This morning, we will be traveling to Buenos Aires, where citizens with left-wing and centrist ideologies are gathering to celebrate the possibility of not electing a far-right president who has been compared to a combination of Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, and The X-Men’s Wolverine. This candidate identifies as an “anarcho-capitalist”.
Prior to the release of the initial round of Argentina’s presidential election, forecasts and analysts had foreseen that unconventional far-right leader Javier Milei – whose trademark wild hairstyle and lengthy sideburns pay tribute to Elvis and the mentioned superhero – would likely assume the role of the nation’s next president.
However, Milei, who has made a pledge to replace the Argentine peso with the dollar, referred to abortion as “murder” and guaranteed the legalization of organ selling, placed second with 30% of the votes.
Sergio Massa, the current Peronist economy minister, received the most votes with 37% in the recent election in Argentina. This sets the stage for a two-person race in the second round on November 19. In an article by Tom Phillips, the Guardian’s correspondent for Latin America, the sudden popularity of Milei, who was previously a rock singer, TV personality, and “tantric sex coach,” is explained. The article also discusses the implications of his potential defeat in the final round for Argentina and other countries in South America.
Five big stories
The United States has stated that it is not currently appropriate to call for a halt in the fighting between Israel and Hamas. The UN has reported that certain Palestinian individuals who had left their residences in the northern region of Gaza have returned due to inadequate access to food and shelter in the southern area. During an interview with CNN on Monday, White House national security spokesperson John Kirby expressed that Israel must continue to take action against the leaders of Hamas. This aligns with remarks made by US President Joe Biden, who stated that negotiations for a ceasefire can only occur once Hamas releases all of its captives in Gaza.
Technology | Government officials are using artificial intelligence and algorithms to help decide everything from who gets benefits to who should have their marriage licence approved, according to a Guardian investigation. Kiran Stacey reports on the findings that shed light on the often uncontrolled ways cutting-edge technology is being used across Whitehall.
The government has stated that the police have sufficient authority to deal with those who chanted about “jihad” during a protest in London over the weekend. Keir Starmer also called for any loopholes in the law to be addressed by the ministers.
A court has heard that Lewis Edwards, a former police officer aged 24, encouraged over 200 girls as young as 10 to share explicit images and videos with him through Snapchat.
A member of the Metropolitan Police is being criminally investigated for a possible racially motivated assault. The incident occurred when a woman was mistakenly arrested for not paying her bus fare. The incident was captured on video and shared on various social media platforms.
Detailed: ‘The candidate that can be considered the worst imaginable’
Tom cautions that while there is widespread celebration in the streets of Argentina and the left wing of Latin America, it is important to approach it with caution. This is only the first round of the election, and there are still four weeks of campaigning until the next round. Although the results of the first round may be surprising and damaging to Milei and his supporters.
Jair Bolsonaro, the ex-president of Brazil known for his far-right views, is among those who support Milei’s efforts for significant change. On the eve of the vote, Bolsonaro encouraged all Argentinians to back Milei’s cause and expressed his personal support in a video message. He even promised to attend Milei’s inauguration.
Eduardo, the son of a congressman, traveled to Buenos Aires with the intention of commemorating the growing influence of far-right ideology in South America. He joined Milei at the campaign headquarters of his party, La Libertad Avanza (Freedom Advances), located in the Hotel Libertador in downtown.
Supporters of the far-right Spanish party Vox and associates of French politician Marine Le Pen also attended the highly-anticipated event, which was compared to the celebration for Lionel Messi last year by Ramiro Marra, a colleague of Milei’s. Marra stated that the gathering would be just as jubilant, declaring, “We have already triumphed in the World Cup. Now, we will gain control of this country with our beliefs in liberty.”
Eliminate all of them
Milei, who is 53 years old, entered the political arena in 2021 by winning a seat in congress and establishing the La Libertad Avanza coalition. According to Tom, Milei has positioned himself as the candidate for radical change and has effectively garnered media attention. The high inflation rate of 138%, the highest since 1991, and ongoing corruption scandals in the country have led many people to seek an alternative.
Before the vote, Tom spoke with individuals in the less affluent areas of Buenos Aires and was surprised by the large amount of support for Milei’s extreme proposals. He noticed a significant level of frustration and anger, especially among working-class males, particularly younger ones who have historically aligned with the Peronist party.
Juan Grabois, a well-known leftist who compares Milei to the Pied Piper of Hamelin, expressed to Tom: “There is a dangerous temptation to self-destruct. It’s not that they believe Milei will triumph and bring improvement. It’s that they desire everything to fall into chaos. It’s about destroying everything and rebuilding from the ground up.”
In his campaign videos, Milei primarily focuses on what he plans to eliminate rather than what he plans to implement. He advocates for the removal of several ministries, including the Culture Ministry, Environment Ministry, Ministry of Women and Gender Diversity, Public Works Ministry, Science Ministry, Labour and Social Security Ministry, and Ministry of Education and Indoctrination. During his stadium tour before the vote, the crowd chanted his slogan “Que se vayan todos” (Get rid of them all) loudly.
Wealthy like an Argentine.
According to reports, Nobel laureate economist Simon Kuznets stated in the 1970s that there are four categories of countries: developed, underdeveloped, Japan, and Argentina.
One hundred years ago, Argentina’s GDP per capita was higher than that of Germany, Italy, or France, as reported by the Economist. Many European migrants were drawn to Argentina to work on its productive land and achieve the status of being “riche comme un Argentin” (rich like an Argentinian), a phrase that is now used humorously. Currently, Germany’s GDP is four times larger than Argentina’s. According to the World Bank, Argentina has experienced a total of 14 recessions between 1950 and 2016.
Milei has suggested replacing the peso with the dollar as a solution, drawing inspiration from Ecuador’s successful dollarisation in 2000. However, advocating for this idea led to a significant drop in the value of the peso against the dollar, making the plan even more costly.
Tom explains that Massa, who is currently responsible for the Argentinian economy, may seem like the least ideal candidate on paper. It is almost unimaginable to vote for a finance minister during an economic crisis. However, Massa has successfully portrayed himself as a composed and rational individual, in contrast to the eccentric Milei of the far-right party who uses a chainsaw as a representation of reducing expenses and dismantling the system.
On November 19th, Argentinians will vote again to make their ultimate choice.
What else we’ve been reading
When Sarah Ingram’s cat Biff went missing, she had assumed he had been hit by a car. Eleven years later she got a call from a pet detective who told her that her beloved pet was alive and thriving with someone else. Ingram writes movingly about reconnecting with Biff after a decade. Nimo
Professor Emma Smith is examining the idea that attention spans, which are already short, may be becoming even shorter. She also addresses common misunderstandings about focus and efficiency, such as the belief that we can easily binge-watch an entire TV series. In her writing, she argues that distractions offer alternative, valuable experiences rather than simply being a hindrance to absorption. This information was shared by Nyima Jobe from the newsletters team.
Following the controversy surrounding the removal of the Sycamore Gap tree, activists are advocating for stronger measures to safeguard historic and mature trees. Journalist Damien Gayle interviewed specialists to discuss potential courses of action.
Angela Christofilou captured the close relationship formed within her grandmother’s church bingo group in Lancashire. Through her photographs, she portrayed her grandmother’s lively spirit and appreciation for the simple joys in life. These images can be found in her book, Church Bingo, published by Pendle Press. Nyima Pratten
In case you missed it, Nesrine Malik continues to impress with her insightful analysis of the Arab world’s response to the ongoing bombing in Gaza. – Nimo
Arsenal Football Club has acknowledged that their women’s team (shown in the picture) lacks diversity and has committed to making it a top priority to address this issue. The club received backlash after sharing a photo of Jonas Eidevall’s squad for the 2023-24 season on social media, as none of the 27 players were black or from ethnic minorities.
Afghanistan achieved their second major upset in the Cricket World Cup by defeating Pakistan by eight wickets on Monday. The top three batsmen of Afghanistan all scored half-centuries and their captain, Hashmatullah Shahidi, remained unbeaten with 48 runs at the fourth position. They successfully chased down a target of 283 runs with an over to spare.
In the Premier League, when Tottenham plays with such intensity, ambition, and innovation, it doesn’t seem far-fetched to predict that they will soon be considered legitimate contenders for the title. Of course, there may come a time when their small squad runs out of energy and the usual hierarchy is restored. However, at the moment, Spurs cannot be stopped and their return to the top of the league with a victory over a weak Fulham team had fans believing that anything is achievable under the leadership of Ange Postecoglou.
The front pages
The main headline on The Guardian’s front page is about the ongoing bombardment of Gaza and efforts to free hostages. A photo below shows a woman and child in Gaza crying after an Israeli airstrike. The i reports on two more Israeli hostages being freed amidst intensified air strikes on Gaza. The Telegraph focuses on diplomatic tensions, stating that the EU is clashing with the UK and US over a ceasefire. According to The Times, Chancellor Sunak has declared that chanting “jihad” poses a threat to democracy as the fallout from protests in London continues. A similar image of the crying woman and child is featured, like on The Guardian’s front page. The Express reports on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s criticism of the Metropolitan Police for not taking action against “jihadi” chants. The Mail highlights a video shared by Israel that supposedly proves the depravity of Hamas terrorists. The Financial Times takes a different direction, discussing Chevron’s $53 billion acquisition of Hess and their increased reliance on fossil fuels. The paper notes that this is the largest deal in Chevron’s history. On the other hand, the Mirror reports on the aftermath of severe flooding with headlines about a storm causing chaos and people feeling neglected by a lack of assistance.
Today in Focus
Is it possible for the conflict in Israel to escalate into a regional war?
Israel has been launching more and more missiles into Gaza, while Hamas continues to hold over 200 hostages and violence escalates in the West Bank. For those familiar with the region, such as international security correspondent Jason Burke from the Guardian, the idea of the conflict escalating into a total war is a cause for concern. However, as reported by Michael Safi, there are also reasons to remain optimistic that a full-scale war can be prevented.
Today’s Comic | Illustrated by Ella Baron
Some positive news to remind you that there is still good in the world.
In August 2021, the Lassen Volcanic National Park (shown in the image above) in California was nearly 70% destroyed by the Dixie fire. The aftermath had a devastating impact on the nearby community, which had already suffered greatly from the fire.
Afterwards, fire personnel and park employees put in a great deal of effort to safeguard the remaining parts of the park. Dani Anguino went to the national park to observe its recovery. Specialists emphasize the significance of controlled fires in maintaining the environment and highlight the park’s ecological resilience, showing that even in the face of devastation, nature can adapt and regenerate, providing us with stunning sights.
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Bored at work?
Lastly, the Guardian’s puzzles are available to keep you amused all day long. There are even more puzzles offered on the Guardian’s Puzzles app for both iOS and Android. See you tomorrow.