August 7th, 2013
04:59 AM ET

12 die in Argentina building explosion

Leaking gas was likely to blame for an explosion that killed at least 12 people, injured 60 more and brought down part of a building in Argentina on Tuesday, state media reported Wednesday.

A man who was working at the scene in the city of Rosario before the blast ignited at 9:15 a.m. local time has been taken into custody, said the Telam news agency, which cited investigator Juan Curto.

The explosion gutted one multi-story residential building, and destroyed at least one other building next to it, while blowing out the windows of surrounding structures, images broadcast by CNN affiliate Canal 9 showed.

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Filed under: Accidents • Argentina • Energy • Natural gas explosion • World • World Update
March 13th, 2013
06:25 PM ET

Argentina's Bergoglio becomes Pope Francis

[Updated at 6:25 p.m. ET] That will wrap up our live blog of Francis' debut. For more coverage, check out the links above and read our full story.

[Updated at 5:52 p.m. ET] When Pope Francis is formally installed in a Mass later this month, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will be there, leading the U.S. delegation to the event.

Biden is the first Roman Catholic to serve as vice president.

Meanwhile, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has congratulated Pope Francis a native Argentine and expressed hope that he will work toward justice, equality and peace for all.

As we noted earlier, the new pope has clashed with the Argentine government over his opposition to gay marriage and free distribution of contraceptives.

A photo from earlier tonight: People react as newly elected Pope Francis appears on the central balcony of St Peter's Basilica.

[Updated at 5:33 p.m. ET] We know a little more about what Pope Francis will be doing tomorrow: He and the cardinals will hold a Mass in the Sistine Chapel at 5 p.m. local time (noon ET), Vatican spokesman the Rev. Tom Rosica told CNN.

[Updated at 5:16 p.m. ET] A Vatican spokesman says Francis will be a reformer, and will call the church "back to basics."

"He knows the Curia, he's been extremely critical of the mess here," the Rev. Tom Rosica said, referring to the Vatican bureaucracy.

[Updated at 5:07 p.m. ET] Here's something that a pope has never had the chance to do before today: Shortly after Francis was elected, he placed a phone call to his predecessor, Benedict XVI, who has been staying at a papal retreat at Italy's Castel Gandolfo since he resigned February 28.

Benedict, 85, was the first pope to resign in hundreds of years.

News of the phone call came from the Rev. Tom Rosica, a Vatican spokesman.

[Updated at 4:53 p.m. ET] We've just been given confirmation about which Francis the new pope is honoring in his choice of name.

The new pope took the name Francis in honor of St. Francis of Assisi because he is a lover of the poor, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Tom Rosica told CNN.

Also, the new pope should be known as Pope Francis, not Pope Francis I, Rosica said.

[Updated at 4:50 p.m. ET] Let's take a look at what might be next for Pope Francis:

Before Francis was elected, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said that the new pope will “very probably” say Mass this Sunday at St. Peter’s and do the traditional Angelus blessing, Lombardi said before the election.

It will take several days before there is an installation Mass, because it will take time for world leaders to arrive, Lombardi had said.

[Updated at 4:45 p.m. ET] U.S. President Barack Obama has weighed in.

Obama offered his prayers and "warm wishes" Wednesday to newly elected Pope Francis. Obama called him "a champion of the poor and the most vulnerable among us," and also said his election as "the first pope from the Americas ... speaks to the strength and vitality of (that) region."

[Updated at 4:44 p.m. ET] The pope's election has caught the attention of the Internet crowd, to put it lightly. Facebook says that its users' top terms about 70 minutes ago were:

1) Pope; 2) Jorge Bergoglio; 3) Vatican; 4) White smoke; 5) Cardinal; 6) Catholic; 7) Decision; and 8) Papal.

[Updated at 4:31 p.m. ET] Latin Americans in St. Peter's Square are thrilled.

"As a youth, and as a Catholic student, and as a Mexican, I am absolutely overwhelmed with emotion (at) the fact that we have a new pope that will represent that part of the (world)," a woman from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, told CNN. "That is something very exciting. I feel that Mexico has been a country that has suffered a lot, and so has Latin America, but it is a people that has always put trust in God, so it is absolutely wonderful to represent our part of the world this time around."

Beside her, a woman from Mexico City said her heart jumped when she heard the announcement that a pope had been picked.

"I'm so excited," she said. "It's a reason of being proud tonight, because Latin America is a very important Catholic area and now it's going to be totally represented here, so I'm so proud and I'm so happy today. ... It's going to help a lot, a Latin American pope, it's going to help. It's going to rebuild many things, and it's a new start."

Check out more Latin American reaction here.

[Updated at 4:22 p.m. ET] Let's take a look at some reaction to Francis' election. Here's what Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York by some accounts a pre-conclave contender for the papacy had to say, shortly after he participated in the conclave:

“Pope Francis I stands as the figure of unity for all Catholics wherever they reside," Dolan said in a statement released by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “Intense prayer from all around the world surrounded the election of Pope Francis I. The bishops of the United States thank God for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the inspired choice of the College of Cardinals.”

And the Church of England, the country's official church denomination, offered a prayer Wednesday for the newly elected pope.

"Guide him by by your spirit, give him grace to lead people in prayer and zeal, and to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, your son our Lord," the prayer read.

[Updated at 4:08 p.m. ET] CNN Vatican expert John Allen has reported previously, for the National Catholic Reporter, that the new pope may have been the runner-up in the 2005 election that saw Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger become Benedict XVI. Allen noted that there's no official account of that election it is officially secret, after all but various reports had Bergoglio coming in second in 2005.

Pope Francis asked the crowd in St. Peter's Square to pray for him. "Before I give you a blessing, I ask you for a favor - I want you to bless me," he said.

[Updated at 3:51 p.m. ET] Choosing the name Francis is powerful and ground-breaking, CNN Vatican expert John Allen says.

As noted earlier, this is the first Pope Francis. Also, the name parallels one of the most venerated figures in the Roman Catholic Church, St. Francis of Assisi.

Allen described the name of Pope Francis as "the most stunning" choice and "precedent shattering."

"There are cornerstone figures in Catholicism" such as St. Francis, Allen said. Figures of such stature as St. Francis seem "irrepeatable that there can be only one Francis," Allen added.

Read more about the new name, from CNN's Michael Martinez.

FULL POST

June 12th, 2012
09:58 AM ET

Falkland Islands will vote on political status

The Falkland Islands government on Tuesday announced that the British territory will hold a referendum on its political status.

The vote is intended to affirm islanders' desire to remain a self-governing territory of the United Kingdom and to reject claims of ownership by nearby Argentina.

The Argentine government in recent months has stepped up its rhetoric over the disputed islands, saying that the U.K. is exploiting its resources. The British defeated Argentina in a 1982 war over the territory.

"We have thought carefully about how to convey a strong message to the outside world that expresses the views of the Falklands people in a clear, democratic and incontestable way," said Gavin Short, chairman of the Falklands legislative assembly.

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February 22nd, 2012
07:18 PM ET

50 killed, hundreds injured in Argentina train crash

Editor's noteLea este artículo en español/Read this article in Spanish

[Updated at 11:35 p.m. ET] A train packed with rush-hour commuters plowed head-on into a barrier at a Buenos Aires station Wednesday morning, killing 50 people and injuring hundreds more, officials in Argentina said.

The train failed to stop as it should have, and slammed into the barrier at Once station at Plaza Miserere shortly after 8:30 a.m. local time, rail service owner Buenos Aires Trains said.

Video of the crash aired by Argentina TV station C5N shows people waiting on a platform as the train's front section passes them and the camera. The train then comes to a violent halt, apparently because the front section hit the barrier farther down the track.

The crash caused the train's second section to be pushed 6 meters into the first section, Transportation Secretary Juan Pablo Schiavi said, according to the Buenos Aires Herald. (See animated simulation of wreck from C5N)

Did you see the crash? Share your photos and videos with CNN and tell us what you're seeing.

Other video from the scene showed rescuers prying open windows of the twisted train to reach trapped passengers. Crews carried bleeding victims on stretchers through the busy station; some victims were taken to area hospitals by helicopter.

Argentina's president declared a two-day period of mourning.

"The government and people of Argentina give their solidarity and weigh the pain felt by the families of the victims," President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said in a statement declaring the mourning period. Memorials will be held outside Argentina's Government House and Olivos, the presidential residence, the state news agency Telam reported.

"Never in my life had I seen anything like this," Schiavi told reporters hours after the accident.

Shaken passengers told reporters the crash sounded like a bomb blast.

"Suddenly I heard a bang, and many people fell on top of me. I think I had more than 10 people above me. I got out as quickly as I could," a passenger named Esteban told state news agency Telam. "I only saw injured people and heard screams."

Another passenger, identified only as Fabian, said he "flew 15 (meters) forward due to the impact," the Buenos Aires Herald reported.

"I had people piled on top of me. None of us could move,” Fabian said, according to the Herald.

Another passenger told C5N that shortly before impact, when passengers noticed the train wasn't stopping, some started to shout to others that they should run to the back.

The first two cars of the train crammed with commuters were most affected by the crash.

Passengers emerged bruised, some with serious injuries, Schiavi said. More than 460 were hospitalized.

The crash injured more than 600 people, the state-run Telam news agency reported.

Family members flooded local hospitals, clamoring for information about missing loved ones.

Officials were investigating the crash, which was one of the nation's worst in decades.

They will use GPS data, security camera footage, audio recordings from the driver's cabin and maintenance records in their investigation, Schiavi said.

The train stopped at other stations on its route, and data shows that it slowed down as it approached the Once station, Schiavi said.

"It stopped 14 times, and the last time, it didn't stop," he said.

The packed train was traveling at 26 kilometers per hour (16 mph) when it entered the station, he said.

"We do not know what happened in the last 40 meters," he said.

The train's 28-year-old driver had just started his shift and had a good record, the transportation minister said.

Earlier Wednesday, Schiavi said authorities believed there were problems with the train's brakes that caused it to smash into a barrier at the station.

Buenos Aires Trains, which runs the rail service, said it was cooperating with the federal investigation.

"The company sends its condolences to the family members of the deceased passengers and remains very concerned about the health of all the injured people," the firm said in a statement.

Wednesday's crash was among the worst in Argentina's history, Telam reported.

In 1970, 200 people died when two trains crashed north of Buenos Aires.

Eight years later, 56 people were killed when a train hit a truck in Argentina's Santa Fe province, the state news agency reported.

Last September, a crash involving two passenger trains and a bus in Buenos Aires killed at least 11 people.

FULL STORY
February 7th, 2012
07:15 PM ET

Argentina to file protest against Great Britain at U.N.

[Updated at 7:15 p.m. ET] Amid escalating tensions over the Falkland Islands, Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner accused Great Britain of militarizing the South Atlantic and said Tuesday her country would file a protest at the United Nations.

Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner

"I have instructed our chancellor to formally present before the U.N. Security Council and the U.N. General Assembly this militarization of the South Atlantic, which implies a great risk for international safety," she said during a speech in Buenos Aires.

"We're going to file a protest," Fernandez added.

READ FULL UPDATE

[Initial post, 12:14 p.m. ET] Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has announced plans for what local media are calling a major announcement Tuesday amid escalating tensions between Argentina and Great Britain over the Falkland Islands.

Kirchner is gathering ruling and opposition party politicians, diplomats and veterans from the 1982 war between Britain and Argentina over the South Atlantic islands, which Argentina calls Las Malvinas, the English-language Buenos Aires Herald reported. Her announcement is scheduled for 7 p.m. local time (5 p.m. ET).

Speculation in recent days has been that Kirchner will cut the Falklands air link to the South American mainland by banning the airline LAN Chile from using Argentinian airspace to fly to the islands from Chile. The Saturday flights are the only scheduled air service to the Falklands and carry fresh food as well as passengers, Britain's Sky News reports.

Argentina already bans Falklands ships from its ports, an action joined by other South American and Caribbean nations.

"If the LAN Chile flight is cancelled, it would be pretty difficult to resist the already credible thesis that there is an economic blockade of the civilian population of the Falklands," a senior British diplomat in the region was quoted as saying by the UK's Guardian newspaper last week.

Though Britain won the 1982 war, expelling an Argentinian military force, Argentina still claims the territory, which has been under British rule since 1833, as its own. Britain maintains that the 2,500 residents of the Falklands have the right to determine their allegiance, and so far that has been staunchly British.

"We support the Falklands' right to self-determination, and what the Argentinians have been saying recently I would argue is actually far more like colonialism, because these people want to remain British, and the Argentinians want them to do something else," British Prime Minister David Cameron told UK lawmakers last month.

Tensions between London and Buenos Aires were raised even higher this month when Britain sent the second in line to the throne, Prince William, to the Falklands as a military helicopter pilot.

"Prince William is coming ... as a member of the armed forces of his country," Argentina's Foreign Ministry said in a statement. "The Argentinian people regret that the royal heir is coming to the soil of the homeland with the uniform of the conqueror and not with the wisdom of a statesman who works in the service of peace and dialogue between nations."

FULL POST

January 1st, 2012
10:42 AM ET

Authorities investigate Argentinian governor's death

Authorities were investigating Sunday after a gunshot wound to the face killed the governor of Argentina's Rio Negro province, state media reported.

The shooting occurred around 4:45 a.m. Sunday in Gov. Carlos Soria's official residence, the state-run Telam news agency reported.

A province spokesman confirmed his death, but did not provide additional details about the shooting, the agency said.

FULL STORY
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December 29th, 2011
10:57 AM ET

Former Argentina dictator gets second prison sentence

[Updated at 11:21 a.m. ET] Former Argentine dictator Gen. Reynaldo Bignone was sentenced Thursday to 15 years in prison for crimes against humanity at a clandestine detention center during his rule. He was already serving a 25-year sentence from a previous trial.

He ruled Argentina from June 1982 until the nation's return to democracy in December 1983.

Argentina's 2nd Oral Federal Court handed down the ruling. The punishment stems from an investigation into a clandestine detention facility hidden inside a hospital during the country's military dictatorship.

Under his command, at least 22 people were kidnapped and taken to the center, known as the "Chalet at the Posadas Hospital," according to evidence in the case. Five of those were tortured during their detention, according to Argentina's judicial information center.

Bignone was previously sentenced in April 2010 to 25 years in prison for kidnapping and torturing 56 people.

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October 6th, 2011
07:47 AM ET

Earthquake rocks Argentina

An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.2 struck near San Salvador de Jujuy, in northern Argentina, on Thursday morning, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The quake hit at a depth of 5.9 miles. It hit near the Argentine borders with Bolivia and Paraguay.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

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7 killed, more than 160 hurt in Argentina bus-train wreck
Wreckage from a train that collided with a bus is seen on Argentinian TV.
September 13th, 2011
09:35 AM ET

7 killed, more than 160 hurt in Argentina bus-train wreck

[Updated at 9:35 a.m. ET] At least 162 people were injured in the accident, said Dr. Alberto Crescenti, head of the Medical Attention Emergency System, or SAME.

It took hours to free the remaining victims from the wreck, authorities said.

The cause of the collision was being investigated. Argentina's Transportation Secretary offered one early detail on the condition of the railroad crossing.

"The railroad crossing bar was working fine," Juan Pablo Schiavi said. Officials will also review video from the trains in their investigation, he said.

[Updated at 8:09 a.m. ET] At least seven people died when two trains and a bus collided in Buenos Aires  Tuesday, police said.

"There are seven confirmed deaths. There are people in hospital now in very grave state, including children. They have severe injuries," said Fernando Sostre, spokesman for the Argentine Federal Police.

Images broadcast on Argentine television showed dozens of police, fire and rescue workers combing through twisted metal and wreckage. Ambulances were seen transporting the injured to local hospitals.

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Spain's Real Madrid signs 7-year-old
Leonel Angel Coira has reportedly signed a contract to join the Real Madrid youth system ... at age 7.
August 8th, 2011
03:18 PM ET

Spain's Real Madrid signs 7-year-old

Spanish soccer powerhouse Real Madrid has made what is sure to be one of the most talked-about moves of the off-season, signing a 7-year-old Argentine to its youth system, according to an Argentine sports website.

The Spanish-language Ole ran an interview with Leonel Angel Coira in which the youngster said he had signed a contract to play in the Galacticos' youngest division.

Real Madrid had no word of the signing on its website, but goal.com reported that club spokesman Juan Tapiador confirmed the news Monday.

According to goal.com, Real Madrid snapped up the youngster to ward off attempts by other European clubs in the future namely rival Atletico Madrid, which Ole said had already expressed interest in Coira.

Coira told Ole last week that he preferred making assists over scoring goals, that he can juggle a ball eight or nine times without dropping it and that his dream is to play for Real Madrid's first team, which is home to some of the world's greatest players, including Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo.

His training with the under-9 players - or Benjamins, as they're known - begins September 6, he added. The team's Benjamin A squad is composed of 10-year-olds and one 11-year-old.

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July 10th, 2011
06:16 PM ET

Slain Argentine singer likely not target, official says

Gunmen who shot dead one of Latin America's best-known folk singers Saturday likely did not have Facundo Cabral as their intended target, said Guatemalan Interior Minister Carlos Menocal.

In the car with Cabral was a Nicaraguan businessman, Henry Farina, who was driving, Menocal said .

"Everything points to that the attack was directed at him (Farina), and not the artist," he said. Still, a motive for the shooting remained unclear.

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Salt disappears from Buenos Aires tables
In a push for better health, restaurants like this one in Buenos Aires, Argentina, will no longer feature salt shakers.
June 11th, 2011
10:40 AM ET

Salt disappears from Buenos Aires tables

Guests at restaurants in Argentina's Buenos Aires province must say good-bye to the salt shaker.

In an effort to combat hypertension, which affects some 3.7 million residents in the province - nearly a quarter of the population, the health department reached an agreement with the hotel and restaurant federation to remove salt shakers from the tables at their eateries.

"On average, each Argentinian consumes 13 grams of salt daily, while according to the World Health Organization, you should consume less than five," Health Minister Alejandro Collia said when he announced the change last month.

The measure is not as extreme as it sounds. Salt will be available by request, but only after the patrons have tasted their food.

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Puyehue volcano erupts in Chile
June 9th, 2011
01:29 PM ET

Puyehue's volcanic ash cloud grounds flights out of Argentine capital

Three airlines have canceled flights out of two airports in Argentina's capital city because of the ash cloud from the Puyehue volcano in Chile, according to media reports.

Aerolíneas Argentinas, LAN and Austral canceled flights from Buenos Aires' Jorge Newbery Metropolitan (aka Aeroparque) and Ezeiza International airports after the ash cloud arrived in the city, and Spain's Iberia airline canceled three flights from Madrid to the Argentine capital, the Buenos Aires Herald reported. The latter flights were rerouted to Santiago, Chile.

The airlines had already canceled a string of morning flights but later called off flights until 5 p.m. with a warning more could follow, depending how the situation unfolds, the newspaper reported.

FULL POST

Puyehue volcano erupts in Chile
June 7th, 2011
10:15 AM ET

Ash from Chilean volcano grounds flights in Argentina

Ash from a volcanic eruption in Chile grounded flights in neighboring Argentina, officials said Tuesday.

Airlines canceled most flights Tuesday at the Ezeiza International Airport in Buenos Aires, an official there said. Airports in several other cities are also affected, according to the state-run Telam news agency.

Smoke and ash shot more than six miles into the the sky when the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano complex in southern Chile first erupted Saturday afternoon. Authorities evacuated about 3,500 people from the area, the state emergency office said.

The Patagonia region in southern Argentina was the most affected by the volcanic ash.

Cities that draw tourists, like Bariloche, San Martin de los Andes and others in the area canceled school and public activities.

Ash piled as high as 30 centimeters (about 1 foot) on highways through Patagonia. Local governments used machinery to clear the roads.

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Puyehue volcano erupts in Chile
June 6th, 2011
02:24 PM ET

Thousands evacuate, ashes spread after Chilean volcano erupts

Parts of southern Chile remained on red alert and schools in some areas of neighboring Argentina were closed Monday after a volcanic eruption coated the countryside with ashes, authorities said.

Smoke and ash shot more than six miles into the the sky when the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano complex in southern Chile first erupted Saturday afternoon. Authorities evacuated about 3,500 people from the area, the state emergency office said.

"I ask all the population (in designated areas) to evacuate as soon as possible, because ... human life could be at risk," said Juan Andres Varas, regional governor of Los Rios, Chile.

In a statement posted on the Los Rios government's website Monday, he said volcanic material and potentially toxic gases were slowly advancing toward the nearby Nilahue Valley.

"Fortunately, the valley doesn't drop abruptly, so we have time to evacuate," he said.

Schools in some cities and rural areas in neighboring Argentina were closed Monday, even as the volcanic activity appeared to have diminished, the state-run Telam news agency said.

iReport: Puyehue volcano eruption

Eastward wind gusts have left a layer of ashes up to 30 centimeters (12 inches) on an Argentinian highway, Telam reported. Ashes had reached the country's Atlantic coast by early Sunday.

By Monday, several centimeters of ashes were beginning to accumulate in areas further north, and authorities told Telam the volcano's impact was difficult to predict.

"We still don't know, because it depends on the wind how it will continue. ... The recommendation to the population is that they stay inside," said Eduardo Munos, municipal civil defense director in Junin de los Andes, Argentina.

Chile is located on the so-called "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanoes and fault lines circling the Pacific Basin that is prone to frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

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Strong quake rattles Argentina
January 1st, 2011
06:21 AM ET

Strong quake rattles Argentina

A preliminary magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck the Santiago Del Estero region of northern Argentina early Saturday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The earthquake struck 350 miles deep, according to the USGS report.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

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December 6th, 2010
03:04 PM ET

Monday's intriguing people

Julio Grondona

The Argentine Football Association president is at the center of widespread allegations of FIFA corruption after soccer’s governing body awarded the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar, respectively.

Grondona has emphatically denied the allegations, telling the Argentine new outlet Telam, “There has to be an end to playing with my good name,” according to ESPN.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, a former employee of Qatar’s bid team said that an adviser recommended the Qatar Football Association pay $78.4 million to help the Argentine Football Association cope with a financial crisis. The payment reportedly was meant to help Qatar’s relationship with Grondona, who is on FIFA’s executive committee, which determines host cities.

According to ESPN, Grondona questioned why the Argentine group would have a debt so large and further told Telam, “I am not going to give any credence to whatever people say. The fact is the AFA has a solid contract with the Argentine government, and it is all going quite well.”

This allegation, of course, is not the first involving corruption by FIFA officials. BBC’s "Panorama" aired an investigation last month in which “reporter Andrew Jennings exposes new evidence of bribery, and accuses some executives of taking kickbacks.”

You have only to Google “FIFA World Cup bribe” to find a slew of allegations.

It’s worth noting that no FIFA official has been charged with any wrongdoing, and though many commenters have angrily vented about their country not being selected, few such complaints seem to originate in Russia or Qatar.

FULL POST

October 27th, 2010
09:45 AM ET

Former Argentine president Kirchner dies

Nestor Kirchner talked with journalists in August.

Former Argentinian President Nestor Kirchner died Wednesday of a heart attack, state media reported. Kirchner, 60, was president from 2003-2007 and was the husband of current President Cristina Fernandez.

He died shortly before 10 a.m. at his summer residence in El Calafate, a small town in southern Argentina, according to the official Telam news agency. Fernandez was with Kirchner when he died at a hospital, the state media reported. FULL STORY

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July 27th, 2010
05:44 PM ET

Maradona out as manager of Argentine national team

Diego Maradona

Diego Maradona's contract as coach of the Argentine national soccer team will not be renewed, the spokesman for the Argentine Football Association said Tuesday.

The announcement comes after Argentina exited the World Cup in South Africa earlier this month with a 4-0 loss to Germany in the quarterfinals.

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July 15th, 2010
09:07 AM ET

On the Radar: Gulf oil, Arizona immigration, Casey Anthony

Gulf oil disaster A leak in a crucial piece of equipment may stall BP's effort to stop the massive oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico. The equipment, called a choke line, started leaking Wednesday, another setback for the beleaguered company in its hope of stopping the disaster.

BP will need to fix the leak before it can run the vital tests that could show whether an end to the environmental disaster is finally in sight, the company said. There was no timetable for when the leak was to be fixed, a company spokesman said early Thursday morning.

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