BUENOS AIRES - Among the many tales, there is one in particular that stands out in the drug kingpin´s biography, sounding much more like urban legend than harsh reality: It was in early 1982, and his oldest son had been arrested by agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Having tried everything he could to have his son freed, the father decided to send a letter directly to the President of the United States, Ronald Reagan. In the letter, he promised, in exchange for his son’s liberty, to pay off Bolivia’s entire foreign debt: $3.8 billion.
Comments: Bolivian marching powder, it´s still out there.
Bureaucracy: In his interview last week with NBC News, President Obama tacitly admitted that the government that he has put in charge of the nation´s health care system is virtually incapable of handling it. ´It is so bureaucratic and so cumbersome that a whole bunch of it doesn´t work or it ends up being way over cost." No, that wasn´t some hard-core Tea Party lawmaker calling for a radical downsizing of the federal government. That was Obama attempting to explain how it is that his administration could fail to build a working website despite spending 3-1/2 years and hundreds of millions of
Looters: Venezuelan troops storm a local electronics retailer in the name of enforcing "fair prices," brazenly blaming the private sector for state policies. Sounds familiar — and not just because it´s a communist takeover. With municipal elections just around the corner on Dec. 8, it´s no surprise to see Venezuela´s failing socialist government turning to pork-barrel handouts to lure voters — as it always has. Shovel the goodies to the red-shirted low-information voters and gain just enough votes in upcoming elections to claim a dictatorship is really a democracy. Not coincidentally, President Nicolas Maduro declared that Venezuela would celebrate the beginning of Christmas
The son of Suriname´s president has been charged by the United States with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. Dino Bouterse was allegedly paid millions of dollars to provide a base and weapons for Hezbollah fighters. The Shia militants were planning attacks on the US and the Netherlands, Suriname´s former colonial ruler, US prosecutors say. The son of President Desi Bouterse was extradited from Panama in August. He had already been charged with trying to smuggle cocaine and weapons into the United States. Mr Bouterse could be sentenced to life in jail for the drugs and
PARIS - When Iran appeared close to a preliminary deal with world powers over its nuclear program, France stepped up to say: Not so fast - a surprise move that exposed divisions among the United States and other Western negotiators who had long been in lockstep on the issue. France, analysts say, was motivated by factors including its tough stand against the spread of nuclear weapons, skepticism about Tehran´s trustworthiness, and the longstanding French tradition of speaking out on the world stage. Critics faulted France for alleged grandstanding and seeking closer ties with Iran´s foes. After the Geneva talks ended early Sunday
SINGAPORE - Singapore´s government has blocked access to the popular adultery website Ashley Madison amid a public outcry ahead of the company´s planned launch of a portal for the city-state. The Media Development Authority, which regulates the Internet, said in a statement late Friday that it has blocked access to the Canada-based website because it is in "flagrant disregard of our family values and public morality." "We will therefore not allow Ashley Madison to operate in Singapore and have worked with Internet service providers to block access to the site," the statement said. AshleyMadison.com started in Canada in 2001. With the slogan "Life
Socialism: As the U.S. fixates on ObamaCare, south of our border another "free and universal" health care system is collapsing, according to a report from the Associated Press. It´s an uneasy portent. The idea of free, universal health care has always seemed like a perfect solution. At least that was the thinking behind Venezuela´s constitutionally enshrined "right" to free health care since 1999, winning the late President Hugo Chavez a lot of elections and seeming to be the logic behind ObamaCare. But post-Chavez, Venezuela´s health care system is a shambles. Massive shortages of basic supplies plague both public and private hospitals. Everything
Venezuela´s consumer prices rose 5.1% in October, pushing the 12-month inflation rate to 54.3%, the highest mark since the late President Hugo Chávez took power in 1999. The news was released by the central bank on Thursday which also revealed that the scarcity index had reached its highest level since 2009. Hyperinflation is attributed to two main factors: one is ramped-up public spending from President Nicolás Maduro, Chávez´s successor. The central bank said the country´s money supply grew 70% in the past 12 months, much of it to underwrite a big increase in government spending.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro stated on Thursday a comprehensive air defense system will be installed in key points of the country´s mountains," including the slums in Greater Caracas and the whole country." The goal, said Maduro, is to "prevent any enemy, foreign, and imperialist military aircraft from entering the city. It is about securing life peacefully."
MANILA: The world’s most powerful typhoon this year gained strength on Thursday as it swirled towards the Philippines, forcing mass evacuations across a vast swathe of the disaster-weary nation. Authorities warned more than 12 million people were at risk from Typhoon Haiyan, which was generating wind gusts exceeding 330 kilometres (200 miles) an hour and set to hit on Friday morning. “This is a very dangerous typhoon, local officials know where the vulnerable areas are and have given instructions on evacuations,” state weather forecaster Glaiza Escullar told AFP. “There are not too
Politics: The Senate voted Monday to move forward with the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) in a misguided effort to ensure gay rights in the workplace. All it will do is heap chaos — and costs — on business. With everything from health care to immigration a non-starter in Washington, it´s no surprise that Democrats are now scraping bottom with a badly designed law intended to end supposed widespread job discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders and others known as "questioning." But there´s no pressing need for such legislation, given the existing protections of the Civil Rights Act as well as the truly
Brazil’s intelligence agency monitored French spies it suspected of involvement in the 2003 explosion at a satellite launch base, the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper said Tuesday, and though it was finally determined they played no role. The newspaper said it had obtained documents from the Brazilian Intelligence Agency that showed its agents had tracked French spies near the Alcantara Rocket Launch Center in the northeastern state of Maranhao a year before the blast. When the explosion occurred, killing 21 engineers and technicians, suspicion fell on the French. Citing unnamed sources, the newspaper said the agency known as ABIN carried out
BEIJING - Chinese authorities investigating what could be Beijing´s first major suicide attack searched on Tuesday for two men from Muslim-dominated Xinjiang after three people suspected to be from the restive region drove an SUV into a crowd at Tiananmen Square and set it on fire. They killed themselves and two tourists on Monday in the square, the heart of China´s power structure and the focal point of the mass 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations brutally crushed the military. Police have spread a dragnet across the capital, checking hotels and vehicles, seeking two people suspected to be ethnic Uighurs, a Muslim minority from Xinjiang
It’s sad that Maverick’s taking this idea just seriously enough that he’d think to mention it to another human being. He’s 77 years old, ran a famously chaotic campaign in 2008 before getting crushed on election day, and would face a much stronger, younger field in the primaries than he did last time. That he forced me just now to devote even half a second of thought to how he might stack up against the 2016 contenders is frankly embarrassing, and something for which I’ll never forgive him. It’s like watching a 60-year-old pitcher announce that he’s thinking of coming
Washington: A woman, who claims to have been a classmate of Barack Obama, said that the president was gay and used cocaine in school. In a bizarre interview, Mia Marie Pope told right-wing preacher James David Manning that she believes Obama was not only active within the gay community, but also a heavy cocaine user during his years in Hawaii. Pope said that Obama always portrayed himself as a foreign student, adding that girls were never anything that he ever was interested in, but he would get along with older white gay men. She added that Obama at that time was also
James O’Keefe, the guerrilla videographer who helped bring down ACORN (the “community organizing” group that Barack Obama worked for as a lawyer and trainer) and got NPR’s president fired, is back. This time, his undercover investigators focused on Obamacare’s “navigators,” the nearly 50,000 people who, in the words of the Department of Health and Human Services, “will serve as an in-person resource for Americans who want additional assistance in shopping for and enrolling in plans” on the Obamacare exchanges (at least when they’re finally working). The total value of grants doled out for nonprofits and community organizations to hire navigators
Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) will ask two oversight agencies for a full-blown investigation into the problems surrounding the ObamaCare launch. Hagan, who is up for reelection in 2014, is asking her Senate colleagues to co-sign a letter asking two agencies to conduct “a complete, thorough investigation to determine the causes of the design and implementation failures of HealthCare.Gov.” “These problems are simply unacceptable, and Americans deserve answers and swift solutions,” Hagan writes in a letter obtained by The Hill. “Taxpayers are owed a full and transparent accounting of how the vendors contracted to build the site failed to launch it
WASHINGTON — When President Obama travels abroad, his staff packs briefing books, gifts for foreign leaders and something more closely associated with camping than diplomacy: a tent. Even when Mr. Obama travels to allied nations, aides quickly set up the security tent — which has opaque sides and noise-making devices inside — in a room near his hotel suite. When the president needs to read a classified document or have a sensitive conversation, he ducks into the tent to shield himself from secret video cameras and listening devices. American security officials demand that their bosses — not just the president, but
Fourteen years ago, I was asked to be a keynote speaker at the Richmond County Women´s Republican Club annual dinner. I had started my column at the Staten Island Advance the year before, and as an Hispanic who had grown up in Spanish Harlem, many Republicans were surprised that I was a conservative. It was my first speaking engagement and one I accepted reluctantly, but I felt that it was an opportunity to offer some advice to the Republican Party about winning over the voters in the barrios and the inner city.
Swampscott, Massachusetts Selectman Barry Greenfield is pushing a measure to give police the authority to conduct home searches to check proper storage of firearms. Greenfield said "state law requires Massachusetts gun owners to keep their firearms locked away or rendered inoperable." There are "600 registered gun owners in [Swampscott]," and the selectman wants police to be able to drop in unannounced, enter the homes of each gun owner, and verify compliance. According to the Swampscott Patch, Greenfield has spoken with Swampscott Police Chief Ron Madigan about this issue, and has spoken with other selectmen. At least one of the selectmen-
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) said he has no plans to run again for the White House. Speaking to the Arizona Republic, McCain said he had received "a spate of e-mails and letters and phone calls" urging him to run since the government shutdown. But he said he´s focused on whether to run for a sixth term in the Senate, not for president. “As you know, I’m seriously thinking about running for re-election to the Senate," he said. "But I think, in the words of the late Morris K. Udall, as far as my presidential ambitions are concerned, ‘The people have spoken —
Veterans, we think about you all the time. Sometimes we fail to tell you. Today, on Veteran’s Day, we put our admiration for you into words. World War II, Korean and Vietnam Veterans. We will start with you. You fought for our freedom. You watched your closest friends fall by your side and you were heartbroken, knowing it could have been you. You shoulder the burden of painful and haunting memories. Many of you have physical wounds; you sacrificed your warrior’s body for us, people you never met. You use a cane or a wheelchair now because of your choice
Perhaps the most entertaining facet of watching the scales fall from liberal´s eyes about Obamacare is the absolute shock they experience when their liberal friends chastise them for complaining. Lori Gottlieb, a contributing editor for The Atlantic and a psychotherapist, writes in the NY Times about her conversation with Blue Anthem insurance and the reaction by her "friends" on Facebook when she posted about it: THE Anthem Blue Cross representative who answered my call told me that there was a silver lining in the cancellation of my individual P.P.O. policy and the $5,400 annual increase that I would have to
We were just asking for it. This is, essentially, what Century Foundation fellow Michael Cohen took to the pages of the New York Daily News on Monday to say. In a profound scolding, Cohen diagnoses America’s “immaturity” as demonstrated by the backlash against President Barack Obama over to his oft-repeated and false claim that every American who was happy with their health insurance would be able to keep their health insurance. This was never true. The president and his staff were aware this was not true as early as February, 2010. Some media outlets reported that, for millions of Americans,
Bernard Goldberg joined Bill O’Reilly Monday night to address what he believes is a “potentially fatal split” in the Republican party’s immediate future. He said that if the tea party keeps rejecting anyone who isn’t basically Ted Cruz for the 2016 presidential nomination, the party’s going to be in some big trouble and invite in a strong Democratic victory. O’Reilly framed the fight as a “classic moderate Republican versus hard-right Republican” feud, and Goldberg rejected the “ideological rigidity” of people who will sit on their hands and refuse to vote for a Republican presidential nominee if they aren’t sufficiently conservative