The problem with Voltaire

first_imgNo related posts. We were over to the deWitts last Sunday and John, as usual, was expounding about Voltaire being the greatest mind ever. Well, I happen to disagree, and dragged up Voltaire’s stupid remark about, “when the arts are perfected, we may be able to cure the crackpot,” or words to that effect. Of course “arts” covers a pretty wide field, and might be stretched to cover wallpapering and plumbing, in which case I have no comment.But my own definition of art includes only what is creative or inspired by the three Muses, which was the Greeks’ way of explaining the inexplicable mystery of creation. These days we can do better than that by appealing to neuroscience. But first, let’s talk about Chance. Take, for instance, three balls colored red, green and blue. Mix them up in a bag and pick them out one by one and you get a sequence green-blue-red. Mix and retrieve them again and you get, say, a different sequence: green-red-blue. Each sequence is something novel, arrived at purely by chance, although composed of a rearrangement of preexisting elements; red, green and blue balls.In my view, memory is the recapitulation of previous experience, and experience is nothing but a particular sequence of Action Potentials passing through the cytoplasm of sensory neurons in the Central Nervous System (CNS). In the course of recovery from storage within the nuclei of said neurons, the original sequence of APs is rarely preserved exactly, accounting for the notorious unreliability of memory. But this chance mixing of APs has a plus side; like mixing colored balls, it creates something new out of something old. Artists, indeed creators of any kind, tend to be daydreamers, unconventional and inept at anything that isn’t their specialty.“When dreaming, they are actually reviewing the elements of the existing order. Thus the transistor was an unusual rearrangement of materials already known to differentially attract negative or positive charges; surrealism was nothing but an unusual rearrangement of the normal elements composing a recognizable scene; and Symphony No.2 is no more than a completely new arrangement of the notes found in Symphony No.1.So the daydreaming is essential for memorizing all the known elements to be mixed together in the brain. There is nothing new under the sun, only different mixtures of the known. But one mixture is novel only because of the inefficiency of the memorization process, and the reputation of the artist rests on his ability to pick out the good from a large pile of the bad. Looked at this way, art cannot be perfectible, because it depends on a chance process that is uncontrollable. Artists frequently rely on a drug: coffee, cannabis, sex or something stronger to sharpen their ability to pick out the new, but that’s another story.I am sorry to report that John deWitt’s response to my devastating attack on Voltaire was “Bullshit!” But then, like so many uncreative people, he has a closed mind, impervious to anything new. Facebook Comments Jack O’Brienlast_img read more

Whats open closed for the holidays

first_imgNo related posts. BANKS:Banco Improsa (2284-4040) will be closed Dec. 25, 30, 31, and Jan. 1. BAC San José (2295-9595) will be closed Dec. 25-31, Jan.1; offices will close at 3 p.m. on Dec. 24. Banca Promérica (2519-8090, 2505-7000) branches will close at 4 p.m. Dec. 24 and at 2 p.m. Dec. 31. Banco de Costa Rica (2287-9000) branches will close on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. Banco Nacional (2211-2000) will close its offices at 3:45 p.m. on Dec. 24 and 31, and will be closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. Banco Popular (2211-7000) will be closed on Dec. 25, 26, 31 and Jan 1. Bancrédito (2550-0202) will close offices at 4 p.m. on Dec. 24 and will be closed Dec. 25-31 and Jan. 1. Davivienda (2287-1111) will be closed Dec. 25, 31 and Jan. 1. Mutual Alajuela (2437-1000) branches will be closed Dec. 25, 31 and most offices will close at 3 p.m. on Dec. 24. Scotiabank (2519-1300) will close Dec 25 and Jan 1.EMBASSIES: Holiday closures at major embassies are as follows: British Embassy (2258-2025), Dec. 25, 31, Jan 1; Canadian Embassy (2242-4400), Dec. 25, 31, Jan. 1; French Embassy (2234-4167), Dec 25, Jan 1; Japanese Embassy (2232-1255), Dec. 25, 31 Jan. 1; U.S. Embassy (2220-3939), Dec. 25 and Jan 1.GOVERNMENT OFFICES: Most government offices will close Dec. 24 at noon through Jan. 3. The Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) and Supreme Court will have a limited area open 24 hours a day for emergencies, though all administrative areas will be closed. For emergencies, dial 911.HOSPITALS AND PHARMACIES: Rest assured that hospital emergency rooms will remain open 24 hours a day. The Red Cross (tel. 128) and National Insurance Institute (INS) (800-800-8000) also attend emergencies at all hours. Those who overeat at Christmas dinner can get their Alka-Seltzer and more 24-7 over the holidays at Clínica Bíblica Hospital drugstore and emergency room (2522-1000) in downtown San José; La Católica Hospital drugstore and emergency room (2246-3000) in Guadalupe; and  Farmacia Sucre 800-327-6224.MAIL AND SHIPPING: Aerocasillas (2208-4848) will close at 3 p.m. on Dec. 24 and at 1 p.m. Jan.  31, and all day Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. Correos de Costa Rica (2202-2900) will be closed Dec. 25, 31 and Jan. 1. DHL (2209-0000) will close its offices at noon Dec. 24 and Jan. 31.MOVIE THEATERS: At Cinemark Escazú (2201-5050) in Multiplaza Escazú and Cinemark del Este (2280-0490) in Multiplaza del Este in Zapote, the last show on Dec. 24 and 31 will be at 3:30 p.m. Cadena de Cines Magaly, which represents most of the country’s movie theaters, will have all its theaters open at a regular schedule. The independent Sala Garbo in San José closes at 9 pm on Dec. 24 and 31. Cinépolis theaters in Terramall and Desamparados will close at 9 p.m. Plaza Grecia Cinemas will close at 5 p.m. on Dec. 24 and 31. Multicines Plaza Liberia (2665-1515) in Guanacaste were not available at press time. Nova Cinemas (2299-7666) in Escazú will open at 11 a.m.MUSEUMS: The Central Bank Museums (also known as the Gold Museum, 2243-4221) underneath Plaza de la Cultura close from Dec. 23 through Jan. 6, and the Children’s Museum (2258-4929) at Ca. 4, Av. 9 will be closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. The National Museum (2257-1433) at Ca.17, Av. Central/2, will be closed Dec. 24-25, and Dec. 31 to Jan. 1. The Contemporary Art and Design Museum (2257-9370) at CENAC, Av. 3/5, Ca. 15/17, will close Dec. 19 and reopen Jan. 6. INBioparque (2507-8103) in Santo Domingo de Heredia will be closed Dec. 24-25 and Dec. 31-Jan. 1. The Costa Rican Art Museum will keep regular hours (Tues.-Sun., 9 a.m.-4 p.m.) throughout the holidays.SUPERMARKETS: Auto Mercado (2257-4242) will close all its supermarkets at 10 p.m. on Dec. 24; the store in downtown San José will be closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1; most stores will be open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. on Dec. 25, and 10 a.m.-8 p.m. on Dec. 31, except Herradura, Tamarindo and Plays del Coco, which will be open 8 a.m.-9 p.m. on Dec. 25 and 10 a.m.-8 p.m. on Jan. 1. Walmart (8008000722) stores in Heredia, Escazú, Guadalupe, San Sebastián, Cartago and Curridabat will close at 9 p.m. on Dec. 24, 25 and 31 and Jan. 1, and will be open 8 a.m-10 p.m. Dec. 26-30. Most Más x Menos (2243-7100) supermarkets will be open until 9 p.m. on Dec. 24 and 31; from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1 (except Cuesta de Moras store, which will be closed, and Jacó store, which will be open 9 a.m.-8 p.m.). Megasuper (2246-0400) will be open until 10 p.m. on Dec. 24 and 31, and 9 a.m-7 p.m. on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1; the store near Mercado Borbón in San José and the store in Jacó will be closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. Muñoz y Nanne (2253-4646) in San Pedro will be open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Dec. 24, 30 and 31, and will close at 6 p.m. on Dec. 29. Palí (2243-7100) stores will be open 8:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. on Dec. 24, 30 and 31; and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. PriceSmart stores in Escazú (2288-0008), Heredia (2262-4848), Zapote (2283-9464) and Tibás (2297-2343) will be closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1; on Dec. 24 and 31 the stores will open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saretto (2228-6703) supermarket in Escazú will be closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.THEATERS: Arlequín (2221-5485) at Ca. 15, Av. 2/6, is closed until Jan. 14. Teatro Torres (2256-4295) at Av. 8, Ca. 11/13, is showing “toc, toc,” and will be closed Dec. 24 and 31 only. La Esquina Theater (2257-0223) at Av. 1, Ca. 21, is showing “Taxiando por un sueño” Dec. 25-26 and Jan. 1-2. El Triciclo Theater (2222-2624) at Ca. 15, Av. 8/10, will be closed until Jan. 3, when it will reopen with “Se armó la gorda.” La Máscara Theater (2222-4574) at Av. 2, Ca. 13 bis, will resume showing the comedy “La otra cara del matrimonio” on Jan. 15.VETERINARIANS: The National University Veterinary Hospital (2260-9234; call before going) in Barreal de Heredia is open 24 hours. Dr. Bitter’s clinics (2227-5017, 2228-1753) in San José and Escazú will be closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. Dr. Adrián Molina (2228-1909, 2288-1716, emergency 2225-2500) in Escazú will close at noon Dec. 24, close Dec 25 and Jan 1. 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Mexican authorities say Knights Templar cartel leader Nazario Moreno has been killed

first_imgMEXICO CITY – How many times will Nazario Moreno die?Mexican authorities on Sunday announced that “El Chayo,” the leader of the Knights Templar drug cartel, who reportedly had been killed in 2010, had died – this time for sure – in an early-morning shootout.A security official in Michoacán state said that biometric and DNA testing have confirmed Moreno’s identity. Members of the Mexican Navy led the operation in the village of Naranjo de Chila, the official said, noting that others had been killed or injured.“Undeniably, this is a major blow to that organization,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter.Killing and extortion by the Knights Templar in Michoacán led to a citizen uprising during the past year. Militias have been seizing towns and villages under cartel control, a movement that has challenged the authority of the Mexican state. Hipolito Mora, left, and Estanislao Beltrán, aka “Papa Pitufo” (Papa Smurf), leaders of a self-protection militia, chat in La Ruana community, state of Michoacán, Mexico, on Feb. 24, 2014. Héctor Guerrero/AFPThe Moreno mystery is one of many strange aspects of the Knights Templar, a drug gang that moves methamphetamine and whose members cast themselves as holy warriors. The group is a spinoff of the La Familia cartel. Inspired by Catholic crusaders of the Middle Ages, gang members wear white cloaks with red crosses, build shrines to Moreno and revere his religious writings.Moreno’s first demise allegedly occurred in December 2010 during a gun battle with federal police. The government announced that he had been killed but his body was not recovered. Since then, residents and officials in Michoacán have said openly that they think Moreno survived, and many people say they have seen him. The day-to-day leadership of the cartel passed to a former schoolteacher named Servando Gómez, a.k.a. “La Tuta.”Moreno’s apparent survival burnished his legend as a mythical and cultlike figure in Mexico’s drug wars.On Sunday, Moreno’s body had been moved to the city of Apatzingán and was under military control. Authorities had known for some time that Moreno frequented Naranjo de Chila and were waiting for intelligence to confirm that he was there, the security official said.Moreno’s death is a significant development in the conflict in Michoacán. The militia leaders have said they will stop only when the government has killed or captured top cartel leaders. Relatives of members of the self-protection militia participate in a mass in La Ruana community, state of Michoacán, Mexico, on Feb. 24, 2014. Groups of civilians who took arms to fight the drug cartels gathered to celebrate their first anniversary. Héctor Guerrero/AFPIn recent months, President Enrique Peña Nieto’s government has sought to legitimize the militia members by registering them. They control a wide swath of Michoacán, including the city of Apatzingán.“We know that there are other [Knights Templar] leaders that continue to operate,” the official said. “We think we are going to see internal divisions now.”The government has been increasing pressure on the Knights Templar. Hundreds of police and soldiers recently raided illegal iron-ore mines in the port city of Lazaro Cardenas. The cartel was using the mines to fund its activities.Mexico recently captured the leader of the Sinaloa cartel, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, in a military operation in Mazatlán.Recommended: Adios, El Chapo Facebook Comments La leyenda de la resurrección de Nazario Moreno, el “primer santo narco” de #México http://t.co/rgHfMWtF3w pic.twitter.com/LHuyazJUq2— BBC Mundo (@bbcmundo) February 5, 2014 Related posts:Mexico struggles to sort self-defense forces from cartels as players switch sides Isla del Coco gets a new radar station to fight drug traffickers Mexico’s latest flash point emerges in Tamaulipas border state Solís put on the defensive as joint US-Costa Rican patrols come up for renewallast_img read more

Costa Ricas 3pronged strategy scores high against drug trafficking says Coast Guard

first_imgCosta Rica’s three-pronged strategy, plus international cooperation, has this Central American nation scoring high in the region when it comes to fighting international organized crime – mainly drug trafficking.In this context, national police forces – the only security bodies in the country, since Costa Rica’s army was abolished more than six decades ago – work tightly coordinated, as well as with security forces in other countries, mainly the United States, Colombia and Panama.The successful Tico approach has placed Costa Rica for the past several years as the region’s leader in drug confiscation and in cracking down on both local and international narco-structures, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.Public Security Ministry figures for last year (Jan. 1-Dec. 22) put cocaine confiscation at the unprecedented level of just over 26 metric tons – more than half of the 52 metric tons captured by the previous administration from February 2010 to February 2014.The number of dismantled drug gangs last year was 126, and more than 50,000 arrests were made.In its anti-drug offensive, the ministry’s main police bodies – the National Police, Coast Guard and Air Surveillance Service – are coordinated through a fairly new plan known as Operaciones Mar, Aire, Tierra (Sea, Air, Land Operations, or OPMAT).The program, launched in May of last year by the current administration, focuses on the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west, with special attention on Costa Rica’s Southern Pacific Zone.Caribbean waters are one of the northward routes for cocaine from South America, as well as the westward trail for marihuana coming from Jamaica, while the Pacific is another major path for U.S.-bound cocaine. A Coast Guard officer surveys the Angel del Mar II, one of two fishing boats captured by authorities in May 2014 carrying 1.9 metric tons of cocaine. (Courtesy Public Security Ministry)Col. Martín Arias, head of the Coast Guard, describes OPMAT as a crucial component in the anti-drug success of the three police forces.“This combined operation is giving us very good results,” Arias noted.“We have the same radio frequency, the same work procedure, and the same communications system – with the codes we use – and that gives us these results,” he explained, adding that “no sooner an alert goes off – any of the three forces shoots an alert – and all the others react.”Said Arias: “If we see an increase in drug confiscations, it isn’t that there are more drugs, or that the country has been invaded” by drug traffickers, as many speculate.“It’s because of the efficiency due to equipment, information exchange [and] support from the Americans. That has made us more efficient,” he said.“A few years back, we were capturing less, but the loads were similar – production in Colombia and Perú was similar – but we had less capability to capture,” Arias said. “So, you capture more because you’re more efficient.”Arias noted that the damage caused last year to organized crime “has been very high.”The focus on the Southern Pacific Zone responds to the fact that “it poses the most problems we’ve been having,” he said.Arias believes a regional problem such as drug trafficking merits regional security action.Recommended: Drug traffickers lure Costa Rica’s struggling coastal fishermen with offers of easy money Costa Rican Coast Guard officers survey a boat en route to Guatemala from Colombia that authorities believe carried over 1.3 metric tons of cocaine on April 9, 2014. (Courtesy Public Security Ministry)Reflecting on international cooperation, the Coast Guard chief said that “the drug trafficking issue is a regional one, and we, the security forces, also have to act in a regional way. And that’s what we’re doing with Colombia, with Panama, and with the United States.“With Colombia, we constantly have communication. We talk up to three times a day, and sometimes even more, depending on the case,” he said.In some cases, the Colombian intelligence service learns there will be drugs moved by sea, close to Costa Rican shores, and an alert is issued giving a possible route.“Colombia has extraordinary intelligence teams. … When they give us information, we know it’s a sure thing,” he said, adding that, “It’s thanks to the evolution we’ve had in the atmosphere of trust we have with them. This is all about trust.”The South American nation also cooperates in training Costa Rica’s police, and in the case of the Coast Guard, almost 60 percent of its sailors were trained by Colombian instructors both in Costa Rica and in Colombia, he said.Costa Rican police officers – mostly from the National Police force – also are trained by Panamanian instructors. Such is the case of 44 officers of the National Police’s Operations Support Group, or GAO, who graduated in September 2014 from the first international course on Police Motorcycle Operations.The course, aimed at improving Costa Rican elite police officers’ techniques, was provided by the National Police of Panama’s “Lince” Motorcycle Police Service, with support from the U.S.During the graduation ceremony, Public Security Minister Celso Gamboa said the officers “will be a tool … that enables Costa Rica to achieve all our goals,” making it possible for “the people to exercise their rights and freedoms, and weeding out … homicide and crime.”The government’s aim is “to gradually improve the quality of service regarding citizen safety,” and the message conveyed through the training of the GAO officers – whom he described as “an elite group” – is that “Costa Rica needs to improve, to strengthen its National Police.” Some of the 1.9 metric tons of cocaine Coast Guard officers uncovered hidden in the hauls of two Costa Rican fishing boats caught off the shores of Golfito, on the country’s southern Pacific coast in May 2014. (Courtesy Public Security Ministry)Also speaking at the ceremony, police chief Juan José Andrade said the aim of the course was to “develop better techniques” in police work, which “led us to knock on the doors of countries that are our friends.”Regarding specific international anti-drug cooperation with Costa Rica, in Arias’ view, Colombia and the United States are “two outstanding countries, … our friends who give us the biggest support.“Of course, the United States has never left us aside,” he said, adding that over the past several years “they’ve been investing large amounts of money – not all that we’d want, but, yes, they provide us with very important support in equipment, vessels, motors and training.”Arias also highlighted a joint patrol agreement between the U.S. and Costa Rica that has been in force since October 1999 in a combined effort to combat drug trafficking at sea. He said the agreement has contributed significantly to this country’s effective action in fighting drug trafficking. The coast guards of both Costa Rica and the United States participate in that agreement.Related: Costa Rica Coast Guard confiscates 810 kilos of cocaine near Quepos Facebook Comments Related posts:Dutch seize huge cocaine shipment hidden in cassava roots from Costa Rica In ‘Narcos,’ Netflix recreates Pablo Escobar’s world After 23 years in prison, top assassin for Pablo Escobar is a ‘reformed’ man US seizes $12 million of drugs in Caribbeanlast_img read more

Presidents Obama Solís meet at Summit of the Americas

first_imgU.S. President Barack Obama and Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís held their first one-on-one meeting during the Summit of the Americas in Panama Friday. Solís said that he would lobby Obama for a piece of the proposed $1 billion in U.S. aid slated for the violent Northern Triangle region of Central America. Previously the two world leaders had only been introduced during an event at the U.N. General Assembly meeting in September 2014. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica President set to meet with Obama at Summit of the Americas Presidents Obama and Solís discuss renewable energy Cuba, Venezuela likely to overshadow Central American issues at Panama summit UPDATE: Panama City bus drivers end strike ahead of Americas Summitlast_img read more

White House protester Concepción Picciotto dies after 35year vigil

first_imgWASHINGTON, D.C. – Concepción Picciotto, a 80-year-old Spanish-born nuclear disarmament activist who camped in front of the White House for more than three decades, has died, colleagues said Tuesday.The diminutive weather-worn protester who manned a placard-festooned tent in front of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue through Washington’s brutal summers and winters since 1981 died Monday, according to The Peace House, a group to which she belonged.“Connie’s health was not well for the past couple of years. Therefore, we hope she finds peace where she may be,” the group said in a statement.Concepción Picciotto was a divisive figure, earning respect for her endurance but derision for embracing sometimes controversial views.There were also persistent questions about her mental health. Born in 1945, Concepción Picciotto, also known as “Conchita” or “Connie,” is seen at her daily protest in front of the White House. She died on Monday at the age of 80. Paul J. Richards/AFPPicciotto and her colleagues were a regular attraction for tourists gathered in front of one of the world’s most famous landmarks.On Tuesday, a fellow protester manned the encampment beside a sign that read “Concepcion R.I.P” as a group of Argentine tourists clad in snow gear snapped photos.“She manned the White House Anti-Nuclear Peace Vigil the longest,” said Peace House. “She stayed there through thick and thin and was dedicated to a cause that sometimes seemed to be like an unhealthy relationship.” Facebook Comments Related posts:Missouri violence highlights ‘militarization’ of US police Why Hong Kong’s protests are a very big deal We are the state: Citizen power from Iguala to Ferguson Meet the White House’s first transgender stafferlast_img read more

Human remains in Corcovado could belong to missing US hiker Cody Dial

first_imgUpdate: Friday, May 20, 6:06 p.m. Police say it is “very likely” that human remains found in Costa Rica’s remote Corcovado National Park belong to 27-year-old U.S. hiker Cody Dial, who has been missing since 2014.Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) Director Walter Espinoza told reporters that locals and national park rangers informed police Friday morning that human remains had been found inside the park, in the southwestern Osa Peninsula. The remains were found outside the bounds of the previous Red Cross and OIJ searches for Dial.On Saturday morning, a forensic team will hike into the park to conduct an investigation and collect the remains.Items found with the remains included tennis shoes and camping gear, among other belongings. Espinoza said these items matched descriptions Dial’s parents gave to police. One of the items found with the remains discovered Friday, May 20, 2016 in Corcovado National Park. The Tico TimesAlexis Sullivan, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in San José,  told The Tico Times that a team from the embassy was en route to review the site with the OIJ forensic team.Sullivan said the embassy could not speculate on any possible connection with Cody Dial until Costa Rican authorities have confirmed the identity of the remains.Espinoza said he could not comment on the cause of death until forensic experts review the remains.Dial, the son of famed Alaskan adventurer Roman Dial, went missing in July 2014 while hiking in a remote part of Corcovado National Park. An email that Dial sent to his parents suggested that he would be hiking on back country gold mining trails rather than entering the park through one of the ranger stations.The Red Cross and the country’s Aerial Vigilance Service conducted two weeks of ground and air searches before suspending the rescue mission. Roman Dial then continued the search for his son, by rappelling with friends into canyons within the park. Finding nothing, Dial turned to a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for a trip to Darien, Panama, where his son was planning to go after Costa Rica. Cody Dial has been missing since July 2014. He had been hiking in Corcovado National Park in southern Costa Rica before his disappearance. (Via GoFundMe)The discovery of the remains comes just days before the National Geographic documentary series “Missing Dial” is set to air. The documentary, which begins Sunday, May 22, follow’s Roman Dial’s eight-month search in Costa Rica, accompanied by private investigators, which concluded in March.OIJ Director Espinoza said the documentary had nothing to do with the timing or the discovery of the remains.Reached by phone, Roman Dial said the equipment shown in the photographs looks like the type of gear his son carried with him into the park. He said he believes the remains could very well belong to his son.“I have really mixed feelings about it,” he said. “In some ways it is a relief but in other ways it is still really heartbreaking.” Facebook Comments Related posts:Missing US hiker Cody Dial’s passport found with human remains in Corcovado National Park Police investigate disappearance of US expat in Costa Rica Missing US hiker Cody Dial’s parents submit DNA to investigators Costa Rica ends final search-and-rescue mission for US hiker believed missing in Corcovado National Parklast_img read more

Costa Rica pledges to reduce violence against women

first_imgThe government of Costa Rica declared Tuesday that the reduction of violence against women is “a national priority” and announced coordinated actions among several public institutions.Costa Rica has registered 304 femicides since 2008 and 15 so far in 2018 alone, according to authorities. Last week the murder of two female tourists made headlines around the world, causing tourism authorities to create their own emergency plan.“There is an attack on women, brutal aggressions against our bodies that take place with fury, like an unloading of rage,” Patricia Mora, Minister of Women’s Affairs, told journalists as she announced the actions. “We are going to work on the roots of this problem from infancy, make the courts’ response more efficient so cases are not dismissed. We will assign resources to dig up a toxic masculinity that puts women’s health in danger.” We want them alive: Costa Rica’s reckoning Facebook Comments Related posts:Making the invisible, visible: In Nicaragua, women journalists call for equality US families of Sandy Hook massacre victims sue gunmaker Peña Nieto administration wants answers after Egypt kills 8 Mexican tourists We want them alive: Costa Rica’s reckoning Mora and President Carlos Alvarado signed a decree including 40 actions to prevent and eradicate violence against women, including increasing the number of shelters for domestic violence victims, increasing local committees to respond to reports of aggression, and creating specialized offices to address the issue in the 15 highest risk cantons.The country has also registered an increase in reports of sex crimes against women and girls, with 46,754 reports between 2010-2016. Courts received 286,597 requests for protective measures from 2012-2017, 80 percent from women.“I am enormously hopeful that this work with communities, close to women, can generate satisfactory results in a very short period of time,” the minister said.last_img read more

Court acquits dogs former owner in firstofitskind trial in Costa Rica

first_imgChampion’s case challenged a relatively new law in Costa Rica that sanctions animal abuse; owners who mistreat animals could be subject to fines or prison time.When Champion was taken from his former owner, he was malnourished, covered in fleas, and had a deep wound on his neck caused by a rope that had been used as a leash. After 20 days of veterinary care, the puppy began to recover.In court, he interacted with visitors and remained well-behaved as the trial attracted local and international attention.To report suspected cases of animal abuse in Costa Rica, contact the National Animal Health Service (SENASA) at +506 2587-1600. A criminal complaint, or denuncia, can be submitted using the form available online here. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rican dog attends trial as a victim of animal abuse Ticos love their dogs but could be better owners, study finds Signature collection for animal welfare bill referendum set for July President Solís signs new Animal Welfare Law The Prosecutor’s Office said that while it had videos and photos that demonstrated Champion had been abused, there was insufficient evidence to convict the defendant after her brother did not appear to testify. In a press conference aired by news channel Repretel, the judge presiding over the case, Mario Rodríguez, recognized deficiencies in the current laws.“When I first saw the photos — pardon me for my language — I almost vomited,” he said. A dog called Campeon attends the trial of his previous owner, who is charged with animal abuse in Atenas, Costa Rica, on July 22, 2019. Photo by Ezequiel BECERRA / AFPcenter_img Earlier this week, we told you about Champion, the two-year-old dog that was present in the courtroom while his former owner was tried for animal abuse.Friday, an Atenas court acquitted the woman accused of mistreating Champion, according to the daily La Nación.last_img read more

Middle class will be key in Mexico elections

first_img Sponsored Stories Quick workouts for men Pena Nieto has vowed to tamp down drug war violence while letting salaries rise and ensuring medicine is available to all, though he has been short on specifics. He has made change a watchword of his campaign.Lopez Obrador has tried to woo middle class voters with promises to govern for all, rich and poor alike. But many stability-minded Mexicans still resent his challenge of the 2006 election result, when he mounted protests that gridlocked vast swathes of the Mexican capital for weeks.As elsewhere, “middle class” is largely a state of mind in Mexico, a nation of 112 million people that is home to the world’s richest man and to tens of millions who still struggle to find enough to eat.Some define middle class here to cover people making more than $10 a day. Others say it applies to people who have cars, cable TV and some education. Whatever it is, many Mexicans say they’re part of it.“I am convinced that Mexico today is mostly a middle class country, but this doesn’t mean that there are no poor people,” said Luis de la Calle, an economist and former commerce undersecretary. “If they consider themselves to be middle class, well, who are we to tell them they’re not? Being middle class is a question of attitude.” Comments   Share   Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family The PRI _ or Institutional Revolutionary Party _ held a strong lead in all of final, major pre-election polls on Wednesday, counting on the very thirst for change that led voters to pry it from the presidency in 2000.The party had been built to run Mexico from top to bottom under the orders of the president. Unions, farm groups, professional associations were all squeezed in its paternalistic embrace. Until the last few years of its reign, those who challenged it were usually ignored or crushed.That old PRI system gradually began to crumble as Mexico’s urban middle class slowly swelled. Shopkeepers and small business owners, professionals and academics grew weary of the corruption and heavy hand of the old system. Many were less dependent on it than were the desperately poor or very rich. Fervent Catholics resented its anti-clerical ideology.Some turned to National Action, a conservative, religiously inclined party that grew slowly over the years and that frequently joined with leftists to press for reforms. By 1989, those incremental reforms had reached the point that a PRI president, for the first time, allowed an opposition candidate to win a governor’s race. Eleven years later, the presidency itself fell to National Action’s Vicente Fox, thrilling many Mexicans and stunning nearly all. Top Stories Associated PressNAUCALPAN, Mexico (AP) – Middle class voters like Gerardo Olivo helped drive Mexico’s ruling party from power 12 years ago, ending its seven decades of rule.Now the same voters seem ready to bring back the party everyone knows as the PRI.Olivo, a 33-year-old financial trader, said he voted for the now-governing National Action Party in the past two presidential elections, hoping it would transform Mexico. He’s fed up now, though. “My position today is to go back to the PRI” he said. “I already tried the other party because it had promised change, but now I realize there was no change, or the changes were already there.” More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Top holiday drink recipes New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Olivo, who earns five figures a month and lives in Mexico City’s upscale Pedregal neighborhood, considers himself middle class.So does Mauricio Hernandez, who says he makes an average of about $1,400 a month from his used car lot in Naucalpan, a suburb of some 800,000 people on the edge of Mexico City. It’s also part of the state that Pena Nieto governed.Like many his age, the 62-year-old Hernandez has always backed the PRI and he considers Pena Nieto “a hard-working man” who has had “good achievements and has been able to project them and make them work.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Analysts say Fox owed much of his victory to middle class voters, which counterbalanced the PRI’s strong hold on poor, rural Mexico. That same bloc swung behind National Action again in 2006 when Felipe Calderon narrowly edged leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, whose sometimes fiery rhetoric frightened some and who is running again this year.Now, though, Mexicans have lived 12 years under National Action, and that party is widely blamed for a sluggish economy and tens of thousands of deaths in a militarized war on drug trafficking gangs.“The middle class is the big prize for the candidates,” said Oscar de los Reyes, professor at the Monterrey Technological Institute. “When the government does not solve their problems, they want change, but not ideological change, what they want is change so that they can maintain their status.”A survey released Tuesday by the Consulta Mitofsky polling firm showed middle class voters swinging to the PRI’s Enrique Pena Nieto, who was favored by 37 percent of them. Lopez Obrador was backed by 26 percent and National Action’s Josefina Vazquez Mota by just 23 percent. The margin of error was 3.1 percentage points. 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breacheslast_img read more

Massive rock raft found floating off New Zealand

first_imgWELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – A mass of small volcanic rocks nearly the size of Belgium has been discovered floating off the coast of New Zealand.The stretch of golf-ball-size pumice rocks was first spotted this week by a New Zealand air force plane about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) northeast of Auckland. The rocks stretch for about 26,000 square kilometers (10,000 square miles).A navy ship took scientists to the rocks Thursday night. Naval Lt. Tim Oscar says the rocks appeared a brilliant white under a spotlight, like a giant ice shelf. Top Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths He says it’s the “weirdest thing” he’s seen in 18 years at sea.Scientists say the rocks likely spewed up in an eruption by an underwater volcano. They don’t believe the eruption is connected to the onshore ash eruption this week of another volcano, Mount Tongariro.Officials say the small rocks pose no danger to shipping.The Defence Force says the mass of rocks stretches 250 nautical miles by 30 nautical miles.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   center_img How men can have a healthy 2019 Men’s health affects baby’s health too Sponsored Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debateslast_img read more

Venezuela deports alleged drug lord to Colombia

first_img Top Stories Barrera’s is one of several alleged Colombian drug kingpins arrested in Venezuela recently.Another arrest came in Argentina last month, when reputed Colombian drug trafficker Henry de Jesus Lopez was captured outside a Buenos Aires restaurant. Lopez ran the “Urabenos” gang based in northern Colombia, and Leon said Colombian authorities are now after another leader of that group, Dairo Antonio Usuga, known as “Otoniel.”“I want to tell Otoniel to turn himself over to Colombian justice,” Leon said, adding that if he doesn’t, “we’ll go get him wherever he is.”___Associated Press writer Jorge Rueda in Caracas, Venezuela, contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Investigators have determined that Barrera owned about 127 properties and vehicles in Venezuela, including seven ranches, 16 apartments, 17 houses, 48 vehicles, a plane, a boat, 19 offices and four inns, Reverol told reporters. He said that all together they are valued at an estimated 143 million bolivars, or $33 million.Eleven other people also have been detained for their links to Barrera, and five others are wanted, Reverol said.U.S. and Colombian officials have alleged that Barrera’s gang supplies cocaine to Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel, which ships drugs to the United States.The authorities have said Barrera operated in a swath of eastern Colombia including areas along the border in Venezuela, and had a drug smuggling alliance with rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC.Last year, U.S. authorities in Miami charged Barrera with illegal association to smuggle cocaine into the United States.According to a 2010 grand jury indictment in U.S. District Court in New York, Barrera was both manufacturing and trafficking drugs on a large scale, buying raw cocaine paste from FARC rebels and converting it into cocaine at his labs in eastern Colombia. The indictment said that amounted to as much as 400 tons a year and that Barrera then arranged shipment of the drugs through Colombia and Venezuela to the United States, Europe and Africa. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   Associated PressBOGOTA, Colombia (AP) – Venezuelan authorities deported a prominent drug-trafficking suspect to Colombia on Wednesday, nearly two months after his capture at a payphone in an operation aided by Colombian and U.S. authorities.Officials called Daniel Barrera one of Colombia’s most-wanted drug lords. The bearded Barrera was handcuffed and said nothing as he stepped down from a police plane that brought him and five other drug suspects from Venezuela. New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Barrera is to be extradited to the United States, a process that could take months, said Colombia’s National Police director, Gen. Jose Roberto Leon, who spoke at the airport where the suspects arrived. He said Barrera would be jailed in Bogota while awaiting extradition.The Colombian had a false passport when he was captured Sept. 18 in the southwestern Venezuelan city of San Cristobal, Venezuelan Justice Minister Nestor Reverol said at Caracas’ airport as the suspects were led to a plane.Barrera is known as “El Loco,” or “The Madman,” and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has called him “the last of the great capos.”Barrera was arrested after Colombian officials, who were working with U.S. and British authorities, notified Venezuela that Barrera was making a call from one of dozens of public phones that were being monitored, officials said. He was arrested at the payphone in front of a church.Colombia police say Barrera had been in Venezuela since 2008 and had badly burned his fingers to erase his fingerprints and hide his identity.Colombian police had offered a reward of about $2.5 million for information leading to his arrest. 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Six other drug suspects were handed over to Colombian authorities Wednesday, included Jorge Cifuentes Villa and Eduardo Acosta Mejia.Cifuentes was wanted by Colombian and U.S. authorities and was captured in Venezuela last week. His brother, Francisco Cifuentes Villa, was slain in 2007 on a ranch he owned in Colombia’s Antioquia state and had once been a pilot of drug lord Pablo Escobar, who was killed by police in 1993.Reverol said Cifuentes and others of his brothers had smuggled more than 30 tons of cocaine to the United States in the past three years. The Colombian is accused of having links to Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel.The 30-year-old Acosta is a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in the Dominican Republic and is wanted by Colombian authorities on drug trafficking charges, Reverol said.Acosta, who was arrested in Venezuela’s western Tachira state in August, formerly was a member of the U.S. military and served in special forces for the Navy, Reverol said. He said that Acosta has worked as a “bodyguard for criminal organizations” in Colombia and that Venezuelan authorities determined he had the “profile of a mercenary.”Venezuela has become a key route for smuggling of Colombian cocaine. U.S. officials have often accused Venezuelan authorities of not doing enough to curb drug trafficking, and say that most of the drug flights ferrying cocaine northward from South America leave from Venezuela. 5 ways to recognize low testosteronelast_img read more

Thousands of Chinese protest smash police cars

first_imgThe official Fuan city police microblog said Sunday that a sedan had collided with a car and three motorcycles just before 8 p.m. Saturday, leaving five people injured.“The accident made a small number of local people dissatisfied, so they smashed police vehicles and overturned three police vans,” said the statement.An initial investigation found that a person with no driving license surnamed Jiang had caused the accident and was in police detention, it said. It said the driver wasn’t drunk but had accelerated to avoid a patrol vehicle and aroused attention.It said four of the injured were in stable condition and the other one had been discharged from hospital.Later Sunday, the propaganda department of Fuan’s Communist Party committee put out a statement countering accusations police and paramedics had been slow to respond.It said police had immediately called paramedics and traffic police after the collisions, and a patrol car drove to a hospital to pick up three doctors. The five injured were taken to hospital 40 minutes after the accident happened, it said.“As the rescue work was going on, some relatives of the injured people and onlookers got out of control,” said the statement. “They started to push and shove the doctors and knock the ambulance and so the ambulance left the scene under police escort.” It said “a handful of lawless people misled some people who didn’t know the truth” and they began targeting police vehicles.The Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said about 10,000 people clashed with police, and that 10 police vehicles had been smashed, three overturned and 20 people injured.The scenes were triggered by the local police corruption, the center said in a faxed statement that didn’t cite any sources.It alleged that Fuan’s traffic police were illegally registering license plates to vehicles from outside their jurisdiction for 50,000 yuan ($8,000) and that local residents suspected the sedan had such a license.Calls to Fuan’s transport bureau rang unanswered. A man at Fuan’s local government propaganda department didn’t answer questions but referred to a press release on a local news portal which said the same as the Fuan police microblog.__Associated Press researcher Henry Hou contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Associated PressBEIJING (AP) – Thousands of residents protested in a southeastern Chinese city after a traffic accident, smashing police cars and overturning three police vans, police and residents said.The reason for the protest in Fuan city in Fujian province was unclear. Police said it was instigated by “a handful of lawless people.” One resident said people became angry because police and paramedics took nearly an hour to arrive to help the injured, while a Hong Kong-based human rights group said it was to do with corruption.center_img 0 Comments   Share   But such protests have become increasingly common in China, and Saturday’s violence is another reminder that the country’s new leadership has to deal with underlying social discontent that often boils over. People are fed up with corruption and high-handed officialdom, pensions that have not kept pace with inflation, and families being forced from their homes to make way for developments.Residents said police were stopping cars and checking people for driving after drinking on Saturday evening when the accident happened on a main road in Fuan.Wanting to avoid being tested, a driver in a sedan accelerated away and police started chasing the car, said a resident, who would give only his surname, Lin. About three motorcycles were hit during the chase, said Lin, adding he wasn’t sure who hit them.“About 10,000 to 20,000 onlookers became angry because police officers and paramedics took nearly one hour to arrive,” said Lin.He estimated that 1,000 to 2,000 people clashed with police and overturned three police vans.Photos carried by online southeastern news sites showed hundreds of people swarming across a wide street with two vans thrown onto their sides. In one photo, three people stood on top of an overturned van. Sponsored Stories How do cataracts affect your vision? Top Stories 5 treatments for adult scoliosislast_img read more

Rare hardwood sparks gunfights corruption in Asia

first_imgAssociated PressKOH KONG, Cambodia (AP) – A Thai force dubbed the “Rambo Army” couldn’t stop the gangs, armed with battlefield weaponry, as they scoured the forests. Neither could a brave activist, gunned down when he came to investigate. Nor, apparently, can governments across Southeast Asia.The root of the conflicts and bloodshed? Rosewood.The richly hued, brownish hardwood is being illegally ripped from Southeast Asian forests, then smuggled by sea and air to be turned into Chinese furniture that can sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Some of it also ends up in the finest American guitars, or as billiard cues. Comments   Share   Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Despite the loss of law-enforcement muscle and widespread corruption, thousands of illegally felled trees have been seized in recent years and many of those accused of involvement in the trade have been arrested, including the son of a Cambodian general and 12 Thai police officers. Last month, Thai authorities nabbed eight Cambodian rosewood hunters in the Thai border province of Sisaket.It hasn’t been enough to protect rosewood in Thailand. By some official estimates, the number of rosewood trees there dropped from 300,000 in 2005 to as low as 80,000 last year.“The spectrum of illegal rosewood logging ranges from loggers, military and police officers to Thai forestry officials. This network runs the industry,” says Chavalit Lohkunsombat, who commanded the Rambo Army and remains head of the forest protection unit of Nakhon Sawan province.Once the smuggled rosewood snakes its way to furniture makers in China, often via Vietnam, the price escalates. A sofa and chair set of high quality “hongmu” or rosewood can sell for $320,000, according to the China Daily. A four-poster bed was seen by the EIA with a $1 million price tag.Some rosewood makes its way to the U.S. and Europe. A number of Chinese websites offer rosewood products to Western customers. The volume of rosewood consumed by China alone suggests that most was obtained illegally. China imported $600 million worth in 2011, according to official Chinese documents made available by James Hewitt, an expert on the illegal timber trade at the London think tank Chatham House. About half came from Southeast Asian countries.The documents also show that China’s appetite is soaring _ from just 66,000 cubic meters in 2005 to 500,000 cubic meters last year. Rosewood has long been prized in China, and the dramatic growth of its wealthy class is cited as the main reason for the surge in exploitation.The hunt for rosewood ignites violence between officials and smugglers, and sometimes among rival gangs.The EIA estimates that nearly 50 Cambodian loggers and smugglers have been killed in Thailand and others arrested over the past two years in clashes, with Thais also suffering casualties.In Koh Kong, one of the country’s leading environmental activists, Chut Wutty, was shot dead in April while investigating illegal rosewood logging by Timbergreen, a company with no known address that is believed to be a hook-up of gangs and officials.In Thailand `s northeast, authorities last year formed what they called a “Rambo Army” of 11-man units of armed forestry rangers to target the traffickers who cross the porous frontier from Cambodia, often in well-armed bands. The Rambo Army was disbanded after a three-month operation due to lack of funds. Chinese customs documents show Cambodia exported 36,000 cubic meters of logs to China from January 2007 to August 2012. The Cambodian government recently issued a blanket denial, but there’s a different story on the ground.In recent years, Chinese companies have begun building dams in Koh Kong, making inroads into one of the region’s largest tracts of wilderness, and Cambodian logging groups were awarded licenses to log out areas the dams will flood.According to foreign conservationists and the Cambodian human rights group LICADHO, which has investigators in Koh Kong, the work created an opportunity for “tree laundering.” They say logging companies falsified documents to make it appear their wood came from permitted areas when it was actually harvested up to 50 kilometers (30 miles) away.“There’s not a lot of valuable timber in dam reservoir areas because of where they are located and these are not huge areas. So they roam all over the mountains cutting luxury timber first,” says Marcus Hardtke, a German forestry expert who has worked extensively in Cambodia, including Koh Kong. “You can drive many trucks through that loophole.” Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Tougher regulations on timber exports to the European Union will take effect in March. In the U.S., the Lacey Act of 2008 makes it illegal to import wood harvested and exported illegally under another country’s laws.But all this may prove too late for forests.“The rosewood is almost all gone from Koh Kong after just a few years,” says LICADHO’s In Kongchit. “It has been a total rape.”___Associated Press writers Sopheng Cheang in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and Thanyarat Doksone in Bangkok and AP researcher Flora Ji in Beijing contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishescenter_img 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist The felling, almost all of it illegal, has increased dramatically in recent years and driven the region’s rosewood to the brink of extinction.“This is not just an environmental issue. It drives corruption and criminal networks. There is a lot of violence and blood spilled before the rosewood ends up in someone’s living room,” says Faith Doherty of the Environmental Investigation Agency, a nongovernmental group based in London. “It’s one of the most expensive woods in the world. That’s why there is a war for it.”In Koh Kong, a jungle region of southwest Cambodia where most villagers earn less than $2 a day, finding a rosewood tree is better than winning the lottery. A cubic meter (1.3 cubic yards) of top-grade rosewood last year could be sold for up to $2,700 to middlemen who hover around forests and construction sites of dams and roads in Thailand, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.Various species grow in Southeast Asia and countries including India, Brazil and Madagascar. Nearly all source nations have banned felling and export of unprocessed rosewood, allowing harvesting only in special cases such as clearing forests for dam construction. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories U.S. authorities in 2009 and 2011 raided the Tennessee plants of the Gibson Guitar Corporation, seizing $500,000 worth of imported ebony and rosewood that was to be used in fingerboards. Gibson paid $350,000 in penalties in August to settle federal charges of illegally importing ebony, but rosewood was not part of the charges.Environmental groups suspect many such rosewood sales violate U.S. and European Union laws.“I would be very interested to see how American and European outlets prove that the products they are selling come from legally felled wood,” says Doherty of EIA, which has been investigating the rosewood trade for several years. “In countries with widespread corruption and fraud, you need an independent monitor on the ground and that is not happening. When I look at products in American stores, I have my doubts.”China is making tentative efforts to import rosewood and other species from legal sources, having established several bodies to regulate the trade. But one Chinese official familiar with the timber trade acknowledged that while the Beijing government was in principle against illegally imported wood, “this has yet to be reinforced by laws.” The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix LICADHO and foreign conservationists say trees are felled by the company itself or villagers, who in some cases pull a single rosewood tree by ox cart for three or four weeks so they can sell it to middlemen. Military police trucks ferry the timber to warehouses in remote areas of Koh Kong. Then it’s shipped down the Tatay River by barges to seagoing vessels headed for Vietnam, or by road to the capital, Phnom Penh, and on to the Vietnamese border.When the rosewood trade surged in late 2009, trucks were running night and day piled with logs in Koh Kong. Now, with the rapid depletion, villagers are going for roots, branches and old cuttings, selling rosewood by the kilogram rather than cubic meter, conservationists say.EIA says that to curb the trade, Southeast Asian nations must push for rosewood to be included in CITES, the international treaty protecting trade in endangered flora and fauna. Rosewood species from Madagascar and Brazil are already listed.Listing rosewood would force China to seize imports not accompanied by official CITES documents from country of origin. But given corrupt, vested interests, this is not easy. Regional cooperation is also essential.“Punishment in Thailand is very light,” says Chavalit, the Thai forestry official. “Most loggers get suspended sentences if they confess. What we need is harsher punishment and serious law enforcement. Thai authorities need to be serious about illegal logging suppression.”last_img

Taiwan holds 1st large livefire drill in 5 years

first_img Quick workouts for men Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Top Stories 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Comments   Share   center_img Sponsored Stories TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) – Taiwan has held its first large-scale live-fire military exercise in five years, as President Ma Ying-jeou called on soldiers to maintain their “sense of crisis” as China builds up its military.Ma oversaw Wednesday’s drill personally. Soldiers aided by frigates and F-16 jet fighters repelled a simulated Chinese invasion on the offshore island of Penghu.The president told the troops that Taiwan must reinforce its defenses to build a credible deterrent in the face of cascading defense expenditures from Beijing. Relations across the Taiwan Strait are the best since Taiwan and China split amid civil war in 1949. But Beijing still claims the democratic island and threatens to use force if Taiwan moves to make its de facto independence permanent.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Four benefits of having a wireless security systemlast_img read more

China rejects US criticism on South China Sea

first_imgBEIJING (AP) – China rejected U.S. allegations that it is using vague territorial claims to gradually assert control in the disputed South China Sea, and in turn accused Washington of exaggerating tensions in the region.Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei urged the U.S. to take a “rational and fair attitude,” and reiterated China’s position that its claims are based on history and international law. In a statement Saturday, Hong said that some U.S. officials’ remarks were not constructive, and “playing up tensions” was not conducive to maintaining peace and stability. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology 5 treatments for adult scoliosiscenter_img Top Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The United States said Wednesday that actions by China have raised concerns it is trying to assert control over an area covering roughly 80 percent of the South China Sea despite the objections of its neighbors.The resource-rich waters are dotted with reefs and islands subject to multiple disputes involving China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.Daniel Russel, the top U.S. diplomat for East Asia, described in congressional testimony actions by China that are raising tensions, including restricting access to a contested reef and imposing fishing regulations in disputed waters.He also said that an agreement between China and Southeast Asia’s regional bloc on a code of conduct to regulate behavior in the South China Sea is long overdue. China has been reluctant to negotiate with the group as a whole, preferring to deal with nations bilaterally.Hong said China has been committed to resolving maritime disputes with “directly concerned parties” and attaches great importance to implementing a code of conduct with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving soberlast_img read more

France says Greek bailout talks headed in right direction

first_imgGreece and its European creditors have been at an impasse for over three months on what reforms the country should make to get more rescue loans to keep it solvent. A potential Greek debt default could threaten Europe’s joint currency and roil the global economy.Sapin called for a “push toward a compromise” at Monday’s gathering of eurozone finance ministers. He said there was a degree of flexibility in the talks, which are currently centered on state revenue policies, such as taxation.“We will not get there (May) 11th but in the days that follow because it is absolutely necessary,” Sapin said.Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis agreed action was quickly needed. “I trust that an agreement will be in the offing in the next days, mostly weeks,” he said at a business forum in Brussels.The Greek government has been hesitant to make reforms that might hurt the living standards of Greeks, who have been through five years of brutal spending cuts and tax increases. The creditors want to make sure Greece’s economy and public finances are on the right track so the country can pay its loans back.Greek government spokesman Gavriil Sakellaridis said both sides need to compromise. “In a negotiation, there must be mutual concessions,” he said. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top Stories 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Comments   Share   center_img 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean BRUSSELS (AP) — France says talks between Greece and its bailout creditors are going the right way and hopes that Monday’s eurozone meeting will see the sides narrow their differences enough to have a deal “within hand’s grasp.”Finance Minister Michel Sapin told EU legislators Thursday that “the risk of things running off the rails for Greece also entails that risk for Europe,” so a compromise is needed. French Finance Minister Michel Sapin leaves the Elysee Palace following the weekly cabinet meeting in Paris, Wednesday May 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)n Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Greece is running out of cash and faces a repayment to the IMF on Tuesday worth over 700 million euros. To make it, it will have to scrape together spare reserves from local governments and state entities like hospitals.Sakellaridis said Greece intends to meet all its financial obligations, both domestic and international.Still, Greece is expected to be saddled with an overall debt of 180 percent of gross domestic product next year, and within the eurozone there is a realization that aid will need to keep coming.“We have to look at support beyond the end of June,” said Sapin when the European part of Greece’s bailout expires.Belgium backs the long-term approach. “We can give more time to Greece. But to do that, they need to be sure that it’s possible to have a real good program of reforms,” said Foreign Minister Didier Reynders.____Elena Becatoros contributed from Athens.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more