Monthly Archives: August 2018

    Trader Peter Tuchman gestures as he talks on the phone following the resumption of trading following a several hour long stoppage on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, U.S., July 8, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

    New York (Reuters) – Global stocks faltered on Wednesday as optimism over a U.S.-Mexico trade deal faded with investors anxious about Canada’s acquiescence and eyeing a deadline for the next round of China-U.S. tariffs next week.

    Canada’s chief negotiator continued talks to preserve a three-nation North American Free Trade Agreement following Monday’s deal, but uncertainty over how long it could take for a final agreement to pass Congress kept moves muted.

    MSCI’s world equity index .MIWD00000PUS, which tracks shares in 47 countries, edged down 0.02 percent from the 5 1/2- month highs it hit after Mexico and the U.S. struck their deal.

    “The market is quite right to say after the knee-jerk reaction higher in the Mexican peso and equities, a) there was remarkably little detail, and b) what is the state of Canada?” said Andrew Milligan, head of global strategy at Aberdeen Standard Investments.

    “It helps this rebound in risk assets we’re seeing after the Turkey and global EM related selloff in the first half of the month, but it is an erratic rally because we need a bit more fuel to the fire.”

    European stocks managed a 0.1 percent gain. So did EMini futures for the S&P 500 ESc1.

    U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to proceed with Mexico alone and levy tariffs on Canada if it does not come on board with the revised trade terms. But a trade deal might struggle to win approval from Congress unless Canada comes on board.

    “The final decisions are unlikely until 2019 at the earliest,” said Goldman Sachs analysts, adding that control of the House majority might have gone to Democrats by then, which could make passage of the agreement more difficult.

    Currencies reflected investors’ remaining uncertainty.

    The Canadian dollar CAD= stalled at 1.292 to the U.S. dollar. Mexico’s peso MXN=recovered 0.3 percent to 19.02 to the dollar, having slid 1.7 percent on Tuesday as concerns over Brazil’s elections affected the region.

    Global assets performance in 2018: reut.rs/2LAbPsC

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    CHINA TARIFF DEADLINE LOOMS

    On another front of the global trade conflicts, analysts at JPMorgan noted the deadline for public comment on Trump’s increased tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods was less than a week away on Sept. 5.

    “End-of-month flows could start to take hold into the end of the week, and combined with light news flow and the risk of impending trade war escalation could result in conviction remaining light,” they cautioned.

    The White House has said it wants to settle NAFTA before dealing with China, suggesting that trade disputes will run well into 2019.

    “There’s a big debate taking place among investors: is Trump hoping to reach agreement with all the big players to demonstrate what a successful negotiator he is, or is he trying to make sure he’s got agreement with NAFTA and the EU and therefore can turn all the firepower on to China?” said Aberdeen Standard’s Milligan.

    Currencies quietened down after a turbulent few days, with the dollar index .DXY 0.1 percent firmer at 94.833 after touching a four-week low overnight.

    The euro eased a fraction to $1.1670 EUR= after hitting a one-month high at $1.1733 overnight. The currency’s gains are being capped by concerns over Italy’s budget.

    “We believe that Italy is headed on a collision course with the EU as the two meet to discuss Italy’s budget in September,” wrote Man Group portfolio managers in a note.

    But peripheral bond markets outperformed on the day, with Italy’s 2-year bond yield IT2YT=RR falling to 1.249.

    Emerging market stocks .MSCIEF were under renewed pressure, falling 0.2 percent.

    Turkey’s lira TRY= slid 1.7 percent to around 6.4 to the dollar, a two-week low as concern grew about the effects of the country’s currency crisis after Finance Minister Berat Albayrak was quoted as saying he did not see a risk to the economy or financial system.

    Overall, though, emerging markets have had a strong recovery from the sharp selloff earlier this month.

    “On balance people are looking to buy EM assets but it would be foolish to say buy them all because there are still vulnerabilities in a sizeable number,” said Aberdeen Standard’s Milligan.

    In commodity markets, spot gold XAU= rose 0.2 percent to $1,203.01 an ounce.

    Oil prices were little changed as falling supplies from Iran before U.S. sanctions take effect were offset by rising production outside the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

    Brent hovered at $75.98 a barrel LCOc1. U.S. crude plateaued at $68.55 CLc1.

    Reporting by Helen Reid, additional Reporting by Wayne Cole, editing by Larry King

      FILE PHOTO: Silhouettes of laptop users are seen next to a screen projection of Facebook logo in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

      WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An apparent Iranian influence operation targeting internet users worldwide is significantly bigger than previously identified, Reuters has found, encompassing a sprawling network of anonymous websites and social media accounts in 11 different languages.

      Facebook and other companies said last week that multiple social media accounts and websites were part of an Iranian project to covertly influence public opinion in other countries. A Reuters analysis has identified 10 more sites and dozens of social media accounts across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

      U.S.-based cyber security firm FireEye Inc and Israeli firm ClearSky reviewed Reuters’ findings and said technical indicators showed the web of newly-identified sites and social media accounts – called the International Union of Virtual Media, or IUVM – was a piece of the same campaign, parts of which were taken down last week by Facebook Inc, Twitter Inc and Alphabet Inc.

      IUVM pushes content from Iranian state media and other outlets aligned with the government in Tehran across the internet, often obscuring the original source of the information such as Iran’s PressTV, FARS news agency and al-Manar TV run by the Iran-backed Shi’ite Muslim group Hezbollah.

      PressTV, FARS, al-Manar TV and representatives for the Iranian government did not respond to requests for comment. The Iranian mission to the United Nations last week dismissed accusations of an Iranian influence campaign as “ridiculous.”

      The extended network of disinformation highlights how multiple state-affiliated groups are exploiting social media to manipulate users and further their geopolitical agendas, and how difficult it is for tech companies to guard against political interference on their platforms.

      In July, a U.S. grand jury indicted 12 Russians whom prosecutors said were intelligence officers, on charges of hacking political groups in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. U.S. officials have said Russia, which has denied the allegations, could also attempt to disrupt congressional elections in November.

      Ben Nimmo, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab who has previously analyzed disinformation campaigns for Facebook, said the IUVM network displayed the extent and scale of the Iranian operation.

      “It’s a large-scale amplifier for Iranian state messaging,” Nimmo said. “This shows how easy it is to run an influence operation online, even when the level of skill is low. The Iranian operation relied on quantity, not quality, but it stayed undetected for years.”

      FURTHER INVESTIGATIONS

      Facebook spokesman Jay Nancarrow said the company is still investigating accounts and pages linked to Iran and had taken more down on Tuesday.

      “This is an ongoing investigation and we will continue to find out more,” he said. “We’re also glad to see that the information we and others shared last week has prompted additional attention on this kind of inauthentic behavior.”

      Twitter referred to a statement it tweeted on Monday shortly after receiving a request for comment from Reuters. The statement said the company had removed a further 486 accounts for violating its terms of use since last week, bringing the total number of suspended accounts to 770.

      “Fewer than 100 of the 770 suspended accounts claimed to be located in the U.S. and many of these were sharing divisive social commentary,” Twitter said.

      Google declined to comment but took down the IUVM TV YouTube account after Reuters contacted the company with questions about it. A message on the page on Tuesday said the account had been “terminated for a violation of YouTube’s Terms of Service.”

      IUVM did not respond to multiple emails or social media messages requesting comment.

      The organization does not conceal its aims, however. Documents on the main IUVM website iuvm.org said its headquarters are in Tehran and its objectives include “confronting with remarkable arrogance, western governments and Zionism front activities.”

      APP STORE AND SATIRICAL CARTOONS

      IUVM uses its network of websites – including a YouTube channel, breaking news service, mobile phone app store, and a hub for satirical cartoons mocking Israel and Iran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia – to distribute content taken from Iranian state media and other outlets which support Tehran’s position on geopolitical issues.

      Reuters recorded the IUVM network operating in English, French, Arabic, Farsi, Urdu, Pashto, Russian, Hindi, Azerbaijani, Turkish and Spanish.

      Much of the content is then reproduced by a range of alternative media sites, including some of those identified by FireEye last week as being run by Iran while purporting to be domestic American or British news outlets.

      For example, an article run by in January by Liberty Front Press – one of the pseudo-U.S. news sites exposed by FireEye – reported on the battlefield gains made by the army of Iranian ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. That article was sourced to IUVM but actually lifted from two FARS news agency stories.

      FireEye analyst Lee Foster said iuvmpress.com, one of the biggest IUVM websites, was registered in January 2015 with the same email address used to register two sites already identified as being run by Iran. ClearSky said multiple IUVM sites were hosted on the same server as another website used in the Iranian operation.

      Reporting by Jack Stubbs in LONDON, Christopher Bing in WASHINGTON; Additional reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin in LONDON; Editing by Damon Darlin and Grant McCool

        (Reuters) – Republican U.S. Representative Martha McSally’s embrace of President Donald Trump and his agenda paid off on Tuesday, when the Arizonan beat back conservative challengers for her party’s nomination in a crucial U.S. Senate race.

        But Republican strategists warned that her shift to the right on Trump and his hard-line immigration policies could also prove an albatross in November, when she will face a well-funded moderate Democratic congresswoman, Kyrsten Sinema, in a race expected to be tight.

        The primary highlighted the delicate dance for many Republicans running in tough elections this year, given Trump’s sky-high approval ratings among voters of his own party: criticizing Trump too harshly risks losing the Republican base, while embracing him too warmly could alienate moderate voters who disapprove of his performance.

        The race has also put into stark relief how thoroughly Trump now dominates his party.

        “It did put McSally in a precarious position,” said Mike Noble, an Arizona-based Republican pollster. “But what’s the point if you don’t win the primary?”

        Democrats need to capture two seats from Republicans to take control of the Senate in the Nov. 6 congressional elections and halt Trump’s legislative agenda.

        Most analysts believe the party must win in Arizona to have any chance at doing so. The state voted for Trump by 3.5 percentage points in 2016, but Democrats are buoyed both by its rapidly diversifying electorate and by a national political environment favoring their candidates.

        “Independent, unaffiliated voters have a generally negative view of the president, and that’s the audience McSally is going to have to appeal to,” said Paul Bentz, a veteran Arizona Republican political consultant not involved in the campaign.

        The seat is held by retiring Republican Senator Jeff Flake, perhaps the most vocal Trump critic among congressional Republicans.

        McSally, 52, who built a reputation as a moderate Republican after winning a competitive congressional race in 2014, had the Republican establishment’s backing in the nominating race. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned that the Tucson woman represented the party’s only chance of keeping control of the seat.

        She faced two challengers from the right in the primary: former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, 86, and former state Senator Kelli Ward, 49.

        IMMIGRATION A KEY ISSUE

        Immigration, Trump’s signature issue, has long been the top concern among Republican voters in the Southwestern state bordering Mexico, according to pollsters; both Arpaio and Ward are immigration hawks with ties to the president.

        Arpaio, one of Trump’s staunchest supporters, received a presidential pardon after he was convicted of contempt for refusing to obey a court order to stop racially profiling Latinos. Trump has also praised Ward.

        Their presence in the race forced McSally, who previously criticized Trump on occasion and has refused to say whether she voted for him in 2016, to position herself as a defender of Trump’s agenda.

        Earlier this year, she removed her name from a bill she had co-sponsored that offered a path to citizenship for so-called “Dreamers,” young illegal immigrants who arrived in the United States as children. She has expressed support for Trump’s proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall.

        In interviews, McSally has denied changing her positions. Her campaign did not respond to questions from Reuters about her rightward turn.

        Democrats have signaled they will attack her on those grounds, adopting the mocking nickname “Martha McShifty.”

        “As a GOP primary candidate, Congresswoman McSally morphed herself into a Trump Republican who refuses to stand up to her party’s leaders,” the state Democratic Party said in a campaign memo released on Tuesday.

        Sinema, a former Green Party member, has undergone her own political shift toward the middle over the years, joining the “Blue Dog Coalition” of moderate Democrats after winning her seat in 2012 and voting against Democrat Nancy Pelosi’s re-election as minority leader in 2016.

        The website VoteView, which estimates how liberal or conservative members of Congress are based on their legislative voting history, lists Sinema as the second-most conservative Democrat in the House, behind only the newly elected Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania.

        With only token opposition in her primary, Sinema, a 42-year-old Tucson native, has been free to run essentially a general election campaign for months, positioning herself as an independent voice and eschewing attacks on Trump by name.

        In an advertisement last week, McSally previewed one likely line of attack, noting her background as the first female Air Force fighter pilot to fly in combat during the Iraq War while criticizing Sinema for protesting that war in 2003.

        “This is how I see this campaign. It’s a choice between a doer and a talker … between a patriot and a protestor,” McSally said on Twitter after her win Tuesday night.

        Washington informó que estos fondos se destinarán “a programas altamente prioritarios en otras zonas”

        Por: AFP

        El gobierno estadounidense de Donald Trump anunció el viernes la anulación de 200 millones de dólares de ayuda a los palestinos en Cisjordania y en la Franja de Gaza, una decisión que su enviado en Washington tildó de “antipaz”.

        “A pedido del presidente vamos a redirigir más de 200 millones de dólares inicialmente previstos para programas en Cisjordania y en la Franja de Gaza. Estos fondos se destinarán a programas altamente prioritarios en otras zonas”, dijo a la prensa un alto funcionario del Departamento de Estado.

        La medida “tiene en cuenta los desafíos que afronta la comunidad internacional en brindar asistencia en Gaza, donde el control de Hamas pone en peligro la vida de los ciudadanos de Gaza y degrada la ya terrible situación humanitaria y económica”, dijo el funcionario.

        En enero, Estados Unidos ya había implementado recortes drásticos en su contribución a la agencia de la ONU para los refugiados palestinos, UNRWA.

        Las relaciones entre la administración estadounidense y la autoridad palestina cayeron en picada luego de que Trump anunciara la decisión de Estados Unidos de reconocer a Jerusalén como la capital de Israel.

        Los palestinos han suspendido el contacto con el gobierno de Trump y consideran que Estados Unidos ya no puede desempeñar un papel de mediación en el proceso de paz de Medio Oriente.

        “Esta administración está desmantelando décadas de visión y compromiso de EU en Palestina”, afirmó en un comunicado Husam Zomlot, jefe de la representación de la Organización para la Liberación de Palestina (OLP) en Washington.

        La decisión de recortar el financiamiento a los palestinos llega en un momento de crisis humanitaria en Gaza, donde la violencia se ha incrementado desde el inicio de las protestas palestinas en marzo.

        Al menos 171 palestinos han muerto bajo fuego israelí en manifestaciones cerca de la frontera con Israel.

        Actualmente, hay un vacío en las acciones para la paz en Medio Oriente, mientras Estados Unidos discute desde hace meses un plan.

        El senador demócrata Patrick Leahy acusó a la Casa Blanca de participar en una “serie de actos provocativos y dañinos”, en lugar de idear una política coherente para abordar el conflicto palestino-israelí.

        Trump encargó a su yerno Jared Kushner y al abogado Jason Greenblatt que redactaran las propuestas de paz. Al inicio de esta semana, el mandatario dijo que habría algo “muy bueno” para los palestinos.

        Los palestinos aspiran a que la parte oriental de la ciudad en disputa sea la capital de su futuro estado.

         

         

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        (Rochester, NY) A Siena Research Institute poll shows that among respondents, Democrat Joe Morelle holds a commanding lead over Republican Jim Maxwell.

        Pollsters asked participants who they’d vote for if the general election were held today, among some other questions. Of the respondents, 55 percent chose Morelle, the Assembly majority leader and an Irondequoit resident, while 31 percent chose Maxwell, a neurosurgeon who lives in East Rochester.

        The poll also pointed out a potentially big problem for Maxwell. When asked their opinion of each candidate, 53  percent of respondents said they had a favorable view of Morelle, while 17 percent said they had a favorable view of Maxwell. But 71 percent of respondents said they either didn’t know who Maxwell was or didn’t have an opinion. By contrast, 29 percent of participants said they either didn’t know who Morelle was or had no opinion on him.

        In terms of participants who viewed the candidates as unfavorable, 18 percent gave Morelle the thumbs down and 12 percent ranked Maxwell as such.

        And 57 percent of the respondents disapproved of the job President Donald Trump is doing, while 34 percent approve.

        The poll was based on responses from 500 likely voters in the 25th Congressional District, the House of Representatives seat that Morelle and Maxwell are running for.

          Reconoció que el “fracaso” de las autoridades eclesiásticas al afrontar de manera adecuada estos “crímenes repugnantes”, ha suscitado “justa indignación”

          Por:NTX

          En su primer día de viaje apostólico a Irlanda, el Papa Francisco aseguró un “mayor empeño” que lleve a eliminar de la Iglesia católica el flagelo de los abusos sexuales contra menores, “a cualquier costo, moral y de sufrimiento”.

          En un discurso pronunciado ante líderes políticos, sociales y diplomáticos en el Dublin Castle de la capital irlandesa, el Pontífice abordó el tema más espinoso de su visita de dos días a ese país con motivo del IX Encuentro Mundial de las Familias.

          “Considerando la realidad de los más vulnerables, no puedo dejar de reconocer el grave escándalo causado en Irlanda por los abusos a menores por parte de miembros de la Iglesia encargados de protegerlos y educarlos”, dijo.

          Reconoció que el “fracaso” de las autoridades eclesiásticas como los obispos, los superiores religiosos, sacerdotes y otros, al afrontar de manera adecuada estos “crímenes repugnantes”, ha suscitado “justa indignación”, y sigue siendo “causa de sufrimiento y vergüenza para la comunidad católica”.

          Aseguró que él mismo vive el sufrimiento y la vergüenza antes de recordar que ya su predecesor, Benedicto XVI, no escatimó palabras para reconocer la gravedad de la situación y solicitar que fueran tomadas medidas “verdaderamente evangélicas, justas y eficaces” en respuesta a esta “traición de confianza”.

          Con esas palabras se refirió a la carta de Benedicto XVI a los católicos en Irlanda, escrita en 2010 y la cual se convirtió en el primer documento público de un Pontífice en abordar de manera abierta el problema de los abusos sexuales en la Iglesia católica.

          Ello luego que, más de una década antes, dos informes independientes sacaron a la luz miles de abusos cometidos por sacerdotes en instituciones católicas como escuelas y orfanatos de diversas diócesis del país y a lo largo de varias décadas.

          Aunque Benedicto XVI intervino directamente ordenando investigaciones eclesiásticas internas, obligó a la renuncia de más de una decena de obispos y empujó una purificación espiritual de largo alcance, la Iglesia irlandesa aún sufre las consecuencias de esa grave crisis.

          Al respecto, Francisco reconoció que la intervención “franca y decidida” de Joseph Ratzinger sirve todavía hoy de incentivo a los esfuerzos de las autoridades eclesiales para remediar los errores pasados y adoptar normas severas para asegurarse de que no vuelvan a suceder.

          “Cada niño es, en efecto, un regalo precioso de Dios que hay que custodiar, animar para que despliegue sus cualidades y llevar a la madurez espiritual y a la plenitud humana. La Iglesia en Irlanda ha tenido, en el pasado y en el presente, un papel de promoción del bien de los niños que no puede ser ocultado”, abundó.

          “Deseo que la gravedad de los escándalos de los abusos, que han hecho emerger las faltas de muchos, sirva para recalcar la importancia de la protección de los menores y de los adultos vulnerables por parte de toda la sociedad”, ponderó.

          En su primer mensaje en Irlanda, el Papa argentino recordó la turbulenta historia de este país, su camino a la independencia y la paz, además de evocar su participación en el Encuentro Mundial de las Familias, que cerrará mañana domingo con una misa masiva.

          Antes, en el vuelo de Roma a Dublín la mañana de este sábado, Jorge Mario Bergoglio dijo sentirse contento de regresar a Irlanda 38 años después de su primera visita, cuando pasó tres meses allí con el objetivo de hablar inglés.

          Tras su recepción en el aeropuerto internacional de la capital, se trasladó hasta el Palacio Presidencial de Áras an Uachtaráin, donde sostuvo una audiencia privada con el presidente Michael Higgins y, junto a él, plantó un árbol en el jardín.

          Luego se dirigió a Dublin Castle, donde defendió a la familia porque, aseguró, en ella todos los seres humanos aprenden a convivir en armonía, a controlar los propios instintos egoístas, a reconciliar las diferencias y a buscar los valores que dan plenitud a la vida.

          “Si hablamos del mundo entero como de una única familia, es porque justamente reconocemos los nexos de la humanidad que nos unen e intuimos la llamada a la unidad y a la solidaridad, especialmente con respecto a los hermanos y hermanas más débiles”, siguió.

          “Sin embargo, nos sentimos a menudo impotentes ante el mal persistente del odio racial y étnico, ante los conflictos y violencias intrincadas, ante el desprecio por la dignidad humana y los derechos humanos fundamentales y ante la diferencia cada vez mayor entre ricos y pobres”, agregó el Pontífice.

          Por eso, afirmó, es urgente recobrar el sentido de ser una “verdadera familia de pueblos”, en el ámbito de la vida política y social, no perdiendo nunca la esperanza y el ánimo de perseverar en ser constructores de paz, reconciliadores y protectores los unos de los otros.

            Sin embargo, se mantiene la alerta debido a que “Lane” continúa dejando fuertes lluvias e inundaciones en las principales islas del archipiélago

            Por: NTX

            El Centro de Huracanes del Pacífico Central degradó este sábado al huracán “Lane”, que ya se encuentra en las costas del archipiélago de Hawái, a tormenta tropical al sur de la isla de Oahu.

            Sin embargo, se mantiene la alerta debido a que “Lane” continúa dejando fuertes lluvias e inundaciones en las principales islas del archipiélago estadounidense.

            El ciclón, que actualmente registra vientos que alcanzan los 110 kilómetros por hora, está ocasionando desbordamientos en varias islas, así como apagones, desalojos y el corte de algunas carreteras debido a la caída de árboles por los fuertes vientos.

            “Si estás en Hawái, es fundamental que prestes atención a las advertencias de los funcionarios locales y que te mantengas al tanto de tus alrededores”, advirtió el jefe de la Agencia Federal para el Manejo de Emergencias (FEMA), Brock Long, en su cuenta de Twitter.

            Las fuertes lluvias también han ocasionado deslizamientos de tierra en algunas áreas y los vientos han provocado el bloqueo de numerosas calles por árboles caídos en las islas de Maui y la Isla Grande del archipiélago hawaiano, de acuerdo con el Departamento de Transporte de Hawái.

            Asimismo, el Departamento de Bomberos ha realizado varios rescates en la isla, afortunadamente no se han registrado ni muertos ni heridos.

            Varias aerolíneas están cancelando vuelos desde y hacia el aeropuerto de Kahului en Maui, informó el Departamento de Transporte del estado de Hawái en Twitter.

            “‘Lane’ tiene el potencial de provocar daño serio o, quizás, récord en el estado de Hawái”, aseguró uno de sus expertos, Dan Kottlowski, en un comunicado.

            El Servicio Meteorológico Nacional (NWS, por sus siglas en inglés) de Estados Unidos con sede de Honolulu advirtió que la tormenta puede generar tres amenazas este sábado y domingo: “inundaciones catastróficas, oleaje fatal y vientos dañinos”.

            El presidente de Estados Unidos, Donald Trump, firmó una declaración de emergencia para Hawái a raíz de la tormenta, confirmó este viernes el Departamento de Seguridad Interna en un comunicado.

            La declaración es para los condados de Hawái, Kauai y Maui y la ciudad y condado de Honolulu.

            Con esa medida, la FEMA “está autorizada a identificar, movilizar y proporcionar, a su criterio, el equipo y los recursos necesarios para aliviar los impactos de la emergencia”. Las medidas de protección de emergencia se proporcionarán con un 75 por ciento de fondos federales.

              Low electricity and food prices are attractive, but not everything is magical in this southern state

              By: Carlos Martinez

              ORLANDO / KISSIMMEE – Florida – as a migratory destination- has bewitched Puerto Ricans to the extent that the so-called Sunshine State competes with New York for the place where most Puerto Ricans live outside the island.

              But what does Florida have that attracts Puerto Ricans so much?

              According to Puerto Ricans – who arrived before and after Hurricane Maria – living in the area, the reasons include a quieter lifestyle, efficient government services, free and good quality education, lower electricity rates and lower food prices than in Puerto Rico, among others. The interviewees defined their perspective on the quality of life, as well as the reasons why they made this place their home, where there are no mountains, the beach is far away and Christmas parties are not allowed.

              But not everything is magical here: you need to have a car, tolls are expensive, you need to drive long distances; renting is expensive, as are medical plans and health services, and property taxes and insurance must be paid on everything.

              This, week, for example, residents in some Orange County housing developments were notified that, starting in November, they will have to pay three new annual property taxes: one is $ 230 for garbage collection and recycling expenses, another $ 115 per year for streets lighting and another for $ 78 per year for a retention lake maintenance.

              Regarding the cost of food, El Nuevo Día compared a basic food basket purchased in Puerto Rico with one purchased in central Florida. Although the brands varied, the products were similar.

              Half a gallon of milk, bread, a dozen eggs, rice, coffee, sugar, a can of pink beans, cheese, butter and ham, were bought. The basket purchased on the island was $ 32.51 including 11.5 percent SUT (combination of municipal and state taxes).

              The food basket purchased in Florida totaled $ 28.97. Its cost could have been lower, since a four-pound sugar pack was purchased, as there was no two-pound package like the one bought on the island. In addition, a recognized brand of pink beans, which on the island cost 50 cents, had a price of $ 1.28 in Florida, because the so-called “Hispanic products” are more expensive here. If the same product had been purchased, but from a local brand, the price would have been less than half.

              Another detail is that the supermarket did not charge sales tax. In Florida, that tax is 6.5 percent, but it does not apply to food.

              Stability

              Beyond the inconveniences caused by Hurricane Maria in his private practice in San Juan, it was the arrival of his second son – a month after the hurricane – that led urologist José E. Silva to move to Florida last summer.

              The 39-year-old doctor and native of Guaynabo arrived at Horizon West, an area being developed in the west of Orlando, where urban areas are demarcated by green corridors. Now he works for the Winter Garden Florida Hospital, where he and another specialist are the only Puerto Rican urologists in the area.

              “I have economic stability here that I did not have on the island. Every two weeks I get the same salary and that allows me to make plans. In Puerto Rico, if the medical plan did not send the check, or sent one for three cents, then the income fluctuated,” said the doctor.

              As traffic jams are not usual, Silva said that now, every morning, he can sit and have breakfast with his family, and since he is a hospital employee, he does not have to see dozens of patients, or deal with employees or the administrative matters of a private practice.

              “I miss that accelerated rhythm a bit. I also miss my neighbors in the community, friends and meeting people in the supermarket or on the streets,” he said. “Everything is very quiet here, too … almost boring, but it’s good, and here I also have the potential to serve a Puerto Rican population that has been settling here and that prefers a Puerto Rican doctor,” he said.

              “Electricity is cheaper and I have the air conditioning always on … it’s 25 percent cheaper than what I used to pay. As for the services, the first time I went to get my license there was a lot of people waiting and they explained to me that if I got an appointment it was better. I did it. I came the day I had the appointment and it took me 15 minutes to get it,” he said.

              Ángeles Ríos, a special education teacher in Orlando, who worked in a private school on the island, stressed that the price of food is much lower. “A gallon of milk, which in Puerto Rico costs more than $ 6, you can find it here here at $ 3. Not to mention electricity costs: I pay $ 57 per month and I have the air conditioner on 24 hours a day. On the island I paid $ 200 and turned it on only at night,” she noted.

              According to Lilliam Albaladejo, also a teacher, a better salary was what pushed her to stay in Orlando since she arrived just over a year ago, before María destroyed the island. This teacher, a Corozal native, said she earns an additional $ 9,000 a year. “What I made each month as a Puerto Rico Department of Education teacher is what  I receive here every fortnight,” she said.

              “And we have materials, equipment and budget,” said Harry Collazo, a mathematics teacher who moved to central Florida from Caguas nine months ago. “Here I have a book for each student, something that did not happen on the island. There is equipment, resources and the truth is that they make your life more pleasant,” he said.

              Not everything is magical in Florida. “There are not many marginal benefits for employees. Vacations are not paid unless your contract stipulates that you get a twelve-month salary,” said Collazo. He explained that employers allow the annual salary to be paid in 10 months terms (and there is no salary in summer) or in 12 months.

              “Medical plans and visits to the doctor are very expensive,” said Albaladejo. “You need to have a car, you spend a lot on tolls and gasoline and everything is far away. But as there are no holes in the roads, nor the streets are flooded when it rains, then there is less damage for the car,” added Rios.

              Magnet for Doctors

              Arcilio Alvarado is a physician and president of Advantage Medical Group, a company that recruited nearly 30 doctors from Puerto Rico for its offices in Orlando, Kissimmee and Lakeland so far this year.

              He explained that doctors are attracted to Florida because of the number of Puerto Ricans who have settled here and who are already a market to serve. But also because they find stability on wages.

              “A doctor here earns between 30 to 45 percent more than on the island and may be higher, depending on the incentives negotiated in the contract, and if you add that the food is cheaper and you do not have to pay for school, because public schools are very good, then what you have left in your pocket is much more,” he said.

              On the island, it is usual for doctors to have their own practice, something that turns them into business doctors, and forces them to assume administrative aspects. But Florida imposes another work model in which doctors become employees of a company and receive similar salaries to those of Puerto Rico, but do not have to deal with payments to employees and operational expenses, explained Wilson Quiroga, medical services consultant.

              “That gives them peace of mind, allows them to focus on their medical work, while working their eight hours, having their days off and vacation,” he said.

              Housing cost

              Family doctor Vivian Angulo explained that, in Puerto Rico, she had to pay $ 1,800 monthly to cover school expenses of her three children. She moved to Florida three years ago, after being hired at Advantage Medical Group, and her children are studying at a charter school in Orlando.

              But she acknowledged that housing costs in Florida are high. The average price of a home in Orange County (where the city of Orlando is located) is $ 238,600, according to the Zillow portal, specialized in real estate. Meanwhile, the average rental cost is between $ 1,600 and $ 1,690 per month, according to Zillow.

              But that high cost is balanced with the savings achieved in other areas, said Vionette Petri, a Puerto Rican real estate broker who works in central Florida. “Yes, we work a lot here, but with all the entertainment, arts and culture alternatives, I feel like I’m on vacation all year,” she said.

              Orlando: favorite place to retire

              This week, the personal finance website WalletHub published a study with a list of the best places in the United States to retire and the city of Orlando is the leader.

              In fact, among the first 20 cities, six are from Florida. Along with Orlando, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Cape Coral and Pembroke Pines are in the list.

              46 metrics were analyzed for the study considering taxes, quality of life, health care, housing cost, basic services cost, among others things.

               

                ALBANY, N.Y. — Investigators in New York state have issued a subpoena to Michael Cohen as part of their probe into the Trump Foundation, an official with Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration confirmed to The Associated Press Wednesday.

                The subpoena was issued after Cohen’s attorney said his client has information of interest to both state and federal prosecutors. As Trump’s longtime lawyer and self-described “fixer,” Cohen could potentially be a significant source of information for state investigators looking into whether Trump or his charity broke state law or lied about their tax liability.

                “We can confirm that a subpoena has been issued to Michael Cohen for relevant information in light of the public disclosures made yesterday,” said James Gazzale, a spokesman for the state’s tax department.

                If evidence of alleged crimes is found, the matter could be referred to state Attorney General Barbara Underwood, who could pursue criminal charges and seek the release of Trump’s tax returns. Anyone charged with a state crime in relation to the investigation could not be cleared by a presidential pardon.

                Cohen pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court Tuesday to campaign-finance violations and other charges, saying he and Trump arranged the payment of hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels and a former Playboy model to influence the election.

                “I do believe that he has information about Mr. Trump that would be of interest both in Washington as well as New York state,” Cohen’s attorney Lanny Davis said Tuesday night on CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time,” a show hosted by Chris Cuomo, brother of New York’s governor.

                The state’s investigation follows Underwood’s lawsuit alleging Trump illegally tapped his Trump Foundation to settle legal disputes, help his campaign for president and pay for personal and business expenses, which included spending $10,000 on a 6-foot (1.8-meter) portrait of himself.

                The attorney general’s office is seeking $2.8 million in restitution and other unspecified penalties in its civil suit. It said that it had referred to its findings to the IRS and the Federal Election Commission for possible further action.

                A spokeswoman for Underwood declined to discuss the state’s new subpoena and noted that Cuomo’s administration would need to refer the tax department investigation to it before criminal charges could be pursued.

                “We cannot comment on potential or ongoing investigations,” said spokeswoman Amy Spitalnick. “As our lawsuit against the Trump Foundation illustrates, we will hold Donald Trump and his associates accountable for violations of state law, and will seek a criminal referral from the appropriate state agency as necessary.”

                Messages left with attorneys for Cohen and Trump were not immediately returned Wednesday.

                Cuomo is seeking a third term this November and faces liberal activist and former “Sex and the City” star Cynthia Nixon in next month’s Democratic primary. He and Trump have exchanged insults several times in recent weeks, particularly following Trump’s criticism of Cuomo for telling a Manhattan crowd that America “was never that great” last week. Cuomo later said his comment was “inartful.”


                Music filled the air and dancers filled Niagara Street for the 16thannual Puerto Rican Hispanic Day Parade.

                If there were ever a year to support the Annual Puerto Rican & Hispanic Day Parade of WNY, 2018 would be the year. President of the committee, Crystal J. Rodriguez, said in an interview with Panorama News. “There could be no better time to come together as a community than now, to combat the ethnic struggles that are underway throughout the US’. That’s why this year’s theme is Esperanza – “Everything starts with HOPE.”

                The theme of this year’s festival was “Esperanza,” which means hope. The theme has special meaning in the wake of Hurricane Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico. Buffalo’s Puerto Rican and Hispanic community led a multi-city-wide effort to raise money to assist hurricane victims rebuild their lives, as well as organizing donations of household goods to help Puerto Rican residents build new lives in the City of Buffalo and around Western New York

                The three-day event according to official estimates drew over 30,000 people from August 18, 19 and 20th making it one of the largest heritage events in Buffalo and Western New York.

                Each year, in mid-August, the Puerto Rican/Hispanic community comes together to celebrate the colorful culture that surrounds its heritage. The highlight of the festival is a parade that travels down Niagara Street (Avenida San Juan). There’s also a fantastic weekend-long festival/concert series that took place at LaSalle Park primarily on Saturday, August 19 and Sunday, August 20, featuring: Domingo Quinones , Funk Urban Salsa , Luisito Rosario and some of the hottest Puerto Rican/Hispanic music acts in the industry.

                The three-day affair pays respects to a beautiful people, the crystal blue waters of Puerto Rico, ethnic food, ethnic pride, and dance.

                The Grand Marshal of the 2018 parade was Lucy Candelario, Executive Director of The Belle Center

                The Junior Grand Marshals were: Dialo Rivera Stevens and Gabriel Morrisroe

                 

                Dialo Rivera Stevens

                Gabriel Morrisroe

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