Archive for the ‘news’ Category

Art: Abstract interpretation of a minion sells for $46.5million

Friday, May 15th, 2015

For your consideration:

Minion:

Rothko:

Puerto Rico: Calling Dr. Cardona Harper

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

A Puerto Rican doctor, Fernando Cardona Harper, Medical Director of the 150-bed Sheer Memorial Hospital in Banepa, Nepal, talked to El Nuevo Día about the desperate conditions in the town of 35,000 people.

Read the full article in Spanish here.



Today on Drudgereport

Friday, February 13th, 2015

REVEALED: Loophole for illegal immigrants to vote in elections…


PHARMACY SHELVES BARE IN VENEZUELA

Caracas Chronicles: Basking in a sea of happiness

Inflation is at almost 70% per year. The multiple exchange rate system is wreaking havoc with Venezuelans’ daily lives. The Central Bank is printing money like crazy to finance an out of control budget deficit.

Venezuela is #1 in the World Misery Index. Argentina’s #2.

Argentina: Who killed #Nisman?

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

  • No traces of gunpowder on his hands
  • Gun was not his
  • Apparently none of the ten security officers assigned to protect Nisman was stationed on the thirteenth floor of the apartment building on which he lived
  • Theory of “induced suicide”
  • Minister for State Security on the scene before police investigating authorities
  • Ariel Lijo, the Argentinian judge who received Nisman’s 300 page complaint alleging the involvement of President Cristina ​Fernández de Kirchner and others in covering up Iran’s culpability for the 1994 bombing of the AMIA, ordered the seizure of all documentation and other evidence referred to in the complaint
  • Left shopping list for his housekeeper

Following the outpour of outraged citizens in Buenos Aires and the country, the government has issued more information:

Spain’s El País reports (link in Spanish) that forensic tests showed no traces of gunpowder on Alberto Nisman’s hands.

The prosecutor in charge of the case, Viviana Fein, explains it as, “Coming from a small caliber weapon, 22 caliber, usually that causes that electronic sweeps show no results.” The weapon had no silencer.

Fein had previously revealed that the gun that shot the bullet in Nisman’s brain was not his, although he owned and had permits for two firearms; additionally,

Fein said she would not rule out the possibility that Nisman was “induced” to suicide.

Which, of course, opens innumerable spin opportunities for the government propaganda machine.

The AP suggests that none of the ten security officers assigned to protect Nisman was stationed on the thirteenth floor of the apartment building on which he lived.

The time of death appears to have been in the mid-afternoon, while none of his bodyguards were present.

Fein also had Nisman’s office raided today.

Timeline: The Events Leading to Alberto Nisman’s Death

Now Nisman is dead meaning that Kirchner and Iran can rest a lot easier. Are we to believe that his death is really a suicide, as the Argentinian government claimed today?

Related:
Argentine prosecutor’s death: The latest act in the Iran-Israel saga
Alberto Nisman was the Argentine prosecutor investigating Iran’s hand in the 1992 and 1994 bombings of Jewish targets; Imad Mughneiyeh, father of the Hezbollah commander killed in Syria on Sunday, was suspected of organizing the Argentina attack.

UPDATE:
Floor plan,

Nisman lived in Apartment 4 (shaded in green, bottom left).

The plot thickens: The government Secretary for Security was on the scene before the investigating authorities (including Fein and the coroner’s office).

Alberto Nisman Death: Judge Seizes Evidence, Initial Autopsy Findings Released (h/t David Gertsman).

“A suspicious death:” John Batchelor talked about Nisman in last night’s show.

UPDATE 2,
Nisman left a shopping list for his housekeeper.

Argentina: NISMAN DEAD, UPDATED

Monday, January 19th, 2015

Hours before he was schedule to report/testify in a closed hearing to the Argentinian Congress regarding his investigation of Cristina Fernandez’s corrupt dealings with Iran, federal prosecutor Alberto Nisman has been found dead of a gunshot wound to the head.

He was found dead by his mother in the bathroom of his home,

The Security Ministry released a statement saying that Mr Nisman’s bodyguards had raised the alarm after he failed to answer their phone calls on Sunday.

Concerned about his welfare, they fetched Mr Nisman’s mother and tried to enter his apartment, the statement said.

They found the door locked from the inside with a key still stuck inside.

After a locksmith gained access, they found Mr Nisman’s body in the bathroom.

He had said in an interview with Clarin (which has been in Fernandez’s crosshairs in the past), I may end up dead from this.”

Clarin has a roundup of international news media coverage here.

Who will obtain justice for Alberto Nisman?

Nisman was a man determined to follow the facts, and committed to achieving justice. When Imad Mughniyeh was killed, allegedly by Israel, in a February 2008 car-bombing in Damacus, he told me he felt no sorrow at the terror chief’s death, but neither did he feel that justice had been served.

What seems particularly tragic about the death of Alberto Nisman in Buenos Aires this week, the death of a brave, decent, seeker of justice, an honest man who would not be intimidated or deterred, is that there will be nobody of comparable caliber and guts to ensure justice for him.

Added:

Haaretz’s Noga Tarnopolsky tweets:

more here.

UPDATE:
I must clarify: While the BBC tiptoes about the cause of death, Clarin’s report specifically states:

Aunque no se conocieron los detalles del hecho, trascendió que su cuerpo apareció sin vida en el baño, aparentemente en la bañadera.

Las primeras informaciones indicaron que tenía un disparo en la cabeza de un revólver de pequeño calibre. Sobre su escritorio estaba la documentación que el fiscal iba a presentar hoy en Diputados. La confirmación de la muerte la dio el juez que invtervino [sic] en la causa, Manuel De Campos, y las primeras hipótesis hablaban de un “supuesto suicidio”.

Todavía hay muchas dudas con respecto a lo que pasó. “Les pido cautela y que esperen los informen. En los próximos días sabremos las causas de la muerte. Encontramos un arma”, contó la fiscal Viviana Fein, una de las primeras en llegar.

My translation – please credit me and link to this post if you use it:

While the details are not known, it was learned that his body was found in the bathroom, apparently in the bathtub.

The earliest information indicated he had a shotgun wound to the head from a small caliber weapon. On his desk was the documentation he was going to present today at the Chamber of Deputies. Judge Manuel De Campos, who was involved in the case, confirmed the death, and the first hypothesis claim an “apparent suicide.”

Many doubts remain as to what happened. “I ask for caution and to wait for information. We will know the cause of death in the following days. We will find a weapon,” stated prosecutor Viviana Fein, one of the first to arrive at the scene.

Spain’s El Pais, however, moves the body,

Lo encontraron en el baño. Su cuerpo inerte bloqueaba la puerta. A su lado se halló un arma y un casquillo de bala.

My translation,

He was found in the bathroom. His lifeless body was blocking the door. Next to him a weapon and a shell casing [correction: cartridge shell is the more accurate term] were found.

Linked to by The Lid. Thank you!

Venezuela: Biden asks for release of political prisoners

Saturday, January 3rd, 2015

Joe Biden was attending Dilma’s inauguration, and he made sure to run into Maduro?
Biden urged Venezuelan to free political prisoners, U.S. says

No, it was Maduro’s people who wanted to approach Joe:

One of Maduro’s aides initiated the contact, approaching the U.S. delegation during the reception that followed the swearing-in of President Dilma Rousseff for a second term.

Maduro told Biden that Venezuela wants “a better relationship with the United States” and the vice president assured him President Barack Obama’s administration was also interested in improving ties.

Biden told Maduro that the most important thing Venezuela needs to do to lay the basis for better relations is to release political prisoners, the U.S. official said.

Of course, by now Maduro knows all he needs to do in these days of smart diplomacy is to take an American hostage, hold him/her for a few years, have the Vatican intervene, and things will go his way no matter what.



Venezuela: Revolución sin leche . . .

Monday, December 29th, 2014

pero con criminales (Revolution with no milk, but with criminals)

Two news items from the benighted Bolivarian revolution:

1. Famous Venezuelan ice-cream store closes over milk shortage

“We are closed during the season due to shortage of milk,” the famous Coromoto ice-cream store in the highland town of Merida announced on its Facebook page.

2. In Venezuela criminals are appointed to the High Court, TSJ

Translation:

1987 murder in Ciudad Bolivar
1989 associated with another murder
1990 manages to go free
1993 secretary in some Caracas court (!!!!!)
1995 becomes lawyer from the Santa Maria U. (one of the easiest universities to get a degree from, little bit more than signing attendance sheet)
2002 defends one of the regime murderers of 2002 April
2003 becomes a minor judge in Caracas (!!!!)
2004 issues arrest order against Simonovis
2005 judge in charge of Anderson case (where he did forgeries)
2007 suspended in March and fired in June
2014 TSJ “justice”.

“You want a criminal lawyer.”

Nicaragua: Where’s the Canal money coming from?

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

That’s not clear:

Many economic analysts believe the canal is unfeasible and will never be built, or worse, could end up half built as funding runs out.

“It’s a gigantic white elephant,” said Jean-Paul Rodrigue, a transportation expert at Hofstra University. Neither the Nicaraguan government nor Mr. Jing’s Hong-Kong based HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co., known as the HKND Group, has said where it expects to get the financing.

Canal spokesman Telémaco Talavera said the financial information will be known in due time. “The information will be made public,” said Mr. Talavera, declining to give any other details. “We have met with potential investors from all over the world.”

Don’t buy the Brooklyn Bridge, don’t be the next Lord Crawley.

Related: list of volcanos in Nicaragua.

Cuba: #AlanGross released – is Obama ending the embargo in exchange? UPDATED THROUGH THE DAY

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Alan Gross, the American political prisoner held by the Communist Cuban regime for five years, has been released.

As I have written before,

In December 2009, Alan P. Gross was arrested while in Cuba working as a U.S. government subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for bringing satellite phones and computer equipment to members of Cuba’s small Jewish community. He was held in jail, and, in March, 2011 was convicted for “acts against the independence or the territorial integrity of the state”.

What does “acts against the independence or the territorial integrity of the state” means? It means that, in Cuba, attempting to provide access to the internet is a crime.

American Alan Gross Released From Cuba After 5 Years in Prison
Gross Is Headed to U.S. on Government Plane, Obama Administration Official Says

Administration officials have said that his captivity has precluded any modification in U.S.-Cuban relations, so his release could clear the way for discussions about a broader deal. President Barack Obama is expected to make a statement about Cuba from the White House at noon on Wednesday.

I fully expect Obama to declare an end to the embargo before year’s end. Will that be his “statement about Cuba from the White House at noon”?

UPDATE 10AM:
The remaining three of the Cuban Five were released in exchange: The Miami Herald (emphasis added),

The Cuban government had linked Gross’s release to the imprisonment of five Cubans convicted in 2001 of infiltrating South Florida military installations and spying on the exile community. The men, considered heroes in Cuba, were convicted in 2001 in Miami on charges including conspiracy and failure to register as foreign agents in the U.S.

The administration had repeatedly ruled out a swap, saying the USAID subcontractor wasn’t a spy and can’t be part of a spy-for-spy swap. But news reports Wednesday indicate that three Cubans were released in exchange for Gross. The other two of the so-called Cuban Five were previously released after completing their sentences.

Val Prieto:

This is a major setback for the opposition and dissident movements in Cuba. The Obama administration, by making this “deal”, has confirmed that they are OK with the repression, brutality, incarceration, and murder the castro regime foists upon the opposition. And I will once again say what I have been saying since day one of this farce of a presidential administration, for the record: faced with the fact that he is, by far, the worst President this nation has ever seen, and with no true positive legacy, Obama is relying on the low hanging fruit of the Cuban embargo to placate the left. Look for President Executive Action to undermine codified US Cuba policy.

Get ready. This is going to be one hell of a day.

Read also my post at Da Tech Guy Blog.

UPDATE 11AM:
“Normalizing” U.S.-Cuba relations means giving the Communist Cuban government a lifeline, at a particularly critical time, now that its sugar daddy Venezuela nears economic collapse as oil prices drop. Marco Rubio:

“This is going to do absolutely nothing to further human rights and democracy in Cuba,” Rubio said in an interview. “But it potentially goes a long way in providing the economic lift that the Castro regime needs to become permanent fixtures in Cuba for generations to come.”

UPDATE 11:19

Guardian Washington bureau chief Dan Roberts,

UPDATE 11:25AM
CBS News affiliate in Miami stated Gross will not be with Obama at the WH press conference.

UPDATE 11:30
Betrayal: Vatican Brokered Secret U.S.-Cuba Talks

Pope Francis and the Vatican played a significant role in reopening diplomatic relations between Cuba and the U.S. The Vatican not only hosted in-person meetings between Cuban and U.S. officials, but actively played a role in the discussions, according to senior Obama administration officials. The meeting to finalize the reopening of relations was also held at the Vatican this past fall. The Vatican sent a personal letter to President Obama regarding Cuban relations. “We haven’t received communications from the Pope of this nature,” said a senior adminstration official. “That gave us greater impetus and momentum.”

Rep. Ron de Santis:

This prisoner swap sends a signal to rogue regimes and actors that taking an American hostage can be leveraged into scoring policy concessions. This makes America less safe and emboldens the dictatorship in Cuba.

UPDATE 11:53
The United States will restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba and open an embassy in Havana

In a deal negotiated during 18 months of secret talks hosted largely by Canada and encouraged by Pope Francis, who hosted a final meeting at the Vatican, President Obama and President Raúl Castro of Cuba agreed in a telephone call to put aside decades of hostility to find a new relationship between the United States and the island nation just 90 minutes off the American coast.

Congress need not be consulted?

UPDATE 11:59AM
Is Cuba easing its embargo on American products and American travel?

12 noon:

Cuba no longer listed as state sponsor of terrorism.

UPDATE 12:16
Obama claims “Todos somos Americanos” – “we’re all Americans”. Not at all.

UPDATE 12:30PM
I was wondering, is Cuba easing Cuba’s embargo on American products and American travel? Will they not continue to shelter FARC & other known terrorists? Nothing on that in O’s speech.

Not in Raul Castro’s speech, either,

Castro said that he had spoken to Secretary Kerry about normalizing relations between the two country, adding that President Obama’s decision deserved “respect and gratitude.” He also thanked the Vatican, Pope Francis and Canada for their support in the process.

But he stressed there was still much work to be done: the US economic blockade remains in place, he said, causing “enormous damage to our people. It must end.”

Acknowledging that the blockade is established in law, Castro said that president Obama could modify its application, and he called on the US government to adopt measures which will benefit both countries.

“Recognizing that we have many fundamental differences on the subjects of national soveignty, democracy, human rights and foreign policy, we reaffirm our willingness discuss all of these subjects.”

Castro called on the US government to remove the obstacles between the countries, dividing families – specifically he called for the re-establishment of direct flights, postal deliveries and telecommunications.

“The progress we have already made shows that it is possible to find solutions to our problems,” he said.

Another question:
How is Obama going to prevent Cuba’s possible role in bypassing sanctions on Venezuela, Russia and Iran?

UPDATE 2PM
Alan Gross on TV thanking all who helped in the effort to release him.

CODA:
As Val Prieto put it, “and from the here’s a swift kick in the nuts department….”

Alan Gross returns to the United States, is greeted by an image of Che Guevara

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U.S. releases 6 al-Qaeda detainees to Uruguay

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Following up on yesterday’s post, my post, U.S. releases 6 al-Qaeda detainees to Uruguay

Four were members of the “Syrian Group;” all are connected to Abu Zubaydah; only one was deemed as “medium risk,” the other five were “high risk.”

The four Syrians are Ali Husein Shaaban, Ahmed Adnan Ahjam, Abd al Hadi Faraj and Jihad Ahmed Mujstafa Diyab; from the West Bank, Mohammed Abdullah Tahamuttan; from Tunisia, Abdul Bin Mohammed Bin Abess Ourgy.

And as soon as they got to Uruguay, they were given rights to come and go as they please.