Argentina uncovered

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Argentina, officially the Argentine Republic, is the second largest country in South America, constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires. It is the eighth–largest country in the world by land area and the largest among Spanish–speaking nations, although Mexico, Colombia and Spain are more populous. Almost all of the 40.1m population are European descendants. The population is relatively young with a median age of 29.7 years and a 97% literacy rate.

Argentina sits between the Andes mountain range in the west and the Atlantic Ocean in the east. It borders Paraguay and Bolivia to the north, Brazil and Uruguay to the northeast, and Chile to the west and south. Argentina claims the British overseas territories of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. It also claims a part of Antarctica, overlapping claims made by Chile and the UK, although all claims were suspended by the Antarctic Treaty of 1961. The climate is predominantly temperate with extremes ranging from subtropical in the north to sub Antarctic in the south. Argentina is one of the G20 major economies and is rich in natural resources including gold, silver, copper, iron ore, petroleum, natural gas and oil. Argentina's main suppliers are Brazil, the US, China, Germany and Mexico (with the UK in 14th position). Its top five export markets are Brazil, Chile, the US, China and Spain (with the UK in 22nd position). The Argentine economy achieved its sixth consecutive year of growth in 2008. However, it has not been immune to the negative impact of the international financial crisis on the real economy. Even though all the components of the aggregate demand experienced positive variations, they were lower than the average changes of previous years, a fact that encouraged the implementation of government policies in an effort to drive consumption and investment. Through its International Trade Under–secretariat, the Argentine government promotes and coordinates foreign investment opportunities in Argentina. This Under–secretariat identifies and assists potential foreign investors interested in the development of new productive activities in Argentina or the expansion and improvement of existing activities. To do so, the country is able to count on a series of regulations designed to promote investment, available to both domestic and foreign investors. These include:• Horizontal incentives: Instruments and measures to encourage investment applicable to all regions and areas of economic activity. • Sectoral incentives: Incentive regimes targeting specific sectors of the economy. • Regional incentives: Provincial promotion regimes and support infrastructure for investment. The official language of Argentina is Spanish, usually called Castellano (Castilian) by Argentines. A phonetic study conducted by the Laboratory for Sensory Investigations of CONICET and the University of Toronto showed that the accent of the inhabitants of Buenos Aires (known as Porteáos) is closer to the Neapolitan dialect of Italian than any other spoken language. Italian immigration and other European immigrations influenced Lunfardo, the slang spoken in the Río de la Plata region, permeating the vernacular vocabulary of other regions as well. According to one survey, there are around 1. 5m Italian speakers (which makes it the second most spoken language in the country) and 1m speakers of North Levantine Spoken Arabic. Standard German is spoken by between 400, 000 and 500, 000 Argentines of German ancestry, making it the third or fourth most spoken language in Argentina. Sport in ArgentinaThe official national sport of Argentina is pato, played with a six–handle ball on horseback, but the most popular sport is football. The national football team has won 25 major international titles including two FIFA World Cups, two Olympic gold medals and 14 Copa AmÉricas. Argentina will host the 2011 Copa America. Over 1, 000 Argentine players play abroad, the majority of them in European football leagues. There are 331, 811 registered football players, with increasing numbers of girls and women, who have organised their own national championships since 1991 and were South American champions in 2006. The Argentine Football Association (AFA) was formed in 1893 and is the eighth oldest national football association in the world. The 1891 league tournament in Argentina was the third in football history, after England and the Netherlands. The AFA counts 3, 377 football clubs, including 20 in the Premier Division. Since the AFA went professional in 1931, 15 teams have won national tournament titles, including River Plate with 33 and Boca Juniors with 24. Over the last 20 years, futsal and beach soccer have become increasingly popular in Argentina. The Argentine beach football team was one of four competitors in the first international championship for the sport, in Miami, in 1993. Basketball is the second most popular sport in the country. A number of basketball players play in the US National Basketball Association and European leagues including Manu Ginãbili, AndrÉs Nocioni, Carlos Delfino, Luis Scola and Fabricio Oberto. The men's national basketball team won Olympic gold in the 2004 Olympics and the bronze medal in 2008. Argentina is currently ranked first by the International Basketball Federation. Argentina has an important rugby union football team, Los Pumas, with many of its players playing in Europe. Argentina beat host nation France twice in the 2007 IRB Rugby World Cup, placing the team third in the competition. The Pumas are currently sixth in the official world rankings. Other popular sports include field hockey (particularly among women), tennis, auto racing, boxing, volleyball, polo and golf. Cultural eventsArgentina hosts a wide variety of cultural events throughout the year, including the following:Buenos Aires Fashion Week – February 2010 (annual)Models parade the latest autumn/winter collections by well–known local and international brands and independent designers in 15 catwalk shows during Buenos Aires Fashion Week. International Equine and Horse Riding Exhibition – March 2010 (annual)Some of the finest breeds of horse parade and perform in spectacular shows at the yearly International Equine and Horse Riding Exhibition at La Rural. Quilmes Rock – March 2010 (various dates)The Quilmes Rock music festival returns to Buenos Aires' River Plate Stadium with a bang every year. Big international groups and Argentina's very own rock sensations make up the headliners. In–Edit Cinzano – March 2010 (various dates)In–Edit Cinzano is the Buenos Aires branch of Barcelona's International Music Documentary and Film Festival. Fans get an inside peek into the life of music legends. Inffinito Brazilian Film Festival – April 2010 (annual)The Village Recoleta Cinema stages competitive screenings of the newest movies every year. Gallery Nights–April to November 2010 (various dates)Over 70 galleries and cultural spaces in Buenos Aires' smart Recoleta and Retiro neighbourhoods fling open their doors on the last Friday of the month from April to November at Gallery Nights. Buenos Aires Book Fair–April to May 2010 (annual)More than a million bibliophiles and publishing professionals head to La Rural exhibition complex for the annual Buenos Aires Book Fair. Feast of the Virgin of Luján – May 2010 (annual)On foot or by bus, 4m people visit the town of Luján each year on 8 May to pay homage to the patron saint of Argentina, the Virgin of Luján. National Toy Fair – May 2010 (annual)Hundreds of new toys and games, circus performers and a mini–cinema showing cartoons are just some of the things to be found at the National Toy Fair in the Centro Costa Salguero. Children's Fair – May 2010 (annual)La Feria de los Chicos takes place every year in the Centro de Exposiciones in Buenos Aires. Musical shows, theatre performances and a storytelling corner are some of the featured events. International Human Rights Film Festival–May to June 2010 (annual)One of the first dedicated to the cause in Latin America, the International Human Rights Film Festival puts on feature films, shorts and documentaries by local and international film makers. Ciudad Emergente Music Festival – June 2010 (annual)Fresh musical talent holds court at the annual Ciudad Emergente in Buenos Aires' airy Centro Cultural Recoleta. La Falda National Tango & Milonga Festival – July 2010 (annual)Every year the town of La Falda sways to the melancholic yet passionate sounds of Argentina's trademark musical genres at the National Tango and Milonga Festival. Arteclásica Art Fair – July 2010 (annual)Arteclásica is the annual showground for classic and contemporary art in Buenos Aires. More than 80 national and international galleries and dealers exhibit works at the Centro Costa Salguero. Mi Buenos Aires Querible – July 2010 (annual)Mi Buenos Aires Querible features special exhibitions, workshops and guided walks around the city. International Rural Exhibition–July to August 2010 (annual)Argentina's gauchos take over La Rural for the yearly International Rural Exhibition, where the finest cattle are paraded, classified and auctioned off. Milongueando – August 2010 (annual)Milongueando in Buenos Aires brings together milonga dancers from across the globe. Optica Festival – August 2010 (annual)Independent artists and galleries focus on contemporary audiovisual art as the Optica Festival stretches its tentacles to Argentina, Bolivia, Spain and France. Buenos Aires Tango Festival – August 2010 (annual)Melancholic lyrics and rhythms flood the Argentine capital during the annual Buenos Aires Tango Festival. There are free dancing displays at venues citywide and concerts and exhibitions. Spring Wine Tour Urbano–September to November 2010 (various dates)On the third Friday in September, October and November, visitors can browse the fashion boutiques along Armenia and Honduras streets in Palermo Viejo while sipping the nominated wine of the night.

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