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Coffee giant opens theater

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first_imgNo related posts. A new theater called Teatro Espressivo Pinares opened on the eastern outskirts of San José in Curridabat, providing a venue for dance, theater and musical performances as well as corporate conferences, educational workshops and cinema.The theatre seats 260 people and is located in the Momentum Pinares Mall. The theater project is headed by Steve Aronson, the founder of Café Britt, and aims to help bring a cultural and artistic center to the capital. The christening performance was an April 16 concert by Costa Rican composer Manuel Obregón. A full lineup of performances and further information can be found at www.teatroespressivo.com Facebook Commentslast_img

Its a good time for buying dollars in Costa Rica

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first_imgNo related posts. The dollar exchange rate fell again on Wednesday, continuing a downward trend in recent days.On Tuesday, Costa Rica’s Central Bank intervened for second day the exchange market by buying dollars. The bank bought $34,000 on Monday and $1.8 million on Tuesday to prevent the currency from falling below the lower-band limit of ₡500.At the Foreign Currency Negotiation Market (MONEX), the dollar traded at an average of ₡500.04.Customers with dollar debt could benefit from this downward trend, say experts, who recommend that account holders with dollar loans make extra payments to decrease the debt amount. Those who receive a salary in dollars, however, are seeing their wages drop.The exchange rate for Wednesday is:Buy: ₡492.96Sell: ₡503.66 Facebook Commentslast_img

Trayvon race and democracy in the US

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first_imgNo related posts. Facebook Comments OPINIONTrayvon Martin’s senseless death and his killer George Zimmerman’s recent acquittal have roused the U.S. nation from its perpetual slumber regarding race matters, inspiring nonviolent protests that have run the gamut from old-fashioned street demonstrations to more technologically innovative dissent through social media.It has been an impressive show of unity, the marches of last year and, more recently, the impromptu displays of grief and outrage on the streets of many U.S. cities. But although rallies are important, we can best honor Trayvon’s memory by organizing a sustained and national conversation about race and democracy in the 21st century – one that leads to substantive public-policy transformation.It’s a conversation that needs to take place in civic spaces, libraries, churches, schools and community centers, and one that needs the involvement of citizens from all segments of society. Elected officials and political leaders need to actively participate in this dialogue rather than hide behind the safety of written statements or silence.Why is this so important? Because debates about the racial symbols lurking behind this tragedy only scratch the surface of a larger conversation about race and democracy in U.S. society. Despite racism’s crucial role in forging the republic, we remain reluctant to convene a critical and intellectually informed dialogue about race matters. The paucity of a historically based dialogue on national race relations allowed for a stunning development throughout the Zimmerman trial, one wherein the deceased victim was turned into a criminal.Indeed, by scarcely mentioning race but utilizing photos in court that showed Trayvon as a budding “predator,” the prosecution tapped long-standing negative stereotypes about black men that date back to antebellum America, what the historian Khalil Gibran Muhammad calls the “condemnation of blackness” and law professor Michelle Alexander has referred to as the “New Jim Crow.” Trayvon’s transformation from a racially profiled victim into a “predator,” capable of instilling traumatic fear into his assailant, is not surprising considering this nation’s long history of cultural racism that dehumanizes black men and women as criminals. The failure to discuss this history proved to be a second death for Trayvon.I know this because as a black teenager coming of age in New York City during the 1980s, I was a potential Trayvon Martin or Michael Griffith, the young black man chased by a gang of whites in 1986 for the crime of trespassing in the predominantly white Howard Beach neighborhood in Queens, N.Y. New York’s volatile racial climate in the 1980s inspired Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing” and fueled the creative and political energies of the militant rap group Public Enemy.But the racial controversies of my adolescence were situated against a larger historical narrative wherein race has shaped the contours of U.S. society. The heroic period of the civil rights movement, between 1954’s Brown Supreme Court desegregation decision and 1965’s landmark Voting Rights Act, helped to fundamentally transform U.S. democracy, marking the demise of legal segregation and laying the groundwork for black social, political and economic access in the post-civil rights era.While Martin Luther King Jr. remains the national hero of this narrative, memorialized in a holiday and through a monument in the nation’s capital, Emmett Till’s ghost continues to haunt our collective racial past. A 14-year-old black teenager visiting family in Money, Mississippi, in 1955, Emmett was lynched by a group of whites for defying racial conventions and allegedly speaking out of turn to a white woman. His disfigured body appeared on the cover of Jet magazine soon after and became a searing example of white supremacy’s impact in the postwar United States.Trayvon’s death, just like Emmett’s, can be traced back to skin color, although prosecutors purposely avoided race throughout the Zimmerman trial. The irony of our national history is that the further we move from discussing race matters, the more institutional racism festers, like a cancerous tumor, on the American body politic and our national conscience. More than one year ago, President Obama, in one eloquent stroke, humanized this tragedy through the simple acknowledgment that if he had a son, “he would look like Trayvon.”In 1963 while languishing in a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote of the civil rights movement transporting the U.S. back to “those great wells of democracy” that were dug deep by the nation’s founding fathers. But the architects of U.S. democracy peacefully co-existed alongside chattel slavery and institutional racism, a circumstance that many continue to ignore and deny and over which King’s soaring rhetoric at times glossed.Recognition that racism distorted and disfigured the nation’s democratic hopes and dreams proved fleeting, even after the Civil War and Reconstruction, only gaining substantive traction during the postwar civil rights movement. This movement proved both triumphant and tragic enough to jump-start our last national conversation about race, one that starred presidents and civil rights leaders, ex-convicts and priests, welfare mothers and literary critics.An honest and historically informed conversation about race and democracy in America requires an unflinching look at our nation’s recent history and a more complex understanding and appreciation for the achievements and shortcomings of the civil rights movement’s heroic period. That period spurred an unfinished revolution that helped integrate public schools, end Jim Crow in public accommodations and secure the vote for African-Americans.But these historic victories were countermanded by racial violence, economic insecurity and the emergence of what Ian Haney López calls “colorblind” racism, which touts an “end of racism” mythology while stubbornly ignoring widening racial inequality. The post-racial euphoria that greeted Barack Obama’s election helped promote an unearned celebration and narrative of racial progress that is upended by the ordinary reality of black life in the U.S.President Obama’s post-verdict statement asking U.S. citizens to engage in “calm reflection” fails to pass the muster of presidential leadership at this crucial moment in history. John F. Kennedy’s June 11, 1963, nationally televised “race speech” eloquently addressed the fact that individual reflection about the moral crisis of race in the U.S. required political action. Kennedy forcefully repudiated those who counseled for patience and delay, noting that a century had passed since the Emancipation Proclamation and yet the heirs to those who experienced slavery remained in bondage.Lyndon Johnson praised the Aug. 6, 1965, passage of the Voting Rights Act as having removed the last shackles of that ancient bondage that Kennedy had addressed two years earlier. Do we now live in a nation where only white presidents can offer bold and effective leadership on race matters?A half-century later, the Supreme Court has inexorably weakened the Voting Rights Act with its recent Shelby decision, and more black men populate federal, state and local prisons than during the March on Washington. President Obama’s failure to robustly address the fact that negative racial disparities have proliferated in the aftermath of his watershed election is a kind of moral cowardice that is unfitting any president, regardless of race, and made all the more tragic since he is the nation’s first African-American president.Civil rights protesters have rightfully condemned the system that allowed a young black boy to be killed because of his race, but have been too reluctant to demand justice and moral and political leadership from the single most important figure in contemporary American politics – and the symbolic and elected head of our democracy. A fitting tribute to Trayvon Martin’s legacy requires the courage and tenacity, following Martin Luther King Jr.’s heroic example, to speak truth to power, even at the cost of criticizing the sitting president, whom many blacks still regard as the culmination of King’s dream.Trayvon’s death offers definitive proof that we have not crossed over into a post-racial land less bound by race. This painful acknowledgment may be the first step on the long road toward racial justice and democracy in the 21st century.Peniel E. Joseph is founding director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy and a professor of history at Tufts University. He is also the Caperton Fellow for the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University. He is the author of “Waiting ‘Til the Midnight Hour: A Narrative History of Black Power in America” and “Dark Days, Bright Nights: From Black Power to Barack Obama.” His biography of Stokely Carmichael will be published next year by Basic Books. He can be reached online at penielejoseph.com.© 2013, The Rootlast_img read more

Oh Hanukkah oh Hanukkah come light the menorah

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first_img Alberto Font Student Karina Stern took some time to check the details of her menorah. This year’s ‘Thanksgivukkah’: Why so early?The eight-day festival of Hanukkah begins on the 25th day of the month of Kislev in the lunar Jewish calendar. That usually translates into a solidly December holiday in the secular Gregorian calendar. This year is different, with Hanukkah kicking off the night before Thanksgiving.The Jewish calendar reconciles days, months and years, explains Rabbi Hersch Spalter of Chabad Lubavitch of Costa Rica. Twelve lunar months clock in at about 11 days shorter than the solar year, causing the Jewish calendar to move back that amount of time each year relative to the secular calendar. The lunar Islamic calendar does exactly that without stopping, drifting backwards through the seasons over a 33-year cycle.The Jewish calendar uses a built-in correction, Spalter says, by inserting an extra month every three years or so. This year, 5774 in the Jewish calendar, will be one of those “leap years,” pushing things forward again, allowing Passover, for example, to remain a spring holiday and preventing it from creeping back into the winter.Until then, we have a Hanukkah that falls as early as it can possibly be. (Thanksgiving 2013 occurs as late in November as it possibly can, giving this unusual juxtaposition this year.)“People sometimes confuse Hanukkah with Christmas since they usually fall around the same time,” Spalter says. “But they have nothing to do with each other.”Adds Spalter: “This year, that won’t happen.” Facebook Comments “The menorah in the temple was lit by the high priest and it burned all night using olive oil. The Hanukkah menorah is lit by Jews all over the world from nightfall or any time after at home, work, or wherever you happen to find yourself.” –Hannie Barad“During the war between the Greeks and the Maccabees, the Greeks entered the temple and defiled all the olive oil, making it impure and unfit to light the menorah. In the temple, the menorah could be lit only with pure olive oil. Although it’s preferable to light the Hanukkah menorah with olive oil, candles work too.” –Jaya Fainzilber“When the Maccabees finally won the war and returned to the temple, they found one flask of olive oil that had remained pure but it was only enough to light the menorah for one day. It would take eight days to prepare new olive oil and bring it to the temple. They lit the menorah with one flask of oil and it burned for eight days. On Hanukkah, we add a new candle with every day to show that the miracle was even greater each day.” –Shaina Spalter“The holiday of Hanukkah was established to remember the miracle that took place.” –Alex Gurfinkiel“On Hanukkah, we have a custom to eat latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (donuts), since they’re both made with a lot of oil, to commemorate the miracle that happened with the olive oil.” –Mijal GutiérrezCosta Rica’s largest menorahThe country’s tallest menorah stands year-round near the east entrance of La Sabana Park on San José’s west side (Calle 42 at Paseo Colón), behind the statue of former President León Cortés. It measures five meters (16 feet) and was erected by Chabad Lubavitch. It will be illuminated each night of Hanukkah:Wed.-Thurs., Nov. 27-28: 5:30 p.m.Fri., Nov. 29: 4:30 p.m.Sat., Nov. 30: 6:30 p.m.Sun., Dec. 1: 4:30 p.m., family program; 5:30 p.m., menorah lightingMon.-Wed., Dec. 2-4: 5:30 p.m.Orthodox law forbids the kindling of a fire during Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath, which runs from sunset Friday to nightfall Saturday. Lighting times juggle around slightly to accommodate that necessity on Friday and Saturday nights. Finished menorahs.center_img Alberto Font The holiday commemorates the victory of the Jewish Maccabean army over the Greek invaders in 165 B.C. and the subsequent re-dedication of the temple in Jerusalem.Hanukkah’s most recognizable symbol is the eight-branched menorah, the candelabrum lit each of the eight nights in Jewish homes. Among the hubbub of decorations for that other late-year holiday, four metro-area shopping malls in Costa Rica – Multiplaza Escazú, Multiplaza Curridabat, Terramall and Mall San Pedro – display menorahs this time of year, too.“It’s all part of publicizing the miracle of Hanukkah,” Rabbi Hersch Spalter of Chabad Lubavitch of Costa Rica told The Tico Times. As an international Jewish outreach organization, Chabad erects the mall menorahs each year, as well as a large menorah in western San José’s La Sabana Park. (See “Costa Rica’s largest menorah” below.)For more on the significance of the menorah, The Tico Times went directly to the experts, the third-graders at the Hebrew Day School in Bello Horizonte in the southwestern San José suburb of Escazú. They had this to tell us during a visit earlier this month:“The menorah was one of the objects used in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. It had seven branches. Unlike the temple menorah, the Hanukkah menorah which we light nowadays has eight branches.” –Tami Rosenstock“The menorah in the temple was hammered out of one piece of solid gold. The Hanukkah menorah doesn’t have to be gold; it can be made from any other material. Of course, you have to make sure it’s not flammable!” –Karina Stern“The menorah in the temple had straight branches and pretty cups and flowers to hold the oil. Nowadays, our Hanukkah menorahs can have curved branches too.” –Jaya Rosenstock No related posts.last_img read more

Guatemalan president spars with US over Chixoy Dam reparations

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first_imgGUATEMALA CITY – In January, the U.S. government suspended military aid to Guatemala after the Central American country failed to deliver on $154.5 million in reparations to survivors of a massacre over a hydroelectric dam built in the 1980s.The suspension of military aid and the lack of progress with the reparations are fueling an ongoing spat between the two countries.Located in north-central Guatemala between the departments of Baja Verapaz, Quiché and Alta Verapaz, the Chixoy Dam was built in the early ’80s with World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank funds. In the process, 33 Mayan communities were destroyed and some 3,500 people were permanently displaced.Residents lost homes, livelihoods and land. And 445 Guatemalans who refused to leave or later returned lost their lives, massacred by the Guatemalan government. The mass killing became known as the Río Negro massacre, and by the mid-’90s it was a major point of contention as Guatemala’s 36-year civil war drew to a close and widespread human rights violations came to light.In 2010, following intense international pressure, the Guatemalan government agreed to pay reparations to those who survived the ordeal. These reparations included land grants, $154.5 million in monetary compensation, paved roads and construction of health centers and schools, along with smaller items.Since then, progress has been slow to nonexistent. Families displaced by the dam now live in communities without electricity, and a recent report on the region by the Guatemalan daily Prensa Libre described families subsisting on a single meal a day and lacking basic necessities like salt. For emergency medical care, a sick person’s neighbor or family member must trek to a mountaintop to find a cellphone signal to call the fire department. A doctor in the region reported shortages of medicines, including basic painkillers like acetaminophen.The U.S. is now attempting to use military aid as leverage to force Guatemala to adhere to the 2010 agreement.“During construction of the Chixoy Dam in the 1970s and ’80s, thousands of Mayans living in the construction zone were relocated and hundreds were killed,” U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Maureen Mimnaugh said last Friday. “In 2010, then-President (Álvaro) Colom and representatives from the affected communities agreed to a reparations plan, which to date neither the Colom administration nor the subsequent Pérez Molina administration formally ratified.”In response, Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina lashed out at a U.S. senator and congressional staffer: “Another country is not going to legislate us. We may be a small country, but we are a sovereign, independent country, and we have our own laws,” Pérez Molina told local media last week. “I’m not going to allow (the U.S.) to impose things on me.” Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina gives a press conference during the II Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in Havana, on Jan. 29, 2014. Yamil Lage/AFPStepping up the pressureThe U.S. Congress last month passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2014, which cut off the flow of U.S. military aid to Guatemala until “the Secretary of State certifies that the Government of Guatemala is taking credible steps to implement the Reparations Plan.”The Appropriations Act also requires executive directors of the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank to report to the Appropriations Committees every 30 days on their efforts to support the reparations plan.But the reparations agreement is not legally binding in Guatemala, which has not ratified it, and there is no built-in enforcement mechanism.In his statements, the Guatemalan president singled out Timothy Rieser, a staffer for Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and the majority clerk for the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Department of State and Foreign Operations:“This serves the interests of an individual (Rieser). We know who he is; he believes he is the owner of Guatemala, (but) he is only an adviser, a senator’s staffer,” Pérez Molina said.Leahy responded forcefully last Friday, saying, “Rather than blame a staff member for a law passed by the U.S. Congress, Guatemalan officials should fulfill the state’s responsibility to implement the 2010 Chixoy reparations plan and its commitments under the Peace Accords.”Leahy added:“These officials have also misstated U.S. law. The Appropriations Committee, with my support, provides about $100 million in aid for Guatemala this year, mostly for social and economic programs.”Pérez Molina now wants to replace the original reparations agreement with a new accord that would provide land and an unspecified promise of well-being.For Mike Allison, an associate professor of political science at Scranton University in Pennsylvania, the confrontation between President Molina and the U.S. isn’t unprecedented. During the Cold War in the ’70s, U.S. President Jimmy Carter threatened to withhold U.S. military aid unless Guatemala improved its record on human rights. The Guatemalan government responded by turning down the aid before it was cut off.“There’s always been this pride on the part of the Guatemalan military that they don’t need aid,” Allison said, adding that as a former general, Pérez Molina is part of that military culture.The full effects of the appropriations bill won’t be felt in Guatemala for some time. Because of the nature of congressional appropriations bills, it could take up to 12 months before the money stops flowing to Guatemala.Benjamin Reeves is a freelance journalist based in Antigua, Guatemala. Follow him on Twitter.  Facebook Comments Related posts:For justice in Guatemala, ‘2 steps forward, 1 step back’ Making the invisible, visible: In Nicaragua, women journalists call for equality 26 lawyers have been murdered in Guatemala in the past 3 years Guatemala’s Otto Pérez Molina dismisses ‘spurious’ corruption caselast_img read more

Solís outlines plans for Costa Rica in first Washington appearance as president

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first_imgRelated posts:President-elect Solís announces upcoming US trip to court investors President Solís seeks meeting with Intel reps during US trip President Solís claims quick victory in first US tour Costa Rica’s relationship with Nicaragua is complicated, says Solís WASHINGTON, D.C. – Luis Guillermo Solís made his Washington debut as Costa Rica’s 47th president Thursday morning, speaking on an array of issues ranging from honesty in government to Central American integration and the fight against drug trafficking.Some 130 people packed a small conference room at the Inter-American Dialogue – a Washington-based think tank – to hear the hour-long speech by Solís, who is wrapping up his first trip to the United States since his inauguration as president one month ago.“We need to strengthen the internal market in order to level the economy, which has been running only on one engine,” said the former history professor and Fulbright Scholar. “We are defining that market as not only Costa Rica – which is very small – but the Central American and Caribbean market as well. I’m paying a lot of attention to the Central American integration system and new opportunities in the Caribbean, and this is going to be one of the foreign policy priorities of my administration.”Solís, 56, is hoping to create jobs following announcements in April by Intel and Bank of America that they would dismiss 1,500 workers each. Intel, the world’s largest computer chip maker, accounted for 14 to 20 percent of Costa Rica’s total exports, depending on which government agency is cited. (The Costa Rican Investment Board, or CINDE, says 14 percent while the Foreign Trade Ministry says 20 percent.)“Prior to my swearing-in, Intel and Bank of America decided to partially leave the country. There was some question regarding Costa Rica’s capacity to compete, so I committed myself to an early trip to the U.S. to talk to investors and assure them of our commitment,” he said, adding that the California-based giant would, in fact, expand its San José testing facility, hiring 350 people in the process.“This is a landmark decision that takes investments to Costa Rica, moving from the manufacturing of highly sophisticated products to R&D,” said Solís, who met with top Intel officials in Santa Clara, California, before arriving in Washington.Accompanying Solís to the Inter-American Dialogue panel were several members of his Cabinet, including Foreign Minister Manuel González and Foreign Trade Minister Alex Mora, as well as Muni Figueres, Costa Rica’s ambassador to the United States, and Gonzalo Gallegos, chargé d’affaires, a.i. at the U.S. Embassy in San José.Strong mandateSolís, who was introduced by Inter-American Dialogue President Michael Shifter, was inaugurated May 8 after a runoff election in which he won 79 percent of the vote.“I was given a very strong mandate, but was also given the responsibility to use it in the context of a very divided Congress, and that was not accidental,” Solís told his audience, which included Fortune 500 executives, State Department officials, scholars and diplomats from 10 foreign embassies in Washington. “That’s the way the people wanted it to be. I understand this to be a very strong call for social dialogue. I want to be out there. People want that from the president, and I’m convinced you can do that without being a populist in the traditional way.”Solís, a relative newcomer to politics, also vowed to fight corruption from within.“Clearly there is a social challenge. Inequality has grown, and we need to take care of that,” said the president, a member of the center-left Citizen Action Party. “But most significant is the question of transparency, accountability and fighting corruption, which has special weight in the Costa Rican establishment. I was elected as a nonprofessional politician. This is the first time in 60 years Costa Rica is ruled by a party that doesn’t belong to the two blocs that have traditionally governed the country.”He added: “We have to be careful administering ethics in politics. As we all know, not everything that’s legal is ethical. You can get into a very complicated debate of where’s the frontier between ethics and legality. Having said that, I’m convinced there’s a lot to be done in terms of producing more transparency and accountability in the decision-making process.”Let the people knowDuring the Q&A that followed the president’s speech, someone asked Solís what he would do differently than his predecessor, Laura Chinchilla, who ended her term of office with only a 16 percent approval rating – the lowest of any leader in the Americas.“The first thing I’m going to do is provide Congress with a ‘state of the nation’ address, and tell them what I’ve found. It’s necessary for the people to know. President Chinchilla didn’t do that, and it was a political mistake,” Solís responded.“The second thing we’ll do is stimulate social dialogues with different sectors of society – and I will continue doing so. We have not been able to dialogue with each other for a long time,” he said. “There’s a sensation which we have to break that everything in Costa Rica adds up to a zero-sum game, where one group gains and the other loses. That’s the wrong approach. As a mature democracy, we should be able to look for win-win agreements.”Asked about fiscal policy, Solís said he supports switching from a sales tax to a value-added tax.“We have tried everything in the last 15 years,” he said. “Some people think we have to do it the usual way, which is simply to tax more. But when a country has a 6 percent deficit, I think a VAT is the right approach. We’re moving forward with a proposal which I hope will be ready by the second year.”Regarding foreign relations, Solís said he’d aggressively pursue Costa Rica’s membership in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development while expanding its influence in South America through the Pacific Alliance (which already includes Mexico, Peru, Chile and Colombia).Still friends with China“We also have a very intense agenda with China,” he said. “Costa Rica is the only country in Central America that has diplomatic relations with the PRC, and there are a number of projects that are important for both them and us.” The most important of those deals, he said, is a $465 million Chinese project to improve the highway that connects central Costa Rica to Puerto Limón, its main shipping port on the Caribbean.In 2007, then-President Óscar Arias Sánchez broke relations with longtime ally Taiwan and switched diplomatic recognition to China, becoming the first and only Central American head of state to do so.Nevertheless, China’s various economic initiatives in Costa Rica have become bogged down in controversy, ranging from improprieties associated with San José’s soccer stadium to allegations of corruption involving a $583 million contract to Chinese firm Huawei to build a nationwide 3G cellular communications network.“We are dealing with Chinese projects we inherited from previous governments,” Solís noted. “My experience with China is limited, but I would like to say that in many ways, Costa Rica’s relationship with China has been complicated by our lack of clarity in dealing in ways which may have been misinterpreted by the Chinese.”As the Q&A was wrapping up, The Tico Times asked Solís if his administration would follow the example of the U.S. states of Colorado and Washington and the country of Uruguay in legalizing – or at least decriminalizing – the smoking of pot.“I don’t see marijuana legalization happening in Costa Rica in the next few years. It’s not one of the things I’d propose,” he replied. “I want the issue discussed, because I don’t want it to be a taboo in Costa Rican society. But the biggest problems we have with violent crime are not associated with marijuana, and I don’t think it’s a wise thing to do.” Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Hemingway grandsons celebrate in Cuba 60 years after Nobel

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first_imgCOJIMAR, Cuba – Just like Ernest Hemingway used to do, two of his grandsons sailed into the fishing town of Cojimar on Monday, marking 60 years since the iconic U.S. author won the Nobel prize.John and Patrick Hemingway sailed in from the Ernest Hemingway International Yacht Club west of Havana, through the Gulf waters where “Papa” used to fish, with a group of 16 that arrived Sunday.“This is a really emotional day, being here with the people of Cojimar. It’s something personal, it’s a family thing, and I also think it is historic,” John Hemingway, 54, said in Spanish to about 200 people who gathered on the fishing town’s waterfront to greet them.About a dozen boats joined the four yachts carrying the Hemingway party in the two-hour sail over to Cojimar.Hemingway, who lived in Cuba for over 20 years, rented a home in the town. He fished enthusiastically and was inspired here to write the classic “The Old Man and the Sea.”The four yachts flew both U.S. and Cuban flags; the two countries have not had full diplomatic ties since 1961.Events like this “could contribute to some positive things between the United States and Cuba,” said John, a writer who lives in Montreal, alongside brother Patrick, 48, a photographer who lives in Vancouver.Hemingway’s close ties to CubaHemingway, who lived from 1899 to his suicide in 1961, was a journalist, author, world traveler and sportsman. In the 1940s and 1950s, he spent half the year in Cuba and would summer in Idaho.The dramatic twists were not just in his books; he struggled with mental illness and health consequences of heavy drinking even as he became an acclaimed author with a singular and strong spare style.Married four times, Ernest Hemingway had three sons — Jack, Patrick and Gregory, the latter who fathered John and Patrick.Ernest Hemingway was fascinated by game hunting and deep sea fishing, capped with drinks and some writing.The author, also known for works such as “The Sun Also Rises,” “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” and “A Farewell to Arms,” received the Nobel prize for literature in 1954.And it was here in Cojimar that Hemingway docked his boat El Pilar, obsessed about marlin, knocked back mojitos, and where Cuban fishermen inspired his “Old Man.”When the Americas’ only communist government took power, around 1960, Hemingway left Cuba for the last time — but not before meeting longtime president Fidel Castro.Castro, the revolutionary who became a Cold War thorn in the side of the United States, led Cuba for almost five decades after 1959. He has named Hemingway as his favorite author.So it was a touching sort of homecoming to see Hemingway grandsons hugging and chatting with locals, including kids and old-timers. Patrick and John Hemingway pose with an old fisherman in the Cojimar neighborhood of Havana, Cuba, on Sept. 8, 2014. Adalberto Roque/AFP‘I met Hemingway’Hemingway’s boat is in dry dock these days, near his Cojimar home, now a museum run by the government of Raúl Castro, 83.When the author’s local friends learned of his suicide in 1961, they gathered up pieces of anchors and bits of bronze, and had a bust of him made in his honor. It was installed on Cojimar’s seafront in July 1962.Monday, John and Patrick Hemingway laid flowers at the memorial, now under a little pergola.“I met Hemingway myself when I was very young, maybe 13 or 14, and then we became friends,” said Osvaldo Carrero Piña, now 78.Carrero Piña took part in the 1958 film version of “The Old Man and the Sea.”Rail thin, his skin craggy under the hot sun, he smiled as he recalled the party Hemingway threw for all the fishermen when the film finally wrapped.Mario Alonso, a spry 85, said that when he was a boy, he and other local kids would help Hemingway and his mate Gregorio Fuentes clean their catch.“He used to give us a [20-cent piece], one for each of us, and sometimes some chunks of fish,” he recalled on meeting the visiting kin.The Hemingway grandsons meanwhile slipped off to local seaside restaurant “La Terraza” where the author used to dine with Fuentes and his last wife, Mary Welsh.Pictures of Hemingway dot the walls, including one with Castro, now 88. They met in 1960.“His favorite table at La Terraza has been reserved for him for all eternity,” smiled local historian Gilda Rodríguez. Facebook Comments Related posts:A cultural anthropologist ponders Cuba before and after Obama’s decision As talks with US begin, Cubans anticipate changes in their lives Smitten while in Cuba? Better call the love detective before you commit Cuba marks Castro uprising anniversary with call for US embargo endlast_img read more

Incumbent Rousseff leads in first round of Brazil election faces runoff

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first_imgRIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff of the Workers Party, established a convincing lead in the first round of the country’s presidential election Sunday — but it was not enough to elect her outright.With just under 42 percent of the votes, Rousseff will meet Aécio Neves, the candidate from the center-right Brazilian Party for Social Democracy, who rode a growing wave of last-minute support, in a matchup Oct. 26.The late surge by Neves, who won 34 percent of the vote, carried him into the second round past Marina Silva, a “third way” candidate from the Brazilian Socialist Party, who just a few weeks ago was polling even with Rousseff.“It’s because she is a known quantity,” said David Fleischer, professor of political science at the University of Brasília, of Rousseff’s win. “That is the big advantage of any incumbent. And also, an incumbent has a massive political machine at her advantage.”With 99 percent of the vote counted two hours after the polls closed, Rousseff’s first-round victory was solid and Neves would have to win nearly all of Silva’s voters to beat her. Silva finished with just over 21 percent of the total.Voters in Rio on Sunday said they had voted for Rousseff for continuity.“She is more secure. She has more experience,” said shop owner Joaquim da Silva, 56.“I would like to continue the same government, the same management,” said Bruno Gonçalves Ferreira, 30, an engineer. The result is a remarkable feat in what has proved an emotional and volatile campaign.Thanks in no small measure to the patronage of her predecessor, the charismatic and popular former union leader and metalworker Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Rousseff beat José Serra in a second round vote in 2010 to become president.She initially looked like she would walk to re-election when campaigning began earlier this year. But the election was turned on its head when Eduardo Campos, the original Socialist candidate, was killed in a plane crash on Aug. 13 and Silva, his running mate and a former environment minister, took his place.Campos had been polling at 9 percent, according to the Brazilian Institute of Public Opinion and Statistics, IBOPE. His funeral drew 130,000 people to his home town of Recife, in Pernambuco, northeast Brazil, where he had twice been governor. Days later Silva confirmed her candidacy, and rapidly tripled his poll share, putting her equal with Rousseff and ahead in a one-on-one matchup, according to polls.Silva’s party released an ambitious program to reform Brazil’s tax system and cumbersome bureaucracy, promising to spend 10 percent of GDP on education alone. Many Brazilians who wanted an end to Workers Party government saw her as the most viable opposition candidate.“I wanted the Dilma government to end, and Marina was in the front,” said Juliana Ribeiro, 30, a public servant in São Luíz in Maranhão state in northeast Brazil, who voted for Silva on Sunday — and who, like most Brazilians, referred to the candidates by their first names. Presidential candidate for the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), Aécio Neves, delivers a press conference next to his wife, Leticia Weber, in Belo Horizonte, state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, on Oct. 5, 2014, after general elections. Lincon Zarbietti/AFPRousseff’s approval ratings had plummeted after a million Brazilians took to the streets to protest failing public services, corruption and World Cup spending in June of 2013. But Silva was unable to capitalize on the frustration. Rousseff, with more than five times the television advertising time of Silva under election rules, launched an effective attack on her rival — suggesting in one commercial that Silva’s plans for an autonomous central bank would deliver the country to the bankers. Silva’s campaign floundered.“She suffered a dehydration process because of an enormous and aggressive campaign by the Workers Party,” said José Moisés, a political scientist at the University of São Paulo. “There was an imbalance in the campaign.”Silva, an evangelical Christian, was also unable to capitalize on expectations that she could pick up the so-called “protest vote.” Many were turned off when she amended proposals in her party program on gay marriage and outlawing homophobia a day after it was released. “People perceived that she did not represent what they thought she did,” said Nina Oliveira, 28, a cultural producer in Brasília.Oliveira voted for Luciana Genro, the candidate for the much smaller left-wing Socialism and Freedom Party, who took an aggressively liberal stance in television debates.In the wake of the 2013 protests, Rousseff made promises of political reform to a system that struggles to function because the governing party is dependent on making deals with coalition parties to get anything done. But her government imported thousands of Cuban doctors to make up for a shortfall in the Brazilian health service, thus dealing with some of the criticisms over failings in the country’s health service.Economic growth has sputtered — Brazil entered a “technical recession” after retracting 0.6 percent in the second quarter of this year, and 0.2 percent in the first quarter. The Brazilian financial market preferred the more orthodox liberal proposals offered by Silva and Neves.But as Silva’s campaign weakened, Neves made a last-minute, dramatic surge into second place. “He managed to communicate with a segment of the electorate that wanted changes. This segment did not want to vote for Dilma,” said Moisés.“He presented the best proposals. It was a proposal for change,” said Irene de Sena, 66, a retiree in Porto Alegre in the south of Brazil, who voted for Neves.Over 12 years of Workers Party rule, 36 million Brazilians have left poverty and more than half of the population is now classified as a lower middle class. Brazilians who benefited from social policies such as an income support plan and a housing finance program were reluctant to experiment with Silva’s vision for a different Brazil, as were the country’s many public servants.“Another president won’t do what she is doing,” said civil servant Vanir Paraná, 52 — who voted for Rousseff in Rio on Sunday “for continuity, to finish what she started.”© 2014, The Washington Post Facebook Comments Related posts:Brazil’s presidential election draped in mourning Brazil split ahead of presidential election An oil scandal in Brazil complicates the race for incumbent president on eve of election Brazil’s post-election party is over for Roussefflast_img read more

Travel Alert Temporary road closures on Route 32 start Wednesday

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first_imgRelated posts:Travel Alert: MOPT suspends daily closures on Route 32 Bad People Alert: Vandals destroy and steal new lane dividers on Costa Rica’s Route 32 Construction to begin soon to curb heavy traffic on Circunvalación beltway Residents OK to return home after flooding, officials say The Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) on Wednesday will begin daily road closures on a stretch of Route 32, which connects San José and the Caribbean province of Limón, to allow the demarcation of 37.5 kilometers of highway. The work is expected to continue through early June.The closures will occur from Santa Elena de San Isidro to the intersection at Río Frío, from 9-11 a.m., and 1:30-3:30 p.m. on weekdays. Weekend closures will take place from 7-9 a.m. and 11 a.m.-1 p.m. depending on weather conditions, Alejandra Acosta, from MOPT’s Traffic Engineering department, said.Crews also will install flexible lane dividers to discourage illegal passing.Acosta said the work can’t be performed at night due to humid weather and the mountainous terrain where the stretch of road is located. Full road closures are necessary to allow the paint to dry and due to safety concerns for workers, she added.Traffic Police will be on site to assist, and an alternate route through Turrialba is recommended during highway closure times.Work on other sections of the road began on April 20. The ₡233 million ($433,000) project is funded by the Roadway Safety Council and is being carried out by the private contractor JL Señalización y Arquitectura S.A. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Shall I compare thee to … a monkey with a plastic banana

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first_imgIf I had to choose, I’d say that the most colorful turns of phrase in the languages I know and love can be found in their comparisons. To the poet, these are an opportunity for beauty — when it comes to that famous summer’s day, “thou art more lovely and more temperate.” However, to the everyday speaker, those who forge language in the trenches, they are an opportunity to be silly, fun and lewd. Hotter than hell, colder than a witch’s teat, happy as a pig in … well, you know how it goes.Spanish is no different and, as usual, I believe that Costa Rica does these particularly well, though the selection that follows includes phrases from both Costa Rica and beyond. Here are a few gems.Más agarrado que una viejita en moto: Cheaper/more miserly than an old lady on a motorcycle. This doesn’t work at all in English because of the dual meaning of “agarrado” — it means hanging on tight to an object, like handlebars, but also hanging on tight to money.Más fresco(a) que una lechuga: fresher than a head of lettuce (famously switched around by Mexican comedian Chesperito in the introduction to El Chapulín Colorado, who is “nobler than a head of lettuce”).Más incómodo que dormir con la suegra: more uncomfortable than sleeping with your mother-in-law. Err, enough said.Más delicado que una cría de chompipes: more delicate/touchy/difficult to handle than turkey hatchlings.Más limpio que el cuello de una monja: “Limpio” means clean but also broke (as in, your pockets are clean), so this is another that doesn’t translate well. More or less, my pockets are cleaner than a nun’s neck.Más ahüevado que un mono con un banano de plástico: We’ve looked before at how tricky ahüevado and similarly eggy expressions are to translate, but it’s somewhere between frustrated, bummed out, annoyed. So, more bummed out than a monkey with a plastic banana.Más metido que un yuyo (or jode más que un yuyo): More persistent, hard to get rid of, annoying than a foot fungus.Más perdido que Adán en el Día de la Madre: More lost than Adam on Mother’s Day.Más largo que orinada de balcón: My husband raised his eyebrows at me when I found this in one of my favorite resources, “Dichos y Refranes de los Ticos” by María Mayela Padilla, and said he couldn’t remember ever hearing it, but I love it just because it’s so ridiculous. Longer than peeing off a balcony.What did I miss? What are your favorites? Let me know. Otherwise I’ll be más aburrida que un chancho en una alforja (more bored than a pig in a bag). Facebook Comments Read previous Maeology columns here.Katherine Stanley Obando is The Tico Times’ arts and entertainment editor. She also is a freelance writer, translator, former teacher and academic director of JumpStart Costa Rica. She lives in San José. Read more from Katherine at “The Dictionary of You,” where she writes about Costa Rican language and culture, and raising a child abroad. “Maeology” is published every other Monday. center_img Related posts:A love letter to Costa Rica’s second language On tweeting and twitteando: Should we resist when languages change? Costa Rica, The Quiz: How much has your adopted country changed you? Brush up your bathroom Spanish: a truly crappy language lessonlast_img read more

El Salvadors beatified Romero symbol of new Catholic Church

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first_imgSAN SALVADOR,El Salvador — Thirty-five years after he was gunned down while delivering mass, controversial Salvadoran archbishop Oscar Romero will be beatified Saturday, held up by Pope Francis as a symbol of a Catholic Church dedicated to the poor.In a move long resisted by conservative Catholics and the Salvadoran right, Romero will be declared “blessed” in a ceremony led by the pope’s envoy, Cardinal Angelo Amato, in San Salvador’s central plaza.Six cardinals, more than 100 bishops and archbishops, and 285,000 faithful are expected at the ceremony, which will bring the man nicknamed the “Voice of the Voiceless” one step from sainthood.“It will be an unforgettable day, a festival for the world,” said the auxiliary bishop of San Salvador, Gregorio Rosa Chávez. “This party is going to unite the whole world in the hope of a world where truth and the values that Monsignor Romero fought for become reality.”An outspoken critic of social injustice, Romero was shot through the heart by a sniper while performing mass at a hospital chapel on March 24, 1980, a day after exhorting El Salvador’s soldiers to stop killing civilians.Six days later, the army opened fire as more than 100,000 mourners gathered for his funeral, killing dozens.Timeline of major events in Romero’s life and his canonizationThe incidents occurred at the outset of El Salvador’s civil war, and propelled the country deeper into a brutal conflict that raged until 1992, when the rightwing government signed a peace deal with the leftist guerrillas of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN).No one was ever convicted of Romero’s killing, but a UN-sponsored truth commission concluded it was carried out by a rightwing death squad under the orders of Roberto D’Aubuisson, a former army officer who died the year the war ended.‘Stop the repression’ Romero, who was born August 15, 1917 in the northeastern town of Ciudad Barrios, studied theology in Rome and was ordained there in 1942, in the midst of World War II.He was considered a conservative cleric when he was named archbishop of San Salvador in 1977. But the following month his friend and colleague Rutilio Grande was killed in a hail of bullets with two humble farmers.The failure to investigate the killings started Romero down a path of increasingly vocal opposition to the government, which was fighting to stamp out a growing leftwing rebellion.His condemnation culminated in the famous homily he gave on the eve of his death, when we told rank-and-file soldiers: “I beg you, I plead with you, I order you in the name of God: stop the repression.”Romero’s murder had widespread impact in Latin America, a predominantly Roman Catholic region where several far-right regimes were then fighting wars against Marxist guerrillas.His life was depicted in the 1989 film “Romero” starring Raúl Julia.25-year processThe cause to make Romero a saint officially started in 1990, launched by his colleague Rafael Urrutia.But critics associated Romero with “liberation theology,” a movement rooted in Latin America that advocates working with the poor to bring about social change.He did not actually adhere to the theology. But his teachings on solidarity with the poor looked dangerously leftist to some.The petition to canonize him stalled at the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints. It finally moved forward in February when Pope Francis, who has also sought to champion the poor, named Romero a martyr for the church, clearing the way for his beatification.Attitudes are changing in El Salvador, too.The former leftist guerrilla army, the FMLN, is today governing the country. The international airport and a main avenue in San Salvador have been named for Romero, and adoring Salvadorans snap up T-shirts, key-chains and mugs with his image.In 2010, former president Mauricio Funes apologized in the name of El Salvador for Romero’s assassination and declared him “the spiritual guide of the nation.”Romero’s tomb in the basement of San Salvador’s cathedral now draws pilgrims from around the world.“What does the beatification mean for El Salvador and the world? It means that truth and social justice are now factors that will be present in the life of El Salvador,” President Salvador Sánchez Cerén said recently. Facebook Comments Related posts:On 35th anniversary of Romero’s murder, Salvadorans remember him finally as a martyr El Salvador’s ‘voice of the voiceless’ beatified El Salvador unites behind martyr Romero, 35 years on In El Salvador, Nicaragua, abortion can mean death or jaillast_img read more

Biden wont seek White House in 2016 clearing Clintons way

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first_imgWASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Vice President Joe Biden won’t seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, ending months of deliberation and speculation and clearing the path for Hillary Clinton.The long process of grieving over the death of his son Beau has closed the window on any chance of mounting a presidential campaign, Biden said in a hastily arranged announcement from the White House Rose Garden with President Barack Obama and his wife, Jill Biden, at his side.“I couldn’t do this if the family wasn’t ready. The good news is the family has reached that point,” Biden said. “Unfortunately I think we are out of time.”Biden’s decision clarifies the choice before the party’s voters even as Clinton faces a challenge from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and two other Democrats in the race who are trying to position themselves as an alternative to the former secretary of state.See: Remember when US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders visited Costa Rica?At 72, Biden has likely run his last campaign for elected office, while he could be in play for secretary of state or other presidential nominations or appointments should Democrats prevail in next year’s general election. Biden served as a U.S. senator for 36 years and unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for president in 1988 and 2008 before becoming Obama’s running mate.“While I will not be a candidate I will not be silent,” Biden said Wednesday. “I intend to speak out as much as I can.”Biden always left open the possibility of running in 2016 when Obama’s second term was up. The vice president also saw his eldest child, Beau, a military veteran who served as Delaware’s attorney general and planned to run for governor, as the successor to his political legacy and a future presidential contender.Beau’s diagnosis of brain cancer in August 2013 put the vice president’s own political considerations on the back burner, and when the cancer came back after a remission, it proved fatal. Beau died in May at age 46, leaving Biden and his wife devastated and focused on their family through a long, sad summer. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden talks with his son Beau at Camp Victory on the outskirts of Baghdad, Iraq in 2009. Beau Biden, 46, died of cancer, a White House statement said late on May 30, 2015. Khalid Mohammed/AFPAs a potential candidate, Biden and his aides were confident he was better poised for a presidential after seven years as Obama’s understudy than in his two previous attempts, and felt that he better represented Democratic Party ideals than Clinton and could be less divisive in a general election. But was Biden emotionally ready for the toll of a campaign?Those close to him saw a shattered man. But in an Aug. 1 column in the New York Times, Maureen Dowd reported that Biden was “talking to friends, family and donors about jumping in” and that at the end of his life Beau sought to convince his father to run. An outside group, Draft Biden, was formed to raise money and lay organizational groundwork. And Biden ramped up his private and public dialogue, including meeting on Aug. 22 with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat and Wall Street critic embraced by many party liberals.At the same time, he was up against societal forces of change and a hunger in the Democratic Party for a first woman president to follow the first black president. He also faced a formidable opponent with Clinton, a former secretary of state, U.S. senator and first lady, who was amassing talented operatives, major donors and an organizational structure as Biden focused on and later grieved for his son.Nor did there seem to be a hunger among voters for Biden to enter the race. In a Bloomberg Politics/Saint Anselm New Hampshire Poll, Biden placed a distant third behind Clinton and Sanders.Biden, meanwhile, lacked strong bases of support in Iowa, the first caucus state. If he were to run, his success would hinge on an ability to win in South Carolina. Even then, his path likely would have required sizable portions of the Democratic establishment to abandon Clinton.Biden’s third place showing in most polls “is more to do with how strong her and Bernie’s hold is on their voters,” according to Joe Trippi, who was a chief strategist for Democratic presidential candidates Howard Dean in 2004 and John Edwards in 2008. That, he added, would have made it harder for Biden to go on the attack against his potential rivals.Angela Greiling Keane, Justin Sink and Mike Dorning contributed to this story.© 2015, Bloomberg News Facebook Comments Related posts:US candidate Bernie Sanders sues party as Democrats on verge of open warfare Obama’s skin looks different in GOP ads Anger builds where Obama seeks shelter for migrant children Sanders to win Maine caucuses while Clinton nears half the delegates needed for nominationlast_img read more

Birds bears bikers all play into Putins stunts

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first_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Comments   Share   Top Stories The media events portray him as both exceptionally bold and just a regular guy who enjoys proletarian pastimes like hunting and fishing. Although critics say Putin is tremendously wealthy, his stunts are careful to avoid any suggestion of riches. Putin _ unlike John Kerry _ will never be filmed going windsurfing.Putin is even willing to show a vulnerable side. He confessed that the hang glider’s veering and yawing “gets the adrenaline going” and once was filmed being thrown to the mat by a 10-year-old Japanese girl who was a judo expert.Some of Putin’s notable stunts:TOP GUNPutin and George W. Bush may have had little in common, but they both understood that showing up in a fighter jet makes a dramatic entrance.Putin did it first, in March 2000, flying into war-torn Chechnya in the rear seat of a Sukhoi-27 advanced fighter jet.Coming just a few days before Russia’s presidential election, the stunt aimed to bolster Putin’s image as the man who could wipe out the Chechen separatists, in contrast to predecessor Boris Yeltsin, who had allowed Chechnya to become virtually independent and gruesomely lawless.SEABED FINDThe low point of Putin’s stunts may have been his 2011 scuba dive in the strait connecting the Black and Azov seas. He came up from the dive holding fragments of what were said to be 6th century B.C. Greek jugs, saying “the boys and I found them.” Associated PressMOSCOW (AP) – Start with manly ventures _ flying, hunting, scuba-diving. Add an element of danger _ polar bears, tigers, fighter jets. Throw in a bare chest here and there.In Russian politics, Vladimir Putin is both the star of the show and the stuntman.The Russian president’s flight Wednesday in a motorized hang glider purportedly helped young white Siberian cranes learn how to migrate. But it also was the latest in a dozen-year series of telegenic escapades. AN OLD SOFTIEPutin appears to have a genuine affection for animals, even being shown cuddling a puppy and getting a kiss from a poodle.He managed to combine sweetness and toughness in a 2010 trip to the Arctic where he accompanied scientists tracking polar bears. Kneeling next to a tranquilized bear, he stroked the animal, helped measure it and roll it onto its side.On his departure, he shook the bear’s paw and uttered: “Be well.”FLY WITH MELike some of his other stunts, Wednesday’s flights on a flimsy hang glider in Siberia aimed to portray Putin as being concerned about ecological issues.Critics were unconvinced.“He’s been ruling this country for 12 years, but a list of his fantasies never ends,” wrote Anton Orekh, a commentator for Ekho Moskvy radio. “This makes me think that he’s made all of his dreams come true and is now merely struggling with boredom.”But Putin did sidestep a possible photo debacle. Initial reports said he would likely don a fake beak so the storks being trained would think he was one of them.Huh? No chance.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Men’s health affects baby’s health too Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenixcenter_img Critics snorted. The seabed was only about seven feet (a few meters) deep and the likelihood that the fragments had hidden in plain sight for more than 2,500 years seemed slim. Some joked that Putin’s staff had bought the pottery at IKEA.A few months later, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov admitted the jug fragments had been planted.THE SWIMMERWhatever sleight of hand or outright fakery may be involved in a Putin media moment, he obviously does a lot of the work himself.That was never more clear than in a 2009 photo of Putin swimming in a Siberian river. He chose to do the butterfly, swimming’s most visually dramatic stroke. Photographers caught his head and torso surging out of the water, his well-muscled arms extended and a look on his face that seemed to express both the joys of exertion and the coldness of the water.BEARDS AND BIKESPutin has described himself as being something of a hooligan as a youth and even at the pinnacle of power likes to show a raffish side. He’s made several visits to motorcycle rallies, consorting with brawny and bearded leather-clad bikers.It doesn’t seem to undermine his street cred when he rides with the posse on a three-wheeler instead of true hog. Sponsored Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 3 international destinations to visit in 2019last_img read more

Brazil prosecutors want God phrase off of money

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first_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Check your body, save your lifecenter_img Brazil’s public prosecutor’s office is separate from the executive branch of government and it is supposed to defend the social and individual rights of citizens as well as serving as a watchdog over the government. A spokeswoman for the agency said the initiative for the motion apparently came from Dias.The Assembly of God Church, one of the largest evangelical denominations in Brazil, opposed the motion.“God must be praised all the times and everywhere,” said church official Tilza Feliciano.The Roman Catholic archbishop of Sao Paulo, Cardinal Odilo Scherer, spoke to the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper and asked, “Why is an allusion to God a problem?”“The phrase should make no difference to those who do not believe in God,” he said. “But it is meaningful for all those who do believe in God.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) – A prosecutor is trying to get God off of Brazilian bank notes….Public prosecutor Jefferson Dias argues that the country is a secular state and that the phrase “God be praised” disregards the rights of non-Christians, and on Tuesday he asked a federal court to order the phrase removed.“The fact that most Brazilians are Christian does not justify the “violation of the fundamental rights of those that follow different religions or do not believe in God,” Dias said in the motion he filed with the court. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Top Stories Comments   Share   last_img read more

China media Hong Kong opposition is destroyer of democracy

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first_imgHONG KONG (AP) — Chinese state media blasted Hong Kong’s pro-democracy opposition lawmakers on Friday for being “destroyers” of democratic development a day after they shot down Beijing’s election blueprint for the British former colony.The Chinese Communist Party’s flagship newspaper published an editorial deploring the vote and accusing the pro-democracy camp of being “selfish” and not heeding public opinion in rejecting the government’s election proposals. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day “The actions of the opposition camp show they are the upsetters and destroyers of Hong Kong’s democratic development process,” the People’s Daily said.The Hong Kong government had proposed allowing voters in the Asian financial hub to choose the city’s leader for the first time in 2017 so long as candidates were vetted by a Beijing-friendly panel of elites.Tens of thousands of people took to the streets last year to protest the plan, which they branded “fake democracy,” and to demand genuine choice of candidates. The proposal was defeated Thursday because Hong Kong’s government could not muster enough support from pro-democracy lawmakers, who had stuck to their promise of voting against it.The People’s Daily editorial said pro-democracy lawmakers should take “full responsibility” for blocking the proposal but didn’t mention an embarrassing blunder by pro-establishment lawmakers that left most of them accidentally unable to vote in support.The 33 pro-establishment lawmakers took out a half-page newspaper ad to “deeply apologize” for walking out moments before the vote in a bungled attempt to prevent a quorum from being reached. They said they wanted more time for an elderly, ailing member to return to cast a vote. But some others remained inside because of miscommunication, allowing the vote to go ahead. 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top Stories Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility “We did not accurately grasp the opportunity,” the statement said.One pro-establishment lawmaker, Regina Ip, broke down in tears during a radio show appearance after the host asked about the blunder.“I feel very sad and very sorry that we’ve failed many people’s expectations. I saw many of our supporters were scolding us online,” she said. “The error this time is very regrettable.”___Associated Press writer Chris Bodeen in Beijing contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

Rialto voted Australias best in awards

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first_img Property Council of Australia/ Rider Levett Bucknall Overall Winner One Shelley Street NSW Netstrata Award for Residential DevelopmentsSydney Wharf NSW Thinc Award for Sustainable Developments workplace6 NSW Woodhead Award for Mixed Use Developments The Barracks QLD Shopping Centre Council Award for Shopping CentresRobina Town Centre Northern Malls RedevelopmentQLD Source = The Rialto Gadens Lawyers Award for Retirement LivingGoodwin Village Ainslie        ACT Coffey Award for Future LeadersJamie Smith NSW <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/298ff/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Award for Heritage & Adaptive Reuses Goods Shed North VIC Award for Public Buildings Royal Women’s Hospital VICcenter_img Award for Government Leadership The Land Development AgencyOwn Place        ACT Award for Office Fitouts Beaufort Building RedevelopmentVIC Bluescope Buildings Award for Business Industrial Parks Triniti Business CampusNSW Sydney Harbour YHA (Highly Commended) NSW Ryan Lawyers Award for Tourism & Leisure DevelopmentsInterContinental Melbourne, The RialtoVIC The refurbished InterContinental Melbourne, The Rialto has been judged Australia’s best tourism and leisure development at the fourth annual Property Council of Australia Rider Levett Bucknall Innovation and Excellence Awards. The $65 million facelift of the world class, 5 star hotel at 495 Collins Street was awarded the Ryan Lawyers Award for Tourism and Leisure Developments at the gala award dinner tonight at Star City in Sydney. The first international 5 star hotel in Melbourne’s financial district opened in December, 2008, following the 12 month refurbishment by owners Eureka Funds Management (EFM). Property Council of Australia CEO Peter Verwer said EFM had successfully delivered one of the largest hotel redevelopments undertaken by an Australian wholesale investment fund. “The new Intercontinental Melbourne, The Rialto, is a world class development which has achieved landmarks in sustainable design and heritage conservation goals,” Mr Verwer said. “As part of the architectural fabric of Melbourne, the building’s unique 19th century facade was maintained and now provides not only an entry point to Melbourne’s newest hotel, it extends the common character and heritage facades of Collins Street.” Mr Michael Kerr, Director of Rider Levett Bucknall Melbourne, said the Intercontinental Melbourne, The Rialto is the first refurbished hotel to obtain a Building Planning and Design Certification from Green Globe. “Improving the building’s performance in energy and resource management was a key project goal and EFM has been highly successful in this regard,” he said. “If the hotel was a car, it has been turned from a V8 Holden Commodore into a Toyota Lexus hybrid vehicle.”2010 National Awards Winners RPS Award for Masterplanned Communities Greater Springfield QLD Award for Office DevelopmentsOne Shelley Street NSW Bilfinger Berger Award for Emerging AssetsNSW PPP2 Schools ProgrammeNSWlast_img read more

Qantas deliberates over fuel and fares

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Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Rising oil prices and lowered profit predictions has Qantas reviewing its international fares.Earlier this week Macquarie Entities lowered its 2011 underlying pre-tax profit estimates for Qantas by 23 percent from AU$936 million to AU$720 million because of the airline’s increasing fuel bill, The Australian reported.   According to the Macquarie group Australian jet fuel has risen up to AU$110 a barrel from $95 within months and expects Qantas’ to see its bill swell to AU$3.7 billion at the end of this financial year. “The steep increase in our jet fuel estimates of 15 to 20 per cent with no offset in the Australian dollar-US dollar relationship is driving earnings downgrades over the next two fiscal years,” Macquarie Entities said in a note that reduce Qantas’ prediction. The group has also downgraded its prediction for Virgin Blue this year by 21 percent from AU$91.5 million to AU$72.7 million. Virgin Blue chief executive John Borghetti told the source that “his airline would act accordingly if prices reached a point where a fuel surcharge were warranted”.”But you have to be cognisant also of the economic environment that we’re in and the demand environment,” he said. read more

TripAdvisor reports unauthorised hacker

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first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J TripAdvisor has released an online statement advising its members that part of its mailing email list was stolen by an unauthorised hacker.The statement read that the company is investigating details into when the incident occurred, apologised to its reviewers and advised them that while password information was not retrieved, people can expect to receive SPAM mail.“We’re taking this incident very seriously,” the statement read. “We’ve identified the vulnerability, shut it down and are vigorously pursuing the matter with law enforcement.”TripAdvisor added that the company is looking into implementing new security precautions to prevent future incidents.The company warned members that any SPAM received may ask for personal information, credit card details as well as passwords and bank information. last_img read more

No concern over Million Dollar Memo TQ

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first_imgDespite reports of a slow start to the ‘Million Dollar Memo’ campaign, Tourism Queensland chief executive Anthony Hayes said he is not concerned because the promotion is targeted towards the corporate market. Last week the campaign’s website had recorded up to 32,000 visitors and 80,000 hits, a decrease of 20,000 compared to the first day of the bureau’s 2009 ‘Best Job in the World’ promotion, The Australian reported. Mr Hayes said the key difference between the two competitions is that the latest is aimed at the business market, not individuals. The marketing campaign has also been dampened by recent flooding in the Sunshine state as well as the loss of its two key markets New Zealand and Japan as they focus on recovering from recent natural disasters.”It’s no surprise that we’ve been doing it pretty tough, but the reality is that none of our tourism destinations have been affected at all … even places in the tropical North like Cairns have been untouched,” Mr Hayes added.”The big problem at the moment is that our phones have stopped ringing. “This campaign is a great way let the public know that Queensland is still open for business.” Launched worldwide, Queensland has asked corporate companies to submit a 60 second video highlighting why their company deserves a holiday to the state. The winning business will then have its staff flowing to Queensland for a break worth up to one million dollars.”The story has also been picked up by 270 media outlets across the world, including interest from the UAE, which we haven’t seen before” Mr Hayes said.”The greatest interest so far has been from the US, UK, Germany, Malaysia, and of course Australia.”Submission close on 1 May this year, with the winner announced on 31 August. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more