Monthly Archives: August 2019

The Fund for the Arts (FFA) wishes to extend an invitation for you to join us to discuss the promotion of the arts sector on Wednesday, August 14 at 9:30 AM, at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo offices, Larkin at Exchange, 726 Exchange Street, Suite 525, Buffalo, NY 14206.

The FFA is a cooperative of WNY arts funders focused on strengthening the arts and cultural sector of the region.  The group has had feedback from the arts and cultural sector that the shifting landscape for media has left them with fewer ways to publicize their work and events.  We are hoping to gather relevant organizations and experts to start a conversation around this sector challenge.

We realize this is short notice, but hope you’re able to join us.  Please RSVP your attendance to Community Foundation Senior Program Officer Darren Penoyer atdarrenp@cfgb.org or 716-852-2857, x206.

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two mass shootings that killed 29 people in Texas and Ohio reverberated across the U.S. political arena on Sunday, with some Democratic presidential candidates accusing President Donald Trump of stoking racial divisions while he said “hate has no place in our country.”

    Dozens were also wounded Saturday and early Sunday in shootings within just 13 hours of each other in carnage that shocked a country that has become grimly accustomed to mass shootings and heightened concerns about domestic terrorism.

    The first massacre occurred on Saturday morning in the heavily Hispanic border city of El Paso, where a gunman killed 20 people at a Walmart store before surrendering. Authorities in Texas said the rampage appeared to be a racially motivated hate crime and federal prosecutors are treating it as a case of domestic terrorism.

    Across the country, a gunman opened fire in a downtown district of Dayton, Ohio, early on Sunday, killing nine people, including his sister, and wounding at least 27 others. The assailant, identified as Connor Betts, a 24-year-old white man, was taken down by police within 30 seconds but authorities still did not know his motive for the attack, the city’s police chief said.

    The El Paso shooting sent shock waves onto the campaign trail for next year’s presidential election, with most Democratic candidates repeating calls for tighter gun control measures and some drawing connections to a resurgence in white nationalism and xenophobic politics in the United States.

    Several 2020 candidates said Trump was indirectly to blame.

    “Donald Trump is responsible for this. He is responsible because he is stoking fears and hatred and bigotry,” U.S. Senator Cory Booker said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

    Speaking to reporters on the airport tarmac in Morristown, New Jersey after spending the weekend at his golf resort nearby, Trump said: “Hate has no place in our country, and we’re going to take care of it.”

    In his first public comments on the shootings, he said he had spoken to the FBI, Attorney General William Barr and members of Congress about what can be done to prevent such violence, adding that “we have to get it stopped.” But he offered no specifics, except to say he would make a statement on Monday morning.

    The Republican president did not address accusations by critics about his anti-immigrant and racially charged rhetoric, though he earlier called the El Paso shooting an “an act of cowardice.”

    “This is also a mental illness problem, if you look at both of these cases,” Trump told reporters.

    Trump ordered flags at half-staff in honor of the victims.

    Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney rebutted the Democrats’ allegations and attributed the shootings to “sick” individuals.

    “There’s no benefit here in trying to make this a political issue, this is a social issue and we need to address it as that,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.”

    Mexican foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard said Mexico would request, if necessary, extradition of the person responsible for the El Paso shooting. Mexico will consider litigation over an act of terrorism towards Mexicans in the United States.

    Six Mexicans were among those killed by the gunman in El Paso. “For Mexico, this individual is a terrorist,” Ebrard said at a news conference.

    It was a personal issue for Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, the former congressman who returned to El Paso after the attack in his hometown. Asked on CNN if he believed Trump was a white nationalist, he responded, “Yes, I do.”

    “He is an open avowed racist and is encouraging more racism in this country,” O’Rourke said.

    U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders said he agreed that Trump was a white nationalist. “All of the evidence out there suggests that we have a president who is a racist, who is a xenophobe who appeals, and is trying to appeal, to white nationalism,” Sanders said on CNN.

    “Clearly Donald Trump does not want anybody shooting down innocent people,” Sanders said, but his talk about invasions and calling Mexicans criminals risks leading unstable people to take up arms.

    ‘HISPANIC INVASION’

    A hallmark of Trump’s presidency has been his determination to curb illegal immigration. Trump has drawn criticism for comments disparaging Mexican immigrants and referring to the flood of migrants trying to enter through the U.S. southern border as an “invasion.”

    In recent weeks, critics also accused Trump of racism after his attacks on members of Congress who belong to racial or ethnic minorities. Trump has denied he is a racist or that he encourages white supremacists.

    Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, told Fox News Sunday: “There’s no question that white nationalism is condoned at the highest levels of our government.”

    “He’s given license for this toxic brew of white supremacy to fester more and more in this country, and we’re seeing the results of that,” Julian Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio, said on ABC.

    U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren said in a tweet “we need to call out the president himself for advancing racism and white supremacy.”

    Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and White House adviser, said on Twitter that “White supremacy, like all other forms of terrorism, is an evil that must be destroyed.”

    While authorities were still investigating the motive of the El Paso shooter, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said the rampage appeared to be a hate crime. Police cited a manifesto they attributed to the suspect, Patrick Crusius, a 21-year-old white man, as evidence the bloodshed was racially motivated.

    The statement called the Walmart attack “a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.” The manifesto also expressed support for the gunman who killed 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March.

    The shooting renewed attention to domestic terrorism. FBI Director Christopher Wray told a Senate hearing in July the majority of the domestic terrorism the FBI has investigated were “motivated by some version of what you might call white supremacist violence.”

    Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic frontrunner in opinion polls more than a year before the presidential election, said on Twitter: “We can’t fix a problem if we refuse to name it: white nationalism. An ideology emboldened by a president who stokes the flames of hatred and coddles white supremacists with messages of support.”

    The carnage ranked as the eighth-deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, after a 1984 shooting in San Ysidro, California, in which 21 people died.

    Despite several high-profile mass shootings in recent years, gun control has proven to be an intractable debate within the U.S. Congress.

    Trump, in response to a question about what could be done about the gun problem, told reporters he was “talking to a lot of people” and more needed to be done but gave no specifics.

    Republicans and some moderate Democrats have resisted placing additional restrictions on gun ownership, and efforts to improve mental health services or establish new ways to identify potential shooters before they act have not gained traction.

    Democratic leaders in Congress responded to the pair of shootings with a call for action, urging Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to hold an emergency session to debate gun control legislation. McConnell’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Pete Schroeder in Washington, Roberta Rampton in Morristown, N.J.; Additional reporting by Michelle Price, Susan Cornwell and Matt Spetalnick in Washington, Lisa Shumaker in Chicago, Daina Beth Solomon in Mexico City; Writing by Doina Chiacu, Matt Spetalnick and Frances Kerry, Editing by Nick Zieminski and Grant McCool

      (Reuters) – Mexico’s attorney general is considering litigation alleging that the mass shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, in which seven Mexicans were among the 20 people killed, was terrorism, the country’s foreign minister said on Sunday.

      Such a legal move could lead to a request for the extradition of the gunman, Mexico’s government said. U.S. authorities have cited a manifesto they attributed to the suspect as evidence that the massacre was racially motivated.

      “For Mexico, this individual is a terrorist,” Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said at a news conference, urging the United States to deliver a clear and forceful position against hate crimes.

      He did not say in which jurisdiction Mexico could file the litigation.

      El Paso is a heavily Latino city that sits on the U.S.-Mexico border across from Ciudad Juarez, a major gathering point for migrants aiming to cross into the United States and others waiting out requests for asylum in the United States.

      Ebrard said his ministry would request information from the United States on how the shooter acquired the weapon he used, and whether U.S. officials were aware of the purchase.

      “The fact that Mexicans have lost their lives, forces us to take the corresponding legal actions with respect to arms,” he said.

      Ebrard, who will visit El Paso on Monday, also named the seven Mexicans who died, and who mostly came from states along the U.S.-Mexico border.

      Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said that Mexico would push to make sure that authorities would be held accountable in the case that they allowed “excesses” such as the “indiscriminate use of arms.”

      “We’re nobody to recommend to other governments what they should do, but in Mexico there’s control over the handling of arms. In other countries, it’s like buying any merchandise, there’s no control,” he said.

      The government of leftist Lopez Obrador has come under pressure in recent months from U.S. President Donald Trump, who has demanded it do more to halt record flows of migrants to the United States under threat of imposing trade tariffs.

      Lopez Obrador lamented the deaths.

      “Social problems should not be resolved with use of force and incitement of hatred,” he said on Sunday.

      Mexico’s deputy foreign minister for North America, Jesus Seade, decried the shooting as “xenophobic barbarism” and called for an end to rhetoric that incites such acts.

      Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Grant McCool and Daniel Wallis

        LONDON (Reuters) – Global stocks fell for a sixth day on Monday as an escalation of trade tensions between the United States and China spooked markets and the yuan fell to its lowest levels in over a decade.

        Safe-haven assets including the Japanese yen, core government bonds and gold rallied.

        European shares fell to two-month lows, with the pan-European STOXX 600 index shedding 2% on top of the 2.5% it lost on Friday – its worst day so far in 2019 – after U.S. President Donald Trump signaled another round of tariffs on Chinese imports.

        “Markets had not been expecting the latest US-China trade talks to conclude with any significant breakthrough last week, but very few expected President Trump to slap 10% tariffs on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods,” said Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM.

        MSCI’s All Country World Index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, was down 0.7% on the day. That put it down almost 2% including Friday’s loss.

        Asian shares suffered their steepest daily drop in 10 months, with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan sinking 2.5% to depths not seen since late January.

        The VIX .VIX volatility index – also known as Wall Street’s “fear gauge” – rose to 19.02%, its highest since May 13, while Europe’s equivalent .V2TX hit its highest since early January.

        S&P 500 futures ESc1 were 1.35% lower.

        “We reiterate our view to scale back equity positions to strategic allocations after strong gains year to date, amid the ongoing trade-related uncertainties,” Credit Suisse analysts wrote in a note to clients.

        The biggest mover in currencies was the yuan, which fell past the key level of 7 to the dollar as Chinese authorities – expected to defend the currency at that level – allowed it to break through to its lowest in the onshore market since the 2008 global financial crisis.

        In offshore markets, the yuan CNH=EBS fell to its weakest since international trading of the Chinese currency began. Headed for its biggest one-day drop in four years, it was last down 1.4% at 7.0744 in offshore markets.

        “Over the past couple of years, China has kept the renminbi stable against the basket, but with the renminbi TWI (trade-weighted index) now testing the lower end of the range in play since 2017, investors may turn nervous, introducing another dose of volatility,” Morgan Stanley strategists wrote in a note to clients.

        The currencies of other Asian economies closely linked with China’s growth prospects also dropped.

        The Korean won KRW= fell 1.4% against the dollar, on course for its biggest one-day loss since August 2016. The new Taiwan dollar fell more than 0.7% TWD=.

        BID FOR SAFETY

        Japan’s yen, which investors tend to buy in times of risk aversion, rose 0.7% to its highest since a January flash crash. JPY=

        Dutch 30-year government bond yields turned negative for the first time as euro zone yields sank further amid concerns about U.S.-China trade and a no-deal Brexit.

        U.S. 10-year yields dived 7 basis points to 1.77%, while Germany’s 10-year bund yields fell to -0.53%. The three-month to 10-year U.S. yield curve was at its most inverted in 11 years.

        The Swiss franc CHF= was also boosted by safe-haven demand. Trump is also eyeing tariffs on the European Union, but has yet to make a formal announcement. The euro EUR= was 0.3% higher to the dollar at $1.1137.

        Sterling GBP= hovered near 2017 lows at $1.2117, pressured by concerns about Britain exiting the EU without a trade deal in place.

        Oil extended losses with U.S crude down 1.55% at $54.8 and Brent down 1.55% at $60.92.

        Gold prices jumped more than 1% to their highest in more than six years, with spot gold prices up 1.1% to $1,456.51 per ounce.

        Reporting by Ritvik Carvalho; additional reporting by Marc Jones in London; editing by John Stonestreet

          No obstante, la sesión pautada para las 3:00 p.m. sigue en pie.

          En una movida de última hora, el presidente del Senado, Thomas Rivera Schatz, impugnó esta noche en un recurso legal la juramentación de Pedro Pierluisi como gobernador de Puerto Rico y canceló la comisión total que había convocado para evaluar al nominado como secretario de Estado en la mañana del lunes.

          Rivera Schatz acudió al Tribunal de Primera Instancia de San Juan con un recurso de interdicto preliminar y permanente y sentencia declaratoria en el que solicita que Pierluisi cese de inmediato de ejercer el cargo de gobernador. Se ampara el presidente del Senado en que la juramentación de Pierlusi como gobernador es inválida, pues su nombramiento como secretario de Estado sigue pendiente de consejo y consentimiento en el Senado.

          La demanda fue radicada a las 7:44 p.m. Podría ser referida a uno de los jueces que presiden las salas de recursos extraordinarios, Anthony Cuevas y Lauracelis Roques.

          En el pleito, el líder senatorial sostiene que Pierluisi juramentó el viernes con una “interpretación incorrecta” de la Ley 7 de 2005.

          “El Senado de Puerto Rico no ha finalizado su responsabilidad constitucional de consejo y consentimiento para dicho nombramiento. Como colorario de ellos, el licenciado Pierluisi Urrutia no puede continuar ostentando el cargo de gobernador al que juramentó y, cualquier decisión que haya tomado en tales funciones desde dicha juramentación, es igualmente nula”, indica Rivera Schatz en el recurso legal.

          Ante este giro que tomó la controversia, Rivera Schatz podría abrir y cerrar los trabajos de la sesión de mañana en el cuerpo legislativo o llevar a votación el nombramiento de Pierluisi para la vacante de la silla del Departamento de Estado.

          En la carta a los senadores y senadoras, en la que se cancela la comisión total, de la Comisión de Nombramientos, que estaba programada para las 11:00 de la mañana, el secretario del Senado, Manuel Torres indica que Pierluisi ha expresado que no asistirá y que no reconoce la facultad del Senado para atender la designación.

          “El Presidente del Senado ha tomado conocimiento de dichas declaraciones y, por tal razón, se les informa que la Comisión Total del Senado de Puerto Rico convocada para el día de mañana, lunes, 5 de agosto, a las 11:00 a.m., en el salón Leopoldo Figueroa Carreras queda cancelada”, dice la misiva.

          En cambio, la sesión continuaba en pie para mañana a las 3:00 p.m.

          Fuentes consultadas por Primera Hora tampoco descartaban la posibilidad de que el nombramiento de Pierluisi como Secretario de Estado sea llevada a votación ante el pleno del Senado.

          Mientras tanto, Pierluisi dejó claro temprano en la tarde que no iría a las vistas del Senado al tiempo que pareció recoger vela en sus expresiones del viernes de que si no tuviera las votos del Senado, dejaría que fuera la secretaria de Justicia, Wanda Vázquez la que asuma las riendas del país.

          “Ya los senadores no tienen jurisdicción porque no hay vacante y la persona se convirtió en gobernador”, dijo una de las fuentes.

          La fuente indicó que Rivera Schatz se proponía “colgar” el nombramiento de Pierluisi por sus vínculos con la empresa publicitaria KOI, pero el panorama cambió porque “ya Pierlusi es gobernador” y la polémica sería resuelta en los tribunales.

          Ya la alcaldesa de San Juan, Carmen Yulín Cruz había anunciado la pasada semana que impugnaría mañana con un recurso legal la juramentación de Pierluisi, aunque se ha cuestionado si tiene legitimación activa.

          También, el portavoz de la delegación popular en el Senado, Eduardo Bhatia, dejó abierta ayer esa posibilidad.

          “La situación caótica en la que vive la gobernanza de Puerto Rico se tiene que resolver en los tribunales.  No vivimos en una monarquía; cualquier traspaso de poder democrático tiene que venir acompañado de un mínimo de consentimiento del pueblo previa a dicho traspaso de poder.  Eso no ocurrió”, indicó Bhatia en declaraciones escritas.

          “Ni Pedro Pierluisi ni Tomás Rivera Schatz pueden inventarse las reglas constitucionales sobre la marcha. Mañana lunes no hay nada que el Senado pueda validar pues no hay Secretario de Estado.  Por culpa de los juegos políticos inmaduros, malas mañas y estrategias deshonestas del presidente del Partido Nuevo Progresista Tomás Rivera Schatz, el Senado perdió la oportunidad de atender el nombramiento de Pedro Pierluisi en el momento que le tocaba. El resultado de la inacción en el Senado es la incertidumbre que prevalece en Puerto Rico sobre la legitimidad de su alegado ‘gobernador’”, sostuvo el senador popular.

          Dijo que el pueblo “quiere pasar la página y aspira a la paz institucional,  nosotros también, pero nos corresponde utilizar los métodos de ley y orden para atender esta crisis”.

          “Si hay duda en el país sobre lo que dice la Constitución debe ser el Tribunal el que lo decida. Lo que no puede y no debe pasar es que todos nos hagamos de la vista larga ante las violaciones constitucionales. Las reglas constitucionales no se pueden inventar para favorecer a uno u otro potencial candidato”, sostuvo.

          Añadió que hoy estarán “listos para hacer los planteamientos en los foros adecuados por las acciones cuestionables que han surgido o que surgirán el día de mañana en la medida que vayan desarrollándose”.

          Por su parte, el senador independentista, Juan Dalmau cuestionó la legitimidad de Pierluisi en La Fortaleza. “Hay verdugos con buenos modales y con malos modales, pero en ambos casos son verdugos. Yo me opongo a la gobernación inconstitucional de Pierluisi por representar intereses de la Junta, sus medidas de austeridad, sus vínculos con AES, (la empresa carbonera de Guayama y sus vínculos familiares con el infame KOI y Edwin Miranda al igual que Ramón Rosario. No es un gobernador legítimo ante los ojos del país”, expresó Dalmau.

          Otro que sostiene que cuestiona la legitimidad de Pierluisi como gobernador, sin la confirmación de ambos cuerpos legislativos, es el senador independiente José Vargas Vidot.

          “La usurpación misma ya es una crisis constitucional, no quiera minimizar su acción. Usted acaba de interpretar la constitución a su beneficio, de forma ilegal”, sostuvo el salubrista.

          Mientras, senadores de la mayoría novoprogresista evadieron contestar preguntas sobre el tema.

          Otra fuente en el Capitolio aseguró que si el nombramiento fuera llevado a votación “sería cuesta arriba” que fuera confirmado. “No veo como los pueda lograr”, indicó la fuente para agregar que Pierluisi, para prevalecer, necesitaría entre 15 a 16 votos de la mayoría parlamentaria, ya que las minorías han dicho que votarían en contra.

          El Senado se compone ahora de 29 miembros, pues hay una vacante con la renuncia de Margarita Nolasco.

           

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