Daily Archives: Feb 14, 2018

COZUMEL, Mexico (AP) — Long before Airbnb was a thing, my family rented houses for our holidays rather than stay in hotels. Houses were easier with small children who needed room to run. We liked going to markets in foreign countries and cooking with fresh, local ingredients. And we liked vacationing with friends.

Before internet rental sites, we selected places from catalogues based on tiny photographs. Our children had no opinions and no vote, so the decision was less complicated.

Now with Airbnb, HomeAway and other sites, we have a plethora of houses to pick from, with photos from every angle and customer reviews. Our children are adults with their own opinions. Satisfying everyone’s wish list is a challenge.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is focused on cutting the company’s massive losses and “getting the love back” after a year of damaging revelations about the ride-hailing service’s sometimes heartless treatment of its employees, drivers, regulators and rivals.

“We strive to be and should be a brand that is as beloved as Amazon and Google,” Khosrowshahi said late Wednesday during an appearance at a Goldman Sachs technology conference. “We have a long way to go, but we have to re-earn our consumer and driver trust. Just getting the love back is a very important priority for us.”

The job is proving to be even more difficult than Khosrowshahi anticipated five months ago after Uber lured him away from online travel agency Expedia to replace its embattled co-founder, Travis Kalanick, as CEO.

Khosrowshahi inherited a mess after Uber acknowledged rampant sexual harassment within its ranks and its use of duplicitous software to thwart government regulators while dealing with the fallout from a video that captured Kalanick berating one of its own drivers.

To make matters worse, Khosrowshahi discovered that Uber had covered up a computer break-in that stole personal information about millions of riders and drivers. He also landed in the midst of a court battle that pitted Uber against a Google spinoff alleging that the ride-hailing service had conspired to steal its self-driving car technology while Kalanick was running things.

“It looked messy and it was messy,” Khosrowshahi said.

As part of the cleanup, Uber last week agreed to pay $245 million to settle the trade secrets case brought by Waymo, the company spawned by a self-driving car project started by Google. The settlement came after four days of trial testimony that included a dramatic appearance by Kalanick, who fended off accusations of orchestrating a elaborate high-tech heist during more than two hours on the witness stand.

“I thought Travis was terrific,” Khosrowshahi said. “I thought he really held up well, and spoke his mind. I think that helped us get to the settlement.”

Uber didn’t acknowledge any wrongdoing in the settlement that gave Waymo’s corporate parent, Alphabet Inc., more stock in the ride-hailing service. Google, which is also owned by Alphabet, had already accumulated Uber stock as one of the company’s early investors.

Alphabet and other investors stand to reap big gains on their stakes if Uber files for an initial public offering of stock next year, as Khosrowshahi plans. But how well Uber’s stock fares on Wall Street will likely be tied to whether the company proves it can make money — something it isn’t close to doing now.

Uber lost $4.5 billion in 2017, widening from a $2.8 billion setback in the previous year. The results released earlier this week showed Uber pared its fourth-quarter loss by 25 percent from the third quarter, a modestly encouraging sign.

Gross revenue for the year rose 85 percent over 2016, to $37 billion.

Uber’s results are difficult to decipher because it only divulges pieces of data, taking advantage of its status as a privately held company. Khosrowshahi detailed them on a conference call with investors Tuesday, and the company disclosed some data to a website called The Information.

A person briefed on the results provided some numbers and confirmed the accuracy of The Information’s story to The Associated Press on Wednesday. The person didn’t want to be identified because Uber remains a private company.

In a sign that the negative publicity surrounding its problems alienated many consumers, Uber’s share of the ride-hailing market in the U.S. fell from 82 percent at the start of last year to 70 percent in the fourth quarter. People’s view of Uber has become “appropriately negative,” Khosrowshahi conceded Wednesday.

Those numbers underscore Uber’s tenuous position, despite its pioneering role in the ride-hailing industry that enabled it to build a substantia lead over rivals such as Lyft, said Stephen Beck, managing partner of cg42,a management consulting firm. “Their app is just a download away from people moving on to a competitor,” he said.

In his appearance, Khosrowshahi said Uber could quickly reverse its losses by retreating from less-developed markets outside the U.S. and reducing the money it pours into expensive projects like its work on self-driving cars. That, he said, is something Uber isn’t ready to do yet.

“I am pretty confident that we can turn the knobs to make this business profitable, but it would sacrifice growth and innovation,” Khosrowshahi said.

While Uber’s losses are significant, the company appears to be on the right track under Khosrowshahi’s leadership, said Rohit Kulkarni, managing director of SharesPost, a research group focused on privately held companies. “If you draw that out further, a year from now, this could be a significant IPO waiting to happen,” he said.

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AP writer Krisher reported from Detroit.

Juan Texidor, a long time community leader and radio personality in Buffalo’s Puerto Rican community, entered into rest February 7, 2018; beloved husband of the late Isabel Marquez of Truillo Alto, Puerto Rico. Cherished grandfather of Nadia and Ilyssa Martinez; dear brother of Jose Rivera, Sanitago and Felica Rivera: fond uncle of Marisol Rivera, Sylvia Irizarry Marquez, Liz Irizarry Marquez, Mayra Delgado Marquez; Spiritual son Edwin Martinez, Yuri Cisneros and Iris Diaz; also survived by relatives and friends.

Juan Texidor was born in Ciudad de Guayama, Puerto Rico and migrated to Western New York in 1951. Juan completed formal education in Puerto Rico. Juan enjoyed a 35-year career at the Ford Motor Company and was very active in Democratic politics and Buffalo’s Hispanic/Latino community. He eventually became a very well-known voice on the airwaves with his weekly Spanish language radio program “Ecos Borincanos” which spanned almost 40 years. Juan was one of the founding fathers of the Pucho Olivencia Center on Swan Street and was a founding member of Hispanics United of Buffalo and many of the organizations that served Buffalo’s Latino/Hispanic community.  Juan was at the forefront of many of the social changes taking place in Buffalo, especially, in education, social justice, economics and politics

Juan Texidor served as the announcer of the Annual Grease Pole Festival for 46 Years.

Interview with Nicki Mayo below:

Radio Personality and Community Servant Juan Texidor

“This is classic salsa down here. This is romantic. Many boleros too,” said Buffalo’s Juan Texidor pointing to his extensive music collection. Texidor loves Latin music almost as much as he loves the Buffalo’s Latino community. The radio personality is the voice of WBBF’s “Ecos Boricanos” classic salsa show that has spanned almost 40 years.

“ Sixty- Seven years ago I came here to Buffalo. 67 years ago,” he said with a chuckle.

The Puerto Rican native moved to Queen City in 1951 to work at the Ford Plant, but Texidor says his life’s work lives through his community service.

“My joy is to help the community. Whenever they need me and I can help I go and help,” said Texidor. He retired from Ford in the mid 1980’s and has volunteered with civic groups ever since. Texidor held offices with the Puerto Rican Society for Mutual Help, The Puerto Rican American Community Association and Hispanic United of Buffalo. This last year Hispanic United is honoring Texidor’s community service. He says the organization has been the primary force working to building Buffalo’s Latino community.  Juan Texidor spent a lifetime in teaching children to read thru literacy Volunteers, with a goal of inspiring children to read books and learn about history and learning thru reading.  Juan Texidor was also at the forefront of educational reform in Bilingual Education.

 

“That center is helping the community a lot. Last year they helped 18,000 people,” smiled Texidor. He says he doesn’t know what would happen if the organization ever left Buffalo.

A devoted Niagara District resident, Texidor says he’ll never leave Buffalo. But he has watched many Latinos excel and then exit the Queen City.

“They got their education here. They progress over here. Then they move out over here. Some of them don’t care about the community anymore,” said the Hispanic sage.

Texidor says he cares for his 3000 plus records the same way he watches over his community.

“I don’t use this anymore,’ he said pointing to the vinyl records. “What I do with this is, pass it to CD,” he said showing he’s not afraid to change.

The radio Host says now more than ever it’s important to preserve Western New York’s Latino/ Hispanic traditions and pass it one to the next generation.

“We’ve been progressing slow, but we’re progressing,” said Texidor with a smile.

 

Adam Rippon, the openly gay U.S. figure skater who helped the Americans win a bronze medal in the Olympic team competition earlier this week, grew emotional at a news conference Tuesday talking about the “overwhelming” support he is receiving and the opportunity his Olympic berth has given him to reach young people who might be struggling with their sexuality.

“Being here at the Olympics does give me a louder voice,” Rippon said. “It has given me a platform. It’s given me a voice to reach to young kids. I’ve gotten so many messages I could even get emotional thinking about it, but I’ve gotten so many messages from young kids all over the country that my story’s resonated with them. It’s incredibly powerful this platform that you can have at the Olympic Games.

”Rippon said after the news conference that he had spent part of his morning starting to write an email to an 18-year-old gay man from outside of Detroit who wrote to Rippon’s agent saying the skater’s story gave him hope.

“I really want to take my time with this,” Rippon said of his response to the young man.

Rippon, 28, said he stood by his comments in my USA TODAY Sports story Jan. 17 criticizing Vice President Pence’s record on gay rights. Within an hour of the publication of that story, Pence’s press secretary responded to Rippon’s comments. The Vice President’s office has disputed Rippon’s characterization of his record.

“When we did the interview for USA TODAY, you asked me a really simple question and I gave you a really simple answer,” Rippon said. “And that the vice president felt so passionately to speak out is I think a very interesting and unique experience that I’ve never gone through.”

But Rippon said he continues to want to keep his focus on his next Olympic event, the men’s short and long programs Friday and Saturday.

“I have no problem talking about what I’ve said because I stand by it,” he said. “But I think right now, the Olympics are about the competition and the athletes involved. I talked to you about how I felt before the Games (and) it’s brought a lot of attention and questions to my other teammates. I don’t want to distract from their Olympic experience, and I don’t want my Olympic experience to be about Mike Pence.”

His back and forth with Pence has made Rippon a hero to some and a villain to others.

“In the past week, in addition to all the support I’ve gotten, I’ve heard a lot of people say, Adam Rippon should tone it down, and blah blah blah. I can’t. I can’t tone it down. I’m being me and I’m being myself and I’d be doing myself an injustice and I’d be doing an injustice to those kids who don’t feel like they’re comfortable to be themselves.”

Adam Rippon fires back at critics with inspiring message about failure

After helping the USA win a bronze medal in the Olympic team figure skating competition, Adam Rippon recently said the amount of support he has received as an openly gay athlete has been “overwhelming.”

But the 28-year-old apparently has some haters, and he sent a powerful message firing back at them, explaining how his previous failures in life have helped him get to where he is.

Adam Rippon“To all those who tweet at me saying that they “hope I fail”, I have failed many times many times in my life. But more importantly, I’ve learned from every setback, proudly own up to my mistakes, grown from disappointments, and now I’m a glamazon bitch ready for the runway”.
Throughout the Games, Rippon and skier Gus Kenworthy — the first two openly gay men to represent the U.S. in the Olympics — and Canadian figure skater Eric Radford — who was part of the gold-medal winning team — have repeatedly expressed their pride in representing the LGBT community at the Olympics.
By: Christine Brennan

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — Chloe Kim stamped her name on a new era of snowboarding with a run down the halfpipe that, officially, did not mean anything, but to her, meant everything.

The Olympic gold medal was already hers but she knew she could do better. So, she cinched on her gloves, cranked up “Motorsport” on her iPod, said “This one’s for you Grams” — a shout-out to her South Korean grandmother, who was watching her in person for the first time — and dropped into the halfpipe to make history.

On the last run of Tuesday’s sunsplashed final, Kim hit back-to-back 1080-degree spins on her second and third jumps — repeating a combination no other woman has ever done in a competition.

She landed them squarely, sent her already super-hyped family at the bottom into overdrive and sent out the message that everyone from grandma to those at the roots of this sport love to hear: `’I knew I wasn’t going to be completely satisfied taking home the gold, but knowing that I could’ve done better.”

The 17-year-old from California made it look easy, but only afterward did she concede how difficult the past several months have been. Her story has been told and sold and marketed for gold: Her parents both emigrated to the United States from South Korea, and though it was more coincidence than any grand plan, Kim making her Olympic debut in the country where her family was from set up a sure path to stardom in the halfpipe and beyond.

She has commanded the progression in women’s snowboarding for at least two years now, and it was hard to imagine anyone beating her on the sport’s biggest stage, at her official coming-out party. But halfpipes are hard, the snow is frozen and nothing is for sure.

“There is a lot of pressure revolving around these games,” she said. “You wait for four years to come here and it’s definitely a lot of hype around a 1 1/2, 2-hour time period. It’s pretty nerve-wracking. You know you’re at the Olympics. It’s been a dream of mine since I was a little girl, to land a run that’s very important for me.”

She didn’t have to do it.

In the first of the day’s three runs, she flew higher than anyone on her opening straight air, then landed one 1080, and closed with a pair of inverted spins, each with well-timed, easy-to-see grabs of the board that the judges appreciate. Her score there was a 93.75, which put her nearly nine points clear of the other 11 riders, none of whom would crack 90.

The rest of the day was a contest for second, and China’s Liu Jiayu won it. She said injuries made her reboot and reconnect with her love of the sport, regardless of the result. It will be interesting to see how the 25-year-old’s attitude shifts four years hence, at the Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Third place went to another young American: 21-year-old Arielle Gold, who casually announced afterward that she had separated her shoulder here on the second day of training, much the way she did on a training run in Sochi four years ago that forced her to scratch from the competition.

“The doctors (say) that the more that it happens, the less impactful it is,” Gold said.

That bronze-medal run pushed Kelly Clark — she of the one gold and two Olympic bronzes — into fourth. This was Clark’s fifth Olympics, and the 34-year-old left the halfpipe with her own future to consider, but knowing the future of the sport she helped bring to the masses is in very good hands.

“Chloe’s an outstanding snowboarder, but I’m more proud of her for how she’s handled herself as a person,” Clark said. `’She’s handled success and pressure with grace and class, and it’s refreshing.”

Kim’s journey included two years in Switzerland, where she lived with her aunt, learned French and honed her snowboarding skills.

Her father, Jong Jin, gave up his job to chase his daughter’s dream.

Down in the fans section, where Jong Jin was joined by his wife, Boran, along with Chloe’s two sisters, three aunts, two cousins, and her 75-year-old grandma, dad pointed to himself and said “American dream,” then let out a big whoop.

“I did, like, a 12-year sacrifice, and finally I got my reward,” he said. “Thank you very much (to) my daughter.”

She put on quite a show, and she will be rewarded in ways large and small. Heck, her Instagram following nearly doubled, to 350,000, since she arrived in South Korea — and that was before she won the gold.

But deep down, she knows where the real thanks belonged. Her way of giving it was the classic run she put down at the end.

“To just quit work and travel with your kid full-time, leaving your wife behind and really chasing this dream because your kid is really passionate about this sport, I’m always so thankful for that,” she said. “And today, I really did it for my family and everything they’ve done for me.”

La canciller de Perú emitió el mensaje tras una reunión de la coalición que reclama “la restauración de la democracia” en ese país

Por: AP

Perú anunció este martes que ha reconsiderado la invitación que extendió al presidente venezolano Nicolás Maduro para asistir a la Cumbre de las Américas, a celebrarse en Lima en abril.

La decisión –que se dio a conocer por la canciller peruana– fue respaldada por el Grupo de Lima, que reúne a 14 países americanos. El bloque además expresó a través de un comunicado su “más firme rechazo” a la convocatoria de elecciones presidenciales en Venezuela debido a que éstas se adelantaron sin haber llegado a un acuerdo con la oposición.

“Perú ha decidido expresar con respecto de la invitación al presidente Nicolás Maduro a la octava Cumbre de las Américas de Lima que su presencia ya no será bienvenida en dicho encuentro”, dijo la ministra de Relaciones Exteriores de Perú, Cayetana Aljovín, tras una reunión de la coalición que reclama “la restauración de la democracia”, en Venezuela.

La falta de consenso sobre la convocatoria a los comicios del 22 de abril provocó la suspensión de las mesa de diálogos que se llevaba a cabo desde diciembre entre el gobierno y la oposición en República Dominicana para tratar de buscar una salida a la crisis política y económica que vive el país.

Maduro anunció que buscará la reelección como único candidato del oficialismo, mientras los líderes de la oposición sostienen que los comicios no garantizan sus candidaturas.

El grupo de Lima instó a Venezuela a presentar un nuevo calendario electoral y permitir la participación de todos los actores políticos del país.

De manera paralela, Colombia adelantó la regularización de miles de venezolanos que entraron a su territorio de manera ilegal: la canciller colombiana, María Ángela Holguín, aseguró que el flujo de venezolanos que salen de su país “se ha más que cuadriplicado” entre el año pasado y lo que va de éste. Muchos de ellos, salen por la frontera de más de  dos mil 200 kilómetros que separan Colombia y Venezuela.

“Queremos dar esa legalidad a esas personas que han pasado por puestos ilegales, (decirles) que pueden permanecer en Colombia con un estatus migratorio que vamos a definir en un corto tiempo”, agregó Holguín.

En 2017, el número de venezolanos instalados en Colombia se disparó: pasaron de unos 350 mil a más de medio millón en apenas seis meses, entre los residentes y los que entraron de forma irregular.

 

A través de un comunicado, Michael Cohen aseguró que ese dinero salió de su bolsillo, y deslindó al mandatario del escándalo

Por: EFE

Uno de los abogados del presidente de Estados Unidos, Donald Trump, ha reconocido el pago de 130 mil dólares a la actriz porno Stormy Daniels, aunque dijo que el dinero salió de su bolsillo y no explicó el porqué.

“Ni la organización Trump ni la campaña de Trump participaron en la transacción con la señora Stephanie Clifford (Stormy Daniels), y tampoco me reembolsaron el pago directa o indirectamente”, afirmó Michael Cohen en un comunicado remitido este martes al The New York Times.

Es la primera vez que el entorno de Trumpreconoce este pago del que había informado en enero pasado The WallStreet Journal.

Según ese rotativo, Michael Cohen pagó a Daniels 130 mil dólares antes de las elecciones de noviembre de 2016 para que no hablase en público de la relación sexual que había mantenido con el ahora presidente hace una década.

La publicación fue un gran escándalo, ya que la supuesta relación ocurrió poco después de que Trump y la actual primera dama, Melania Trump, contrajesen matrimonio.

“El pago a la señora Clifford fue legal y no fue una contribución de campaña ni un gasto de campaña de nadie”, dijo el abogado, que aseguró haber dado explicaciones a la Comisión Electoral Federal tras una denuncia por presunta malversación de fondos de campaña.

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