Monthly Archives: December 2017

MAPAS: La ola gélida será más intensa hacia el fin de semana

La alerta de frío en los Estados Unidos está activa en entidades de las zonas Centro y Este, donde ya se registran temperaturas de hasta -35 grados Farenheit (-37 grados centígrados).

Las peores temperaturas se sentirán hacia el fin de semana, particularmente el domingo, según reportes del NOAA.

Un reporte del Weather Channel indica que esta mañana, por ejemplo, Albany registra -1 grados Farenheit, Bismarck -23, Sioux Falls -15,, Internatl Falls -35 y Chicago -3, Indianapolis -3, por ejemplo.

En Pensilvania ya se registró la mayor nevada en varios años, con más de 53 pulgadas de nieve acumuladas en 30 horas en Erie.

 

(Por EFE) El organismo denuncia que, en este año, los ataques contra los menores se dispararon; asimismo, sufren reclutamiento forzado, violencia sexual y mutilaciones, además de ser usados como escudos humanos.

Los actuales conflictos armados en distintas partes del mundo afectan de manera desmedida a los niños que no sólo mueren y son heridos en los combates, sino que además sufren reclutamiento forzado, violencia sexual, mutilación y son usados como escudos humanos, denunció hoy Unicef.

Los niños han sido víctimas en 2017 de ataques “a una escala espantosa por el desprecio total de las normas internacionales que protegen a los más débiles”, subrayó el organismo de la ONU a cargo de la protección de la infancia al hacer balance del año.

Los menores son víctimas de grupos armados rebeldes, de prácticas ilegales de ciertos ejércitos, de grupos terroristas y de las minas y artefactos explosivos sin estallar que todos estos dejan a su paso, como ocurre en Siria, Ucrania y otros escenarios de guerra.

De acuerdo a los datos recopilados por Unicef este año, 700 niños fueron asesinados en el conflicto de Afganistán en los primeros nueve meses del año, mientras que en Iraq y Siria fueron regularmente utilizados como escudos humanos, víctimas de asedio armado, blanco de francotiradores, además de los años que ya viven en medio de la violencia y bajo bombardeos.

En Yemen, los datos que han podido ser verificados indican que cinco mil niños han muertos o sido heridos en los mil días del conflicto armado entre una coalición militar dirigida por Arabia Saudí y los rebeldes de la comunidad chíi de los hutíes.

Sin embargo, se teme que la verdadera cifra de menores yemeníes afectados sea mucho más alta.

El conflicto en Yemen ha causado una grave crisis alimentaria, que hace que 1.8 millones de niños se encuentren malnutridos, de los que cerca de 400 mil están gravemente desnutridos y deben recibir tratamiento si se quiere que sobrevivan.

En Birmania, los niños de la minoría musulmana rohinyá han sufrido en los últimos meses violencia generalizada y han sido testigos de la destrucción de sus aldeas, por lo que fueron forzados a abandonar sus comunidades y desplazarse, la mayoría hacia campamentos de refugiados en Bangladesh.

Unicef considera que en zonas remotas del estado noroccidental de Rakáin, donde históricamente han estado instalados los rohinyá, los niños siguen sufriendo de las tensiones que persisten entre el Ejército birmano y grupos armados formados sobre bases étnicas.

En África, la extensión del conflicto interno en República Democrática del Congo (RDC) a la región central de las Kasai ha causado el desplazamiento forzado de 850 mil niños, que además están afectados por la destrucción de 400 escuelas y 200 centros de salud.

En esta área de la RDC, que hasta ahora no había sufrido del impacto del prolongado conflicto interno que había afectado hasta ahora sobre todo el este del país, 350 mil padecen de desnutrición severa.

En el noreste de Nigeria y en Camerún, el grupo yihadista Boko Haram obligó este año a, por lo menos, 135 niños a efectuar atentados suicidas, cinco veces más que el año pasado.

En Sudán del Sur, donde el conflicto interno y el consiguiente derrumbe de la economía han llevado a una situación de hambruna en varias partes del país, más de 19 mil niños han sido reclutados por la fuerza para participar en los combates y más de dos mil 300 han resultado muertos desde que los combates empezaron hace cuatro años.

En Europa, concretamente en el este de Ucrania, 220 mil niños viven bajo la permanente amenaza de las minas antipersonales y de los dispositivos explosivos abandonados en cualquier parte y con los que muchas veces los niños tropiezan o simplemente recogen como si se tratase de un juguete.

Frente a esta situación alarmante, Unicef pidió a los países que usen su influencia para que las partes combatientes en los conflictos cumplan con respetar y proteger a los niños, así como la infraestructura básicas para sus vidas.

 

For most of us, the holiday season is now behind us. However, for many in the Christian Community the celebration continues. They consider January 6th Three Kings Day an even bigger celebration than Christmas Day.

On Saturday, January 6, 2017 at The Pucho Olivencia Center in Buffalo, The President of the Pucho Olivencia center Wilmer Olivencia and board members will team up with Mayor Byron Brown, County legislator Barbara Miller-Williams, Senator Tim Kennedy and Council Majority leader David Rivera to continue the Christian tradition of Three Kings Day. Wilmer Olivencia, President of the Pucho Board and one of the organizers said: Our Three Kings celebration is getting bigger and better every year, helping hundreds of kids and their families every year with gifts, and that’s what this event is all about, to show the spirit of our community”

Over five hundred children will attended the event, which will began with a light meal, entertainment and gifts for all the children.

For many Christians, the holiday season doesn’t officially end until the 12th day of Christmas known as the “Feast of the Epiphany” or “Three Kings’ Day”.

The holiday marks the biblical adoration of baby Jesus by the three Kings, also referred to as three Wise Men or Magi. According to the Gospel of Matthew, the men found the divine child by following a star across the desert for twelve days to Bethlehem. Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar — representing Europe, Arabia, and Africa respectively — travelled by horse, camel, and elephant in order to present baby Jesus with three symbolic gifts.

The gold offered by one of the wise men is a symbolic acknowledgment of Jesus’ royal standing as “King of the Jews,” while the frankincense manifests the divine nature of the baby’s existence, since he is not an earthly king but the Son of God. And finally the myrrh, often used to embalm corpses, was gifted to the newborn as a symbol of Jesus’ mortality — foreshadowing his death as a means to cleanse humanity of its sins.

Reyes festivities come in different shapes and sizes across the globe from community parades to three-day celebrations at Disneyland. In Puerto Rico, Mexico and many Spanish speaking countries, thousands gather every year to taste a mile-long “Rosca de Reyes” (Kings’ Bread) while others simply make the holiday staple at home honoring the tradition to hide a baby Jesus figurine within the bread — the person whose slice has the figurine must prepare a fest for everyone on the Day of the Candles on Feb. 2!

Sponsors of the Event included:

M&M U PULL IT

The Puerto Rican and Hispanic Day Parade

The Belle Center

Mayor Byron W. Brown

Rosado Distributors

Assest Protective Services

La Kueva Restaurant

Wise Guy Pizza

Buffalo  PAL

African American Cultural  Center

Majority Leaders David Rivera

The Holiday Partnership – Toys for Tots

Ellen and Andy Garcia

Key Bank 


 

 

 

    (Por EFE)  El ex presidente gana por décimo año consecutivo la encuesta, y se impone a su sucesor Donald Trump.

    El ex presidente de Estados Unidos Barack Obama consiguió ganar por décimo año consecutivo la condición de “hombre más admirado” por los estadounidenses, al imponerse en esta ocasión al actual mandatario, Donald Trump, que terminó segundo, según ese sondeo anual publicado por Gallup.

    Un 17 % de los encuestados se decantó por el primer presidente negro en la historia del país, lo que conllevó que se llevara este título por décimo curso seguido, aunque perdió cinco puntos porcentuales respecto a 2016, su último año en la Casa Blanca.

    Según informó Gallup en un comunicado, Trump se quedó a tres puntos de Obama en la encuesta que cada año pregunta a los estadounidenses quiénes son hombres y las mujeres más admirados para ellos.

    En tercera posición, aunque alejado, quedó el Papa Francisco, por delante del reverendo Billy Graham, el senador republicano y ex candidato presidencial John McCain o el director ejecutivo de la compañía de automóviles Tesla, Elon Musk, entre otros.

    En la clasificación de mujeres, la ganadora fue por decimosexta vez consecutiva Hillary Clinton, quien ha logrado ese reconocimiento en 22 ocasiones, con el apoyo del nueve por ciento de los entrevistados.

    La que fuera rival de Trump en las elecciones presidenciales de 2016 por el Partido Demócrata logró, no obstante, la puntuación más baja desde 2002, y apenas logró una ventaja de dos puntos respecto a la ex primera dama estadounidense Michelle Obama.

    En el ránking también entraron destacados personajes de la esfera internacional como la canciller alemana, Angela Merkel, o la actual primera dama de Estados Unidos, Melania Trump.

    El sondeo, que se elabora anualmente desde 1946 -salvo en 1976-, es resultado de mil 049 entrevistas telefónicas realizadas entre los días 4 y 11 de diciembre a estadounidenses mayores de edad, y tiene un margen de error de cuatro puntos porcentuales.

     

      (By: AP) While social media companies like Twitter and Facebook are under fire for their role in aiding and abetting propaganda during the 2016 election, a television broadcast company – Sinclair Broadcast Group – and its local affiliates are getting an unwarranted pass. And that could have a profound impact on public understanding and opinion.

      According to the Pew Research Center, more American adults report getting their news from television than anywhere else, including social media. Sinclair, the owner of Rochester’s WHAM 13, is the largest local TV operator in the US and owns 193 local stations in 89 markets. A proposed merger with Tribune Media would bring Sinclair’s reach to 72 percent of US households and 39 of the top 50 media markets, including Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York City.

      Not only does the merger prime concerns that consumers will be exposed to less media variety, but it’s particularly disconcerting because for years Sinclair has regularly forced its station affiliates to run conservatively biased news and commentaries within local newscasts.

      Rochester’s top-rated WHAM Channel 13 and WUTV in Buffalo is no exception. The presence of long-serving, respected anchors like Don Alhart and Ginny Ryan masks a significant, corporate-mandated editorial shift to the right.

      WHAM 13 and WUTV 29 became a Sinclair affiliate in 2012 and immediately began airing Sinclair’s must-run content.

      In interviews with over half a dozen current and former journalists who have worked or currently work at each of Rochester’s and Buffalo local TV broadcast stations, we heard expressions of concern, and sometimes anger, that Sinclair’s content is misleading audiences in Rochester and harming the practice of journalism in general by pursuing partisanship over objectivity.

      One reporter at a non-Sinclair station said he would refuse a position at a Sinclair station, even if the job was more prominent.

      “Thanks, but no thanks,” he said. “It’s your integrity, and you have to be able to sleep at night.”

      Chuck Samuels, the general manager at WHAM, agrees that local Sinclair producers don’t have a say over every story that runs in local newscasts. But he is adamant that Sinclair ownership does not influence locally produced news.

      “Never once has any company told us how to cover or spin local news,” he says. “If it comes to it, I may not be here any longer. But I don’t see that happening.”

      Most critiques of Sinclair have surfaced in national media, perhaps because local Sinclair employees don’t want to bad-mouth their employer and colleagues at other stations don’t want to malign their Sinclair colleagues.

      Perhaps the most prominent critique nationally and, inadvertently, locally in Buffalo and Rochester, came during a July 2 segment on HBO’s “This Week Tonight with John Oliver.”

      The piece featured a mash-up of different anchors across the country reading the same introduction to a news story about Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security advisor.

      In the segment, there is a 2-second cameo of WHAM TV anchor Norma Holland reading from what Oliver argues is a conservatively biased script written by Sinclair. The intro and the subsequent segment, also produced by Sinclair, frames Flynn as the target of a vindictive FBI. Buffalo’s broadcast followed suit.

      Chuck Samuels says the clip of Holland was unfortunate. It was “taken out of context,” he says, and purposely “edited to look like commentary.”

      It’s true that many media consumers find it hard to distinguish between news and commentary. Audiences look for clues, but often there aren’t any. You might expect a comedian like Oliver or even Fox News and MSNBC to provide editorial commentary, but you might not expect to find national commentary in the middle of a local newscast.

      Sinclair, however, is challenging that paradigm by regularly requiring local affiliates, including WHAM, WUTV and Fox 29 to run two different national commentaries: “Behind the Headlines” with Mark Hyman and “Bottom Line with Boris” with Boris Epshteyn.

      Hyman has been at Sinclair for 20 years and has been making commentaries since 2001. Epshteyn was a Trump campaign advisor.

      Both segments are labeled commentary, but they appear in local newscasts mixed in with locally produced news, and Hyman and Epshteyn position themselves as unbiased news sources.

      For example, in an October 5 commentary, Hyman critiques the Pulitzer Prize-winning website PolitiFact, a fact-checking organization run by the Tampa Bay Times.

      “No one’s fact-checking the fact-checkers,” says Hyman, “except us.”

      PolitiFact had labeled “mostly false” a claim by Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz that two-thirds of the 2013 Disaster Relief Appropriations Act was filled with pork and had “nothing to do with” superstorm Sandy.

      Hyman argues that PolitiFact’s reporting is wrong, and he directs people to his website to find links to two more commentaries where he describes PolitiFact as “fabricating info and presenting false claims.”

      In an article titled, “Sinclair is targeting PolitiFact. But you need to know the facts,” PolitiFact responded, disputing Hyman’s evidence. “Our reporting is accurate, and we list all of our sources,” it said.

      Epshteyn’s commentaries are also biased. They often echo President Trump’s talking points – for example, defending the president’s response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and championing the president’s new travel restrictions.

      WHAM’s Samuels says stations can choose when to run Sinclair-mandated content within a certain time frame directed by corporate, which means stations can run them during timeslots with low viewership.

      And, he says: “It is less than 2 percent of what we do on a daily basis.”

      He also noted that editorials inserted into local newscasts are not unique to Sinclair, and that non-Sinclair stations in other markets run editorials.

      And, he says, he hasn’t received many complaints from viewers. “If they don’t like the commentaries, they can turn them off,” Samuels says. “But even if you hate them, you should listen.” Viewers, he says, should be exposed to opinions other than their own.

      “The company is offering a different viewpoint,” he says.

      The imminent conservative takeover of local TV news, explained

      Sinclair Broadcast Group — a conservative, Trump-friendly television empire — is poised to become one of the most powerful players in the mainstream media. The relatively unknown company, whose stations have mixed conservative commentary with local news, is now on the verge of a deal that would allow it to reach nearly three-quarters of American households.

      On May 8, Sinclair announced its plan to buy Tribune Media Company and its 42 television stations for $3.9 billion — a merger made possible by the Trump administration relaxing regulations on broadcast ownership. If the acquisition goes through, Sinclair would become the nation’s largest broadcast group “by a country mile,” as Sinclair CEO Christopher Ripley put it to investors Monday morning. An estimated 72 percent of American households would live in a place where Sinclair controls at least one of the broadcast television stations.

      This is a big deal — literally — because local news programs are some of the most-watched shows in America. About 23 million Americans tune into the evening local news, and 12 million watch the early morning local news. The three top cable networks — CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC — only get around 3 million primetime viewers daily.

      People who tune into Sinclair stations for local news often end up getting some conservative commentary in the mix as well. The broadcaster has a history of airing right-leaning segments critical of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. According to Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, the Trump campaign struck a deal with Sinclair to air exclusive interviews with Trump during the election.

      The company’s vice president for news, Scott Livingston, has accused mainstream news outlets of being too liberal. He claims that Sinclair is more balanced. “I think maybe some other news organizations may be to the left of center, and we work very hard to be in the center,” he told the New York Times recently.

      With Fox News, the traditional leader in conservative TV, in turmoil, Sinclair’s executives have an opportunity. If the merger goes through, it would have a huge patchwork of local television stations and a national reach rivaling cable news — a springboard, if it wanted, to become the next big thing in conservative broadcasting.

      Sinclair Broadcast Group is the biggest media company you’ve never heard of

      Sinclair is already a behemoth of broadcast television — right now, its 173 local TV stations reach 38 percent of US homes. But Sinclair isn’t a household name because it’s not a network like ABC or Fox or NBC. Instead, the company owns the local TV stations that broadcast those networks.

      A common misconception is that a network like ABC controls all the stations that it airs on. In fact, ABC only owns and operates eight broadcast stations in the United States. The rest of the stations are independent affiliates, and many of them are controlled by Sinclair.

      For instance, the ABC affiliate in the Washington, DC, metro region is WJLA. This station carries programming from ABC, but it’s owned by Sinclair. The agreement is that ABC will provide shows like The Bachelor and Modern Family, and Sinclair will take care of broadcasting those shows from its antenna in Northwest DC.

      Sinclair also mixes in its own shows. Most importantly, it is responsible for providing the local news. Its stations employ teams of reporters and producers and anchors who typically produce three newscasts a day — in the morning, the late afternoon, and late at night. Sinclair can order stations to pursue certain stories, or force them to air certain clips. Networks like CBS or NBC or ABC aren’t involved in these decisions.

      Such arrangements are common because, in order to preserve competition and prevent monopolies from forming, the Federal Communications Commission restricts the number of TV stations that any one company can own. So the big networks can’t just broadcast their own shows — they have to outsource that job to independent television stations.

      These regulations date back to the 1940s, when the FCC decreed that companies could only own three TV stations at once. By the 1950s, there was the so-called “Rule of Seven,” which restricted owners to seven FM, seven AM, and seven TV stations. In recent decades, the FCC has loosened its regulations even further: Altogether, a company’s portfolio of TV stations can’t reach more than 39 percent of American homes.

      Right now, Sinclair’s stations reach about 38 percent of American households. But in April, an FCC decision reopened a loophole for the company grow much, much bigger.

      How Trump’s FCC chair brought back a loophole allowing Sinclair to grow

      The FCC’s new chair, Ajit Pai, a Trump appointee, wants to raise the 39 percent cap and allow broadcasters to buy up more stations — but that might require an act of Congress. In the meantime, he’s turned to a loophole known as the UHF discount.

      Television stations use one of two different kinds of wavelengths, VHF or UHF. Until 2009, stations licensed to broadcast on VHF were more valuable, because VHF waves are larger, travel farther, and can get into homes more easily. This made UHF stations less desirable than VHF stations, so in calculating the ownership limits, the FCC gave companies what’s called a “UHF discount” — only half of a UHF station’s audience would count toward a company’s limit of 39 percent of American households.

      But in 2009, American television stations switched to digital broadcasting. When that happened, UHF stations were no longer at a disadvantage; in fact, they were more desirable. Although UHF frequencies don’t penetrate as far as VHF, they are less prone to the kind of interference that affects digital TV signals, so customers get a clearer picture.

      Long before the digital transition was complete, the FCC was warning that the UHF discount would eventually go away. Expecting this, many broadcasting companies have been wary of moving forward with mergers — without the discount, many of them were already dangerously close to the 39 percent ownership cap.

      In 2016, after a long period of debate, the FCC finally eliminated the UHF discount. But under Pai, that decision was quickly reversed in late April. Pai agrees that the UHF discount doesn’t make sense anymore in the age of digital broadcasting. But as he has hinted, he views the UHF discount as a temporary measure until the ownership cap can be increased.

      “All I said was, let’s return to the status quo, take a fresh look at the issue, and try to figure out what the optimal structure is for this going forward,” Pai told Recode’s Tony Romm recently.

      Sinclair had been one of the chief proponents of reinstating the UHF discount, and it was widely known that it aspired to acquire more television stations. Restoring the UHF discount meant that, for the FCC’s purposes, Sinclair only covers about 24 percent of American households — giving the company room to grow.

      Sinclair’s purchase of Tribune Media will give it a bigger presence in large cities like New York City, New Orleans, Los Angeles and Washington, DC — complementing its existing portfolio, which mostly covers smaller cities. Since many of those stations are UHF stations, they will only partially count toward the 39 percent limit — and in any case, the new merger-friendly FCC is expected to sign off on the deal.

      Sinclair has a history of dabbling in conservative causes

      Sinclair is a notable company not just for its size, but for its efforts to inject conservative views into the news.

      For instance, over 80 Sinclair stations regularly air a 90-second segment called Behind the Headlines, where conservative commentator Mark Hyman gives his opinions on the news. In a recent spot, Hyman defended Trump’s first 100 days, claiming that the media was unfairly harsh on the president. In February, Hyman criticized the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for ruling against Trump’s travel ban on people from seven Muslim countries.

      The company also produces national news segments — often with a conservative tinge — that it requires stations to run during their local news broadcasts.

      A Washington Post investigation revealed that during 2016 election, Sinclair executives often forced their stations to run pro-Trump or anti-Clinton segments during their evening or morning local news programs. One of the mandatory segments emphasized problems about Clinton’s health and questioned her trustworthiness. Another mandatory segment featured Ivanka Trump talking about her potential role in her father’s White House.

      In December, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner reportedly bragged that the Trump campaign had struck a deal with Sinclair executives to provide exclusive interviews during the primaries and presidential campaign, which Sinclair agreed to run as-is, without any commentary. Sinclair’s current network of stations covers many key swing states, and the deal seems to have been aimed at increasing Trump’s exposure in those parts of the nation.

      The Washington Post counted 15 such interviews with Sinclair stations. In one instance, Sinclair ordered some of its Wisconsin stations to air an extended version of its Trump interview on the local news just two days before the Wisconsin primary. Sinclair denies that there was any special deal with the Trump campaign, and claims that Clinton had passed on similar opportunities.

      Sinclair has a history of using its stations to support conservative causes. In 2004, famously, it ordered its ABC affiliates not to air a Nightline episode in which the host Ted Koppel read aloud the names of American casualties in Iraq. Sinclair executives complained in a statement that ”Mr. Koppel and ‘Nightline’ are hiding behind this so-called tribute in an effort to highlight only one aspect of the war effort and in doing so to influence public opinion against the military action in Iraq.”

      Later in 2004, Sinclair became embroiled in another political controversy. Reports claimed that the company planned to force all of its stations to air, just a few days before the general election, an anti-Kerry documentary called Stolen Honor, which questioned Kerry’s conduct during the Vietnam War. New York Times television critic Alessandra Stanley described the documentary as a “histrionic, often specious and deeply sad film,” whose “distortions are intended to hurt Mr. Kerry at the polls.” (Sinclair stations ended up running selected clips of the documentary instead.)

      Sinclair’s own Washington bureau chief, Jon Leiberman, called the documentary “biased political propaganda.” Lieberman was promptly fired. In a subsequent interview with CNN, he complained that Sinclair executives often pushed conservative views. “There was a lot of pressure from above and from the commentary department to put a certain slant on the news, and I fought that,” he said. “I fought that for months.”

      Since then, it seems that Sinclair has continued in its efforts to tilt the news in a conservative direction. When Sinclair recently acquired WJLA, the Washington, DC, ABC station, there was a noticeable shift the right. The local newscasts, for instance, began airing regular segments criticizing the federal government. Reporters from the WJLA’s newsroom complained to the Washington Post that Sinclair was forcing them to run overly partisan news segments. Reporters at KOMO, the Seattle ABC station, described a similar experience after Sinclair bought the station in 2013.

      Sinclair executives, in turn, say that the mainstream media leans too far to the left. In March, Sinclair ordered its stations to broadcast a message from Vice President Scott Livingston complaining about the “biased and false news” — an echo of Trump’s own attacks on the press.

      “Unfortunately, some members of the national media are using their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control exactly what people think,” Livingston said. “This is extremely dangerous to our democracy.”

      Challenging Fox News is an uphill battle — but Sinclair might be able to pull it off

      During the election, Trump adviser Peter Navarro criticized the power of large media companies and promised to cut them down to size.

      “Donald Trump will break up the new media conglomerate oligopolies that have gained enormous control over our information, intrude into our personal lives, and in this election, are attempting to unduly influence America’s political process,” Navarro said, in a statement that has now been taken off the Trump campaign website.

      If the Trump administration is wary of “media oligopolies,” why would a media company like Sinclair be allowed to grow larger? One cynical explanation is that Sinclair has been friendly to conservatives and especially to Donald Trump, and that this latest regulatory reversal is an example of pure quid pro quo.

      But there is case to be made that a larger Sinclair would increase competition in the television marketplace, which these days involves more than just broadcast, but cable and YouTube, and even video news companies like NowThis, which distributes its content almost entirely on social networking sites.

      Conservatives often complain that Fox News is only major station for conservative news. According to a Pew survey in January, 40 percent of Trump voters said Fox News was their “main source” of information about the 2016 election. Clinton voters, on the other hand, were divided among several outlets — some of them watched CNN, some of them watched MSNBC, and others relied on local TV.

      Fox News, meanwhile, has suffered several setbacks in the past year. A pair of sexual harassment scandals forced out both its founder, Roger Ailes, and its most popular host, Bill O’Reilly. Top stars like Megyn Kelly and Greta Van Susteren have left for rival networks, and co-President Bill Shine resigned last week.

      So far, attempts to compete with Fox News have not been very successful. But rumors are swirling that conservative moguls want to create a new challenger, perhaps a channel that caters more to the alt-right. In October, when polls were claiming a likely Clinton victory, there was even talk of creating “Trump TV,” a cable channel targeting Trump supporters.

      Back then, many pointed out that major cable companies are reluctant to pick up new channels, and that new networks often struggle to attract viewers. Even Oprah has faced an uphill battle with her cable channel OWN, which last year only reached around 68 percent of households.

      Sinclair doesn’t have that disadvantage. With its prospective expanded reach, it could launch a show with a national footprint. Sinclair doesn’t have complete freedom to broadcast what it wants, especially not during primetime. Still, it can air its own content during off hours or negotiate to bump network programs from its stations. And thanks to video compression, it can also use digital subchannels to broadcast alternate content alongside its main programs.

      If Sinclair wants to launch more shows, it could follow a pattern set a few years ago, when it began producing an hour-long Sunday morning public affairs show called Full Measure, which currently airs on 162 of its stations. If all its acquisitions go through, Sinclair will have 233 stations by next year, and it could beam a show like Full Measure into 72 percent of American households. (About 80 percent of American households have access to Fox News.)

      The local news, which still commands a huge audience, could be a key part of this strategy. During the election, Sinclair promoted Full Measure by asking some of its stations to air clips of the show during their local newscasts. If by next year only a quarter of households in Sinclair’s distribution area watched the local news on a Sinclair-owned station, that would still yield over 4 million nightly viewers — which is more than the typical audience for Fox News’s top show The O’Reilly Factor.

      For anyone who wants to launch a new conservative show or television network, that’s a tantalizing prospect.

      Época festiva navideña registra alza de licencia por enfermedad.

      La epidemia de Blue Flu en la Policía, como popularmente se ha dado a conocer el movimiento de brazos caídos entre agentes que están tomando días por enfermedad, no parece dar indicios de merma.

      Por el contrario, según las cifras oficiales obtenidas por AP, entre antier y los primeros turnos de ayer, se ausentaron entre 2,400 a 2,600 policías por turno.

      Aunque no se ofrecieron detalles específicos, tales cifran indican que habría cuarteles y divisiones laborando con un mínimo de agentes.

      Según las cifras, para el 24 de diciembre, en el primer turno (de las 4:00 a.m.) se ausentaron 2,461 agentes; en el segundo turno (12:00 m.d.) faltaron 2,562; y para el turno de las 8:00 p.m. no llegaron 2,640.

      El 25 de diciembre, Día de Navidad, las cosas fueron peor.

      Para el primer turno las ausencias sumaban 2,615, y para el del mediodía dejaron de presentarse 2,653 agentes.

      De manera más detallada, sobresalen las regiones de Ponce y Carolina, donde las ausencias superan la cifra de 300 (338 y 303, respectivamente).

      Las regiones de San Juan, Bayamón y Mayagüez también exhiben cifras de ausencia significativas con 286, 266 y 254, respectivamente.

      La tendencia de ausentismo por el Blue Flu ha ido en aumento a lo largo de este mes y se anticipa que continúe por los próximos días y las primeras semanas de enero entrante.

      La queja principal de los policías es que no han cobrado las horas extra trabajadas durante las emergencias provocadas por los huracanes Irma y María en septiembre pasado.

      Puerto Rico se quedan sin policías

      Un conflicto laboral ha dejado sin prácticamente agentes de la Policía de Puerto Rico las calles de algunos municipios en un delicado momento para la isla tras el huracán María en el que todavía falta la luz de forma generalizada y no funcionan los semáforos, lo que hace fundamental su presencia.

      El director ejecutivo del Sindicato de Policías Puertorriqueños, José Marín, dijo a Efe que el domingo se ausentaron más de 4.000 agentes de Policía de un total de 12.000, un tercio de los efectivos, lo que da idea de la magnitud de un problema perceptible en muchas áreas del territorio caribeño.

      El gobernador de Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, anunció que ha pedido al secretario del Departamento de Seguridad Pública (DSP), Héctor Pesquera, que ponga en marcha una investigación sobre el ausentismo en la Policía.

      “Le he solicitado al secretario del DSP que haga una investigación y se comiencen a tomar acciones inmediatamente”, adelantó Rosselló.

      Los datos de la propia Policía reflejan que el domingo se ausentaron de sus puestos un total de 4.565 agentes, cifra que el sábado se situó en 4.081, mientras que en el área policíaca de San Juan hoy faltaron 518 agentes.

      Marín explicó que los agentes de la Policía que se han ausentado lo han hecho por bajas médicas debidamente justificadas.

      Aclaró que tras el huracán María, que el pasado 20 de septiembre arrasó la isla caribeña, muchos agentes de la Policía de Puerto Rico se vieron obligados a trabajar durante jornadas de 12, 14 y hasta 16 horas.

      Para hacer frente al pago de esas horas extraordinarias realizadas por los agentes, la Agencia Federal para el Manejo de Emergencias (Fema, por sus siglas en inglés) desembolsó al Gobierno de Puerto Rico cerca de 5 millones de dólares.

      Sin embargo, matiza Marín, las horas no fueron pagadas a los agentes, salvo a algunos destinados a la escolta de miembros del Gobierno, lo que provocó malestar entre sus compañeros.

      El líder sindical indicó que además de no pagarse las horas extraordinarias hay un problema administrativo grave añadido en el seno de la Policía de Puerto Rico, ya que a los agentes se les devuelve de manera generalizada los formularios en los que deben de indicar el número de horas extraordinarias trabajadas con la excusa de estar erróneamente rellenados.

      Dijo se dan casos de devoluciones por un minuto teóricamente mal reflejado, lo que provoca que deban volverse a rellenar y en muchos casos se presenten fuera del plazo marcado, lo que lleva a que tener que esperar otro mes para poder cobrarse.

      A todo esto se suma que si el día 31 de diciembre no se han utilizado los días por enfermedad que los agentes tienen acumulan durante el año en curso se pierden.

      Marín aseguró que, en cualquier caso, los agentes de la Policía de Puerto Rico que en estos últimos días no se han presentado a trabajar lo pueden justificar con las debidas notificaciones de sus médicos y que piensa que se sienten enfermos dadas las horas y horas que acumuladas en los meses transcurridos desde el paso del huracán María.

      Dijo que, en su opinión, la culpa del problema recae en la responsable máxima de la Policía de Puerto Rico, Michelle Hernández de Fraley, quien ha impuesto una rigidez administrativa en los informes por horas trabajadas que suponen un quebradero de cabeza para los agentes.

      Por su parte, el presidente de la Corporación Organizada de Policías y Seguridad (COPS), Jaime Morales, advirtió a Pesquera de que se abstenga de desatar una “cacería de brujas” contra los agentes que no se han presentado en sus puestos de trabajo a causa de licencia por enfermedad.

      En la primera quincena de noviembre, antes de comenzar el ausentismo generalizado, los agentes que no se presentaban a trabajar fluctuaban diariamente entre 250 y 400.

      The UN’s Philip Alston is an expert on deprivation – and he wants to know why 41m Americans are living in poverty. American citizens in Puerto Rico among the poorest. The Guardian joined him on a special two-week mission into the dark heart of the world’s richest nation.

      by

      Los Angeles, California, 5 December

      “You got a choice to make, man. You could go straight on to heaven. Or you could turn right, into that.”

      We are in Los Angeles, in the heart of one of America’s wealthiest cities, and General Dogon, dressed in black, is our tour guide. Alongside him strolls another tall man, grey-haired and sprucely decked out in jeans and suit jacket. Professor Philip Alston is an Australian academic with a formal title: UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights.

      General Dogon, himself a veteran of these Skid Row streets, strides along, stepping over a dead rat without comment and skirting round a body wrapped in a worn orange blanket lying on the sidewalk.

      The two men carry on for block after block after block of tatty tents and improvised tarpaulin shelters. Men and women are gathered outside the structures, squatting or sleeping, some in groups, most alone like extras in a low-budget dystopian movie.

      We come to an intersection, which is when General Dogon stops and presents his guest with the choice. He points straight ahead to the end of the street, where the glistening skyscrapers of downtown LA rise up in a promise of divine riches.

      Heaven.

      Then he turns to the right, revealing the “black power” tattoo on his neck, and leads our gaze back into Skid Row bang in the center of LA’s downtown. That way lies 50 blocks of concentrated human humiliation. A nightmare in plain view, in the city of dreams.

      Alston turns right.

      So begins a two-week journey into the dark side of the American Dream. The spotlight of the UN monitor, an independent arbiter of human rights standards across the globe, has fallen on this occasion on the US, culminating on Friday with the release of his initial report in Washington.

      His fact-finding mission into the richest nation the world has ever known has led him to investigate the tragedy at its core: the 41 million people who officially live in poverty.

      Of those, 9 million have zero cash income – they do not receive a cent in sustenance.

      Alston’s epic journey has taken him from coast to coast, deprivation to deprivation. Starting in LA and San Francisco, sweeping through the Deep South, traveling on to the colonial stain of Puerto Rico then back to the stricken coal country of West Virginia, he has explored the collateral damage of America’s reliance on private enterprise to the exclusion of public help.

      The Guardian had unprecedented access to the UN envoy, following him as he crossed the country, attending all his main stops and witnessing the extreme poverty he is investigating firsthand.

      Think of it as payback time. As the UN special rapporteur himself put it: “Washington is very keen for me to point out the poverty and human rights failings in other countries. This time I’m in the US.”

      The tour comes at a critical moment for America and the world. It began on the day that Republicans in the US Senate voted for sweeping tax cuts that will deliver a bonanza for the super wealthy while in time raising taxes on many lower-income families. The changes will exacerbate wealth inequality that is already the most extreme in any industrialized nation, with three men – Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffet – owning as much as half of the entire American people.

      A few days into the UN visit, Republican leaders took a giant leap further. They announced plans to slash key social programs in what amounts to an assault on the already threadbare welfare state.

      “Look up! Look at those banks, the cranes, the luxury condos going up,” exclaimed General Dogon, who used to be homeless on Skid Row and now works as a local activist with Lacan. “Down here, there’s nothing. You see the tents back to back, there’s no place for folks to go.”

      California made a suitable starting point for the UN visit. It epitomizes both the vast wealth generated in the tech boom for the 0.001%, and the resulting surge in housing costs that has sent homelessness soaring. Los Angeles, the city with by far the largest population of street dwellers in the country, is grappling with crisis numbers that increased 25% this past year to 55,000.

       

      Ressy Finley, 41, was busy sterilizing the white bucket she uses to slop out in her tent in which she has lived on and off for more than a decade. She keeps her living area, a mass of worn mattresses and blankets and a few motley possessions, as clean as she can in a losing battle against rats and cockroaches. She also endures waves of bed bugs, and has large welts on her shoulder to prove it.

      She receives no formal income, and what she makes on recycling bottles and cans is no way enough to afford the average rents of $1,400 a month for a tiny one-bedroom. A friend brings her food every couple of days, the rest of the time she relies on nearby missions.

      She cried twice in the course of our short conversation, once when she recalled how her infant son was taken from her arms by social workers because of her drug habit (he is now 14; she has never seen him again). The second time was when she alluded to the sexual abuse that set her as a child on the path towards drugs and homelessness.

      Given all that, it’s remarkable how positive Finley remains. What does she think of the American Dream, the idea that everyone can make it if they try hard enough? She replies instantly: “I know I’m going to make it.”

      A 41-year-old woman living on the sidewalk in Skid Row going to make it?

      “Sure I will, so long as I keep the faith.”

      What does “making it” mean to her?

      “I want to be a writer, a poet, an entrepreneur, a therapist.”

      Robert Chambers occupies the next patch of sidewalk along from Finley’s. He’s created an area around his tent out of wooden pallets, what passes in Skid Row for a cottage garden.

      He has a sign up saying “Homeless Writers Coalition”, the name of a group he runs to give homeless people dignity against what he calls the “animalistic” aspects of their lives. He’s referring not least to the lack of public bathrooms that forces people to relieve themselves on the streets.

      LA authorities have promised to provide more access to toilets, a critical issue given the deadly outbreak of Hepatitis A that began in San Diego and is spreading on the west coast claiming 21 lives mainly through lack of sanitation in homeless encampments. At night local parks and amenities are closed specifically to keep homeless people out.

      Skid Row has had the use of nine toilets at night for 1,800 street-faring people. That’s a ratio well below that mandated by the UN in its camps for Syrian refugees.

      “It’s inhuman actually, and eventually in the end you will acquire animalistic psychology,” Chambers said.

      He has been living on the streets for almost a year, having violated his parole terms for drug possession and in turn being turfed out of his low-cost apartment. There’s no help for him now, he said, no question of “making it”.

      “The safety net? It has too many holes in it for me.”

      Of all the people who crossed paths with the UN monitor, Chambers was the most dismissive of the American Dream. “People don’t realize – it’s never getting better, there’s no recovery for people like us. I’m 67, I have a heart condition, I shouldn’t be out here. I might not be too much longer.”

      That was a lot of bad karma to absorb on day one, and it rattled even as seasoned a student of hardship as Alston. As UN special rapporteur, he’s reported on dire poverty and its impact on human rights in Saudi Arabia and China among other places. But Skid Row?

      “I was feeling pretty depressed,” he told the Guardian later. “The endless drumbeat of horror stories. At a certain point you do wonder what can anyone do about this, let alone me.”

      And then he took a flight up to San Francisco, to the Tenderloin district where homeless people congregate, and walked into St Boniface church.

      What he saw there was an analgesic for his soul.

      San Francisco, California, 6 December

       

      About 30 homeless people were quietly sleeping in pews at the back of the church, as they are allowed to do every weekday morning, with worshippers praying harmoniously in front of them. The church welcomes them in as part of the Catholic concept of extending the helping hand.

      “I found the church surprisingly uplifting,” Alston said. “It was such a simple scene and such an obvious idea. It struck me – Christianity, what the hell is it about if it’s not this?”

      It was a rare drop of altruism on the west coast, competing against a sea of hostility. More than 500 anti-homeless laws have been passed in Californian cities in recent years. At a federal level, Ben Carson, the neurosurgeon who Trump appointed US housing secretary, is decimating government spending on affordable housing.

      Perhaps the most telling detail: apart from St Boniface and its sister church, no other place of worship in San Francisco welcomes homeless people. In fact, many have begun, even at this season of goodwill, to lock their doors to all comers simply so as to exclude homeless people.

      As Tiny Gray-Garcia, herself on the streets, described it to Alston, there is a prevailing attitude that she and her peers have to contend with every day. She called it the “violence of looking away”.

      hat cruel streak – the violence of looking away – has been a feature of American life since the nation’s founding. The casting off the yoke of overweening government (the British monarchy) came to be equated in the minds of many Americans with states’ rights and the individualistic idea of making it on your own – a view that is fine for those fortunate enough to do so, less happy if you’re born on the wrong side of the tracks.Countering that has been the conviction that society must protect its own against the vagaries of hunger or unemployment that informed Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and the Great Society of Lyndon Johnson. But in recent times the prevailing winds have blown strongly in the “you’re on your own, buddy” direction. Ronald Reagan set the trend with his 1980s tax cuts, followed by Bill Clinton, whose 1996 decision to scrap welfare payments for low-income families is still punishing millions of Americans.

      The cumulative attack has left struggling families, including the 15 million children who are officially in poverty, with dramatically less support than in any other industrialized economy. Now they face perhaps the greatest threat of all.

      As Alston himself has written in an essay on Trump’s populism and the aggressive challenge it poses to human rights: “These are extraordinarily dangerous times. Almost anything seems possible.”

      Lowndes County, Alabama, 9 December

      Trump’s attack on welfare will hurt African Americans disproportionately.

      AdvertisementBlack people are 13% of the US population, but 23% of those officially in poverty and 39% of the homeless.

      The racial element of America’s poverty crisis is seen nowhere more clearly than in the Deep South, where the open wounds of slavery continue to bleed. The UN special rapporteur chose as his next stop the “Black Belt,” the term that originally referred to the rich dark soil that exists in a band across Alabama but over time came to describe its majority African American population.

      The link between soil type and demographics was not coincidental. Cotton was found to thrive in this fertile land, and that in turn spawned a trade in slaves to pick the crop. Their descendants still live in the Black Belt, still mired in poverty among the worst in the union.

      You can trace the history of America’s shame, from slave times to the present day, in a set of simple graphs. The first shows the cotton-friendly soil of the Black Belt, then the slave population, followed by modern black residence and today’s extreme poverty – they all occupy the exact same half-moon across Alabama.

      There are numerous ways you could parse the present parlous state of Alabama’s black community. Perhaps the starkest is the fact that in the Black Belt so many families still have no access to sanitation. Thousands of people continue to live among open sewers of the sort normally associated with the developing world.

      The crisis was revealed by the Guardian earlier this year to have led to an ongoing endemic of hookworm, an intestinal parasite that is transmitted through human waste. It is found in Africa and South Asia, but had been assumed eradicated in the US years ago.

      Yet here the worm still is, sucking the blood of poor people, in the home state of Trump’s US attorney general Jeff Sessions.

      A disease of the developing world thriving in the world’s richest country.

      The open sewerage problem is especially acute in Lowndes County, a majority black community that was an epicenter of the civil rights movement having been the setting of Martin Luther King’s Selma to Montgomery voting rights march in 1965.

      Despite its proud history, Catherine Flowers estimates that 70% of households in the area either “straight pipe” their waste directly onto open ground, or have defective septic tanks incapable of dealing with heavy rains.

      When her group, Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise (Acre), pressed local authorities to do something about it, officials invested $6m in extending waste treatment systems to primarily white-owned businesses while bypassing overwhelmingly black households.

      “That’s a glaring example of injustice,” Flowers said. “People who cannot afford their own systems are left to their own devices while businesses who do have the money are given public services.”

      Walter, a Lowndes County resident who asked not to give his last name for fear that his water supply would be cut off as a reprisal for speaking out, lives with the daily consequences of such public neglect. “You get a good hard rain and it backs up into the house.”

      That’s a polite way of saying that sewerage gurgles up into his kitchen sink, hand basin and bath, filling the house with a sickly-sweet stench.

      Given these circumstances, what does he think of the ideology that anyone can make it if they try?

      “I suppose they could if they had the chance,” Walter said. He paused, then added: “Folks aren’t given the chance.”

      Had he been born white, would his sewerage problems have been fixed by now

      After another pause, he said: “Not being racist, but yeah, they would.”

      Round the back of Walter’s house the true iniquity of the situation reveals itself. The yard is laced with small channels running from neighboring houses along which dark liquid flows. It congregates in viscous pools directly underneath the mobile home in which Walter’s son, daughter-in-law and 16-year-old granddaughter live.

      It is the ultimate image of the lot of Alabama’s impoverished rural black community. As American citizens they are as fully entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It’s just that they are surrounded by pools of excrement.

      This week, the Black Belt bit back. On Tuesday a new line was added to that simple graphic, showing exactly the same half-moon across Alabama except this time it was not black but blue.

      It depicted the army of African American voters who turned out against the odds to send Doug Jones to the US Senate, the first Democrat from Alabama to do so in a generation. It delivered a bloody nose to his opponent, the alleged child molester Roy Moore, and his puppetmasters Steve Bannon and Donald Trump.

      It was arguably the most important expression of black political muscle in the region since King’s 1965 march. If the previous entries in the graphic could be labeled “soil”, “slavery” and “poverty”, this one should be captioned “empowerment”.

      Guayama, Puerto Rico, 10 December

      So how does Alston view the role of UN rapporteur and his visit? His full report on the US will be released next May before being presented to the UN human rights council in Geneva.

      Nobody expects much to come of that: the world body has no teeth with which to enforce good behavior on recalcitrant governments. But Alston hopes that his visit will have an impact by shaming the US into reflecting on its values.

      “My role is to hold governments to account,” he said. “If the US administration doesn’t want to talk about the right to housing, healthcare or food, then there are still basic human rights standards that have to be met. It’s my job to point that out.”

      Alston’s previous investigations into extreme poverty in places like Mauritaniapulled no punches. We can expect the same tough love when it comes to his analysis of Puerto Rico, the next stop on his journey into America’s dark side.

      Three months after Maria, the devastation wrought by the hurricane has been well documented. It tore 70,000 homes to shreds, brought industry to a standstill and caused a total blackout of the island that continues to cause havoc.


      But Puerto Rico’s plight long predates Maria, rooted in the indifference with which it has been regarded since being acquired as a spoil of war in 1898. Almost half of Americans have no idea that the 3.5 million Puerto Ricans on the island are US citizens, which adds insult to the injury of the territory having no representation in Congress while its fiscal policies are dictated by an oversight board imposed by Washington. What was that about casting off the yoke of overweening government?

      Nor do most people appreciate that the island has twice the proportion of people in poverty (44%) than the lowliest US state, including Alabama (19%). And that was before the hurricane, which some estimates suggest has pushed the poverty rate up to 60%.

      “Puerto Rico is a sacrifice zone,” said Ruth Santiago, a community rights lawyer. “We are ruled by the United States but we are never consulted – we have no influence, we’re just their plaything.”

      The UN monitor was given a sense of what being a plaything of the US means in practice when he travelled south to Guayama, a town of 42,000 close to where Maria made landfall. Devastation was everywhere – houses mangled, roofs missing, power lines drooping alarmingly overhead.

      Looming over the community is a coal-fired power plant built by the Puerto Rican branch of AES Corporation, a Virginia-headquartered multinational. The plant’s smoke stack dominates the horizon, as does a huge mound of residue from the combusted coal that rises to at least 70ft like a giant sandcastle.

      The mound is exposed to the elements and local people complain that toxins from it leach into the sea, destroying the livelihoods of fishermen through mercury poisoning. They also fear that dust coming off the pile causes health problems, a concern shared by local doctors who told the UN monitor that they see a high incidence of respiratory disease and cancer.

      “It kills the leaves of my mango tree,” said Flora Picar Cruz, 82. She was lying in bed at midday, breathing with difficulty through an oxygen mask.

      Studies of the pile have found perilous levels of toxic substances including arsenic, boron, chloride and chromium. Even so, the Trump administration is in the process of easing the relatively lax regulations on monitoring dangerous effluents from it.

      AES Puerto Rico told the Guardian that there was nothing to worry about, as the plant was one of the cleanest in the US having been purpose built to avoid any run-off into air or sea. That’s not what the people of Guayama think. They fear that the age-old pattern of being taken for granted by the US colonizer is about to rise to the next level.

      When such attitudes are replicated across the island it helps explain why so many Puerto Ricans are voting with their feet: almost 200,000 have packed their bags and quit for Florida, New York and Pennsylvania since the hurricane, adding to the more than 5m who were already on the US mainland. Which gives a whole new meaning to the American Dream – anyone can make it, so long as they abandon their families, their homes, and their culture and head off into a strange and forbidding land.

      Charleston, West Virginia, 13 December


      “You’re an amazing people! We’re going to take care of a lot of years of horrible abuse, OK? You can count on it 100% .”

      Donald Trump’s promise to the white voters of West Virginia was made just as he was securing the Republican presidential nomination in May 2016. Six months later, his audience handsomely repaid him with a landslide victory.

      It is not surprising that white families in West Virginia should have responded positively to Trump’s charm offensive, given that he offered them the world – “We’re going to put the miners back to work!”. After all, numerically a majority of all those living in poverty nationwide – 27 million people – are white.

      In West Virginia in particular, white families have a lot to feel sore about. Mechanization and the decline of coal mining have decimated the state, leading to high unemployment and stagnant wages. The transfer of jobs from the mines and steel mills to Walmart has led to male workers earning on average $3.50 an hour less today than they did in 1979.

      What is surprising is that so many proud working folk should have entrusted their dreams to a (supposed) billionaire who built his real estate empire on the back of handouts from his father.

      Before he ran for the presidency, Trump showed scant interest in the struggles of low-income families, white or otherwise. After almost a year in the Oval Office, there is similarly little sign of those campaign promises being kept.

      Quite the contrary. When the UN rapporteur decamped in Charleston, West Virginia on Wednesday as the final stop in his tour, he was inundated with evidence that the president is turning the screws on the very people who elected him.

      That same day, Republicans in the Senate and House were fusing their plans for tax cuts ahead of a final vote next week. Many West Virginians will be lulled into believing that the changes are designed to help them, as initially everybody in the state will pay less tax.

      But come 2027 when deficit-saving changes kick in, the bottom 80% of the population will pay more, while the top 1% will continue to enjoy a $21,000 bonanza.

      “Trump’s policies will exacerbate inequality, suppress wages and make it harder for low-income families to seek assistance,” said Ted Boettner, executive director of the non-partisan West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy.

      If sewerage is the abiding image of the burden of the Black Belt, then a mouthful of rotting teeth is West Virginia’s.

       

      Doctors at Health Right, a volunteer-based medical center in Charleston that treats 21,000 low-income working people free of charge, presented the UN monitor with a photograph of one of its dentistry clients.

      The man is only 32, but when he opened his mouth he turned into one of Macbeth’s witches. His few remaining rotting teeth and greenish-blue gums looked like the festering broth in their burning cauldrons.

      Adult dentistry is uncovered by Medicaid unless it is an emergency, and so people do the logical thing – they do nothing until their abscesses erupt and they have to go to ER. One woman seen by the center’s mobile dentistry clinic was found to have nothing but 30 roots in her mouth, all of which needed surgery.

      In other briefings, Alston was given a picture of life under siege for West Virginia’s low-income families. If Lyndon Johnson declared a war on poverty, then Trump is waging a war on the poor.

      People are jailed for years because they cannot afford bail awaiting trial; private detectives are used to snoop on disability benefit claimants; mandatory minimum drug sentences are back in fashion; Jeff Sessions is scrapping federal rehabilitation schemes for those released from prison; tenants in subsidized housing are living in fear that they will be evicted for the slightest infraction – the list goes on and on.

      And the result of this relentless drubbing? “People end up fighting each other,” said Eli Baumwell, policy director of the ACLU in West Virginia. “You become so obsessed with what you’ve got and what your neighbor has got that you become resentful. That’s what Trump is doing – turning one against the other.”


      And so it was that Philip Alston boarded one last plane and headed for Washington, carrying with him the distilled torment of the American people.

      At one point in the trip Alston revealed that he had had a sleepless night, reflecting on the lost souls we had met in Skid Row.

      He wondered about how a person in his position – “I’m old, male, white, rich and I live very well” – would react to one of those homeless people. “He would look at him and see someone who is dirty, who doesn’t wash, who he doesn’t want to be around.”

      Then Alston had an epiphany.

      “I realized that’s how government sees them. But what I see is the failure of society. I see a society that let that happen, that is not doing what it should. And it’s very sad.”

      The UN special rapporteur’s tour was done.

      WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Women and children crossing together illegally into the United States could be separated by U.S. authorities under a proposal being considered by the Department of Homeland Security, according to three government officials.

      Part of the reason for the proposal is to deter mothers from migrating to the United States with their children, said the officials, who have been briefed on the proposal.

      The policy shift would allow the government to keep parents in custody while they contest deportation or wait for asylum hearings. Children would be put into protective custody with the Department of Health and Human Services, in the “least restrictive setting” until they can be taken into the care of a U.S. relative or state-sponsored guardian.

      Currently, families contesting deportation or applying for asylum are generally released from detention quickly and allowed to remain in the United States until their cases are resolved. A federal appeals court ruling bars prolonged child detention.

      President Donald Trump has called for ending “catch and release,” in which migrants who cross illegally are freed to live in the United States while awaiting legal proceedings.

      Two of the officials were briefed on the proposal at a Feb. 2 town hall for asylum officers by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services asylum chief John Lafferty.

      A third DHS official said the department is actively considering separating women from their children but has not made a decision.

      HHS and the White House did not respond to requests for comment.

      (BUFFALO, N.Y. ) – The Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN) teamed up with WIVB-TV News4 on Wednesday, December 13, 2017 to host a telethon for victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. The telethon yielded more than $36,500 in donations for those who were forced to flee their homes due to the natural disaster.

      Volunteers from GBUAHN and members of the Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief Fund answered close to 1,000 calls from donors. WIVB-TV reporter/anchors Christy Kern and Nalina Shapiro provided live televised updates throughout the event, and interviewed GBUAHN Chief Executive Officer Dr. Raul Vazquez several times during the telethon.

      “It’s not like ‘oh this happened, things are better.’ Things are still not good,” said Dr. Vazquez during News4’s 6:00 p.m. broadcast. “And a lot of these people are coming (to Buffalo), so that’s what we’re doing here – trying to support them.”

      Dr. Vazquez and GBUAHN Chief Systems Officer Toni Vazquez (on behalf of the Raul and Toni Vazquez Foundation) donated a total of $1,500. All of the funds raised in the telethon will go to Hurricane Maria survivors who are resettling in Buffalo and Western New York and will be used toward housing, furniture, clothing, appliances, etc.

      Those who did not get a chance to donate during the telethon may do so by visiting the Go-Fund-Me page www.gofundme.com/prreliefwny

      Founded in 2013, the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN) is a health home established under the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Health homes coordinate care for people with Medicaid who have chronic health conditions or who are at risk for developing chronic health conditions. This free service integrates all primary care, acute, behavioral health and long-term services and supports to treat the whole person. Each person who joins gets a patient health navigator (PHN). A PHN is a case manager who works closely with the patient to get him/her the services he/she needs in the community.

      GBUAHN’s mission is to remove the barriers created by social determinants in underserved communities.

      GBUAHN’s vision is to become the health home of choice for our chosen marketplace.

      For more information about GBUAHN, please visit www.gbuahn.org

      # # #

       

        Si estás en Sudamérica, quizás tienes la oportunidad de visitar el destino número uno recomendado por la popular guía para viajeros Lonely Planet.

        Y si no, merece la pena que te lo pienses.

        La organización publicó recientemente sus listas de los 10 mejores países, ciudades y regiones para visitar en 2018.

        En las tres compilaciones destacan lugares en América Latina.

        Pero la lista de los mejores países para visitar la encabeza Chile.

        “Es una vigorosa astilla de una nación aislada del resto de Sudamérica (y, de hecho, del resto del mundo) por los altísimos Andes al este, el vasto Océano Pacífico al oeste, el absolutamente seco Desierto de Atacama al norte y las impenetrables tierras silvestres de la Patagonia al sur”.

        Parque Nacional Los Haitises, en República Dominicana

        Vista de Las Condes, el distrito financiero de Santiago de Chile.

        “Desde sus dispares extremos hasta su siempre de moda capital, Santiago, en su corazón, los ciudadanos del país se unirán en 2018 para marcar los 200 años de la independencia“.

        En su sitio web, la organización señala que gracias a los nuevos vuelos que han salido al mercado desde Londres y Melbourne (Australia), “nunca ha sido tan fácil agarrar un avión” y brindar con una copa de pisco sour.

        Los 10 mejores países para viajar en 2018

        1. Chile

        2. Corea del Sur

        3. Portugal

        4. Yibuti

        5. Nueva Zelanda

        6. Malta

        7. Georgia

        8. Mauricio

        9. China

        10. Sudáfrica

        Las mejores ciudades

        La lista de las 10 mejores ciudades para visitar la encabeza Sevilla, en España.

        En la posición octava se encuentra San Juan, en Puerto Rico.

        Gate to Old San JUan

        Coloridas casas en San Juan.

        “San Juan es un lugar donde lo antiguo se encuentra con lo nuevo, donde el pasado colonial de la ciudad se integra cómodamente con el urbanismo moderno emergente. El Viejo San Juan es un enclave amurallado con calles empedradas, plazas frondosas e iglesias y fortalezas históricas”.

        “Más allá de los muros, el San Juan moderno está cubierto con murales y sus museos y galerías forman una escena artística dinámica“.

        En años recientes, explica Lonely Planet, muchos restaurantes innovadores han abierto, con una apuesta por alimentos llevados desde la granja hasta la mesa para atender tanto a los conocedores de la buena comida como a los comensales casuales.

        “La exuberante vida nocturna -con clubes para bailar, salones, bares, casinos- ha sido por mucho tiempo uno de sus aspectos más destacados”.

        En septiembre, recuerda la guía, el país fue golpeado por el Huracán María, la tormenta más devastadora que ha pasado por esas tierras en 89 años.

        Vista desde el Castillo San Felipe del Morro, en San Juan.

        “Aunque San Juan no se escapó de la ira del huracán, no hay duda de que se reconstruirá y seguirá siendo la encantadora ciudad que siempre ha sido“.

        En la novena posición está Guanajuato, en México.

        “Desde la minería de plata hasta la gran pantalla, la pequeña ciudad de Guanajuato, en la sierra central de México, supera su peso cuando se trata de atraer”

        La edificación amarilla es la Basílica Colegiata de Nuestra Señora de Guanajuato, uno de los edificios más emblemáticos de la ciudad.

        “La riqueza producida por las vetas de plata locales crearon un deslumbrante paisaje urbano, adornado con iglesias, bonitas plazas y coloridas casas, repartidos en el valle verde donde se asienta Guanajuato”.Uno de

        los recuerdos más típicos de Guanajuato.

        La belleza, no solo natural sino producto de la intervención humana, atrapó la mirada de los productores de Pixar que utilizaron la ciudad como la base de su animada Land of the Dead (Tierra de la muerte) en la película Coco.

        Sevilla, España
        2. Detroit, EE.UU.
        3. Canberra, Australia
        4. Hamburgo, Alemania
        5. Kaohsiung, Taiwán
        6. Amberes, Bélgica
        7. Matera, Italia
        8. San Juan, Puerto Rico
        9. Guanajuato, México
        10. Oslo, Noruega

        Y en la lista de regiones destaca: Bahía en Brasil (9) y el Parque Nacional Los Haitises, en República Dominicana(10).

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