first_img Tuesday, August 23, 2016 HONG KONG — What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done in the name of love? We guarantee you that whatever antics you’ve done in the past, you’ll still be out-crazed by one misguided bloke in Hong Kong.According to the South China Morning Post, a 41-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly calling in bomb scares at Hong Kong International Airport in an attempt to stop his girlfriend’ flight from departing. It’s been reported that the man made three calls to police; the fist bogus bomb claim was made at 4pm on Saturday, the second one followed 40 minutes later, and the third just 10 minutes after that.Police searches failed to turn up any suspicious objects. Airport operations were not interrupted.The calls were made from a mobile phone, a phone in an airport shop and a public phone at the airport. The suspect was finally apprehended at a restaurant at Terminal One.The man told police he had been trying to stop his 27-year-old girlfriend, who he had an argument with, from departing on a flight. Tags: LOL Posted by Man calls in bomb scare to stop girlfriend’s flight from taking offcenter_img Share Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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first_img LAS VEGAS — The U.S. gambling mecca’s efforts to draw millennials and new visitors are paying off.A third of Las Vegas tourists last year were millennials – those between 18 to 35 – up from less than a quarter in 2015, according to a report commissioned by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and released Wednesday.The increase in younger visitors is undoubtedly good news to the destination that has been adding attractions to remain relevant to a generation not as fond of gambling as their elders.The data also showed that 27% of the city’s 42.9 million visitors in 2016 were first-timers.So, who came to Sin City and what did they do? Here’s a profile of average visitors:HOW OLD ARE YOU?The city set a record for visitation in 2016, though the number of baby boomers dropped to 28% from 35% in 2015. Generation X visitors made up 35% of tourists, down 1%, while millennial travellers increased to 34% from 24% a year earlier.“The product that we have now really appeals to millennials,” said Bo Bernhard, director of the International Gaming Institute at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and a noted scholar on gambling and hospitality in Las Vegas. “Nightclubs are like theatre to millennials. They are experiencing a very different Las Vegas than their grandparents.”More news:  Rome enforces ban on sitting on Spanish StepsTake MGM Resorts International, which several years ago created a committee dedicated to reimagining the gaming experience with the millennial demographic in mind.The company recently opened an interactive and skill-based gaming social venue at the MGM Grand that is essentially a hybrid bar, arcade and gambling lounge. The company has hosted e-sports tournaments and even released a set of emojis in December.“We’ve created dining destinations that are social and engaging and created food and beverage experiences ideal for sharing socially,” said Jenn Michaels, MGM’s senior vice-president of public relations. “And, of course, we are looking at our gaming floors and identifying how those can evolve to appeal to today’s traveller.”NEW TOURISTSThe increase of first-time visitors is comparable to the level Las Vegas experienced in the mid-1990s, the report said. It attributed the renewed interest to the recovery of the national economy, an increase in millennials who discovered the city and the reinvestment by hotels and others on new experiences and activities.“Indeed, it is quite possible that the varied and targeted entertainment options and related venues currently in Las Vegas have served to attract new visitors to the destination much the same as the ‘new’ megaresorts did in the 1990s,” according to the report by GLS Research, a San Francisco-based public opinion and market research firm.More news:  GLP Worldwide introduces first-ever Wellness programsIts data is based on information volunteered by 3,600 random tourists polled during 2016. 91% of visitors said they would recommend Las Vegas to others.HITTING THE CASINO FLOORThe number of visitors who gambled during their trip has remained at about 7 in 10 over the past five years, the data show. But gamblers are spending a lot less time on the casino floor.Last year, visitors spent an average of 1.9 hours gambling, that’s an hour less than in 2015 and more than 2 hours less than two decades ago.“They are spending more time enjoying the non-gaming amenities,” said Kevin Bagger, executive director of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s research centre.Those other activities include day club-nightclubs, concerts, shows and sports events.WHERE ARE YOU FROM?The report says 81% of visitors came from within the U.S., down 3% from 2015. Meanwhile, the number of foreign visitors rose 3% from 2015, returning to the 19% seen in 2014.About half of U.S. tourists were from Western states, with the majority coming from California. Who’s going to Vegas? New stats show millennials and first timers are on the rise By: Regina Garcia Cano Source: The Associated Press Friday, April 7, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >> Share Tags: Las Vegas, Millennial Travel, Trend Watchlast_img read more

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first_imgFrom the print editionThe executive president of the Costa Rican Fisheries Institute (Incopesca), Luis Dobles, is under scrutiny from the Prosecutor’s Office in Puntarenas for possible dereliction of duty.The allegations stem from events in 2010 and 2011, when Taiwanese fishing boats flying Belizean flags unloaded cargos that included shark skeletons with fins attached, and shark bodies with the fins removed and then artificially reattached, in apparent attempts to circumvent Costa Rican regulations.In May 2010, the boat Wang Jia Men arrived at the public dock in the Pacific port of Puntarenas, but refused to unload its cargo before heading off in the direction of El Salvador. The Wang Jia Men returned to Puntarenas five days later carrying 36 shark carcasses with the flesh removed and only the highly lucrative fins attached. Four months later, a different ship, the Wang Jia Men 89, docked at Puntarenas but was prevented from unloading some 145 shark skeletons. In a separate incident in October of last year, another ship, the Wan Jia Men 88, attempted to unload some 1,000 kilograms of shark spines and fins (TT, Oct. 14, 2011).The global trade in shark fins, driven by demand in China and Taiwan, where the fins are featured in an expensive soup, is decimating world shark populations. Fins can fetch more than $900 per pound in some markets, and bowls of shark-fin soup can sell for more than $100 each. In order to save room in cargo holds for more fins, living sharks are tossed overboard once fishermen have removed their fins. Shark fins seized recently by the Coast Guard on a boat near Golfito, on the southern Pacific coast. Courtesy of the Public Security Minister “There is a mix of information and some errors that I believe a digital newspaper reported last week, dealing with certain observations and complaints made by Mr. Javier Catón to a Puntarenas prosecutor, of which I have official knowledge and which has been communicated by the prosecutor to me as an allegation of dereliction of my duties,” Dobles said, referring to a report last week on the website The Incopesca executive president added that he met with prosecutors, and “considers [the accusations] to be absolutely false, propagandistic and absolutely bad-intentioned and biased.”That particular case, Dobles said, is based on the Wang Jia Men’s arrival at Puntarenas in 2010, when it did not unload its cargo for Incopesca inspectors to examine, but instead sailed off for El Salvador. A second complaint focusing on the Wang Jia Men 89’s arrival at Puntarenas last October is actually leveled at the captain of that boat, Dobles said, not himself.The Incopesca executive president denied wrongdoing in any of the incidents, saying instead that allegations were leveled against him and Incopesca by local fishermen trying to use complaints to harm the business interests of foreign industrial fishing fleets that they do not want to have to compete against.“That gentleman,” Dobles said, referring to Catón, who made the complaints, “represents a fishing organization that is determined to stop the commercial activities of businesses in Puntarenas that are associated with the Chinese and Taiwanese.”“They want an end to competition,” he added.Catón, who represents the Pacific Coast Fisherman’s Union in Puntarenas, said foreign shark fishermen were trying to “invent a new way of shark finning.”“The fishermen of Costa Rica will not permit this,” Catón said. “We decided to take measures to pressure, as we have other times, the government by using our rights as citizens and our country’s legal framework. We filed complaints to that end, not against anyone in particular, but by saying that this is a new type of shark finning. So, the judicial system is who will have to investigate and determine a course.”By Costa Rican law, only three cuts are allowed to be made on sharks caught in Costa Rican waters – one on the stomach to eviscerate the animal, another on the head and a third small cut on the shark’s fin to allow the animal to bleed out and for the fin to be bent to the side.Catón didn’t deny Dobles’ statement that Tico fishermen want to thin out competition by foreign fleets, and he called Taiwanese and Chinese boats “the biggest problem we have.”“I lodged the complaint because our lawmakers believe in the law, and therefore they’ve given me the opportunity to bring complaints against public institutions,” Catón said. “But I want this to stop. The Costa Rican fishermen want the Taiwanese businesses flying Belizean flags to stop doing this and get out of the country, because they are hurting our image.”Incopesca and Dobles have long fielded criticism that they abet foreign fleets illegally finning sharks in Costa Rican waters.“We always have this situation,” said Randall Arauz, president of the Marine Turtle Restoration Program and an outspoken critic of the fisheries institute. “Incopesca is always breaking or bending the law to favor the interests of foreign fishing fleets.”Arauz pointed out that though it is illegal to unload shark fins without the rest of the animal’s body at Costa Rican docks, it is not illegal to import shark fins overland from neighboring Nicaragua. Arauz said that in 2011, some 20 tons of shark fins were imported into Costa Rica overland.Enrique Ramírez, president of the Costa Rican Sportfishing Federation, an organization that is pushing Incopesca for stronger regulation of industrial fishing fleets, said “interpretation of the law has been very loose and in favor of the Chinese [and Taiwanese] fleets.”Those industrial fleets using nonselective forms of fishing including longlines – heavy fishing lines with several hooks that stretch for kilometers – and purse seines – large nets set around schools of fish – have reduced by up to 85 percent marlin and sailfish populations in Costa Rican waters. A study of the sportfishing industry in Costa Rica by the University of Costa Rica found that a live sailfish can generate as much as $3,000 for the country, while in markets sailfish flesh sells for about $3 per kilogram.Humans kill over 73 million sharks annually, despite the fact that more than 30 percent of all shark species are endangered. In places where sharks are left alive, they can generate huge revenues for a country. Belize, for example, rakes in about $4 million annually from whale shark diving, while in Spain’s Canary Islands, shark diving generates about $27 million each year (TT, Dec. 09, 2011).Dobles seems unfazed by such matters. Last January, he said, a Costa Rica-backed initiative made it necessary for fisheries authorities to provide verification that any shark products imported or exported across borders in Central America were caught in a legal manner.“The use of shark species is legally permitted, like it or not,” Dobles said. “Someone could say, ‘At the national and global level, you should stop eating sharks,’ but the consumption and sale of shark resources isn’t prohibited if it is verified not to have originated from a shark-finning situation. In that case, it is perfectly valid.”However, some governments are taking steps to ban or limit consumption of shark-fin products. In the United States, for example, Illinois is one of its largest markets for shark fins. On July 2, Illinois signed a bill making it the first inland state to prohibit the shark fin trade. California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii have also adopted restrictive measures for shark fins.And on Tuesday, China announced it would ban shark fin soup at official banquets, the state-run news agency Xinhua reported. Facebook Commentscenter_img No related posts.last_img read more

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first_imgThe use of dynamite by fishermen is one hypothesis being put forward by Costa Rican fishing regulatorsto explain the massive deaths of dozens – and possibly hundreds – of Eastern Pacific green sea turtles on Central America’s Pacific coast.The endangered turtles began appearing on the shores of northwestern Costa Rica over the weekend, and many of them did not exhibit any physical damage. On Wednesday and Thursday, the Nicaraguan conservation group Paso Pacifico found 28 dead turtles off the coast of San Juan del Sur, just north of where the Costa Rican turtles where found. None of the Nicaraguan turtles showed signs of physical damage, and all but one was an Eastern Pacific green sea turtle.According to Luis Fonesca, one of the biologists investigating the case, two turtles have already been examined with inconclusive results. Costa Rica’s National University is currently conducting an analysis to determine the causes of death, but several theories top the list.Dynamite or longline fishingAccording to Roberto Umaña, head of the Costa Rican Fisheries Institute (Incopesca) in the northwestern province of Guanacaste, and Roger Blanco, head of investigations for the Guanacaste Conservation Area, local fishermen have reported several cases of the use of dynamite by Nicaraguan fishermen near Costa Rica’s northern Pacific coast.“There were turtles found swimming in circles in the water,” Umaña told The Tico Times. “I don’t know how a bombing would affect a turtle, but confusion like that seems to make sense.”Didiher Chacón, of the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Network (Widecast), also said that a number of the turtles had sustained blows to the head.According to Lisa González, national director of Paso Pacifico in Nicaragua, the use of dynamite for fishing is increasing in central and northern Nicaragua, and one case was reported in San Juan del Sur last September.“Right now the goal is to eliminate as many causes as possible,” González said. “The easiest thing is to look into human causes like dynamite or longline fishing.”A sudden influx of mahi mahi to the Pacific coast has increased the number of longline fishermen currently operating in Costa Rican waters. The presence of hooks and lines on some of the turtles initially led investigators to suspect longliners as the culprit, but only a small number of the carcasses found showed possible signs of fishing interaction.“It is certainly possible that some of these turtles were killed from longline fishing,” said Blanco, “but that has been a persistent threat for some time. Most of these turtles don’t have hooks and were likely killed by something else.”Chemical or natural causesThe lack of physical damage in many of the turtles along with the fact that they are nearly all the same species of turtle has led investigators to suspect a chemical or natural cause.“Olive Ridley turtles are extremely common in this area,” Blanco said. “If it was just dynamite or fishing then we would expect to see a few of that species as well, but they are almost all green turtles.”Dead sea turtles without any physical damage have been turning up along the coasts of Mexico and all of Central America for months. Massive deaths have been reported in Guatemala and El Salvador. Though some of these deaths were later attributed to red tide, which does not occur in this part of Costa Rica, a turtle-killing disease could be afflicting the entire region. “Some of the turtles looked at have strange microorganisms in their stomachs,” Blanco said. “Right now we can’t determine anything, but it is definitely being looked into.”Though some have speculated that radiation from Japan’s Fukishima disaster could be to blame, Fonesca said experts are not pursuing that angle. Based on research from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, scientists estimate that it would take at least five years for the radiation to spread to the Western hemisphere, meaning that marine animals would not be affected until 2016. UPDATE 12:53 p.m. on Nov. 12:Officials spotted a large brown patch of water with a cluster of dead turtles inside during a fly-over mission late Thursday. A group of officials traveled to the site by boat on Friday to collect samples for testing. Tests revealed that the cause of death for some of the turtles was due to the red tide. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

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first_imgRelated posts:Mysterious stone spheres granted UNESCO World Heritage status La Voz de Guanacaste marks holiday with video tribute to beloved northwestern province 11 aerial photos from Nature Air’s new flight to Limón PHOTOS: Bulls, beer and injuries at Costa Rica’s annual Zapote festival Finca 6 in Palmar Norte is one of the four archeological sites in the Osa municipality in Costa Rica’s south Pacific that will be added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The decision was finalized early this morning during a meeting of the World Heritage Comittee in Qatar. The four spots — Finca 6, Grijalba 2, Batambal and El Silencio — are home to Costa Rica’s largest collections of pre-Colombian stone spheres, knows as the Diquís spheres. Discovered in the 1930s by the United Fruit Company, the spheres orgins and purpose have remained a mystery to archealogists for decades. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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first_imgRelated posts:Dancer who lost a leg in Boston Marathon bombing finds solace in Costa Rican scuba diving Public workers can take recess to watch Costa Rica’s World Cup games, Solís says Why is the Ruta de los Conquistadores so hard? VIDEO: A morning on the Ruta de los Conquistadores When the city of Cartago constructed a system of bike paths through the downtown area, the municipality became a beacon of hope for urban cyclists. A gift from the Automóvil Club of Costa Rica, the “ciclovías” that cut through the busy Cartago streets seemed to mark a new era in eco-friendly transport.There was only one problem: Not everybody in Cartago has a bicycle.Thanks to “BicipúbliCartago,” a joint project between the Municipality of Cartago and the Dutch Embassy, the city has now received 100 new bicycles available for public use. While the “ride share” concept is extremely popular in Europe and increasingly common in the United States, BicipúbliCartago is the first such pilot program in Costa Rica.The project was inaugurated on Wednesday morning, with speeches by various officials and performances by jugglers, mimes, and unicyclists. The event culminated in a group ride through the city.In order to borrow a bicycle, a patron must be at least 15 years old, possess valid identification, and demonstrably know how to ride a bike. For more information about BicipúbliCartago, visit the project’s Facebook page. Ready to ride. Alberto Font/The Tico Times Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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first_imgRelated posts:Inter-American Dialogue honors Guatemalan businessman, civic activist Salvador Paiz The man saddened by statistics: In memory of Carlos Sojo In this holiday season, finding ways to make a difference ‘The Salt of the Earth’ focuses on photographer Sebastião Salgado On December 10, 2004, Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan environmental and political activist, became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. In her acceptance speech in Oslo, she said, “I am especially mindful of women and the girl child. I hope [this] will encourage them to raise their voices and take more space for leadership … and urge them to use it to pursue their dreams.” Ms Maathai left us in 2011, but I can’t help but think she must be proud to see young girls raising their voices and following in her footsteps.A few hours ago, exactly 10 years after Ms. Maathai received her historic prize, 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai became the youngest woman to be the recipient of this international honor. As the world now knows, Malala raised her voice to advocate for girls’ access to education in Pakistan. Because of her efforts, she was shot in the head by the Taliban on Oct. 9, 2012. Her bravery in overcoming the attack and continuing her advocacy reminds us, once again, that bullets can sometimes be defeated by words, that passionate voices can silence guns, and that courage can disarm violence. Sharing this year’s award with her is Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian peace activist who leads efforts against child exploitation and, like Malala, works to protect children’s right to go to school. Satyarthi’s efforts become even more commendable at a time when Unicef just named 2014 as one of the worst years for children. These two powerful changemakers have shown incalculable courage, absolute conviction and an unrelenting commitment to their noble quests.Malala’s struggle in Pakistan should be a call to action for all women and girls to fight for their right to knowledge and education. In Central America as a whole, and, yes, in Costa Rica as well, we urgently need more Malalas to raise their voices. In this year’s annual Global Gender Gap Index developed by the World Economic Forum (WEF), Iceland tops the list for the sixth year in a row, followed closely by all the Nordic countries — Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. On a remarkable note, Nicaragua comes in sixth place for the first time ever, which obviously indicates they must be doing some things right. The rest of Central America does not fare so well. Panama and Costa Rica are ranked at 46th and 48th, respectively, while Honduras (73rd), El Salvador (84th), and Guatemala (89th) leave much to be desired.It’s time to take a hard look at the reality of women and girls in our region. Central America faces many challenges in the 21st century. Ideologies, dogma and political affiliations seem irrelevant in our time, and the best route towards development is unclear. Uncertainty prevails. However, in the midst of this confusing panorama, one of the few things we can be certain about is that investing in girls’ education can only yield the best returns in the future. Education is the key to opportunities. Girls who have access to education develop a strong sense of self-worth and self-esteem. This enables them to exercise with dignity their freedom and autonomy over their own lives.I was inspired to write about Malala and her cause because of what I experienced on another day like this one. I was a young girl on Dec. 10, 1987, when I watched my father walk down the aisle of the University of Oslo Auditorium as he was called to accept the Nobel Peace Prize for that year. I remember sitting in the second row and staring at the gigantic Edvard Munch paintings that covered the walls while I waited for the ceremony to start. What has endured in my memory throughout the years is the sound in that room, or rather, I should say, the lack of sound. As my father walked down the aisle, a silence I had never experienced filled the air. It was an absolute absence of sound, and all one could breathe was an overwhelming aroma of dignity and respect that slowly permeated the room.It is from that deep silence that I choose to write these words today, launching a new monthly column that will feature the many Malalas in our own country and region – women and men doing extraordinary things to improve their communities, countries and world. It is from that deep silence, which lies deep in our hearts, that exceptional accomplishments can emerge. It is from there, from the voice of our souls that we can all become changemakers. This is the call of our time.Sylvia Arias Penón is a freelance journalist, communications professional, and eternal optimist by her own definition, based in Costa Rica. She has worked on a broad range of issues, including humanitarian and environmental issues, and collaborates with various nonprofit organizations, most notably those working to protect Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula. She is also a social entrepreneur working with artisans to promote a sustainable fashion line. Changemakers is her new monthly column for The Tico Times. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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first_imgRelated posts:Nearly 14,000 sickened banana workers to receive payment for pesticide exposure What is killing the young men of Cañas? Nicaraguan coffee farmers seek creative solutions to drought, climate change The hidden environmental factors behind the spread of Zika and other devastating diseases See also:What is killing the young men of Cañas?Scientists are now a little closer to uncovering the cause of a chronic kidney disease (CKD) epidemic that has killed more than 20,000 people in Central America in the last two decades. For years, the cause of the disease — which primarily afflicts young male agricultural workers — has stumped doctors. But a new study from the Boston University School of Public Health found that sugarcane fieldwork could play a role.“Our results provide evidence that one or more factors for this CKD epidemic are occupational,” said Rebecca Laws, a doctoral student at Boston University and one of the study’s authors. “We found that sugarcane workers saw a decline in kidney function during the harvest season and that it varied by job category.”Laws and her team studied 248 sugarcane workers in western Nicaragua, the epidemic’s hot spot, during the sugarcane-harvesting season. They measured the workers’ kidney functions before and after the harvest season and compared results from workers in seven different jobs. Their results were released in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health on Jan. 28. The study showed that fieldworkers, particularly those in who worked as cane cutters, seed cutters or irrigators had lower kidney function at the end of harvest season than other workers. The study points to heat exhaustion and dehydration from fieldwork as possible causes for the epidemic.Unlike CKD in the United States and other developed countries, the disease is not linked to hypertension or diabetes and tends to affect otherwise healthy men. Concentrated in rural parts of Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Guatemala, the disease often is understudied and receives little attention.“There are just not enough resources in the region right now to treat the disease,” Laws said. “Unfortunately, right now, usually the disease is fatal.”In Costa Rica, the northwestern province of Guanacaste has the highest rates of CKD. The small agricultural town of Cañas, in the province’s center-east, has CKD rates 18-20 times higher than the rest of the country. Most of the men in the area work for the local sugarcane plantation, Ingenio Taboga. Representatives from the company declined to comment for this story.Though farmworkers have been silently suffering from CKD since the 1970s, the disease’s staggering rates did not become apparent until the early 2000s. As scientists struggled to pin down a cause for the disease, local theories about the epidemic’s origin have run wild. Most in the Cañas area point to pesticides or arsenic as probable causes of CKD. Drinking water in parts of Guanacaste has tested with 13 times more arsenic than what the World Health Organization deems as safe, and sugarcane is heavily treated with chemicals. But both theories to date have little scientific support.Though arsenic is a known carcinogen, it has never been linked with kidney disease, and if the toxin’s presence in the water supply was the only cause, both men and women likely would be affected. The Boston University study also has put a dent in the pesticide theory, as men who worked applying agrochemicals saw the least decline in kidney function over the harvest season. Still, public health researchers say the disease is likely the convergence of multiple factors, and pesticides and arsenic have not been ruled out entirely.Laws is now working on two more studies in Nicaragua that could help uncover more about the CKD epidemic. One, a longitudinal study, will compare sugarcane workers with farmhands in other types of agriculture. The other study will look at renal damage in children and adolescents to help identify possible genetic factors in the disease. But while more research and time are required to nail down the full cause of the disease, men all over Central America are dying.“Additional research will take time, so it is really important to take action to address the epidemic now,” Laws said. “Even if fieldwork ends up being less of a factor than we think, these men will benefit from improved working conditions now.” Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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first_imgElection authorities in El Salvador decided to skip the customary preliminary vote count and proceed straight to the final count after a series of technical mishaps.Meanwhile, candidates from both the ruling Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) and the main opposition party, the Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA), have declared victories in key mayoral and legislative races.The delays are fueling suspicions and stoking harsh criticism toward the country’s voting authority, the Supreme Electoral Tribune (TSE).This year’s election is a tight contest between the ex-guerrilla FMLN and the conservative ARENA party for control of the Legislative Assembly.El Mundo, one of the country’s morning newspapers, wrote Tuesday in an editorial that the TSE had failed all tests regarding the vote count.“Chaos…has reached such a level that not even when votes were counted by hand was there as much delay as there is now,” the paper wrote.The editorial also criticized the electoral authorities for what it said was a lack of communication with the public regarding problems with the vote count.David Morales, El Salvador’s Human Rights Ombudsman, told the daily La Prensa Gráfica that the situation was “serious” and “regrettable” but discarded the possibility of fraud.He said the TSE and the company hired to tabulate the votes were jointly responsible for the problems.La Prensa Gráfica noted that the TSE carried out two test tallies prior to the election, and that both were failures.This year for the first time Salvadorans had the option of voting for a party list of candidates for legislative office, or for individual candidates from any party. This also contributed to delays in the vote count at many polling centers.Nearly 5 million Salvadorans were registered to vote on March 1 to elect 84 members of congress, 262 mayors and some 3,000 municipal council members. Voters also cast ballots for the country’s 20 representatives to the Guatemala-based Central American Parliament. Facebook Comments Related posts:Voters head to the polls in El Salvador to elect legislators, mayors Final election results in El Salvador give ARENA majority in congress Both candidates claim win in Salvadoran presidential runoff Former guerrilla sworn in as El Salvador presidentlast_img read more

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first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica calls for regional meeting to address flood of Cuban migrants Ecuador requires Cubans get visas to dissuade them from using country as springboard to US Costa Rica to deport Cuban migrants who lack visa Cuban migrants storm Costa Rica-Panama border demanding to pass GUATEMALA CITY — Guatemala said Wednesday it needed a pledge from Mexico that it would allow in thousands of Cuban migrants headed to the U.S. before it can let them transit its territory from Costa Rica or Panama.“Mexico must guarantee in writing that it will receive these Cuban citizens” before Guatemala can grant them passage, Foreign Minister Carlos Raul Morales told the television network Telemundo.The demand is the latest in an effort by several Central American countries to find a way for Cubans fleeing their island to reach the United States, which has a long-standing policy of accepting them if they set foot on its soil.Many Cubans fear that the United States might drop that policy — which dates to the Cold War — and stop accepting them as U.S.-Cuban relations thaw.The growing flow of Cuban migrants through Central America became choked last month when Costa Rica dismantled a people-smuggling ring and Nicaragua, a Cuban ally, closed its border to them.That has left 5,000 Cubans stuck in Costa Rica near the Nicaraguan border. An additional 1,200 are blocked in a remote town in Panama in what authorities there have said are unhealthy conditions.Read: Cuban migrants spend a month in camps as regional leaders fail to reach solutionThe issue has fanned simmering tensions between Costa Rica and Nicaragua, developing into a regional headache. A foreign ministers meeting two weeks ago failed to break the impasse.Morales, the Guatemalan minister, said Mexican cooperation was key if his government was to open its door to the Cubans.“We can’t just say ‘come and land in Guatemala’ and then have them stranded on the border between Guatemala and Mexico,” he said.“We also want certainty about who is going to pay the migration costs caused by these Cuban citizens coming to Guatemalan territory.”An estimated 150 Cubans a day are arriving in Costa Rica in hopes of continuing their voyage overland to the United States.Their main entry point to the continent from Cuba was previously Ecuador, an ally which up to this month required no visa for Cubans to visit.But faced with the growing inflow, Ecuador has reimposed a visa requirement. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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first_imgRelated posts:5 questions for Costa Rican street artist MUSH 5 questions for Costa Rican painter Man Yu Fung 5 questions for a Costa Rican designer 5 questions for a Costa Rican photographer The representation of feminism through gentle, defined brush strokes and pastel colors: that’s been Costa Rican painter Mari Carmen Prada’s focus for the past two years. For Prada, 22, art has always been a vital part of who she is and how she perceives the world around her.When the artist was five years old, her mother decided to enroll Prada in painting classes. This decision would completely change her life: Prada stayed in the classes for ten years, and they would eventually determine the course of her career. After pursuing studies architecture at the University of Costa Rica (UCR) and graphic design at Veritas University, Prada made the decision to study Painting at the University of Costa Rica’s (UCR) Fine Arts school.“I told my mom I definitely had to study painting. She hugged me and told me that she was glad I had accepted it. I think it was something that was meant to happen,” Prada recalls.On rainy afternoon at Mantras Veggie Café in Barrio Escalante, The Tico Times sat down and spoke with Prada about her life and work. Excerpts follow.What do you enjoy the most about painting? Prada’s self portrait, done with acrylics on canvas. (Courtesy of Mari Carmen Prada)I always have a very clear image of what I’ll do. When I start the process I get in a sort of trance; it’s my favorite feeling in the world. No one can interrupt me. No one can speak to me. Nothing that’s happening in the exterior changes what I’m doing at that moment.Seeing the end result compared to what I was thinking is always impressive, because I’m astonished by the fact that I’m able to paint what I wanted in the first place. I enjoy the whole process and how it turns out in the end.How do you choose your color palette?It depends on what I do; different colors represent different things. I’ve been painting a lot of feminist stuff because I’m in a phase of my life in which feminism is the most important thing for me, and I believe that owning my femininity was essential for what I’m producing now.I’m using a lot of coral and pink tones to reinforce the fact that it’s fine if I like it. Society does not need to tell me anything. It’s mine and I decided that it’s mine. I think that’s what’s been resonating in me lately.I also use a lot of pink or aquamarine because when I was a child I didn’t like pink, so I got obsessed with blue due to the idea that it’s pink’s opposite. These two colors are a constant in my life. One of Prada’s dogs next to the artist, illustrated with pen and ink. (Courtesy of Mari Carmen Prada)Why is feminism so important to you?Before, feminism was a big taboo. People wouldn’t call themselves feminists because it was someone super masculine, strong, who hated men. At least that was the idea I saw around the word.I needed to… feel that what I was doing was somehow going to resonate in a person or help someone. That’s what it did for me. I needed my voice or art to be that for other people. Reading a lot and seeing feminists who have done incredible things for the world was very important for me in making the decision to be a feminist.Jane Fonda is my favorite feminist, but I also like Barbara Steinman, Ana Mendieta, and Judy Chicago… also people such as Miley Cyrus who have been transmitting the message in the best way possible. I don’t know if Christiana Figueres calls herself a feminist, but for me she’s one of the maximum exponents of what it’s really like to be an empowered, strong woman who can hold the reins of the world. One of Prada’s most expressive paintings. (Courtesy of Mari Carmen Prada)What have you discovered about women feeling empowered with regards to their bodies?It’s strange, because there are many women who still don’t understand the concept that the female body is not a luxury item. I’ve heard women saying that other women are wearing too few clothes and that they’re sluts. For me it’s inconceivable… the sexualization of the feminine body is sickening, and harmful for society.When I’ve seen empowered women with their bodies, generally, they’re much more secure women and much calmer about everything else; with what they’re doing with their lives, if they want to have children or not, or if they want to get married and never work. A woman with a body that generates her power is a woman who does everything calmly and without fear. Owning your body makes you to get out of the idea that your body belongs to someone else. “The Fox and the Hound,” acrylics on canvas. (Courtesy of Mari Carmen Prada)How do you think that art is reacting toward what’s going on in the world?Art, at least, from the nineteenth and twentieth century avant-garde, has been 100 percent a sociopolitical response to everything going on in the world. If you try to make art that is simply beautiful, it’ll never be only beautiful. Art is always a response to something, whatever it is. It will project a message, whether the artist wants it to or not, because it’s in an environment in which people want to feel something. Art is as response and direct reaction to whatever is happening.Our “Weekend Arts Spotlight” presents Sunday interviews with artists who are from, working in, or inspired by Costa Rica, ranging from writers and actors to dancers and musicians. Do you know of an artist we should consider, whether a long-time favorite or an up-and-comer? Email us at Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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first_imgRelated posts:Bolivian president asks to see child born to ex-girlfriend US top court splits on high-stakes immigration debate Costa Rica reports first baby born with Zika-linked microcephaly Messages promoting a coup d’état apparently came from Costa Rican police The Costa Rican government expressed solidarity with Vice President and Foreign Minister Epsy Campbell after she was the recipient of racist, misogynistic and hateful attacks in recent weeks.“The government council expresses its support and solidarity with the vice president and chancellor, and at the same time repudiates the manifestations of racism, misogyny and hatred,” said Rodolfo Piza, the Minister of the Presidency.Campbell, Latin America’s first Afro-Latina vice president, has faced a wave of criticism in recent weeks over the appointment of former ministers in ambassadorial positions. The government said the appointments are a common practice and were done in accordance with the law.She was also questioned about the appointment of a friend’s daughter as a personal advisor and about the presence of her husband on official trips — even when he paid his own expenses.The personal adviser resigned Monday to avoid further criticism of the vice president.“Criticism of the work we perform as public officials is completely welcome; however, when these are based on arguments of hatred or discrimination, they are unacceptable,” Piza said after a Cabinet meeting.The Costa Rican government also revealed the wave of racist offenses that have been made on social media networks against Campbell. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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first_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Comments   Share   Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Top Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career pathscenter_img ErrorOK ErrorOKThere was no immediate indication of who was behind the Friday attack, although both opponents and supporters of Syria’s government have routinely engaged in acts of electronic sabotage.One loyalist group, the Syrian Electronic Army, recently promised a wave of attacks against what it described as “fake revolution” websites.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation LONDON (AP) – The Reuters news agency says that one of its websites was hacked into and used to disseminate fake stories about Syria’s rebel movement.Thomson Reuters said its “blogging platform was compromised and fabricated blog posts were falsely attributed to several Reuters journalists.”One of bogus blog posts claimed that rebels had acquired chemical weapons from Libya and were preparing to smuggle them into Syria.last_img read more

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first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Sponsored Stories WARSAW, Poland (AP) – _ September 1939: World War II begins with the German invasion of Poland from the west, quickly followed by the Soviet invasion from the east. The carving up of Poland results from a secret pact between Adolf Hitler’s Germany and Josef Stalin’s Soviet Union. The Soviets soon capture thousands of Polish officers and transport them to POW camps in Russia. They also deport hundreds of thousands of Polish civilians to Siberia. _ April-May 1940: Soviet secret police kill 22,000 Polish officers and other prisoners of war and dump their bodies in mass graves. The murders, carried out with shots to the back of the heads, take place in the Katyn forest in western Russia and other locations. At that time, letters from the officers to their families come to a sudden stop, bringing despair to relatives and creating an early Polish belief that the Soviets killed them. Questioned by Polish leaders on the fate of the officers, the Soviets begin decades of denying their guilt._ 1941: Germany attacks Soviet Union, and in its eastward advance overruns the territory surrounding Katyn. The Soviets join the Allies in the war against Hitler._ April 1943: Nazi Germany’s propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels announces the German discovery of mass graves at Katyn. Goebbels hopes public knowledge of the Soviet crime would sow distrust between the Soviet Union and the Western Allies and weaken their alliance._ May 1943: As part of the Nazi propaganda effort, the Germans bring a group of American and British POWs to Katyn, as well as other groups, to see the remains of the Poles in the mass graves, in an advanced state of decomposition. _ Sept. 10, 2012: The U.S.National Archives releases about 1,000 pages of newly declassified records related to the Katyn massacre. Among them are the newly declassified U.S. army documents proving that two American POWs wrote encoded messages to Army intelligence, MIS-X, soon after their 1943 visit to Katyn, pointing to Soviet guilt.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Daycenter_img Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Comments   Share   5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center _ May 1945: World War II ends. Upon being freed Lt. Col John H. Van Vliet gives his first report to Army intelligence on what he witnessed at Katyn, one that disappeared and still has never been found._ 1951: The U.S. Congress sets up a committee to investigate the Katyn crimes after questions about the whereabouts of the missing Van Vliet report from 1945. Even ahead of the formal establishment of the committee, Van Vliet in 1950 makes a second written report on his impressions from Katyn._ 1952: The Congressional committee concludes there is no question that the Soviets bear blame for the massacre. It faults Roosevelt’s administration for suppressing public knowledge of the truth. The report also says it suspects pro-Soviet sympathizers within government agencies buried knowledge about Katyn. It expresses anger at the disappearance of the first Van Vliet report and says: “This committee believes that had the Van Vliet report been made immediately available to the Dept. of State and to the American public, the course of our governmental policy toward Soviet Russia might have been more realistic with more fortunate post-war results.”_ 1990: The reformist Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev publicly admits that the Soviets bear guilt for Katyn. Top Stories 5 ways to recognize low testosteronelast_img read more

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first_img“When that happened, the wires would produce a lot of noise, and the lights would flicker, and it would smell like burning. We could hear the people shouting,” Bao said. “I was always praying to God not to be brought downstairs.”Ivory Coast’s military has launched a widespread campaign of arrests and detentions, charge former detainees and human rights groups. Scores of Ivorians like Bao are being rounded up on allegations of involvement in recent attacks on the military or of otherwise attempting to undermine state security.Since early August, Ivory Coast’s military has been targeted in nine attacks by shadowy gunmen that have sparked fears of renewed violence in this West African nation, the world’s largest cocoa producer.President Alassane Ouattara’s government has blamed the attacks on allies of former President Laurent Gbagbo, whose refusal to concede defeat in the November 2010 election sparked six months of violence that claimed at least 3,000 lives.The country’s U.N. mission said in mid-August that 100 arrests of those suspected of the attacks had been documented. A U.N. official, who is not authorized to speak for the mission, said this week that that number had more than doubled. 5 ways to recognize low testosterone As they wait for Coulibaly to be installed in his new position, the former detainees in San Pedro question whether the abuse they and others have endured has made the city any safer.“For me, I don’t believe in the confessions they received,” Bao said, “because these confessions were made under torture.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Asked whether the beatings were severe, he laughed and said: “There’s no two ways of beating someone. We beat them severely so they can remember.”Abuse allegations in San Pedro should be investigated immediately, said Matt Wells, West Africa researcher for Human Rights Watch.“The nature and pattern of the detainee mistreatment would indicate that, at a minimum, the camp’s commanders should have been aware of such abuses and taken steps to prevent them and to punish soldiers involved,” he said. “Ivorian authorities should investigate immediately and ensure that anyone responsible is brought to justice.”Meanwhile, there are concerns that the torture in San Pedro could soon worsen.The government confirmed this week that Ousmane Coulibaly, a former zone commander in the New Forces rebel group, which controlled northern Ivory Coast from 2002 to 2010, had been appointed prefect of the San Pedro region.Coulibaly has been implicated by Human Rights Watch in grave crimes during the post-election crisis, including torture and extrajudicial killings in Abidjan’s Yopougon district.Wells said the appointment “mocks the victims of these abuses and the government’s promise to deliver impartial justice.” While torture allegations have been documented at multiple military facilities, the U.N. officials said that some of the worst came from detainees at the San Pedro camp, including credible reports of electrical shocks.Few detainees in the city had spoken up about their experiences at the camp because of threats they received before being released, said Serges Dagbo, San Pedro representative for the Ivorian Human Rights League.But in recent interviews with The Associated Press, four former detainees described harsh conditions marked by cramped quarters, minimal food and the frequent use of violence to extract confessions.Like other detainees, 40-year-old Plika Sokouli said he was never told exactly why he was arrested in late August at the stand where he sells pineapples and homemade liquor.But he said the threat of violence was apparent as soon as he arrived at the camp.“When I got there a guard took a pistol and put it in my mouth and told me to speak,” he said. “I said I knew nothing.”Christian Hino, a 34-year-old former gas station attendant who is currently jobless, said eight detainees were handcuffed before being subjected to one-on-one torture sessions, which lasted up to 25 minutes. Check your body, save your life Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Of those, he said, four were laid down on the grass outside the camp’s main building, and long wires were attached to their feet, midsections and necks before electrical shocks were administered.“At around 4 a.m., a policeman who was arrested became unconscious from the electrocution,” Hino said. “I was really afraid. He was not reacting. People were wondering if he was dead.”The camp’s top official, Capt. Sekou Bema Ouattara, denied allegations of physical abuse, and claimed prisoners had never been held there for longer than a day or so.Still, he defended the military’s campaign to root out enemies of the state among the local population.“It’s because of our determination and work that San Pedro has not been attacked,” he said.Lt. Aboubakar Traore, the camp’s second-in-command, also denied that physical abuse occurred at the camp. But he said soldiers may have resorted to torture while commanders were away.“I don’t want to say that we are perfect,” he said. “I’m not sleeping here. I don’t know exactly what the soldiers do when I’m sleeping.”But a guard at the facility, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said prisoners were routinely held there for multiple days for investigation. He also said beatings were commonplace, claiming they occurred when commanders were gone. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day 0 Comments   Share   3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Sponsored Stories Associated PressSAN PEDRO, Ivory Coast (AP) – The soldiers lined up the detainees in a row on the grass in the middle of the night and beat them with sticks. Other times, soldiers struck the prisoners with belts and rifles so hard the welts lasted for weeks.Cedric Bao, a 33-year-old who was held for two weeks in August on suspicion of hiding weapons, said soldiers also attached wires to detainees and administered electrical shocks as they writhed on the ground.last_img read more

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first_imgCorrea’s populist stand has won supporters such as Gilberto Albornoz, a 43-year-old Quito attorney.“It’s good that the bankers help the poorest,” he said. “They turn themselves into millionaires with the money of the people and they should contribute to the country and the poorest.”But Carolina Holguin, a 32-year-old insurance company worker, said she worries the taxes will wind up hurting consumers.“The money in the banks doesn’t belong to the bankers. It belongs to us, the depositors, simple people, small, medium and big companies. Now we’re going to have to think a lot before putting our savings in banks because the government is desperate to get more financial resources to spend.”___Associated Press writer Frank Bajak in Lima, Peru, contributed to this report.Gonzalo Solano on Twitter: Bajak on Twitter: Sponsored Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Correa, who was first elected in 2006, has built a solid base of support through populist programs that have widened the social safety net and broadened investment in education.He has doubled public spending, and Ecuador now devotes a greater share of its economy, 10 percent of gross domestic product, to public investment in infrastructure, education and other purposes than any other nation in Latin America and the Caribbean.A similar formula helped Correa’s ally in Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez, win re-election on Oct. 7, though Correa has not moved to nationalize the private sector as Chavez has.Instead, Correa has restricted the ability of businesses to expand into other industrial sectors and, in the case of banks, he’s promoted consumer-protection measures, including a law that prevents banks from penalizing first-time home buyers of modest means if they default on mortgages.Correa hasn’t announced his candidacy for re-election, but the latest poll by the firm Cedatos gives him 55 percent support against 23 percent for Lasso, with other candidates dividing the rest. It surveyed 2,320 people in 15 cities and had an error margin of 3.5 percentage points. 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 0 Comments   Share   “My duty is to the poor,” Correa said Saturday in his weekly TV and radio show, which pre-empts all other programming. The self-described 21st-century socialist, who says his politics are guided by the teachings of Christ, even went so far as to call out well-known Ecuadoran banking families that would be hit, “the Pachanos, the Egas and the Lassos.”Lasso, said he’s pleased his idea of boosting monthly aid payments to the poor has been embraced. But along with the rest of the banking industry, he says Correa will be weighing it down with an unfair tax burden.“It’s not the way to go, because it only creates more obstacles for entrepreneurs, for those who create jobs,” Lasso told reporters after Correa announced the bill on Friday.Produbanco’s president, Abelardo Pachano, told the newspaper El Comercio that the proposed tax would “destabilize the banking industry, weaken it and clip its wings.” The victims would be Ecuador’s 7 million depositors, he said, who account for nearly half the small South American nation’s 15 million people.Lasso, 57, remains the chief stockholder in Guayaquil Bank and has not formally announced his candidacy. “Those who are earning too much will be giving more to the poorest of this country,” the charismatic leftist said in a weekend address. “The time has arrived to redistribute those profits.”Under his plan, taxes would go up on bank holdings abroad and an excise tax on financial services would increase, with the proceeds used to increase lump-sum payments for single mothers, the elderly poor and other needy Ecuadoreans.Correa said the move would raise $200 million to $300 million a year, money that would not just help pay for the increased monthly subsidies but also would finance “other wealth redistribution activities.”The increase was first suggested by the very man who is likely to be Correa’s top challenger in February elections. Guillermo Lasso said that if he were elected, he would boost the monthly aid payments that 1.2 million Ecuadoreans receive to $50 from the current $35.But Lasso, former director of Guayaquil Bank, did not intend to underwrite the increase by raising taxes on banks already heavily regulated by Correa, who has a doctorate in economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.The proposal is virtually guaranteed to take effect because Correa introduced it as an emergency measure, which automatically becomes law if Congress doesn’t reject it within 30 days. Correa’s opponents don’t have enough votes to knock it down. Associated PressQUITO, Ecuador (AP) – President Rafael Correa has long used his bully pulpit to bash bankers as profit-mongers who brought Ecuador and the rest of the world to the edge of financial collapse. Now, he says he’ll give a bigger share of those profits to the country’s poor.Less than four months before presidential elections, Correa has announced the sort of bold measure that would delight anti-Wall Street protesters in the United States who blame unchecked financial-sector greed for the economic downturn. (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories Four benefits of having a wireless security system Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Political scientist Jorge Leon of the Ecuador campus of FLACSO university called Correa’s move a political masterstroke “because it puts the bankers in a terrible situation,” making them scapegoats.Correa, whose only previous job in government was as finance minister, has alienated bankers before, both at home and abroad. Under his watch in 2009, Ecuador defaulted on nearly $3.9 billion in external debt.He has long blamed bankers for a financial crisis at the end of the 1990s that provoked a bloodless 2000 coup. The country was nearly at the point of hyperinflation and half of the country’s 42 banks collapsed amid accusations of malfeasance.The industry’s profits have climbed steadily since Correa won election, from $239 million in 2006 to $393 million last year, even as banks were forced to reduce fees for credit cards, repatriate funds held abroad and purchase public debt.Ecuador’s private bankers association complains that it already pays the state about $309 million annually in taxes and other fees that eat up nearly 80 percent of its profits.The director of the national revenue service, Carlos Marx Carrasco, contested that figure, claiming the banks only paid $170 million in taxes. 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first_img Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Valls said a culture of fear had taken root as violence becomes more pronounced.“In Corsica, people know but they do not say,” he said.More than 200 kilometers (120 miles) off the coast of France and with an insular culture that extends to an obscure dialect closely linked to Italian, Corsica has always been isolated from the mainland.But Valls said it would not be abandoned to criminals and declared that French law would prevail.“Corsica is France,” he said. “It is not a territory apart.”Christiane Taubira, France’s justice minister, acknowledged that only four of the 60 most recent killings on the island had ended in convictions and promised that the government would do better.“A minority of murderers, assassins, crooks and mafiosi do not control the territory,” she said. “It’s the large majority of Corsicans who control the territory, and they will have the last word.”Corsica, the starting point for next year’s Tour de France, is a tourist destination famed for its wild beaches and mountain vistas. Twenty years ago, the island was the scene of dozens of bombings, most of them linked to the homegrown nationalist movement that has persisted since the island was definitively taken over by the French under Napoleon in 1796. Hoping to sap some of the nationalists’ strength, the French government tried to wipe out the Corsican tongue, a mix of French and Italian that UNESCO lists as a language in danger of extinction. But the language has made something of a comeback in recent years and is again taught in schools.But Valls said France and Corsica were one and called on Corsicans to mobilize for their own future.“If you know something, you have to talk. Everyone has to take responsibility,” he said.After the lawyer’s death, the French government promised a series of measures to bring the Corsican administration closer to the central government in Paris.Among them were sending more investigators and improving efforts against money laundering, drug trafficking and bribes for lucrative public works contracts.Valls send the government will send 22 new officers to bolster the police and gendarmes.“The state will not surrender, will not retreat,” said Taubira.Patrick Strozda, the highest French official in Corsica, said the latest killing tipped the balance. The shopkeeper was shot by a masked man as he closed up for the night, on a pedestrian-only street filled with stores. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Comments   Share   Top Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project “This horrible crime, right in the street, only reinforces the determination of all law enforcement to end this death spiral,” Strozda said in a television interview.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Associated PressPARIS (AP) – A prominent Corsican shopkeeper was killed by a masked gunman on one of the French island’s busiest streets. Nearby, a defense lawyer was shot by two men on a motorcycle as he stopped for gas on his way to work.The two high-profile recent deaths in the capital, Ajaccio, prompted the French government on Thursday to pledge to restore order on the Mediterranean island, long troubled by violent separatists and organized crime. France’s highest security official and its top justice official insisted that Corsica, an island of 300,000 people with their own language and culture and known as “The Isle of Beauty,” is an integral part of France and would not be abandoned to criminals.Violence is a daily affair in Corsica, though largely confined to the criminal underworld. But the two most recent killings in the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte struck down two men considered pillars of the community, and appeared to mark a turning point for a government that had largely let the turbulence slide in recent years.Jacques Nacer owned a clothing store in Ajaccio’s bustling commercial district and was chief of Corsica’s chamber of commerce. Antoine Sollacaro was a lawyer who handled some of the island’s most sensitive cases, including defending the man convicted in the killing of a local official.Both Nacer and Sollacaro, according to French media, had ties with the former nationalist leader Alain Orsoni, who returned to Corsica in 2008 after years abroad and now leads the local soccer club.Interior Minister Manuel Valls said an average of 33 people are killed each year in Corsica _ or about 20 percent of France’s gangland murders _ on a tiny territory that holds less than 1 percent of the country’s total population. Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Top holiday drink recipeslast_img read more

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first_img Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The numbers were announced as the European Union is struggling to persuade its 28 nations to adopt a quota system aimed at making the crossings less dangerous and easing the burden on Mediterranean countries.In Italy, nearly 6,000 people were picked up over the weekend by a host of ships taking part in the EU-mandated Mediterranean rescue operation. Most were sub-Saharan African migrants who had set off from Libya.The Italian coast guard and navy ships on Tuesday brought hundreds of migrants to shore in Sicily after having rescued them over the last few days. Officers wearing surgical masks and white coveralls directed the migrants to a processing tent set up at Pozzallo, a port in southern Sicily.AP Television footage showed one officer dragging an immigrant out of a cabin and striking another man sitting on the deck of a rescue vessel.In Greece, authorities said 457 people had been rescued from the sea in 12 separate incidents off the islands of Lesvos, Chios, Kalymnos and Kos — islands that all face the coast of Turkey — in 24 hours from Monday morning.Another 304 people had made their way ashore Monday to Lesvos’ main port of Mytilene.The UN agency said about half of the 600 people who arrive daily in Greece are heading to Lesvos — where numbers have shot up from 737 in in January to 7,200 in May. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility “Record numbers of the refugees are arriving in flimsy rubber dinghies and wooden boats on the Greek island of Lesvos, putting an enormous strain on its capacity, services and resources,” it said.Few migrants want to remain in debt-stricken Greece, where unemployment runs above 26 percent. Most aim to make their way to the more prosperous countries of Europe’s center and north. They usually travel by land across Greece’s northern border with Macedonia or cross the Ionian and Adriatic seas smuggled aboard ferries into Italy.The International Organization for Migration said Greek arrivals this year have already exceeded the 2014 total. It’s tally was almost identical to that of the UNHCR: 54,660 in Italy and 46,150 in Greece.According to the European Union’s border protection agency, Frontex, Syrians made up the largest group of people crossing illegally into the EU last year, followed by Afghans and Iraqis.___Winfield reported from Rome.___Follow Becatoros at and Winfield at © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of ATHENS, Greece (AP) — More than 100,000 migrants — many fleeing the war in Syria — have crossed the Mediterranean Sea to Europe so far this year, the U.N. refugee agency said Tuesday — and the arrivals in Greece have reached their highest level since the crisis began.Citing national figures, the UNHCR said 54,000 people had traveled illegally to Italy and 48,000 to Greece so far in 2015, with another small fraction heading for Spain and Malta. Top Stories Comments   Share   Four benefits of having a wireless security system Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober 3 international destinations to visit in 2019last_img read more

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first_img Top Stories On Tuesday, the Vatican indefinitely suspended the press credentials of L’Espresso’s veteran Vatican correspondent, Sandro Magister, saying the publication had been “incorrect.” A letter from the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, to Magister advising him of the sanction was posted on the bulletin board of the Vatican press office.Magister told The Associated Press that his editor, not he, obtained the document and decided to publish it.“I just wrote the introduction,” Magister said in a text message, adding that he had promised the Vatican to keep quiet about the scoop.In the draft of the encyclical, Francis says global warming is “mostly” due to human activity and the burning of fossil fuels. He calls for a radical change in behavior to save the planet for future generations and prevent the poor from suffering the worst effects of industry-induced environmental degradation.Several Vatican commentators hypothesized that the leak was aimed at taking the punch out of Thursday’s official launch of the encyclical, in which the Vatican has lined up a Catholic cardinal, an Orthodox theologian, an atheist scientist and an economist to discuss the contents. Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober The vital role family plays in society Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Comments   Share   In the aftermath of the “Vatileaks” scandal, the Vatican City State updated its criminal code to include severe penalties for anyone who leaks a Vatican document or publishes news from it: Up to two years in prison and a 5,000 euro ($5,600) fine.Vatican commentator John Allen, writing for the Boston Globe’s Crux site, said the leak highlighted the clash of cultures at play at the Vatican over different understandings of embargoes: The Vatican regularly provides accredited journalists with embargoed documents to give them time to read them and prepare articles, with the understanding that they will only publish at a fixed time.While the Vatican cried foul that the encyclical embargo had been violated, L’Espresso obtained the article independently of the Vatican press office, and thereby wasn’t beholden to the noon Thursday embargo that had been set.“As a final observation, the frenzy probably will boost interest in Thursday’s official presentation, if for no other reason than to see whether there are actually any substantial changes between the leak and the real deal,” he said.___Follow Nicole Winfield at Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility They noted that conservatives — particularly in the U.S. — attacked the encyclical even before it was released, chiding the pope for talking science in a church document and insisting that global warming isn’t a scientific reality. It would be in their interest, the argument goes, to fudge the pope’s message via a scoop by L’Espresso, since Magister has championed views of the conservative Catholic camp hostile to Francis.Italian daily La Stampa suggested that the leak might have come from conservatives inside Vatican, noting that Francis’ reform plans for the Vatican bureaucracy have been resisted by the more conservative old guard who would have an interest in sabotaging Francis’ labor of love.A leak, however, was to be expected, given that drafts of the document have been circulating for months and that the text had been translated into multiple languages before its official release.Not to mention that the Vatican has had a long and storied history of leaked documents: The last big scandal in 2012 resulted in the pope’s butler being put on trial for stealing his private papers and passing them off to an Italian journalist. He was convicted but was eventually pardoned by Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories VATICAN CITY (AP) — There’s something of a whodunit going on in the Vatican to discover who leaked Pope Francis’ environment encyclical to an Italian newsweekly, deflating the release of the most anticipated and feared papal document in recent times.L’Espresso magazine published the full 191 pages of “Laudato Si” (Be Praised) on its website Monday, three days before the official launch. The Vatican said it was just a draft, but most media ran with it, given that it covered many of the same points Francis and his advisers have been making in the run-up to the release. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

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first_imgThe Israeli military says it has closed the country’s border crossings with Egypt and Gaza in the wake of the assault, without elaborating.The coordinated assault, claimed by an Islamic State affiliate, is the deadliest attack in the Sinai since the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. Clashes were still ongoing through Wednesday afternoon.___4:00 p.m.An analyst says the coordinated assault that killed at least 50 Egyptian soldiers is “by far the worst we’ve ever seen” in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and resembled Islamic State group attacks in Syria and Iraq aimed at seizing territory.Daniel Nisman, CEO for the Levantine Group risk consultancy, says the attack Wednesday revealed the weaknesses of the military’s “scorched earth” operations against militants in the restive northern Sinai, which he says have made it difficult to recruit locals to help battle the extremists.He also says the military, particularly special forces units, are “very, very overstretched,” pointing to militant videos that show fighters with a local Islamic State affiliate patrolling in broad daylight. The affiliate, which refers to itself as Sinai Province, claimed Wednesday’s deadly ongoing attack. 0 Comments   Share   The ministry said three members of the special forces team involved in the raid were wounded in the operation.State television aired images of the apartment after the raid, showing bloodied bodies on the floor with several Kalashnikov assault rifles nearby.7:45 p.m.Egyptian security officials say 64 soldiers have been killed fighting militants in the northern Sinai in the deadliest battle on the peninsula since the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.The militants launched a massive, coordinated assault on army and police positions Wednesday, setting off hours of clashes.The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press, said 90 militants and four civilians were killed in the fighting.The attack was claimed by an affiliate of the Islamic State group. Sinai-based militants have stepped up attacks on Egyptian security forces since the 2013 military ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.–Brian Rohan in Cairo___6:45 p.m.Egypt’s state news agency MENA says the Cabinet has approved an anti-terrorism draft law as well as a long-awaited draft election law.The approval came as Egyptian troops struggled to fend off a massive assault by Islamic militants in the northern Sinai Peninsula that killed more than 50 soldiers. On Monday, Egypt’s chief prosecutor was assassinated in a Cairo bombing. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies It called the killings “a turning point that will have its own repercussions… el-Sissi is initiating a new phase during which it will not be possible to control the anger of the oppressed sectors who will not accept to be killed in their own houses and in the middle of their families.”It says the men were from a Brotherhood committee that supports the families of the group’s detainees and “martyrs,” and were “rounded up inside the house and then were murdered in cold blood without any investigations or indictments.”9:45 p.m.The Interior Ministry says the nine people killed in a raid on a Cairo apartment were fugitive Muslim Brotherhood leaders who had been meeting to plan terrorist plots. It says the group included two people who had previously been sentenced to death.A statement from the ministry late Wednesday said that in addition to weapons, investigators found 43,000 Egyptian pounds ($5,630) along with documents and memory cards. The ministry said the group was planning attacks on the army, police, judiciary and media. Materials seized in the raid would be used in the investigation of the assassination of chief prosecutor Hisham Barakat, who was killed Monday. 5:45 p.m.Egyptian security officials say special forces killed nine members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, including a former member of parliament, during a raid on a Cairo apartment.Wednesday’s raid came as Islamic militants launched a massive coordinated assault on Egyptian troops in the northern Sinai Peninsula that left at least 53 soldiers dead. It was not immediately clear if the incidents were related.The officials said security forces came under fire when they entered the home in the Sixth of October suburb and returned fire, killing nine men, including Nasr al-Hafi, a former Brotherhood MP.The officials say three automatic rifles and a hundred rounds of ammunition were found in the residence. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief journalists.___4:30 p.m.An Associated Press reporter heard two explosions from the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing with Gaza and saw smoke rising, as a massive militant assault on Egyptian troops was underway some 40 kilometers (25 miles) away.It was not immediately clear what caused the explosions or if the incident was linked to the coordinated assault on military targets in the northern Sinai Peninsula, which killed at least 50 Egyptian soldiers. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories CAIRO (AP) — The latest news on the nine Muslim Brotherhood leaders killed in a Cairo apartment raid (all times local):10:45 p.m.The Muslim Brotherhood says its leaders killed in a Cairo apartment were murdered in “in cold blood,” calling for a rebellion against President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who it calls a “butcher.”“Come out in rebellion and in defense of your country, yourselves and your children,” it said in a statement issued in English Wednesday. “Destroy the citadels of his oppression and tyranny and reclaim Egypt once more.” Patients with chronic pain give advice 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Top Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall ___12:50 p.m.Egyptian military and security officials have raised the casualty tolls from the coordinated militant attacks that struck the country’s restive northern Sinai on Wednesday morning.The officials say the number of troops killed has now climbed to 38. They also say that 54 soldiers have been wounded in the ongoing clashes following multiple, simultaneous attacks by the militants targeting army checkpoints.Egypt’s Islamic State affiliate has claimed responsibility for the attacks___12:10 p.m.Egypt’s Islamic State affiliate has claimed responsibility for the wave of deadly attacks in the northern Sinai Peninsula that have killed at least 30 soldiers.The claim says the Islamic fighters attacked 15 positions belonging to the Egyptian army and security forces, and also carried out three “suicide operations.”It says the suicide bombings targeted two checkpoints and an officers’ club in the nearby city of al-Arish. It says the clashes are continuing.The authenticity of the claim could not be immediately verified but it was posted on a Facebook page associated with the group.___11:30 a.m.Egyptian security and military officials say a heavy battle is taking place in the northern Sinai town of Sheikh Zuweid, where militants are besieging the town’s main police station. _2:40 p.m.Egypt’s military spokesman, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Samir says the country’s armed forces have targeted two militant gatherings in northern Sinai, completely destroying them.Samir says on his official Facebook page that the Egyptian air force is “targeting terrorists on the ground as clashes continue.”He did not give a new death toll for militant casualties. At least 50 Egyptian soldiers have died in Wednesday’s fighting, still underway.Earlier, he said 22 militants were killed as the military fought back against the attackers. The clashes are the most intense in decades in the peninsula.___1 p.m.Egyptian security officials have raised the death toll from an unprecedented wave of coordinated militant attacks that targeted the military in the country’s restive Sinai Peninsula, saying that at least 50 soldiers killed.Another official says 55 troops were wounded in the Wednesday morning attacks, which have set off clashes with the military that have stretched into the afternoon and are still underway.The attacks came a day after President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi vowed to step up a two-year crackdown on militants and two days after the assassination of the country’s state prosecutor in Cairo. The fighting is part of a wave of coordinated militant attacks launched on Wednesday morning in restive Sinai, just two days after the country’s state prosecutor was assassinated in Cairo.The officials say that as part of the attacks, a suicide car bombing destroyed one military checkpoint while another was first hit by mortar shells and rocket propelled grenades, then assaulted by militants.___10:35 a.m.Egypt’s military spokesman, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Samir, says fighting is still underway in the restive northern Sinai Peninsula, where militants unleashed a wave of attacks targeting the military on Wednesday morning, hitting army checkpoints, including one with a suicide car bombing.Security and army officials have said that at least 30 troops died in the wave of attacks.Samir says that clashes are continuing in the area between the armed forces and the militants.His statement put the number of soldiers killed so far at 10, but the conflicting numbers could not immediately be reconciled in these early stages of the aftermath and an ongoing fluid situation on the ground.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Both draft laws now await President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi’s approval before they can be passed by decree.The MENA report did not describe the proposed laws.Egyptian media reported Tuesday that the anti-terrorism law would give prosecutors more powers to detain suspects for long periods of time and enable authorities to inspect the bank accounts of those facing terror-related charges.___6:30 p.m.The United States has strongly condemned the massive coordinated attack on Egyptian troops that killed at least 53 soldiers in the northern Sinai Peninsula.White House spokesman Ned Price says Wednesday’s assault is a terrorist attack and that the U.S. “stands resolutely” with Egypt. He says the U.S. extends condolences to the relatives of those who died, as well as to the government and the Egyptian people.The White House says the U.S. will continue working in partnership with Egypt to address threats to its security amid a series of recent attacks.Egyptian officials say dozens of Islamic militants unleashed a wave of simultaneous attacks against Egyptian army checkpoints, including suicide car bombings, setting off fierce clashes that are still underway.___ Mesa family survives lightning strike to home New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t likelast_img read more

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