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Chile students’ debts go up in smoke

Source: The Guardian Unlimited

For a whole year, a Chilean artist using the name Fried Potatoes (Papas Fritas) planned his revenge. Saying he was collecting material for an art project, the 31-year-old visual artist sneaked into a vault at a notorious private, run-for-profit university and quietly removed tuition contracts.

Fried Potatoes – whose real name is Francisco Tapia – then burned the documents, rendering it nearly impossible for the Universidad del Mar to call in its debt – which he claimed was worth as much as $500m (£297m). “It’s over. You are all free of debt,” he said in a five-minute video released earlier this month. Speaking to former students, he added: “You don’t have to pay a penny.” read more

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David Bowie’s Radicalism

Source: In These Times

The artist blew our minds wide open.

Philosopher Simon Critchley starts off his new book, Bowie, by introducing us to David Bowie the way he discovered him: July 6, 1972, on the BBC’s “Top of the Pops,” in a catsuit with spiked orange hair and makeup, singing a song about a man come down from the stars. Critchley was 12. Later, his mother bought the single they had heard, “Starman,” and when he played it the first time, “the sheer bodily excitement of that noise was almost too much to bear.” read more

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How Did Argentina’s Alberto Nisman Really Die?

Source: The Nation

In Buenos Aires, on January 18, Alberto Nisman, a government prosecutor, was found dead in his apartment, shot with a 22. The death, either a suicide or a murder, has rocked Argentine politics. One’s opinion on what the killing means depends on one’s opinion of the country’s president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

Nisman, who had spent years investigating the 1994 bombing of the Argentina Israelite Mutual Association, which killed 85 and wounded hundreds, had accused Kirchner and her foreign minister, Héctor Timerman (son of Jacobo Timerman, one of Argentina’s most famous victims of the dirty war, author of Prisoner without a Name, Cell without a Number) of conspiring to protect Iran (and Hezbollah) from being held accountable for the bombing. Kirchner and Timerman made this deal, according to Nisman, in exchange for cheap oil. Nisman’s accusations are contained in a nearly 300-page report, released just before his death. He was about to give testimony before Congress, but died the night before his scheduled appearance. read more