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Argentina's economic crisis is threatening to hinder the completion of a US$50-million international project to build the world's largest cosmic-ray observatory.

The southern part of the Pierre Auger Observatory, in Argentina's Mendoza province, is being built first. Argentina had pledged US$15 million to the project, but since December 2001, when the Argentinian peso was devalued, the country has plunged deeper into economic and political crisis and is unlikely to fulfil all of its obligations.

The transitional Argentinian government has no clear long-term plans for science or technology, and the project may have to find some of the promised funding from other sources.

Reference: Nature 417, 679 (2002)

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