Friday, December 19, 2014

Citigroup to Move Headquarters to U.S. Capitol Building

U.S. Capitol building. (photo:  Wikimedia Commons)
U.S. Capitol building. (photo: Wikimedia Commons)
By Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker
14 December 14
The article below is satire. Andy Borowitz is an American comedian and New York Times-bestselling author who satirizes the news for his column, "The Borowitz Report."
he banking giant Citigroup announced on Friday that it would move its headquarters from New York to the U.S. Capitol Building, in Washington, D.C., in early 2015.
Tracy Klugian, a spokesperson for Citi, said that the company had leased thirty thousand square feet of prime real estate on the floor of the House of Representatives and would be interviewing “world-class architects” to redesign the space to suit its needs.
According to sources, Citi successfully outbid other firms, including JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, for the right to move its headquarters to the House floor.
The Citi spokesperson acknowledged that the extensive makeover of the House is expected to cost “in the millions,” but added, “It’s always expensive to open a new branch.”
Explaining the rationale behind the move, Klugian told reporters, “Instead of constantly flying out from New York to give members of Congress their marching orders, Citigroup executives can be right on the floor with them, handing them legislation and telling them how to vote. This is going to result in tremendous cost savings going forward.”
Klugian said that Citi’s chairman, Michael E. O’Neill, will not occupy a corner office on the House floor, preferring instead an “open plan” that will allow him to mingle freely with members of Congress.
“He doesn’t want to come off like he’s their boss,” the spokesperson said. “Basically, he wants to send the message, ‘We’re all on the same team. Let’s roll up our sleeves and get stuff done.’ ”

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Puerto Rican Leaders Applaud Obama's Decision on Cuba

De Blasio with Puerto Rico’s Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla in Old San Juan. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

San Juan, Dec 17 (Prensa Latina) Puerto Rican governor, Alejandro Garcia applauded today the decision of United States President Barack Obama, to re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba.
In this regard, Garcia warned that Puerto Rico should be 'increasingly ready" due to the competition that will generate the change in the economic arena.

"I firstly congratulated President Obama as he again made us look well', he said.

The announcement of the re-establishment of the diplomatic relations in Washington by the US leader was in parallel with the one made in Havana by Cuban President Raul Castro, however it does not include the end of the economic blockade imposed on Cuba in 1962.

On the same line, the president of the Puerto Rican Independence Party, Ruben Berrios, considered the announce marks the beginning of the end of arrogance and aggression against the island.

"This is the beginning of the end of a policy of arrogance and aggression against Cuba, which will have far reaching consequences in Latin America and the Caribbean", he stated.

"Now it is needed the rectification in relation to Puerto Rico', he added.

He pointed out that isolation did not work with Cuba just as colonialism does not work in Puerto Rico.

Obama has reworked his government's position because the U.S. position on Cuba -always contrary to the interests of Cuba - is also contrary to the interests of the United States.

Top News

Papal Appeal and Spy Exchange Said to Be Key to Deal

The negotiations to free Alan P. Gross, an American aid worker, and reopen U.S. ties with Cuba took a year and a half, in nine meetings held in Canada and the Vatican.

Cuba Deal Leaves Only North Korea as Cold War Vestige

Monday, December 15, 2014

UN Honoring Struggle Against Transatlantic Slave Trade

On Wednesday December 10 the UN hosted a pledging luncheon of member states and other invited guests. The purpose was to try to close the gap in funding to construct a memorial that was chosen in a competition to honor the victims of slavery, of the transatlantic slave trade. The memorial will be constructed on UN grounds.
According to Fanny Langella, the Deputy Spokesperson for the President of the General Assembly, “the total cost for the memorial will be $1.7 million. The funding gap at the time the luncheon was held, was about $500,000. The provisional figure for the amount raised at the luncheon was about $430,000, to be confirmed when the payments do come in.”
In his welcome to guests at the luncheon, Jan Eliasson, the UN Deputy Secretary General, explained that not only would the memorial raise awareness of the historic injustices like the transatlantic slave trade, but it would also honor “the slaves, the abolitionists, the unsung heroes who fought to end this oppression. It will promote recognition of the contributions that slaves and their descendants have made to their societies. And it will remind us that people of African descent, and victims of slavery across the world, continue to struggle under this legacy. And there is still a lot of work to be done.”
The competition received 310 entries from 83 countries. UNESCO shortlisted sixteen entries. From the semi-final entries, there were seven finalists.
Of the seven finalists in the competition, Rodney Leon’s design, “The Ark of Return” was selected as the the winning design. Leon is of Haitian descent. Eliasson commended the winning design explaining that, “It reminds us that in order to heal and make progress, we must acknowledge and understand the past. We must draw the consequences, and the conclusions from this understanding.”
Eliasson then noted that in his office there is a photograph of Martin Luther King, Jr. This photograph, Eliasson said, “was given to me by a person who was there in Selma, Alabama, at the march in 1965.” Eliasson described how Martin Luther King was in the front line of marchers, and behind him in the photograph were some flags, one of which was the flag of the United States and another flag, the flag of the UN. For Eliasson the presence of the UN flag in this demonstration symbolized the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was proclaimed 66 years ago at the UN, on the same date, December 10, as this luncheon event.
The winning design prominently features the words “Lest We Forget”.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

De Blasio wants to revamp the art collection at City Hall

Move over, George Washington!
Mayor de Blasio wants to revamp the art collection at City Hall to spice up the mostly vanilla collection of portraits of historically prominent white men.
“The Mayor and First Lady believe the art at City Hall should reflect the vibrant diversity of New York City, and discussions on how to update the building’s collection to celebrate that diversity are underway,” Mayoral spokeswoman Marti Adams said Friday.
City Hall has an extensive collection of portraits by renowned artists such as Charles Wesley Jarvis, John Trumbull and John Vanderlyn.
There are portraits of past presidents, former mayors, military heros and others who had a significant connection to New York City.
The announcement angered art historians who said the move was a calculated politically correct move that would destroy an irreplaceable collection.
“You do not dismantle a major historical collection or remove it from the walls because it doesn’t appeal to your particular sense of taste or your particular idea of the city now!” fumed Michele Bogart, a former vice president of the Public Design Commission, which oversees the City Hall portrait collection.
“It’s an absolute disgrace to take the efforts of staff of the previous administration and basically spit on them.”

It’s an absolute disgrace to take the efforts of staff of the previous administration and basically spit on them.
 - Michele Bogart, former Public Design Commission VP

Discussions are underway for what will be a long-term project and no decisions have been made about what art would be removed and what art brought in, city hall officials said. This isn’t the first time City Hall’s monotone portrait collection has stirred up drama.
Then-incoming City Councilman Charles Barron said in 2001 that he wanted to toss out the Thomas Jefferson portrait and replace it with a bust of Malcolm X, calling the third president “a pedophile” who had a sexual relationship with his young slave Sally Hemings.
Barron also said at the time that he would seek legislation to line City Hall’s walls with portraits of black and Hispanic leaders – and reportedly even gave the incoming speaker a hammer and nails so he could hang portraits of the “brothers and sisters.”
Mayor Bloomberg liked the portraits just the way they are – a non-profit organization he founded raised $1.7 million to restore and conserve the collection of paintings in 2008.
Several portraits have already been taken down and stored as part of recent renovations, city officials said

Cheney Calls for International Ban on Torture Reports

(photo: unknown)
(photo: unknown)

By Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker
12 December 14

The article below is satire. Andy Borowitz is an American comedian and New York Times-bestselling author who satirizes the news for his column, "The Borowitz Report."
ormer Vice-President Dick Cheney on Tuesday called upon the nations of the world to “once and for all ban the despicable and heinous practice of publishing torture reports.”
“Like many Americans, I was shocked and disgusted by the Senate Intelligence Committee’s publication of a torture report today,” Cheney said in a prepared statement. “The transparency and honesty found in this report represent a gross violation of our nation’s values.”
“The publication of torture reports is a crime against all of us,” he added. “Not just those of us who have tortured in the past, but every one of us who might want to torture in the future.”
Saying that the Senate’s “horrifying publication” had inspired him to act, he vowed, “As long as I have air to breathe, I will do everything in my power to wipe out the scourge of torture reports from the face of the Earth.”
Cheney concluded his statement by calling for an international conference on the issue of torture reports. “I ask all the great nations of the world to stand up, expose the horrible practice of publishing torture reports, and say, ‘This is not who we are,’ ” Cheney said.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Sly Wink at de Blasio Makes Cover of Vanity Fair


The January 2015 cover of Vanity Fair shows Bradley Cooper with billiard balls. The headline on the ball at far left seems, with a little imagination, to allude to the mayor.
Tucked into the corner of the current cover of Vanity Fair, which features a photograph of Bradley Cooper playing pool, is a billiard ball with a partially visible, Esperanto-like headline: “ill lasio ex ape!”
The phrase, cut off at the left edge of the page, reads as nonsense. But readers with a little imagination — particularly readers in New York — might be forgiven for mentally filling in the blanks. Add a few missing letters, et voilà:
Bill de Blasio Sex Tape!”


Juan Flores, a leading theorist of Latin American studies and a pioneer in the field of “Nuyorican” culture, the arts and language of Puerto Ricans in New York who toggle culturally between the city and the Caribbean island, died on Dec. 2 in Durham, N.C. He was 71.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Mexico: Bodies Of Missing Students Abducted By Police Were Burned

Posted: Updated:

A bone fragment belonging missing student Alexander Mora is displayed on a television screen during a press conference by Mexico's Attorney General, Jesus Murillo Karam in Mexico City, Wednesday Dec. 7, 2014. Attorney General Murillo Karam confirmed Sunday that one of the college students missing since September, has been identified among charred remains found several weeks ago near a garbage dump. He said the student is Alexander Mora, based on material extracted from the bone fragment and anal
(Reuters) - Mexican authorities on Sunday said that mounting evidence and initial DNA tests confirmed that 43 trainee teachers who were abducted by corrupt police 10 weeks ago were incinerated at a garbage dump by drug gang members.
Attorney General Jesus Murillo told reporters that one of the students had been identified by experts in Austria from a bone fragment in a bag of ash and bits of burned tire found in a river where drug gang members said they tossed the students remains.
"This scientific proof confirms that the remains found at the scene coincide with the evidence of the investigation," Murillo said. "We will continue with the probe until all the guilty have been arrested."
President Enrique Pena Nieto is facing his deepest crisis over his government's handling of the probe. The case laid bare Mexico's deep problem of impunity and corruption and it has overshadowed Pena Nieto's efforts to focus on economic reforms.
One month ago, Murillo said that drug gang members had confessed to murdering the students and burning their bodies in a pyre of tires at an isolated dump.
But parents of the missing students have refused to accept the government's version and at a demonstration in Mexico City on Saturday night they said they would continue to demand more answers even after they had heard word of the DNA test results.
The apparent massacre has spurred widespread and sometimes violent protests throughout Mexico. Federal authorities waited 10 days after the students disappearance to intervene in the case, insisting it was a local matter.
Murillo said that 80 people have been detained in the probe, including the mayor of Iguala and his wife who are accused of ordering the police to get rid of the students from a radical left-wing college after they staged a demonstration in his town. Murillo promised more arrests, including 16 fugitive policemen.
During the search for the students in the state of Guerrero, dozens more bodies were discovered in mass graves. More than 100,000 people have been killed in Mexico in gang-related violence since 2007.
"There is a lot of rage, but it is not just this case," said political science student Jimena Rodriguez at the Saturday night march. "There are so many missing, and they do not have the least interest in really investigating."
(Reporting by Michael O'Boyle; Editing by Chris Reese)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

In TV Interview, De Blasio Remains Careful Not to Take Sides in Garner Case

When Mayor Bill de Blasio, shown Wednesday, was asked on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday if the outcome of the Eric Garner case had been just, he said, “I make it a point not to talk about any element of judicial process per se.” Credit Richard Perry/The New York Times
When asked on ABC’s “This Week” if the grand jury made the right decision not to indict the officer in the death of Eric Garner, Mayor Bill de Blasio wouldn’t say.