Unicorns are real Tech baffles Indonesian candidate

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesia’s presidential candidates have debated some of the most pressing issues facing the world’s third-largest democracy: dilapidated infrastructure, struggling farmers, forest fires — and unicorns.When President Joko Widodo, who is seeking a second term, asked former general Prabowo Subianto about his policies for supporting Indonesia’s unicorns a look of bafflement passed across the former military man’s face.Wondering aloud, he replied: “What are unicorns? You mean those online things?” Widodo sagely nodded in the affirmative.Subianto was probably not alone in his ignorance but social media in Indonesia gleefully seized on Sunday’s exchange as proof of his lack of qualification to be president.In the tech world, a unicorn is a start-up company valued at $1 billion and Indonesia has several of them.The Associated Press read more

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Saudi Arabia UAE Reiterate Support for Moroccos Territorial Integrity

Rabat – A list of 23 states have expressed support for Morocco’s territorial integrity and the Autonomy Plan submitted by the North African country to the UN in 2007 as a possible political solution to end the Western Sahara conflict.Permanent Ambassador and representative of Morocco to the UN in Geneva Omar Zinber said on Tuesday, September 10,  that a group of 23 countries believe that the autonomy initiative “has been recognized by the Security Council as a serious and credible basis for definitely resolving the regional conflict.”The countries expressed their support for Morocco’s cause at the 42nd session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. The countries believe that solving the conflict “will contribute to the realization of the legitimate aspirations of the African and Arab peoples in terms of integration and development, an objective to which Morocco is strongly committed.”Zniber, according to Maghreb Arab Press (MAP), said that the countries signed a declaration, in which they emphasize that Morocco has engaged in a constructive, and profound interaction with the UN human rights system, including the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).Read Also: Western Sahara and Alhurra TV’s Affront to the Moroccan PeopleThe group of countries also indicated that 12 special missions visited the Moroccan provinces of Laayoune and Dakha in Western Sahara.  The missions had free and unrestricted access to all places in the region.“It is also in this context that Morocco has hosted a technical mission of the OHCHR, at the invitation of the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco, aimed at strengthening the capacity of action of international institutions,” said the Group.Saudi Arabia and the UAE were among the countries to express their support for Morocco’s autonomy initiatives, despite rumors of tension between Morocco and the two Gulf countries. The reports of friction between Morocco and its Gulf allies   escalated after Saudi Television outlet Al-Arabiya aired a documentary that challenged Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara. Morocco’s government denied any conflict with its allies, emphasizing that it has strong and historical ties with both countries.Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita said in March that from “the point of view of Morocco, relations with Gulf countries,” especially Saudi Arabia and the UAE, “have always been deep historical relations.”In addition to the UAE and Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Jordan also reiterated their support for the Autonomy Plan.The list of Morocco’s supporters also includes: Comoros, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Djibouti, Senegal, Central African Republic, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Sao Tome and Principe, Paraguay, Guatemala, Saint Lucia, and El Salvador. read more

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Ban voices support for continuing efforts to ease ColombiaEcuador tensions

4 June 2008Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today voiced his strong support of continuing regional efforts to help restore normal bilateral relations between the Andean neighbours Colombia and Ecuador. The Organization of American States (OAS) discussed how to restore relations at the group’s latest summit, held earlier this week in Medellín, Colombia, according to a statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson.“The Secretary-General is pleased that a report presented by OAS Secretary-General José Miguel Insulza to the foreign ministers of the Americas gathered in Medellín noted progress in efforts to restore normal bilateral relations between the two countries, and that the foreign ministers requested that Mr. Insulza continue to exercise his good offices in this regard,” the statement noted.Tensions between the two countries surged in March after Colombian military forces launched a cross-border raid into Ecuador that led to the killing of a senior member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a rebel group. read more

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105 billion needed by 2005 in global fight against HIVAIDS UN agencies

According to the study, released by the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the UN World Health Organization (WHO) on the eve of the board meeting of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, funding for next year would have to double to $6.5 billion from the present figure of about $3 billion.The organizations say the new estimates took into account declines in the price of anti-retroviral drugs used to delay the onset of AIDS, and the inclusion of three additional interventions to the 22 included in the original estimates.The interventions are universal precautions to prevent HIV transmission in health care settings, treatment for health care workers who had been exposed to HIV/AIDS and the use of safe needles for all medical injections.Prepared by a working group of the UNAIDS Economics Reference Group, the revised estimates reinforce the call by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to increase spending on AIDS to around $10 billion a year by 2005, the agencies say.Initiated in April 2001 by Mr. Annan as the primary financier of public health interventions in developing countries, the Fund has already attracted $2 billion in pledges. But UNAIDS and WHO say substantial increases in expenditures was needed from government, bilateral and multilateral agencies, non-governmental organizations and the private sector in order to keep pace with the epidemic’s rapid expansion.Of the 40 million people around the world who live with HIV/AIDS, close to 30 million are in Africa, 7.6 million in Asia and 1.5 million in Latin America, according to UNAIDS. Last year, three million people died of AIDS and 5 million new infections were recorded. read more

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Vicious cycle of violence undermining UN efforts to rebuild Iraq top envoy

Noting that the “vicious cycle of violence” was continuing even as he addressed the Security Council today, the top United Nations envoy for Iraq warned that lack of security was halting efforts to rebuild the country and undermining the world body’s efforts to assist in elections set for January.”The tragic human dimension of the current situation in Iraq was brought home to all of us today, with almost 50 people losing their lives in yet another bombing,” Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative for Iraq Ashraf Qazi said of the blast that tore through a crowded market near Baghdad police headquarters.”It is a sign of the resurgence of the vicious cycle of violence that is halting the process of rebuilding the country. Improving the security situation is a collective responsibility that we all share.”Delivering Mr. Annan’s latest report, Mr. Qazi noted the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) is committed to actively support Iraq’s Election Commission in administering and monitoring a fair and credible electoral process. But, he warned the Council, “the extent and scale of UNAMI activity in this regard will necessarily be determined by prevailing circumstances including the security environment.”He stressed that for many Iraqis, UNAMI’s involvement with the political and electoral processes was a sine qua non for their credibility and effectiveness, but the current security environment was far from conducive to the deployment of UNAMI international staff to Iraq, except in minimal numbers.”As Head of UNAMI and Designated Official for the security of the mission personnel, both national and international, security has to be my paramount if not exclusive concern and obligation,” he said. “It has to be the key operating principle.”In his report Mr. Annan says international staff in Iraq are “operating at the outer limit of acceptable and prudent risk” and he warns that UN presence on the ground is limited because of insecurity until further notice. Most international staff were withdrawn last year after a terrorist bomb ripped though UN offices in Baghdad, killing Special Representative Sergio Vieira de Mello and 21 others.”With the deployment of UNAMI to Baghdad, the Blue Flag is once more flying in Iraq albeit, necessarily, in the Green or International Zone. Iraqi expectations of UNAMI are high,” Mr. Qazi said, yet again stressing the security aspect.”It is crucial that the necessary logistical and security arrangements for our operations be finalized as soon as possible,” he declared, noting that the UN was making every effort to support the efforts of the United States-led multinational force in this regard, as well as to generate UNAMI’s own internal security capacity.”It is important, however, that the distinct entity of the multinational force mandated by this Council to provide security for our presence in Iraq should be identified or deployed immediately prior to the deployment of UNAMI guard units,” he added.The continuing violence was also having an adverse effect on achieving inclusiveness in the political and electoral process, Mr. Qazi warned, noting that inducing significant political groups who chose not to attend last month’s National Conference to participate should be a matter of high priority for the Iraqi government.”This will not be an easy undertaking as the recent violence in Najaf and Kufa and the current violence in Baghdad, Falluja, Ramadi, Samarra, Mosul, etc. amply demonstrate,” he said. “The transition process is fragile.”But Mr. Qazi also expressed his confidence in the Iraqi people. “The people of Iraq desperately want peace and to be masters in their own country,” he declared. “They have the talent and the will to peaceably persevere on the path towards these objectives. They see an effective UN role as critical to the realization of their hopes.” read more

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On International Day UN chief Guterres calls on all to stand in

On the International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres highlighted the challenges that UN staff face and urged everyone to ensure that they have the safety they need to help those most in need around the globe. “We are still awaiting news of the fate of two members of the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a sanctions-monitoring body established by the Security Council,” said Mr. Guterres in a message. “We are doing everything possible to find and help them.” Michael Sharp and Zaida Catalan, of the Group of Experts, went missing in the Kasai Central region in the DRC on 12 March along with four Congolese nationals. Noting that the latest case highlighted the perils that UN staff and partners often face while serving the world’s people, the UN chief said that last year, seven UN staff were abducted by non-state actors and four were kept as hostages. “Fortunately, all were ultimately released safely,” he said, but added that more than 20 UN civilian personnel remain in detention, of whom, six are being held without the UN having received any explanation for their arrest. “The Department of Safety and Security and I continue to monitor all of these cases and seek the immediate release of our colleagues,” he added. Mr. Guterres also noted that only 92 UN Member States are party to the 1994 Convention on the Safety of UN and Associated Personnel, and that only 30 have ratified the 2005 Optional Protocol, which extends protection to UN personnel delivering humanitarian, political or development assistance. Urging all countries that have not joined these instruments to do so without delay, the UN chief called on everyone to stand in solidarity with all detained staff and to “pledge to work together to ensure that all UN staff have the safety they need to help the world’s most vulnerable”. The International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members is marked each year on 25 March, the date of the abduction of Alec Collett, who was taken by armed gunmen in 1985 while working for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). His remains were finally found in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley in 2009. read more

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Mindfulness research claims top 3MT prize

You could hear a pin drop when Kaitlyn Kerridge described how, as an undergraduate student, she lay on the floor, debilitated by waves of anxiety and depression.She eventually did get help. But the experience left an indelible mark on her, motivating the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences master’s student to do in-depth research on a mental health strategy that worked for her: mindfulness.Brock Three Minute Thesis finalists Aly Bailey, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences; Ali Anwar, Goodman School of Business; Cody McMahon, Goodman School of Business; Kaitlyn Kerridge, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences; and Shannon Kitchings, Faculty of Social Sciences, competed on Thursday, March 29.Kerridge was one of five finalists in Brock’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT) final round, held Thursday, March 29. Her presentation on how mindfulness – living in the present moment, being aware and accepting of one’s thoughts and feelings – can help post-secondary students deal with mental health issues won her the top spot.She will be representing Brock University in the upcoming Three Minute Thesis (3MT) regional competition next month.“I really want students who are struggling to know that they’re not alone and that there are supports available for them,” says Kerridge on sharing her research.Shannon Kitchings, a master’s student in the Faculty of Social Sciences, placed second with her research that examines how spoken accounts of trauma affect both the speaker and the listener. Now in its sixth year at Brock, the 3MT Challenge originated in Queensland, Australia in 2008 as a way for students to explain their research to a broad audience in plain, accessible terms. Presenters have three minutes and a single slide image to summarize their research.A three-judge panel of judges selected five finalists from 12 presentations delivered at Brock’s Feb. 15 preliminary round.A different, three-judge panel evaluated the final round. Presentation topics included transforming how we think about our body shape, balancing personalized marketing campaigns with consumer privacy concerns, and rehabilitating Second World War veterans through university education.“All the rankings came really close,” says judge Mishka Balsom, President and CEO of the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce.“We really got a sense of the personality behind the research,” she says. “Each one of them was able to make the research uniquely their own; that was really nice to see.”This year’s 3MT co-ordinator, Stacia Heaton, says she was inspired by how much the students developed their communication and presentation skills within the last few months.“The 3MT challenge is a wonderful opportunity for Brock to get our research out there in a way that’s creative and engaging,” she says.Heaton says this and other communications challenges help prepare students for future opportunities.“Being able to share your research in plain language is an essential skill, whether pursuing a career within or outside of academia,” she says.Kerridge takes home $500 and will advance to the 3MT Ontario regional round, to be held at York University April 19. Kitchings received a $250 prize. read more

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Christian Gaudin is fired in Constanta

The winners of Romanian Super Cup 2017, Dobrudga Sud from Constanta ended cooperation with the French coach Christian Gaudin, according Romanian website handball-volei. Despite success in the first match of the season, when team from Black Sea coast won trophy of SUper Cup against champions Dinamo Bucharest, bad start of the season, only two wins in six matches of domestic Championship, were enough reason that Management decided to sack Gaudin.Gaudin worked previously at HSV Handball, but also Selestat, Saint Raphael… Christian Gaudin ← Previous Story WOMEN’S EHF CL 17/18: Neagu leads CSM Bucharest to win opener Next Story → STILL ON 100% Veszprem extend winning run against THW Kiel! read more

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Hellenic RSL commemorates Oxi Day

first_imgThe Hellenic sub-branch of the Returned & Services League of Australia (RSL) invites community members and friends to attend the event on 28 October, to honour all that served and died on this historic day for Greece, in 1940.The service will be conducted at the Church of St Eustathios, 211 Dorcas St, South Melbourne at 9.30 am. For the wreath laying service, meet at 12.00 pm at the corner of Birdwood and Anzac Ave, Domain Gardens. The wreath laying service will take place at 1.00 pm at the Shrine of Remembrance. The luncheon will follow at the Hellenic RSL sub branch memorial hall, 14A Ferrars Place, South Melbourne. When: Tuesday 28 October, from 9.30 am For more information, contact 03 9699 9844 Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

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Prison warden murder tied to crime underworld

first_imgPolice investigating the violent murder of the warden of maximum-security Domokos Prison in central Greece on Saturday are focusing on the criminal underworld, rather than domestic terrorist groups, Kathimerini understands, after ballistics tests showed one of the guns fired in the attack had been previously used during an attempted robbery on a bank in Aspropyrgos, northwest of Athens, in 2012. The guns were found not to have any connections to previous terrorist attacks.The 47-year-old father of two was gunned down while leaving his home near the town of Lamia on Saturday afternoon when a dark SUV pulled up beside him and unidentified assailants opened fire with Kalashnikov assault rifles and a 9 mm pistol. Police said he was shot over 20 times and dozens of bullet casings were found near his body.Police are investigating the victim’s background to determine whether he had had any serious run-ins with members of Greece’ criminal underworld. They are also planning to access his phone records for any further clues from conversations he may have had earlier in the day.Domokos Prison was recently renovated to house some of Greece’s most dangerous criminals.In a statement issued on Monday, the country’s prison guards sought to draw attention to the tough working conditions and risks that they face. “We are fed up of being beaten up, spat on, knifed, threatened, suffering bomb attacks and the well-known consequences of all this,” the statement said.Source: Kathimerini Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

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LAmazone se remet lentement de la sécheresse de 2010

first_imgL’Amazone se remet lentement de la sécheresse de 2010Durement impactés par la sécheresse qui a frappé le bassin inférieur de l’Amazone en 2010, dauphins d’eau douce, oiseaux et poissons – ressource essentielle pour les populations locales – recommencent doucement à prospérer. Mais des épisodes identiques sont à craindre dans les prochaines années.   Dans la rivière Samiria, un des principaux affluents du cours inférieur de l’Amazone, à cause de la sécheresse de 2010 et de la baisse de niveau de l’eau consécutive, le nombre de dauphins roses avait chuté de près de la moitié par rapport à 2009, passant de 250 à 140 individus dans la réserve nationale de Pacaya Samiria, au Pérou. Mais le Dr Richard Bodmer, de l’Université du Kent, et son équipe de chercheurs péruviens, soutenus par des bénévoles de l’ONG Earthwatch, constatent aujourd’hui un regain de cette population. À lire aussiUne cinquantaine de nouveaux géoglyphes similaires aux lignes de Nazca découverts au PérouEn mars 2011, elle était remontée, dépassant même de 10% les effectifs de mars 2010. Même chose pour les dauphins gris locaux, en hausse de 30%. Retour des aras, également, qui avaient apparemment quitté la réserve ou sont morts en grand nombre lors de la sécheresse. Plusieurs communautés d’Indiens Cocama, vivant sur les rives de la Samiria, attendent anxieusement que les stocks de poisson se reconstituent, et parlent encore de la sécheresse de l’an dernier, inquiètes de la voir se répéter à l’avenir : “Notre collectivité dépend du  poisson. Nous ne pouvions plus en manger, car il était infecté”, dit Tedy Yuyarima, un chaman de 42 ans. Mais les indices observés donnent à penser que le nombre de poissons va se rétablir, selon le Dr Bodmer, qui déclare : “C’est un très bon signe, et cela suggère que la rivière Samiria se remet de la sécheresse de 2010”.Toutefois, la situation du caïman à lunettes reste préoccupante, avec des effectifs encore inférieurs de 60% à ceux du début 2010. Par ailleurs, les niveaux d’eau sont à nouveau extrêmement élevés, et les autorités locales ont même déclaré l’état d’urgence… “Nous ne pouvons pas ignorer ces grands événements mondiaux, qui ont un impact sur les écosystèmes locaux et les gens d’ici. Pour le moment, ces impacts m’inquiètent, mais ils ne sont pas aussi dramatiques qu’ils pourraient l’être. Mais si ces deux extrêmes météorologiques continuent à l’avenir, cela pourrait changer”, avertit le scientifique.   Le 7 mai 2011 à 20:07 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

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Izzys shutters East Mill Plain Boulevard restaurant

first_imgVANCOUVER — The Izzy’s restaurant at 7615 E. Mill Plain Blvd. in Vancouver has permanently closed, an employee at the chain’s other Clark County location in Hazel Dell has confirmed.Reasons behind the Dec. 19 closure are unclear. Izzy’s is the second East Mill Plain Boulevard restaurant closure within a year. Owners of a nearby KFC restaurant closed the site in August, citing slow sales and difficult economic conditions.The Mill Plain Izzy’s restaurant was launched in 1983 by franchisee Al Fortier. His company, Fortier Enterprises Inc., also launched Izzy’s franchises in Hazel Dell and Kelso, both of which are still open. The Izzy’s chain is headquartered in Albany, Ore. It operates 19 restaurants in Oregon and Washington.last_img read more

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Weather Eye County saw plenty of rainfall in April

first_imgOK before we go too far let’s review some rainfall from April from your friends and neighbors: I had 4.06 inches here in Salmon Creek; Murphy Dennis, near Clark County Rifles, 8.71 inches; Claudia Chiasson, Carson, 6.13 inches; Tyler Mode, Battle Ground, 5.13 inches; Judy Darke, Felida, 3.23 inches; Irv St. Germain, Prune Hill, 5.60 inches; Bob Starr, Cougar, 12.53 inches; Robin Ruzek, Lake Shore, 3.31 inches; Bud Maddux, Home Valley, 3.76 inches; Pete Conrad near Tukes Mountain, 4.72 inches; Nancy Ellifrit, Mount Vista, 5.78 inches; Merle Moore, two miles west of Yacolt, 8.62 inches; Dave Campbell, one mile west of Heisson, 5.97 inches; Tyler Mode from his Minnehaha station, 3.65 inches; Barry Fitzthum, Amboy, 7.76 inches; Gary Collins, Brush Prairie, 5.45 inches; Bill Sobolewski, Livingston Mountain, 8.07 inches; Phil Delany, above Dole Valley, 10.9 inches; Dan Hein, Camas, 6.24 inches; Larry Lebsack, Northeast Hazel Dell, 4.46 inches; and Ellen Smart, Ridgefield, 4.0 inches.Some comments from weather observers included Murphy Dennis, “Lots of hail, dark clouds, thunder, wind, and 3 nasturtiums finally poked through the ground. Yippee!” Merle Moore remarked, “Every day brings us closer to warmer weather, and I like that a lot!”Dave Campbell chuckled, “Not quite as wet last month. Didn’t drown the frogs that are really croaking up a storm (pun intended) whenever the sun comes out.” Judy Darke, referring to last month’s changeable weather, “Wow, if you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute!”Patrick Timm is a local weather specialist. His column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Reach him at http://weathersystems.com.last_img read more

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KL arrests over 750 Bangladeshis in 3 days

first_imgMalaysian authorities arrested at least 750 Bangladeshis among 1,509 undocumented migrants in three days during a crackdown on illegal foreign workers.According to the immigration department of the Southeast Asian nation, the crackdown was launched on Friday midnight as the deadline for E-Card (enforcement card) registration expired on 30 June.Rights activist Md Harun-or Rashid told Prothom Alo over phone from Malaysia that the Malaysian government was carrying out raids at every nook and corner to catch the undocumented foreigners.He also said the authorities gave the undocumented migrants an opportunity to temporarily get legalised by 30 June. But many workers could not avail of the opportunity. Harun said the employers were mainly responsible for this, but he middlemen might not have done the job properly either, he added. Harun also pointed to the ignorance of the migrants.“A total of 1,509 illegal immigrants were detained. Of them, Bangladeshis make up the highest number with 752 people. A total of 195 Indonesians, 117 Myanmar nationals, 50 Filipinos and 45 Thais were arrested,” reports New Straits Times quoting immigration director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali on Monday.The remaining 350 people were of various nationalities.Mustafar said the breakdown comprised 1,314 men, 192 women and three children.He said the department has also detected a new tactic to register immigrants who had been either deported or blacklisted.“They (the immigrants) had used illegal routes to enter the country and tried to join the E-Card registration programme to get a valid work permit. However, their scanned thumbprints revealed their identity and status, and that they had been blacklisted”.“We foiled attempts to register unqualified immigrants, numbering 38 cases. A total of 40 immigrants and two employers were detained,” he said.Errant employers and foreign workers who failed to apply for E-Card will face stern action under the immigration act.last_img read more

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Maduro wins second term in Venezuela elections amid crisis

first_imgVenezuelan President Nicolas Maduro gestures after the National Electoral Council (CNE) announced the results of the voting on election day in Venezuela, on 20 May. Photo: AFPPresident Nicolas Maduro was unsurprisingly declared winner of Venezuela’s election Sunday in a poll rejected as invalid by his rivals, who called for fresh elections to be held later this year.Reeling under a devastating economic crisis, only 46 per cent of voters turned out to cast ballots in an election boycotted by the opposition and condemned by much of the international community, but one which hands Maduro a second six-year term.“We do not recognize this electoral process as valid, as true,” his main rival Henri Falcon told a news conference, even before the result was announced.“For us, there were no elections. We have to have new elections in Venezuela.”Maduro hailed his victory as a “historic record” in a speech to thousands of cheering supporters outside the official Miraflores Palace in Caracas.“Never before has a presidential candidate taken 68 per cent of the popular vote,” he said, to applause.The official result gave Maduro 67.7 per cent of the vote, with Falcon a distant second with 21.2 per cent. In the last opinion polls before the vote, the pair were running neck-and-neck.Falcon said fresh elections could be held in November or December, when they are traditionally contested. Maduro’s government had them brought forward by several months, which sparked international condemnation and prompted the boycott by the main opposition.Maduro, the political heir to the late leftist firebrand Hugo Chavez, has presided over an implosion of once wealthy oil producer Venezuela’s economy since taking office in 2013.Hyperinflation, food and medicine shortages, rising crime and broken water, power and transportation networks have sparked violent unrest, and left Maduro with a 75 per cent disapproval rating.Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans have fled the South American country in a mass exodus in recent years.Wearing a bright red shirt that identifies him as a “Chavista,” the president arrived early at a Caracas polling station along with his wife, former prosecutor Cilia Flores.“Your vote decides: ballots or bullets, motherland or colony, peace or violence, independence or subordination,” said the 55-year-old former bus driver and union leader.The comments reflected previous statements by the socialist leader that Venezuela is the victim of an “economic war” waged by the conservative opposition and outside powers such as the United States aimed at toppling him.As the polls opened, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo denounced the election as a “sham”.Small queues of voters, mostly Maduro supporters, formed at some polling stations, but others appeared half empty, AFP correspondents reported from several cities.Falcon, a 56-year-old former army officer who failed to gain the endorsement of the main opposition, accused the government of coercing voters.In a news conference held before the official result announcement, he pointed particularly to so-called “red points”-street stalls set up by the ruling Socialists near polling stations-allegedly to offer handouts in exchange for votes.Falcon said “12,711 red points were installed throughout the country,” representing 87 per cent of polling stations.The former governor of Venezuela’s Lara state also said polling centres had remained open after the scheduled closing time, and that his monitors were expelled from some of them.Hundreds of Venezuelans took to the streets in several Latin American capitals, including Bogota, Lima and Buenos Aires-as well as in Madrid-to denounce the vote.Supporters of the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro celebrate after the National Electoral Council (CNE) announced the results of the voting on presidential election, on 20 May in Caracas, Venezuela. Photo: AFPThe biggest protest was in Chile’s capital Santiago, where more than 1,000 demonstrated against the election. Chile granted 73,000 visas to Venezuelans fleeing the country last year.‘A dog’s life’“I am not taking part in this fraud,” said retired teacher Maria Barrantes, 62. “What we are living through is a disaster.”Maritza Palencia, 58, said she would vote for “change,” adding that her four sons had “fled” to Colombia to earn a better living.“For the first time in my life, I am not going to vote because we are living a dog’s life, without medicine, without food,” said Teresa Paredes, a 56-year-old housewife.But Rafael Manzanares, 53 and living on government handouts, said he believed Maduro’s claim that “things are bad because of the economic war” against the country.Aware of the popular mood, Maduro vowed an “economic revolution” if reelected.Falcon promised to dollarize the economy, return companies expropriated by Chavez and allow humanitarian aid, something the president rejects.‘Further instability’Presidential elections are traditionally held in December, but they were moved up this year by the country’s all-powerful and pro-government Constituent Assembly, catching the divided and weakened opposition off-guard.The Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) opposition coalition has won support from the United States, the European Union and 14 countries of the Lima Group who have called for the vote to be postponed.Maduro is accused of undermining democracy, usurping the power of the opposition-dominated legislature by replacing it with his Constituent Assembly and cracking down hard on the opposition. Protests in 2017, still fresh in the collective memory, left around 125 people dead.The MUD’s most popular leaders have been sidelined or detained, the boycott their only remaining weapon.Despite holding the world’s largest oil reserves, the country faces ruin, with the IMF citing a drop of 45.0 per cent in GDP since Maduro took over in 2013.The crippled oil industry lacks investment and its assets are increasingly prey to debt settlements as the country defaults.last_img read more

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Crumbling infrastructure is holding back tourism says National Liberation Party

first_imgRelated posts:Liberation’s Araya promises administration with ‘social face’ Costa Rica hopes Chinese tourists will think pura vida for their next vacation Costa Rica’s lack of safety regulations comes into view after death of 6 tourists in January Tourism sector wants government support to boost competitiveness Representatives from Costa Rica’s five main political parties sparred during an economic roundtable organized by the Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce at the Hotel Real InterContinental in Escazú on Tuesday.Antonio Álvarez Desanti, campaign chief for the ruling National Liberation Party, said the poor state of Costa Rica’s infrastructure, especially its roads, limits the country’s tourism potential.“As long as we have these [infrastructure] conditions, we’re going to be holding back tourism in this country,” he said.“We have places where tourists don’t go because rental car agencies don’t want their vehicles driving there,” he added, mentioning Monteverde, in the Tilarán Mountains in north-central Costa Rica, as an example.Álvarez, a PLN candidate for San José lawmaker, said Costa Rica also must address its high cost of living for tourists as well as locals.“We’re very proud of our natural wonders and colonial areas, but tourists count their costs,” Álvarez said, noting the high price of airplane flights and lodging here.The PLN candidate said that an Araya administration would support a currency policy that keeps the U.S. dollar above the Costa Rican colón’s lower band limit so that foreign tourists’ dollars go farther here, making the country more attractive for visitors.Libertarian Movement Party vice presidential candidate Thelmo Vargas agreed that infrastructure investment was key to keep Costa Rica as a top-tier tourist destination.Vargas also lashed out at the Broad Front Party’s proposed tax increases on luxury properties, arguing that the taxes would be passed on to tourists staying at luxury resorts and make the country less attractive for foreign visitors.Sergio Reuben, economic coordinator for the Broad Front Party, spoke broadly about protecting workers’ rights while also trying to attract foreign visitors, but did not offer specific policies.“We support an international brand for Costa Rica that is ecologically stable and respects the rights of workers and human rights. We support a national brand that reflects our traditions of solidarity,” Reuben said.The Costa Rican Tourism Board reported that a record-breaking 2.4 million tourists visited the Central American country in 2013.Tourism accounted for 5 percent of Costa Rica’s gross domestic product, according to a September 2013 statement from the National Tourism Chamber. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Qatar and UAE call on citizens to leave Lebanon

first_img Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Four benefits of having a wireless security system Top Stories Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories The vital role family plays in society Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour said in a statement that he hopes Qatar and the UAE will review their decision because the situation in Lebanon does not require such steps.Tripoli has been relatively calm since Tuesday despite sporadic shootings.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) BEIRUT (AP) – The Gulf states of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have called on their citizens not to go to Lebanon and for those who are there to leave.Saturday’s call by the two countries’ foreign ministries came days after clashes between pro- and anti-Syrian groups in the northern city of Tripoli left eight people and dozens wounded.Both countries said in statements posted on their state-run news agencies that the reason behind the decision was tension and instability in Lebanon.last_img read more

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“The duty of any responsible government is to protect her people; but is there anyone protecting us today? read more

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