6:27 AM 4/18/2018 – Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks: Bishop hace una nueva advertencia al gobierno de Puerto Rico

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Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
“Dolor y gloria”, nueva película de Almodóvar con Banderas y Penélope Cruz
Former FBI chief says Trump’s leadership style “strikingly similar” to mob boss
Cuba’s next president? Who is Miguel Díaz-Canel
Emilio Vázquez culpable de fraude con ayuda a Puerto Rico
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Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
Bishop hace una nueva advertencia al gobierno de Puerto Rico

mikenova shared this story .

Washington – Como presidente del comité que supervisa la puesta en marcha de la ley Promesa, el republicano Rob Bishop (Utah) advirtió ayer que sería irresponsable y una violación de ese estatuto, que el gobierno de Puerto Rico ignore las reformas que la Junta de Supervisión Fiscal (JSF) -que tiene a su cargo las finanzas públicas de la isla- va a incluir en los planes fiscales.

“Si el gobierno no implementa lo que haga la JSF sería una violación de la ley”, expresó el congresista Bishop, al responder preguntas de El Nuevo Día en el Capitolio.

Bishop, presidente del Comité de Recursos Naturales de la Cámara de Representantes, piensa que no debe haber disputa en torno a si la JSF tiene la autoridad no solo para proponerle al tribunal de bancarrota territorial una reducción en las pensiones de los jubilados del gobierno, sino además cambios en las normas laborales de Puerto Rico.

“No es un debate. Es una violación de ley. ¿No es así? Es lo que dice la ley”, subrayó, en referencia al poder de la JSF sobre el gobierno electo de la isla.

En una carta el Jueves Santo –que generó duras críticas del gobernador Ricardo Rosselló-, Bishop advirtió a la JSF que “se le ha delegado un deber estatutario para ordenar cualesquiera reformas –sean fiscales o estructurales–, al gobierno de Puerto Rico para asegurar cumplir con Promesa”.

Aunque luego un asesor de Bishop dijo que no se debe pensar que ambos asuntos están 100% asociados, en su carta a la JSF, Bishop vinculó el flujo de fondos para mitigar la emergencia que generó el huracán María a la aprobación de reformas y la eliminación de gastos redundantes.

En la agenda de la JSF ha estado recortar el pago de las pensiones en un 10%, y una reforma laboral que incluya reducir a solo siete días las licencias de vacaciones y de enfermedad en la empresa priva, hacer voluntario el bono de Navidad y eliminar la protección contra el despido injustificado.

Rosselló reafirmó ayer en San Juan que ese tipo de reformas “no las vamos a ejecutar”. Ayer, Bishop dio el beneficio de la duda al gobierno de Rosselló y confió en que va a aceptar implantar los planes fiscales que certifique la JSF.

“El gobierno allá es responsable. Saben que ha habido décadas de mal manejo fiscal que han llevado a la nación a un colapso financiero total. (El gobierno) no va a ser irresponsable y no trabajar con la JSF. Nadie sería irresponsable para no tratar de resolver los problemas”, indicó.

Bishop, por otro lado, dijo que aún espera cumplir con la agenda original del Comité y convocar a una audiencia sobre el status político de Puerto Rico y los esfuerzos de la comisionada residente en Washington, Jenniffer González, para promover legislación a favor de la admisión de la isla como estado 51 de EE.UU. El tema delstatus formó parte de la agenda de la comisión desde antes del plebiscito de 2017, en el que -en medio de un boicot de los partidos de oposición y con una participación electoral de 23%-, la estadidad obtuvo el 97% de los votos.

“Jenniffer (González) ha trabajado bien duro para promover ese asunto. Espero que no hayan situaciones que hagan más difícil alcanzar esa meta”, dijo Bishop, después de hablar sobre las reformas del gobierno.

La comisionada espera dialogar con Bishop sobre la convocatoria a una audiencia y la presentación de nuevos “proyectos” de ley en favor de que Puerto Rico sea el estado 51. En el Senado, el republicano Marco Rubio (Florida) ha advertido que no hay votos para avanzar un proyecto proestadidad.

¿Speaker Bishop?

Bishop no ha respondido preguntas sobre si estaría disponible para ser el próximo speaker- si los republicanos retienen la mayoría-, en caso de que el portavoz republicano, Kevin McCarthy (California), principal candidato, no alcance votos suficientes.

McCarthy ha sido endosado por el speaker Paul Ryan –quien no irá a la reelección-, pero puede ser retado por el conservador Jim Jordan (Ohio), del Freedom Caucus, poniendo en riesgo que consiga en enero los 218 votos necesarios para ser speaker si los republicanos retienen la mayoría cameral en las elecciones de noviembre.

El presidente del Freedom Caucus, Mark Meadows (Carolina del Norte), mencionó en el New York Post a Bishop -quien ha dicho que se retira del Congreso en el 2020-, como un candidato sorpresa, pues tiene buenas relaciones con los moderados y conservadores del Grand Old Party (GOP).

“Es prematuro”, dijo Bishop, pero cuando se le preguntó si dudaba que McCarthy alcanzara suficientes votos, afirmó que el actual portavoz de la mayoría “va ser un buen speaker”.

“Dolor y gloria”, nueva película de Almodóvar con Banderas y Penélope Cruz

mikenova shared this story from efe’s YouTube Videos.

From: efe
Duration: 01:36

Madrid, 18 abr (EFE).- “Dolor y gloria” es el título de la próxima película de Pedro Almodóvar cuyo rodaje comenzará en la primera quincena del próximo mes de julio y contará con Antonio Banderas y Penélope Cruz, anunció un portavoz de la productora El Deseo.

Banderas y Asier Etxeandía serán los protagonistas de la historia mientras que Cruz y Julieta Serrano tendrán personajes secundarios “esenciales” en el que es el vigésimo primer largometraje del cineasta español.
En palabras de Almodóvar, “Dolor y Gloria” habla “de la creación, cinematográfica y teatral, y de la dificultad de separar la creación de la propia vida”.
El guion narra “una serie de reencuentros, algunos físicos y otros recordados después de décadas, de un director de cine en su ocaso: los primeros amores, los segundos amores, la madre, la mortalidad, un actor con el que el director trabajó, los sesenta, los ochenta, la actualidad y el vacío, el inconmensurable vacío ante la imposibilidad de seguir rodando”.
Al contrario que “Julieta”, su anterior película, “Dolor y Gloria” será una película con protagonistas masculinos, señala el director, que además resalta: “también recupero a dos actrices que adoro, Penélope Cruz y Julieta Serrano”.

IMÁGENES DE ARCHIVO

Former FBI chief says Trump’s leadership style “strikingly similar” to mob boss

mikenova shared this story .

Former FBI Director James comey arrives for a taping of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” in the Manhattan borough of New York City. Photo: Reuters

New York: Former FBI director James Comey on Tuesday told late-night talk show host Stephen Colbert that the way U.S. President Donald Trump leads is “strikingly similar” to a mob boss.
Comey appeared on “The Late Show” to promote his tell-all memoir, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership”, which went on sale at midnight on Tuesday.
Colbert asked Comey about how he described in the book the people around Trump as having a mob or a “Cosa Nostra” quality.
“The leadership style is actually strikingly similar,” he told Colbert.

“I don’t mean it in the sense that Donald Trump is out breaking legs or shaking down shop keepers. I mean it in the sense that (when) he leads, it’s all about the boss.”

Comey said that Trump appears to lack external reference points in his life, such as religion or history, necessary to be an ethical leader.

Comey added that Trump could be a more ethical leader if he surrounded himself with people who could serve as external reference points.

“But, I wouldn’t be optimistic,” said Comey, who appeared relaxed as he was dressed in a black shirt, slacks and a gray blazer.

Comey was fired by Trump in May last year as the Federal Bureau of Investigation was probing possible connections between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia’s meddling in the U.S. election.

Referring to Comey’s sacking, Colbert asked him if he was surprised that he got “whacked.”

“I actually was quite surprised because I thought ‘I’m leading the Russia investigation’,” Comey replied after laughing. “Even though our relationship was becoming strained, there was no way I was going to get fired or whacked.”

Russia has denied interfering in the election and Trump has denied any collusion or improper activity.

Conservative commentators, such as Fox News host Tucker Carlson, have attacked Comey as partisan and indecisive in his handling of the email scandal that dogged Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Others, like former Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, have denounced Comey for leaking memos about his discussions with Trump.

For his part, Trump has repeatedly hurled insulting tweets at Comey, such as calling him a “slime ball,” in the run-up to the release of his book, challenging accusations made in the book and the author’s integrity.

“He’s Tweeted at me probably 50 times. I’ve been gone for a year,” Comey said. “I’m like a breakup he can’t get over.”

Cuba’s next president? Who is Miguel Díaz-Canel

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Cuban President Raul Castro, left, and Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel attend the opening of a legislative session at the National Assembly in Havana, Cuba, on July 6, 2013.(Photo: Ismael Francisco, AP)

Cuba is set to undergo a historic shift this week, elevating a relatively unknown Communist Party official to replace retiring President Raúl Castro.

But who is Miguel Díaz-Canel? And what does his ascension to the top of Cuba’s government mean for a country that has been run by the Castro brothers for nearly 60 years?

Little is known about the 57-year-old heir apparent who is expected to lead Cuba in a post-Castro world. He has not granted interviews to foreign media, and the state-run newspapers in Cuba have only shared snippets of his travels inside of Cuba and abroad.

Christopher Sabatini, a lecturer of international relations and policy who has studied Cuba, said the shroud of mystery surrounding Díaz-Canel is by design. The Cuban regime, he said, has carefully presented a profile of a man who is a staunch communist, but one in touch with Cuba’s younger generation as it transitions away from Castro’s contemporaries.

“He likes the Rolling Stones. He likes the Beatles. He has an iPad. We hear that repeated over and over,” Sabatini said. “That to me smacks of a well-managed (public relations) campaign.”

Starting this week, Díaz-Canel will carry the weight of the presidency at a time when relations with the U.S. are becoming more antagonistic and Cuba’s main economic lifeline, Venezuela, is cratering.

Here are four things we do know about the future leader.

Communist Party leader

After graduating from college in the central city of Santa Clara, Díaz-Canel performed his three years of obligatory military service and jumped right into party politics.

In 1987, he joined the Young Communists’ Union and started rising through the ranks. By 1994, he was named first party secretary in Villa Clara province. Neighbors say he didn’t move to the larger homes provided by the government to people in that position.

“He didn’t even fix up his house to live more comfortably,” Roberto Suarez Tagle, 78, a neighbor, told the Associated Press. “He always found out about the real problems that people had.”

In 2003, he was named first secretary of the more populous province of Holguin in eastern Cuba, and was also named to the Communist Party’s Politburo, one of its highest decision-making bodies.

In 2013, Castro named Díaz-Canel first vice president of the Council of State, placing him in line to replace Castro.

Minister of Education

Díaz-Canel maintained a separate career track throughout his time in politics.

After finishing his military service, he worked as an engineering professor at the University of Santa Clara. Years later, he was named Cuba’s minister of education.

Cuban media fawned over his approach to that role, boasting that he was one of the first high-ranking government officials to bring a laptop to government meetings, and pushing for more technology in Cuba’s under-funded classrooms.

Miguel Diaz-Canel, left, who is expected to replace Cuban President Raul Castro, chats with a man as he queues at a polling station in Santa Clara, Cuba, during an election to ratify a new National Assembly, on March 11, 2018. (Photo: Alejandro Ernesto, AFP/Getty Images)

Cuba’s state-run newspaper, Granma, routinely publishes stories of Díaz-Canel’s visits to schools around the country. During a visit to schools in Santiago de Cuba, where the remains of Fidel Castro were interred in 2016, Díaz-Canel called on teachers to carry on one of Castro’s legacies by ensuring that free education endured.

“If we took the oath that Fidel would always be with us…this work must become a bulwark, so that in the process of training young people, they are able to channel our comandante both in their sentiments and daily actions,” he said, according to Granma.

Raising his profile

Would-be successors to the Castro brothers have come and gone, but the Cuban regime has been easing Díaz-Canel into more prominent roles in recent years.

According to state media, he has hosted meetings in Cuba with leaders of Mexico, Spain, Germany, India, Pakistan, El Salvador, South Africa, Portugal, the United Arab Emirates, the Vatican, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

He has also led government delegations to Russia, China, Japan, North Korea, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Angola, Bolivia, and the 2016 Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.

In recent years, Cuban reporters have chronicled his trips around the island as he visited schools, business centers, manufacturing plants and sugar mills.

True Believer

The few times he’s spoken publicly, Díaz-Canel has made clear that he’s a true believer in the Marxist-Leninist ideology that formed the basis of the Castro revolution. He’s also fully embraced the island’s suspicion of the Yankees to the north.

In a speech in October, he blasted the United States for its insistence that Cuba move toward a more democratic government.

“Imperialism can never be trusted, not even a tiny bit, never,” he said, echoing the words of Ernesto “Che” Guevara on the 50th anniversary of his death.

His most extensive comments came in a video that was leaked and posted on YouTube by Cuban dissident Antonio Rodiles last year. In the video, Díaz-Canel said the embassies of the U.S., Norway, Spain, Germany and Britain were supporting “subversive activity” on the island. And he vowed to crack down on dissidents and independent media, who he said were being paid by foreign actors trying to foment dissent.

“We will shut it down,” Díaz-Canel said of one website. “Let the scandal ensure. Let them say we censor. Everyone censors here.”

Such comments, Sabatini said, show that the public image the Cubans are trying to put forth masks the reality that Díaz-Canel will act no differently than his hard-line predecessors.

“There’s no reason to believe otherwise,” Sabatini said. “He wouldn’t have made it this far if he wasn’t.”

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Emilio Vázquez culpable de fraude con ayuda a Puerto Rico

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Un hombre que se hizo pasar por millonario y pagó con cheques y transferencias bancarias fraudulentas por servicios de almacenamiento y envió de ayuda humanitaria a Puerto Rico tras el huracán María, se ha declarado culpable en el tribunal federal de Miami.

Emilio Ismael Vázquez, de 47 años, llegó a un acuerdo el lunes con la fiscalía federal y aceptó culpabilidad por un cargo de fraude con trasferencias bancarias, de acuerdo con un comunicado del Departamento de Justicia. Vázquez, quien tiene un extenso historial delictivo, ahora enfrenta hasta 20 años de cárcel y será sentenciado en junio. El fiscal Joshua S. Rothstein fue el encargado del caso.

Vázquez engañó a varios negocios de Doral y a activistas y celebridades, quienes, creyendo que él era un buen samaritano y miembro de una acaudalada familia boricua, ayudaron a recoger donaciones para los damnificados durante la pasada temporada de huracanes.

De acuerdo con documentos judiciales, Vázquez alquiló almacenes y fletó aviones de carga para llevar las donaciones a la isla en Octubre, y trató de saldar el costo de los servicios por más de $685,000 con los cheques y transferencias falsas.

A pesar de ser un prófugo de la justicia por violar las reglas de su libertad condicional en un caso separado de fraude, Vázquez incluso viajó a Puerto Rico con las celebridades a distribuir parte de las donaciones.

El Nuevo Herald y Univisión 23 reportaron el caso de Vázquez en noviembre.

Tras quedar al descubierto desapareció del área del sur de Florida y fue arrestado meses después, el 23 de enero, en Brooklyn, New York por agentes del Servicio Secreto de Estados Unidos.

“Una búsqueda durante el arresto reveló que el acusado estaba en posesión de documentos fraudulentos con el nombre de E.S.”, según documentos de la corte.

En el sur de Florida Vázquez se identificó como Emilio Serrallés, dijo que vivía en Coral Gables y que era uno de los dueños de las Destilerías Serrallés, productores del ron boricua Don Q. La familia Serrallés negó tener vínculos con Vázquez y repudió sus acciones.

Pero eso no lo sabían los voluntarios que recogían ayuda en Miami, a los que Vázquez contactó poco después del paso del huracán por la Isla del Encanto. Ofreció pagar casi un millón de dólares por los almacenes para las donaciones y por los aviones para enviar la carga.

Esperanzados con la oferta, algunos de los voluntarios formaron rápidamente el Puerto Rico Relief Committee. En menos de una semana Vázquez alquiló los almacenes a Commercial Property Group y negoció los vuelos privados con Miami Air International, que salieron entre el 8 y el 16 de octubre, según la denuncia penal.

Además, el Nuevo Herald entrevistó en noviembre al propietario de la compañía de aviones de carga Global Aviation Link, quien dijo que Vázquez le pagó casi medio millón de dólares con cheques fraudulentos (esta empresa no es mencionada en los documentos judiciales).

Cuando los bancos avisaron a las compañías que los cheques eran falsos, ya era demasiado tarde. En medio de esa disputa, la mayor parte de la ayuda se quedó estancada en varios aeropuertos puertorriqueños. Se desconoce si, finalmente, toda la carga se entregó a los damnificados.

Al ser confrontado por sus víctimas, Vázquez les indicó que se encontraba en Londres, supuestamente ultimando los detalles del funeral de su hija, que había muerto trágicamente.

Cuando una de las compañías le pidió a Vázquez que saldara su deuda con dinero en efectivo, este respondió por correo electrónico: “te garantizo frente a la tumba de mi hermosa hija que recibirás la transferencia esta noche”.

Sin embargo, Vázquez no tiene ninguna hija, según dijo en el 2016 su hermana, Vivian Vázquez, a las autoridades del condado Orange, en Florida.

“[Él] Emplea ese truco como una excusa”, dijo Vivian, de acuerdo con documentos judiciales.

El sospechoso ya tenía una orden de arresto en el condado Orange, por incumplir las reglas de su libertad condicional por otro delito. Según registros públicos, Vázquez huyó de esa zona en el 2016, después de intentar comprar tres casas con cheques falsos, pagar su alquiler con cheques falsos y vaciar la cuenta bancaria de su padre, quien vive en un asilo.

cambridge analytica – Google News: Inside Cambridge Analytica’s Virtual Currency Plans – New York Times

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New York Times
Inside Cambridge Analytica’s Virtual Currency Plans
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SAN FRANCISCO The embattled voter-profiling firm Cambridge Analytica quietly sought to develop its own virtual currency in recent months through a so-called initial coin offering, a novel fund-raising method that has come under growing scrutiny by
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New York seeks more information from crypto exchanges reut.rs/2ETKluH

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New York seeks more information from crypto exchanges reut.rs/2ETKluH


Posted by mikenov on Tuesday, April 17th, 2018 9:56pm
Cambridge Analytica Ex-CEO Refuses to Testify in UK – U.S. News & World Report

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U.S. News & World Report
Cambridge Analytica Ex-CEO Refuses to Testify in UK
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The British Parliament’s media committee says Cambridge Analytica’s former CEO, Alexander Nix, says he’ll no longer testify at an upcoming session on fake news, citing an ongoing investigation by the information commissioner’s office. April 17, 2018
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Inside Cambridge Analytica’s Virtual Currency Plans – New York Times

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New York Times
Inside Cambridge Analytica’s Virtual Currency Plans
New York Times
SAN FRANCISCO The embattled voter-profiling firm Cambridge Analytica quietly sought to develop its own virtual currency in recent months through a so-called initial coin offering, a novel fund-raising method that has come under growing scrutiny by 
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2:44 PM 4/17/2018 Video News Review: Sigue polémica por declaraciones de Comey

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Spread The News            Saved Stories – None Sigue polémica por declaraciones de Comey Wilbur Ross: “EE.UU. trabajara de manera más estrecha con América Latina”. Trump destaca empleos hispanos EE.UU. destaca progreso en países del ‘triángulo norte’ Tecnología contra el hambre mundial EE.UU. destaca progreso en países del ‘triángulo norte’ Desde el 17 de abril por … Continue reading“2:44 PM 4/17/2018 – Video News Review: Sigue polémica por declaraciones de Comey”

Buenos Días América – abril 17, 2018

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Información ágil y actualizada en las voces de los protagonistas con todo lo que sucede en el mundo, los deportes y el entretenimiento.

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trump and comey – Google Search

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James Comey says Donald Trump never laughs. Is he right?

CNN4 hours ago
Washington (CNN) Donald Trump doesn’t laugh. That’s according to former FBI Director James Comey, who told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he developed a bit of an obsession with Trump’s lack of mirth after the President fired him last May. Here’s the exchange between Comey and …
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Windrush Controversy: Theresa May Apologises to Caribbean Leaders

mikenova shared this story from Global News Podcast.

UK Prime Minister ‘genuinely sorry’ about treatment of long-term migrants. Also, France’s President Macron urges EU to shun nationalism, Turkish government cracks down on domestic opposition, the remarkable life of South Korean actress Choi Eun-hee who survived abduction by the North, and Frenchman Jérôme Hamon gets ‘third face’ in new transplant.

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El mundo al día [Radio] – abril 16, 2018

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Las noticias del acontecer de Estados Unidos y el mundo con la Voz de América. [30 min.]

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International Edition 2330 EDT – April 15, 2018

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US warns of new Syrian attack if chemical weapons are used again. Warming relations between North Korea and China. The second March for Science. Social media response to news of Barbara Bush’s health. Sounds of Sade.

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Buenos Días América – abril 16, 2018

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Información ágil y actualizada en las voces de los protagonistas con todo lo que sucede en el mundo, los deportes y el entretenimiento.

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International Edition 1305 EDT – April 16, 2018

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Russia rejects a British claim that it is interfering with the chemical weapons investigation in Syria, a Russian journalist dies in mysterious circumstances and we look at Western films about Russia…are they a reflection of history or propaganda?

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International Edition 2330 EDT – April 16, 2018

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Chemical weapons inspectors in Syria will visit the site of an alleged attack on Wednesday. President Trump’s Lawyer Secretly Represented Conservative Talk Show Host Sean Hannity. The latest on a simmering trade spat between China and the United States. Two recent western films on Russia depict the country’s dark political underbelly.

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Puerto Rico telecom infrastructure must also be rebuilt for resiliency Caribbean Business

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Editor’s note: This story first appeared in the April 12-18, 2018, issue of Caribbean Business.

While most everyone in Puerto Rico is talking about the island’s fragile energy grid destroyed by hurricanes Irma and María, they also tend to forget that the telecommunications infrastructure was also wiped out.

Puerto Rico, in that regard, could serve as a warning to the mainland United States for failing to rebuild its existing infrastructure to more resilient standards.

Paul Horgan, head of North America Commercial Insurance for Zurich Insurance company, a global firm that provides services to 80 percent of Fortune 500 businesses, said during a recent visit that Puerto Rico is really an example of what is also happening in the United States “where we have a history of a lack of investment in infrastructure and its useful life is currently running out.”

“The U.S. mainland infrastructure may not be in imminent danger of a comparable catastrophe, but with increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events, such as Hurricane Harvey, multiple Nor’easters, wildfires and flooding in the Midwest, [the situation] cannot continue to be ignored,” Horgan said.

Horgan stressed the need to build infrastructure in a resilient manner. Studies have shown in the United States that $1.2 trillion is wasted by businesses because of failed infrastructure, including $26 billion in losses caused by congested or failing roads that prevent prompt shipment of products.

Proposed federal infrastructure legislation that would pour in money for projects is still in the making. Besides the energy grid, which the government is trying to completely overhaul to ensure it is reliable, José “Pepe” Izquierdo, chairman of the Public Buildings Authority, said telecommunications is another example of the island’s biggest infrastructure challenges seven months after the hurricanes.

“We knew it but did not realize it until we lost our communications infrastructure. Lots of antennas were blown away. Puerto Rico’s [communications] were broken because it took the government a week to speak with mayors. We ran out of cash. Only one radio station survived the hurricane. We have become enslaved by telecommunications, along with our electricity,” he said.

–Read the rest of this article in Caribbean Business’ epaper here.

Puerto Rico needs bold, visionary effort, especially in energy

mikenova shared this story .

It has been a long time since I have seen a news story about the situation in Puerto Rico. It was sometime before the Stormy Daniels story broke, and Stormy makes for better headlines apparently than the after effects of Hurricane Maria. And the process Congress set up in 2016 to cope with and resolve the underlying economic crisis in the territory remains unfulfilled.

When you do see a story, such as this one about a revised fiscal plan proposed by Gov. Pedro Rosello, it is hard to know whether or not it merely reflects the concentrated effort to shape the narrative being made by U.S.-based investors. One gets the sense that the political urgency for dealing with the debt crisis has lessened even though the hurricanes worsened the already fragile economy on the island in catastrophic ways. In part, this loss of urgency stems from the uptick in economic activity that is a result of the rebuilding effort, but that uptick will not last and the underlying economic realities remain grim.

report by the Rhodium Group issued earlier this month stated that the blackout caused by Maria is the largest in U.S. history and the second largest in the history of the world. There are still approximately 100,000 people who lack power six months after the storm swept through. Here in Connecticut, we lost power for 36 hours during a winter storm, and I thought I would climb the walls!

Additionally, people who have had their power restored will still lose it on occasion, even in the San Juan metro area. A friend called just before Holy Week to discuss a story she heard on the radio. “We haven’t had cable or internet for a week,” she said casually. I sent an email to the Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez of San Juan, whom I wanted to interview for this column, and did not hear back for a few days: He had lost power. These intermittent losses of power or internet service make the conduct of normal business very difficult, to say nothing of how it frays the nerves. This report in The Washington Post captures some of that anxiety.

Beyond the challenges inflicted by the hurricane, the fiscal crisis has only worsened. “Early last year, Puerto Rico’s oversight board and governor authorized a fiscal plan with high debt payment cuts and austerity measures,” Eric LeCompte, executive director of JubileeUSA told NCR. JubileeUSA has been very active monitoring the debt crisis negotiations. “When the hurricanes hit, the oversight board eliminated the previous plan to make room for a new plan that took into account the storm devastation. As we were working on a new fiscal plan early this year, there were some serious improvements, including a complete stop on debt payments.” For a variety of reasons, Puerto Rico’s public debt soared in the past 10 years as economic activity on the island never rebounded from the 2008 recession and the phasing out of special tax breaks for manufacturing on the island in 2006.

“Unfortunately, the governor’s most recent plan looks largely similar to the plan before the hurricanes and doesn’t stop debt payments or take into account the magnitude of hurricane damage,” says LeCompte. “In the next few weeks, the oversight board will likely certify a new fiscal plan and we need to be sure that a new plan stops all debt payments for at least five years, supports a high total principle cut of the debt, lessens austerity and has specific measures to only pay debt in the future if we see sustained economic growth and child poverty reduction.”

LeCompte is also worried that Congress may not authorize the reconstruction money the island needs. “Puerto Rico can’t succeed if Congress does not authorize the remaining recovery funds the island needs,” he told me. “We continue to work with congressional leadership to get the remaining installments of relief aid over the coming months.” A recent investigation by Politico showed how the Trump administration heavily favored reconstruction efforts in Houston over those in Puerto Rico, even though the devastation caused by Maria was much worse than what Hurricane Harvey brought to Texas.

Most frustratingly, to my mind, is the fact that apart from a few small projects, no one is really linking the recovery effort from the hurricane to a long-term economic development program. There is an obvious place to start: The power grid. Puerto Rico is not the Bahamas. Running east to west down the center of the island is a large mountain chain. The electrical grid brings the electricity generated by diesel in the south across the mountains to the population centers on the north coast. Puerto Ricans pay north of 40 cents per kilowatt hour for their electricity while most people in the States pay between 16 and 21 cents. Puerto Rico gets about 1 percent of its power from sustainable sources, even though there are ample solar and wind resources. If we had an administration in either Washington or San Juan that was on the ball, they would be looking to eliminate the island-wide grid and replace it with local infrastructure based on solar and wind power.

A team of engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology installed a solar-powered water purification system at the Boys and Girls Club in Loíza, a poor town east of San Juan. They are now working with the archbishop to install more such systems in the San Juan area. The Casa Pueblo organization in the mountain town of Adjuntas is working on some sustainable energy projects, among other wonderful work they do. But these are small efforts, and in the wake of the kind of devastation — economic and environmental — that Puerto Rico has sustained, more is needed.

Instead of a bold, visionary effort to make Puerto Rico a model for sustainable energy, the island is now the object of predatory “disaster capitalism” as Naomi Klein discussed in this video for The Intercept.

The resilience of the people of Puerto Rico shines through whenever I speak with my friends on the island. But they are worried. Many people continue to move to the mainland in search of work opportunities, especially the professional classes. The governor appears only too willing to bow to the demands of the creditors, even when the fiscal control board seems eager to write off a significant percentage of the government’s debt. And Washington is fixated on the “forest fire” that is the Trump administration, to borrow a phrase from James Comey. Meanwhile, the people, especially the poor, suffer unnecessarily.

[Michael Sean Winters covers the nexus of religion and politics for NCR.]

Editor’s note: Don’t miss out on Michael Sean Winters’ latest: Sign up to receive free newsletters, and we’ll notify you when he publishes new Distinctly Catholic columns.

COMEY: TRUMP IS “MORALLY INAPPROPRIATE” – Google Search

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Story image for COMEY: TRUMP IS "MORALLY INAPPROPRIATE" from Voice of America

Comey : Trump is ” morally inadequate ” for his position, House …

Voice of America – 3 hours ago
Former FBI Director James Comey said that President Donald Trump is ” morally inadequate ” for his position and that there is “some evidence” that Trump obstructed justice. ” Comey made the remarks in a one-hour interview with ABC News released on Sunday and that …
Comey : Trump is “morally incapacitated” to be president 
In-Depth – El Comercio – 3 hours ago
Presentación exitosa de confinados en Bayamón

mikenova shared this story from Periódico El Expresso de Puerto Rico.

San Juan, Puerto Rico (12 de abril de 2018) – La dificultades de la integración a la libre comunidad entre los ex confinados de Puerto Rico, quedaron dramatizadas tras la exitosa presentación de la obra teatral ‘Imagínate’ en el Teatro Braulio Castillo de Bayamón, protagonizada por 60 mujeres de la población correccional del Departamento de Corrección y Rehabilitación (DCR).

“La obra es una herramienta de educación indiscutible para presentar ante la sociedad un conflicto importante en la incorporación de los ex confinados a la libre comunidad, al tiempo en que nuevamente, crea una nueva oportunidad de rehabilitación entre los miembros de la población correccional que integra la pieza”, sostuvo el secretario del DCR, Erik Rolón Suárez.

‘Imagínate’ se presentó bajo la dirección de la primera actriz Elia Enid Cadilla, también directora del programa institucional de teatro en el DCR, ‘Tú Decides’.

Cinco historias cortas comprenden la obra que ejemplifica vivencias sobre las realidades de los ex confinados y la sociedad a través 60 mujeres de la población correccional que forman parte del Centro de Rehabilitación para Mujeres de Bayamón.

Rolón Suárez, quien recordó que el destaque de la rehabilitación ha sido parte de la encomienda del gobernador Ricardo Rosselló, felicitó también a los participantes y destacó la importancia del teatro como medio para la rehabilitación, “el programa de Teatro Correccional ayuda a plasmar las inquietudes sociales de los confinados y a desarrollar un talento en las tablas que podría tener grandes repercusiones sobre el desarrollo profesional de confinado una vez salga del sistema”.

El DCR anunciará próximamente las fechas para las nuevas presentaciones del programa de Teatro Correccional.

La entrada Presentación exitosa de confinados en Bayamón aparece primero en Periódico El Expresso de Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico a growing hub for cocaine, heroin shipments to the US – Washington Examiner

mikenova shared this story from puerto rico – Google News.


Washington Examiner
Puerto Rico a growing hub for cocaine, heroin shipments to the US
Washington Examiner
Puerto Rico has become a hotbed for drug traffickers attempting to smuggle cocaine and heroin from South America to the East Coast of the U.S.. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized 65,890 pounds of narcotics in and around Puerto Rico from 

“yola vessels – Google Search

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Image result for yola vessels

“yola vessels – Google Search

mikenova shared this story .

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