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Stormin Norman Schwarzkopf dead at 78

first_imgWASHINGTON – Norman Schwarzkopf, the US general who led Operation Desert Storm, which liberated Kuwait from Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in 1991, died on Thursday at the age of 78.Schwarzkopf, an American hero known popularly as “Stormin’ Norman,” died in Tampa, where he retired after his last posting as head of US Central Command, which controls US operations in the Middle East and South Asia.“The men and women of the Department of Defense join me in mourning the loss of General Norman Schwarzkopf,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said.Panetta said the decorated combat leader — a hulking, shaven-headed bruiser of a commander — had in “35 years of service in uniform left an indelible imprint on the United States military and the country.”Former president George H. W. Bush, himself sick in intensive care in Texas, was among the first to issue a statement mourning the loss of the man he chose to lead the war that came to define both of their careers.“Barbara and I mourn the loss of a true American patriot and one of the great military leaders of his generation,” his statement said. “General Norm Schwarzkopf, to me, epitomized the ‘duty, service, country’ creed that has defended our freedom and seen this great nation through our most trying international crises,” Bush said.“More than that, he was a good and decent man — and a dear friend. Barbara and I send our condolences to his wife Brenda and his wonderful family.”In a major test of the post-Cold War order, Saddam Hussein’s million-man army invaded Kuwait in 1990 and looked set to roll into Saudi Arabia, which would have given him more than 40 percent of the world’s oil reserves.Bush assembled a coalition of 32 nations and Schwarzkopf was given command of 425,000 US and 118,000 allied soldiers, a force which decimated Saddam’s military machine and drove it from Kuwait with minimal allied casualties.Born in Trenton, New Jersey in 1934, Schwarzkopf’s connection with the Persian Gulf began when he was just 12 and he went to Iran to join his father, another decorated general, who had been posted there.Educated in Tehran, Geneva and Frankfurt before returning to the United States to pursue a military career, Schwarzkopf specialized in mechanical engineering at the renowned West Point military college. He also attended the University of Southern California and the US Army War College.Upon graduating West Point, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant and received advanced infantry and airborne training before getting his first foreign posting as an aide-de-camp to the Berlin Brigade in 1960 and 1961.Schwarzkopf served briefly as an instructor at West Point before heading to Vietnam to join the fast-swelling numbers of US military advisers to the South Vietnamese army.Quickly promoted up through the ranks, his reputation for bravery was confirmed during his second tour of Vietnam in 1970 when he rescued men from his battalion who were trapped in a minefield in the Batangan Peninsula.After rushing to the scene in a helicopter, he crawled across the minefield, held a severely wounded man down until a splint could be put on his leg, and then led survivors to safety by ordering mines to be marked with shaving cream.Unlike some of the generals that succeeded him in America’s more recent wars, Schwarzkopf was a combat veteran, earning three silver stars and the coveted Combat Infantryman Badge for those who personally fought in battle.His brusque and bold style was also the stuff of legend.“When you get on that plane to go home, if the last thing you think about me is ‘I hate that son of a bitch’, then that is fine because you’re going home alive,” so one quote goes.Schwarzkopf’s infamous temper spawned the nickname “Stormin’ Norman,” which became tabloid headline fodder during the 1991 Gulf War.In 1983 he led troops in battle during the US invasion of Grenada and in 1988 he was appointed commander-in-chief of the US Central Command, responsible for operations in the Horn of Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.As commander, Schwarzkopf had concocted a plan for the defense of the oil fields of the Persian Gulf against a possible invasion by Iraq.After the US had engaged in a six-week air assault of Iraqi forces in January 1991, this became part of the strategy credited with bringing the ground war to a close in just four days.He was also a public face of the campaign, appearing regularly in faded fatigues and a field soldier’s patrol cap to brief the world’s media.“In the aftermath of that war, General Schwarzkopf was justly recognized as a brilliant strategist and inspiring leader,” Panetta said.“Today, we recall that enduring legacy and remember him as one of the great military giants of the 20th century.”After the war, Schwarzkopf turned down the position of army chief of staff and retired from active service in August 1991.He had been successfully treated for prostate cancer in 1993. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Foreign Trade Minister Anabel González presents her candidacy to head the World

first_imgNo related posts. GENEVA – Costa Rican Foreign Trade Minister Anabel González on Tuesday presented her plans for heading the World Trade Organization (WTO) to 156 members of the WTO General Council.“I think I meet all the requirements for this position, because I’ve been working in international trade for 25 years,” the minister said during a press conference.González said she wants to conclude negotiations of the Doha round, begun in 2001 and currently at an impasse.“I’m willing to assume the position of director-general with independence, passion and responsibility”,” she said.When questioned about a possible withdrawal in favor of another Latin American candidate, González said, “it’s still too early to consider it,” adding that, “it would be better to wait until all candidates speak before the General Council.”The three Latin American candidates were the first to appear before the WTO General Council. In addition to González, regional candidates include Mexico’s former trade minister, Herminio Blanco, and Brazilian diplomat Roberto Azevedo.A total of nine candidates aspire to lead the WTO – six men and three women – most of them ministers or former ministers in the governments of their respective countries. The successful candidate will replace Pascal Lamy from France.The WTO General Council is expected to make a final decision no later than May 31. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Matt Damon in Costa Rica Who will find him

first_imgLast week we heard the incredible story of bored study abroad student Erin Faulk, who skipped class and tracked down Matt Damon in Morocco. Herhilarious series of tweets on the endeavor were immortalized on Storify and finally Gawker, where they cracked up and inspired us all.Now, says La Nación, Damon has come here. Also, Terrance Howard. So. Here are your clues.Damon and Howard came through customs on July 15 at 3:59 p.m. Howard was recently spotted in Santa Teresa, on the Nicoya peninsula, riding an ATV. Go! Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Faulty electrical system forces closing of all operating rooms at San Josés

first_imgA faulty 46-year-old electrical system is to blame for a decision by administrators at San José’s public Hospital México to shut down all 14 operating rooms as of Friday, the hospital’s medical director, Douglas Montero, said.The same problem forced administrators to close seven operating rooms last week. The move comes after an engineering study found low voltage as a culprit.“The study found that there is no certainty the rooms’ systems are working properly,” Montero said on Friday.As a contingency measure medical staff will perform surgeries in the mornings and evenings at the Heredia Hospital and at the facilities of the National Rehabilitation Center.Hospital México currently has a waiting list of 7,000 pending surgeries, Montero said.“In an emergency, we can enable one operating room in the Obstetrics Department and one in Intensive Care,” he said.Montero could not say how long it would take to reopen the rooms, but he estimated that repairs could take up to three months.Hospital officials also will be forced to reschedule a large number of surgeries. They said they expected that rescheduled dates would be as close as possible to original appointments.Said Montero: “We will perform surgeries in early morning hours and during evening shifts to help reduce the waiting list.” Facebook Comments Related posts:No free dental checkups for self-employed workers who owe the Caja, Sala IV rules Number of obese Ticos has almost quadrupled in four decades Social Security System launches anti-influenza vaccination campaign Costa Rica shares vision, guiding principles for universal healthcarelast_img read more

US stocks climb to record levels

first_imgRelated posts:GlobalTies highlights role of public diplomacy at 2015 Latin America Dialogue US economy revives in 2nd quarter Economists close in on spotting future recessions Gold erases 2014 gains as silver slumps to 55-month low on GDP NEW YORK — U.S. stocks rose, with benchmark indexes closing at all-time highs, amid optimism the economy is showing sufficient strength to weather a slowdown overseas.Phone companies led gains, while technology stocks rose as Hewlett-Packard advanced to the highest level since May 2011 even after missing analyst earnings estimates. Energy producers decreased as Seadrill suspended dividends amid the lowest oil prices in more than four years.The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 0.3 percent to 2,072.83, extending gains in the final 15 minutes of trading. The Dow Jones industrial average added 12.81 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,827.75. Both gauges ended at records. The Nasdaq 100 index climbed 0.7 percent to extend a more than 14-year high. About 4.9 billion listed shares changed hands in the U.S., 26 percent lower than the three-month daily average. U.S. markets will be closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday.“Economic numbers in general have been good, and that optimism is following through,” Richard Sichel, chief investment officer at Philadelphia Trust, which oversees $2 billion, said in a phone interview. “It could be a good retail season, and low gas prices are making a difference.”Consumer confidence climbed to a more than seven-year high in November as Americans’ views of their financial well-being improved heading into the holiday shopping season. A separate report showed consumer spending climbed in October at the same pace as incomes, showing households are staying within their means as the holiday-shopping season begins.Orders for U.S. business equipment such as machinery and electrical gear unexpectedly declined in October. Other data showed jobless claims increased by 21,000 to 313,000 in the week ended Nov. 22, the highest since early September, from 292,000 in the prior period. New homes in the U.S. sold at a slower pace than forecast last month.A report Tuesday showed U.S. gross domestic product expanded at a 3.9 percent annualized rate in the third quarter, more than initially estimated.The S&P 500 has advanced each December for the past six years. It is up 11 percent from its six-month low in October, as data signaled the U.S. economy is improving and central banks in Europe, Japan and China added more stimulus measures.The rally in American equities has pushed stock valuations to near the highest levels since 2009. The S&P 500 trades at 17.3 times the projected earnings of its members, up from a multiple as low as 15.5 last month. Profit for S&P 500 companies may rise 7.6 percent this year, estimates compiled by Bloomberg show.Calm has returned to equity markets. The Chicago Board Options Exchange volatility index, the gauge of options prices known as the VIX, has dropped 14 percent in the past five days to a two-month low. The benchmark gauge of price swings surged to a more than two-year high on Oct. 15.Eight out of 10 main industries in the S&P 500 increased Wednesday, with phone and technology companies posting the largest gains. Energy shares slumped the most, dropping 1.1 percent ahead of Thursday’s OPEC meeting.Chipmakers surged, with Analog Devices Inc. climbing 5.5 percent after profit and sales for the fourth quarter exceeded projections. The company’s adjusted gross margin, a measure of profitability, was also wider than analysts had predicted.Phone companies in the benchmark gauge gained the most since July as CenturyLink rose 2.2 percent to lead gains. AT&T rose for a second straight day after falling 3.3 percent since Nov. 14.Technology companies in the S&P 500 climbed 0.9 percent. Hewlett-Packard added 4.1 percent even after the computer maker reported fourth-quarter sales that missed estimates. The company’s margins may benefit from a restructuring plan that would spin off its personal-computer and printer operations into a stand-alone entity, Brian Alexander, an analyst for Raymond James, wrote in a client note Wednesday.Mylan surged more than 4 percent. A Jefferies Group analyst said the company is viewed as the most likely takeover target for Pfizer.Deere pared its drop to 0.9 percent after losing as much as 3.9 percent. The world’s largest maker of farm equipment forecast 2015 profit that trailed estimates as farmers buy fewer high-horsepower tractors and combines after crop prices fell. Caterpillar slumped 0.4 percent.Seadrill fell 23 percent, the most in six years, after the offshore driller controlled by billionaire John Fredriksen suspended dividends as the slump in oil prices weakens demand for rigs.Energy companies declined the most out of the 10 main S&P 500 industries as Diamond Offshore Drilling, Transocean and Noble declined more than 5 percent. Crude oil dropped 0.5 percent to $73.69 a barrel in New York, the lowest since September 2010.With assistance from Bloomberg’s Sofia Horta e Costa in London.© 2014, Bloomberg News Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Meet the guy trying to turn emoji into a legitimate usable language

first_imgRelated posts:Apple working to complete streaming music deal with record labels before June 8 Why Google’s new quantum computer could launch an artificial intelligence arms race What happened to the 15 people the Internet hated most in 2015? Spik Up! Say What? While many of us tap out these symbols to our family and friends, there are no universal usage rules for emoji: no grammar, no meanings. No syntax.But Fred Benenson, the visionary who gave you “Emoji Dick,” is trying to change all that. In fact, Fred Benenson is trying to turn emoji into a bona fide language.“Emoji are now an essential component of how we’re talking to each other,” Benenson said. “And experimenting with them gets us to a better understanding of what they actually mean to us and how we can use them.”On Kickstarter, the platform where Benenson first launched his “Moby Dick” translation — and where he now works, as the site’s data lead — the unlikely linguistic visionary is raising funds for an online tool that could translate even complex English sentences into emoji.Unlike other efforts in this vein, Benenson’s “Emoji Translation Project” won’t just match keywords to their equivalent symbols and sub the symbols in. Instead, it will work much like Google’s high-powered translation engine: first gathering texts in English and emoji, produced by human translators; then running those texts through a machine-learning algorithm, which searches the two data sets for patterns; then waiting and watching as the algorithm spits out a synthesized, codified grammar.Or … not.“It’s ridiculous,” said Arika Okrent, a linguist and the author of the 2009 book “In the Land of Invented Languages.” “Emoji are fun. I like emoji. But they’re not a language — they’re a game of charades.”Okrent, it’s worth noting, is not someone you’d expect to be skeptical about made-up tongues: She actually speaks Klingon.But Klingon — the fictional language of an alien warrior species, for the non-Trekkies in the audience — was set down with both rules and a writing system from its beginning. Emoji, Okrent says, are fundamentally different: Even as people begin using them to express complex ideas or full sentences, they’re using them in arbitrary, individual ways. We haven’t agreed on the meaning for the “prayer hands” emoji — forget the intricacies of expressing abstract thoughts or the present perfect tense.That variance, Okrent says, will make machine learning impossible. (“In order for the algorithm to discover a pattern, there has to be a pattern to discover,” she explains.)And that’s not the only obstacle Benenson and his vision face: There are literally no other image-based languages.The last real push to invent one ended semi-tragically. A concentration camp survivor named Charles Bliss attempted to launch a universal, pictorial language, called Blissymbolics, because he believed it would decrease intercultural misunderstandings. Blissymbolics’ basic pictures are, indeed, pretty easy to figure out, which has made them popular among a small set of language therapists. But as you try to express more complex ideas, the language gets less intuitive and more confusing. Ultimately, it never caught on — a great disappointment to Bliss.Of course, there’s a momentum around emoji that there never was around Blissymbols. An emoji — the humble — was named 2014’s “word” of the year. Instagram recently enabled emoji hashtags, a nod to some kind of mainstream desire to use the symbols instead of words.According to Emojitracker, a tool the logs each emoji tweeted out on Twitter, emoji use has risen more than 50 percent since December 2013, from roughly 11 million tweeted emoji per day to almost 17 million now.“I think as we use them more and more, a certain emoji lingua will emerge,” Benenson said, “and that’s what we’re interested in capturing with this project.”Benenson isn’t naive to the challenges of the project: He knows he’ll need a huge team of English-to-emoji translators to get enough material to run past an algorithm. (Currently, he’s fundraising $15,000 to pay these translators: at 5 cents a translation, that’s enough for roughly 300,000 lines of text.) Even then, he admits, the translator might not work: There will be words or sentences it gets wrong. There will be gobbledigook.Still, if “Emoji Dick” taught Benenson anything, it’s that there’s value in probing emoji and their cultural applications. That project was met with derision when he launched it in 2009; six years later, the Library of Congress has a copy — and emoji translations of half a dozen other books are now available online.Benenson thinks his Emoji Translator could be put to similar use, translating books or other texts. He also envisions an API that would let other Web sites and apps integrate emoji translation.If nothing else, he said, “we have faith that the results will be at least funny.”It’s not a linguistic revolution — but it is something.© 2015, The Washington Post Facebook Commentslast_img read more

UPDATE Canadian girl thought missing in Costa Rica found

first_img Facebook Comments UPDATE Aug. 7, 3:20 p.m.: On Friday afternoon the family of Alysson Mercier posted on Facebook that she had been found. post continues here.Relatives of a 20-year-old Canadian girl fear she has gone missing in Costa Rica after the family unexpectedly lost contact with her nearly three weeks ago.Alysson Mercier from Gatineau, Quebec, reportedly arrived in Costa Rica on July 16 in the latest leg of a trip throughout Latin America that started in January. Mercer stopped updating her social media accounts and communicating with her family on July 19, according to Mercier’s aunt, Nancy Allard, in an interview with Quebec’s FM 1047 on Friday. According to Allard, Mercier was in San José the last time the family had contact with her.Mercier had been checking in with her family every day during her trip, Allard said. When three days passed without word, the family contacted the police.A Facebook page set up by the family on Thursday asking for information about Mercier’s whereabouts included a post from a user named Edgar Mata who claimed to have seen Mercier in La Fortuna, San Carlos, near Arenal Volcano, on Monday, July 20 when the two of them were on the same tour.Allard said the family was frustrated by the perceived lack of action from the Canadian Embassy in Costa Rica, including its decision to not issue a missing persons report. The Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ), which handles missing persons cases in Costa Rica, said in an email that it had not received a missing person report for Mercier as of Friday morning.Canadian Embassy spokeswoman Andrea Vásquez told The Tico Times that the embassy had received a missing person alert but did not comment further, citing Canadian privacy laws.Mercier has traveled alone before, the family said in the radio interview, and had visited Cancún, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua before she arrived in Costa Rica.Visit the Help Find Alysson Mercier Facebook page to share any information about this case. Related posts:US man missing since May, last seen in San José Costa Rica beach drowning victim identified as US tourist Update: Missing US tourist found dead in Costa Rica Missing US hiker Cody Dial’s parents submit DNA to investigatorslast_img read more

Tica champion Hanna Gabriels to defend WBO title against Kali Reis

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica’s world boxing champions win fights on the same night Boxing: Nicaragua’s ‘Chocolatito’ González, from garbage collector to flyweight champ Hanna Gabriels retains her world titles in vibrant fight TV exec made Mayweather-Pacquiao bout possible Tica boxerHanna Gabriels will defend her World Boxing Organization (WBO) Super Welterweight (154 lbs) title Saturday night in a 10-round fight against the U.S.’s Kali Reis at Edgardo Baltodano stadium in Liberia, Guanacaste.Reis, a Providence, Rhode Island native, is currently the International Boxing Association’s (IBA) Middleweight (160 lbs) World Champion and holds a record of 14-1-1 with 10 KOs. She arrived in Costa Rica on Monday and attended a promotional presentation of the fight Tuesday, including the official face off with Gabriels.Reis told reporters she is feeling well and that she’s used to fight outside the U.S. and with opponents from other categories as it can be difficult to find opponents of her weight. She has fought in Argentina, Bermuda and various European countries.Reis is the first Native American woman to become a professional boxer. She has Cherokee, Nipmuc and Seaconke Wampanoag ancestry. The fighter says it’s an honor to represent her culture and that it was natural for her to choose a boxing ring as a career since her people “have been fighting for centuries.”At Tuesday’s event she said she has watched videos of some of the Tica’s fights but “only to get a general idea of ​​her style, without getting into details.” She said that, just like herself, Gabriels is a very skilled fighter, has good strength, power and endurance and throws a lot of punches.Gabriels will defend her Super Welterweight title after defeating Mexican Paty Ramírez by TKO last Dec. 20 in Puerto Rico. Her professional record currently stands at 14-1-1 with 10 KOs.The Tica said she already made the required weight and that she has been training with great sparring partners, all men, who have pushed her to the top of her skills. Currently Gabriels is mostly focusing on physical work at the gym, and waiting for the fight.“I know Kali is very fast and strong. She administers her strength, moves very well in the ring and calculates every punch she throws,” she told The Tico Times.Gabriels’ coach Marco Delgado said Reis is possibly the best professional boxer to visit Costa Rica. “It will be a very tough fight, but I’m confident that Hanna has everything to successfully defend her title,” he said at the fight presentation Tuesday.Delgado noted that Reis is a very strong boxer with a powerful punch, however he believes she’s slower than the Tica. “Hanna has demonstrated a lot of discipline and her physical shape right now is very impressive,” he said.In addition to the world title fight, the event in Liberia will include nine preliminary fights with Tico fighters facing contenders from Panama and Nicaragua.Tickets range from ₡5,000 to ₡12,000 ($9 to $22) and are available at Liberia’s Sports Committee office inside the Edgardo Baltodano stadium.See Hanna Gabriels training Alberto Font contributed to this story. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Uber rival Cabify coming to Costa Rica

first_imgCabify, a Spanish ride-hailing company, confirmed to The Tico Times that it will soon start offering service in Costa Rica, even though the government has already said the service, like Uber, is illegal under current legislation.Vice Minister of Transport Sebastian Urbina repeated the government’s position on ride-hailing services Tuesday afternoon in a statement posted to Facebook.Ruling Citizen Action Party lawmaker Franklin Corella is drafting a bill that would legalize ride-hailing and other non-profit ride-sharing services, but in the meantime, Uber and its would-be rivals remain in legal limbo. Still, Uber has been operating here since August of last year with few official repercussions.Cabify’s pending arrival in the Costa Rican market comes not long after Uber announced a 20 percent decrease in its fares. Between traditional taxis, taxi-hailing smartphone apps, like EasyTaxi, and Uber, Cabify is the latest in an increasingly crowded field of on-demand transportation.But that doesn’t seem to worry the $320 million valued company.Cabify spokeswoman Vianey Campos told The Tico Times that the company still did not have specifics on its arrival but would start operating “soon.” Founded in 2011, Cabify is currently operating in 18 cities in Spain, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Colombia and Portugal.Founded in 2011, Cabify currently operates in 18 cities in Spain, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Colombia and Portugal.In April, Cabify raised $120 million to expand in Latin America and Europe from Tokyo-based Rakuten, an e-commerce company that also has invested in U.S. ride-hailing company Lyft. Uber, meanwhile, raised $200 million in February from Luxembourg-based investment group LetterOne (L1) for expansion in emerging markets.TechCrunch reported that Argentina and Brazil were the first markets Cabify was eyeing in Latin America. Now Costa Rica can count itself on that list. Facebook Comments Related posts:Uber Costa Rica drops fares 20 percent and some drivers aren’t happy Uber gets $200 million for international expansion Uber supporters say court case could legalize ride-hailing service in Costa Rica New bill would OK ride-sharing services beyond Uber in Costa Ricalast_img read more

Jumping around

first_imgRelated posts:Bright as a veranera Swinging around Go, Jason, go! Not too shabby Caught in mid-air and in living color on Costa Rica’s southern Caribbean coast.For more stories and photos from Kristel, visit her blog, The Tiny Travelogue, or follow her (and her dog’s) adventures in the tropics and beyond on Facebook or Instagram. Would you like to submit a photo to our #TTPicOfTheDay series – the view from your home or favorite Costa Rican spot, or any other image you care to share? Please send horizontal photos at least 1100 pixels wide to We’d love to see the sights with you. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Its a dark day in the United States Here are some pictures

first_img Happy Father’s Day from all of us at Toucan Rescue Ranch and The Tico Times! Via Toucan Rescue Rach. Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado offered a message of support to the United States following Saturday morning’s mass shooting that left 20 people dead and many more injured.“We express our condolences to the United States in the face of the unfortunate events in El Paso, Texas,” he Tweeted. “In times when hate, division and violence emerge, our response must be the search for peace.”Hours later, a second gunman killed nine people and injured dozens in Dayton, Ohio.While this news doesn’t directly affect Costa Rica, many Tico Times readers (and our staff) either live in or have ties to the United States.From our office in San José, we wish all of you a safe and peaceful Sunday. Pippin the sloth. Photo via Toucan Rescue Ranch. A sloth giving love to its stuffed animal, a monkey, at the Kids Saving the Rainforest center in Costa Rica. Via Janine Licare Photography Anakin relaxing in the grass with his favorite blanket. Courtesy of Sam Trull (Alissa Grosskopf / The Tico Times) Facebook Commentscenter_img Related posts:Slothy Sunday: A baby sloth is born Slothy Sunday: Overcoming adversity Slothy Sunday: Saving sloths together Slothy Sunday: Five ways you can help slothslast_img read more

Pope fires Slovak bishop in rare show of authority

first_img 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Top holiday drink recipes Comments   Share   Associated PressVATICAN CITY (AP) – Pope Benedict XVI fired a 52-year-old Slovak bishop for apparently mismanaging his diocese in a rare show of papal power over bishops that could have implications for U.S. sex abuse cases.Usually when bishops run into trouble _ either for alleged moral lapses or management problems _ they are persuaded by the Vatican to resign. But Benedict has become increasingly willing to forcibly remove bishops who refuse to step down, sacking three others in the past year alone. (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Top Stories Sponsored Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements His willingness to do so raises questions about whether he would take the same measures against bishops who covered up for sexually abusive priests. So far he has not.In the most notable case to date, Benedict fired Bishop William Morris of Toowoomba, Australia, last year after he called for the church to consider ordaining women and married men. He also removed a Congolese bishop for management problems in his diocese and an Italian one in May for similar reasons.On Monday, the Vatican said Benedict had “relieved from pastoral care” Bishop Robert Bezak of Trnava, Slovakia. No reason was given, but Italian news reports suggested administrative problems were to blame, and Slovak news reports quoted Bezak as saying he thought his criticism of his predecessor may have had a role.Bishops normally hand in their resignation when they turn 75 years old, their customary retirement age.The exercise of the pope’s ability to fire a bishop has important implications, particularly concerning bishops who mishandle pedophile priests.In the face of U.S. lawsuits seeking to hold the pope ultimately responsible for abusive priests, the Holy See has argued that bishops are largely masters of their dioceses and that the pope doesn’t really control them. The Vatican has thus sought to limit its own liability, arguing that the pope doesn’t exercise sufficient control over the bishops to be held responsible for their bungled response to priests who rape children. The ability of the pope to actively fire bishops, and not just passively accept their resignations, would seem to undercut the Vatican’s argument of a hands-off pope.“If the pope can fire a bishop, that implies he’s their supervisor,” said Nick Cafardi, a U.S. canon lawyer and former chairman of the U.S. bishops’ lay review board that monitored clerical abuse. “This will invite more lawsuits attempting to sue the pope in American courts.”Jeffrey Anderson, who is seeking to hold the Holy See liable for a case of an abusive priest in Oregon, said the Vatican was trying to have it both ways.“They will remove, using their canon laws and their own protocols, bishops, priests and clerics for any reasons _ for theological or any other reasons _ but when it comes to sexual misconduct, they never use those same standards,” he said.Even the most well-known case, that of Cardinal Bernard Law, ended when Law offered his resignation after the sex abuse scandal exploded in his Boston archdiocese 2002. Law subsequently was named archpriest of one of the Vatican’s basilicas in Rome, St. Mary Major.That said, things may be changing: The Vatican’s sex crimes prosecutor, Monsignor Charles Scicluna, warned in February that bishops could face possible church sanctions for malicious or fraudulent negligence if they fail to follow the Vatican’s rules on handling sexually abusive priests. But he acknowledged that such bishop accountability needed to be “further developed.” Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family ___Follow Nicole Winfield at New high school in Mesa lets students pick career pathslast_img read more

NGO disputes official report on Honduras shooting

first_img“The Honduran authorities’ claims simply are not credible, when confronted with forensic evidence and so much eyewitness testimony to the contrary,” Dan Beeton, spokesman for the Washington-based Center for Economic Policy and Research in Washington, wrote in an email.Some agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration accompanied Honduras’ National Police officers during the operation, but the agency said none of the U.S. personnel fired their weapons.Authorities in the U.S. and Honduras have refused to release videos of either the May 11 shooting incident or the autopsies of the victims, video that could resolve disputes over details. The operation has been the object of intense criticism in Honduras.German Enamorado, chief of Honduras’ Office of Human Rights, said Friday that two female victims were not pregnant as witnesses reported. Beeton said autopsies of the two women were carried out in an unprofessional manner 40 days later in the open air at the cemetery. He said friends of the women claimed both were pregnant.Enamorado also said forensic tests show the bullets that hit the four people killed were fired horizontally, not from above. In addition, the slugs were from smaller-caliber bullets used by M-16 rifles and not the heavier weapon mounted on the helicopter, he said. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day The vital role family plays in society An earlier report by Rights Action, a Toronto-based human rights organization, and by Beeton’s group, a progressive economic-policy think tank, took a different view on the ballistics: “Death records as well as an interview of a Honduran official present at the exhumation and autopsy of the victims confirm that all of the deceased victims had sustained high-caliber bullet wounds.”The shooting occurred during Operation Yunque, a joint initiative using six U.S. helicopters and a special team of DEA agents in addition to the Honduran police.At least seven people were killed during the operation’s three months, including one fatally shot by DEA agents who were approaching a crashed plane they suspected was carrying drugs.___Associated Press writer Martha Mendoza in Santa Cruz, California, contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Associated PressTEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) – A U.S.-based non-governmental organization on Saturday criticized Honduras’ official investigation of a fatal shooting during a drug interdiction operation after its conclusions contradicted reports of witnesses and the group’s own investigation into what happened.The probe’s findings announced Friday said that two victims were not pregnant and that none of the four people killed were hit by gunfire from a law-enforcement helicopter involved in the May drug raid in the Mosquitia region. Local people and some rights activists have claimed the victims were shot by police, two were pregnant and all were innocent civilians traveling a river at night. Police said the people killed were in a boat that fired on the helicopter. Comments   Share   Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Check your body, save your life Sponsored Stories Top Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion projectlast_img read more

Flights resume from Libya after strike

first_imgAssociated PressTRIPOLI, Libya (AP) – An airport official in the Libyan capital Tripoli says flights resumed out of the country’s airports after they were halted for over seven hours due to a strike by air traffic controllers.The official said the controllers went on strike Sunday to demand better pay and upgraded navigation and communications equipment. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media, called their demands legitimate. There was a backlog of passengers at airports in Tripoli, as well as in Benghazi, Misrata and other cities. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Check your body, save your life Flights resumed by Sunday evening. It was not clear if the controllers’ demands were met.(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 Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Comments   Share   center_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Parents, stop beating yourself up Patients with chronic pain give advice Top Stories Sponsored Stories last_img read more

Orders for US durable goods jump 34 percent in June

first_imgWASHINGTON (AP) — Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket manufactured goods posted a sizable gain in June, reflecting a surge in demand for commercial aircraft. Meanwhile, a key category that reflects business investment rebounded after two months of declines.Orders for durable goods jumped 3.4 percent in June from May, when orders had fallen 2.1 percent, the Commerce Department reported Monday. The gain was the best result since March. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Top Stories A category viewed as a proxy for business investment plans increased 0.9 percent, then best showing since a 1.6 percent rise in March. This category had declined in April and May and had been weak for a number of months. Some economists are hopeful that manufacturing will show stronger gains in coming months as consumers boost spending.U.S. manufacturers have struggled this year from the effects of a strong dollar and a plunge in energy prices. The higher value of the dollar against foreign currencies makes U.S. goods more expensive and less competitive in major export markets. The big drop in oil prices has led energy companies to cut investment plans.The overall economy stalled in the January-March quarter, with the gross domestic product shrinking at an annual rate of 0.2 percent. Analysts blamed that weakness on a number of temporary factors including a harsh winter. They expect growth to rebound to around 2.5 percent in the April-June quarter. The government will release its first estimate of GDP growth in the spring on Thursday.For June, demand for aircraft shot up 66.1 percent, recovering from a 31.6 percent plunge in May. Orders for motor vehicles and parts posted a modest 0.2 percent increase. Overall demand for transportation goods increased 8.9 percent. Excluding this often volatile category, orders were up 0.8 percent in June, the best showing outside of transportation in 10 months. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Comments   Share   The 0.9 percent gain for non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, the category used as a proxy for investment, followed a decline of 0.4 percent in May.Orders for machinery were up 1.4 percent, while demand for computers and related products shot up 9.1 percent.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Top holiday drink recipeslast_img read more

Obama delivers frank words about Africas problems

first_img How do cataracts affect your vision? ___Associated Press writer Darlene Superville contributed to this report._Follow Julie Pace at © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. And with high-level African officials in the audience for his remarks at African Union headquarters, he launched a blistering and sometimes sarcastic takedown of leaders who refuse to leave office when their terms end.“Let me be honest with you — I just don’t understand this,” he said, drawing cheers from many in the crowd. “I actually think I’m a pretty good president. I think if I ran, I could win. But I can’t.”While those remarks drew cheers from many in the crowd, some African activists greeted his comment one day earlier that Ethiopia has a democratically elected government with scorn and concern. Obama’s remarks came during a news conference with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia, whose ruling party won every seat in parliament in May elections.Obama’s predecessors have also pushed for good governance and respect for human rights in Africa. But none had the instant credibility African leaders confer on Obama, whose visit was heralded as a homecoming.“It would have been different of course if he was from a different background,” said Amadou Sy, director of the Africa Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institution. “But he’s also one of us.” The president’s advisers reject the notion that Obama’s policy toward Africa is all talk, pointing to the long-term potential of initiatives to boost power access and food security for millions on the continent. They stress the importance of America’s first black president, one with a sprawling family still living in Kenya, capitalizing on his ability to speak not as a lecturing Westerner, but as someone with a personal stake in the continent’s success.“He is someone who is broadly respected by not just the leaders, but the peoples of these countries, especially young populations who make up an increasing percentage of these countries,” said Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser. “So, for that reason, I think people pay close attention to what he has to say.”“That doesn’t mean that they’re going to agree with everything he says, but I think he can lay out a direction that he thinks the U.S.-African partnership can go in,” Rhodes added.Indeed, Obama closed his East Africa swing with a blunt accounting of the risks facing the fast-growing continent. He compared Africa’s large youth population to the Middle East, warning that without jobs and prospects for the future, young Africans are more likely to be drawn to terrorism. He warned of the “cancer of corruption” that runs rampant through some African governments, a problem he said only the continent’s leaders could solve. Comments   Share   Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Obama barely knew his father, who was born and is buried in Kenya. The younger Obama wouldn’t visit the nation of his father’s birth until he was in his 20s, yet his political rise has been cheered enthusiastically throughout the continent.Obama’s connections to Africa garnered oversized expectations for what his tenure as U.S. president would mean for the continent. While he’s made four trips to sub-Saharan Africa since taking office — more than any other U.S. president — his foreign policy focus has often been on boosting ties with the Asia-Pacific region and confronting crises in the Middle East.Obama also faces frequent comparisons to his predecessor George W. Bush, who launched a $15 billion initiative for combating HIV/AIDS in Africa.“I am really proud of the work that previous administrations did here in Africa, and I’ve done everything I could to build on those successes,” Obama said during a news conference in Kenya Saturday. “This isn’t a beauty contest between presidents.”At the heart of Obama’s approach to Africa is a belief that the U.S. and other developed nations can no long view the continent simply as a receptacle for billions in international aid. In an era of budget cuts, the president has looked to jumpstart programs that rely heavily on private financing and could eventually be run by African governments or businesses, including his Feed The Future food security program and Power Africa electricity initiative.center_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — President Barack Obama arrived in East Africa with no big American aid packages, no ramped up U.S. military resources for fighting terror groups and no new initiatives with billions in government backing.Instead, he brought a frank message on democracy, corruption and security that could perhaps be delivered only by a Western leader viewed in Africa as a local son.“The future of Africa is up to Africans,” Obama said during a trip to Kenya and Ethiopia that concluded Tuesday. “For too long, I think that many looked to the outside for salvation and focused on somebody else being at fault for the problems of the continent.” Sponsored Stories President Barack Obama speaks during a joint news conference with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Monday, July 27, 2015, at the National Palace in Addis Ababa. Obama is the first sitting U.S. president to visit Ethiopia. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)n Top Stories Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizonalast_img read more

CWT Earns a Double Victory at 2013 EyeForTravel Mobile Innovation Awar

first_imgCarlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) was recognized with two awards at this year’s EyeForTravel Mobile Innovation Awards event held in San Francisco on March 18, 2013.WorldMate, CWT’s mobile subsidiary, won EyeForTravel’s ‘Best Mobile App’ award for the second consecutive year and CWT earned the award for ‘Best Mobile Strategy,’ a category that recognizes those companies that have excelled in the way that they have planned and integrated a cross-platform mobile offering.‘Investing in mobile services for our customers is part of our commitment to delivering the perfect trip, as we aim to provide travelers with personalized and relevant information through multiple channels,’ commented Douglas Anderson, CWT president and chief executive officer.CWT To Go powered by WorldMate will be available to CWT travelers in the coming months and will include services such as itinerary management for trips booked via CWT or through other channels, real-time flight updates and, later this year, mobile booking.‘WorldMate is changing the way people travel, providing the ultimate mobile experience and an efficient solution for managing all aspects of travel’, commented Ian Berman, vice president business development at WorldMate. ‘We are thrilled that our app continues to be recognized as the number one app for business travelers, and as we transition       CWT To Go over to the WorldMate platform, we are excited about bringing additional, industry-first services to CWT’s clients’.Source = Carlson Wagonlit Travellast_img read more

Saudi Arabian Airlines expands network infrastructure worldwide

first_imgSaudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) expands network infrastructure worldwideSaudi Arabian Airlines expands network  infrastructure worldwideAirline selects SITA for cloud support for its 200 offices worldwide across 60 countriesSaudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA), the national airline of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has selected SITA to support its strategic expansion plans by introducing modern, world-class IT infrastructure across 200 of the airline’s offices located in 100 cities and airports in 60 countries.The solution will support the airline’s global IT infrastructure which connects all SAUDIA outstations with its headquarters and various data centers worldwide.SITA, the IT provider to the air transport industry, will introduce its unique ATI Cloud solution, which will allow SAUDIA to manage and distribute its business applications, information and business services on-demand, anywhere in the world. The agreement also includes infrastructure, IT support and round-the-clock service through a dedicated service center.SAUDIA’s incremental growth and global expansion has seen the airline open new offices in key cities and in turn, has developed new IT requirements to support the demand for the carrier’s continued growth in passenger numbers in the Kingdom and beyond.Airlines are increasingly looking for specialized content and service providers to meet their requirements. SITA, with its global presence and expertize, was identified as a trusted partner to implement a solution that would drive greater efficiency and productivity.Director General of Saudi Arabian Airlines, His Excellency Eng. Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser commented: “As the national carrier moves forward with expansion plans across the entire organization and operations, it is crucial that we continue investing in leading-edge, modern technology. SAUDIA has a critical role to play in the nation’s Vision 2030, and continues to grow both in the Kingdom and beyond.“SITA has had a long working relationship with SAUDIA, and we believe this investment in new IT infrastructure will be vital in supporting our growing operations globally. SITA showcased very quick turn-around time and a future-proof solution that is adaptable to any site.”Hani El-Assaad, SITA President Middle East, India and Africa, said: “With the rapid progress of hosted applications and cloud-based environments, it is the right time for SAUDIA to adopt cloud solutions across its network. From a commercial perspective, quick responses to IT services requests are essential for running a successful operation and ensuring happy passengers. We are delighted to continue working with the airline as it embarks on its new phase of growth.”Source = SITAlast_img read more

DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Penang invites

first_imgSource = DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Penang Doubletree Resort by Hilton Penang invites guests to discover the rich heritage of Malaysia’s culinary capitalDoubleTree Resort by Hilton Penang invites guests to discoverNew “Jom Makan” campaign allows visitors to learn all about Penang’s gastronomy, from hawker stalls to cooking classesDoubleTree Resort by Hilton Penang is inviting food lovers to discover the amazing flavors of Penang with a journey of discovery into the island’s unique culinary scene.Part of Hilton Worldwide (NYSE: HLT), this stunning seafront resort is the perfect base from which to explore the gastronomic culture of Penang, which is often labeled the “Culinary Capital of Malaysia”. The new “Jom Makan” (Come Eat) campaign will allow guests to uncover the island’s most mouth-watering attractions, from bustling markets to sizzling street food stalls, exquisite restaurants, creative cooking classes and much more.With its rich cultural diversity, including Peranakan, Indian and Chinese influences, plus a tropical climate and abundance of local seafood, Penang has developed a vibrant food scene, which stimulates the senses with its fantastic flavors, colors and aromas.The island’s most famous dishes include nasi kandar, or rice served with various choices of curries;laksa, the famous spicy noodle soup; char koay teow, a fried flat noodle dish; a popular Penang version of Hokkien mee featuring yellow noodles in prawn soup; and the local tandoori chicken.Chicken TandooriNyonya KuihAll of these delectable dishes, and many more, can be discovered at the street food stalls and local restaurants of Penang’s capital, Georgetown, and the popular beachfront area of Batu Ferringhi.Man preparing noodles at his stallThe launch of Jom Makan also coincides with the Penang International Food Festival (PIFF), a culinary extravaganza that returns to the island this September. This annual event is a celebration of Penang’s street food, with 16 days of mouth-watering food and drink on Georgetown’s Lebuh Pantai (Beach Street). Guests can immerse themselves in a carnival of cuisine, including an invasion of more than 150 food trucks, themed dining experiences, mini festivals and a professional chefs’ challenge.DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Penang offers regular complimentary shuttle bus services to and from Georgetown and Batu Ferringhi, allowing guests to experience this free culinary fiesta and other events such as the Georgetown Festival, which returns this summer.“Every visit to Penang is a feast for the senses. At DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Penang, we are proud of this rich culinary heritage and encourage our guests to experience every mouth-watering delicacy the island has to offer,” said Jamie Mead, the resort’s Regional General Manager. “Our own chefs present an array of authentic local dishes at Makan Kitchen, our lively all-day restaurant. Alternatively, guests who want to learn more about the island’s food can ask our concierge who will be delighted to recommend the best places to discover local cuisine.Penang morning marketPenang morning market“I would like to invite all guests to jom makan – come and eat with us here in Penang, the culinary capital of Malaysia,” he added.Visitors who want to discover daily life in Penang can choose to visit the island’s markets such as Chowrasta Bazaar, where locals flock to buy fresh meat and fish, along with a wide range of sweets and pickled fruits. Then after dark, Macallum Street Night Market is the perfect place to savor incredible local street food in a vibrant and colorful setting.Penang night marketPenang night market during the festive seasonGuests can also experience a wide variety of hawker stalls and charming family restaurants in World Heritage-listed Georgetown, while the Long Beach Food Court in Batu Ferringhi allows diners to choose from an amazing array of delicacies.Finally, guests can completely immerse themselves in Penang’s culinary culture with a cooking class. The Tropical Spice Garden Cooking School provides the perfect introduction to the island’s most popular dishes, while Nazlina’s Spice Station takes guests on a tour of the local food markets before returning to Georgetown for an atmospheric alfresco class.Meanwhile, the Kid’s Club at DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Penang hosts children’s cooking classes, introducing a new generation of potential chefs to the wonders of Malay cuisine.DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Penang is inviting guests to discover everything that Penang has to offer with special rates that include daily buffet breakfast for four people, plus warm chocolate chip cookies upon arrival. To learn more, please CLICK HERE.For more information or to book your next vacation at DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Penang, please visit DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Penang or call +60-4-892 8000.last_img read more

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