 'OPEC of rainforests'

The big three tropical rainforest nations – Brazil, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo – are in talks to form a strategic alliance to coordinate on their conservation, nicknamed an “OPEC for rainforests”, the Guardian understands.

The election of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known as Lula, has been followed by a flurry of activity to avoid the destruction of the Amazon, which scientists have warned is dangerously close to tipping point after years of deforestation under its far-right leader, Jair Bolsonaro.

Brazil, Indonesia and DRC are home to 52% of the world’s remaining primary tropical forests, which are crucial to avoiding climate catastrophe, and the conservation talks are fulfilling a campaign promise by Lula.

At: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/nov/05/brazil-indonesia-drc-cop27-conservation-opec-rainforests-aoe

Brazilian President-elect Luiz “Lula” da Silva and his running mate, Geraldo Alckmin, greet supporters at their October 30th victory rally.

da Silva has called for an “OPEC for rainforests,” and his team has begun talks with the other two major tropical rainforest nations – Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo – to form a strategic alliance to coordinate on conservation efforts.

The three nations, home to 590 million people between them, are home to 52% of the world's existing rain forests - and lost nearly 6 million acres of forest land last year alone.

Argentina beat Spain in epic padel final, reclaim men's title at DP World Championships

Padel powerhouses Spain and Argentina squared off in a pulsating men’s final of the DP World Padel Championships at the jam-packed Dubai Duty Free Teninis Stadium on Saturday night.

Argentina prevailed over rival Spain 2-1 to lift the title, and the epic final that started at 5pm on Saturday and ended at 1am in early hours of Sunday which kept the capacity crowd of 5,000 on the edge of their seats throughout the thriller.

With the victory, Argentina also secured their 11th overall World Championship crown and gained a sweet revenge over Spain, whom they lost to in last year’s final in Doha.

The pair have dominated the sport and are the only two winners of the event since the inaugural edition in 1992.

At: https://gulfnews.com/sport/uae-sport/argentina-beat-spain-in-epic-padel-final-reclaim-mens-title-at-dp-world-championships-1.91775486

Argentina's national padel team celebrate their World Championship crown, their 11th since the championship was first held in 1992.

The squash-like game has become popular in Argentina since the 1980s. Perhaps its most famous enthusiast locally is right-wing former President Mauricio Macri, who came under scrutiny for inviting federal judges to padel matches - just before high-profile rulings against political rivals.

Argentina to let tourists use credit and debit cards at bargain exchange rate

In a move aimed at raking in tourism dollars, tamping down the informal exchange market and boosting Central Bank reserves, the government has announced it will offer visiting travelers a more lucrative exchange rate on card purchases.

Under the new rules, which kicked in yesterday, foreign tourists who do not reside in Argentina and use non-Argentine issued credit and debit cards will be able to access an exchange rate similar to the ‘MEP dollar’ (Electronic Payments Market), which midweek stood at around 292 pesos per dollar – much higher than the official rate of 158 pesos.

For example, if a tourist pays 10,000 pesos for a dinner, at the official exchange rate of 155 pesos their cards would normally be billed for US$64.30.

With this new measure they will still pay 10,000 pesos for the dinner - but be charged US$34.24 (at a theoretical MEP exchange rate of 292 pesos) on their credit card statement.

According to official estimates, of the roughly US$200 million to US$250 million entering the country monthly via foreign tourism, only US$30 million comes through the formal sector.

At: https://www.batimes.com.ar/news/economy/argentinas-government-tries-to-tempt-tourists-in-search-for-dollars.phtml

Tourists riding a Buenos Aires sightseeing bus.

Amid a steady recovery in foreign tourist arrivals over the past year, the ready availability of a black-market "blue" exchange rate - often at half the official rate or less - has diverted an estimated US$2 billion in tourist hard currency from central bank coffers.

As of Thursday, foreign visitors will be allowed to take advantage of the bargain unofficial rate on all card purchases - a savings of some 45%.

While the economy has been recovering, a foreign debt crisis inherited in 2019 from the right-wing Mauricio Macri administration was aggravated this year by massive hikes in oil and natural gas import prices.

Former finance minister, right-wing congressman linked to Cristina Kirchner assassination attempt

Ongoing investigations into a recent assassination attempt against Argentine Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner have uncovered links to both a former finance minister and a right-wing congressman.

Both are close allies of Mrs. Kirchner's arch-rival, former President Mauricio Macri - who's widely expected to run again next year, possibly against Kirchner herself.

Transfers totaling 13 million pesos ($80,000) to neo-fascist spokesman Jonathan Morel from a trust controlled by Former Finance Minister Luis Caputo were found over the past two weeks.

Morel's "Federal Revolution" perpetrated numerous violent incidents against officials in the center-left Alberto Fernández administration - whom the group called to be "exiled, jailed, or killed" - since Morel co-founded the group in May, and included in its ranks Fernando Sabag Montiel - the gunman in the failed, September 1st assassination attempt.

Caputo, 57, is a cousin of Macri's best friend - and best known locally for presiding over a disastrous "financial bicycle" carry-trade bubble, whose collapse in 2018 led to a debt crisis requiring a record IMF bailout.

Morel, 23, and Sabag Montiel, 35, are among eight so far arrested in the probe. Another detainee, "cotton candy" gang leader Nicolás Carrizo, raised eyebrows by securing three prominent lawyers - all having recently represented close Macri allies.

Here's looking at you

Judge María Eugenia Capuchetti, a Macri appointee, heads the probe - but was faulted by Kirchner allies for refusing to seize cell phones belonging to two aides of right-wing Congressman Gerardo Milman, as well as for not calling Milman to testify, after a witness testified yesterday to seeing all three in a Buenos Aires café on August 30th.

Milman "was dying of laughter about how 'when they kill her, I'll be on my way to the beach!'," the witness had earlier tweeted.

Milman, caucus whip for Macri's hard-right PRO, in fact traveled to seaside Pinamar that weekend. He made official inquiries as to Mrs. Kirchner's security just two days earlier.

Security camera footage shows Milman, 56, and the two women entering and leaving the Casablanca Café, across the street from Congress. The two aides, Carolina Gómez Mónaco and Ivana Bohdziewicz, initially denied having been in the café "since March" - but later recanted when Federal Prosecutor Gerardo Pollicita showed them the footage.

Gómez Mónaco and Milman both had high-ranking posts under Macri's hard-line Security Minister Patricia Bullrich - who in turn has close links to a number of Federal Revolution extremists.

Gómez Mónaco's business partner, Mariale Mroue, is a panelist in a cable news show where two of the detainees, gunman Sabag Montiel and Brenda Uliarte, were first interviewed on July 28th - a month before the attack.

At: https://www-telam-com-ar.translate.goog/notas/202210/609067-ataque-a-cristina-milman.html?_x_tr_sl=es&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en&_x_tr_pto=wapp

The plot thickens: Argentine Congressman Gerardo Milman, right-wing lawyer Hernán Carrol, and Patricia Bullrich - security minister under former President (and likely 2023 candidate) Mauricio Macri.

All have ties to the September 1st assassination attempt against Vice President Cristina Kirchner - who is widely believed to be mulling a run in next year's presidential election.

Milman suggested foreknowledge of the attack through a number of tweets, congressional resolutions and per witness testimony.

Carrol was sought as counsel by gunman Fernando Sabag Montiel (though he refused), and has close ties to both the "Federal Revolution" extremist group and Patricia Bullrich.

Bullrich is closely acquainted with a number of Federal Revolution defendants - among whose attorneys are at least four lawyers closely tied with Macri allies or former officials.

Florida GOP Paid Thousands To Far-Right Charlottesville Attendee

Source: Yahoo! News

The Florida Republican Party paid thousands of dollars over the summer to a far-right activist who attended the white nationalist “Unite the Right” rally in 2017 and later charged at a crowd of anti-racist demonstrators with a Confederate flag.

Christopher Monzón was paid more than $10,000 by the party between June and September, federal campaign finance records show.

Neither Monzón nor the Florida GOP responded to HuffPost’s request for comment about the payments.

Read more: https://www.yahoo.com/news/florida-gop-paid-thousands-far-192025969.html

Far-right agitator Christopher Monzón - the self-styled "Cuban Confederate" - during a 2017 protest in Hollywood, FL.

Monzón, 30, had earlier attended the deadly Unite the Right white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Federal campaign finance records show Monzón was paid over $10,000 by the Republican Party between June and September 2022.

Fox News Poll Gives Joe Biden Highest Approval Rating in Nine Months

Source: Newsweek

A Fox News poll has found that, ahead of crucial midterm elections, President Joe Biden's approval rating is the highest it's been in nine months, based on the poll's previous surveys.

The poll, conducted under the joint direction of Beacon Research and Shaw & Company Research, found that Biden's approval rating now stands at 46 percent, while 53 percent of respondents disapproved of him.

Though the survey found that the president's approval remains in negative territory, his approval rating is the highest it's been in a Fox News poll since January, when it stood at 47 percent.

Read more: https://www.newsweek.com/fox-news-poll-gives-joe-biden-highest-approval-rating-nine-months-1752339

President Joe Biden: Gotta wear shades.
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