Did you know Every lost suitcase in America ends up here

first_img SCOTTSBORO, ALABAMA — If you’ve ever lost your luggage while travelling to the U.S., chances are it ended up in Scottsboro, Alabama.According to Thrillist, a 40,000 square-foot ‘superstore’ located 45 minutes east of Huntsville is where unclaimed lost luggage and all its contents go to be resold. “Part lost-and-found, part thrift store,” the Unclaimed Baggage Center (UBC) takes every lost suitcase in America, sifts through it and puts the best items on its shelves, all at 20-80% off retail.The Center was first built in 1970 by Doyle Owens, who got the idea to purchase unclaimed bags from a local bus station and sell the contents a couple days a week. The business eventually grew to include airlines, and 46 years later the store is now stocking millions of items lost on flights. << Previous PostNext Post >> Tuesday, September 20, 2016 Did you know? Every lost suitcase in America ends up here Travelweek Group Posted by Tags: Did you know How are airlines allowing this to happen, you ask? It’s important to note that lost luggage in the U.S. is actually uncommon, with only one-half of 1% of checked bags failing to make it to baggage claim. Of this total, approximately 85% are returned within 48 hours, jumping to 98% after a week. After that, airlines spend 90 days trying to match lost bags with their owners.More news:  Virgin Voyages de-activates Quebec accounts at FirstMates agent portalIf the bags are not claimed after 90 days, they legally belong to the airlines. At this point, the Unclaimed Baggage Center, which has an exclusive agreement with the airlines, retrieves all these unclaimed bags, including unclaimed cargo.A spokesperson reassured Thrillist that airlines aren’t profiting much from the deal. The fee that UBC pays for the bags is enough to offset the cost of its lost baggage operations.Once the bags get to the store, a third gets recycled, a third is donated to charity, and another third gets restocked on shelves. The store stocks approximately 7,000 items a day. Items include everything from nail clippers and wedding dresses to jewelry, artwork and electronics. But rest assured, all employees go through Department of Defense protocol to wipe out the memories from all electronic devices.So if you’re in the market for a really cheap MacBook or, even, an engagement ring, head on down to Scottsboro where someone else’s lost treasures can be yours for a steal. Sharelast_img read more

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Mattioli Cheu Olsson bring their trade expertise to Air NZ

first_imgMattioli, Cheu, Olsson bring their trade expertise to Air NZ Travelweek Group Posted by TORONTO — Air New Zealand’s Canadian sales team now includes two new Account Development Managers as well as a new Regional Sales Manager, bolstering the airline’s position with the travel trade here.“The Canadian market is integral to our business and travellers flying from Canada to New Zealand and Australia are increasing year on year,” says Liz Fraser, Air New Zealand’s Regional General Manager Americas.“Just a couple of months ago we celebrated 10 years of flying between Vancouver and Auckland, and with that came an increased capacity of almost 20%.”Fraser adds: “It’s important to have a strong team in place to continue advancing into this exciting market. With three new recruits who bring with them some fantastic experience in the industry, we are very excited about the months ahead.”Tyler Mattioli, Account Development Manager (Eastern Canada); Raissa Cheu, Account Development Manager (Western Canada); Katie Olsson joins Air New Zealand as Regional Sales Manager (Western Canada)Tyler Mattioli, Account Development Manager (Eastern Canada) joins Air New Zealand with a strong background in the travel industry gained from his time spent both at Flight Centre and most recently as Air Canada Vacations’ Area Sales Manager, South Western Ontario.More news:  Sunwing to further boost Mazatlán service with new flights from OttawaRaissa Cheu, Account Development Manager (Western Canada) comes to Air New Zealand from Cathay Pacific where she supported both the Vancouver and Toronto sales teams through building out marketing plans, strategies and content while also working alongside key accounts to drive enhanced engagement through all channels.Katie Olsson joins Air New Zealand as Regional Sales Manager (Western Canada) after spending seven years with Intrepid Travel and ultimately becoming their Director of Industry Sales, North America before moving to her most recent role as Area Sales Manager, B.C. for Air Canada Vacations.Air New Zealand’s increased capacity out of Canada includes daily services beyond the peak months of December and January into the shoulder season of February, and increasing to five services a week in March and April (up from four) and four weekly services during May – mid-June (up from three). Tuesday, January 23, 2018 center_img Share Tags: Air New Zealand, People << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Rain will go away Briefly

first_imgNo related posts. From the print editionNever mind your soggy shoes and puddles on the ground – the National Meteorological Institute (IMN) says the rainy season isn’t here, yet.The institute made the statement on its Facebook page Tuesday in response to a  viewer’s inquiry: “I would like to know if we are in the rainy season yet or not!” “The rainy season has not yet fully arrived,” replied the IMN, which predicted “intense downpours and electrical storms” in the Central Valley and Central Pacific coast on Tuesday and Thursday – predictions that came true. The IMN didn’t offer a forecast for Wednesday, but rain showed up in the Central Valley anyway.Flory Oritz, expressing a commonly held sentiment for Central Valley residents, wrote on the comment thread about Tuesday’s rains: “I can only imagine the rains when they fully arrive.” IMN meteorologist Gabriela Chinchilla said the Central Valley is in a transitional period and not yet a full-blow rainy season. She said Central Valley residents can expect a mix of sunny days and rainy days until the real rain starts from May 2-15. The Central Pacific region, however, is seeing the beginnings of the rainy season, and the Northern Pacific coast can expect rains to start in earnest at the end of May, Chinchilla said. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Court to study legality of immigrant detentions

first_imgImmigrant’s rights groups are challenging the constitutionality of parts of Costa Rica’s immigration law.While the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court (Sala IV) is reviewing the case, it has ordered immigration officials to stop detaining foreigners suspected of being in the country illegally. The Sala IV also ordered a moratorium on immigration agents confiscating passports or travel documents of immigrants here, the daily La Nación reported.As it stands, the current law allows immigration officials to detain individuals suspected of being in the country illegally for up to 24 hours. That 24-hour period, according to the law, “can be extended in certain situations.” It also allows for officials to retain foreigners’ passports and travel documents “with the goals of verifying their immigration status.”Immigration Director Kathya Rodríguez told La Nación the moratorium on those two actions leaves officials with their “hands tied,” adding that detentions and the retention of travel documents are the “basic tools” the organization uses to handle cases of individuals suspected of being in the country illegally. Carlos Sandoval, who filed the legal challenge, told La Nación the Costa Rican Constitution allows an administrative body to detain individuals for up to 24 hours only if legal proceedings are started against the person. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

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US donates bombsniffing dog to Costa Rican penitentiary

first_imgNo related posts. The U.S. Embassy in San José donated a dog trained to detect weapons and bombs that will be in charge of checking every object and person entering the maximum-security prison La Reforma, the largest in Costa Rica.Ámbar is the first bomb-detecting dog owned by the Penitenciary Police and is worth $ 5,900. The new K9 officer will join five drug-sniffing dogs currently working at La Reforma, located in the province of Alajuela, north of the capital.The 9-month-old Belgian shepherd arrived from Guatemala on Monday, and Justice Ministry plans for her include initiating a breeding program.The U.S. government provided training in Guatemala for two La Reforma officers who will handle the dog.The embassy also donated a sound system that will be used for announcing the entry of visitors to La Reforma. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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The old toosickfortrial ruse

first_imgNo related posts. National Liberation Party (PLN) lawmaker Jorge Angulo Mora remained hospitalized on Monday after complaining of heart problems and checking in at Hospital La Católica in San José on Saturday morning.Angulo, 60, a legislator from Puntarenas, was scheduled to stand trial at 8:30 a.m. Monday on charges of influence peddling and extortion.His lawyer, Rafael Giraud, filed a medical report indicating that doctors are uncertain about a discharge date.Chief Prosecutor Jorge Chavarría responded to the news by asking the court to order a physical evaluation by experts from the Judicial Investigation Police’s (OIJ) Forensics Department, as well as a full report of all medications Angulo is currently taking to assess whether they are associated with heart disease.Justices of the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court, or Sala III, suspended the trial and ordered the OIJ to conduct an investigation within the next 48 hours.The charges against Angulo are related to alleged activities that occurred while he was a member of the Regional Development Board of the Southern Region, which administrates a duty-free zone in the southern Pacific port of Golfito.In 2011, the Legislative Assembly lifted Angulo’s immunity from prosecution in order to proceed with the investigation.The trial will be conducted by five Sala III justices due to Angulo’s post as a lawmaker.According to the investigation, Angulo allegedly solicited bribes from a company that was awarded a contract to build a school in the southern community of San Vito.Eleven additional defendants also are on trial in the same case, which will include the testimony of 36 witnesses. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Gas prices go up this week

first_imgPer-liter prices of super and plus gasoline will increase this week by ₡17 and ₡29, respectively, following approval last Friday of a hike by the Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP).The increase was set according to a calculation methodology ARESEP uses every month. The formula took into account international prices of fuel and exchange rates from March 27 to April 10, which resulted in an increase in prices for gasoline and a ₡1 reduction for diesel.The approved hikes mean the per-liter price of super gasoline will increase from ₡756 to ₡773 ($1.43-1.46); the price for plus gasoline will increase from ₡723 to ₡752 ($1.36-1.42); and diesel will cost ₡674 ($1.27), down from ₡675.The new prices will take effect the day after publication in the official newspaper La Gaceta, scheduled for this week. Facebook Comments Related posts:National Oil Refinery presents proposal to lower fuel prices December could bring another drop in fuel prices This year’s first price increase at the pump could start next month Gasoline prices may drop again in Octoberlast_img read more

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President voices support for extending moratorium on maritime zone evictions

first_imgRelated posts:Debate over maritime zoning legislation heats up Transport Ministry says Cañas-Liberia highway expansion will help local businesses, but residents are wary More than 85 percent of Limón residents support new port terminal, poll claims Costa Rica’s Supreme Court tells Talamanca: You can’t declare environmentalist expats ‘personas non grata’ Residents along the beaches of Puerto Viejo and other parts of the southern Caribbean can breathe a sigh of relief, at least for now. President Luis Guillermo Solís announced support for an extension of a moratorium on a law that would displace coastal residents in the southern Caribbean and other parts of the country, during his trip to the province of Limón on Saturday.“There is talk about creating a special regime for the Caribbean Zone, but it’s not possible to have this discussion under the threat of displacement for the populations who have been in this region since ancestral times. This government is not going to take arbitrary actions,” Solís said over the weekend in Puerto Viejo.According to the Maritime Zone Law, the 50 meters from high tide mark is publicly zoned, meaning it belongs to municipalities. The remaining 150 meters is completely restricted, and any type of construction is prohibited. Families who already live within the maritime zone must abide by a municipal zoning plan, obtain a municipal concession and pay a monthly fee. The Comptroller General’s Office previously ordered municipalities to destroy structures found to be in violation of the Maritime Zone Law.In September 2012, lawmakers passed a bill that established a 24-month moratorium on the land evictions. Solís said that while he supports the extension of the moratorium he did not specify for how long. The president said he hopes the Environment Ministry, lawmakers representing Limón, and coastal community members could come together to establish a “realistic” time frame. The Legislative Assembly would have to approve another bill extending the moratorium.Solís highlighted that he envisioned the moratorium extending to other coastal communities in Costa Rica. While much of the attention regarding the Maritime Zone Law has focused on the inhabitants of the Caribbean coast, residents on the Pacific coast also are affected. A peaceful protest last March was violently quashed when anti-riot police officers used tear gas to remove dozens of demonstrators protesting in support of the Coastal Community Land Bill from the Inter-American Highway in Chomes, Puntarenas.A bill that would create an “Urban Coastal Zone” that would halt the land evictions was approved by lawmakers in a first round of voting in March but has since stalled in the Assembly. The bill still requires a second approval, President Solís’ signature and eventual publication in the official government newspaper, La Gaceta, before becoming law. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Costa Rica begins fumigating planes at international airports to halt spread of

first_imgCosta Rica’s National Animal Health Service (SENASA) this week began fumigating all aircraft entering the country as well as some flights leaving its international terminals in order to prevent the spread of animal disease across borders.The measure is part of a public health program that seeks to establish a sanitary barrier to prevent the transmission of exotic diseases, especially those that can be transmitted from animals to humans, the agency stated.SENASA hopes to avoid the entry here of West Nile Virus, equine encephalitis, yellow fever, bluetongue, which affects livestock, and other emerging diseases.SENASA staff are fumigating the cargo area as well as baggage carried on all planes entering the country. They are also fumigating planes departing Costa Rica and flying to Mexico, Dominican Republic and all Central American countries. The process takes about five minutes and is not causing any flight delays, the agency reported.SENASA Director Bernardo Jaén said vector-borne diseases, mainly those transmitted by insects, are currently of high concern to all international health agencies and are becoming an increasingly serious problem — economically and in terms of public and animal health — for several countries.The cost of the fumigation, which ranges from ₡10,000 to ₡20,000 ($18.50 to $37) depending on the type of aircraft, will be charged to each airline, Jaén said.SENASA will maintain round-the-clock fumigation staff at the country’s three international airports, Juan Santamaría (SJO), Daniel Oduber (LIR) and Tobías Bolaños (SYQ). Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica airports increase security following Brussels blasts Costa Rican health officials seek preventive alert for chikungunya virus Pigeon overpopulation in San José threatens human health, historic monuments Zika virus total surpasses 100 cases in Costa Ricalast_img read more

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Theres a serial killer on the loose in Costa Rica and no

first_imgThe body of an 18-year-old woman found in an abandoned lot near the Children’s Museum in San José on Saturday could be the eighth murder attributed to a serial killer targeting impoverished women in Costa Rica’s capital, investigators say.According to Marco Monge, a spokesman for the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ), the woman was found naked and an autopsy showed the cause of death to be asphyxiation. She has been identified as Franciny Bermúdez Romero.OIJ Deputy Director Luis Ángel Ávila told reporters from Repretel TV on Monday that Bermúdez’s murder is believed to be connected to a possible serial killer suspected in the murders of seven other women, mostly south of the capital in the districts of Hatillo and San Sebastián.Ávila previously told The Tico Times that each of the victims was poor, from broken families or homeless, making it difficult for investigators to narrow down leads toward a suspect. Many of the women, he said, were prostitutes and had drugs in their system upon post-mortem examination. Some of the bodies also showed evidence of sexual assault, he said.“These are people who have invariably been away from their homes for quite some time,” Ávila told The Tico Times. “The families don’t know where they are so it’s been hard to find a continuous pattern like who they were hanging out with.”Police arrested a suspect on Aug. 12 in relation to the murders, but that man has since been released from custody, although they say he remains under investigation for a separate rape case. The arrest that day was upstaged by national (and international) news coverage of the public meltdown in Panama by the then-coach of Costa Rica’s men’s national football team, Paulo Wanchope.Then things went quiet. Last Saturday was the first time in a month that a body believed to be connected to the suspected killer has appeared. The first reported murder tied to the case happened in April, and three of the eight victims remain unidentified.Alejandra Mora Mora, president of the National Institute for Women, said in a statement that the clear targeting of women should be of greater concern to people in the capital. She called the murders a “crisis of gender violence.”She said the general population seemed unconcerned about the deaths because the victims were prostitutes or drug addicts, and viewed as “dispensable bodies.”“We must not have an indifferent reaction towards these deaths,” Mora said. “Silence justifies a perception of social cleansing, or in this case, of gender cleansing if people remain focused on the double standard that condemns prostitution, saying these are bad women and that their physical disappearances could clean up a society.”Ávila said that local law enforcement has not seen a case similar to this one in the past 15 to 20 years. He admitted this could be Costa Rica’s most prominent serial killer suspect since “El Psicópata” (“The Psychopath”), who is suspected of killing at least 19 people from 1986 to 1996. No one was ever charged with the murders. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica police struggle to track down suspected serial killer Nine victims now believed to be linked to San José serial killer Suspected Costa Rica serial killer tied by DNA to 3 victims, say prosecutors Police detain suspect in Hatillo serial killer caselast_img read more

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The attraction and risks of hot air balloons

first_img Sponsored Stories HOW DO SUCH HOT AIR BALLOONS OPERATE?The hot air balloon is the oldest successful flight technology that carries passengers, also known as balloon aircraft. A hot air balloon consists of a bag called the envelope that contains heated air. Suspended beneath it is a gondola, or in some high-altitude balloons, a capsule. A source of heat for the air in the balloon in most cases is an open flame blower.WHAT’S A TYPICAL BALLOON JOURNEY IN SLOVENIA LIKE?Thursday’s flight offered a 100 euro ($125) ride from near the capital, Ljubljana, and over the Alpine scenery toward Bled, the most popular tourist resort in scenic Slovenia. The flight usually lasts about 1 1/2 hours and the participants riding in the large basket receive a diploma and a glass of champagne.WHAT OTHER COUNTRIES ARE USING SUCH BALLOONS?Similar balloons are used for sightseeing in Kenyan and South African safari parks and in Australia.WHAT DID THURSDAY’S BALLOON LOOK LIKE?Its brown woven rattan basket is 5.20 meters long (18 feet) and 1.70 meters wide (5 feet, 7 inches), and is usually divided into four compartments. All the passengers must stand during the flight, with their feet spread. Children under 15 are not allowed. On Jan. 7, 2012, a scenic hot air balloon flight from Carterton, New Zealand, collided with a high voltage power line while attempting to land, causing it to catch fire, disintegrate and crash just north of the town, killing all 11 people aboard.Slovenia has had two major ballooning accidents in recent years. In 2002, one caught fire and nine people were injured. In 2006 four people were hurt when a balloon crashed.___AP reporters Jovana Gec, Dusan Stojanovic, Slobodan Lekic and Marko Drobnjakovic contributed.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) How do cataracts affect your vision? 0 Comments   Share   Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project WHAT ARE THE SAFETY RECORDS OF SUCH BALLOONS?Smaller balloons are much easier to handle and maneuver. Those carrying up to 32 people usually climb vertically up to 2,000 meters (6,500 feet) and don’t move sideways or glide with the wind. Balloon accidents occur for a variety of reasons, but human error and the decision to fly during weather warnings are frequently cited as a primary cause. There were rare cases where an accident was attributed to failure of the balloon hardware.WHAT ARE THE SAFETY REGULATIONS FOR BALLOON FLIGHTS?According to international safety regulations, balloon pilots are certified just like airplane pilots and must have operational certificates. Like planes, balloons must meet safety standards and are inspected on a regular basis. In addition, pilots must inform passengers about safety guidelines during flights prior to liftoff. The basket must be robust enough to ensure adequate protection to all occupants even during rough landings. The burner unit must be designed and installed in such a way to avoid a fire hazard.WHAT HAVE BEEN THE WORST HOT BALLOON ACCIDENTS?On Aug. 13, 1989, two hot air balloons collided near Alice Springs, Australia, causing one to crash to the ground, killing 13 people. It is the deadliest hot air ballooning accident in the history of aviation. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Daycenter_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories Associated PressLJUBLJANA, Slovenia (AP) – The hot air balloon that crashed in Slovenia was one of the largest of its kind in the world. Tourists who are willing to pay more than $100 each to be crammed aboard the capsules of such balloons often enjoy sightseeing adventures over the Slovenian Alps and its lakes.But the giant balloons aren’t always easy to operate. On Thursday, one was swept up in a storm and crashed in a fireball outside Slovenia’s capital, killing four of its 32 riders and injuring the rest. Parents, stop beating yourself up 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenixlast_img read more

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AP Interview Iran opposition chief sees rebirth

first_imgAssociated PressAUVERS-SUR-OISE, France (AP) – The leader of an Iranian militant group that was taken off the U.S. terror list on Friday says the move will change her group’s “balance of power” with the world _ predicting a higher profile in politics, fundraising and diplomacy and increased anti-regime activity in Iran.The U.S. State Department said the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran (MEK) hasn’t committed terror for more than a decade. The group has also complied with demands that more than 3,000 of its once-armed members abandon their base in Iraq near the Iranian border for a camp outside Baghdad, an essential step to ending their decades-long presence in Iraq. Top Stories Rajavi, 58, wore what has become a trademark headscarf among MEK women during the interview Friday at MEK’s headquarters in the leafy town of Auvers-Sur-Oise north of Paris. She denied claims by critics that MEK has all the earmarks of a cult, saying it is Iran who seeded such allegations as part of their “psychological war” against the group.“All the energy and potential of our movement were chained” during the 15 years that MEK was listed by the United States as a terrorist organization, she said, speaking in French as well as the Iranian language of Farsi through a translator.At its headquarters, the group was preparing for a jubilant fete on Saturday, plastering walls on the street with red drapes and photographs of “martyrs,” as it refers to members who have been killed.“The diplomatic scene will be completely different” because the group’s status as a pariah will evaporate, Rajavi said, reiterating MEK’s long-standing denial of terrorism.But, she said, “the most important impact … will be seen inside Iran.”“The balance of power, the balance of power is going to change. For example, the first message for the Iranian people will be they won’t fear increasing their activity and increasing their demonstrations,” she said. The fear “will evaporate … and that will lead to the expansion of anti-regime activities within Iran.” Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology With a clean bill of health in the West, the Iranian regime “will no longer have the excuse” of acting against an organization deemed terrorist by the United States.Mujahedeen, protected in Iraq under dictator Saddam Hussein, were disarmed after the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq and are disliked by the new Iraqi government, dominated by Shiite Muslims like those in Iran.The United States had insisted the MEK’s members leave Camp Ashraf, their home in Iraq, as a condition for removal from the terrorist list. All but several hundred militants are now located in Camp Liberty, a former U.S. base outside Baghdad, looking for placement in third countries.Among those transferred to Camp Liberty were Rajavi’s 30-year-old daughter and her 32-year-old son, she revealed.A veil of mystery has long clung to the group, not the least over the whereabouts of its main founder, Massoud Rajavi, who married Maryam in 1985. He has not been seen publicly since at least 2003, although he continues as MEK’s co-leader, and his portrait greets visitors at the well-secured entranthe group’s French headquarters.There has been speculation that he is dead. Rajavi countered those reports Friday and said he is alive but would provide no details. Sponsored Stories The official said Washington does not view MEK as an opposition movement that can promote democratic values in Iran. The official briefed reporters on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter.“They are not part of our picture in terms of the future of Iran,” the official said.The Iranian regime is sure to be furious at the U.S. decision to delist MEK _ for years the only armed exile opposition group. The group, which began as a guerrilla movement fighting Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, helped overthrow the monarch in 1979 then quickly fell out with the Islamic Republic’s first leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.MEK later teamed up with Iraq to battle Iran in an eight-year war in the 1980s, then from its Iraqi base continued military action against neighboring Iran.The United States contends the group was responsible for the killing of several American military officials and defense contractors in the 1970s, carrying out attacks on Iran from its base in Iraq.The MEK spent huge sums of money over years lobbying for removal from the U.S. terror list, holding rallies in European capitals and elsewhere that featured luminaries like former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge from the administration of George W. Bush. Former House Speaker and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich was among those recently welcomed by the MEK to Paris. Comments   Share   Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix ___Bradley Klapper contributed to this story from New York.___Follow Elaine Ganley at _ http://www.twitter.com/Elaine_Ganley. The U.S. decision means that, effective immediately, any assets the group has in the United States are unblocked and Americans are permitted to do business with the organization.A court order had given Clinton until Oct. 1 to act. The group was removed from the European Union’s terrorist list in 2009.Maryam Rajavi, the Paris-based head of the exiled opposition group, said in a rare interview that she hopes the organization can now have the ear of the world’s diplomats to help bolster its bid to overthrow Iran’s clerical regime. She stressed that its goal was to replace the Islamic Republic with a democratic government.“It now has become evident for everyone that these (terror) allegations were untrue,” she said, praising U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for her “courage.”“Our cause is democracy and the freedom of democracy for the future of Iran,” Rajavi said. “We are against fundamentalism which is in power in Iran … … The mullahs’ (clerical) regime is the center of the exportation of terrorism and fundamentalism in the Middle East.”However, a senior State Department official suggested that removing MEK from the U.S. terrorist list does not translate into a shared common front against the Islamic Republic of Iran. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 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South Africas review board OKs Zuma painting

first_img Four benefits of having a wireless security system Zuma, who is 70, has been married six times and currently has four wives, a practice that his Zulu culture allows. He has 21 children, and acknowledged in 2010 that he fathered a child that year with a woman who is not his wife.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Comments   Share   Top Stories Associated PressJOHANNESBURG (AP) – South Africa’s Film and Publication Board Wednesday declassified a painting showing the genitals of President Jacob Zuma.The board’s spokesman, Prince Mlimandlela Ndamase, said that artist Brett Murray’s “The Spear” _ which outraged supporters of President Zuma when it was displayed early this year at Johannesburg’s Goodman Gallery _ is no longer deemed offensive to public taste. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix The review board “has set aside the classification decision” after meeting about two weeks ago to review the painting, which was first displayed in May, said Ndamase.The painting was condemned by the ruling ANC and Zuma himself said in court documents that the artwork undermined his constitutional right to dignity. But the gallery and the artist countered that freedom of expression was at stake, too.The painting was later taken down after two men defaced it with paint, claiming they were acting independently of each other in defense of Zuma. It was not immediately possible to get a comment from the Goodman Gallery or Murray after the declassification decision.The painting was widely seen by supporters of Zuma as a racist attack on his polygamous ways. But Murray, responding to a High Court case brought by Zuma, who sought to censor the artwork, said in an affidavit that it was part of a show criticizing the ANC for alleged greed and corruption. He also said that details of Zuma’s sex life had become part of the public debate in South Africa.“I am not a racist,” Murray said in an affidavit. “I do not produce art with an intention to hurt, humiliate or insult.” Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Sponsored Stories The difference between men and women when it comes to painlast_img read more

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Praise skepticism as Cuba eases travel rules

first_imgAssociated PressHAVANA (AP) – For the first time since the height of the Cold War more than half a century ago, Cuba is giving its people the freedom to leave the country without government permission, scrapping the detested exit visa that kept many from traveling outside the communist nation for even a few days.The announcement Tuesday came as blockbuster news on the island, where citizens were ecstatic at the prospect of being able to leave for a vacation _ or even forever _ with only a passport and a visa from the country of their destination. “Wow, how great!” said Mercedes Delgado, a 73-year-old retiree. “Citizens’ rights are being restored. … Let’s hope this is a breakthrough to keep returning the rights that they have taken away from us.”The decree still allows Cuban authorities the ability to deny travel by many Cubans for reasons of defense and “national security,” suggesting that dissidents may continue to face restrictions. So will doctors, scientists, athletes, members of the military and others considered key contributors, as well as those who face criminal charges.An end to the hated exit visa had been promised since last year by President Raul Castro as part of his five-year reform plan. Analysts called it the latest and biggest step in a gradual relaxation of restrictions on things like opening private small businesses, owning cell phones, staying in tourist hotels and buying and selling homes and cars.“It’s an important step forward in human rights, the ability to travel outside of your country without the government’s permission,” said Philip Peters, a longtime Cuba analyst at the Virginia-based Lexington Institute think tank. Cubans still need to acquire entry visas for most countries, including the United States, which closely screens applicants and rejects potential overstayers. According to U.S. government statistics, about 43,000 visas were issued to Cubans in the most recent fiscal year, including both tourist and immigrant visas, and a huge backlog means the wait for a new visa application can be lengthy.Nuland, the State Department spokeswoman, said U.S. visa requirements remain unchanged.“We obviously welcome any reforms that will allow Cubans to depart from and return to their country freely,” she said. “We remain committed to the migration accords under which our two countries support and promote safe, legal and orderly migration.”Under those 1994 accords, Washington has encouraged Havana to take steps to prevent any future mass exodus.However, the end of the exit visa could lead to an increase in Cubans traveling to third countries and either staying there or making their way to the U.S. Islanders already fly frequently to Ecuador, which does not require an entry visa.Kathleen Campbell Walker, an immigration lawyer in El Paso, Texas, said Homeland Security officials review passenger lists for U.S.-bound flights and are likely to order an airline to deny boarding to anyone who doesn’t have a visa. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Migration is a highly politicized issue in Cuba and beyond its borders.Under the “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy, the United States allows nearly all Cubans who reach its territory to remain, while those caught at sea are sent home and not penalized. Just last week, three members of the Cuban national soccer team defected ahead of a match in Canada and sought refuge in the U.S.More than 1 million people of Cuban origin live in the United States, and many thousands more are in Europe and Latin America.Granma published an accompanying editorial blaming the decades-old travel restrictions on U.S. attempts to topple the island’s government, plant spies and recruit its best-educated citizens.“The update to the migratory policy takes into account the right of the revolutionary state to defend itself from the interventionist and subversive plans of the U.S. government and its allies,” Granma said. “Therefore, measures will remain to preserve the human capital created by the revolution in the face of the theft of talent applied by the powerful.”While the measure greatly streamlines the travel process, analysts said it was unlikely to provoke a mass exodus. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories Comments   Share   Besides the exit visa, the new policy also eliminates the need for a letter of invitation from an institution or person in the destination country.“These measures are truly substantial and profound,” deputy immigration chief Col. Lamberto Fraga told a morning news conference. “What we are doing is not just cosmetic.”Still, Fraga said some people remain restricted to combat the brain drain that has already led many of the island’s young and talented to leave for economic reasons.“These professionals are going to require authorization to leave,” Fraga said.Dissident Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez expressed concern that officials might now control travel merely by denying passports.“I have the suitcase ready to travel. … Let’s see if I get a flight for Jan. 14, 2013, to try out the new law,” tweeted Sanchez, who said she has been denied an exit visa 20 times over the last five years.U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the Obama administration was taking a wait-and-see attitude.“The Cuban government has kept for itself a couple of other checks on the ability of people to leave freely, including this issue of revalidating passports and this issue of claiming that they can preserve the human capital of the revolution in the country,” Nuland said. “So we just need to see how this is implemented.” Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix “The one thing that stands out now is that the travel restrictions are all on the side of the United States,” Peters added, referring to the longtime ban on American tourism to the island as part of the U.S. economic embargo against Cuba. “That’s kind of ironic.”___Associated Press writers Anne-Marie Garcia in Havana, Alicia A. Caldwell, Bradley Klapper and Luis Alonso Lugo in Washington, and Jennifer Kay in Miami contributed to this report.___Peter Orsi is on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/Peter_Orsi At the Versailles restaurant in Miami’s Little Havana, a well-known gathering spot for Cuban-Americans, Eddie Balzola applauded the announcement.“Anything that is more freedom for humanity is always a good thing,” Balzola said. “People should have the freedom to travel and go and come as they please in every country.”But the measure was also dismissed by some exiles, including Havana-born U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who called it part of “so-called reforms” that are “nothing more than Raul Castro’s desperate attempts to fool the world into thinking that Cuba is changing.”Tomas Bilbao, executive director of the Washington-based Cuba Study Group, said he was cautiously optimistic the move will reduce the isolation of the Cuban people and increase interaction between the U.S. and Cuban civil society.“The important story is the Cuban government has taken a step that has long been demanded by the Cuban people,” Bilbao said.Peters said it’s unlikely the change will inspire Washington to make an overture to Havana in the middle of a presidential election year, but this and other changes in Cuba offer opportunities for engagement with whoever takes the oath of office in January. 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes “It eliminates a horrendous and offensive bureaucratic obstacle to travel.”Starting Jan. 14, Cubans will no longer have to apply for the costly “tarjeta blanca,” or “white card,” ending a restriction in place since 1961, the height of the Cold War.The measure also extends to 24 months the amount of time Cubans can remain abroad, and they can request an extension when that runs out. Currently, Cubans lose residency and their rights to property, social security, free health care and free education after 11 months overseas.Announced in the wee hours in the Communist newspaper Granma and published into law in the official Gazette, word of the change spread like wildfire Tuesday and was the talk of the streets and office buildings. Islanders greeted the news with a mixture of delight and astonishment.“This is huge news. Everybody has been waiting for it for a long time,” said Bertina Rodriguez, a 47-year-old office worker. “Because it’s a kind of opening, even if I think they’re doing it so that people can’t say this is a place where they keep people locked up.”“I heard from my cousin who phoned from the United States,” said Beatriz Suarez, a 35-year-old Havana resident. “She’s all worked up about this.” Sponsored Stories Four benefits of having a wireless security system 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Centerlast_img read more

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Flowers ritual horse race mark Day of the Dead

first_imgA “rezador” or prayer man whispered The Lord’s Prayer at a cemetery in Pomuch in the southeastern state of Campeche, while Paula Maria Cuc Euan, dusted off the bones of her parents.“I’ve been doing this since they died,” Cuc Euan said as she returned a femur to a wooden crate lined with padded fabric decorated with hand-knitted flowers. “My mom died 32 years ago, and I have been doing this ever since.”Across the border in Guatemala, jockeys drank alcohol before mounting horses on a ride known as “The Death Race.” It is celebrated every year in Huehuetenango state, some 168 miles (270 kilometers) from the capital, and tradition holds that if a rider falls during the race it’s a sign that farmers will enjoy an abundant harvest.Peruvians flocked to cemeteries, from low-lying ones on the coast overlooking the Pacific to graveyards high in the snow-capped Andes.Thousands crowded Lima’s Virgen de Lourdes cemetery, the country’s largest, to leave flower offerings and dance to Andean music. Hilarion Ramos, 79, left a bouquet of Incan lilies at the grave of his son who died in 1979 at age 2.“My little boy left 33 years ago, but I don’t forget him. I still have the memory of his little face in my mind,” said Ramos, who walked a mile (two kilometers) to take his offering to the cemetery. The combined celebration known in many places as the Day of the Dead is a particularly colorful and macabre festival in Mexico that harks back to the Aztecs but has become part of Roman Catholic traditions.“In the European-Christian notion of death, our loved ones go far away and we’re left to survive on our own. But in the Mexican case, in Andean countries, the world of the living and the dead co-exist,” said Elio Masferrer, an anthropologist who focuses on religious studies in Mexico.“The living seek help and protection from the dead, especially on the Day of the Dead,” Masferrer said.And while in the Judeo-Christian traditions, the dead go to either heaven or hell based on their behavior on Earth, many in Mesoamerica and Andean countries believe they work for the Gods and are supported by their family members still on Earth, he said.“It’s none of this playing a harp in a cloud, family members have to feed them and between today and tomorrow they will leave their favorite food at the table and leave the door open so they can walk in,” Masferrer said.Families across Mexico took picnics to cemeteries, decorated graves with marigolds and sprinkled holy water on the tombs of their loved ones. Associated PressMEXICO CITY (AP) – Mexicans cleaned the bones of dead relatives and decorated their graves with flowers and candy skulls. In Haiti, voodoo practitioners circled an iron cross at a cemetery and poured moonshine to honor their ancestors. Some Guatemalans held a wild race of horses to remember the dead.Across the Western Hemisphere, people are paying homage to lost relatives in observances that began Thursday on All Saints Day and continue Friday with All Souls Day. 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 “Today is the day we come to celebrate the people who have died, the people we haven’t seen in a long time,” voodoo priest Jean-Robert Pierre said as he carried a bottle of rum. “We’re celebrating our ancestors.”Day of the Dead festivities in Haiti are often used as an excuse to act out against social norms, for the voodoo spirits associated with the event are widely seen as rowdy and impulsive.At a major cemetery in Port-Au-Prince, men and women dressed in top hats and wore ghostly makeup representing the entity Gede, a well-known voddoo spirit. A sign outside the burial site in Creole read: “Remember that you are dust.”__Associated Press writers Franklin Briceno in Lima, Peru; Carlos Valdez in La Paz, Bolivia; and Trenton Daniel in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, contributed to this report.__Luis Andres Henao on Twitter: https://twitter.com/LuisAndresHenao How men can have a healthy 2019 Top Stories Comments   Share   Parents, stop beating yourself upcenter_img Musicians played nearby while Lucila Mamani, 62, and her three brothers danced around the grave of her mother.“Death is very sad so this allows me to remember with joy (the life) of the deceased. That’s how we Andeans are. That’s why I hire the musicians to play here,” Mamani said.Food played a big role in Bolivia where many people celebrated the “return” of loved ones with full tables.Fruit, bread and wine were set on a white tablecloth for Blanca Jimenez’s dead family members, who were represented by framed photographs next to lit candles.“It’s a re-encounter with our loved ones,” Jimenez said.The celebration permeates all social circles in Bolivia, including the very top of the government. Officials at the foreign relations department set up a large table with paintings of indigenous heroes and social leaders to “welcome their souls.”In Haiti, hundreds of voodoo, or Vodou, practitioners gathered at cemeteries, then marched in street processions to honor their ancestors in Day of the Dead, or “Fet Gede,” ceremonies.Circling an iron cross at a cemetery on the eastern end of the capital, Port-au-Prince, dozens of young men and women took turns pouring rum, moonshine and other libations. A woman wearing a black bra and a purple headband, the signature colors of the festivities, threaded through the crowd in a seeming trance as others looked on. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenixlast_img read more

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Whos who in Chinas Bo Xilai political scandal

first_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top holiday drink recipes Here’s a look at the leading characters in the scandal:_ Bo Xilai: Until his ouster, Bo was the Communist Party chief of the mega-city of Chongqing and one of the country’s most prominent political figures. The telegenic, media-savvy politician rode to nationwide fame by waging an anti-mafia crackdown and organizing mass sing-alongs of Communist Party songs. But his publicity-seeking ways and his revival of Mao Zedong-era radical campaigns alarmed many in the political elite. The son of one of the Communist state’s founding fathers, Bo was already in the party’s 25-member Politburo and before the scandal was seen as a contender for an even higher post. Rumors had also swirled about the Bo family’s wealth and the shenanigans of his son. Bo is standing trial for bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power._ Gu Kailai: Bo’s wife has confessed to killing British businessman Neil Heywood after having a dispute over money and worrying that he had threatened her son’s safety, according to state media. She is said to have risen out of a trying childhood during nationwide upheaval to become a prominent lawyer and high-flying politician’s wife. She was skilled at turning on the charm when the going was smooth, yet quick to turn hostile when crossed. Like Bo, she is the offspring of a prominent Chinese revolutionary veteran. A Chinese court gave Gu a suspended death sentence in August last year which will likely be commuted to a life term. (AP) – The corruption trial of ousted Chinese politician Bo Xilai on Thursday marks the Communist Party’s efforts to wrap up its messiest scandal in decades. Bo’s spectacular downfall last year was triggered by the embarrassing flight of his top aide to a U.S. consulate and revelations that Bo’s wife had murdered a British businessman. The scandal exposed divisive infighting in the highest echelons of Chinese politics that party leaders would rather keep behind closed doors. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   center_img _ Bo Guagua: Their 25-year-old son, who was educated at top universities in England and the United States, including Harvard. Guagua, who has appeared shirtless at parties in photos posted on the Internet, has said he attended social events as an Oxford University undergraduate to broaden his perspective. He denies accusations he received preferential treatment in admissions, that he was a poor student or that he drove a pricey sports car. He is not believed to have returned to China since the scandal broke and he is currently studying law at Columbia University. He says he has been denied access to his parents since their detention 18 months ago._ Wang Lijun: Once Bo’s right-hand man and Chongqing’s police chief, Wang was sidelined by Bo in February last year after Wang confronted him with news that Bo’s wife was suspected of killing a British businessman. Fearing for his life, Wang fled to the U.S. Consulate in the nearby city of Chengdu where Chinese authorities say he applied for asylum. Chinese security sealed the area around the consulate as Wang negotiated with officials for safe passage to Beijing accompanied by State Security officials. While in the consulate, Wang is believed to have alleged that Gu was behind Heywood’s death, prompting the British government to ask China to launch a new investigation. In a surprising twist, people who attended Wang’s trial say the court heard evidence that Gu had informed Wang of her intentions and that for a time, he too participated in planning the murder. Wang was sentenced to 15 years for corruption and covering up the Heywood murder. 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Top Stories _ Neil Heywood: A British business consultant and Bo family friend, his body was found in a secluded Chongqing hilltop retreat in November 2011. Chinese authorities originally blamed his death on excessive drinking or a heart attack and his body was cremated without an autopsy. Subsequently, an official Chinese statement said he had a longtime business relationship with Gu and her son, Guagua, but that it had deteriorated over financial disputes. Bo reportedly sought to block a police investigation after Wang came to him with his suspicions.(Copyright 2013 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 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breacheslast_img read more

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Argentine medical teams debate death of late prosecutor

first_img BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Two medical teams are meeting in Argentina’s capital in an extraordinary session aimed at concluding whether the head prosecutor investigating the country’s worst terrorist attack killed himself or was slain by another person.The meeting began Wednesday after months of debate about how Alberto Nisman died Jan. 18, when he was found in his bathroom with a bullet in his head. The shot that destroyed Nisman’s skull was fired with a gun that was loaned to him by aide Diego Lagomarsino, a computer technician who said the prosecutor asked for the weapon because he feared for his and his daughters’ lives. FILE – In this Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, file photo, police enter the building where late prosecutor Alberto Nisman had his office, to gather evidence for the investigation into his death in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Two medical teams are meeting, Wednesday, May 6, 2015, in Argentina’s capital in an extraordinary session aimed at concluding whether prosecutor Alberto Nisman killed himself or was slain. The meeting began after months of debate about how Nisman died Jan. 18, when he was found in his bathroom with a bullet in his head. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd,File) Top Stories “The certainties with this case have disappeared,” said Gerardo Young, author of “Codigo Stiuso” (The Stiuso Code), which is based on the life of the former intelligence agent. “There were expert reports, a prosecutor who said a bunch of things, and no one believes in anything — not the science, not the justice, and even less the political power.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories center_img Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility There is no doubt that the gun was the weapon that killed the prosecutor. But the lead investigator says authorities have not determined whether Nisman took his own life or was killed by someone else.Sandra Arroyo Salgado, the late prosecutor’s ex-wife, hired a forensic team that determined Nisman was slain by another person.The meeting of medical officials aims to sort through that and other discrepancies. It is unclear when they will announce their conclusion.Days before he died, Nisman accused President Cristina Fernandez of helping Iranian officials cover up their alleged role in the 1994 unsolved bombing of a Jewish community center. A federal judge has thrown out the case, while Fernandez has denied the allegations against her and Iran has long denied any role in the bombing.Conspiracy theories have flourished around the case. While some politicians and analysts believe that Nisman killed himself because he felt that his claims against the president lacked proof, others say he was murdered because he was a threat to the Argentine and Iranian governments.Fernandez has suggested Nisman was killed by rogue secret service agents and cast suspicions on Antonio “Jaime” Stiuso, but she has not provided any evidence to support that. She also said that Stiuso fed false information to Nisman to destabilize her government and had a hand in writing the late prosecutor’s 289-page report detailing the accusations against her. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to helplast_img read more

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Australian police arrest teen disrupt bomb plot

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Police arrested a 17-year-old and accused him of plotting to detonate three homemade bombs in the Australian city of Melbourne, officials said on Saturday, in the latest terrorism scare involving a teenager.The teen was arrested on Friday afternoon in a joint federal-state police counterterrorism operation at his home in the suburb of Greenvale where the explosive devices were found, Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Mike Phelan said. The state police bomb squad rendered the devices safe, he said. Comments   Share   Police had contained the plot and there was no further threat from the suspect or his colleagues to the people of Victoria, Phelan said.Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he had been briefed that the bomb plot had been in a “reasonably advanced state of preparation.”Abbott urged Australians to keep the terrorist danger in perspective and to avoid changing their way of life.“The best thing that you can do right now is to live your life normally because the whole point of terrorism is to scare us out of being ourselves,” Abbott told reporters.The teen was driving from his home with a woman when he was stopped by police, Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Bob Hill said. Police then ordered three occupants of the house to come outside, he said. Media reported they came out with their hands up.The boy’s father is reportedly a doctor of Syrian background. The family was unaware that bombs were stored in their two-story home.Hill said “his family are a caring, loving family that are now very, very distraught as a consequence of what is alleged.”“It has undoubtedly taken them by surprise,” Hill said.Phelan described the homemade bombs as “very rudimentary.” Their destructive capacity had yet to be assessed, he said. 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 Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sobercenter_img 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Top Stories Melbourne is Australia’s second largest city and is the capital of Victoria state.Last month, five Australian teenagers were arrested on suspicion of plotting an Islamic State group-inspired terrorist attack at a Veterans’ Day ceremony also in Melbourne that included targeting police officers.“It’s deeply troubling to police that such young people in our community are becoming disaffected in the way in which they are and considering endangering the lives of many Australians,” Phelan told reporters.There were “no links at all” between that latest suspect and those arrested last month, Phelan said. Police were investigating whether the latest plot had been inspired by the Islamic State group .Phelan said he could not confirm a media report that the plot would have targeted a charity run in Melbourne on Sunday to mark Mothers’ Day in Australia. He said police were examining evidence and going through intelligence reports to get the full picture. “But let me tell you something was going to happen,” Phelan told reporters.“Had we not intervened, there was a real threat of action being taken,” he added.The suspect will appear in the Melbourne Children’s Court on Monday on terrorism charges. His identity cannot be revealed for legal reasons. Sponsored Stories The difference between men and women when it comes to pain How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

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Unexpected triumph means Cameron can govern UK on his own

first_img LONDON (AP) — After years of sharing power, David Cameron pulled off an unexpected election triumph that gave the Conservative prime minister a second term with an outright majority Friday and dealt a stinging defeat to his three main rivals.Standing before the glistening black door of 10 Downing Street, Cameron pledged to govern as the party of “one nation, one United Kingdom.” But he faces a fractured Britain — divided by rich and poor, by separatist gains in Scotland and by doubts over its place in the European Union. Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Britain’s Conservative party leader David Cameron speaks during his acceptance speech after being re-elected as a lawmaker for the Witney constituency in Witney, England, Friday, May 8, 2015. The Conservative Party fared much better than expected in Britain’s parliamentary election, with an exit poll and early returns suggesting that Prime Minister David Cameron would remain in his office at 10 Downing Street. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant) Cameron’s promise to hold a referendum and win concessions from the EU plainly resonated with voters worried that the country was losing its grip on its borders.The result, and Britain’s unease with the EU, will strengthen Cameron’s hand in talks with EU leaders in Brussels, who are mindful of the power that Britain’s banks and financial service industries bring to the bloc. The referendum has been promised by the end of 2017 — but Cameron has only pledged to hold it, not support it.Still, his majority, however surprising, is small. His own party is divided on the issue of Britain leaving the EU. Many senior business leaders are vociferously opposed, as is Scotland. It won’t be simple — and it all needs to be done without trampling the economic recovery.“The pound surged against the euro and the dollar on news of a Conservative victory because the markets value continuity and fiscal austerity,” said Peter Urwin, co-author of “It’s the Economy, Stupid: Economics for Voters.” ”But the increased risk … will be the long-term economic hangover facing the country following this election result.”Labour took a beating in Scotland, mostly from energized Scottish nationalists who pulled off a landslide that gave the Scottish National Party 56 of the 59 seats. Comments   Share   The vote represents “a clear voice for an end to austerity, better public services and more progressive politics at Westminster,” SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon told the BBC.It also greatly strengthens a party that wants to split from the country all together.“The Scottish lion has roared this morning across the country,” said former SNP leader Alex Salmond, who was elected in the constituency of Gordon.The most symbolic win belonged to Mhairi Black, the 20-year-old university student who defeated Labour Party heavyweight Douglas Alexander to become the youngest British lawmaker since 1667. The win underscored the extent of the Scottish National Party’s triumph — and Scotland’s rejection of Labour, the party that long counted the north as its base.“The people of Scotland are speaking, and it is time for their voice to be heard at Westminster,” Black said.One of the big losers of the day was Farage, who resigned after losing his race. His U.K. Independence Party came in third in the popular vote, but won only one seat — a casualty of an electoral system in which the candidate with the highest number of votes in each area wins, even if he or she does not gain a majority of votes cast. 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Patients with chronic pain give advice “For the new government, it is not possible to carry on business as usual,” said Murray Pittock, a professor at the University of Glasgow. “Such a course is not a sustainable or good course to ensure the survival of the UK.”With the Conservatives winning an outright majority in the 650-seat House of Commons, the result looked to be far better for Cameron than even his own party had foreseen. With all the votes counted, the Conservatives had 331 seats to Labour’s 232.But the new ruling class inherits a country divided by negative campaigning and infighting about the future. Fought largely over the economy, the race revolved around the question of whether the Conservative-led government charted the right course through the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis, the worst recession since the 1930s.Cameron argued his party needed time to cement its successes after five years of budget cuts designed to shrink the deficit and bolster growth. His primary opponent, Miliband, focused the debate on inequality, saying the recovery hadn’t trickled down to the poorest in this nation of 64 million.Heaping further pressure on the working poor has been an influx of thousands of migrants from the European Union, particularly from the former eastern bloc countries that joined the 28-nation free-trade zone over the past decade. The influx has changed Britain, straining schools, hospitals and other public services. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The election ushers in a new era in British politics, with veteran lawmakers ousted by a public that made clear it had lost trust in its political leaders. The victors included a 20-year-old Scottish nationalist who beat out a senior Labour Party leader in Scotland.It was also unexpected. Polls had predicted a dead heat — a result that would have meant days of haggling to form a new government. Queen Elizabeth II was out of town at her castle in Windsor, and needed to rush back to London for the traditional meeting at Buckingham Palace in which the victor offers to form a government.By the time Cameron met the monarch all three of his major rivals had resigned: Ed Miliband of the Labour Party, Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats and Nigel Farage of the U.K. Independence Party.For the losers, Cameron offered sympathy. “Elections can be bruising clashes of ideas and arguments, and a lot of people who believe profoundly in public service have seen that service cut short,” he said.The surprising outcome merely underscored how much things have changed — that there is now a new unpredictability in British politics. The idea of two big parties squabbling over the spoils is over. There are new players — and some are very young. Some don’t even want a United Kingdom at all. Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Since UKIP’s support is spread geographically across the country — rather than in any single area — it could be runner-up in many places but gain hardly a foothold in Parliament.That discrepancy was another factor in the push for change — one that won’t be solved any time soon. At a time when people are frustrated, and want to know why leaders keep failing to deliver, anything can happen.“As for a new political class … Labour may want to skip a generation,” said Tim Bale, a professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London. “It’s also going to have to come up with some fresh ideas that keep its core supporters on board at the same time as reaching out to floating voters who don’t trust it with their money.”___Associated Press writers Sylvia Hui, Gregory Katz, Vitnija Saldava and Martin Benedyk in London, Paul Kelbie in Glasgow, Scotland, and Shawn Pogatchnik in Dublin contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

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US plays down IS militants gains in Iraq

first_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Anbar provincial councilman Taha Abdul-Ghani said the militants killed dozens more captured security forces in the city as well as their families, without providing an exact figure. He said Iraqi and coalition warplanes were bombing the militants inside the compound.Weidley’s command said Friday in its daily summary of U.S.-led bombing in Iraq that coalition planes conducted 12 airstrikes in Iraq overnight Thursday. These included one airstrike near Ramadi that hit an IS headquarters. Four airstrikes near Beiji hit IS fighting units, destroying two fighting positions and a building, the U.S. military said.___Associated Press writers Sameer N. Yacoub in Baghdad and Bradley Klapper in Washington contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments   Share   WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite major new setbacks in Iraq, the U.S. military command leading the fight against Islamic State militants insisted Friday that its strategy is working and that the militants’ takeover of a key oil refinery and a government compound are fleeting gains feeding an IS propaganda machine.“We believe across Iraq and Syria that Daesh is losing and remains on the defensive,” said Marine Brig. Gen. Thomas D. Weidley, chief of staff for Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, the name of the international campaign fighting IS. “Daesh” is the Arabic acronym for the militant group that swept into Iraq from Syria last June and swiftly took control of much of Iraq’s north and west. “This is similar to the (techniques) they’ve used in the past where they’ve conducted attacks trying to gain social media gains by taking photos and documenting small-term gains and then using it for propaganda purposes,” Weidley said, adding that IS was inflating the importance of its success.“We’ve seen similar attacks in Ramadi over the last several months for which the ISF (Iraqi security forces) have been able to repel, and we see this one being similar to those,” he said, adding that the U.S. is confident the Iraqi government will be able to take back the terrain it has lost in Ramadi.Weidley called Ramadi a “critical city,” which appears to stand in contrast to remarks last month by Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.Dempsey said Ramadi was not central to the future of Iraq and said its potential loss “won’t be the end of the campaign” against IS. He also said the Beiji oil refinery, the site of fierce battles between militants and Iraqi forces, was a “more strategic” target for IS.In Ramadi, Iraqi troops were forced to withdraw during an attack in which three suicide car bombs killed at least 10 people and wounded dozens more, said Mayor Dalaf al-Kubaisi. The mayor said the militants raised their black flag over the captured government compound, which houses provincial and municipal government offices. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories Four benefits of having a wireless security system Even as Weidley spoke to reporters by phone from his headquarters in Kuwait, IS militants were defying his description of them as a force on defense. Iraqi officials said IS fighters had captured the main government compound in Ramadi, the capital of battle-scarred Anbar province. Other officials said they had gained substantial control over the Beiji oil refinery, a strategically important prize in the battle for Iraq’s future and a potential source of millions of dollars in income for the militants.The battle to push IS out of Mosul, the largest city in northern Iraq, which some had hoped would begin this spring, now seems a more distant goal.The Pentagon insists that it knew when it began a bombing campaign in Iraq in August 2014 that it could take years to force the Islamic State group out of the country, and while the militants have conceded some ground in recent months, including the northern city of Tikrit, they have proven remarkably resilient.Just over 3,000 U.S. troops are training and advising Iraqi forces and providing protection for U.S. forces and facilities. Weidley said there is no move afoot to either expand the U.S. presence or ask the Obama administration for authority to put U.S. troops close to the front lines of combat. Sponsored Stories How men can have a healthy 2019 The White House said Vice President Joe Biden called Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Friday to reaffirm U.S. support in light of the attacks on Ramadi. It said Biden promised expedited security help, including delivery of shoulder-fired rockets and other heavy weaponry to counter IS car bombs.Weidley appeared to be pressing his own “information campaign” designed to counter the militants’ message of defiance. While conceding the militants’ were managing “episodic control” of certain terrain in Iraq, he insisted their advances were minor and unsustainable.The State Department offered a similar assessment. “There will be good days and bad days in Iraq,” State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said. “ISIL is trying to make today a bad day in Ramadi. We’ve said all along we see this as a long-term fight.”Weidley said IS fighters had launched a complex attack Friday on Ramadi as part of an effort to “feed their information and propaganda apparatus.” He said he could not confirm how much of the city had been lost to IS on Friday or what percentage remains in Iraqi control. He said his command had seen Islamic State social media postings of photos that depict a successful Ramadi offensive.last_img read more

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