UK to decide on new airport runway in crowded London

first_img LONDON – Britain’s government is expected Tuesday to back a plan to expand London’s Heathrow airport despite concerns about air pollution, noise and the destruction of homes in the capital’s densely populated western neighbourhoods.Transport Secretary Chris Grayling will inform Parliament of the government’s decision on how to expand London’s airport capacity. The options include building a third runway at Heathrow, extending an existing runway there, or building a second runway at Gatwick Airport, south of London.The decision is only the first step, though. The government’s recommendation will be studied further and Parliament will vote in about a year.Most analysts expect the government to back one of the Heathrow options.Anti-expansion groups gathered in the village of Harmondsworth, near Heathrow and in Crawley, near Gatwick, to await the news. Neil Keveran has campaigned against Heathrow expansion for years and plans to fight on – even if the government goes for the third runway.More news:  Can you guess the top Instagrammed wedding locations in the world?“A monopoly at Heathrow will serve nobody,” he said. “It won’t be good for passengers, it won’t be good for other regional airports. I don’t believe the runway will be delivered. I think legal challenges, and if necessary direct action, will prevent the growth of Heathrow.”London and southeastern England need more airport capacity to meet the growing demands of business travellers and tourists. Heathrow and rival Gatwick, 50 kilometres south of central London, have offered competing projects that will cost as much as 18.6 billion pounds ($29.1 billion). Whichever proposal is selected, homes will be destroyed and surviving neighbourhoods will have to cope with increased noise, pollution and traffic.The issue was so toxic that politicians created an independent commission to weigh the options – and it decided to expand Heathrow. But it is up to political leaders to make the final decision, and authorities have stalled. The upheaval prompted by Britain’s vote to leave the European Union pushed the issue back further.More news:  Canada raises travel warning amid escalating protests in Hong KongA furious public relations battle has raged, with placards all over London’s subway system, for example, extolling the virtues of Heathrow or Gatwick. The commission has already rejected other options, such as one backed by former London Mayor Boris Johnson to build a new airport in the Thames Estuary.John Allan, chairman of London First, which campaigns to make the capital business-friendly, told the BBC that the government needed to make up its mind.“What we want above all is more airport capacity in the southeast,” he said. “The most important thing is to get on with it. Even though it is only a step in the road, it is a very important step in the road.” Share UK to decide on new airport runway in crowded London By: Danica Kirkacenter_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Tuesday, October 25, 2016 last_img read more

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Sale pricing on two Disney sailings just for Canadians

first_img Travelweek Group Tuesday, July 11, 2017 Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by Sale pricing on two Disney sailings, just for Canadians TORONTO — Disney Cruise Line has a special deal for Canadian passengers.Canadian residents can save 25% on fall cruises from New York City with the cruise line, sailing to the Bahamas onboard the Disney Magic on a choice of two holiday-themed cruises: the seven-night ‘Halloween on the High Seas’ Bahamian cruise departing Oct. 14, 2017; and the eight-night ‘Very Merrytime’ Bahamian cruise departing Nov. 18, 2017.Passengers can save 25% off verandah, oceanview and inside staterooms. Both sailings feature a Marvel Day at Sea with themed programing.At least one adult member on the reservation will need to provide proof of Canadian residency at check-in. The offer applies to categories 4A to 11C, based on availability and excludes suites and categories with restrictions.last_img read more

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Iconic hotel in Banff reopens after 2016 fire

first_img BANFF — Canada Day had extra special meaning for Banff’s iconic Mount Royal Hotel, which officially reopened its doors on July 1 following a devastating fire in December 2016.Part of the Pursuit collection of travel experiences in the Canadian Rockies, the 133-room hotel has been successfully restored to its former beauty and now features a selection of contemporary and modern artworks as well as custom-made headboards from Toronto’s Moss & Lam art studio to serve as centerpieces in all guestrooms.Other features of the historically-inspired décor include the highly anticipated rooftop lounge with outdoor hot tubs, and a custom-designed museum and a hotel library.“The reopening of the Mount Royal Hotel will provide a truly unforgettable Banff experience for today’s modern traveller, bringing together a thoughtful juxtaposition of rich history and contemporary design,” said Dave McKenna, President, Banff Jasper Collection by Pursuit. “We look forward to welcoming both the local community and our global guests back to such an incredible Banff landmark and are delighted to reintroduce the Mount Royal Hotel into Pursuit’s collection of world-class attractions and exceptional experiences.”More news:  Windstar celebrates record-breaking bookings in JulyFor more information go to mountroyalhotel.com. Share Monday, July 9, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group center_img Iconic hotel in Banff reopens after 2016 fire Posted by Tags: Banff, Mount Royal Hotel, Openings & Renovationslast_img read more

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US jury convicts Costa Rican man in 485 million insurance fraud case

first_imgNo related posts. A federal jury in Virginia, in the United States, convicted former insurance executive Minor Vargas on Monday of all counts in a $485 million fraud scheme in which he was accused of lying to clients and investors about the financial stability of his company, CBS News reported.Vargas, 60, was president of Provident Capital Indemnity Ltd., a company that sold bonds guaranteeing funding for life-settlement companies, which buy life insurance policies from insured people at less than face value and collect the benefits when those people die.The U.S. government said Provident sold $485 million in bonds based on fraudulent financial statements. According to prosecutors, Vargas not only misrepresented the company’s assets but also lied when he told clients, investors and regulators that Provident was protected by reinsurance agreements with major companies.Vargas faced one count of conspiracy and three counts each of mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. He is scheduled for sentencing Oct. 23 and could face a maximum sentence of 170 years in prison.In Costa Rica, Vargas became a publicly prominent person by founding magazines and newspapers. He was also involved in professional soccer as president of Saprissa, one of the top teams in the country.He later bought two soccer franchises and began a synthetic turf business that won several contracts for replacing soccer fields for local professional teams. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Graffiti teacher gives lessons in art life

first_imgNo related posts. From the print editionIsaias Crow is leading a somewhat unconventional art workshop. Take five minutes, he tells his students, and create your favorite drawing on a blank sheet of paper. Good. Now, exchange your piece of paper with somebody else’s, and add something to the new drawing. Uh, huh. Now swap a few more times, and keep adding to whatever lands in front of you. Eventually, Crow picks up a garbage can and walks around the classroom. It’s time to throw the artwork away, he says. Bewildered students search his face, and discover he is serious. Only after they’ve reluctantly complied does Crow explain himself. “This is what street art is like,” he says. People will change, paint over and destroy your art. The point of the exercise – which was part of a graffiti workshop put on in Costa Rica by the U.S. Embassy and U.S. State Department – was to help students accept that their work would not last.Crow, an educator, painter and muralist, came from the San Diego, California, to teach that lesson, among others. He instructed two classes, one in the Caribbean port city of Limón and one in San José, before a total of 50 students aged 17-50. They were all selected by the Culture Ministry to participate in discussions on graffiti and self-expression. “I can’t stand there saying art has to be this way or that way,” Crow said during the local workshop at the National Gallery in the Children’s Museum. “You have to decide for yourself.”With a teaching method that combines rigid direction and loose interpretation, Crow was brought in by the U.S. Embassy and U.S. State Department in a program called Arts Envoy. In conjunction with the Ministry of Peace and Justice, the program uses art to promote alternatives to violence for at-risk youth, said Oscar Avila, cultural affairs officer for the U.S. Embassy. “Using graffiti is an innovative take, because it lives in the community rather than locked away in a museum,” Avila said.Past Arts Envoy programs brought hip-hop dancers and jazz musicians to hold clinics. When the workshops conclude, the students are expected to host similar workshops in their own communities. “We want to change the perception that graffiti is a form of destruction,” said Gina Marín, the art and culture adviser for the Education Ministry. “[It] can carry messages of peace and beauty in a community.”Crow said he sees the workshops as the vehicles to develop skills. His methods are strict, and on more than one occasion, he chastised the group for talking out of turn and not following directions. But he also acknowledged that a failure to follow directions is a kind of creativity. “I want to use art as a humbling, team-building and listening experience,” Crow said. “Through these practices we can work towards solidarity.”Lisette Vargas is a high school and college art teacher who attended the workshop. “I work with young people interested in graffiti, but this isn’t a topic you study in college,” she said. “So I’m taking all the notes I can about graffiti form and conception to bring to my own workshop.”She will hold a graffiti class for her high- school students, but with some alterations to what Crow taught. “The exercises were really interesting, but if I told my students to tear up their art and throw it away, they would revolt,” she said. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Will a blue agenda work

first_imgFrom the print editionFor decades, environmental advocates have extolled Costa Rica’s forestry conservation initiatives, including the creation of a vast national park system and a plan to be the world’s first carbon-neutral country by 2021.But the country has a less-than-stellar record on protecting its marine resources, and in recent years, Costa Rica’s “blue” policies have fallen behind other countries in the region, hampered by a lack of regulatory legislation, personnel, financial resources and political will.Last month, President Laura Chinchilla’s administration took a major step forward by announcing a series of measures aimed at strengthening Costa Rica’s “blue agenda.” By promoting sustainable marine management, the president hopes to replicate by 2022 the success of conservation efforts on land.Armed with a comprehensive report of what remains to be done on marine conservation – provided by a presidential advisory committee convened last November – Chinchilla signed July 17 executive decrees that created a Cabinet-level National Marine Commission to coordinate marine conservation policy, a new Waters and Oceans Vice Ministry under the current Environment Ministry, and an Oceanic Navigation Bill that would establish an updated regulatory framework for patrolling and enforcing environmental laws at sea.“Our goal with the efforts [at marine conservation] by this administration is for Costa Ricans not to think of this as a small country, one of the smallest in the region, but rather as a great nation,” Chinchilla said during a mid-July signing ceremony at Casa Presidencial. “We have to start thinking like a big nation whose policies have consequences for our [marine] territory, which is 10 times the size of our land territory and has 3.5 percent of the world’s marine biodiversity.”Conservation groups applauded the new measures and challenged Chinchilla to announce a date for their implementation. The National Marine Commission, comprised of the ministers of public security, environment, agriculture, and public works and transport, has not yet held its first formal meeting to begin implementing the president’s new policy goals.“We view the National Marine Commission’s creation as a positive step, in that a governing body will dictate policy with a more integrated vision toward marine management without sectorial divisions,” said Viviana Gutiérrez, political advocacy director at MarViva Foundation, a private conservation group. “But at the same time, there is concern about when, exactly, this commission will start its work.”Gutiérrez recalled 2009, when then-President Oscar Arias created a similar Cabinet-level group called the Oceans Council, whose members failed to hold a single meeting.A long-overdue overhaulOne of the strongest recommendations in the marine advisory committee report, published June 14, is a complete overhaul of the Costa Rican Fisheries Institute (Incopesca), including a restructuring of its board of directors. Since its creation in 1994, Incopesca has fielded strong criticism from conservationists for its fisheries management. The institute’s board mostly is comprised of individuals with business ties to commercial fishing industries, the equivalent, conservationists say, of letting the fox guard the henhouse.“We have been saying this for years,” said Randall Arauz, president of the Marine Turtle Restoration Program and a member of a Costa Rican coalition of NGOs called Front for our Seas. “The public interest will never be served without the reform of Incopesca, an institution that currently serves only the economic interests of its board members.”Critics accuse Incopesca of turning a blind eye to shark finning in Costa Rica’s 590,000 square kilometers of maritime territory, a charge Incopesca officials deny. Shark finning, driven by the demand for shark fin soup, a prestigious product in China and Taiwan, is driving global shark populations toward extinction. Fins can fetch hundreds of dollars per pound in some markets. To save space in cargo holds, fishermen slice off fins from sharks and toss the animals overboard to bleed to death or drown. The practice is illegal in Costa Rican waters, but overland shipment of shark products, including fins, is not. Data provided by Incopesca indicate that between January 2010 and August 2011, nearly 60,000 kilograms of shark products, including dried fins, were imported into Costa Rica overland from Nicaragua (TT, July 6).Other criticisms of Incopesca include a lack of accurate data management on fisheries and stonewalling on public information requests. According to the law that established Incopesca, the institute’s board is comprised of nine members, including an executive president who is appointed by members of the Cabinet. Also on the board are one representative each from the ministries of agriculture and livestock and science and technology, another government representative appointed by the Cabinet, a representative from fishing or aquaculture organizations in each of the three coastal provinces (Puntarenas, Guanacaste and Limón), a representative of the commercial fishing export sector and a representative of the National Commission of Aquaculture and Fish (TT, Dec. 9, 2011).“We recommend a revision of Incopesca’s Charter Law in order to change its institutional structure. This includes significant modifications of its board of directors to ensure the public interest is protected during decision making,” the committee report stated.Conservationists want that change to happen soon. “We’re happy that at least it’s on paper,” Arauz said. “But I want to ask the president a question: When is the reform going to start?”Changing the law governing Incopesca’s board – in order to allow representatives from academia and conservation groups – could take years, as it would require lawmakers to pass a reform bill. Some members of the assembly – particularly those from coastal districts with big commercial fishing interests – strongly oppose the idea, including a handful of legislators from Chinchilla’s own National Liberation Party (PLN). “PLN lawmakers from Puntarenas will never support this,” Gutiérrez said. “They have a considerable political commitment to [commercial fishing] interests. It gets complicated.”Still, officials from the current administration said they are committed to laying the groundwork for a “blue” legacy that would transition to future administrations after the president leaves office in 2014. In the spotlightCosta Rica’s lack of a sustainable marine management strategy caught global attention recently in an unexpected way: the May 13 arrest in Germany of oceans advocate Paul Watson, the 61-year-old president and founder of Sea Shepherd and star of Animal Planet’s popular TV show “Whale Wars.” Watson was detained at Costa Rica’s request on charges that he endangered the lives of a Costa Rican fishing vessel’s crew in 2002. Watson, who fled house arrest in Germany on July 22 and currently is in hiding, accused the Costa Rican government of protecting shark finners and conspiring with Japan to have him arrested, a charge that Costa Rican Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo dismissed last week.While the Chinchilla administration has kept its distance from the Watson case by saying the matter is for the courts to resolve, Castro, the environment minister, said Costa Rica should do more to stop the bloody trade in shark fins: “It’s time for us to execute these new policy initiatives, and our success depends on demonstrating concrete results on an issue the country already has begun combating. I’m referring entirely to shark finning.” He added that, “The country [Costa Rica] that has pushed for the protection of the hammerhead shark under the CITES convention cannot allow people to circumvent regulations and continue shark finning.”For Arauz, the next step in shutting down the shark finning industry is adopting a ban on imports of shark fins and their byproducts, a measure Incopesca opposes.Incopesca President Luis Dobles, whose job is now in the crosshairs – not only by conservation groups, but also by some administration officials – responded to the advisory committee’s report by saying the recommendations were “helpful.”  Costa Rica’s Isla del Coco is home to dozens of endemic marine species and several species of sharks, making it a prime target for poachers. Courtesy of Avi Kapfer, MarViva “Incopesca is mentioned in several places [in the report],” Dobles said. “The most relevant parts relate to the modernization of the institute to try and keep pace with many dynamic changes relating to the regulation of fishing activities, both nationally and internationally. [The advisory committee] also mentions the importance of strengthening Incopesca in terms of human and financial resources.”Dobles added that he is not opposed to an analysis and possible revision of the law governing Incopesca’s board, but as it stands, the board is formed in accordance with the law.“The committee recognizes that the makeup of the board of directors now includes five members that may, in some way, share a vision with the private sector, and that four members come from the public sector,” Dobles said. “In that regard, the idea of the committee’s recommendation is to analyze the possibility of giving the public sector more participation in the decision-making process.”Conservationists interpreted the report differently. Wagner Quirós, a spokesman for the Front for Our Seas, called the committee’s recommendation to overhaul Incopesca “historic.”“Hopefully, this isn’t only the end of Incopesca as we know it, but also the dawn of a new era in national marine conservation,” Quirós said.A new vice ministryAnother key element to Chinchilla’s blue agenda is the creation of the Waters and Oceans Vice Ministry, which will promote sustainable marine and coastal development and oversee policy for the country’s oceans, wetlands and rivers – a monumental task, according to the vice ministry’s new leader, José Lino Chaves.For nearly a decade, Chaves has served as the president of the Environment Tribunal, an administrative tribunal under the Environment Ministry that has jurisdiction to prosecute environmental crimes. According to analysts, Chaves is politically savvy, is comfortable in the halls of the Legislative Assembly, and understands Costa Rica’s challenges in enforcing environmental law.“We’ll be pushing strongly for the development of marine protected areas and responsible fishing areas,” Chaves told The Tico Times. Costa Rica currently has 20 marine protected areas covering 5,300 square kilometers – less than 10 percent of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). “In the Exclusive Economic Zone, we’re going to look for ways to help provide access to artisanal fishermen, while at the same time protecting [the EEZ]. Obviously, we can’t forget about protecting Isla del Coco, and our goal there is to regulate marine areas and implement systems to know where boats are,” Chaves said. “It’s an enormous panorama, but little by little, we understand what needs to be done and are planning to begin with specific objectives.”Filling a legal vacuumSome of Costa Rica’s biggest vulnerabilities at sea are a lack of regulatory legislation to allow authorities to patrol and prosecute violators, and a shortage of trained personnel and equipment to combat illegal fishing and drug trafficking. One of Chinchilla’s decrees sent an Oceanic Navigation Bill to the assembly that would help fill the country’s current legal vacuum.As Gutiérrez noted, “There is no discussion; it is absolutely vital for Costa Rica to have this law.” The bill seeks to strengthen the ability of harbor masters – who work under the Public Works and Transport Ministry, or MOPT – to better regulate licensing for fishing vessels, and in coordination with the Coast Guard – which operates under the Public Security Ministry – track boat locations to ensure they are within areas permitted by their licenses. Currently, harbor masters have no way of determining if ships abide by the distances from shore that their licenses permit, and officials at sea often encounter vessels as far away as Isla del Coco – some 590 kilometers from Costa Rica’s mainland – with licenses allowing them to fish only eight kilometers out. For harbor and Coast Guard officials, regulation is essential not only for public safety – rescue operations for disabled boats at sea are not only costly for taxpayers, but also endanger fishermen’s lives – but also to help combat illegal fishing and drug trafficking and plan sustainable management of fisheries.By 2013, MOPT, the Environment Ministry and the Public Security Ministry will have a radar system in place in the Pacific, enabling them to track ships and cross-reference their locations with licenses. The navigation bill would require ships to utilize onboard GPS tracking systems.The bill also outlines penal sanctions for violators, allowing for better enforcement. Costa Rica currently has no oceanic navigation law, and violators of fishing regulations are subject only to weak administrative sanctions, Gutiérrez said. “We are very involved [in the navigation bill], because [Costa Rica] needs to establish criminal penalties for ships that don’t respect the limitations of their licenses,” Gutiérrez said. “If we know that there are 500 fishermen with five-mile licenses, we can start to ensure that our resources are sustainable, by regulating the number of licenses issued and controlling where people fish. Right now, fishing boats are going wherever they want because it’s disordered and there are only weak sanctions.”Saving the seasOther organizations, such as the Costa Rican Fishing Federation (FECOP), have also called for a furthering of the president’s blue agenda, including stronger regulations on industrial and semi-industrial fishing fleets that using nonselective fishing methods such as trawling, longlines and purse seining.“The major impact on the marine ecosystem in our country is that of overfishing with nonselective fishing gear,” FECOP President Enrique Ramírez noted in a May 25 Tico Times opinion column. “Between 2000 and 2007, total volume of fisheries products decreased by 40 percent, and by 2012, this decrease has probably reached 50 percent or more. This is the result of extractive fisheries policies – more comparable to those of the 17th century – in which the prevailing criteria are maximum capture, least possible effort, lowest cost and as quickly as possible,” Ramírez noted. According to FECOP, data from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and World Bank indicate the world economy could recover up to $50 billion annually if fish stocks were restored.“In Costa Rica, we are lacking this type of study, as there is no planning involved in the management of fishery resources,” Ramírez wrote.At stake, say conservationists, is the future not only of Costa Rica’s 6,700 marine species – including 90 endemic species, mostly found near Isla del Coco – but also of the thousands of mostly poor families who live in coastal areas and depend on the sea for a livelihood. Halfway through her administration, and armed with a new road map for marine policy reform, Chinchilla has publicly presented a plan for comprehensive change. But according to analysts, implementing those policies likely will depend on the degree of pressure applied by nongovernmental groups and citizens.“It probably won’t happen under this administration, but at least the strategy is there,” Arauz said. “I think it will be up to us, the NGOs, to make sure that strategy prevails into the next administration.” Gutiérrez agreed: “We’ll have to see if the president really gets involved in this. It’s going to require a serious commitment from politicians. Otherwise, we’ll be left only with a report written on paper.” Facebook Commentscenter_img No related posts.last_img read more

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The Crystal Method makes its Costa Rica debut

first_imgNo related posts. Ken Jordan was worried that the television wasn’t loud enough. After a few drinks at the Hotel Real InterContinental lobby bar in Escazú, southwest of San José, Jordan’s wife, Janine, convinced him that we wouldn’t judge his and Scott Kirkland’s first new album in four years as The Crystal Method based solely on the speaker quality of a hotel TV.“I guess the volume only goes up to 63 for the neighbors,” Jordan mused after hooking up his laptop and hitting play. Dia Framptom’s breathy singsong voice floats out of the speakers above the heavy techno beat below. The TV speakers boom. “Just imagine this with super subwoofer bass!” Jordan whoops.The television, with its scrolling advertisements for hotel food options and local calling rates was a far cry from the sound system at Vertigo, the San José club where the band is set to perform on Sept. 7, as the last stop in a Central American tour leading up to the release of the band’s first new album since “Divided by Night,” in 2009.The duo has never performed in Central America in their 16 years together as The Crystal Method, but Jordan is no stranger to Costa Rica. The electronic musician has been vacationing here for the last six years at his house on the Pacific Coast in Malpaís, on the southern Nicoya Peninsula.Any performances as The Crystal Method, however, were in doubt earlier this summer when Kirkland suffered a dangerous infection following brain surgery that derailed summer tour plans and the new album’s release date.Down at the bar Jordan wears a dark blue shirt and shorts, already anticipating the beach despite the cool rainy night outside. He orders an Imperial beer, de rigueur for Gringos nostalgic about their time in Costa Rica. Despite owning a home here, Jordan lamented that it’s been over a year since he’s been down to visit.“We’ve been looking for Central American shows, it’s a standing order to our agent,” he said, adding that they were excited to be performing in Costa Rica.The Crystal Method will also have shows in Guatemala and Panama City.   Scott Kirkland (left) and Ken Jordan (right) of The Crystal Method. The band’s up-coming self-titled album will be their fifth in the 16 years since their Platinum album “Vegas” was released. Courtesy of The Crystal Methodcenter_img After we introduced ourselves, Jordan leaned over the table and asked, “What happened with that murdered turtle conservationist?” referring to the recent arrests in the Jairo Mora case.Jordan and Janine have a strong interest in ocean conservation and “green” living. The Crystal Method has performed at the Sea No Evil benefit for the Sea Shepard Conservation Society, a marine conservation organization headed by fugitive Capt. Paul Watson, who has been on the lam since Costa Rica issued an extradition request for him following an alleged attempted shipwrecking off Guatemala’s Pacific Coast in 2002.Watson has been a vocal critic of the government’s handling of the Mora case and announced he would name one of his fleet’s ships after the slain conservationist, as previously reported by The Tico Times.The Crystal Method even has a “green” rider, which includes requests for organic foods and aims to reduce waste by insisting on no plastic or paper products that would likely end up in a landfill.“I’ve learned everything about living ‘green’ and the environment from [my wife],” who runs Green Wave, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness and funds for environmental sustainability.The couple has also done volunteer education outreach with the Rainsong Wildlife Refuge in Cabuya, an organization that trains volunteers to patrol beaches to protect sea turtles, among other activities, and fundraising for the Escuela Futuro Verde, a bilingual primary school in Cóbano, Puntarenas, through Janine’s NGO.Jordan admitted though that when he comes to the rocky shore of Malpaís all he really wants to do is relax and work on his surfing.Vacation was probably the last thing on Jordan’s mind when a medical emergency late last spring scrambled plans for a summer tour and the album’s planned release date.Kirkland wrote a statement posted to the band’s website explaining that he had been experiencing “short, painful headaches.” An MRI revealed a benign posterior fossa arachnoid cyst in his brain and a doctor recommended brain surgery to address to cyst, since there could be complications from Kirkland’s on-stage antics.Kirkland and Jordan were able to get back to work on the album briefly before Kirkland contracted an infection from the surgery that sent him to a hospital intensive care unit for 10 days, scrapping any hopes of a summer tour.“We didn’t want him to rush back. We didn’t want to postpone anything, we just said, ‘everything is canceled, there’s no new release date, just get well,’” Jordan said.Kirkland has since recovered and will be back at a keyboard next to Jordan at Vertigo.“He’s back to jumping around on stage,” Jordan added. Back in the hotel room, Jordan’s response to the music is more sedate, bobbing his head to the beat as he sits on the edge of the bed.“Even though we’re making completely electronic, computer-driven music we’ve always tried to give it a really human sound,” he said.When asked how the self-titled album stacks up against previous Crystal Method releases, Jordan didn’t offer many specifics but reflected that “Divided by Night” suffered from too much collaboration with other artists. “We think the newest is always the best,” Jordan said.“Play ‘Funk Muffin,’” Janine said, “It’s my favorite.”Jordan leans over her to reach the laptop’s keyboard. “OK, one more,” he said and pressed play. The Crystal Method will play at Club Vertigo in Edificio Centro Colón, on Paseo Colón in San José, Costa Rica, on Saturday, Sept. 7.  Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Costa Rican Health Ministry issues alert about tongue mesh weightloss product

first_imgCosta Rica’s Health Ministry issued a health alert this week on a product known as supralingual mesh, or slimming mesh, a small piece that is sewn on the tongue to diminish the taste of food.The product promises to help users lose up to 15 pounds a month, but a different use was listed during its sanitary registration in the country, the ministry said in a press release.The product is being offered to the public as a “fast, effective and economical way to lose weight,” because it reduces the normal tasting sensation for solid foods. People who use it are forced almost exclusively to consume liquids.But its use is not only risky from a nutritional point of view: “It can cause pain, bad breath, oral hygiene problems and infections that could jeopardize the user’s life,” the ministry said.Specialists from the Department of Health Products Regulations recommended that consumers not trust products that offer immediate weight solutions, as they may endanger health and life. Instead, they recommended consulting qualified nutritionists and doctors about the best options.The ministry urged people to report any location selling the tongue mesh by email at: denuncias@ministeriodesalud.go.cr or by phone at: 2258-6765 and 2257-2090. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

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Booze bootleggers busted after bribe backfires

first_imgNational Police officers conducting a routine inspection on a road in the Caribbean province of Limón on Tuesday evening stopped a truck allegedly transporting seafood. Instead of shrimp, officers found a shipment of bootlegged liquor.A Tico surnamed Velásquez and a Salvadoran woman surnamed Ramírez could not produce documents to confirm the goods were legally purchased. Officers confiscated the vehicle and the cargo on tax evasion charges.In their report, cops said the woman offered a ₡500,000 ($940) bribe and was subsequently arrested, along with the man.Limón Police Director Allan Obando said the suspects were taken to a local prosecutor’s office, where the woman was charged with attempted bribery. The Fiscal Control Police (PCF) also plans on bringing tax evasion charges against the couple.Obando said 597 cases of booze were seized, including rum, whiskey, tequila and beer, worth an estimated ₡20 million ($38,000).National Police and PCF officers last August confiscated a similar shipment of contraband liquor hidden inside a tanker truck at Paso Canoas, on the border with Panama. Facebook Comments Related posts:Finance Ministry proposes tougher sanctions to crack down on contraband smuggling Police seize more than 10,000 contraband cigarettes in San José raids Smugglers play central role in money laundering, say law enforcement Police arrest suspect carrying marijuana-based medicine and other pharmaceuticals at Nicaraguan borderlast_img read more

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Meet the White Houses first transgender staffer

first_imgFreedman-Gurspan recently called for state and federal officials to do more to address a recent wave of trans homicides. “We are at a crisis at this point,” she told Al Jazeera America earlier this month. Noting that there had been 33 trans women killed in the United States over the past two years, she added: “At this point . . . we really would like to see some kind of response from [state and federal] authorities.”Freedman-Gurspan’s previous job was at the National Center for Transgender Equality, where she worked as a policy adviser for the Racial and Economic Justice Initiative. In that role, she also urged the government to release undocumented transgender immigrants who cannot be adequately protected from sexual violence in detention.“To really end the suffering transgender detainees face, the Obama Administration must release transgender detainees for whom being in detention makes them a target of sexual assault and violence,” she said in a June statement.The trans advocacy group announced the White House appointment Tuesday, in a press release containing several statements from the leaders of other LGBT organizations.“We’re celebrating because this is an important milestone for the transgender community, but we’re also thrilled that Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, an incredibly smart, talented, and committed professional, will now be working for the American people,” said Aisha Moodie-Mills, president and chief executive of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and Institute.Added Courtney Cuff, president and chief executive of the Gill Foundation: “As the first openly transgender person to work for the White House, Raffi’s appointment is another important step toward ensuring our federal government fully includes the voices and experiences of our communities.”A handful of openly trans individuals have worked in the current administration, but not as a White House staff member. Two of them — Jay Davis at the Environmental Protection Agency and Amanda Simpson, executive director of the U.S. Army Office of Energy Initiatives — participated in a White House video supporting a ban on conversion therapy earlier this year.Other trans administration officials, according to the NCTE, have included Dylan Orr, a former special assistant at the Department of Labor; Chloe Schwenke, senior adviser for LGBT policy and senior adviser to the Bureau on Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance; and Shawn Skelley in the Department of Defense.Obama also appointed trans attorney Shannon Minter to the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships in June.© 2015, The Washington Post Facebook Comments Woot! The White House just appointed its first openly #transgender staffer http://t.co/XxttyhRB0B pic.twitter.com/pMz4CcSh5P— Occupy Wall Street (@OccupyWallStNYC) August 18, 2015 WASHINGTON, D.C. — The White House has appointed its first openly transgender staff member. Raffi Freedman-Gurspan has been hired as an outreach and recruitment director for presidential personnel in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel, LGBT groups and the White House said Tuesday.Freedman-Gurspan “demonstrates the kind of leadership this administration champions,” Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Obama, said in an emailed statement confirming the appointment. “Her commitment to bettering the lives of transgender Americans — particularly transgender people of color and those in poverty — reflects the values of this administration.”In a news release, National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director Mara Keisling said: “President Obama has long said he wants his administration to look like the American people. I have understood this to include transgender Americans. A transgender person was inevitably going to work in the White House.“That the first transgender appointee is a transgender woman of color is itself significant. And that the first White House transgender appointee is of a friend is inspiring to me and to countless others who have been touched by Raffi’s advocacy.”Watch a video released by the Obama administration that features staffers voicing their support of efforts to ban the use of “conversion therapy” for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender minors:center_img Related posts:Obama: US will make immigration ‘more fair and just’ Obama to request $1 billion from Congress to help Central America After 23 years, the US is dropping its claim that Cuba sponsors terrorism. Here’s what it means. Obama presents plan to close Guantanamo prisonlast_img read more

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Virginia executes El Salvador native convicted of multiple murders

first_imgPrison officials said in a statement that Prieto, who was put to death by lethal injection, was pronounced dead at 9:17 p.m.His final words, they said, were: “Let’s get this over with.”Prieto had been convicted of or linked to nine separate killings across the United States.His attorneys had filed a lawsuit seeking to temporarily postpone his execution over objections to the protocol of drugs used, but courts rejected their appeals.Prieto‘s main attorney, Robert Lee, complained that he had filed an 11th hour appeal on behalf of his client with the US Supreme Court, but that the execution was carried out before the U.S. highest court could render a decision.“The Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States were considering MrPrieto‘s request for a stay of execution but the Virginia Department of Corrections went ahead with the execution without waiting for a decision from the Justices,” Lee said in a statement.The United States remains the only Western country to maintain the death penalty and has carried out 21 executions so far this year.Prieto‘s execution was the third scheduled in the United States this week, just two of which were actually carried out.A Georgia woman was put to death on Tuesday. Missouri officials on Wednesday however postponed the execution of a convicted murderer for more than a month while officials address concerns about the drugs to be used in the execution. WASHINGTON — The state of Virginia late Thursday executed multiple murderer Alfredo Prieto, rejecting last minute court appeals from lawyers for the Salvadoran man. Facebook Commentscenter_img Related posts:Texas appeals court suspends execution of Nicaraguan El Salvador native on death row in US left with few options after judge lifts hold on execution Nicaragua pleads with US to call off Texas execution Costa Rica seeks clemency for Terence Valentine, on death row for brutal Florida murderlast_img read more

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Investigators piece together motive in mass Oregon shooting

first_imgROSEBERG, Oregon – Investigators on Saturday pieced together evidence on why a student at a college in Oregon went on a shooting rampage that left nine people dead before committing suicide as police cornered him.Officials said the Oregon shooting gunman, identified as 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer, was enrolled at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, and opened fire in his English writing class.Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin said Mercer — whom he has refused to identify by name so as not to give him notoriety — exchanged fire with two officers who had rushed to the scene before committing suicide.He said 14 weapons belonging to the perpetrator of the Oregon shooting had been recovered, including six found at the school along with a flak jacket and ammunition. Hanlin said investigators were poring through numerous leads and had interviewed hundreds of people, including neighbors and family members of the shooter, to try to determine what set off the rampage.The Oregon shooting, the latest in a string of similar attacks in recent years at colleges and schools in the United States, has revived a fierce debate on gun control.Officials say Mercer had struggled with mental health problems for some time and left behind a typed statement several pages long in which he indicated he felt lonely and was inspired by previous mass killings.The shooter, who lived with his mother, also appeared obsessed with guns and religion and had leanings toward white supremacy.It was unclear how long he had been a student at Umpqua, a small college of about 3,000 students located in Roseburg, a close-knit rural community.The rampage took place on the fourth day of the new school year. Several students said Mercer had signed up for a theater class that had not yet started. Witnesses said he asked his victims their religion before shooting them execution-style. June Gregory lost her niece, Rebecca Carnes, in the mass shooting at Roseburg, Oregon. Josh Edelson/AFPPassionate about gunsHanlin said investigators were examining how the shooter amassed his arsenal and were looking at some of his online postings.Mercer moved from Los Angeles to Oregon with his mother in 2013, neighbors said, describing him as withdrawn and quiet but passionate when it came to guns.“When we talked about guns and hunting, he was real open about it,”  Louie Flores, 32, a neighbor from California, told the New York Times. “But anything about what was going on in his life, he really didn’t say too much at all.”In online postings linked to Mercer’s email address, investigators reportedly found one entry in which he expressed sympathy for a dismissed television reporter who killed two former colleagues during a live broadcast in Virginia in August.In Roseburg, residents tried to come to terms with the tragedy and the sad reality that their town would now be remembered as the site of a mass killing.The bodies of the nine victims — five women and four men aged between 18 and 67 — were handed back to their families on Friday.Fire Marshall Greg Marlar said one of the victims, 20-year-old Treven Anspach, was the son of a local firefighter. Another rescuer lost his niece.Nine other people were injured in the rampage, including one woman who was shot in the head, officials said. Students and staff of Umpqua Community College arrive at the Douglas County Fairgrounds Complex where they were offered grief counseling and a bus ride back to campus to pick up their possessions and vehicles on Oct. 2, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFPChris Mintz, 30, an army veteran, had tried to stop the bloodshed by charging Mercer but was shot seven times while pleading that it was his son’s sixth birthday. He survived.The mass shooting reflects a grim reality of U.S. life, with similar incidents happening on a regular basis. The last mass shooting at a U.S. school took place in 2012 when 20 elementary school students and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.According to data compiled by the group Everytown for Gun Safety, there have been 142 school shootings in the United States since the Sandy Hook massacre. Facebook Comments Related posts:Two US journalists killed during live TV broadcast Multiple fatalities reported after mass school shooting in Oregon Costa Rican coastal community grieves colleague killed in US church massacre Oregon school shooting: ‘He just tried to do the right thing,’ one victim’s family sayslast_img read more

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John Ross and the responsibility of being a rebel reporter

first_imgRelated posts:Elena Poniatowska: Mexican student massacre reminiscent of concentration camps How chocolate cake led to Mexican drug kingpin’s arrest Welcome, Pope Francis, and please forgive us our goofs Yet another Veracruz journalist is kidnapped, tortured and killed in Mexico Anyone who’s done a lot of journalism work in Latin America in the past 30 years has likely bumped into the late John Ross at some point. I met him in the back of a cattle truck in southern Mexico in 1996, fresh out of a two-week mud fest in the jungle at the Zapatistas’ firstEncuentro Intergaláctico against neoliberalism. Norman Stockwell/The Tico TimesBarely in my 20s, the encuentro with the Zapatistas in Chiapas’ Lacandón jungle was transformational: I got to hear the great Uruguayan novelist Eduardo Galeano speak to fellow admirers inside a rain-soaked hut, and I was enthralled by a Silvio Rodríguez song for the first time. (“Sueño con serpientes,” played on an old cassette recorder someone brought into camp. I wrote it down.)But Ross was surly in the back of that truck, maybe because it had rained nonstop for two weeks and we had been buried up to our knees in mud; or possibly because on the final day – the only time the sun came out – Subcomandante Marcos paraded into camp on horseback and accused us all of being whiny bourgeoisie. I was too intimidated and exhausted to ask Ross what his beef was.A new collection of Ross’ writings edited by Cristalyne Bell and Norman Stockwell, called “Rebel Reporting,” features lectures for journalism students, in-depth reporting and biting poetry. In the book, the late rebel reporter Ross, who died in 2011, describes the encuentro as follows:In 1996, the Zapatistas called a conference in the middle of the Lacandón jungle ‘In Defense of Humanity and Against Neo-Liberalism.’ The event was called the ‘Intergaláctica’ and people from all five continents (and maybe some from other planets) came and danced in the mud. It was at the Intergaláctica that I first understood what the World Trade Organization was all about. The meeting was really the seedbed for Seattle.In hindsight, Ross could have just been angry about the way the world was going, and his mind probably was racing about what he was going to do about it.Context and oficio.These are two of Ross’ words that kept springing to mind as I read “Rebel Reporting,” which started as a series of lectures he delivered to budding journalism students at colleges and universities in the United States and was later compiled and published posthumously by Stockwell and Bell.In Seattle, three years after the first Zapatista encounter, Ross notes that 60,000 people showed up to a protest that exploded into a global happening, culminating in the Occupy movement more than a decade later.Here’s how Ross describes the word “oficio” to his audience of journalism students:The first thing you need to know is that you do not have a career in journalism. Forget about your career. You have an obligation—to tell the story of those who entrust you with theirs, to tell the truth about the way the world works. In Mexico, we call this an ‘oficio,’ an office of responsibility to the community. You serve the community. You don’t have a career.In the editor’s preface, Stockwell talks about context:“On one trip, in 1994, John shared a wealth of details about an armored car robbery that had just taken place that morning, including the personal history of the military officer who had been shot dead during the heist. ‘It’s all about the context,’ Ross said. ‘I can’t move anywhere else and throw away all those years of context.’”In the 21st century era of quick-to-forget digital media, stimulatory hits and clips, putrid punditry and parachute reporting, context has become somewhat of a lost responsibility. For me, it’s an anchor that prevents us from drifting too far out in that sea of information with no way to order it, interpret it, and make decisions.Ross’ era of anti-globalization protest and reporting marked the end of a period where things seemed more clearly defined, where evil in the world was quite tangible, and once a conscientious decision was made to fight it, it wasn’t too hard to figure out how. Today’s digital landscape seems much more gray. Finding that anchor – the context – becomes crucial, and it boils down to finding your principles as a human being.As Ross said, to be a rebel reporter you have to go to the place where it happened — “ir al lugar de los hechos.” John Ross speaks at an anti-war rally in Madison, Wisconsin, in March 2010. (Courtesy of Norman Stockwell)Debates about objectivity aside, if it weren’t for people like Ross, we might easily have forgotten people like South Korean farmer Lee Kyung-hae, who at a 2003 WTO demonstration in Cancún, climbed a barricade and stabbed himself in the heart, the ultimate act of protest.Ross, who was standing nearby, wrote about it in his poem “The Three Deaths of Mister Lee.” News stories about Lee’s suicide, which inevitably helped derail that round of WTO talks, have come and gone. But Ross’ poem – like his other poetry in this book – is timeless, helping to solidify one man’s personal struggle against the effects of globalization into more humanistic principles upon which we should all reflect.He does the same thing with the story of Brad Will in part two of the book. If it weren’t for Ross’ detailed reporting and captivating prose, we might mistakenly remember Will as a reckless radical who went to Oaxaca and got himself killed.But for Ross, Will, who filmed his own death at the age of 36 in southern Mexico during a long and bloody uprising in 2006, was the epitome of a rebel reporter, going to the place where it happened in order “to document the struggle for justice.”In the forward to “Rebel Reporting,” media critic and University of Illinois at Urbana professor Robert W. McChesney noted that “John Ross practiced Jefferson journalism, covering revolutions, rebellions, and reality with the acuity of Tom Paine, the honesty of Albert Camus, the wit of George Carlin, and the prose of Jack Kerouac. In a sane world he would be a household name, and like Tom Paine his words would have moved a nation to greatness.”—“Rebel Reporting: John Ross Speaks to Independent Journalists” is on sale now just in time for the holidays. Click here to order.The Tico Times recently spoke with “Rebel Reporting” editor Norman Stockwell, a freelance journalist based in Madison, Wisconsin, operations coordinator for WORT-FM Community Radio and a frequent contributor to The Tico Times. “Rebel Reporting” co-editor Norman Stockwell. Norman Stockwell/The Tico TimesExcerpts follow:TT: Walk me through the process – how did this project get started?NS: It’s a great and long story. John asked me at first to help him find a publisher for the book probably over five years ago. And the first thing we did was to share the manuscript with Bob McChesney, who is a professor of journalism at the University of Illinois and founder of an organization called Free Press, which does a lot of advocacy for independent media. And so Bob read it and really liked it and wrote a letter of introduction to a publisher and we sent it in. It didn’t get anywhere.Then John had a bout of liver cancer, which came back in late 2010, and at that point, he moved down to Mexico where he could spend his last days in the place that he loved. He passed away on Jan. 17, 2011.I immediately contacted his closest friends and family and said, “John left me this manuscript, and I really would like to move it forward toward publication.”And then began the process of contacting publishers. I contacted well over a dozen publishers, all of whom were ones where either I knew someone, an editor, or I had a letter of introduction from one of their other published authors. And everyone turned it down for a variety of reasons, partly because the publishing business is hard nowadays.And so, I was almost giving up on anybody ever accepting this manuscript. And then I stumbled across a book that was talking about media coverage of the Iraq war, and I said, well, this is interesting, these guys might be interested in this, so I sent a proposal to them and they got back in late 2014. And they said yes, they’d like to publish it, and they sent me their guidelines. …I began the process of assembling the manuscript for publication, which meant editing and footnoting and so on.Before John moved back to Mexico, he was living in the U.S.?He spent a good part of his life in Mexico and part of it in San Francisco, his sort of two adopted homes. John was originally from New York, but he moved to Mexico in the late 1950s and lived there on and off and in San Francisco on and off for the rest of his life.He was living for most of the time in Mexico City. Since the earthquake he was living in the Hotel Isabel in downtown Mexico City, in the Centro Histórico. And he had lived in that hotel almost since the day he moved there to cover the devastation after the 1985 earthquake.And so in tribute to that we’re going to be doing a book release event in the lobby of Hotel Isabel on Jan. 2 in Mexico City.How did you and John meet? I chronicle this a little bit in the editor’s preface, but basically I came to know his work back in the late 1980s covering the theft of the Mexican presidential elections in 1988. John and I actually didn’t meet until a couple of years after that. I was traveling through Mexico in 1991 and we got together there and had dinner and became correspondents and friends for the next couple of decades.I got to host him here in Madison a number of times when he would be on book tours with his various publications over the years: his book on the Zapatistas called “Rebellion from the Roots,” and then later his own autobiography, “Murdered By Capitalism,” and his book on Mexico City, “El Monstruo,” and also some others in between.We would usually set up a series of things when he came to town. They would include lectures at some of the various educational institutions here in Madison, the university, Edgewood College, MATC, which is the community college, and he would also do some kind of public presentations either at a book store or coffee shop, and he would also do something on the radio.And so that would happen every few years through the late 1990s and 2000s. And when I was in Mexico, I would always make a point of visiting him. We were together during the Mexican elections in 2006, and he also came to the States during the Republican Convention of 2004, and we went into the convention together to cover Bush’s – whatever you call that speech that candidates give when they already know they’ve got the nomination.Then we were together in Cancún at the WTO protest, covering things both inside and out – from inside the press center in the actual WTO meetings and out in the streets where the real action was happening. Although in 2003 there was a lot of action inside as well, because that was when the countries of the south actually stood down the WTO pretty effectively.So John and I had worked together on many different projects like this, and I would always help him to set up these lectures. Several of the lectures in the book he gave here in Madison to different classes of students, and two of them were attended by a young journalism student named Cristalyne Bell, who also has lived in Costa Rica. She was living there at the time when we started assembling this book.For people who may not have read John’s writing yet or bumped into him at one of these global events, who was he, and why was he so important in the modern journalism landscape? John Ross in Mexico, 2007. (Courtesy of Peter Allen)John was a radical journalist from the start. He believed that the role of a journalist was to give voice to the people at the bottom, whose stories most needed telling; that you don’t sit there and be a stenographer to the people in power and dutifully copy the press releases. Rather, you go to the people that are being affected by the policies, and you get their stories and you share that with an audience. And that’s the essence of what John – and I as well – felt journalism is all about.And so, he would always go to the regular everyday working people in any situation and he would tell their stories, because they had no other way to get their voices out, whereas the rich and powerful have many ways to get their stories out.So, from the beginning he was committed to Mexico, originally to live, and then later he was working for a newspaper in Peru, and then he went in 1985 from Peru to Mexico City right after the earthquake to cover that for People’s News service, among others.He was, again, telling the stories of the people who were affected by that tragedy. He moved into downtown Mexico City to live among the people and tell their stories.The title of the book is “Rebel Reporting.” Why is it called “Rebel Reporting” instead of just “reporting?” John says in the lectures that what he wants to talk about is “rebel journalism,” although he says he doesn’t like the word journalism even, because it sounds so snooty, and so he changes it to “reporting,” but the idea is reporting basically about rebellion, but also reporting in a way that is rebellion against the mainstream attitude of what journalism has become in the late 20th and early 21st centuries – as someone else said, becoming “stenographers to power.” This is not about that, this is about telling real people’s stories.So rebel journalism he lays out during the course of these lectures the principles that guide rebel reporting. One of them is to actually go there and feel and live in the place where you’re reporting on and the places where the people are being affected. Also, just that the notion of journalism as a moral obligation, not just a thing that you do to make a living.He talks about the concept of being actively involved, not just being an outside observer, but actually being a part of the people’s lives that you’re reporting on.Another interesting part of the book is his family’s history. It’s not as if he suddenly discovered journalism, he actually was born into a family surrounded by writers and critics and people whom one might describe even back then as rebel reporters. John grew up in a radical family in New York City and was very much a part of the movements for social change of the mid-20th century and forward. And so he came to his work with a deep connection to people working to build a freer, more just society. And he was exposed early on to a lot of radical activists. He refers to himself as a “lesser Beat poet.” He was connected to the last years of the Beat Generation, and that influenced a lot of his poetry. He was involved in a lot of political movements, and of course in the anti-war movement as he chronicles somewhat in the book.He was imprisoned for refusing the draft, he was involved in various social movements that resulted in him getting his eye damaged in a protest, which continued to trouble him for the rest of his life. He was very active in the protests against the most recent Iraq war, and continued to use his pen and his voice to oppose militarism, to oppose the actions of the powerful against the weak throughout the world.In the forward, Robert McChesney paints John as a self-described “enemy of J-School journalism,” comparing him to Tom Paine, Albert Camus, George Carlin and Jack Kerouac. Those are some pretty big names.I also love Mary Jo McConahay’s quote, basically that he’s part Jack Kerouac, part Roque Dalton, part Che Guevara and part Hunter Thompson.I would add Werner Herzog. Reading the second part of the book on Brad Will is like watching a Herzog film – it gets at the deeper truth of things. The Brad Will story, the reason it’s paired together with the lectures is that, on the one hand, he’s talking about rebel reporting in his lectures to college students. But in the second half, we show two things. One, we show how it’s done. He chronicles his dogged search for the truth in the death of Brad Will, and how he went to all these places and interviewed all these people that were involved in order to get to the roots of that story, and then also, he chronicles Brad himself as an example of somebody who was committed to this philosophy of rebel reporting – not from reading John’s work or anything else, but from living with and experiencing the lives of these people affected by the policies of the various governments, the Mexican government in the case of Oaxaca, but other stories in there as well.And so what you see is that the two pieces, even though they’re totally separate things, go together very well. Brad Will died in Oaxaca while John was giving these lectures for the first time in San Francisco. And Brad had connections here to Wisconsin, he had connections to the northern suburbs of Chicago, and so a lot of John’s research happened here in Madison. That’s the connection I think for that piece of the book. The people of Oaxaca, Mexico, attend the funeral service of U.S. cameraman Brad Will on Oct. 28, 2006. Alfredo Estrella/AFPTell me about John Ross the poet. There’s a lot of his poetry in this book and it complements the prose, particularly his chronicle of “The Three Deaths of Mr. Lee,” which talks about Cancún. Yeah, of course with Mr. Lee, we were right near him when that happened in Cancún, and my colleague Kata Mester from Free Speech Radio News had actually interviewed him, the Korean farmer Mr. Lee, not long before he took his life. So that was a very powerful moment in those protests in Cancún.Going back to John’s early, early history, he grew up immersed in poetry and literature and the world of radical poets raising their voices against injustice, and that colors everything he then did moving forward with his own poetical work. He published chapbooks of his poetry, and he did poetry readings as well as his journalism work. He did some here in Madison, he did a lot in San Francisco, and his lecture about “our words are our weapons” talks about that, about the importance of language both to paint a picture and also to communicate to people in a different and deeper way. I think poetry brings home a message in ways that a simple paragraph of text cannot do.Poetry is a very powerful tool. Speaking of tools, the book also includes an extensive resource list for journalists at the end. There’s a lot of useful stuff there.That was my intellectual contribution, I guess, to the book. I felt that we needed to have something that would take this and make it more than just something for students to read, but also something that would give them some of the tools and resources they would use when they actually embark on this career. And so Catherine Komp, a colleague from Free Speech Radio News, had put together initially a little training document that she sent around, and I wrote to her and said, “Catherine, this is wonderful, can I use this in this book?” and she said, “Yes, of course, please do.” And then I got another WORT intern, Laura Brickman, who is now in grad school in journalism at Columbia, to help me go through and identify links and resources, and then write those little descriptive paragraphs, and so it was a collaborative project, and the result is a very useful set of tools.Now, because it’s on the Internet, some of those links will probably change over time – some of them actually changed already – but whenever we come out with the electronic edition of the book, they’ll be updated. Members of South Korean farmers unions and other mourners carry a portrait and the coffin of Lee Kyung-hae at Incheon International Airport near Seoul, on Sept. 18, 2003. Lee stabbed himself to death on Sept. 10, 2003 in Mexico to protest World Trade Organization moves to open up agricultural markets. AFPOne of the interesting things about this book, in hindsight, there are some deeper, fundamental issues here. It’s easy to get distracted and lose your way in the digital landscape. I feel like we tend to get lost about what really has meaning when we’re choosing our stories and how we report them.John talks about the responsibility of the reporter. He talks about it being an oficio, that you have a responsibility to do this work. And I think that holds true no matter whether you’re writing with a pencil on a pad of paper as John did, or whether you are typing on a keyboard into a computer, or for that matter, talking into a microphone or speaking into a camera – it’s that responsibility that’s so important, and that’s timeless.What he’s saying in the book is that no matter what the technology, no matter what the medium, and no matter what the delivery mechanism, it’s about the responsibility you have as a journalist to tell people’s stories and to get those stories out there.Nowadays, you’re right, the Internet, most people are consumers of media, they have media washing over them and they’re not participating as much perhaps as they might have been in the days when you actually had to pick up a newspaper and turn to the page to find the article, but the responsibility of the journalist remains the same. It’s an interesting side note that this 24-hour media cycle, when we get all these, every bit of detail, as Amy Goodman says often, we have these journalist pundits who tell us so much about so little, and what we really need are those little stories of the everyday people to really understand the impacts of these issues and these policies, and that’s what the rebel reporter does, tell those stories and help people to get a better understanding, a better picture of the actual effects of these things that are being done in our name by our governments.I’ve had conversations with people who could be described as rebel reporters, who go to where the stories happen, they bring them to the surface, they get them published, and then the stories aren’t read, they don’t get traffic. What can we do to make sure that not only do we go to the source, but also to make sure people see the work? I have to say that things like The Tico Times are doing a wonderful job of getting those stories out, because you do distribute things through the Web, through Facebook, so you do get it out, and I think all of us in the world of independent journalism need to be conversant in this and not say, “Oh, I’m only going to have my stuff printed in The New York Times.” You need to use all of the different tools in your toolbox to reach a broad audience, and you need to reach them where they are able to receive the information, whether it be a fax or a printed page, or multimedia websites with video and audio clips.You’re taking the book on tour – tell me about that. So the book officially launched on Dec. 15, and the first event [was] right here in Madison, Wisconsin, where I live. From there we go to New York and then Mexico City, Seattle and San Francisco, with other possible events in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Chicago and hopefully San José, Costa Rica.The book can be ordered directly from the publisher at Rowman.com and also from the many different online retailers in the world of the Internet. And it can be purchased in local bookstores. If your local bookstore doesn’t have it, please ask them to order it. And finally, libraries. Library budgets are thin nowadays, so if people request a book they will make sure to get it, and I hope people will get this out in as many different ways as possible.When the first printing sells out we’ll look at doing an online electronic version, but that won’t be right away.One last thing, I wanted to jump back to the Intergaláctica and how that and the first World Social Forum really connected with Seattle. Seattle was here in the States, and we didn’t know the word globalization. It really came from you folks from the global south that we began to have an understanding of that, and the fact that people were able to come together in Seattle – 60,000 people – to protest the World Trade Organization, it was a major game-changer, certainly for the global north in terms of its understanding of the role of these trade agreements and so on. And it also became the fodder for the creation of the World Social Forum movement – in coming out of Seattle you had the first World Social Forum in Brazil, created to be a counterpoint to the World Economic Forum, and then going on for the next 15 years since then with regular gatherings of people from civil society, organizations around the world coming together to showcase alternatives to corporate capitalism.Congratulations, the book is a wonderful read and should make people think.Thank you, I’m really very pleased with it. For me it’s sort of the culmination of five-plus years of work doing what was an oficio for me to get this work of John’s into the hands of a whole new generation of independent journalists.—Read more of Norman Stockwell’s work in The Tico Times: The pen against the swords: Author Jorge Galán seeks asylum after threats in El SalvadorMiguel Facussé is dead: What does that mean for the people of Honduras?Archbishop Óscar Romero: Another step on the path toward sainthoodSentencing in Chile begins to bring closure in 41-year-old murder cases of US citizens Frank Teruggi and Charles HormanLa Penca: 30 years laterPinochet’s arrest remembered The exposure of Eugene HasenfusPHOTOS: Esquipulas II – 5 presidents who came together to choose their own pathReviving the messenger: Gary Webb’s tale on filmRemembering the Jesuits: Seeking justice in El Salvador after a quarter-century Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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PHOTOS US punk rock band Rise Against revives sentiment of resistance in

first_imgIt’s a rainy Thursday afternoon in San José – Zapote, to be more precise – at the Pepper’s Club. We are waiting to watch the U.S. band Rise Against give the last concert of their Latin-American tour.It’s 7:00 p.m. and people start entering the venue excitedly. Most people are all dressed in black, ready to see the U.S. band play in Costa Rica five years after its last performance in the country. As people continue entering Pepper’s Club, the Costa Rican band Bufonic reunites to play on this special occasion after five years missing in action on the music scene. Bufonic’s vocalist Carlos Montero sings for the fans. (César Arroyo/The Tico Times)Bufonic’s members seem surprised and thankful for their various fans bobbing their heads and rocking out with them after these five years. They finish their show with a chanting and enthusiastic crowd. As they leave the stage, the lights turn off while we wait for Rise Against’s grand appearance. Meanwhile, as background music, we listen to Temple of The Dog’s “Hunger Strike,” and the audience joyfully sings to it in remembrance of U.S. singer Chris Cornell. A wild Zach Blair jumps passionately while the band performs. (César Arroyo/The Tico Times)It’s now 9:06 p.m. and the audience euphorically chants “RISE! RISE! RISE!” In the midst of this joyful expectation, the band’s excitable guitarist Zach Blair appears on stage followed by drummer Brandon Barnes, bass player Joe Principe and singer Tim McIlrath. Obviously, the audience shouts ecstatically in excitement while throwing their arms into the air for the band. Blair plays his guitar – masterfully. (César Arroyo/The Tico Times)This blissful night to be remembered begins with the song “Ready to Fall,” followed by “The Good Left Undone,” during which McIlrath eagerly tells his fans that the main reason they came back to Costa Rica is all because of you. This simple act causes an explosion of emotion within the audience, which combines with the red and blue light show that leads us into singing along with “Re-Education (Through Labor)” as a means of resistance against those who ask to crawl on our knees for them.The marvelous performance continued with their usual empowering messages about the protection of animals, political awareness, bullying, violence and defense of the LGBTQI community. Blair is rocking with his yellow-orange guitar, McIlrath with his bright red guitar, Principe with a light blue bass. Barnes maintains the steady rhythm, while the crowd never ceases its voracious hunger for the band’s songs.McIlrath grabs the microphone and briefly speaks about how current global issues of sexism, xenophobia and racism are rising. He says they have written a song that was intended to document a time in history. They sing “State of the Union” in a crazy manner that excites the audience even more. An excited crowd applauds joyfully for Rise Against. (César Arroyo/The Tico Times)The concert continues with the songs “Welcome to the Breakdown,” “Architects,” “Help is on the Way” and “Give It All,” while McIlrath approaches the fans with the microphone and shares it with them so that they can sing along. In a split second, Blair changes to a black guitar and they continue playing “I Don’t Want to Be Here Anymore” followed up by “Prayer of the Refugee,” which seeks to address forced displacement and the issues that refugees face along the way. Bassist Joe Principe accompanies the song with some backup vocals while McIlrath sings. (César Arroyo/The Tico Times) McIlrath claps his hands in unison with the audience. (César Arroyo/The Tico Times)It’s now 10:02 p.m., the lights are turned off, the band leaves the stage and a few minutes afterwards McIlrath comes back on stage to play three acoustic songs: “Hero of War,” “People Live Here” and “Swing Life Away.”Before “Swing Life Away”, McIlrath speaks in remembrance of Soundgarden and Audioslave’s singer Chris Cornell’s recent death, to whom he dedicates the song. He recalls being sixteen and singing onstage with Cornell at a show in Australia. McIlrath sings “Swing Life Away” while remembering Chris Cornell’s legacy. (César Arroyo/The Tico Times)After an emotional moment the lights turn off again, McIlrath changes guitars and the rest of the band returns. The wonderful night ends with “Survive,” “Audience of One,” and “Savior.” McIlrath shouts euphorically, “Costa Rica!” and then leaves the stage.It’s 10:40 p.m. and a fully-packed Pepper’s Club rejoices in an incredible show. What better place than Costa Rica for Rise Against to share their powerful music in defense of both human and animal rights? McIlrath changes to a black guitar to continue rocking out during the night. (César Arroyo/The Tico Times) Related posts:10 reasons to check out the first-ever Coca Cola Fest Arts and culture in brief: the week ahead in Costa Rica A Costa Rican, a first kiss: Mourning George Michael 5 questions for a Costa Rican musician: blind artist Gerardo Mora Rise Against played for the second time in Costa Rica on Thursday May 18. The show was produced by Destiny Recordings and Stand Up Productions at Pepper’s club in Zapote. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Russias Putin meets chess king Anand for tea

first_img 0 Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Top Stories center_img MOSCOW (AP) – Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has met with world chess champion Viswanathan Anand and runner-up Boris Gelfand over a cup of tea in his residence.Putin lauded both players for “an outstanding game.”India’s Anand beat Gelfand of Israel on Wednesday 2.5-1.5 in a rapid tiebreaker following a 6-6 draw played at the Tretyakov Gallery, one of Russia’s finest museums.Gelfand, who was born in the Soviet Union and emigrated from Belarus to Israel in 1998, was cheered throughout the match as if he were a home player. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Anand told Putin over tea Thursday that he had learned to play chess in a Soviet cultural center in his hometown when he was a child.“So we brought this on ourselves!” Putin said.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family How men can have a healthy 2019last_img read more

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Poll Most Afghans optimistic about future

first_img Sponsored Stories NATO has intensified training of the 352,000-strong Afghan police and army to help improve standards and enable them to operate independently after foreign combat troops leave the country at the end of 2014.The survey, which included 89 questions on a wide range of issues, showed that the vast majority of Afghans see corruption as a major problem in all facets of life and at all levels of governance. Nearly 80 percent of respondents said graft was a serious problem across the country, the report said.The in-person survey of 6,290 Afghans from all 34 provinces, conducted with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development and other foreign agencies, had a margin of error of plus or minus 5.1 percent. The Asia Foundation’s annual surveys are regularly cited by many groups working in Afghanistan.However, since the pollsters could not reach some areas of the country because of security concerns, Asia Foundation said those likely to be more pessimistic about the overall direction of the country were probably underrepresented in the survey.“We hope these findings will help bridge the gap in understanding between the international community, the Afghan government, and local communities _ dialogue necessary for Afghanistan’s long-term prospects,” Ahmadzai told reporters. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Associated PressKABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – Most Afghans believe their country is headed in the right direction but still worry about the lack of security resulting from the 11-year war, a public opinion survey by a major international nonprofit group said Wednesday.The poll by the San Francisco-based Asia Foundation also found that an overwhelming majority of Afghans back the government’s efforts to negotiate and reconcile with armed insurgent groups. Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Afghan President Hamid Karzai has offered jobs and housing to Taliban fighters who defect and formed a High Peace Council to facilitate negotiations. Though officials and diplomats say contacts are being made with insurgent leaders, no formal peace talks are currently under way _ mostly because the Taliban broke off efforts to start negotiations earlier this year.“Security continues to be the biggest indicator of both optimism and pessimism for Afghans, said Abdullah Ahmadzai, the deputy representative for Afghanistan with the Asia Foundation.Only 30 percent of respondents in the poll expressed sympathy for the insurgents, while nearly two-thirds said they did not support them.But when asked why the Taliban continue to fight, the most common reason cited was opposition to the presence of foreign troops in the country. Other reasons included a desire to gain power, illiteracy, support from Pakistan and corruption.Despite their opposition to the Taliban, many respondents also said they were also afraid of the troops from the U.S.-led NATO coalition and government’s security forces. Nearly three-quarters said they felt fear when meeting international troops, while just under half said they had the same reaction when encountering the Afghan army or police. ___Online: http://asiafoundation.org/country/afghanistan/2012-poll.php Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenixlast_img read more

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David Miliband wont run for Labour Party leader in UK

first_img Sponsored Stories David said that his brother Ed, like former Prime Minister Gordon Brown during the 2010 election, allowed himself to be portrayed as “moving backwards from the principles of aspiration and inclusion.”Ed defeated David in a battle for the party leadership in 2010. David, a former foreign secretary, later resigned from Parliament to head the International Rescue Committee in New York, and says he remains committed to that job.David said he had been in touch with Ed since the election, and praised him for showing “enormous dignity and courage” in the face of bruising attacks during the campaign, which saw the Labour Party’s support in Scotland crumble in the face of nationalist gains.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories LONDON (AP) — David Miliband has criticized his brother Ed Miliband’s failed campaign to become Britain’s prime minister, but says he won’t run for Labour Party leader now that his younger brother has stepped down.David Miliband told the BBC in New York Monday that voters “didn’t want what was being offered” by Labour when they gave a majority victory to Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives. The result, he said, was “devastating” for the progressive cause. Four benefits of having a wireless security system Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your homecenter_img Check your body, save your life New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Comments   Share   last_img read more

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Joyful Burundi refugees leave diseasestricken camp

first_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober “They are eating on the floor, sleeping on the floor and there were no latrines,” she said. “Our first priority was to move the refugees from Kagunga. At the same time it was important to improve access to clean water and latrines.”At least 1,500 to 2,000 refugees are being moved from Kagunga every day by four ferry trips along Lake Tanganyika to Kigoma, she said.Among the singing women was Mvumilivu Odeta, 27, who says she is a refugee for a second time in her life. Orphaned at two when her parents were killed in the civil war, Odeta said cannot remember anything about the first time she escaped to Tanzania.Odeta’s first name, Mvumilivu, means, a person who can persevere, in Swahili, and now she has escaped Burundi’s current turmoil with her 16-month-old son. “I am singing because I am thankful that we are alive,” she said.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Refugees who fled Burundi’s violence and political tension watch others leave on a ship freighted by the UN , at Kagunga on Lake Tanganyika, Tanzania, Saturday, May 23, 2015 to be taken to the port city of Kigoma. An outbreak of cholera has infected 3,000 people in a Tanzanian border region where refugees fleeing political unrest in Burundi have massed, the U.N. Refugee Agency said Friday, May 22, 2015. Some 300 to 400 new cases of cholera are being reported daily. At least 31 people — 29 refugees and two Tanzanians — already have died of the disease, according to UNHCR. More than 64,000 Burundians have fled to Tanzania in recent weeks, UNHCR said, escaping the unrest sparked by their president’s bid for a third term that many say is unconstitutional. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img ErrorOK ErrorOKThe small town has hosted thousands of refugees crossing over from Burundi and now has been hit by a cholera outbreak. The refugees are being taken to Kigoma where they will be bused further inland to Nyarugusu, a camp with better facilities, said Celine Schmitt, a spokeswoman for the U.N refugee agency.Tens of thousands of Burundians are escaping political turmoil triggered by President Pierre Nkurinziza’s bid for a third term in office in the June 26 elections.Burundi recently experienced a civil war from 1993 to 2003 which killed at least 250,000 people.Bujumbura, Burundi’s capital, has had four weeks of street protests in which 20 have died and 431 injured. The protests started after it was announced that Nkurunziza will run for another term, which many say is against the constitution.The protests boiled over last week when a section of the army attempted a coup, which was crushed in 48 hours.Fearing more political violence, more than 100,000 Burundians fled the country.Thousands poured into the improvised Tanzanian refugee camp and 31 people died from a cholera outbreak. Twenty-nine of the dead are Burundi refugees in Kagunga, which has been the hardest hit by the disease, said the U.N. spokeswoman Schmitt. An initial assessment of the outbreak shows it was likely caused by a lack of clean water, over-crowding of the camps and lack of toilets, she said. Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of LAKE TANGANYIKA, Tanzania (AP) — Hundreds of women, many with children strapped on their backs alongside their few belongings, sing melodious tunes expressing their joy as their small boats approach the ferry M.V. Liemba.“We are thanking God for leaving Burundi. Now we are in Tanzania we are safe,” the women sing in Kirundi, Burundi’s official language, after they boarded the ferry.They are among a group of about 600 Burundi refugees evacuated by the U.N. refugee agency Saturday from a makeshift refugee camp at the fishing village of Kagunga, Tanzania. Patients with chronic pain give advicelast_img read more

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US military begins search flights for stranded Rohingya

first_img Comments   Share   Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement This month, more than 3,000 migrants have landed in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, and thousands more are believed to be trapped at sea in boats abandoned by their captains.Human traffickers have also abandoned jungle camps on land. Malaysia was exhuming remains Tuesday from graves at a suspected transit point used by traffickers near the Thai border.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility ErrorOK ErrorOK Sponsored Stories Quick workouts for men Top Stories WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States has begun military surveillance flights to help locate stranded Rohingya and Bangladeshi boat people in Southeast Asian seas.State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said Tuesday that U.S. Navy P8 aircraft flew over the weekend with Malaysian support.Rathke said the U.S. has offered to help governments in the region by providing information about boats possibly carrying migrants in the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal.last_img read more

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Prominent German publisher Alfred Neven DuMont dies at 88

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean FILE – In this April 23, 2007 file photo German publisher Alfred Neven DuMont is photographed in Berlin. Alfred Neven DuMont, a prominent German newspaper publisher over several decades, has died. He was 88. Neven DuMont’s company, the M. DuMont Schauberg group, said he died on Saturday. It gave no further details in a statement Sunday May 31, 2015. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn,file) 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement He headed the company’s supervisory board from 1990 until January this year. The group now publishes newspapers including the daily Berliner Zeitung and Hamburger Morgenpost and also includes book publisher DuMont.It holds a 20 percent stake in the Haaretz Group, the publisher of one of Israel’s best-known daily papers.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. BERLIN (AP) — Alfred Neven DuMont, a prominent German newspaper publisher for several decades, has died. He was 88.Neven DuMont’s company, the M. DuMont Schauberg group, said he died on Saturday. It gave no further details in a statement Sunday.Neven DuMont joined the family-controlled company in 1953. He took charge of Cologne’s Stadt-Anzeiger daily and founded the tabloid Express in 1964, later serving as the group’s chief executive. Top Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Comments   Share   last_img read more

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