Argentine airline cancels 371 flights due to strike ahead of G20

Aerolineas Argentinas’ planes sit on the ramp of Ezeiza International Airport near Buenos Aires, Argentina. (File photo / AFP)
Updated 23 November 2018
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Argentine airline cancels 371 flights due to strike ahead of G20

BUENOS AIRES: Argentina’s state-owned airline Aerolineas Argentinas said on Friday that it had canceled all flights scheduled for Monday due to a strike called by pilots and other personnel, just days before the country is to host a meeting of the G20.
More than 370 flights, affecting 40,000 travelers, have been scratched from the schedule, Aerolineas said in a statement.
On Nov.30, the yearly meeting of the leaders of the world’s 20 biggest economies is to be held in Buenos Aires. The G20 summit will be the biggest of its kind ever to be held in Argentina.
The inflation- and recession-racked country is hoping to use the G20 meeting to showcase the market-friendly policies of President Mauricio Macri, who has failed to attract significant foreign direct investment since he took office in late 2015.
Frequent strikes by activist labor unions are a reason why investors still shy from Argentina.
“Given the need to protect its passengers, Aerolineas is forced to cancel the entire operation scheduled for that day (Monday) and is reprogramming flights in the most orderly way possible,” the statement said.
Two pilots unions plus the Aeronautical Personnel Association and the Aeronautical Technical Personnel Association are among the groups that will strike, the statement said.
“From 00:00 Monday morning (03:00 GMT) Nov. 26 there will be a total stoppage of activities,” a statement on the website of the local APLA pilots union said. The open-ended strike is over issues including what the union called inadequate wages.
Labor stoppages are common in Argentina, where employers are hard-pressed to grant pay increases in line with inflation.
Consumer prices in Argentina rose 5.4 percent in October alone. Annual inflation is expected to top 47 percent by the end of the year, according to the latest central bank poll.


Pompeo pledges close cooperation with India but trade, defense issues unresolved

Updated 26 June 2019
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Pompeo pledges close cooperation with India but trade, defense issues unresolved

  • But US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave few specifics of how they would overcome disputes on issues
  • The disputes have led to higher trade tariffs by the two countries and created unease over the depth of their security alliance

NEW DELHI: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sought to reduce heightened trade tension with India on Wednesday, promising a renewed focus on negotiating improved trade and investment ties between the two nations.
But Pompeo, on a visit to India, gave few specifics of how they would overcome disputes on issues ranging from access to Indian markets for leading American companies to New Delhi’s demands for foreign firms to store Indian data in the country, and exports of steel and aluminum to the United States.
The two nations are “friends who can help each other all around the world,” Pompeo told a joint news conference with Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar after they met.
The current differences were expressed “in the spirit of friendship,” he added.
The disputes have led to higher trade tariffs by the two countries and created unease over the depth of their security alliance.
In particular, the sudden introduction of new e-commerce rules for foreign investors in February angered the Americans because it showed New Delhi was prepared to move the goalposts to hurt two of the largest US companies, discount retailer Walmart, and Amazon.com Inc.
Walmart last year invested $16 billion to buy control of Indian e-commerce firm Flipkart.
Just days before Pompeo’s visit, India slapped higher retaliatory tariffs on 28 US products following Washington’s withdrawal of key trade privileges for New Delhi.
Jaishankar, a former Indian ambassador to the United States, played down the spat on Wednesday.
“If you trade with someone and they are your biggest trading partner, it is impossible you don’t have trade issues,” he said.
India’s ties with Russia and Iran, both now subject to US sanctions, are also a sore point.
US pressure has led India to stop buying oil from Iran, a top energy supplier. The United States has also stepped up pressure on India not to proceed with its purchase of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems from Russia.
The missile deal and Iranian oil were both discussed during their meeting, Jaishankar and Pompeo said, but mentioned no resolution of either at the news conference.
Earlier, Pompeo met Prime Minister Narendra Modi for talks at his official residence in the capital, New Delhi, and they exchanged handshakes in images broadcast on television.
“The Prime Minister expressed his strong commitment to achieve the full potential of bilateral relations in trade and economy, energy, defense, counterterrorism and people-to-people contacts,” the foreign ministry said in a statement, without elaborating.
Pompeo is expected to round off the trip with a policy speech hosted by the US embassy, before departing on Thursday for a summit of leaders of the Group of 20 nations in Japan.