Argentines celebrate Christmas Eve in stifling heat

Buenos Aires, Dec 24 (EFE).- Amid a new heat wave with maximum temperatures around 37 C (99 F), residents of Greater Buenos Aires prepare Tuesday to celebrate Christmas Eve despite prolonged power outages.

The situation has sparked widespread protests and even some acts of violence, as occurred before dawn Tuesday in the capital neighborhood of Flores, where a resident was shot and killed when he tried to block a street to express his anger.

The 40-year-old man was shot in the chest by a traffic cop, who was suspended pending an investigation.

Protesters are taking to the streets in other neighborhoods of the city as well, including Caballito, Floresta and Carabobo, where some residents have been living for days with their water supply cut off.

The Edesur electric company, controlled by the Spanish group Endesa, said Tuesday that further blackouts are to be expected during Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

"We know that tonight is one of the most important occasions of the year, and faced with the possibility of interruptions in the power supply, we wish to inform you that we will be working to solve the problem for 24 hours from today through tomorrow, Dec. 25," Edesur said in a statement published in Argentine newspapers.

The company reminded its users that the last days of 2013 will see "the greatest demand for electrical energy in history, boosted by extraordinary climatic conditions."

Forecasters say the stifling heat will extend to the northern area of Patagonia, where temperatures will climb as high as 40 C (104 F).