Friday, May 24, 2013

Puerto Rico's most famous openly gay singer on Wednesday called on lawmakers to approve a gay rights law

Ricky Martin Calls On Puerto Rico To Approve Gay Rights Law - On ... 

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Puerto Rico's most famous openly gay singer on Wednesday called on lawmakers to approve a gay rights law.

Stolen Valor Act Passes Congress - Huffington Post

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Stolen Valor Act Passes Congress
Huffington Post
Gladys E. Sepulveda, left, of Ponce, Puerto Rico, and 2nd Lt. Lois Ferrari, of Pittsburgh, Pa., rest on sandbags at Cam Ranh Bay in South Vietnam, during the Vietnam War. They two were waiting transportation to Nha Trang, to work in the 8th field hospital.

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Peru: New Collectible Coin 

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Temple of Kotosh, image by Flickr user madiko83 (CC BY 2.0).
The Central Reserve Bank of Peru released on May 22, 2013, the thirteenth collectible coin part of the numismatic series “Wealth and pride of Peru” . The coin has an image of the crossed hands from the Temple of Kotosh, located in the department of Huánuco.

Spanish TV Offers Parents Tips on How to Dress Kids Appropriately 

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[Alllinks lead to Spanish-language pages, except where noted.]
Spain's main public television station channel 1, featured a workshop for parents on “how to teach their children to dress appropriately” in its daily afternoon update on May 14, 2013. Although the report was barely a minute and a half long, it featured soundbites such as “it seems we live in an era when everything must be shown” and “the big question: is my daughter dressing
provocatively?” YouTube userACTUALIDADenunTUITuploaded the video:
few days before, the same program had broadcast a brief report on the “sudden” rise in religious devotion among the unemployed, asserting that prayer and the lighting of candles for the saints had a calming affect on them. This is the video of the report, uploaded on YouTube byKewban:
As expected, the story about how teenagers “should dress so as not to provoke” elicited significant dissent on the Internet. On Twitter, the Spanish words “decoro” (decorum) and “tve” (the TV station) were trending topics that very afternoon. Twitter users Andere,Nacho Grim,Alberto andHerráez, took issue with the anachronistic nature of the advice:
@SaintAndere: Entre el decoro en la vestimenta y las recomendaciones de orar para los parados, una no sabe en qué país vive, ni en qué siglo… @igotzi
@SaintAndere: Between dress and decorum and the recommendation to pray for the unemployed, one wonders in what country, and in what century we're living….@igotzi
@NachoGrim: …The Falange and the Sección femenina are coming back; I eagerly await the arrival of the NODO. [No-Do: Noticiarios y Documentales] [Translation note: The Falange and its sister organization of women were Francoist groups. NODOs was a propaganda newsreel.]
@TANSOLO140: Al paso que va la burra, “Cuéntame” va a acabar siendo una serie futurista :(
@TANSOLO140: At this rate, ”Cuéntame” is going to end up being a futuristic series:(
[Translation note: Cuéntame is a popular TV series set in the final years of the Franco regime.]
@JHerraez: ¿He dormido hacia atrás y despertado en 1947? TVE explica cómo vestir a las hijas con decoro y que no provoquen
@JHerraez: Did I sleep backwards and wake up in 1947? TVE is explaining how to dress girls modestly so they don't provoke
In reality, this is simply the anecdotal part of a much more serious problem. Just a few months after winning an absolute majority in the November 2011 elections, the Council of Ministers of the ruling Partido Popular (PP) approved a decree that modified the way in which the board of RTVE, the public radio and television corporation, is chosen—until then it had required the consensus of two thirds of the legislature, but now a simple majority would suffice. This drew criticism from all parties, who accused the PP of converting a public broadcaster into state television.
Julio Somoano, director de informativos de tve. Foto de la web
Julio Somoano, news director of rtve. Web photo
Shortly afterwards, the new bosses assumed their positions; among them was news directorJulio Somoano, formerly of the conservative television network Telemadrid and a figure closely associated with the Partido Popular. Somoano replaced Fran Llorente, under whose mandate TVE newscasts maintained the highest audience share and received more than 200 awards. Somoano's arrival had immediate repercussions on the broadcasting personnel. One of the first victims of the purge was journalist Ana Pastor, a well-regarded professional whose merits include securing the only interviewgiven by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Western media. Anna Boschwas also let go just prior to receiving the Madariaga award.
Mahmud Ahmadineyad advierte a Ana Pastor que se le ha caído el velo durante la entrevista. Captura tomada del vídeo de cartierchinoua en YouTube.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad informs Ana Pastor that her veil has slipped during the interview. Screen capture from video by cartierchinoua on YouTube.
In November 2012, Carlos Alonso, producer of the flagship weekly programInforme Semanal, refused to sign off on a report on the death of five young people at at a Halloween mega-party. The CNT union of RTVE explained the reasons on their website:
El descenso por la cuesta de la credibilidad comenzó el año pasado, con motivo de la emisión de un programa sobre la tragedia del Madrid Arena. Un realizador fue fulminantemente expulsado del programa por negarse a firmar un reportaje que ha entrado en el top ten de la Historia universal de la infamia audiovisual y que se suponía que analizaba la tragedia, para llegar a la conclusión de que la culpa es de los padres actuales que no atan corto a sus hijas.
The decline in credibility started last year, with the broadcast of a program on the tragedy of the Madrid Arena. A producer was summarily ejected from the program for having refused to sign off on a report that has entered the top 10 of all time in audiovisual infamy and that was supposedly analyzing the tragedy, reaching the conclusion that the fault lay with the actual parents who did not reign in their daughters.
This case prompted the intervention of theMedia Council, which declared:
Mediante la práctica de imposiciones, advertencias de sanción o el cambio de destino, la Dirección parece interesada en imponer una ‘ley del silencio’ que daría al traste con los derechos profesionales regulados en los últimos años
Through the practice of restrictions, warnings of potential suspension or transfer, management appears to be interested in imposing a ‘law of silence’ that would put an end to the rights of professionals as had been standardized in the last several years.
Alonso's supporters wrote a letterendorsed by 260 professionals at the network. The letter includes the following:
La dirección [ignora] el precepto legal de que TVE debe ser independiente, plural y rigurosa en sus contenidos. Se seleccionan temas de manera tendenciosa, se imponen enfoques concretos y (…) se veta de una manera clara y directa tanto a ciertas personas como aquellas noticias incómodas para la línea editorial de la dirección. (…) [La expulsión de Alonso] es injustificable en lo profesional y un paso más en una estrategia clara que quiere imponer el silencio, el miedo y la ausencia de debate periodístico en la elaboración de los contenidos.
Management [is ignorant] of the legal precept that TVE must be independent, pluralistic and rigorous in its content. Subjects are chosen with bias, specific approaches are imposed and (…) both certain people and news items inconvenient to management's editorial line are being vetoed in a clear and direct manner. (…) [The expulsion of Alonso] is professionally unjustifiable and one step further in an obvious strategy to ensure silence, fear, and the absence of journalistic debate in content production.
The program Informe Semanal has also been heavily criticizedfor its treatment of the Bárcenas case[en], a corruption case allegedly involving high level members of the PP. All this is taking its toll on TVE broadcasts: the dramatic drop in audience sharehas meant that the network has lost its status as news leader. Moreover, not one of TVE's programs has been nominated this year for theTelevision Academy awards. Against this backdrop, it is hardly surprising that the Council of Europe criticized the interference of the Spanish government in TVE in itsresolution 1920[en], of 24 January 2013:
La Asamblea advierte con preocupación recientes informes sobre presiones políticas en cadenas de servicio público en Hungría, Italia, Rumanía, Serbia, España y Ucrania (…). Recuerda a los estados miembros los (…) indicadores de medios en una democracia: «las cadenas públicas deben estar protegidas de injerencias políticas en su gestión diaria y su trabajo editorial; se deben negar los puestos de dirección a personas con claras afiliaciones políticas; las cadenas públicas deben establecer códigos de conducta internos para el trabajo periodístico y la independencia editorial de influencias políticas»
The Assembly notes with concern recent reports about political pressure on public service broadcasters in Hungary, Italy, Romania, Serbia, Spain and Ukraine (…). It reminds member States of (…) indicators for media in a democracy: “public service broadcasters must be protected against political interference in their daily management and their editorial work; senior management positions should be refused to people with clear party political affiliations; public service broadcasters should establish in-house codes of conduct for journalistic work and editorial independence from political influence.”
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Musician Builds World's Largest Acoustic Instrument - ABC News

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ABC News

Musician Builds World's Largest Acoustic Instrument
ABC News
A musician from Puerto Rico says that he has built the world's largest acoustic instrument, a 30 foot long, Puerto Rican cuatro that weighs 1.4 tons. The cuatro is a guitar-like instrument with ten strings, not four, as its name suggests. It sort of ...

Puerto Rican Republican Rep. Raúl Labrador Supports Statehood Bill 

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Rep. Raúl Labrador, a Republican from Idaho, is one of three voting members of Congress to be born in Puerto Rico. Labrador was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico, while Democrat José Serrano was born in Mayagüez and ...
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'Tea Party' Hispanic in Congress Endorses Statehood Bill | Puerto ... 

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The bill was sponsored by Puerto Rico's representative to the Federal government, Pedro Pierluisi (D/statehood party) and 37 other members of the U.S. House of Representatives from both nationalpolitical parties. The bill responds to the islands' ... Polling suggests that Puerto Ricans in Florida favor statehood over territory status or nationhood in an even higher percentage than Puerto Ricanswho have remained in the islands. National Republican leaders also ...

‘Tea Party’ Hispanic Republican in Congress Backs Statehood Bill 

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A favorite of the ‘tea party’ and a leading Hispanic Republican became the latest member of the U.S. House of Representatives to endorse a bill on statehood for Puerto Rico.
U.S. Representative Raul Labrador (Idaho) said that the bill was “a good idea” that he would vote for.
Labrador made clear that his not sponsoring the bill was because he is a leader of Republicans in the effort to reform U.S. immigration laws and is preoccupied with that legislation and other issues, not because of a lack of support.
The bill was sponsored by Puerto Rico’s representative to the Federal government, Pedro Pierluisi (D/statehood party) and 37 other members of the U.S. House of Representatives from both national political parties.
The bill responds to the islands’ political status plebiscite last November. In the plebiscite, 54% of the vote rejected continuation of the current territory status, often popularly — but misleadingly — called “commonwealth”, and more than 61% was for statehood among the possible alternatives.
Among the Republicans are two senior Hispanic GOP Representatives: former Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart, both of  Florida.
Nearly one-third of the bill’s sponsors are from Florida, one of the most pivotal States in national elections and a State where the vote of citizens of Puerto Rican origin can swing elections between the national parties. Polling suggests that Puerto Ricans in Florida favor statehood over territory status or nationhood in an even higher percentage than Puerto Ricans who have remained in the islands.
National Republican leaders also recognize that their party will continue to lose national elections unless it demonstrates its openness to citizens of Hispanic origin.  People born in Puerto Rico are U.S. citizens and the vast majority are Hispanic.
There are 3.7 million residents of the islands and 4.6 million people of Puerto Rican origin in the States.
The bill would require the president of the United States to submit legislation to enable Puerto Rico to become a State after a phase in of equal treatment in Federal tax and program laws if Puerto Ricans confirm their desire for statehood in a referendum. It would also commit the Congress to pass such a bill.
Puerto Rico is treated as a State under most Federal laws but is treated differently under major tax and social benefits laws. Puerto Rico’s economy and most Puerto Ricans lose more than is gained from the different treatment under the islands’ current territory status. The Federal treasury also loses revenue from multinational corporations and very wealthy individuals.
The bill follows legislation submitted to the Congress last month by the Obama Administration that would also provide for a vote in Puerto Rico to confirm last November’s self-determination decision. Under the U.S. Justice Department proposal, the Federal government would provide $2.5 million for a plebiscite on options proposed by Puerto Rico’s Elections Commission found by the U.S. attorney general to not conflict with the Constitution, laws, and policies of the U.S.
The House bill is compatible with the Obama proposal because the White House-initiated plebiscite can be on any of Puerto Rico’s real status options — including just one, such as statehood.
The Obama proposal requires that Puerto Rico plebiscite options not conflict with U.S. law and policy because Puerto Rico’s “commonwealth” party, which calls the current status “commonwealth”, misleads people by saying that the current status is not a territory status and has proposed a new “commonwealth status” that is impossible for constitutional and other reasons.
President Obama’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status, like the Administrations of both President Bush and President Clinton, has said that Puerto Rico would be subject to congressional territory governing powers under any “commonwealth” arrangement.
Among the problems with the “commonwealth” party’s proposed new “commonwealth status” are that it would have the Federal government permanently cede to Puerto Rico the powers to determine the application of Federal laws and court jurisdiction and empower the islands to enter into international agreements that require a jurisdiction to be a sovereign nation.  It would at the same time provide Puerto Rico with even more U.S. territory economic benefits than at present.
Congressional committees and leaders of both parties have agreed with the Democratic and Republican administrations on Puerto Rico’s territory status and the unconstitutionality and generalimpossibility of the proposed new “commonwealth status.”
The Federal proposals for votes to confirm the self-determination aspirations of Puerto Ricans are being made because the “commonwealth” party governor and legislative majority elected to office at the time of the plebiscite dispute the plebiscite and its results. President Obama’s spokesman, however, congratulated Puerto Ricans on the plebiscite and recognized the choice of statehood as the alternative to temporary territory status. The U.S. House bill recalls the plebiscite results in detail.
White House staff and U.S. House members feel that the opposition of Puerto Rico’s new governor and legislature majority would block ultimate congressional action based on the plebiscite results so they decided that another vote in Puerto Rico on the issue is needed but under Federal auspices so that ‘commonwealthers’ cannot be given any credibility in disputing the plebiscite or the results.
The Obama and U.S. House legislative proposals fly in the face of efforts of the new governor and legislative majority to portray the results of the plebiscite as different from the official results, which were determined by the Puerto Rico Elections Commission with the support of its “commonwealth party representative. The governor and his legislature allies contend that the status option they urged votes for, the current territory status, was rejected by 51.7% instead of 54%, and that statehood won 44.4% of the vote instead of 61.2%.
They argue that Commission should have included ‘votes’ not cast in the percentage and number results, contrary to the law for the plebiscite, Puerto Rico election law, and general election practice.
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New York Design Week 2013: the highlights -

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New York Design Week 2013: the highlights
The Merchant's House Museum, the only family home from the 19th Century preserved in tact inNew York City, was a unique backdrop to contemporary works from a selection of up-and-coming designers. Here, a collection of lights by Noah Spencer of art ...

First on CNN: Bill Clinton's $106 million speech circuit windfall - CNN (blog)

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First on CNN: Bill Clinton's $106 million speech circuit windfall
CNN (blog)
"There are a whole lot of motivational speakers, pundits, journalists, athletes, and film-makers giving speeches, but not a lot of former presidents and former secretaries of state who were also first lady," said Amy Walter, national editor of the Cook ...

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#Obama nominates Latina to federal personnel agency. Read: #c... 

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#Obama nominates Latina to federal personnel agency. Read: #caribbeanbusiness

Median #CEO pay up to $9.7M in 2012. Read: #caribbeanbusiness 

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Median #CEO pay up to $9.7M in 2012. Read: #caribbeanbusiness

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