Monthly Archives: January 2019

(Atlanta) Maroon 5’s half-time show, aided by appearances from Travis Scott and Big Boi, was an utterly conventional rundown of the band’s biggest hits

By: ESPN

Let’s hope you weren’t banking on Maroon 5 to salvage a surprisingly dull Super Bowl (or is it a Punt Bowl?). With an arsenal of pop hits at their disposal, the Adam Levine-led septet gave the fans at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium a pretty forgettable half-time show, with assists from Travis Scott, Outkast’s Big Boi, and a gospel choir that added some vocal heft to Levine’s sweet but thin falsetto. Perhaps that’s what the NFL wanted, what with the league’s chronic aversion to pushing the envelope, but the show brought into sharp focus the achievements of recent half-time show acts like Prince, Beyoncé and Lady Gaga who, singing and dancing in equal measure, helmed their shows all by themselves.

Don’t get me wrong: I grew up on Maroon 5’s debut album Songs About Jane, a lovely collection of pop-rock earworms, and thankfully the band played beloved oldies like This Love and She Will Be Loved. But, as far as half-time performances go, the show itself was a pretty toothless, cookie-cutter affair, marked by the requisite pyrotechnics and some floating lanterns as Adam and co ran down a list of radio hits: Harder to Breathe, Sugar, Girl Like You, and Moves Like Jagger among them.

During the latter track, Levine threw caution to the wind and took his shirt off, revealing his much bandied-about torso in homage to the song’s titular Rolling Stone. It was a last-ditch attempt at some gravitas after several minutes of unenthusiastic guitar-strumming and hip-gyrating, but it came over as a little lame and must have elicited an eye-roll from Janet Jackson, who was crucified for her wardrobe malfunction at the Super Bowl exactly 15 years ago.

These days, the NFL finds itself it right in the thick of the culture wars, mired in controversy over its tepid approach to player safety (most notably the crisis of brain damage among retired players, and the NFL’s historic slow-walk on the issue) and the league’s owners’ collective blackballing of Colin Kaepernick in the wake of his decision to protest against police brutality during the national anthem two years ago. Throw in commissioner Roger Goodell’s mismanagement of about a half-dozen other controversies – Deflategate, domestic violence, and some patently racist remarks by team owners – and one can understand why merely associating with the league has, in some enclaves of the entertainment world, become verboten.

Case in point: Rihanna, Cardi B, Pink, and Jay-Z all reportedly turned down the chance to helm this year’s half-time show, a few of them pointing specifically to the NFL’s treatment of Kaepernick. Travis Scott initially refused too, but agreed after the NFL agreed to donate $500,000 to Dream Corps, a social justice advocacy group focused on fighting poverty (Maroon 5 and its label Interscope donated the same amount to Big Brothers Big Sisters, a youth mentorship organization). Years ago it would have been hard to imagine anyone turning down what was once considered the biggest gig in entertainment.

Maroon 5, then, were a suitable choice for a league that has taken great pains to safeguard its status as the national pastime and maintain as broad an appeal as possible. Scott’s cameo was intended to provide a jolt, and he did indeed crowd-surf after a breathless and heavily-bleeped performance of SICKO MODE and Like a Light, but the appearance was short-lived. Then came hometown favorites Sleepy Brown and Big Boi (André 3000 is too busy starring in Claire Denis films), who performed the Outkast classic The Way You Move, clad in fabulous furs, and was gone in a flash.

The half-time show is a necessarily star-powered event, and so as long as the performer has about a half-dozen recognizable hits to play, disaster is almost always averted. But the bar should be higher than the staid, run-of-the-mill jaunt we got from Maroon 5. True, it’s not always rainbows and butterflies, but it didn’t have to fall this flat.

 

Algunos techos volaron como hojas de papel. Los postes de concreto quedaron doblados, las líneas eléctricas enroscadas en el piso. Y familias enteras lo perdieron todo al paso de un tornado y fuertes lluvias que dejaron cuatro muertos y al menos 195 heridos en La Habana el domingo en la noche y el lunes en la madrugada.

En un recorrido que hizo The Associated Press por la capital de Cuba pudo percatarse de la devastación causada por el meteoro, el cual fue descrito con pánico por los vecinos de varias barriadas que, tras una noche de vientos, amanecieron con calles bloqueadas por escombros, casas derrumbadas, láminas de techo retorcidas, tanques de los edificios desplazados varios metros y autos incrustados en viviendas

Julio Menéndez, quien trabaja en un restaurante en el municipio 10 de Octubre de La Habana, relató que estaba en su casa en la noche cuando oyó un estremecimiento indescriptible.

“De momento se sintió un ruido como si fuera un avión cayéndose. Lo único que hice fue abrazar a las niñas”, dijo Menéndez, quien tiene 33 años y dos hijas de 9 y 12 años. “Esto parece una película de terror”.

Los expertos indicaron que el eje del tornado se desplazó 11 kilómetros sobre la zona más poblada de la capital alrededor de las 8.30 de la noche. Duró unos 16 minutos.

A varios kilómetros de allí, en el municipio de Guanabacoa, María Esther Linares vio cómo se desplomó parte del techo de su casa y, temiendo por su vida y la de sus dos nietas pequeñas, salió a buscar ayuda cuando una ráfaga de viento la arrastró por los aires provocándole la muerte, relató su nieto Yoelkis Dip.

Linares residía en un albergue de pequeños apartamentos junto a unas 300 personas, entre ellas la enfermera Teresa Galarza, de 53 años, quien se salvó a sí misma y a su hijo metiéndose debajo de un colchón mientras una lluvia de ladrillos les caía encima.

Desesperada, Dianabys Bueno, una trabajadora independiente de 31 años, no sabe qué le depara el futuro. El tornado dañó parte de su casa y quedó herida de una pierna y un brazo.

“Vivía en un edificio de Centro Habana y pasó lo mismo”, indicó Bueno, quien reside en el albergue _que las autoridades habilitan para las personas sin hogar_ desde hace 11 años cuando perdió su casa en un edificio que se desplomó por mal estado.

“Ahora no voy a irme a ningún lado”, agregó Bueno al borde del llanto, rechazando la oferta de las autoridades de ser trasladada temporalmente a una escuela u otro local. “Quiero una solución definitiva”.

Unos metros más allá, otra madre sola con tres hijas llamada Yanelis Roche, de 31 años, metió a las niñas debajo de una cama en medio de lo que describió como el rugido de una turbina. Cuando asomó la cabeza, todo su techo se había ido y no quedaba un solo electrodoméstico intacto.

Pese a estar acostumbrados a lidiar con ciclones destructivos en la temporada estival y tener una vasta cultura que les permite prepararse para enfrentarlos, los cubanos no salían de su asombro el lunes ante la tormenta y su tornado, un evento sorpresivo y difícil de pronosticar.

Consultado por la AP, Miguel Ángel Hernández, experto en ciencias geográficas y jefe de turno del Instituto de Meteorología de Cuba, explicó que el fenómeno “es inusual en nuestra latitud”.

Según indicó no hay precedentes de un tornado que ocurriera sobre la ciudad de La Habana.

José Rubiera, el meteorólogo cubano más conocido, indicó que, con base en la devastación desatada, es posible determinar que el tornado alcanzó la categoría EF4 en la escala de Fujita-Person _que clasifica el poder de estos fenómenos atmosféricos_, con vientos de entre 267 y 320 kilómetros por hora.

“Es un fenómeno de muy rara frecuencia”, explicó Rubiera. “Es mucho más que un ciclón… que no es posible predecir”.

Los reportes indican que un tornado devastador similar ocurrió en 1940 en el pequeño pueblo de Bejucal, en las proximidades de La Habana.

El chofer Oster Rodríguez relató que una nube densa y arremolinada descendió sobre la plaza central del barrio Reparto Modelo en el Municipio de Regla “como una bola de fuego”.

No hay un cálculo oficial de los daños materiales.

En el Hospital Hijas de Galicia, todos los pacientes _mujeres embarazadas o con recién nacidos_ fueron evacuados a otro centro médico. La institución de siete pisos se quedó sin cristales porque el viento los succionó, dejando sólo las cortinas ondeando.

Igualmente se trasladó a 200 maestros de un centro educativo.

El presidente Miguel Díaz Canel publicó fotos en Twitter la madrugada del lunes en las que se le veía con rescatistas, además de una imagen de lo que parece ser un vehículo volcado por la tormenta.

Aunque además de los 3 muertos las autoridades reportaron a unos 172 heridos, algunas personas heridas dijeron a la AP que no habían informado sobre sus lesiones por ser menores o no tener tiempo, por lo que el daño a nivel humano podría ser peor. Las autoridades indicaron que 30 ciudadanos estaban hospitalizados de gravedad.

Funcionarios estimaron que un millón de personas se quedaron sin energía eléctrica en la noche del domingo y el lunes. La mitad de ellas permanecía sin el servicio. Hay 250.000 habitantes sin agua.

Se reportaron también de manera preliminar 1.238 viviendas afectadas, de las cuales 124 sufrieron un derrumbe total, y siete accidentes de tránsito. Entre otros, se dañaron cuatro policlínicos, un hogar de ancianos y 46 escuelas.

Los barrios más afectados continuaban sin energía eléctrica y sin agua con sus calles bloqueadas, al tiempo que brigadas de trabajadores comenzaban a poner orden en la ciudad.

(Buffalo, NY) Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz declared a state of emergency for the county on Wednesday afternoon.

Later in the day, a state of emergency was also issued for the City of Buffalo.

Along with this, a number of travel bans were issued, mostly in the southern part of Erie County and all of Genesee County.

This is no ordinary blizzard that’s blasting Buffalo and the Southtowns.

Not only is the lake-effect fueled storm dropping snow at a rate of 1 or 2 inches per hour, powerful winds are creating whiteout conditions.

Then there’s the deep, bone-chilling, even life-threatening cold.

Weather forecasters and public officials alike spent much of the day pleading with the public to take this storm seriously.

Erie County declared a state of emergency for the county and issued travel bans in several towns and villages in the southern and eastern parts of the county.

“A State of Emergency exists for all of Erie County due to a Blizzard,” Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz tweeted Wednesday afternoon. “Visibility in the worst locations is less than 20 feet. Major problem is w/tractor trailer jack-knifes on roads, including Routes 20, 75, 62 and Transit Road.”

Route 5, including the Skyway, was closed from Ridge Road to Interstate-190. Transit Road was shut down between Milestrip Road and 20A because of an accident. The county pulled snow plows off the roads in parts of Aurora and West Falls because of the deteriorating conditions.

It may only get worse, said National Weather Service meteorologist Dave Zaff.

The reason was two bands of lake-effect snow coming off Lake Erie: one over metro Buffalo and the other, a bigger, more potent one, over the Southtowns extending from the Pennsylvania line, across the Boston Hills and into the far northwest corner of Wyoming County. The bands are converging over Genesee County where they’re causing whiteout conditions.

Lake-effect storms have a tendency to hit “peak intensity” during the evening hours, Zaff said.

“You’ll see some increased intensity,” he said. “But it’s already awful so you’re not going to be able to detect any difference.”

At the same time, the bitter cold is getting worse.

“It’s going to continue to drop below zero,” Zaff said.

He recommended staying off the roads until at least the blizzard warning expires at 1 a.m.

“We don’t recommend travel,” he said.

As for folks headed home from downtown this afternoon?

“We’re kind of recommending not commuting,” Zaff said.

The storm officially was declared a blizzard just after noon by the National Weather Service. Kirk Apffel, a meteorologist, said a blizzard warning was in effect for Erie, Genesee and Wyoming counties through 1 a.m. Thursday.

 

    In this Jan. 25, 2019 photo, President Donald Trump speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. Trump is dismissing a tell-all book by a former White House aide as “made up stories and fiction.” The book by Cliff Sims, “Team of Vipers,” compares many Trump aides to serpents. Trump is tweeting that Sims “pretended to be an insider when in fact he was nothing more than a gofer.” (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – With little time to craft a deal over funding security operations on the U.S.-Mexico border, a bipartisan group of lawmakers was to meet in a public work-session on Wednesday even as President Donald Trump maintained a hard line on constructing a massive wall.

    Congressional negotiators are up against a Feb. 15 deadline for agreeing on funding through Sept. 30 for several federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security and its border operations.

    Realistically, Republican and Democratic lawmakers have about a week to settle differences and still give the full House of Representatives and Senate time to debate and vote on any deal.

    A 35-day partial shutdown of agencies was triggered on Dec. 22 when Trump refused to sign funding bills that did not contain $5.7 billion for a wall along the southwestern U.S. border.

    Faced with steadfast opposition in the Democratic-majority House, Trump relented on Friday, agreeing to re-open federal agencies temporarily without his $5.7 billion request. In return, Congress agreed to a special panel to negotiate a border security deal.

    Trump has threatened a resumption of the record-long shutdown if the panel fails to find common ground or produces a plan he does not like.

    In a tweet on Wednesday, Trump warned: “If the committee of Republicans and Democrats now meeting on Border Security is not discussing or contemplating a Wall or Physical Barrier, they are Wasting their time!”

    Physical barriers have long been installed on parts of the border to keep out illegal drugs and undocumented immigrants and more are underway.

    It was unclear whether Trump, who views the current arrangement as insufficient, would accept a simple continuation of such installations. Building a wall on the U.S. southern border – with Mexico paying for it – was one of Trump’s most often repeated promises during the 2016 presidential campaign. Mexico has refused to pay for a wall.

    Democrats, arguing a border wall is ineffective, say they want a mix of security tools: drones, sensors, scanning devices and fences, along with more border patrol agents.

    Wednesday’s committee meeting might be the only public session since behind-the-scenes negotiations are the stage for the real bargaining.

    The session is expected to mainly allow the seven Senate negotiators and 10 House negotiators an opportunity to make opening statements. The committee is headed by House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey, a Democrat, and Republican Richard Shelby, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

    With a mix of wall supporters and opponents, it is unclear whether the panel will reach agreement.

    Republican Representative Kay Granger was optimistic, telling reporters she and Lowey “have worked together well” over the years.

    If Congress denies his request, Trump has threatened to declare a “national emergency” in order to take existing funds appropriated by Congress for other purposes – possibly from the Defense Department, for example – to build his wall.

    There is bipartisan opposition in Congress to that plan, which likely would spark legal challenges since the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to appropriate funds and direct their use.

      Juan Guaido, head of Venezuela's opposition-run congress, declares himself interim president of the nation until elections can be held during a rally demanding President Nicolas Maduro's resignation in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

      CARACAS/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House warned traders on Wednesday not to deal in Venezuelan gold or oil following its imposition of stiff sanctions aimed at forcing socialist President Nicolas Maduro from power.

      National security adviser John Bolton tweeted that traders should not deal in gold, oil or other commodities “being stolen” from the Venezuelan people, even as opponents of Maduro’s government worried that a Russian plane in Caracas was preparing to ship gold out of the country.

      U.S. President Donald Trump spoke to Venezuela’s self-proclaimed interim president, Juan Guaido, by phone on Wednesday, reiterating support for his “fight to regain democracy.”

      On one side of the tussle for control of Venezuela, an OPEC member that has the world’s largest oil reserves but is in dire financial straits, Guaido and Western backers led by the United States are insisting on an immediate transition and fresh elections.

      On the other, Maduro, with backing from Russia, China and Turkey, says he will remain for his second six-year term despite accusations of fraud in his re-election last year and the economic meltdown.

      Venezuela’s struggle to pay its debts even to allies Russia and China amid a sharp drop in oil output has been exacerbated by the new sanctions, which will make it very hard to sell oil to its main client, the United States.

      In that context, the unusual arrival in Caracas of a Boeing 777 plane from Moscow on Monday led to speculation Maduro’s government was preparing to ship more gold reserves out of the country, following shipments last year of $900 million of gold to Turkey last year. Those shipments were part of a strategy to increase the Central Bank’s liquidity.

      Venezuelan lawmaker Jose Guerra, a former Central Bank economist, told the National Assembly his understanding was that the plane would take some gold reserves to Russia when it leaves. The Central Bank did not respond to a request for comment.

      Sources have told Reuters private military contractors who do secret missions for Moscow were in Venezuela.

      Elliott Abrams, the U.S. envoy for Venezuela, said the United States was looking around the world for more assets of the Maduro government, including gold holdings and bank accounts

      The Kremlin said this week it expected Venezuela to pay its debts. Russia, which like China has loaned and invested billions of dollars in OPEC member Venezuela, called on Guaido to drop his demand for a snap election and instead accept mediation.

      But given the failure of previous rounds of dialogue between the government and opposition, including one led by the Vatican, opponents are suspicious, believing Maduro uses them to quell protests and buy time.

      Guaido’s envoy to the United States, Carlos Vecchio, said the only dialogue they were interested in would be a negotiation for Maduro’s departure and new elections. Government officials insist the next presidential election will be in 2025.

      FRESH PROTESTS

      Responding to a call by Guaido, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in cities across Venezuela on Wednesday, some waving Venezuelan flags while drivers of cars and buses honked in support.

      “I want this government to go, it has been a total humiliation for the country” said Lucy Cordoba, 51, a government worker in the poor hillside town of Petare at the edge of the capital, where she said trash had not been collected for a year and water was scarce.

      Cordoba said her children were among the more than 3 million Venezuelans who have left the country in the past couple of years. One went to Peru, and another to Dominican Republic.

      More than 40 people have died so far in and around the protests that began a week ago, the U.N. human rights office said. Hundreds have also been arrested, including children.

      White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Trump and Guaido agreed to maintain regular communication after Venezuelan authorities opened an investigation that could lead to Guaido’s arrest.

      Oil prices rose nearly 3 percent on Wednesday, as investors remained concerned about supply disruptions because of Venezuela

      Maduro, 56, says Guaido is staging a U.S.-directed coup against him. Facing the biggest challenge to his rule since replacing Hugo Chavez six years ago, Maduro told Moscow’s RIA news agency on Wednesday that Trump ordered “the government of Colombia and the Colombian mafia to kill me,” reprising an accusation of assassination plots that he has often made over the years.

      Bogota and Washington have routinely denied that.

      However, speculation about military action against him was fueled this week when Trump national security adviser John Bolton carried a notepad with the words “5,000 troops to Colombia”. U.S. Major General Mark Stammer, the commander of U.S. Army South, was in Colombia on Wednesday, U.S. embassy officials said.

      In response to Guaido’s invitation to army officers to join his cause in return for an amnesty, Maduro has made daily visits to troops, whose pledges of allegiance are televised. He is not expected to stand down while he has the backing of senior military officers.

      “Do you want to be a coward,” he yelled in a call and response session with hundreds of soldiers on Wednesday.

      “No, president,” they shouted back.

      Edwin Martinez is the Publisher and Owner the Largest Latino Newspaper and Online News Organization serving Buffalo, Rochester and Dunkirk New York. Thru Panorama Hispano News daily online Newspaper, Panorama reaches readers in Puerto Rico, Chicago, New York City, Houston, Los Angeles, Dallas, Orlando and Miami, and many other large Latino markets across the nation and around the world, including Spain and Mexico.  Edwin was born in Buffalo, NY. And raised in New York City and Buffalo, New York. His professional career began in 1987, when he joined an International conglomerate company with sales in the Billions of dollars as a corporate manager. He then entered Politics as a Legislative Director in the New York State Senate. In 1989, he became Chief of staff at New York State Parole Board and of the Division of Parole serving Governor Mario Cuomo. In 1995, he was offered the Under Sheriff position in New York City but declined because of family commitments. That year, he moved on to become Regional Director of Programs at the New York State Division of Parole. Edwin, Likewise, worked at the US Justice Department.

      Edwin also built an impressive record of accomplishment in the human service arena beginning in the early eighties. In 1983, he helped created the Consortium of Spanish Speaking Organizations, the first full service agency headed by a Puerto Rican/Latino in Buffalo, followed by the founding of the Western New York Hispanic and Friends Civic Association. He provided the leadership and spearheaded the creation of Western New York’s first residential substance abuse treatment program, then incorporated and served the board of La Alternativa, Buffalo’s first Hispanic based substance abuse prevention program. He then merged La Alternativa with The Puerto Rican Chicano Committee and The Puerto Rican American Community Association to create Buffalo’s largest Hispanic Organization, Hispanos Unidos de Buffalo.

      Edwin has also been a Generous Philanthropist to the Latino and Western New York community, funding College Scholarships, Youth Programing, Hispanic Heritage Council of WNY, Hispanic Veterans Memorial and Senior Services throughout his lifetime. Likewise, he has given and raised monies for political candidate for the last 35 years.

      A pioneer in healthcare reform in Western New York, Edwin Served on The health Systems Agency board for 15 years. Where, he regulated HealthCare provider services thru local Hospitals, Nursing Homes and ambulatory care facilities throughout Western New York. Likewise, Edwin has served on the Board of Directors of Columbus Hospital and Waterfront Nursing home which were later merge with Buffalo General Hospital.

      As a Ward chairman and Executive member of The Democratic Party, Edwin was instrumental in the election of the first Latino Judge, Councilmembers and The first Puerto Rican Mayor of the City of Dunkirk. As well as coordinated campaigns for Governors, Senators and State Assembly members. Likewise, Edwin served on the transition teams of various Governors, County Executives and Mayors across New York State and Western New York, which opened doors to the first Latino Commissioners, and Deputy Commissioners in the City of Buffalo. As well, Edwin’s involvement in government opened the doors too many Latinos in government positions today.

      Edwin has also been active throughout his lifetime in improving outcomes within the public schools system. While at the same time, creating organizations in Higher Education to serve the needs of Latino College Students.

      Today, through his vision, commitment, and leadership, Panorama Hispano News continues to grow and continues to be the number one news source for Latinos around Western New York, while, also reaching across the country and around the world.

       

        The president and congressional leaders have reached an agreement to reopen the government without funds for Trump’s proposed border wall.

        By: EFE

        WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — President Donald Trump announced Friday he will support a plan to reopen the government without funds for a border wall.

        Congressional leaders and the president reached an agreement to temporarily reopen the government and to continue discussions on Trump’s demand for funds for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

        The agreement means the government would reopen closed departments for three weeks while talks continue for Trump’s request for $5.7 billion for border security.

        Trump spoke from the Rose Garden of the White House Friday afternoon saying that he will sign a bill to reopen the federal government for three weeks. He’s also asking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to put the bill up for a vote immediately.

        “I have a very powerful alternative, but I didn’t want to use it at this time,” Trump said, referencing his threat to declare a national emergency.

        Trump also spent time thanking furloughed federal employees and those who have gone without pay for more than a month saying, “You are fantastic people; you are incredible patriots.”

        The president said once the government reopens, they will make sure all employees will get back pay “very quickly or as soon as possible.”

        The bill will keep the government open for the next three weeks — until Feb. 15.

        The partial government shutdown hit day 35 on Friday with about 800,000 federal workers missing another paycheck. The announcement to reopen to government came hours after severe staffing shortages at air traffic control centers temporarily halted flights in and out of New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

        Staffing shortages amid the shutdown also delayed flights to other airports nationwide, including Tampa International Airport.

        At the White House Thursday, Trump told reporters he would support a “reasonable agreement” to reopen the government. He also suggested he wanted a “prorated down payment” for his long-sought border wall with Mexico.

         

          On Sunday January 19,2019 Students, Attorneys and support staff from The University of Buffalo School of Law returned to Puerto Rico to continue assisting  the residents of Puerto Rico with their recovery efforts.

          While in Puerto Rico, UB Staff met with former Buffalo residents who now reside in Puerto Rico for consultation on what still needs to be done. Former Vice President of Bank of America, Fernando Garcia Martinez, Edwin Martinez, Publisher of Panorama Hispano News and Augustin “Chito” Olivencia  who has ties to the current Governor advised and provided logistic assistance.

          The School of Law which launched a new law clinic in November of 2018 in response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria, which has left hundreds of thousand of Puerto Ricans American in critical need of legal assistance.

          Through the Puerto Rico Recovery Assistance Legal Clinic, a group of specially trained UB law students learned relevant law in Buffalo and then travel to Puerto Rico in January to offer hands-on legal assistance, providing direct access to justice for those in urgent need.

           

          “Puerto Rico is facing not just a natural disaster, but a legal disaster,” says Kim Diana Connolly, professor and vice dean for advocacy and experiential education, and director of the law school’s Clinical Legal Education Program. ( Pictured to left) “As electricity and other basics come online in the coming weeks and months, the demand for legal assistance will become paramount.

          “The immediate needs are vast, and we are still working with local experts to identify the best projects for UB law students to handle,” Connolly says. “We know the pressing needs range from direct legal representation of individuals and families to supporting those working within the Puerto Rican legal system trying to help citizens best navigate this tragedy.”

          Participating students will receive more than two weeks of intensive training by law school faculty, alumni and other legal experts, including attorneys from Buffalo, such as Octavio Villegas. (Picture below)

          They will identify the most urgent legal needs that residents and local government agencies are currently facing. Students will acquire the skills and substantive knowledge required to address legal aspects of disaster response. Connolly will coordinate the program and classes will take place at the law school.

          After the classroom component is completed, students will have an opportunity to travel to Puerto Rico on an ongoing basis and gain service experiences, providing essential legal assistance as supervised student attorneys. In addition to earning academic credit for their participation, students will learn practical skills and firsthand experience applying the rule of law to restore order and justice in an unsettled context.

          Luis Chiesa, Former Dean for Academic Affairs and criminal law professor at the law school and a native of Puerto Rico, will act as an academic consultant.

          “It is heartening to know that a group of UB law clinic students will head to my hometown of Puerto Rico to deliver sorely needed legal services,” says Chiesa. “This will not only benefit Puerto Rico, but also our students, as it affords them the opportunity to apply the legal skills that they have honed during the course of their legal studies.”

          The greater UB School of Law community also will participate: Alumni and faculty have volunteered to consult long distance in their areas of expertise to support law students serving clients in Puerto Rico.

          “Access to justice is at the heart of everything we do at the law school and this initiative is a perfect example,” says Dean Aviva Abramovsky. “We have a long history of providing pro bono service and teaching our students to view the world with compassion, knowing that regardless of where they ultimately choose to work, they have a moral responsibility, as lawyers and as leaders, to use their skills and knowledge to ensure justice and to give back.”

          Donations to help offset the cost of sending law students to provide on-the-ground assistance can be made online. For more information, contact the law school’s clinic at 716-645-2167 or law-clinic@buffalo.edu.

           

           

           

           

           

          Fernando Garcia Martinez

          Former Vice President Bank of America and CEO Panorama Hispano News

           

           

           

           

           

           

           

           

          Edwin Martinez, Jr. Owner and Publisher Panorama Hispano News Media LLC

          Founding Member: Hispanics United of Buffalo

           

            BY CAMILO MONTOYA-GALVEZ

            The federal government’s response to hurricanes Harvey and Irma on the mainland was faster and more “generous” — in terms of resources and funds — than its assistance to Puerto Rico before and in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, according to a newly released study.

            By analyzing federal spending estimates and other statistics, researchers at the University of Michigan found significant differences between the aid Texas and Florida received after the two states were hit by powerful storms and the assistance dispatched to Puerto Rico when María struck the island and U.S. territory in the fall of 2017.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-TRXTl0YOEA

            “The federal government responded on a larger scale and much more quickly across measures of federal money and staffing to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in Texas and Florida, compared with Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico,” researchers wrote in the report. “The variation in the responses was not commensurate with storm severity and need after landfall in the case of Puerto Rico compared with Texas and Florida.”

            According to the study, within nine days of landfall in the U.S. for Harvey and Irma, survivors in Texas and Florida received approximately $100 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds, while María survivors received about $6 million in FEMA assistance in the same amount of time.

            Researchers also detailed disproportionate levels of federal staffing for the three disaster responses. At its peak, 19,000 federal employees were stationed in Puerto Rico a month after María made landfall, compared to the peak in Texas of 31,000 emergency workers. Puerto Rico also received less food, water, tarps and helicopters than Texas and Florida, according to the study.

            The report’s authors added that “geographic limitations” do not fully explain the “magnitude of this variation” in the different responses. The Trump administration has argued that supplies and goods took longer to reach Puerto Rico because the territory is not part of the contiguous U.S. In September 2017, President Trump said, “This is an island, surrounded by water. Big water. Ocean water” to defend his government’s relief efforts in Puerto Rico.

            The office of Governor Ricardo Rosselló seized on the report to continue its criticism of the Trump administration’s handling of recovery efforts and to denounce the “colonial” treatment of the U.S. territory, home to approximately 3.2 million U.S. citizens.

            “The study released today is further evidence that the federal government dragged its feet during the biggest disaster in our recorded history, which took the lives of almost 3,000 citizens,” Carlos Mercader, executive director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration, which represent’s the island’s government in the U.S., wrote in a statement to CBS News.

            “We can only hope that the mounting evidence serves to improve the federal government’s response during the next natural disaster,” Mercader added. “Nevertheless, as long as we remain a mere territory without any say in our government, we will always get the short end of the stick in our fundamentally imperfect relationship with the United States.”

            Asked about the study, a FEMA spokesperson referred CBS News to an agency report published last summer in which FEMA conceded it was understaffed and unprepared to respond to the devastation caused by María. In the report, the agency also signaled it underestimated the amount of resources, including food supplies, that the island needed in the storm’s aftermath.

            After a follow-up inquiry, FEMA press secretary Elizabeth Litzow defended the agency’s work in Puerto Rico, which she said was “the largest and longest commodity delivery mission in the agency’s history.” She called the study’s finding that the federal response for Maria was slower than relief efforts for Harvey and Irma “absurd.”

            “An ideal response to any disaster is one that is federally supported, state managed and locally executed. FEMA’s ability to provide support in disasters builds on, and is subject to, the capacity of the state, territorial, tribal & local governments,” Litzow wrote Tuesday night in a statement to CBS News. “There were real challenges in Puerto Rico that had to be overcome — including aging infrastructure, a decayed power grid and liquidity issues.”

            The White House didn’t respond to CBS News’ request for comment.

            You can read FEMA’s full statement to CBS News below:

            Every disaster is different. Numbers alone cannot and do not provide a complete picture of what is needed to help communities recover. FEMA works closely with state, local, territorial, and tribal partners to support their response and recovery process, the length of which will vary based upon the unique circumstances of the particular event.

            FEMA’s response efforts in Puerto Rico is the largest and longest commodity delivery mission in the agency’s history. Commodities were delivered by air, off-road vehicles and even on foot.

            An ideal response to any disaster is one that is federally supported, state managed, and locally executed. FEMA’s ability to provide support in disasters builds on, and is subject to, the capacity of the state, territorial, tribal & local governments. There were real challenges in Puerto Rico that had to be overcome – including aging infrastructure, a decayed power grid and liquidity issues. With respect to Puerto Rico or any disaster, FEMA and its federal partners will continue to support governors with recovery and their outcome-driven goals.

            The unprecedented 2017 hurricane season was historic, but so has been the effort by FEMA and our numerous federal, state and local partners. The insinuation that federal response was “slower” is absurd. FEMA has and will always work tirelessly to support state, local, tribal and territorial partners to respond to and recover from disasters. 

            FEMA remains on the island to this day, ensuring that the people of Puerto Rico are able to emerge from the crisis more resilient than ever.

            En medio de su actual visita a Panamá, el papa Francisco envió un mensaje a los jóvenes de Puerto Rico.

            Por: EFE

            El sumo pontífice, que se encuentra en el vecino país por la celebración de la Jornada Mundial de la Juventud, exhortó a la alegría y al trabajo a los jóvenes de la isla.

            “Un afectuoso saludo a los jóvenes de Puerto Rico. Sigan trabajando. Sean alegres, sean alegres, porque Jesús está en los que son alegres de corazón. Que Dios los bendiga”, dijo el papa de origen argentino.

            La JMJ es un evento creado por Juan Pablo II que se celebra cada tres a cuatro años y que atrae a millones de personas, incluyendo a muchas personas que viajan desde Puerto Rico a asistir al evento que dura varios días. En la isla se organiza un evento paralelo, la JMJ desde Puerto Rico, a celebrarse entre el sábado y el domingo en el Santuario Nacional en Cupey.

             

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