AKQA a global innovation agency introduces Speedgate an AIdesigned outdoor sport

first_imgEarlier this month, AKQA, a global innovation agency, introduced a new outdoor sport called Speedgate, which is created by an AI system built by them. This AI system was trained on more than 400 sports including Rugby, Soccer, and football to form the rules and regulations for Speedgate. In Speedgate, each team has six players consisting of forwards and defenders. The teams playing the game have to score goals by kicking through two consecutive gates. When a player kicks the ball through an X gate, the center gate will unlock the goal gate. After the center gate is unlocked, the team in possession can score by kicking the ball through the end gate in any direction. Here’s a video showing how this game actually works: Developers at AKQA trained a recurrent neural network and a deep convolutional generative adversarial network on over 400 sports. It uses NVIDIA Tesla GPUs for training the neural networks as well as for inferencing. Additionally, the neural network was also trained on 10,400 logos to generate the official Speedgate logo. The model was able to generate over 1,000 different sport concepts. Though many of them were interesting, the team wanted the AI system to come up with a game that was in addition to being fun and easy to understand was also active and accessible. And, Speedgate checked all the boxes for them. Kathryn Webb, AI Practice Lead at AKQA, said, “GPU technology helped us to condense training and generation phases down to a fraction of what they would’ve been. We would not have been able to achieve so many unique ML contributions in the project without that speed. It gave us more time to test, learn and adapt, and ultimately helped to produce the best final result.” Read more in detail, visit AKQA’s official website. Read Next OpenAI Five beats pro Dota 2 players; wins 2-1 against the gamers Google announces Stadia, a cloud-based game streaming service, at GDC 2019 Microsoft announces Game stack with Xbox Live integration to Android and iOSlast_img read more

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LATAM fined 22 million over bribes

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Wednesday, July 27, 2016 LATAM fined $22 million over bribes Tags: LATAM Tweet Source: The Associated Press SANTIAGO, Chile — U.S. authorities say Latin America’s largest airline has agreed to some $22 million in civil and criminal fines in connection with a scheme to pay bribes to end a labour strike in Argentina a decade ago.Chile-based carrier LATAM will pay $12.75 million to the U.S. Justice Department and $9.4 million including interest to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.The penalties stem from an investigation into payments made in 2006 by LAN airlines, which merged with Brazil’s TAM in 2012 to create LATAM.The Justice Department said in a Monday statement that LAN had entered into a “fictitious $1.15 million consulting agreement with an advisor to the Secretary of Argentina’s Ministry of Transportation.” It said no consulting services were provided and the money was funneled to union officials.last_img read more

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New York City carriage horse breaks free and runs through rush hour

first_img Posted by Travelweek Group New York City carriage horse breaks free and runs through rush hour traffic Wednesday, May 31, 2017 Share NEW YORK — A New York City carriage horse is safely back in its stable after breaking free and running wild through rush hour traffic.The horse, a 12-year-old mare named Goldie, broke free on Tuesday while being taken back to her stable in the Hell’s Kitchen neighbourhood of Manhattan. Witnesses say Goldie soon went into a full gallop, cutting off cars and running across streets.After running eleven blocks, Goldie returned to her stable on her own. She was not injured.A carriage driver says it wasn’t that big of a deal and tells WNBC-TV that Goldie probably wanted some exercise after a slow day at work. << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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This is the dirtiest spot on an airplane and its not what

first_img Share This is the dirtiest spot on an airplane (and it’s not what you think!) << Previous PostNext Post >> Friday, September 1, 2017 Travelweek Group Posted by TORONTO — A new study from Travel Math about the dirtiest places on an airplane will have you reaching for that bottle of hand sanitizer in no time.According to Southern Living, the study took swabs from four different flights and sent them to a lab to be tested. The results, which are an average from those four flights, may surprise you.Shockingly, the most germ-infested spot on an airplane is where you’d place your food. That’s right, the tray table is absolutely ridden with germs! It tested for 2,155 colony-forming units (CFU) of bacteria per square inch. To put this into perspective, coming in as the #2 dirtiest spot is the overhead air vent with a paltry 285 CFU per square inch.The flush button in the lavatory – which many would assume would be the filthiest – actually came in at #3 with 265 CFU per square inch, followed by the seatbelt bucket with 230 CFU per square inch.More news:  Honolulu authorities investigate arsons at 3 Waikiki hotels; no injuries reportedThe study also examined airports, and found that the push button on water fountains were cesspools of bacteria, with $1,240 CFU per square inch.So next time you board an airplane, it may be wise to bring your own tablecloth. And don’t forget your hand sanitizer!last_img read more

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Swoop to use Edmonton as second operational base

first_imgTags: Edmonton, Swoop, WestJet Share EDMONTON — Swoop’s new route from Edmonton International Airport (YEG) to John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport (YHM) takes off today with a sold-out flight.Departure is scheduled for 10:25 a.m. MDT. In addition to the first flight, Swoop announced Edmonton as its second operational base.“Edmonton is a market keen to enjoy the ultra-low-cost fares Swoop provides,” said Steven Greenway, Swoop President and Chief Executive Officer. “This, along with Edmonton International Airport Authority’s support, has meant that we’ve chosen Edmonton as our second operational base. Swoop, as an Alberta-born organization is thrilled to be in Edmonton as a second home and looks forward to providing more flight choices as well as the economic benefits that air service provides in the form of jobs, tourism and connecting economies.”As of October, Swoop will base two of its B737-800 aircraft in Edmonton.Swoop is also launching its first flight from Winnipeg Richardson International airport to Hamilton today. Swoop’s sold out inaugural flights from Hamilton, Abbotsford and Halifax took wing on June 20.More news:  Le Boat has EBBs along with its new 2020 brochureJust last week Swoop competitor Flair Airlines claimed Edmonton as its own hub of operations, relocating its executive base from Kelowna, B.C. to the Alberta capital. Monday, June 25, 2018 Travelweek Group center_img Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> Swoop to use Edmonton as second operational baselast_img read more

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Hawaii is open for business to Canadian travellers Aloha Spirit lives on

first_img Share So, just why is it Canadians love Hawaii’s largest island? It breeds adventure for all types of travellers.Travellers planning a trip to the island of Hawaii who have questions regarding the Kīlauea volcano can contact the Hawaii Tourism Call Center at (800) GO-HAWAII [(800) 464-2924].For more information, visit www.GoHawaii.com/Island-of-Hawaii. Posted by You most certainly have heard of the Kīlauea volcano eruptions happening in Hawaii. For the majority of June through July every major news provider in the country was reporting on the event. However, what many reports didn’t detail was that the clear majority of The Island of Hawaii is business as usual – and not to mention the readily accessible and equally awe-inspiring five additional islands (Maui, O‘ahu, Moloka‘i, Kaua‘i, and Lānaʻi) waiting to greet Canadians with their own unique signature aloha spirit.As Canadians are just beginning to plan for their winter vacations now is the time to visit The island of Hawaii.The ongoing 35-year-old eruption of Kīlauea volcano directly affected only a small portion of east Hawaii Island’s Puna district equating 10 square miles of the 4,028-square-mile island. Travellers are seeing now that the awesome sight of the volcano firsthand is one of the rare experiences one can witness.So, what else is drawing Canadians to The Island of Hawaii ?Boundless Adventure From ziplining and kayaking to snorkeling and horseback riding, there are activities galore island-wide, all open for business.With their bounty of stream- and waterfall-carved valleys, and acres of verdant forest, the coastlines of northeast Kohala, Hāmākua and north Hilo offer up some of Hawai‘i ‘s most idyllic landscapes for intrepid ziplineExplore the island’s undersea world at its many marine-life filled snorkel and scuba spots or sign up for a night dive for manta rays and other post-sunset underwater denizens.A circle-island helicopter tour offers sky views of the vast lava fields of Kilauea, emerald amphitheater valleys, rugged sea cliffs, and hidden rainforest waterfalls of the Hāmākua History, science and culture Experience a unique culture and history that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.The Kona Coffee Living History Farm offers tours of its still-producing coffee estate first homesteaded in 1900, weaving in interpretive history of the daily lives of early 20th century Japanese immigrant coffee farmers.Explore the coastline of Punaluʻu Beach, whose black sands – much-loved by Hawai‘i an green sea turtles for sunning – are actually fine, sea-worn granules of Kilauea volcano lava.Grab your binoculars and trek one, five or all 90 miles of the island-crossing Hawai‘i Island Coast to Coast Birding Trail on a quest through the native seaside, mountains, and rainforests seeing some of the rarest tropical birds in the world.Local and traditional culinary fares to satisfy any taste budYou’ll find great eats in just about every Hawaii Island town – from fresh, farm-to-table dining, to brew pubs, fresh-catch restaurants, and longtime mom-and-pop eateries in Kailua-Kona, and an array of eclectic small-town eateries in Hawi, Honokaa, Pāhoa , and Volcano Village.The island’s biggest town, Hilo, is a burgeoning food-enthusiast neighborhood, offering everything from the local-style menus of resident-favorite drive-ins and lunch shops, to fresh-caught fish and multiethnic comfort food, to loco moco, okazuya, poke, mochi and farm-and-farmers-market-to-table cuisine, to inventive bakeries, pizza joints and taquerias.Grapes grown on vines at the 4,000-foot elevation of Kilauea volcano bring unique character to the vintages produced by longtime vintners Volcano Winery. Hawaii is open for business to Canadian travellers, Aloha Spirit lives on in Hawaii Travelweek Group Tags: Hawaii, Kilauea, Volcano Monday, August 20, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Carls Jr to open five new restaurants in Costa Rica in 2013

first_imgAfter opening its sixth restaurant in Costa Rica earlier this month in the province Heredia, California-based hamburger chain Carl’s Jr. now plans to open five more locations here next year.The fast food franchise arrived in the country in 2011, and by 2013 plans to open new restaurants in Curridabat (east of San José), San Francisco (Heredia), Alajuela, Escazú (southwest of San José) and Tibás (northwest of San José).General Manager Andrés Fachler told the weekly El Financiero that the expansion of the franchise means an investment of some $4.5 million, as it includes four free-standing locales and one located in a food court.According to Fachler, “the chain’s sales have exceeded company expectations, and combined with commercial sector growth, [the company] will boost its expansion in Costa Rica.”The burger chain, which operates 3,182 restaurants worldwide, plans to open 25 locations in Costa Rica during the next five years, Fachler said during the opening of their first location near Central Park in San José, in November 2011. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

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Costa Rican lawmakers pass antihunting law

first_imgCosta Rica’s Legislative Assembly on Monday unanimously passed in a second and final round of debate the first law sent to Congress by a public initiative. The law prohibits hunting for sport, and Costa Rica became the first country on the continent to ban sport hunting.The new law fines violators up to $3,000.Assembly President Víctor Emilio Granados said the law “will permit us to live in peace with other living creatures on the planet.”“I think this is a message we are sending future generations that hunting for sport is not a sport, but a brutality,” Granados said.In early October, lawmakers approved the bill in a first-round debate, after it was sent to Congress by public initiative, which requires the signature of 175,000 Costa Ricans.The text of the new law was sent to the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, which found no constitutional violations.To take effect, President Laura Chinchilla must sign the law, which she has promised to do.The law allows hunting only for personal consumption in limited circumstances, scientific research or wildlife population control. It does not affect sport fishing, a popular tourist activity in the country. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

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3 Quepos bank employees arrested on money laundering charges

first_img Facebook Comments Agents from Costa Rica’s Judicial Investigation Police on Thursday morning arrested three employees of the BAC San José branch in Quepos, a port town next to the popular central Pacific tourist destination of Manuel Antonio, on suspicion of money laundering. A fourth suspect, believed to be the ringleader of the operation, is still at large, according to law enforcement sources.The suspects, surnamed Rivera Quiros, Centeno Pérez and Pereza Jiménez, are accused of exchanging up to $160,000 in small, daily increments into colones and either delivering the cash to the fourth suspect, or depositing it into a bank account under another name. Sources say the group allegedly exchanged between $4,000 and $6,000 a day in order to avoid being flagged by banking laws for amounts over $10,000. According to investigators, the bank employees – including a boss at the BAC San José branch – allegedly received commissions on each transaction. The investigation is ongoing. Related posts:Leaked bank files show HSBC ‘helped clients dodge taxes’ Costa Rica’s Solís authorizes strategy to fight money laundering, terrorism financing Costa Rica homicide rate hits record high Costa Ricans report increasing safety concerns; 2016 is set to become most violent year on recordlast_img read more

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Update Missing US tourist found dead in Costa Rica

first_imgPatrol Office Richard Jean-Georges was reported missing while swimming at Jacó beach on June 6, 2015. (Courtesy Bristol Police Department via Facebook)Update Tuesday, 4:30 p.m.: Richard Jean-Georges was found dead off the coast of Jacó on Tuesday afternoon, according to Red Cross spokesman Freddy Roman. Costa Rican authorities are preparing to collect the body. A missing U.S. swimmer in the central Pacific Costa Rican beach town of Jacó has been identified as Patrol Officer Richard Jean-Georges, from Bristol, Rhode Island, in the United States.The Tico Times previously reported that two U.S. tourists went missing at the beach Saturday. A 26-year-old man was rescued. The other, now identified as Jean-Georges, is still missing, according to Red Cross spokesman Freddy Roman.Jean-Georges was likely pulled out to sea by a riptide at the popular Pacific beach, according to the Red Cross and a statement from the the Bristol Police Department. The three-year veteran of the department was on vacation with his family in Costa Rica when he went missing while swimming on Saturday.According to the TV news station WPRI 21, a group of BPD officers are traveling to Costa Rica on Tuesday to assist in the rescue effort.The body of another tourist who disappeared in Jacó waters, a 34-year-old man from Los Angeles, California, was found on May 15 two miles off the coast of the popular tourist destination. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica beach drowning victim identified as US tourist Family of US hiker disappeared in Costa Rica passes another dark anniversary Rescue teams search for missing tourist in Jacó waters After 80 days, investigation continues into US man missing in Costa Ricalast_img read more

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PHOTOS Expo Tattoo gathers more than 200 tattoo artists

first_imgDuring the past three days, Costa Rica was host of Expo Tattoo, a convention that brought together more than 200 Costa Rican and international tattoo artists.The seventh edition of the event, held at the Cariari Country Club in Belén, Heredia, featured artists from Costa Rica, Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and the United States. The room was filled with various stands in which the common denominator was the sound of electric needles as they carefully inked people’s skin.The first stand we saw belonged to Pablo Aguirre, better known as El Chivo Tattoo Artist, who was tattooing a man’s calf with a biomechanical design. Nearby, another Costa Rican tattoo artist, Froy Vargas, was calmly tattooing a young woman named Joanna Herrera. Herrera said that for her, getting tattoos is part of a lifestyle.“I love the environment that the tattoo lifestyle entails. Maybe it’s about telling it like it is, without judgments. You won’t mind what others say when they see you in the streets,” Herrera told The Tico Times. “I have a daughter, and people often stare at me: not because of the tattoos, but because of the way I dress. I feel it’s a way in which you say whatever you want to say.”Continuing through the convention, we came across U.S. tattoo artist Mike Spazbo, from California, and Trudy Lines Tattoo from Austria. Spazbo has been tattooing for some 20 years, and describes his art as being very realistic, based on the creation of detailed flowers. Trudy Lines, on the other hand, uses geometric designs in which lines and dots are important elements.Geary Morrill is a Virginia-based artist whose designs are characterized by the use of vibrant colors and combination of unrelated elements. Morrill has been in the tattoo industry for 17 years and describes his profession as that of creating stories to be inked on the skin, the human canvas. Each one of his sessions lasts an average of seven or eight hours. Morrill also feels that the stigma behind tattoos has lessened over time.“It’s much more culturally accepted. Maybe it’s not even as cool because of that. So many people like it, maybe it’s lost its edge a little bit, but I still love it. As an artist, there’s nothing else I could do where I get paid the way that I do, and have the freedom that I have, and still do what I like,” Morrill said happily. Amanda Zúñiga/The Tico Times Tattoo artist Miguel Maurice preparing his “canvas.” Amanda Zúñiga/The Tico Times Tattoo artist Luis Bonilla. Amanda Zúñiga/The Tico Times Chito Ko shows his split tongue. Amanda Zúñiga/The Tico Times Even superheroes showed up during the weekend. Amanda Zúñiga/The Tico Times Tattoo artist Fralim tattooes a woman’s head. The client said it was less painful than the one she got on her arm. Amanda Zúñiga/The Tico Times Karla Alvarado got a tattoo on her leg, enduring several cramps during the process because of her position. Amanda Zúñiga/The Tico Times Froy Vargas, whose mandala tattoo won third place during the first day of the Expo Tattoo 2016. Amanda Zúñiga/The Tico Times El Chivo Tattoo. Amanda Zúñiga/The Tico Times Amanda Zúñiga/The Tico Times Amanda Zúñiga/The Tico Times Facebook Comments Related posts:Arts and culture in brief: the week ahead in Costa Rica Arts, culture and Mother’s Day: the week ahead in Costa Rica Arts and culture in brief: the week ahead in Costa Rica Cities filled with art: A visit to the 10th Central American Bienniallast_img read more

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A message to women Dont be the one clipping your own wings

first_imgRelated posts:Women leaders who’ve inspired us this year – and their secret powers Women: Do we want to stay alive? Costa Rica takes New York: Gala evening supports new expat mentoring program Kölbi marks International Women’s Day with ill-conceived ad campaign Step one if you want to interview Mariana Santos? Figure out where in the world she is.And no, following her on Facebook won’t help much. As the driving force between a growing international network of journalists, she’s not only traveling constantly to trainings and events, but also sharing updates, event announcements and most of all, news from all over the world. Oftentimes, it’s groundbreaking digital journalism created by members of Chicas Poderosas (Powerful Girls), an organization she founded in 2013 and now co-directs with Vicki Hammarstedt, the digital media director of the Berkeley Advanced Media Institute.The organization’s goal is to address the gender gap Santos, 34, experienced during her work in digital media at organizations including The Guardian and Fusion, and to provide women – both professional and citizen journalists – with the tools they need to tell their stories online. From free training and events to the organization’s New Ventures Lab, which offers intensive support to women-led media startups, Chicas is on a mission to get women telling stories using digital tools they might otherwise be uncomfortable using.Chicas was first created in Costa Rica through an alliance with Giannina Segnini, then the head of La Nación’s investigative team, now the Director of the Master of Science Data Concentration Program at the Journalism School at Columbia University. Today, the organization has trained more than 3,000 people and has big plans for the future in which Costa Rica plays an important role.The Tico Times caught up with Santos – in her native Lisbon, it turned out, at her parents’ house, preparing for a Chicas event in northern Portugal later that week – to discuss the state of journalism and the message she wishes every woman would take to heart. Excerpts follow.You’ve said that in the world of digital journalism, you were often the only woman in the room. How did you go from that observation to launching an international journalism network?At The Guardian… there were 180 developers and there were only three women there. I thought, there really is this glass ceiling, and so few of us. How can we get a stronger voice together? So when I received the Knight International Journalism Fellowship, they asked me to develop a project where I could teach what I had learned at The Guardian…  I wanted to have more women like me being able to maneuver on the digital level and to get their stories online.When I went to Latin America I worked at La Nación, with Giannina Segnini. Together we started doing Chicas Poderosas events where she would teach about investigative journalism and I would teach about design narrative. I started doing that in different countries in Latin America.The community grew so much that I started to think, “How can I make this go beyond myself? Instead of me having to go to each country, how can I give them the power and ability?” So when I received a fellowship from Stanford, I organized an event there with more than 80 people, of whom 30-plus flew from Latin America, and I designed the best-of my nine months at Stanford in four days, the compressed version of my experience. We went to NASA, we went to the Google campus, learning about the tools; at Stanford we learned about virtual reality. I tried to give access to the widest diversity of concepts and learning.The girls went back to their own countries, their own communities, and started organizing their own events – this made the events’ number explode.In Latin America, as you know, most of these organizations are led by men, especially the technology side. That’s what I would like to change. With Chicas Poderosas, the main goal is to bring more women into technology in newsrooms. There are lots of tech events and they often attract a very small percentage of women in comparison to men. Women, if they don’t have a high level of skill with technology, might say, “Oh, what am I going to do there? I don’t know if I fit.”What we aim for with the Chicas Poderosas events, we say, this is for us. We fit. We shouldn’t be afraid of technology. Even if we have to start from scratch, we do. The first event was in Chile, Hacks and Hackers – we renamed it Chicas Poderosas, and we had 150% higher attendance. (Courtesy of Chicas Poderosas)That makes sense. I would never dream of going to an event called Hacks and Hackers. But “Powerful Girls…”[Laughs.]So men are likely to say, “I don’t have the skills, but I’ll figure it out.”More men than women have that kind of attitude. This is the chip I always talk about. Let’s change the chip. We are the first ones to block ourselves, to think we are not good enough, to censure ourselves. With Chicas, I would really love to just let go of that. Let’s go do it.Our events can range from 50 to hundreds of attendees. It’s not just for women; we welcome everybody. It’ a story of equality. It’s a conversation that has to be had with both genders.Why is that so important for the media?When we do our content for the digital world, it will hopefully be consumed by all kinds of people. We are talking to women, to trans people, to queer people, to all kinds of people. If we only have one group of people telling the stories, this will be biased towards their point of view: not only gender, but religion and background. If we want to attract a wider audience, we need to have a diversity of voices.Like it or not, a person can be extremely educated and informed but will also be biased towards the beliefs and education he or she knows. I’ve witnessed this all my life – when we have a wider perspective, our product is much better, because it reaches more people that we are trying to represent.There’s a very tangible example: you know that when Apple launched their health app, the one with the little hearts? It was meant to track the health of an individual, man or woman. It had all sorts of things, and it didn’t have women’s periods, because it was built by a man. It’s not because the man doesn’t know, but it’s just not in their veins, it’s not something they personally experience. When the project came out, it failed, because it only had men in mind. That’s a tangible example that can be represented in journalism.And it’s just a waste of talent, because 50% of the voices and points of view are women.As a U.S. citizen, when I look at what’s happening in my country, one of the areas where I have the most trouble seeing how we can move forward is how we consume news. We’re not consuming the same information, the same facts. How can Chicas play a role in that kind of problem? Many news organizations and tech companies are coming up systems to help readership to help readers know when it’s fake news. With Chicas, we are starting with seven events in Latin America this year – one of them in Costa Rica – where we want to empower women and men with tools on how to do research, how to do fact-checking, how to make it from head to toe completely impossible to confuse with fake news. We are launching this new program to help women come up with their own news investigations with independent fact-checking so we can make sure that when they post a story, it’s fact-checked, it’s real, and it’s irrefutable.Every country will run their own major investigative story that we need to run, depending on the outlook of the country. For Guatemala we’re going to focus on gender, sexual and ethnic inequality. With Brazil it will be aligned with politics and government accountability. In Colombia, the peace treaty. In Mexico, femicide. In Argentina, the political situation and how to make politics accountable. This is defined with the community of journalists in each country so we understand what the needs are to be told to the world… In Costa Rica we’ll hold our annual Chicas Poderosas conference, in November.In the future, and this is still under construction, we want to create an institute for investigative journalism in Costa Rica – bring Chicas Poderosas physically to Costa Rica and build an build this updated curriculum where people from all over the world, and Latin America, can come to Costa Rica to learn about investigative journalism and get editors to help them write their stories. (Courtesy of Chicas Poderosas)What made you choose Costa Rica for that institute – and as the starting ground for Chicas in 2013? Was Giannina Segnini the draw?Giannina was, and in my view still is, among the best and most advanced investigative journalists in the world. I met her when she came to the Guardian to visit me once. When I got the fellowship to go to any country in Latin America, in spite of the fact that I had never been to Costa Rica, I Tweeted her and I said, “Look, I got this fellowship, I want to work investigative, can I work with you?” She said right away, “Let’s do it!” We became best friends, and we started to work together.Why Costa Rica for the future? First, because among the countries that I have lived in, I believe it’s the one that is safest, despite the fact that it doesn’t have any army. Costa Rica, as you know, is the best place on earth. It has a track record of investigative journalism. And it stands in the middle of the Americas, so North American and South American can meet as well.Has the political climate in the U.S. accelerated your work somewhat?Well, I quit my job… so I’d say, yes. I’m now focusing on Chicas Poderosas full-time because I really want to empower more women. I quit my job in June 2016, and when I saw what happened in November, I really said, let’s do this for Chicas. I’m working on a full plan.I noticed Chicas put out a statement about the future of the organization on January 20, Inauguration day. Yes. We need to stand up and do something. In the coming weeks I’m going to do a Facebook Live about all the planning we’ve been working on since November, and making the Chicas Poderosas aware about where we’re going, what we’re gonna do and how they can be part of it.You know, I actually sometimes think, thank you [Donald] Trump for this wakeup call. Not only with women, but the entire community. People have gathered together and you see them challenging power: in Tweets, live, on TV when a lot of people are watching the same source of information. It’s a wakeup call, I think, for the people not only of the U.S. but of the world.What’s your message for women – journalists who might be afraid to get into digital, or women who are not journalists who, with everything that’s happening in the world, might be thinking, “I want to get my voice out there”?Don’t be the one clipping your own wings. Allow yourself to change your own chips. Talk to us and let’s try to get you at an event near you so you can see you have more power than you think.There’s never been a better time to be an investigative journalist, a digital journalist, a community journalist. It’s essential.Parts of this interview originally appeared in “Shadow Cabinet: Interviews with Women Standing Up for What’s Right (USA, 2017),” a weekly series featuring women leaders. Read more here or follow the project on Facebook or Twitter. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Did you inherit a property in Costa Rica

first_imgRelated posts:The truth about real estate appraisals in Costa Rica The Tico Times announces 1st English-language media alliance with Costa Rican Chamber of Realtors The Tico Times launches new real estate section Mel Gibson in real estate row over Guanacaste beach property Did you inherit a property in Costa Rica and you don’t know what to do?First, you should check whether the deceased left a will in Costa Rica. If you not, you have to go through the probate process first. This will take time. If there is a will in Costa Rica, a short probate process will still be necessary.I am not getting into the legal part of wills, probate and inheritance in this article. For that, I suggest you check out this video by attorney Roger Petersen as a starting place.Your lawyerIf you inherit a property in Costa Rica, you should start by hiring a lawyer here. This lawyer should take you through the probate process before you list the property for sale. You might not even have the power of attorney to sell. Any action to sell before the probate process is finalized is a waste of time, money and effort.Ask around for a recommended lawyer or search on the Internet for one. Always choose a lawyer you can communicate with easily in a common language.The property documentsIf you know where the property title documents are, put them in safekeeping. Don’t hand out any original documents to anyone, unless your attorney requests them. When you do, request a set of copies to be authenticated by a Notary Public as a true copy of the original.If the property is owned by a corporation, look for the legal corporate books and the shares of the corporation.Check the title and see if there are any liens or mortgages that need to be taken care of.The executorDiscuss with your attorney who will be the executor of the estate. The executor is in charge of finding the property (you might not know where it is), maintaining it, and selling or renting it. The executor should also take care of property tax, corporation tax and luxury home tax payments if this applies.Owned by a corporationFor many years, attorneys would sell property buyers the idea of purchasing the property in a corporation. The new owner could then just endorse the shares on the back and hand them to the heirs. Nowadays, to be able to sell any asset owned by a corporation, an agreement to sell must be issued by the board of the corporation. Contact your attorney for more information on this.TimingKeep in mind that the probate process will take a while. You need to make sure that the possessions of the deceased are protected, so it is important you move fast and avoid delays on your end.Take possessionInheriting a property in Costa Rica may sound like a great deal. However, if you are the executor, you’ll now be in charge of what can be a puzzle. We often get calls from heirs who don’t even know where the property is located.If you know where the property is located, take possession as soon as possible. If you don’t, but you have the title documents, the lawyer of the deceased might know where the property is. Or you can ask a real estate agent, who needs a survey map to find it.Squatter rights give a person the rights to a property if the property owner allows that person to use or maintain possession of the property for more than a year. This is the reason you want to move fast in taking possession when you inherit a property in Costa Rica.EmployeesIf the deceased had any employees, such as a caretaker, a housekeeper or a gardener, make sure these employees do not acquire squatter rights. Ask your lawyer how to legally start the employee termination process and pay them what’s due.Property types: LandIf the property you inherit is raw land, you first want to secure the property. Make sure the property is clean and not overgrown. Put a fence around it if it doesn’t have one; you might need a surveyor to find out where the fence should go. Do make sure that if the neighbors find out that the owner passed away, they see someone is taking charge of the property.A houseWhen you inherit a property in Costa Rica that is a house, you have three options: First, rent it out until the probate is solved. Understand that lease agreements in Costa Rica are for 3 years.The second option is to get a caretaker or someone to take care of the maintenance if you cannot do it yourself.Finally, talk to a real estate agent, maybe there is a possibility for a rent-to-own of the property.A condoIf the property you inherit is a condo, this is possibly the best scenario. The advantage of a condo is that it can be left unoccupied until you can sell it. Nonetheless, the executor of the estate will need to keep paying the HOA fees.Real estate agentIf you inherit a property in Costa Rica, you might think you do not need the assistance of a real estate agent. If you know your way around the ways things are done in Costa Rica, you’re lucky: then you can do an For Sale By Owner that can save some money. Do keep in mind that having a reliable agent, who knows the area where the property is located, can be of great assistance.Ivo Henfling, a Dutch expat who has lived in Costa Rica since 1980, founded the American-European Real Estate Group back in 1999 which was the first functioning MLS with affiliate agents from coast to coast. You can contact Ivo at (506) 2289-5125 / 8834-4515 or at ivo@american-european.net Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Letters from the trail Hiking the Camino de Costa Rica Part 3

first_imgRelated posts:Letters from the trail: Hiking the Camino de Costa Rica (Part 1) Letters from the trail: Hiking the Camino de Costa Rica (Part 2) Letters from the trail: Hiking the Camino de Costa Rica (Part 4) Letters from the trail: Hiking the Camino de Costa Rica (Part 5) Earlier this year, we told you about Camino de Costa Rica, a 280-km hike from Costa Rica’s Atlantic to its Pacific coast. Garry Wallace recently completed the Camino de Costa Rica, and he wrote a series of stories recounting the experience. Read: Hiking the Camino de Costa Rica (Part 1)Read: Hiking the Camino de Costa Rica (Part 2) Below is Part 3: ***A Taste of Costa Rica: Gastronomy on El CaminoYou would be forgiven to think our little group ate simple carbohydrate-laden foods, and lots of them, given the calories we were burning each day. But nothing could be further from the truth. We ate like kings and queens.All our hosts along El Camino went out of their way to impress us with their local cuisine, and trust me, we loved it.  In a sense, we ate our way across a continent, and I don’t believe any of us lost a pound on the hike.Just a few examples: Mondongo soup. Photo by Garry Wallace.Mondongo soup, made from cow tripe and local root vegetables, was creamy, smooth and warming. Dessert was a simple bowl of caramelized coffee beans spiked with cinnamon and served warm. Typical Olla de Carne. Photo by Garry Wallace.Olla de Carne is the ultimate Costa Rican beef stew.  This was traditionally a community collaboration. Everyone brought the ingredients they could contribute.  Sometimes it was beef, or pork or the rabbit that was caught that day. Everything was thrown into a big pot, and no one went hungry that night. Gallo pinto con huevo. Photo by Garry Wallace.How do you make a simple breakfast of scrambled eggs with gallo pinto special?  Serve it on banana leaves at 4,000 ft to famished hikers, that’s how. Photo by Garry Wallace. Photo by Garry Wallace. Lunch with a view!  Photo by Garry Wallace.A wood barbecue lunch served on a mountaintop consisting of mushroom skewers, grilled plantain and caramelized pineapple slices, was cooked by Chef Martine.  This has to be the best seat at any restaurant I know. Photo by Garry Wallace.Healthy and tasty, this meal included fish river trout, lightly grilled served with vegetables and, of course, rice and beans.No one — vegan, carnivores or omnivores — went hungry on this trip!Stay tuned for Part 4 tomorrow! Garry Wallace is a managing partner at Serenity Boutique Hotel in Quepos, Puntarenas.  Learn more at www.serenityhotelcostarica.com.  Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Costa Rica registers strong increase of dengue in current rainy season

first_imgRelated posts:Zika virus total surpasses 100 cases in Costa Rica No new cases of Zika in Costa Rica in recent weeks Dengue vaccine likely to be available at public hospitals next year Health officials fight to avoid outbreaks of waterborne diseases Costa Rica has registered a strong increase in cases of dengue so far in the current rainy season, with 70% more infections than in the same period last year, the Ministry of Health reported Friday.As of June 2019, 1,666 cases of dengue have been registered, compared to 975 over the same period in 2018, the Health Ministry said in a statement.The information was released at a time when the country is entering a season of increased rainfall, which favors the spread of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the transmitter of the disease.“We are entering the most complicated time of the year, where the increase in rainfall raises cases (of dengue), which is why we call for citizens to be vigilant in the elimination of mosquito breeding sites,” said Rodrigo Marín, Director of Ministry Surveillance.The mosquito transmitting dengue reproduces in stagnant water, so health authorities are asking citizens to empty containers that contain accumulations of water — vases and discarded tires, for example.Dengue fever is a disease that causes high fever, rash, and muscle and joint pains.The mosquito that serves as a vector of the disease also transmits zika, which recently caused a plague in Latin America.Costa Rica in 2018 had its lowest number of dengue infections in the last 20 years, with 2,735 cases in total. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Rights Watch Evidence of wider US waterboarding

first_imgAt another point, he was stuffed into a box resembling a footlocker, about 1 meter by 1 meter (3 feet by 3 feet), and kept there for more than an hour as interrogators prodded him with long, thin objects through holes in the side of the box.Both he and Sharif said they were repeatedly taken to a room where they were slammed against a wooden wall and punched in the abdomen.Al-Shoroeiya said one female American interrogator told him, “Now you are under the custody of the United States of America. In this place there will be no human rights. Since September 11, we have forgotten about something called human rights,” according to the report.Al-Shoroeiya described being waterboarded, though he did not use the term. He said he was put in a hood and strapped upside down on a wooden board. Freezing water was poured over his nose and mouth until he felt he was suffocating. During several half-hour interrogation sessions, they would waterboard him multiple times, asking him questions in between while a doctor monitored his body temperature.“They wouldn’t stop until they got some sort of answer from me,” he told HRW.Al-Sharif described a similar technique. Instead of being strapped to a board, he was put on a plastic sheet with guards holding up the edges, while freezing water was poured over him, including onto his hooded face directly over his mouth and nose. Top Stories She said she could not comment on the specific allegations but noted the Justice Department’s decision not to prosecute after it “exhaustively reviewed the treatment of more than 100 detainees in the post-9/11 period _ including allegations involving unauthorized interrogation techniques.”Former President George W. Bush, his Vice President Dick Cheney and the CIA have said that waterboarding was used only on three senior al-Qaida suspects at secret CIA black sites in Thailand and Poland _ Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, Aby Zubayda and Abd al-Rahman al-Nashiri, all currently being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.The technique involves pouring water on a hooded detainee’s nose and mouth until he feels he is drowning. Rights groups and some Obama administration officials say waterboarding and other severe techniques authorized by the CIA constitute torture, while Bush administration officials argue they do not. The Obama administration has ordered a halt to waterboarding and many of the harsh techniques.The 14 Libyans interviewed by Human Rights Watch were swept up in the American hunt for Islamic militants and al-Qaida figures around the world after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. They were mostly members of the anti-Gadhafi Libyan Islamic Fighting Group who fled in the 1980s and 1990s to Pakistan, Afghanistan and African countries. The group ran training camps in Afghanistan at the same time al-Qaida was based there but it largely shunned Osama bin Laden and his campaign against the United States, focusing instead on fighting Gadhafi. Comments   Share   (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Eight of those interviewed were handed over to Libya in 2004 _ the same year then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair made a public rapprochement with Gadhafi and Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell signed a major exploration deal off the Libyan coast, the HRW report noted. The remaining six were transferred to Libya over the two following years.All were jailed by Gadhafi’s regime, most freed only after his fall. Most said they were not physically tortured _ perhaps a result of Gadhafi’s attempts to mend fences with the West _ but were kept in solitary confinement for long periods. Several, however, told HRW they were beaten and tortured, including being given electrical shocks.The report also calls into question Libyan claims that one figure handed over by the Americans, Ibn el-Sheikh al-Libi, committed suicide in a Libyan prison. Al-Libi was held in U.S. secret prisons for years and gave information under torture by the Egyptians that the Bush administration used to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq but was later discredited.After his handover, Libyan authorities said he hanged himself in his cell. But HRW researchers said they were shown photos of his body that showed signs of torture. Ironically, the U.S. turned around and helped the Libyan opposition overthrow Gadhafi in 2011. Now several of the 14 former detainees hold positions in the new Libyan government.The accounts of simulated drowning came from Mohammed al-Shoroeiya and Khaled al-Sharif, who also described a gamut of abuses they went through _ all reflecting the methods known to have been authorized by the CIA. The two were seized in Pakistan in April 2003 and taken to U.S.-run prisons in Afghanistan, where al-Shoroeiya was held for 16 months and al-Sharif for two years before they were handed over to Libya.In Afghanistan, they were shackled in cells for months in variety of positions, often naked in almost total darkness with music blaring continuously, left to defecate and urinate on themselves. For example, al-Sharif spent three weeks seated on the ground with his ankles and wrists chained to a ring in the cell’s wall, forcing him to keep his arms and legs elevated. He said he was taken out of his shackles once a day for a half-hour to eat.For the first three months, they were not allowed to bathe. “We looked like monsters,” al-Shoroeiya said.Al-Shoroeiya described being locked naked for a day and a half in a tall, tight, half-meter-wide (1 1/2-foot-wide) chamber with his hands chained above his head, with no food as Western music blasted loudly from speakers next to his ears the entire time. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Any new instances of waterboarding, however, would go beyond the three that the CIA has said were authorized.The 154-page report features interviews by the New York-based group with 14 Libyan dissident exiles. They describe systematic abuses while they were held in U.S.-led detention centers in Afghanistan _ some as long as two years _ or in U.S.-led interrogations in Pakistan, Morocco, Thailand, Sudan and elsewhere before the Americans handed them over to Libya.The report also paints a more complete picture of Washington’s close cooperation with the regime of Libya’s former dictator Moammar Gadhafi. Islamist opponents of Gadhafi detained by the U.S. were handed over to Libya with only thin “diplomatic assurances” they would be properly treated, and several of them were subsequently tortured, Human Rights Watch said.“Not only did the U.S. deliver (Gadhafi) his enemies on a silver platter, but it seems the CIA tortured many of them first, said Laura Pitter, counterterrorism adviser at Human Rights Watch and author of the report.“The scope of the Bush administration abuse appears far broader than previously acknowledged,” she said.Asked about the new waterboarding claim, CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Youngblood said the agency “has been on the record that there are three substantiated cases” of its use. Messages to Libya from the CIA and British intelligence among the Tripoli Documents published by HRW indicated the United States and Britain were eager to help Libya obtain several senior LIFG figures, including its co-founders, Abdel-Hakim Belhaj and Sami al-Saadi.Belhaj and his then-pregnant wife were detained by Malaysia in 2004 with the help of British intelligence and then handed over to the CIA in Thailand, where he told HRW he was stripped and beaten. They were then taken to Libya, where Belhaj was imprisoned.After Belhaj arrived in Libya, a message believed to be from the then-head of counterterrorism at British intelligence congratulates the Libyan intelligence chief. Britain’s help “was the least we could do for you and for Libya to demonstrate the remarkable relationship we have built,” he wrote.____AP reporter Adam Goldman in Washington contributed to this report.____On the Net: http://www.hrw.org/reports/2012/09/05/delivered-enemy-hands How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement “I felt as if I were suffocating,” he told HRW. “I spent three months getting interrogated heavily … and they gave me a different kind of torture every day. Sometimes they used water, sometimes not.”Others of the 14 former detainees, including three held in the same U.S.-led prisons in Afghanistan, described similar treatment as al-Shoroeiya and al-Sharif, though not simulated drowning.One of them, Majid Mokhtar Sasy al-Maghrebi, said he nearly went insane in isolation after months being shackled naked in dark, freezing cells with music blaring, pounding his head against the wall and screaming, “I want to die, why don’t you just kill me?”Another, detained in Mauritania, said that during interrogations by a foreigner he believed was American, his wife was brought to the detention center; his captors showed him his wife through a peephole and threatened to rape her if he did not cooperate.Human Rights Watch said the U.S. failed in its post-9/11 campaign to distinguish between Islamists targeting the United States and those who “may simply have been engaged in armed opposition against their own repressive regimes.“This failure risked aligning the United States with brutal dictators,” the report said. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Sponsored Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Associated PressCAIRO (AP) – Human Rights Watch said it has uncovered evidence of a wider use of waterboarding than previously acknowledged by the CIA, in a report Thursday detailing brutal treatment of detainees at U.S.-run lockups abroad after the 9/11 attacks.The accounts by two former Libyan detainees who said they underwent simulated drowning emerge only days after the Justice Department closed its investigation of the CIA’s use of severe interrogation methods. Investigators said they could not prove any agents crossed the lines authorized by the Bush administration in the “war on terror” program of detention and rendition.last_img read more

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US Jews cancel talks with Protestants over Israel

first_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Comments   Share   Arguing that U.S. military aid to Israel was “sustaining the conflict and undermining the long-term security interests of both Israelis and Palestinians,” church leaders said Congress should investigate whether Israel has violated the human rights standards set by the Foreign Assistance Act and the Arms Export Control Act.The Christian-Jewish Roundtable was scheduled to meet next Monday. Tony Kireopoulos, an interfaith leader for the New York-based National Council of Churches, said Wednesday that the organizations were “disappointed that the meeting wasn’t going forward” and they hoped to restart the dialogue.The U.S. Episcopal Church, also a member of the interreligious dialogue, didn’t endorse the Protestant statement to Congress. Alexander Baumgarten, the Episcopal public policy director, said the request for congressional hearings was not in line with Episcopal policy.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Sponsored Stories Top Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix The Jewish groups announced their decision in response to a request by several mainline Protestant leaders for Congress to re-evaluate U.S. military aid to the Jewish state. The church leaders said in an Oct. 5 letter to Congress that Israel was guilty of widespread human rights violations against Palestinians that violated U.S. legal standards for recipients of military aid.Rabbi Steven Wernick, chief executive of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism called the claims “repugnant, regrettable and morally misguided.” The American Jewish Committee, a co-founder of the dialogue group, has requested a meeting with senior church leaders to “determine a more positive path forward.”The church leaders seeking the congressional hearings represent some of the largest mainline Protestant groups in the United States. They include Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson, head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Gradye Parsons, a top executive of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.); Rosemarie Wenner, president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops; and Peg Birk, leader of the National Council of Churches.In the letter to Congress, the Christian leaders said both Israelis and Palestinians share responsibility for the conflict in the region, and church leaders acknowledged the suffering of both groups. But the leaders said, “we have also witnessed widespread Israeli human rights violations committed against Palestinians.” 5 treatments for adult scoliosis AP Religion WriterNEW YORK (AP) – Major American Jewish organizations said Wednesday they have cancelled talks with liberal Protestant leaders after the churches sought an investigation of U.S. military aid to Israel.The American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, and Conservative and Reform Jewish movements are among those withdrawing from the national Christian-Jewish Roundtable. The dialogue group was founded in 2004 to ease tensions over escalating church protests against Israeli policy in the Palestinian territories. How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

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Officials France in Mali until July or later

first_imgPARIS (AP) – French troops will stay in the West African country of Mali at least until July, amid tougher-than-expected resistance from Islamic fighters, officials have told The Associated Press, despite earlier government promises to begin a quick pullout within weeks.France’s leadership has painted the intervention against al-Qaida-backed radicals in Mali, which began in January, as a swift and limited one, and said that France could start withdrawing its 4,000 troops in Mali in March and hand over security duties to an African force. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project France’s defense minister seems to be seeking wiggle room on the timetable for a pullout. And one French diplomat acknowledged: “Nobody believes the French presence will be over in six months.” Some analysts say even that’s optimistic.In the latest fighting, military spokesman Col. Thierry Burkhard said Thursday that about 1,200 French, 800 Chadian and an unspecified number of Malian troops are closing in on an unspecified number of extremist fighters in a roughly 25-square kilometer (15-mile) zone in the Adrar des Ifoghas range near the Algerian border in northeastern Mali.The oval-shaped area south of the town of Tessalit is the “center of gravity” of a new French operation involving helicopter gunships, fighter jets, mobile artillery pieces and armored vehicles, Burkhard said. He declined to provide details because the operation was ongoing, but indicated that French fighters had killed about 40 insurgents over the last week or so.Burkhard said he believes al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb was active in the area. AQIM is one of three militant groups that controlled northern Mali for 10 months before France’s Jan. 11 invasion sent them scurrying into rural areas. And he left little doubt that the armed extremists are digging in for a long fight. Men’s health affects baby’s health too Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day “They are sustained in a region they know very well. … They have established defensive, underground positions, positions that their different members can change between, and logistically _ with pre-positioned weapons and food depots,” he said. “They want to hold this area in a durable way.”French politicians, wary that public support for the war could quickly sink, are increasingly seeking to play down expectations and gird for a long-term commitment.“The hardest part is yet to come. … It’s more complicated because we have to be on the ground, with a fine-toothed comb, slowly, meter after meter practically, on a territory that’s still rather vast but where the terrorists have been reduced,” Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told RTL radio on Tuesday. “We’ll take this to the end.”France’s government has said it plans a gradual drawdown starting in March. As the diplomat put it: “That doesn’t mean we’re going to pull out 1,000 all at once, but even if we pull out 100, that will be considered by the French public as the start of a withdrawal.”After France’s longtime participation in NATO’s Afghan mission, and its major role in helping topple Moammar Gadhafi in Libya, French officials are wary about getting bogged down in yet another war _ and setting timetables about withdrawal is both uncomfortable and uncertain. Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Top Stories ___Sylvie Corbet and Angela Charlton in Paris contributed to this report.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Pressed on the time frame in an interview with France-2 TV last week, Le Drian said: “We are not there for a long time. We have no intention to stay.”From the get-go of their military campaign on Jan. 11, the French have summed up their military strategy as stopping the advance of jihadists from unruly northern Mali toward Bamako, the capital, and freeing the northern cities the radicals had controlled for 10 months, imposing harsh Islamic rule. Those two goals have largely been achieved through French air power and long-distance artillery strikes.The third pillar of the French campaign is proving the hardest: rooting out rebel holdouts in the Ifoghas range near Algeria’s border, and rallying African troops to take over stabilization and peacekeeping efforts once the French leave.That plan was dealt a blow last week when about two dozen reputedly crack troops from Chad, another former French colony with familiarity operating in desert terrain like northern Mali’s, were killed in a gunfight in the Ifoghas.Lining up African military support, which has already been sputtering, could run into greater hurdles if their troops are getting killed. Since the operation began, French officials estimate that hundreds of insurgents have been killed; two French soldiers have died. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona One reason the French are likely to stay for a while is that they are the only Western power with the wherewithal to act militarily in West Africa.“Generally when an army says it’s going to pull out its troops, it never does withdraw them all. In other words, you can imagine special forces, logistics teams are going to stay there, and maybe in support of the African armies that are supposed to take over,” said Laurence Aida Ammour, a security and defense expert focusing on West and northern Africa at the Institute of Political Science in Bordeaux.Much of the international community has given moral and political support to France, but limited its payouts. European trainers for Malian soldiers are expected to help, and several Western allies have helped with logistics support including transport planes.The United States is helping with intelligence-gathering, notably with unarmed drones flying out of neighboring Niger. Under U.S. law, the American government _ which had been training Malian forces before the military coup last year _ cannot provide aid to countries run by or with a major component of control of unelected juntas.National elections in July are supposed to give Mali’s wobbly government more legitimacy, notably so that countries like the United States could offer their blessing and support. Patients with chronic pain give advice But the combat in rugged Sahara Desert mountains is growing harder, and there’s a rising threat that the militants will turn to suicide bombings, hostage-taking and other guerrilla tactics.One French diplomat acknowledged this week that a French military presence is expected to remain for at least six months. Two other French officials told The Associated Press that the French will remain at least until July, when France is hoping that Mali can hold elections.The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the military campaign.Any French pullout in March is likely to be small and symbolic, leaving behind a robust force to try to keep the peace in a poor and troubled country, the officials say. Mali was largely peaceful until a coup last year led to a political vacuum that allowed militants inspired by an extreme form of Islam to grab control of the country’s north.France, which is winding down its 11-year presence in Afghanistan, has now spent more than (EURO)100 million ($131million) on fighting in Mali over the past six weeks, and is facing the prospect of another protracted and costly intervention against far-away jihadists.last_img read more

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Blogger 16 exposes limits on free speech in Singapore

first_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 “We’re a mature society now, a very educated society, but at the same time a very sensitive society,” he said.Dodwell is on the board of directors for The Independent, another online news site launched two years ago. He doubts the government has lost much support from the general public over free speech issues, but also predicts change on the horizon.“The real test is the ballot box,” he said. “It’s a very important election coming up. Fifty years have come and gone, so we’re looking at the next leg.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories “The problem is that we don’t know where to draw the line. Where is the line that we get into trouble?” he asked. That leads to a culture of avoiding big issues. Wong assisted a government-sponsored community center project in which participants — young and old — were asked to create art that represented their hopes for the future of Singapore.“They draw more trees, they draw WiFi in the MRT (subway) stations. It’s painful. It’s really painful,” he said. “The country will not grow if we continue to be like that.”Between sips of a Hoegaarden beer in a modern hotel bar, Wong was grappling with his “love-hate relationship” with Singapore. He loves the clean streets, modern conveniences and lack of corruption that have made it a world business hub.He respects and admires Lee’s accomplishments and considers himself politically neutral. But as for the next election: “I would love to see things get chaotic a bit.”There’s already been a bit more chaos than usual for tamped-down Singapore in the court proceedings for Yee. A man ran up and slapped him outside court in front of the media. One of Yee’s attorneys, Alfred Dodwell, said he fears for his client’s safety if he is released. SINGAPORE (AP) — A government crackdown on a teen video blogger and independent news and opinion website has focused attention on free speech limits, and perhaps the next election, in this cosmopolitan but famously strict city-state.Five days after the death in March of Singapore’s founding father, 16-year-old Amos Yee posted his latest American-accented blog to YouTube, titled “Lee Kuan Yew Is Finally Dead!” He shared it with the popular and provocative site The Real Singapore, one of several online alternatives to government-controlled TV broadcasts and newspapers. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top Stories After it went viral locally, with over a million views so far, Yee was arrested and charged with transmitting an obscene image and deliberately “wounding the religious or racial feelings of any person.” He refused bail conditions that amounted to a gag order and has been jailed for over two weeks, awaiting a court’s judgment on Tuesday. He has pleaded not guilty and faces up to three years in prison. The government’s Media Development Authority shut down TRS, as it is known, earlier this month — though officials say it was for unrelated reasons.“These are the things that will split the whole society,” said Alvin Tan, who as artistic director of the respected theater company The Necessary Stage has tangled with censors for over three decades. “I think we’re waiting for a tipping point.” He has refused to self-censor but negotiates with government representatives, who have had a lighter touch recently with his plays.Singapore’s government has long aggressively protected its image and authority with legal action both against domestic and international critics, but Yee’s case stands out: A floppy-haired, wryly humorous teenager targeted by prosecutors for a strongly-worded video, sent to prison and shackled in court. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments   Share   Meanwhile, the opposition has been on the rise, and could do relatively well in the next elections. It won 10 seats in the 99-seat Parliament in the 2011 elections, up from two previously. Losing even more seats to the opposition would be a huge blow for the People’s Action Party, which has ruled the country since 1959, and is now led by Lee’s oldest son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.“The question of who is to lead the next Singapore is going to be one of the scariest questions to answer,” said Shiao-Yin Kuik, a nominated member of parliament who runs a consultancy and small chain of restaurants aimed at encouraging public dialogue about social issues. Though she dismisses Yee’s blog comments as uninformed, she’s been working to encourage political engagement among young people.“A kid does not have it in his head that ‘I’m going to be president one day, or prime minister.’ It’s not in the narrative. And it’s not in the narrative of their parents,” she said.The hard part for young people in modern Singapore is determining how much they can say, whether in politics or art, without repercussions, said 26-year-old visual artist Wong Kel Win. He wrote his university thesis on self-censorship, which is widespread in the arts community and beyond. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Last fall the MDA banned film director Tan Pin Pin’s documentary about political exiles “To Singapore, With Love.” Lawrence Wong, Singapore’s minister for culture, community and youth, said the film “was deemed to be a real distortion of what happened in Singapore’s history, but disguised as a documentary.”“Freedom is not unfettered freedom. There are some limits. And the limits are put out there quite clearly,” he said Wong said the government intervenes only when concerned that speech will upset “social stability.”Standing next to his underground black box theater, Tan said the strong reaction to TRS and “famous Amos” could be due to the political landscape. “I find things tightening up because it’s just before elections,” he said.In the eulogies that followed Lee’s death the public was repeatedly reminded of his — and the ruling party’s — achievements, which will remain fresh in most people’s minds if the next general elections are called later this year, as is expected.But at the same time, with the passing of a stalwart who was the ruling party’s binding force, a political shift feels more possible. As Singaporeans celebrate 50 years of independence in August, they are also finding their own voices in social media, often the site for public debate on politics and social issues. Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home In this May 5, 2015, photo, Shiao-Yin Kuik, a nominated member of parliament who runs a consultancy and small chain of restaurants aimed at encouraging public dialogue about social issues, speaks in Singapore. A government crackdown on a teen video blogger and independent news and opinion website has focused attention on free speech limits, and perhaps the next election, in this cosmopolitan but famously strict city-state. (AP Photo/Ryan Pearson)last_img read more

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Rescuers search for 15 trapped gold miners in Colombia

first_imgBOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Rescuers worked into the night searching for 15 gold miners missing and feared dead after three vertical shafts flooded Wednesday.Authorities said the flood was likely triggered by a power outage or an explosion in the shafts, which were 14 meters (about 50 feet) to 27 meters (90 feet) below the surface in the mine near Riosucio, in northwestern Colombia.“It’s completely flooded,” Leonardo Mejia, the mine’s owner, told The Associated Press from the scene. How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments   Share   Patients with chronic pain give advice Top Stories Sponsored Stories center_img He said some of the miners who were working underground managed to escape when they realized something had gone wrong, but he feared the 15 missing were all dead.President Juan Manuel Santos called on rescuers to “spare no effort” in the search. Authorities brought in extra generators to power pumps to remove the excess water as fast as possible but said it would take at least three days to clear the mine.Mining accidents are common in Colombia but usually take place in wildcat mines dominated by leftist rebels and criminal gangs.Natalia Gutierrez, the head of National Mining Agency, said the mine that collapsed Wednesday was in the process of being legalized. But she told Caracol television that preliminary accounts from the site raised questions about whether the mine was complying with safety protocols.Last year 120 people died in mining accidents, the highest tally since 2011.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementlast_img read more

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