Luxury hotel ditching key cards after hackers strike

first_img Tuesday, January 31, 2017 Tags: Austria, Technology Share << Previous PostNext Post >> PARIS — An Austrian luxury hotel says it’s ditching electronic room cards for old-fashioned locks and keys after having their systems frozen by blackmail-hungry hackers.The husband-and-wife management of Romantik Seehotel Jaegerwirt, in the Austrian Alps, says that one recent infection with ransom software resulted in the complete shutdown of hotel computers.They say they were forced to pay roughly 1,500 euros (nearly $1,600) worth of electronic currency to restore their network.Several publications incorrectly reported that the ransomware infection resulted in guests being locked into or out of their rooms.In a series of emails, the hotel said Tuesday that the infection only resulted in new guests being temporarily unable to get keys to their rooms.Hotel co-manager Christina Brandstaetter says the new arrivals were treated to champagne while they waited. Luxury hotel ditching key cards after hackers strike Source: The Associated Presslast_img read more

Royal Caribbean now sailing to Cuba year round expands to 58 new

first_imgRoyal Caribbean now sailing to Cuba year round, expands to 58 new cruises MIAMI – Royal Caribbean has opened its first year-long program to Cuba with expanded sailings that include 58 new cruises, including 28 overnights through March 2019.New sailings to Havana will be onboard the Empress of the Seas, which has been recently refreshed. She will sail 58 cruises of four- and five-night itineraries from January 2018 through March 2019, more than half offering overnight stays in Havana.Empress’ Western Caribbean and Havana sailings were opened for bookings earlier this week.“Since arriving in Cuba for the first time last month, we’ve seen the excitement of our guests when sailing into Havana and the passion they have for the city at sail away – its people, its architecture, its food, its music. This is the enthusiasm we strive to bring to adventure-seekers who vacation with us,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “The positive reaction to our Cuba sailings is very encouraging, and we are thrilled to expand on the number of sailings for our 2018-2019 itineraries.”More news:  Hotel charges Bollywood star $8.50 for two bananas and the Internet has thoughtsEmpress of the Seas will return to Tampa for summer 2018, offering a series of four- and five-night cruises, calling on Key West, Florida and Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico, as well as Havana on most sailing. The ship will reposition to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale for the winter 2018-2019 season, continuing short Caribbean adventures.Currently, Empress sails from Tampa through Nov. 4, 2017. The ship will then return to Miami for the winter 2017-2018 season, adding calls to Royal Caribbean’s private island, CocoCay, and Nassau in The Bahamas.To celebrate its service to Cuba, Empress of the Seas has been decked out with colourful Cuban décor and offerings, including ‘cortaditos’ and café con leche in Café Royal and salsa music in Boleros Latin lounge. Friday, May 12, 2017 Travelweek Group Posted bycenter_img Share Tags: Cruise, Cuba << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

An oasis of divine french food in Guanacaste

first_imgFrench-born and trained, Chef Jamon moved his family and culinary talents to California in the 1980s and presided over the private Regency Club in Los Angeles as executive chef, creating dinners for U.S. presidents, foreign heads of states and, most impressively, for the doyenne of French cooking herself, Julia Child. (Ask to see Jamon’s scrap book with photos of all the above.) Luckily for us, Jamon decided to retire to Costa Rica, bringing with him his wife and son Dean, a professional caterer, plus his Californian sous-chef, Mike Barton. Once you have scanned the wine list and chosen your wine – there are also wines by the glass: red, white and rosé ($5-$7) and sparkling cava ($9) – the next challenge is choosing from the menu, centered on local seafood and produce. Recent dinner appetizers included a Pacific lobster salad with an avocado crown ($12), and a baked red beet and goat cheese tower ($8.50), featuring cheese made with milk from the chef’s own goats. Main- dish choices included wild mushroom ravioli with sage and sundried tomatoes ($14); a grouper filet with citrus risotto and sautéed spinach ($17); and seared ahi tuna with a ginger carrot purée and Ponzu sauce ($19). The standout French item on the menu was a duck breast with lentils, brown butter and apples ($24).I arrived at lunch, when the menu is more limited but no less tempting. I wavered between the coconut curry chicken with couscous and fish of the day (each $14), and opted for the latter. A substantial portion of fresh grouper arrived juicy, plump, and bathed in a lemon-herb butter sauce, accompanied by a spicy arugula salad and perfectly roasted baby potatoes. Fresh-baked rolls were offered and I used them, French-style, to sop up every drop of the delectable sauce.Choosing dessert was agonizing: would it be the crème brûlée ($6); the mango cobbler with ice cream ($6); the apple and passion fruit crepe with ice cream and caramel sauce ($6); or the chocolate volcano cake with ice cream and a strawberry compote ($7)? Since it was Thanksgiving, I finally settled on whisky pecan pie, more like a dense pudding than a pie, served with ice cream, on a plate prettily strewn with dried cranberries and nuts ($6).Service here is friendly and polished, and with smiles from Dean and his partner Joya. If you have enjoyed more than a couple of glasses of wine at dinner, instead of facing the short or long drive home, you can bed down in a luxurious king bed in one of the six comfortably chic rooms ($95) designed by Tasia, the chef’s talented wife, who also created the garden oasis. In the morning, you can breakfast, à la française, on homemade waffles, croque-monsieurs or eggs Benedict.Food and wine of this quality do not come cheap. But think of what you are saving on airfare. Villa Deevena is as close to a French-country chambre d’hôte as you can get here. It’s one “family” restaurant experience serious food-lovers won’t want to miss.Going thereFrom Tamarindo, it will take you about 40 minutes, driving south through Villareal, San José de Pinilla and Playa Avellanas, mostly on a rough, dirt road.  From Santa Cruz, follow signs to Paraíso, 34 km on paved roads. At Paraíso’s soccer field, turn right following the sign to Playa Negra, along a dirt road 4.5 km, to the Villa Deevena sign, and turn right. Check www.villadeevena.com for a map, or call 2653-2328. Facebook Comments Dorothy MacKinnon Who would ever expect that the bone-shaking, dirt road to Playa Negra, traveled mostly by diehard surfers, leads to a gastronomic mecca? Food-lovers in the know, from as far away as San José, are braving the bumpy, dusty drive to dine at the divine Hotel Villa Deevena.This outpost of French-accented cuisine, now in its fourth year, is tucked behind a wall in the improbable, roadside hamlet of Playa Negra, about 20 kilometers south of Tamarindo, surfer-central in Guanacaste.Beyond that wall is an oasis of lush gardens and palms reflected in a long, blue pool overlooked by a stunning, chic dining terrace with a gleaming, state-of-the-art, open kitchen. Even more extraordinary is the huge, temperature-controlled wine cellar, home to an impressive wine collection.The wine list here is pages long, with affordable wines from Argentina, Chile, Spain, California, even Peru. Then there are the French wines – 10 whites and 31 reds, arranged by appellation: Côte du Rhône, Bordeaux and Burgundy. Then there is the personal wine collection of owner/chef Patrick Jamon. The list is an oenophile’s dream, including St. Emilion Grand Crus and rare vintages rarely seen in this country. A Taste of France: Villa Deevena’s lipsmacking grouper, arugula and potatoes. No related posts.last_img read more

Latin American economies to grow 38 percent in 2013

first_imgSANTIAGO, Chile – Latin America has shown economic resilience in the face of a global financial crisis, with growth projected at 3.2 percent in 2012. Thanks to predicted economic recovery in 2013 by Argentina and Brazil, the region’s growth is forecast at 3.8 percent next year, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) reported   this week.However, a slowdown in the Chinese economy (from 9.2 percent growth in 2011 to 7.7 percent in 2012), financial troubles in the Eurozone and only modest growth by the U.S. economy affected exports from the region, which dropped from 22.3 percent growth in 2011 to only 1.6 percent this year. Troubling signs in 2012 include an economic slowdown in Brazil (from 2.7 percent growth in 2011 to 1.2 percent in 2012) and Argentina (8.9 percent in 2011, compared to 2.2 percent this year). Together, the two countries account for 41.5 percent of Latin America’s gross domestic product, according to ECLAC’s report, presented on Tuesday.ECLAC forecast the region’s growth at 3.2 percent in 2012 and 4 percent through October 2013. Unemployment has dropped in the region, from 6.7 percent last year to 6.4 percent this year, and average salaries have increased, a key factor in the uptick in growth figures this year.“The region has shown some resilience,” ECLAC Executive Secretary Alicia Bárcena said, noting that Latin America’s growth is above the global average of 2.2 percent in 2012. Panama registered the highest percentage of growth in the region, at an estimated 10.5 percent, followed by Peru (6.2 percent), Chile (5.5 percent), Venezuela (5.3 percent), Bolivia (5 percent), Costa Rica (5 percent), Colombia (4.5 percent), Nicaragua (4 percent) and Uruguay (3.8 percent).The countries with the lowest economic growth rates are Paraguay (1.8 percent), San Kitts and Nevis (-0.8 percent) and Jamaica (-0.2 percent).For 2013, ECLAC predicts growth of 3.8 percent, driven by better performances expected in Argentina and Brazil, where better harvests and more investment is likely.Increased investment in Chile, Peru, Uruguay and Bolivia, mostly in construction and trade, also affected growth in 2012, and are expected to contribute in 2013. By sub-region, South American economic growth is forecast at 4.1 percent in 2013, while Central America is projected at 3.8 percent, and the Caribbean at 2 percent.Paraguay was affected by a bad soybean harvest this year, but is expected to recover by up to 8.5 percent in 2013. Argentina’s 2013 growth is projected at 3.9 percent, while Brazil is forecast to achieve 4 percent. However, these growth projections will depend on the evolution of the global economy next year. Despite uncertainty, Latin American economies are expected to have dynamic internal demand, better employment indicators and growth in the private banking sector. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

Tarcoles River crocs will be featured on Animal Planet

first_imgDespite the number of people willing to risk their necks to approach the crocs, according to online daily CRhoy.com, feeding wild animals is illegal:“The law says that you can’t feed wild animals or domesticate them. But beyond that, [Vargas] is risking his life by feeding these temperamental animals that can attack a person at any moment,” Adrián Arce from the National System of Conservation Areas told CRhoy.com.He said that the Wildlife Law mandates fines between ₡28,000 and ₡80,000 for people caught feeding the crocodiles. Related posts:Unidentified man devoured by crocodiles after jumping from a bridge over the Tárcoles River, Red Cross says Search continues for missing man eaten by crocodiles in Costa Rica 200-kilo crocodile snagged on the streets of Quepos Hungry crocodile removed from Costa Rica home The crocodiles of Costa Rica’s Tarcoles River will star in the U.K. in coming months on an episode of Animal Planet U.K.’s “Preposterous Pets.” The episode will follow Tico tour guide Jason Vargas, known for feeding the Tarcoles crocodiles with his bare hands, as he tries to train his 13-year-old daughter in the art of wild croc feeding.Because of their location between the capital, San José, and the popular central Pacific beach town of Jacó, the sunning crocodiles near the Tarcoles River bridge have long since become a tourist attraction, and plenty of stupid brave souls have delighted YouTube audiences with their feats with the dangerous creatures.Two years ago, this raw-meat-bearing Tarcoles visitor became Internet-famous due to his death-defying feeding attempt:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIbm_DxKd6IAnd, last year, millions of viewers saw this photographer almost get attacked while ignoring the warnings of everyone around him.center_img Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Conjoined twins born at San José hospital

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica expecting conjoined twins — four sets of them Costa Rica’s first sextuplets born Fifth of Costa Rica sextuplets dies following surgery Dancer who lost a leg in Boston Marathon bombing finds solace in Costa Rican scuba diving Doctors at San Juan de Dios hospital in San José successfully delivered a pair of twin girls conjoined at the abdomen and thorax. According to a news release from the hospital, the twins, who were born earlier this month, are in stable condition.The babies, born to a 26-year-old resident of San José, are the first set of conjoined twins born in Costa Rica since 2009. Conjoined twins are extremely rare, occurring in approximately one out of every 50,000 pregnancies, yet there are currently three other women pregnant with conjoined twins in Costa Rica.Multiple births in general have made news this year in Costa Rica. In May, the country experienced a series of multiple births with one woman giving birth to the country’s first set of sextuplets after receiving fertility treatments. The high number of risky pregnancies spurred the Costa Rican Doctors and Surgeons Association to create new guidelines for fertility treatments.Fertility treatments are just one possible cause for multiple births and do not wholly explain the increase in these types of pregnancies. Doctors say the overlap of conjoined twin pregnancies is coincidence, but Alexis Castillo, president of the College of Doctors, confirmed to Costa Rican television network Teletica that doctors were looking into possible explanations for the increases in these types of pregnancies. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Panama prepares for its toughest World Cup challenge yet

first_imgNIZHNIY NOVGOROD,Russia –  Panama will name an unchanged line-up for the World Cup Group G clash against England on Sunday in Nizhny Novgorod, veteran coach Hernán Gómez confirmed on Saturday.The Colombian, who previously coached his home country and Ecuador at the World Cup, said he was opting for experience in his team selection.“The line-up will be exactly the same,” said Gómez.He added: “We have a certain stability and an organized team.”Ironically, England has been embroiled in a row with media about reporters revealing their starting line-up well before the game.Potential plans to drop forward Raheem Sterling for Marcus Rashford were revealed after a photograph showing a possible line-up for Sunday was published after being photographed in the hand of assistant coach Steve Holland.The publication of the team sheet prompted a spat between the England camp and the media.Gómez said though it made not the slightest difference to his plans, nor “gives me any advantage.”He praised an “organized” and “speedy” England and said they would present an even stiffer test than Belgium, the top ranked team in the group, who beat the Central Americans 3-0.“Tomorrow is going to be a very difficult match,” he said. “It’s going to be our hardest match by far.”He even admitted that the result could be the same or even worse, but snapped at one reporter who accused of him of being excessively negative.“Have you heard me talk to my players, have you?” he responded after being accused of being talking down Panama’s chances.Gomez said the Panamanians would try to defend stoutly and pick-off England in the “chaos” of the counter-attack.“If we play in an organized way and play the way we can, we can give them a hard time.” Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica hopes to clinch World Cup berth against a carefree Mexico A guide to watching the World Cup in Costa Rica San Keylor takes off PHOTOS: Costa Rica comes up empty-handed in clash with Panamalast_img read more

Turkey says US favorable to sale of armed drones

first_img Comments   Share   But analysts say some Congress members may oppose the sale of armed Predator drones to Turkey due to its tense relations with Israel, a close U.S. ally. A botched Turkish military airstrike in December aimed at the rebels of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party that killed 34 civilians is also likely to further complicate any sale.“The administration’s position (toward the sale) is favorable,” Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency quoted President Abdullah Gul as telling Turkish reporters after a meeting with Obama on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Chicago late Monday. “They are trying to convince Congress.”“President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton and their aides are trying their best,” he added.The Turkish president said he told Obama during their discussions that the armed drones are not as lethal as F-16 fighter jets, which Turkey already has in its fleet, or the F-35 fighter jet whose development Turkey is involved in.“This must be explained to Congress,” Gul said. “They must not act begrudgingly toward an important allied country. They have to trust it.”Gul would not say how many armed drones Turkey has requested from the United States. Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Associated PressANKARA, Turkey (AP) – President Barack Obama’s administration is inclined to sell armed drones to Turkey but has to convince Congress first, Turkey’s president told reporters after a meeting with the U.S. leader.Washington, which is providing technical and intelligence to Ankara in its fight against autonomy-seeking Kurdish rebels, deployed four Predator drones from Iraq to Turkey last year. NATO-ally Turkey is now trying to acquire armed drones _ the kind the U.S. has used to target militants in places like Yemen and the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Top Stories Sponsored Stories Last week, the Wall Street Journal said the attack, which struck a group of smugglers and resulted in one of the highest single-day death tolls in the long-standing conflict between Turkey and the rebels, was based on intelligence provided by a U.S. Predator drone.U.S. officials reportedly told the newspaper that the Turkish military carried out the attack before more information on the men was obtained, raising questions about how Turkey uses intelligence provided by the Predators.Turkish officials have dismissed the report, saying the first images of the group were captured by the Turkish military.The Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which took up arms in 1984, is labeled a terrorist organization by Washington.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Patients with chronic pain give advice Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Top holiday drink recipeslast_img read more

Kosovo court rules president must serve full term

first_img Top Stories PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) – Kosovo’s Constitutional Court says President Atifete Jahjaga should serve a full 5-year term and not 9 months as agreed to in a political deal that paved the way for her candidacy.The court said in a decision made public on Friday that the early termination of Jahjaga’s mandate is incompatible with the country’s top legal document.The same court ruled in 2011 businessman Begjet Pacolli’s election as president breached the constitution because an opposition boycott left fewer lawmakers in parliament for the vote than was required by law. Sponsored Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements New high school in Mesa lets students pick career pathscenter_img Pacolli stepped down and Jahjaga, the first woman to serve as president, was named a compromise candidate to avoid a political crisis.Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008.(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 Comments   Share   Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy 3 international destinations to visit in 2019last_img read more

South Sudan turns 1 but oil border issues remain

first_img Comments   Share   President Salva Kiir addressed the country’s number one threat: a return to war with Sudan, the country the south battled for more than two decades.“Since our independence, Khartoum has continuously violated our sovereignty through aerial bombardments and ground incursions,” he said.South Sudan’s biggest success in its first year was avoiding all-out war with Sudan. But it came close. A row over the sharing of the two countries’ once-unified oil industry prompted South Sudan to shut down its oil production.Because the south’s oil travels through pipelines that run through Sudan, the decision cut off a major source of Khartoum’s revenue and has led to instability in that capital. But the move cost South Sudan as well. The landlocked nation derives 98 percent of its normal government budget from oil.Oil also sparked a dangerous military confrontation between the two sides in April, when South Sudan captured the disputed town of Heglig, which is responsible for more than half of Sudan’s oil production. The move was met with international condemnation.But several of South Sudan’s woes are internal. South Sudan has been beset by ethnic clashes, primarily in Jonglei state, where the United Nations estimates nearly 900 people were killed in brutal cattle raids and reprisal attacks between late December and early February. Because of the loss of oil revenue, inflation is skyrocketing, leaving average families with less to eat. Nearly 200,000 refugees fleeing war in the southern reaches of Sudan have moved into refugee camps in South Sudan.“The high hopes for the world’s newest nation have yet to materialize,” said Gerald Magashi of the aid group Plan International.Aid groups say that South Sudanese soldiers are torturing members of the minority Murle community in Jonglei state during an ongoing disarmament campaign. The region is a powderkeg likely to see renewed violence between warring communities.“The jubilation of independence is now tempered by the reality of a daily struggle to survive,” said Helen McElhinney, an Oxfam policy adviser. “Some people are living on one meal a day and double the number of people are in need of food aid compared to last year. Refugees are enduring dire conditions in border camps with not enough water to go around.”U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently warned that “conflict and unresolved issues with Sudan, and internal inter-ethnic tensions have led to increased fighting and economic hardship that threaten to compromise the very foundation on which South Sudan’s future will be built.” Associated PressJUBA, South Sudan (AP) – Tens of thousands of South Sudanese gathered under a sweltering sun on Monday in the capital, Juba, to celebrate the first birthday of the world’s youngest nation _ an event marred by dire economic hardships and a near-constant threat of war.Dance troops gave traditional performances and South Sudan’s armed forces put on a parade that featured the country’s fiercest pieces of weaponry: two attack helicopters. The sun was so intense that several soldiers were carried off in stretchers. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates The U.N.’s top representative to South Sudan, Hilde Johnson, called the country’s first year “a tough start.” The country faces an inflation rate of 80 percent, Johnson said.The economic crisis might have one bright side: talks with Sudan. Because both countries are hurting economically from the oil shutdown, Johnson said she is more hopeful that talks under way in Ethiopia could produce results.The Enough Project, a Washington-based policy group, said the two sides still need to agree on the definition of the border, oil issues, citizenship rights and the final status of the disputed region of Abyei. The U.N. Security Council has ordered the two sides to reach agreements by Aug. 2.“Letting the Aug. 2 deadline lapse without the conclusion of a comprehensive agreement risks the creation of greater insecurity and uncertainty along the north-south border, while leaving unresolved issues critical to the two Sudans’ economic viability. Khartoum and Juba, with the support of the international community, must act immediately to ensure that this scenario does not occur,” said the Enough Project’s Jenn Christian.Helen Cameron is a recent returnee to South Sudan. During the civil war that split Sudan in two, Cameron fled to Khartoum and then to Cairo. She found it difficult to adjust after her return to South Sudan. Sponsored Stories “War mentality is so very hard,” she said. “When I was in Cairo I was very happy. I didn’t have any problems. I never hear any guns, shooting _ that was the movies. But that is reality here.”But Cameron is determined to stay. In Juba’s Hai Thoura neighborhood, she joined in the independence celebrations on Monday. Residents cheered from atop unfinished buildings. A circle of traditional dancers pulsated nearby and cars flying the flag of South Sudan honked their horns.Cameron’s face was painted red, black, green and blue like South Sudan’s flag.“We have a lot of challenges,” says Cameron. “Three, four months ago we had war on the borders. In this time it was hard for us. The economy is hard, now down. We need to understand how to develop up our country.”Kiir, in his speech, tried to sound optimistic.“We are not a people who fear the night,” he said. “Because we know that no matter the night becomes long, still, morning will come. There is no reason for worry or for a hurry.”___Associated Press reporter Jason Straziuso contributed to this report from Nairobi, Kenya.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Patients with chronic pain give advice Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

Israel wants Hitler clothing shop in India renamed

first_img Top Stories The owner said he didn’t know about Hitler’s history when the name was suggested by his partner, whose stern grandfather was nicknamed Hitler.The Nazi dictator who led the extermination of Jews in World War II Europe is a subject of routine fascination in India.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) NEW DELHI (AP) – Israel has complained to the Indian state of Gujarat about a menswear shop there named `’Hitler.”Israel’s consul general to the city of Mumbai, Orna Sagiv, says she asked state officials Monday to intervene to help get the store’s name changed.She said she tried to explain to them “how grave and serious the issue is.”The shop opened last month with a huge sign reading `’Hitler” and a Nazi swastika inside the dot in the letter `’i.” Sponsored Stories 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenixcenter_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments   Share   last_img

Syrian rebels warily accept foreign fighters help

first_img“They rush to the rescue of rebel lines that come under pressure and hold them,” one rebel said. “They know what they are doing and are very disciplined. They are like the special forces of Aleppo.”But he added: “The only thing is that they are too radical.” He spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals by both Jabhat al-Nusra and the Assad regime.In a statement posted on militant websites Wednesday, Jabhat al-Nusra rejected a proposed cease-fire during the four-day Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday, which starts Friday. International envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has been trying to cobble together such a truce, saying the government in Damascus and some rebels have agreed to the idea.But Jabhat al-Nusra called a truce a “filthy game,” saying it has no faith that Assad’s regime would respect one. Some Syrian rebel leaders have also expressed skepticism, since previous cease-fire attempts have gone nowhere.Jabhat al-Nusra is the largest grouping of foreign jihadis in Syria, and the rebels say they number about 300 fighters in Aleppo, as well as branches in neighboring Idlib province, the city of Homs and the capital Damascus. Any direct links to al-Qaida are unclear, although U.S. and Iraqi officials have said they believe members of al-Qaida’s branch in Iraq have crossed the border to join the fight against Assad. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Associated PressALEPPO, Syria (AP) – The presence of foreign Islamic militants battling Syria’s regime is raising concerns over the possible injection of al-Qaida’s influence into the country’s civil war.Syria’s rebels share some of those misgivings. But they also see in the foreign extremists a welcome boost: experienced, disciplined fighters whose battlefield valor against the better-armed troops of President Bashar Assad is legendary. Top Stories There are no reliable figures for the number of foreign fighters in Syria, although available estimates put the number in the hundreds, rather than the thousands.Many al-Nusra fighters wear long tunics and baggy pants in the style of mujahedeen or “holy warriors” in Afghanistan, and nearly all have beards, a hallmark of religious piety. A few smear kohl on their eyes and have long hair, emulating what they believe is a style favored by Islam’s Prophet Muhammad in the seventh century.The fighters keep a low profile. They have turned a government building in Aleppo into their headquarters, but it is barely noticeable since it contains no banners or flags to give it away. Only occasional graffiti announces their presence in the city: “Jabhat al-Nusra is coming.” Rebels who spoke with The Associated Press about the group had no clear idea about its leadership.The fighters shun the media, but information gleaned from Syrians in contact with them paints a picture of militant Muslims motivated by a jihadi ideology not unlike that of al-Qaida. Their members include propagandists, trainers, surgeons and other medical doctors.Many Syrian rebels are themselves pious Muslims who frame the fight against Assad’s regime in a religious context. But some see the jihadis’ brand of Islam as too starkly black-and-white and intolerant, dividing the world between the faithful and the infidels. Their presence, some fear, casts doubts on whether a post-Assad Syria will embrace democratic values or come under the sway of Islamists. The high esteem in which the Jabhat al-Nusra fighters are held has a great deal to do with the unruly behavior and lack of discipline of many rebels.One recent night, al-Nusra fighters brought the bodies of four Syrian rebels who were killed when a fellow rebel they were interrogating over suspicion that he was stealing grabbed an assault rifle and shot them. A fifth rebel was wounded.Later, when comrades of the four dead heard the news they gathered outside the hospital and, enraged, fired their entire bullet magazines into the air. Another group of fighters reacted similarly when struck by grief over the death of a comrade.Residents of Aleppo also complain that some rebels take unfair advantage of their position.Fighters go straight to the front of the line at bakeries to buy bread when residents have to wait hours for their turn. Some demand that wounded comrades be treated ahead of civilians at the field hospital.“I don’t have time to wait in line,” said a 19-year-old army deserter who joined the rebels in Aleppo and gave only his first name, Hani.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Sponsored Stories How do cataracts affect your vision? Check your body, save your life Jabhat al-Nusra has claimed responsibility for a string of suicide bombings, including several in Damascus. It unleashed an Oct. 3 suicide blast in Aleppo that killed more than 30 people, targeting a square where pro-regime fighters congregated. After each blast, the rebels’ Free Syrian Army umbrella group underlines that it does not approve of suicide bombings as a tactic.“Their presence is reducing the popular support that we desperately need in areas where we operate,” a senior political official of the Free Syrian Army, said in neighboring Turkey. “I appreciate their motives for coming to Syria. We cannot deny Muslims their right to jihad, but we want them to leave.” He spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss concerns over the group.Still, in Aleppo, the image of pious Islamic warriors coming to help in the fight against Assad is an attractive one. Though Jabhat al-Nusra is predominantly made up of foreigners, a few Syrians have joined, mostly ultraconservative Muslims.Syrians can join only if they are backed by two full members who must swear on the Quran to tell the truth about the applicant. The fighters run training programs for their Syrian members as well as others who want to learn fighting skills but don’t want to join the group. A staffer at a field hospital in a rebel-held part of Aleppo, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals for talking about the group, said the al-Nusra fighters “are fine now, because they are fighting alongside the rebels.”An AP team witnessed some of the frictions at the field hospital in mid-October. Several al-Nusra fighters entered, and one of them _ a tall, lanky non-Arab dressed in black with a black headband _ was enraged by the presence of foreign journalists at the facility.“They are all spies who are here to collect information,” he said in English, shaking the automatic rifle that was slung over his shoulder.Another fighter, who appeared to be of North African origin, tried to force a female photographer to leave the hospital after she attempted to photograph the X-ray of a wounded fighter’s head.A Syrian rebel commander confronted the two men.“There is nothing in Islam that permits you to treat guests like this. Furthermore, it is a woman,” he said. The fighters left and the commander offered tea and dates to the photographer and several other journalists.Opposition members also worry that the presence of foreign jihadis in Syria lends credibility to the regime’s repeated assertions that the rebellion is the work of terrorist groups carrying out a “foreign conspiracy.” Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Comments   Share   Nothing typifies the dilemma more than Jabhat al-Nusra, a shadowy group with an al-Qaida-style ideology whose fighters come from Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, the Balkans and elsewhere. Many are veterans of previous wars who came to Syria for what they consider a new “jihad” against Assad.The group has become notorious for numerous suicide bombings during the 19-month-old conflict targeting regime and military facilities. Syria’s rebels have tried to disassociate themselves from the bombings for fear their uprising will be tainted with the al-Qaida brand.But several hundred fighters from Jabhat al-Nusra _ Arabic for “the Support Front” _ have also been a valued addition to rebel ranks in the grueling, three-month battle for control of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city.Their reputation in battle circulates among Aleppo’s rebels like an urban legend. Soon after opposition forces launched their assault on the city in July, government troops almost drove them out of the key district of Salaheddin _ until 40 Jabhat al-Nusra fighters rushed to the front and fended them off, according to a story told by many rebels.The group’s fighters have played a similar role along the multitude of front lines that divide this city of 3 million people, where regime forces and rebels have been at a standstill, fighting street to street but unable to score a decisive victory. Many rebels talk of the al-Nusra fighters’ prowess as snipers.last_img read more

Chile detains alleged child prostitution ring

first_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Defense lawyers said their clients didn’t know the prostitutes were minors and therefore never realized they were committing a crime.President Sebastian Pinera announced measures this year to combat child abuse, responding to a popular outcry over a 22 percent increase in reports of such crimes in Chile, which is one of Latin America’s most socially conservative countries.The government also banned convicted pedophiles from working near children under a new law requiring people convicted of sexually abusing minors or possessing child pornography to be registered in a database.Several teachers have been accused in recent months of sexually molesting children at day care centers and schools in affluent Santiago neighborhoods.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) How do cataracts affect your vision? Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) – A judge has authorized Chilean police to hold 16 suspects in jail while they investigate an alleged child prostitution ring.Police said the gang was led by four women who forced girls between ages 15 and 17 to prostitute themselves.Judge Santiago Varas ruled Tuesday night that the four women and 12 alleged clients could be held for 90 days during an investigation.Among the purported clients detained were Guido Vallejos, 83, head of the Chilean children’s magazine Barrabases, and Jaime Roman, 69, a well-known former musical producer for state TV. Top Stories Check your body, save your life Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Four benefits of having a wireless security systemlast_img read more

Trinidad opposition seeks Jack Warner resignation

first_img Four benefits of having a wireless security system His comments come after CONCACAF’s ethics and integrity committee released a report stating Warner and the former secretary general of the Confederation of North and Central American and Caribbean Football enriched themselves through fraud during their terms with the organization.The committee based its findings on documents and interviews with dozens of people.Warner is a former vice president of the world soccer body FIFA who oversaw North American and Caribbean soccer for 21 years. He resigned in June 2011 to avoid investigation into a bribery scandal.A year later, Trinidad Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar named Warner national security minister, surprising the public and many government officials.As minister, Warner has drawn sharp criticism for seeking to stop the release of crime reports and statistics and for dispatching troops and riot police to remove a protest camp built by environmentalists.Persad-Bissessar, who has been a staunch Warner supporter, said Friday that she had to read the CONCACAF report before making any decisions.Warner said late Friday that he had not read the report.“As far as I am aware it is baseless and malicious,” he said in a statement. “I left CONCACAF and turned my back on football two years ago. Since then I have had no interest in any football-related matter.” Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Sponsored Stories PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (AP) – The leader of Trinidad’s main opposition party is seeking the resignation of former world soccer vice president Jack Warner, who currently serves as the island’s national security minister.Opposition leader Keith Rowley said late Friday that he will present the issue for debate in Parliament next week.“Mr. Warner cannot continue to serve as a minister of government,” Rowley said. Comments   Share   Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project How men can have a healthy 2019last_img read more

Exiled Burundi judge says court forced to back president

first_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility BUJUMBURA, Burundi (AP) — The Burundian Constitutional Court was forced to validate President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid to seek a third term in office, an exiled judge said as three people were killed in protests Thursday over the president’s candidacy.Protests have rocked Burundi’s capital since the ruling party announced April 25 that it had nominated Nkurunziza as its presidential candidate. Three people were killed and 13 wounded during protests, according to the Burundi Red Cross. Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Top Stories 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories center_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Judges met April 30 and found that Nkurunziza wasn’t eligible to run for another term, said Constitutional Court Vice President Sylvere Nimpagaritse, who is in exile in Rwanda. He said after that decision, the judges started receiving threatening phone calls, which forced him to flee. The remaining judges then changed their decision in Nkurunziza’s favor.“If we did not give the third term a green light, we were going to be in trouble,” Nimpagaritse said.There was no immediate response from the Burundian government to the judge’s claims.Nkurunziza has said the court had found that his bid for a third term in the June 26 election doesn’t contradict the constitution since he was selected by parliament and not by popular election for his first term. Protesters say his re-election bid is illegal.Thursday’s deaths bring the number of people killed in the protests to at least 13 and 216 wounded since April 25. More than 30,000 Burundians have fled to neighboring countries, fearing political violenceProtesters searched for and assaulted people suspected to be members of the ruling party’s violent youth group on Thursday.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments   Share   Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top holiday drink recipeslast_img read more

Castros daughter sponsors blessing of Cuban gay couples

first_img Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   The vital role family plays in society The church and the Cuban government were in a state of open hostility in the years after the 1959 revolution that put Fidel Castro in power. But a thaw began in the 1990s. Cuba removed a constitutional clause declaring the country an atheist state, Pope John Paul II paid a momentous visit in 1998, Pope Benedict XVI visited in 2012, and Cuba made Good Friday an official holiday.Raul Castro was expected to discuss both diplomatic talks with the U.S. and the pope’s planned September visit to Cuba when he visits the pontiff on Sunday.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Mariela Castro, who is the most visible gay rights advocate on the island, uses her position as a member of Cuba’s ruling family to push for reforms. Last year, as a member of parliament, she voted against a workers’ rights bill that she felt didn’t go far enough to prevent discrimination against people with HIV or with unconventional gender identities.It was an unprecedented action in an assembly that uniformly votes unanimously in favor of government proposals.Castro did not attend the blessing ceremony, but headed a colorful gay rights march by more than 1,000 people along one of Havana’s main streets.A few minutes after Mederos and Morales, Belkis Gonzalez and Maria de los Angeles Machin stepped up to receive their blessing. A couple since 1989, they raised Machin’s son and Gonzalez’s daughter together.“This blessing means a lot to us,” said Gonzalez, a 48-year-old screenwriter. “It’s a reaffirmation that we have a relationship of love and we aren’t hurting anyone. If God put us together, it’s because we wanted us to be united.”The event came a day before another manifestation of changed times in Cuba: Raul Castro’s visit with Pope Francis at the Vatican. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Valley school lets students pick career-path academiescenter_img Top Stories How men can have a healthy 2019 Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility HAVANA (AP) — The daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro sponsored a blessing ceremony Saturday for gay couples on an island where gay marriage remains illegal.Nearly two dozen gay couples held hands or embraced, some crying, as Protestant clergymen from the U.S. and Canada blessed them as part of official ceremonies leading up to the Global Day against Homophobia on May 17.Castro’s daughter Mariela heads Cuba’s Center for Sex Education, which has been pushing for gay rights in a country with a history of persecuting homosexuals. 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes While she was careful not to call Saturday’s ceremony a wedding, the event had most of the trappings of matrimony.Luis Enrique Mederos and his partner for 14 years, Alain Morales, approached clergyman including Troy Perry, founder of Los Angeles’ gay-friendly Metropolitan Community Church, and held hands beneath a canopy while the pastors blessed their relationship.“Luis, I give you my life,” Morales said, as the crowd of 300 applauded and cheered.“It’s a step to strengthen our relationship because we’re both religious, believers,” said Mederos, a 47-year-old graphic designer. He said he saw the ceremony as an important step toward the eventual legalization of gay marriage in Cuba.“It’s a dream for the Cuban gay and transgender community that one day it won’t be just a symbolic and we can get married, because we’re also part of this changing world,” he said, embracing Morales, 38.Uruguay, Argentina and a string of U.S. states, along with several in Mexico, have legalized gay marriage or civil unions.Homosexuals were hounded and persecuted during much of the presidency of Fidel Castro. After handing power to his brother Raul, the elder Castro said he regretted his treatment of gays, and Cuba has been granting increasing rights to gays in recent years.last_img read more

China denying passports to restrict critics minorities

first_img Comments   Share   Cheng Fan, a veteran of the 1989 student-led pro-democracy movement, has never been able to obtain a passport. Like many present or former government critics, his applications are answered with a one-page document from police stating that a “relevant Cabinet agency” has ruled that if allowed to travel abroad, he would “pose a threat to national security or cause serious harm to national interests.”“It’s extremely frustrating, especially when you have a family and want to show them new things,” said Cheng. “It’s denying my rights as a citizen.”With a record 107 million Chinese going abroad last year, the inability to travel internationally stigmatizes and deprives.It’s not known exactly how many Chinese citizens are denied passports, had them seized or were simply turned away at the airport when attempting to board international flights. The Public Security Ministry’s Entry and Exit Supervision Bureau did not respond to questions from The Associated Press and the Foreign Ministry and Tibetan officials said they had no information on the issue.Concerns over Uighurs have been heightened by the growth of global jihadi groups, said Dru Gladney, an expert at Pomona College. Yet, travel restrictions will likely only add to the “pressure cooker” of ethnic discontent in Xinjiang, he said. “Police being police, and wanting to do their jobs and avoid mistakes, they would use their judgment and deny passports or exit permits for whatever reason made sense to them,” Nathan said.___Associated Press video journalist Isolda Morillo contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories By denying them opportunities for jobs, education and overseas connections, the withholding of passports has become one of the party’s most potent weapons against dissent, both real and imagined.The notice in Ili, part of the vast Xinjiang region bordering Central Asia, set a May 15 deadline for residents to hand in passports “for safekeeping.” It gave no reason for the demand.The order raised eyebrows because Xinjiang is home to China’s minority Uighurs, Turkic Muslims who are culturally and linguistically distinct from the country’s Han majority. Uighurs (pronounced WEE-gurs) have come under increasing scrutiny because radicals have waged a low-level campaign of violence against Chinese rule. This has resulted in heightened unofficial barriers on travel even within China, such as difficulty booking air tickets or hotel rooms.China is eager to avoid the appearance of discrimination against ethnic minorities, including Uighurs and Tibetans, and an officer at police headquarters in the prefectural seat of Yining said the order applied to all ethnic groups. The officer, who like most Chinese bureaucrats declined to be identified by name, said passport holders would be required to reapply and submit documents stating their reason for traveling and ensuring their good reputations if they wished to get them back. BEIJING (AP) — Hand your passport to police or it will be canceled, read the notice to all 4.4 million residents of far-northwestern China’s Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture.The demand would now seem outrageous to most Chinese, who more than a decade since passport restrictions were eased have become increasingly accustomed to traveling abroad for tourism, study or work.Yet the story is vastly different for groups targeted by the ruling Communist Party, which has long denied passports to dissidents who might embarrass the party overseas. Now that most Chinese can easily obtain passports, eroding barriers to travel have thrown into relief a new pattern showing that entire ethnic groups deemed potentially risky to the leadership — such as Muslim Uighurs and Buddhist Tibetans — are largely being barred. “I think it’s a self-defeating strategy. China is a global country, engaged in the world and trying to become a global player, yet it still has these very medieval rules,” Gladney said.While passport denials can theoretically be appealed, it’s unclear whether any have ever been successful, although some have managed to receive passports when reapplying later for reasons that remain a mystery.Human rights lawyer Teng Biao had his passport confiscated at the airport in 2008 when he was trying to go to an overseas conference. Four years later, he reapplied, saying his passport had been lost. A new one was promptly issued.“They said nothing when giving me the new one,” said Teng, now a visiting fellow at Harvard Law School.Others denied the right to travel range from imprisoned Uighur scholar Ilham Tohti to artist Ai Weiwei, whose passport has been confiscated since a 2011 detention even though his works are shown around the world.A growing number of Chinese overseas putting off returning home for fear of not being allowed out of the country again, said Columbia University China expert Andrew Nathan. Often the criteria for being denied is murky, he said. Top Stories It’s not clear how many Ili residents were complying with the order and only two out of a dozen company workers reached by phone in the prefecture said they had even heard of it.Uighurs and Tibetans, who together number about 16 million inside China, have increasingly complained about difficulties obtaining passports, including the need for government approvals that members of the majority Han group aren’t subject to.Permission is often limited to those participating in government-backed exchanges, or in the case of Uighurs, Muslims performing the pilgrimage to Mecca. The government-backed Chinese Muslim Association said about 14,500 Chinese Muslims went on the haj last year, but didn’t say how many were Uighurs.While the government says only that the restrictions are to maintain social order, minority activists and critics of the one-party communist system believe politics are the real reason.“The government fears that Uighurs will return with a better understanding of their conditions and greater determination to throw off Chinese rule,” said Germany-based Uighur activist Dilshat Rexit. “Limits on passports reveal the government lack of confidence in facing threats to its rule in Xinjiang.” Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober For Tibetans, already severe restrictions were tightened further in 2012 when hundreds of Buddhist pilgrims were detained and interrogated after attending a religious event in India presided over by the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled religious leader who is reviled in Beijing, say overseas activists.As with the Uighurs, China is deeply concerned about the growth of separatist sentiment among Tibetans, as well as their connections to the Tibetan diaspora and the sympathy and support they receive from overseas boosters.Tibetan writer and rights activist Woeser Tsering says she’s consistently been refused a passport since first applying in 1997. During her most recent attempt in 2012, a police officer told her she’d been placed on a list of people banned from leaving the country by the Ministry of State Security, she said.“Not having a passport has an enormous impact on my life,” she said. The inability to travel has made her unable to take up offered writing positions in the U.S. and Germany. “I had no choice but to give them up, all because of not having a passport.”Individual travel overseas for ordinary Chinese was first permitted in the late 1990s, and took a massive leap in 2004, when most European countries were designated as approved destinations and requirements for passports, such as an endorsement letter from an employer, were simplified. Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of FILE – In this May 1, 2014 file photo, a Uighur woman rests near a cage protecting heavily armed Chinese paramilitary policemen on duty in Urumqi in China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang. While most Chinese can easily obtain passports, eroding barriers to travel have thrown into relief a new pattern showing that entire ethnic groups deemed potentially risky to the leadership – such as Muslim Uighurs and Buddhist Tibetans – are largely being barred. By denying them opportunities for jobs, education and overseas connections, the withholding of passports has become one of the party’s most potent weapons against dissent, both real and imagined. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File) How men can have a healthy 2019last_img read more

With court defeat GOP health law effort now aimed at 16

first_img“Obamacare is fundamentally broken,” said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who said repeal efforts would continue. But he declined to guarantee a vote on a replacement plan this year and said, “It’s very difficult to deal with it when you have a president that fundamentally disagrees with us. And so the struggle will continue.”“We’ll continue to pick away at the law,” said Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., a leader of Senate GOP efforts to craft a bill responding to a court victory that never came. “But ultimately our goal is to repeal and replace, and that’s not going to be possible until after the 2016 elections,” when Republicans hope for a GOP president.That leaves Republicans mostly using efforts to void or dramatically weaken the health care overhaul to contrast their views with Obama’s for voters.“I believe 2016 will be a national referendum on repealing Obamacare,” said Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who’s seeking his party’s presidential nomination.Yet though few would admit it, the court’s ruling caused many Republicans to exhale.By leaving intact federal subsidies that help millions afford health care, the ruling lets Republicans bash Obama’s law in their 2016 campaigns without having to quickly help those who would have lost assistance. GOP lawmakers are divided over how — and even whether — to help those losing subsidies, and failure to do so could have created many angry voters. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Check your body, save your life Four benefits of having a wireless security system Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall The decision was a relief to the health care industry, which feared chaos in the insurance market, and business groups hoping Congress would now turn to making specific changes in the law to ease employers’ costs.In Thursday’s ruling, the justices by 6-3 left intact subsidies that help 8.7 million people buy health insurance — most of whom analysts say couldn’t otherwise afford coverage.Conservative plaintiffs said the law’s wording limited that aid to states running their own insurance marketplaces — not the three-dozen states using the federal website HealthCare.org. The law’s defenders said killing those subsidies would destabilize health insurance by increasingly leaving only sicker, costlier people with coverage — raising everyone’s rates.“Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion, using the law’s formal name. Roberts’ deciding vote found the law constitutional in 2012.“We should start calling this law SCOTUScare,” said dissenting Justice Antonin Scalia, using the court’s acronym. Top Stories “There isn’t some sort of, that sword of Damocles hanging over our heads that people are going to lose their care in 30 days or something,” said Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., who heads House GOP campaign efforts.Republicans have promised to repeal and replace Obama’s law since its 2010 enactment, but have yet to rally behind a plan doing that.Had the GOP-backed lawsuit by conservatives succeeded, the 34 states likeliest to lose subsidies included many that will be pivotal in next year’s elections. That included Florida, a key presidential state where a national high of 1.3 million people could have lost assistance, plus Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin and New Hampshire, where GOP senators could face tight re-election battles and worried about constituents losing aid.“The court has saved Republicans from themselves,” said former Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia, who once led the House Republican political organization.It took just minutes for both sides to use the ruling for political fundraising. GOP presidential hopeful Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, emailed for money to stop “the overreaches of the last six years,” while Senate Democrats warned that Republicans have “pledged to destroy Obamacare.” New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Comments   Share   Savoring his triumph at the White House, Obama noted that his law has had five years to take hold and said: “This is not about the Affordable Care Act as legislation, or Obamacare as a political football. This is health care in America.”Even so, Republicans had little reason to back off, especially those concerned about primaries from conservative challengers. An April Associated Press-GfK Poll showed that 71 percent of Republicans oppose the law, compared to 33 percent of independents and 14 percent of Democrats.“We’ve got to put something on the president’s desk, not just a repeal but what are we going to do, what’s our alternative,” said Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan.In the latest potential wedge between conservatives and Boehner, the speaker said he had not decided whether to use streamlined procedures that could avoid a Senate filibuster. Conservatives want to use those rules, but that device can be used only rarely and some Republicans want to save it for something Obama might sign, like deficit reduction.___Associated Press writer Erica Werner contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court’s resounding rejection of a conservative attempt to gut President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul won’t stop Republicans from attacking the law they detest. But now, their efforts will be chiefly about teeing up the issue for the 2016 presidential and congressional elections.The court’s decision left GOP lawmakers stunned and uncertain about their next steps. Most agreed they would continue trying to annul the entire law and erase individual pieces of it, like its taxes on medical devices. Yet many also conceded they have little leverage to force Obama to scale back — let alone kill — one of his most treasured legislative achievements. Sponsored Stories last_img read more

Obama Kenya at crossroads between peril and promise

first_imgPresident Barack Obama, right, offers a toast to Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, left, during a state dinner at State House, on Saturday, July 25, 2015, in Nairobi, Kenya. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility “That was the first time that my name meant something,” he said.The president barely knew his father, who died in 1982 after leaving the U.S. to return to Kenya. However, Obama has numerous family members in the country, including his half-sister Auma Obama, who introduced her brother Sunday.“He’s one of us,” she said. “But we’re happy to share him with the world.”The bulk of Obama’s address was a candid commentary on the East African nation’s future. He spent considerable time warning about the risks of government corruption, calling it an “anchor” that could weigh down the country’s promising future.“Too often here in Kenya corruption is tolerated because that’s how it’s always been done,” he said. “Here in Kenya, it’s time to change habits.”Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has taken steps to tackle corruption by suspending four Cabinet secretaries and 16 other senior officials amid an investigation into allegations of dishonesty. But the action has been met with skepticism by the public because in the past, suspensions of senior officials haven’t resulted in anyone being convicted of a crime. Some officials even returned to their jobs before investigations were complete. Upenbo Abraham, a 23-year-old economics student from an area of western Kenya near Obama’s relatives, said he was “encouraged, as a poor boy from a village next to his home.” Ezekiel Oduor, an accountant, said Obama was “candid and clear” about Kenya’s problems with corruption and his desire to help the country rise “to the next level.”After his speech, Obama met with political opposition leaders, then with a group of African youth and civil leaders on ways to promote civil society efforts. He told the civil society group that “the country is going to be better off” if it can cultivate habits of public participation and freedom.Obama is expected to offer similar messages about good governance and human rights during his two days of meetings with leaders in Ethiopia. Human rights groups have criticized the president for visiting the Horn of Africa nation, which is accused of cracking down on dissent, sometimes violently.Obama planned meetings with Ethiopia’s president and prime minister, and a separate session with regional leaders to discuss the situation in South Sudan, a young nation gripped by turmoil since civil war broke out in December 2013. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   “Because of Kenya’s progress — because of your potential — you can build your future right here, right now,” Obama told the crowd of 4,500 packed into a sports arena in the capital of Nairobi. But he bluntly warned that Kenya must make “tough choices” to bolster its fragile democracy and fast-growing economy.Obama’s visit here, his first as president, captivated a country that views him as a local son. Thick crowds lined the roadways to watch the presidential motorcade speed through the city Sunday, some climbing on rooftops to get a better view. The audience inside the arena chanted his name as he finished his remarks.The president left Kenya Sunday afternoon, pausing longer than normal atop the stairs to Air Force One to wave to the crowd, a huge grin on his face. He arrived two hours later in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, where he met with diplomats at the U.S. Embassy in the evening.Obama has written emotionally about his first visit to Kenya as a young man nearly 30 years ago, and he recounted many of those same memories in his remarks Sunday. The battered Volkswagen his sister drove. Meeting his brothers for the first time. The airport employee who recognized his last name. NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Declaring Kenya at a “crossroads” between promise and peril, President Barack Obama on Sunday pressed the nation of his father’s birth to root out corruption, treat women and minorities as equal citizens, and take responsibility for its future.Closing his historic visit with an address to the Kenyan people, Obama traced the arc of the country’s evolution from colonialism to independence, as well as his own family’s history here. Today, Obama said, young Kenyans are no longer constrained by the limited options of his grandfather, a cook for the country’s former British rulers, or his father, who left to seek an education in America. Countering the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab in neighboring Somalia also is on the agenda for Obama’s meetings with Ethiopian leaders. That threat was brought into sharp relief Sunday when al-Shabab claimed responsibility for a suicide truck bombing at a luxury hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, that killed eight people and shattered a period of calm in the city.White House spokesman Ned Price condemned the attack, calling it “yet another reminder of the unconscionable atrocities that terrorist groups continue to perpetrate against the people of Somalia.”___AP writers Darlene Superville, Christopher Torchia and Tom Odula contributed to this report.___Follow Julie Pace on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jpaceDCCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Top Stories Kenyatta has been under public pressure to address corruption following reviews of his two-year-old government that claimed his administration is more corrupt than previous administrations.Obama urged an end to old tribal and ethnic divisions that are “doomed to tear our country apart. He spent significant time imploring Kenyans to respect the rights of women and girls, saying that marginalizing half of a country’s population is “stupid.” And he called for an end to forced marriages for girls who should otherwise be attending school and the tradition known as “genital mutilation.”“These traditions may date back centuries. They have no place in the 21st century,” he said.The president drew on the recent debate in the U.S. over the Confederate battle flag, a Civil War-era relic that is seen by many as a racist symbol. The killing of nine people at a black church in South Carolina last month prompted a fresh debate over the flag, spurring some states to remove it from government grounds.“Just because something is a part of your past doesn’t make it right,” Obama said.Some of those in attendance for the president’s speech said they were inspired by his appeal for progress in Kenya. Quick workouts for men New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t likelast_img read more