Bombing victim 8 loved playing with siblings friends

first_imgNo related posts. BOSTON, Massachusetts – The text messages, too horrible to believe, came as Christina and James Keefe sat with their grown sons at a restaurant in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston. The young men had just run in the Boston Marathon, and were shaken but relieved to have escaped a horrific double-bombing.Sneaking glances under the table, James Keefe read the desperate, curt missives from friends and neighbors: Eight-year-old Martin Richard, son of their neighbors and friends, Bill and Denise Richard, had been killed by the bomb that detonated near the marathon’s finish line.His mother and his younger sister, Jane, were also seriously hurt.Local news reports said Denise underwent emergency surgery, and Jane – who friends said is 6 or 7 years old – suffered a grievous injury to her leg.In a statement Tuesday, Bill Richard said: “My dear son Martin has died from injuries sustained in the attack on Boston. My wife and daughter are both recovering from serious injuries. We thank our family and friends, those we know and those we have never met, for their thoughts and prayers. I ask that you continue to pray for my family as we remember Martin. We also ask for your patience and for privacy as we work to simultaneously grieve and recover.”Christina Keefe described her family as friendly with the Richard family, who live near them in the Ashmont section of Dorchester.“He was so polite, composed, older than his years really,” Christina Keefe said of Martin on Tuesday morning. “I can see him now, holding his mom’s arm as she took them on their walks around the neighborhood.”The Dorchester Reporter, a community paper, said Martin’s parents “are known and respected as civic leaders. … The family is deeply involved in all facets of life in Dorchester, from little league baseball and soccer to their church, St. Ann’s parish in Neponset.”Bill Richard is vice president of an environmental testing company called EST Associates. He also volunteered extensively in the St. Mark’s Area Main Street group, a community effort to restore the main street businesses of Peabody Square.Both Denise and Bill Richard are runners, but contrary to initial reports, Bill Richard did not run in the marathon on Monday. Instead, the family went to the finish line to watch together, as they had done for the last several years, friends said. In addition to Martin and Jane, the couple has an older son, Henry, friends said.The Ashmont neighborhood is one of restored Victorians, mostly younger families and leafy backyards. “Every Friday night, one of those backyards would be hosting an impromptu neighborhood party, with all the children running in the back,” Christina Keefe said.Family friends who live near the Richard family told stories of singing Irish songs with them in their kitchen late into the night, of the entire family pitching in for every volunteer effort: decorating the float for the Dorchester Day Parade, helping at the neighborhood chili cook-off, and collecting trash in the annual Boston Shines cleanup project.“You have family you are born with. And these are the family you chose,” said one friend who asked not to be named. “What can I say? Everything about them is kindness … and life.”Keefe described Denise as a devoted mom, frequently walking with her children through the neighborhood. She has a happy, full-throated laugh that often alerted neighbors she was nearby. Martin, she said, was regularly seen throwing a ball in his family’s yard on Carruth Street, or a friends’ yard nearby, or playing with his siblings.“The neighborhood is reeling,” Keefe said, imagining the scene just before the bombing as Martin, Henry and Jane cheered on marathon runners, a rite of passage for generations of Boston children.“Knowing Denise, she probably had some posters for them to hold up” as runners came by, Keefe said. “It’s all just so awful.”© The Washington Post, 2013 Facebook Commentslast_img read more

More than 200 celebrities artists poets and academics announce support for Villaltas

first_imgMusicians, television personalities, and public intellectuals voiced their backing for progressive candidate José María Villalta as Costa Rica’s next president.Approximately 20 of these supporters joined the Broad Front Party candidate at his San José office on Monday morning. A party representative read the list of 200 names. The freshly announced backers said their support stemmed from a desire to see broad social change in the country.Guanacaste singer-songwriter Guadalupe Urbina said Villalta’s candidacy offered the best chance to transform positive aspirations into tangible changes.“More than belonging to a political party or belonging to a set political strategy, I belong to a country that is moving towards reform,” Urbina said.An author and University of Costa Rica (UCR) philosopher, Arnoldo Mora, urged the crowd to support Villalta as part of the country’s growing social change.“It’s the beginning of a new age,” Mora said. “We need to transform our Costa Rica. It’s a defeated country now.”Mora also served as culture minister during Rafael Ángel Calderón’s presidency from 1990-1994.  José Figueres Olsen’s presidency from 1994-1998. [Updated Jan. 22]On the back of staunchly progressive rhetoric, Villalta has seen his political fortunes and those of his party grow during the campaign. Villalta’s platform has included advocacy for same-sex civil unions and broader distribution of wealth.While the party won less than 1 percent in the previous presidential election, recent polls have Villalta either tied for the lead with former frontrunner Johnny Araya, of the ruling National Liberation Party, or in second place.Villalta has repeatedly singled out neoliberalism – free trade, privatization and deregulation – as having caused Costa Rica’s economic woes.“This is a party of the new majority,” Villalta said on Monday. “This new majority does not want neoliberalism.”Critics and political opponents have characterized Villalta as extremely leftist or as inexperienced. This critique did not hold weight with his new supporters, such as former television star Leonardo Perucci. The native Chilean said the currents of change in Costa Rica reminded him of Chile.“The youth lead the way on change,” Perucci said after the Monday conference. “For me, [Villalta’s inexperience] is a virtue.” Facebook Comments Related posts:Villalta calls budget deficit focus ‘alarmist’ CID-Gallup poll shows Araya might avoid presidential election runoff Libertarian candidate Otto Guevara could become Costa Rica’s next president Villalta’s rise and Araya’s fall could upset 50 years of political dominance in Costa Ricalast_img read more

Isla del Coco gets a new radar station to fight drug traffickers

first_imgSecond in a three-part series. Read the first story here.ISLA DEL COCO, Puntarenas –Guards at Isla del Coco National Park tell stories about the boats they’ve spotted during night patrols that transport fuel throughout the area. There likely is only one use for the fuel: to support drug traffickers.Their stories are confirmed by Costa Rican Coast Guard officials, who say that the famous island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located 365 miles off Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, sits right in the middle of what is known as the “corredor narco,” or narco-corridor.The drug-trafficking route begins at the Colombian port of Buenaventura, winds through Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands, passes Costa Rica’s Isla del Coco and then continues on to Mexico’s Pacific coast.“[Cocos] Island and the area around it could easily be used by drug and fuel traffickers. One reason is because it’s not hard to spot fishing boats that are frequently allowed to leave port with extra fuel,” Miguel Chaves, captain of the coast guard ship Santamaría, told The Tico Times during a recent patrol. A Colombian Navy boat patrols the Cajambre River, near the port of Buenaventura, Colombia, on May 29, 2012. The port is the beginning of a marine corridor for narcotics trafficking that passes Costa Rica’s Isla del Coco before continuing north to Mexico. Felipe Caicedo/AFPJorge Alvarado, one of Isla del Coco’s most experienced park guards, said that a few years ago, guards found a go-fast boat, which is frequently used to haul this type of cargo, but it was empty and adrift.A few months ago, during a patrol at one of the highest points on the island, park guards photographed a go-fast boat maneuvering in broad daylight close to land. On other occasions, they’ve found fuel containers close to the beach.“Here we don’t have real weapons. If illegal fishermen ignore us, do you think we can do anything to stop the drug traffickers?” Alvardo asked. “We can only follow protocol and alert the coast guard, which in the best-case scenario couldn’t reach us for 24 hours.”Hydroelectric plantIn January, the National Power and Light Company (CNFL) began building a hydroelectric plant at the island’s Chatham Bay, on the river of the same name.The plant will generate energy to power a new radar station and surveillance center that the Public Security Ministry will use to counter drug trafficking and illegal fishing in Isla del Coco, and several kilometers around it.In Chatham Bay, a large quantity of building material arrived last week that would be hauled by foot for nearly a kilometer from the coast to the site of the hydroelectric plant.Alejandro Araya, a CNFL project supervisor, said that 36 workers are building the dam according to strict protocols to minimize environmental impact, because the area is protected by a Ramsar wetlands convention and by UNESCO. Workers carry construction material more than one kilometer to the site of a new hydroelectric dam on Isla del Coco’s Chatham River. The Tico TimesImmediate detection Public Security Minister Mario Zamora said the new radar on Isla del Coca is part of a larger system that will be installed along Costa Rica’s Pacific coast to fight drug trafficking. The island’s radar station was made possible through funding assistance from nongovernmental groups like Conservation International and Forever Costa Rica.Getting the radar up and running has been a three-year process, and the project has faced several setbacks and delays. Nevertheless, conservation groups and law enforcement are excited to finally have tools in place to fight illegal activity in the region.For Zamora, Isla del Coco is a strategic point, as many drug-trafficking boats in the area usually operate undetected. Currently, the only way to spot them, he said, is during joint patrols with the United States.“This is a very important investment, because the Pacific Ocean is one of the most popular routes for drug traffickers,” Zamora said.The Isla del Coco radar will be up and running by early May and will join a system of 16 radars along the coast.Next in the series, how protecting Isla del Coco from illegal fishing can help draw tourism dollars. Facebook Comments Related posts:Drug traffickers lure Costa Rica’s struggling coastal fishermen with offers of easy money Protecting indigenous land rights could help deter drug trafficking in Central America, says new report Dutch seize huge cocaine shipment hidden in cassava roots from Costa Rica US seizes $12 million of drugs in Caribbeanlast_img read more

Film explores young Guatemalans who turn to breakdancing to escape gang life

first_imgRelated posts:In Guatemala City’s Zone 4, a new effort at urban renewal 16 killed in Guatemala prison fight, official says Why Guatemala’s Pérez Molina turns a deaf ear to widespread calls for his resignation Unanimous: Guatemalan Congress strips President Pérez Molina’s immunity GUATEMALA CITY – Guatemala City’s ghettos are renowned for their gangs, drugs and violence. But when U.S.-born director Coury Deeb stayed in one, he saw a different side to life in the slums – one of people trying to escape their surroundings through dance.“We met with some B-Boys and learned that though they look like gangsters, many of them are not gangsters or involved in criminal activities. Yet they live next door to gangsters who often pursue them to join their gangs,” Deeb said.“What we saw with the B-Boys was a group whose desire was to be part of something good, to express themselves through art, through B-Boying,” Deeb added.Deeb’s film production company, Nadus Films, believes in using what people are good at to serve and empower.Shining a light on the breakdancing subculture of Guatemala City, “BBoy for Life” showcases how Cheez, Gato and Leidy defy death and escape the pressure and violence of gangs through dancing.Cheez, 22, is one of the best B-Boys in Central America and forms part of the dance group Poker Crew. He taught himself to breakdance in 2008 and has since gone on to perform for the Guatemalan president and represent his country at international B-Boy competitions in France and El Salvador. He sees breakdancing as a way to reduce crime, and a few months ago started a dance movement called Urban Attack. However, he wasn’t always so focused.“When I was little I was surrounded by people in gangs that mugged and stole. I was used when I was little, they would tell me, ‘Stay here and if the police come, let us know.’ I would stand there and they would go on a bus and start robbing. I agreed because I was young, and when you’re a kid, you’re looking for examples of who to follow.” “BBoy for Life” showcases how a group of young men and women defy death and escape the pressure and violence of gangs through dance. Pictured here, Cheez and Gato. (Courtesy of Nadus Films)Cheez, whose real name is Walfer Lossi, said his life changed when he started dancing. He learned to turn down destructive things like drugs and crime. But the change has its consequences.“I’ve had trouble with people who don’t like what I do. They’ve hurt and threatened me because of what I do,” he said.Being a B-Boy in Guatemala City carries a burden and a risk due to the plague of gangs throughout the ghettos. Gang members always are looking for new recruits. According to a 2012 report by Human Rights Watch, Guatemala has one of the highest rates of violent crime in the region, which is mainly the product of armed groups and criminal gangs who exert a similar level of power to that of terrorist groups in other countries.Leidy Estrada was originally hired to provide security during the documentary’s production, but she quickly emerged as one of the story’s main characters.“What’s interesting about Leidy is that she was in prison and was an active gangster. When we landed for the first production trip she was only three days out of prison. Our partners on the ground thought ‘what better person to watch for dangerous activity than someone who knows the streets very well,’” Deeb said.“Learning about us, Native Films, learning about why we do what we do, learning about our characters and meeting the B-Boys, [Leidy] was turned on to a world of opportunity, redemption and information. She became the bridge between good and evil,” he added.Originally imprisoned for extortion, Leidy’s life changed dramatically when she met the B-Boy community. She recently graduated as valedictorian and now manages finances for a nongovernmental organization, as well as giving talks to youths on the reality of being in a gang.“When I got out of prison I left the gang. It was a hard decision because I was worried they’d harm my family, my children or myself. They don’t let you go easily. But thank God we’re still here without problems,” she said.“My purpose [in the film] was to help a lot of youths and tell them not to fall into the path I fell into, to talk about how my story has changed. I hope it helps a lot of children to change their minds about gangs and to think about them,” she added.A story of hope, struggle and redemption, “BBoy for Life” exposes not only the threat Guatemalans face on a daily basis, but also the journey many of those who are surrounded by violence seek towards a life where peace and hope shine more brightly.“‘BBoy for Life’ shows that there’s beauty in the mix of one of Guatemala City’s darkest neighborhoods,” Deeb said.“BBoy for Life” was screened at the United Nations last month and will be available worldwide On-Demand starting May 15.For more information, click here. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

4 unbelievable aerial photos of Costa Ricas Poás Volcano

first_imgRelated posts:Increased phreatic activity reported at Costa Rica’s Rincón de la Vieja Volcano TIMELINE: A recent volcanic history of Costa Rica Man throws religious icons into Costa Rica’s Poás Volcano 3 US Coast Guard officers injured in lightning strike at Costa Rica’s Poás Volcano Costa Rica’s National Seismological Network sent a photographer in a plane over Poás National Park, northwest of the capital, to capture these images of the contrast of vegetation inside and outside the volcano crater’s boundaries. Trees stop growing near the acidic crater lake of Poás Volcano. (Courtesy of Raúl Mora and the National Seismological Network) Gas rises from the crater lake at Poás Volcano. (Courtesy of Raúl Mora and the National Seismological Network) A close-up of Poás Volcano’s acidic crater lake. (Courtesy of Raúl Mora and the National Seismological Network) Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Solís signs tuna fishing decree but will it help Costa Ricas oceans

first_imgPresident Luis Guillermo Solís signed a decree Tuesday restricting industrial tuna fishing in Costa Rican waters. The decree is one of the first attempts to establish fishing zones in Costa Rica’s massive ocean territory and regulate the international super fleets that currently pull in the vast majority of the country’s tuna catch. But despite the decree’s intentions, many environmentalists say it will do little to curb unsustainable fishing practices in Costa Rican waters.According to a 10-year study by the Costa Rican Fishing Federation (FECOP), foreign-flagged purse seine ships captured 90 percent of the tuna caught in Costa Rican waters between 2002 and 2011. The giant ships are able to scoop up entire schools of tuna at once by sending out small go-fast boats to encircle tuna schools with nets and haul the fish aboard with cranes. Under current fishing regulations licensed purse seine boats are permitted to fish in all but the first 12 miles of Costa Rica’s unprotected ocean territory, a system that the decree’s proponents say cripples Costa Rica’s smaller-scale fishermen.“The country is losing the economic rewards that tuna provides by giving it away to international boats,” said Enrique Ramírez, executive director of FECOP, which helped draft the initial decree. “Small national boats can fish sustainably, get a better price for high-quality tuna and all of that money will stay within Costa Rica instead of the profits ending up in some other country.”(Disclosure: Tico Times reporter Lindsay Fendt worked as a freelance translator for FECOP in 2013.)FECOP, a sportfishing and environmental interest group, and groups of local longline fishermen spearheaded the decree’s creation during the administration of former President Laura Chinchilla (2010-2014). Before leaving office in May, Chinchilla signed a tuna zoning bill that restricted purse seine fishing in the first 60 miles of Costa Rica’s Pacific coastline, but she failed to order its publication in the official government newspaper, La Gaceta, which would put the law into effect. The decree’s fate then fell to Solís’ new government, which took several months to analyze it before drafting a new one.The new regulations ban purse seine fishing in the first 45 nautical miles off the Pacific coastline as well as in a section of Costa Rican waters bordering Ecuador’s ocean territory. They will also restrict large-scale longline fishing in the first 12 miles off the coast. The decree was reached as a compromise between executives at the national tuna cannery, who oppose any tuna fishing restrictions, and national fishermen, who oppose all purse seine competition. Despite the move by the Solís administration to limit purse seine fishing, some environmental groups have criticized the decree, contending that it will do little to slow the negative environmental effects of the tuna fishing industry.Big tuna’s beef with the decreeThe Costa Rican tuna-canning giant, Sardimar, has opposed the decree from the beginning. Current fishing licensing laws allow international purse seiners to renew their licenses for free if they sell a month’s worth of cargo (a 300-ton minimum) to Costa Rican canneries. The regulation allows Sardimar — under the parent company Alimentos Prosalud, which owns every cannery in the country —  to purchase tuna at below-market prices. The advantage has turned Sardimar into the region’s dominant cannery, commanding 70 percent of the Central American tuna market.“Changes to the system could cause us to lose our competitive edge in an extremely competitive industry,” Asdrubal Vásquez, the president of the Costa Rican Tuna Industry Chamber (CATUN), told The Tico Times in June.  “We are worried that restricting where boats can fish will mean international boats won’t want to come to Costa Rica and we will not be able to get the raw materials we need.”CATUN members were so concerned that they threatened to pull Sardimar out of Costa Rica if the decree was signed, eliminating 1,500 jobs in the Pacific province of Puntarenas. In order to appease the cannery, the decree includes an article that would permit purse seine ships to enter the restricted zone if Sardimar can demonstrate a lack of tuna. It remains to be seen if Sardimar will follow through on its threat now that the decree has been passed, but the cannery is unlikely to find a steady stream of subsidized tuna elsewhere.Equal competition?According to Gustavo Meneses, director of the Costa Rican Fisheries Institute (INCOPESCA), the old decree was lopsided, restricting purse seine fishing while leaving large-scale longline fishing unregulated.“We wanted to create a more equal decree,” said Meneses. “The old regulations didn’t resolve the problem with unfair competition, it just tilted the scales to give the longline and sportfishing sectors an advantage.”The new decree bans longline fishing in the first 12 nautical miles off the coast, leaving that section for smaller and more sustainable fishing methods. Still, commercial fishing operations argue that Costa Rica’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) — the first 200 miles within a country’s coast, in which that country has exclusive economic rights — should be reserved for Costa Ricans.“This was a compromise,” said Mauricio González, executive director of a Pacific organization that represents the country’s longline fishermen. “If it was up to us, there would be no purse seine fishing in the entire EEZ.”Environmental issuesProtecting dolphins is the main environmental motivation behind restricting purse seine fishing. Because pods of dolphins often travel with schools of tuna, industrial tuna boats frequently snare dolphins when they cast their nets. According to the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, 68 percent of purse seine nets cast in Costa Rican waters are thrown over dolphin pods. This fishing practice has killed between 5 and 7 million dolphins since 1950 worldwide, environmental groups estimate.The lack of tuna fishing regulations in Costa Rica has long spurred disdain from dolphin conservation groups, and in June the California-based nonprofit group Earth Island Institute said they would pull their “dolphin-safe” labels from cans of Costa Rican tuna if the tuna zoning decree was not passed.“At this point it is mostly for dolphins,” Ramírez said. “You still have a lot of other environmental problems, but this will help avoid damage to more dolphins.”But beyond saving dolphins, environmentalists say the decree will do very little for Costa Rica’s overfishing and bycatch problems. Though longline boats catch far fewer fish than purse seine ships, they still unintentionally pull in large amounts of other sea creatures. In 2013, longline fishing was the likely killer of hundreds of sea turtles in Costa Rica alone.The sportfishing sector, which has suffered from competing with purse seiners, also stands to gain from the decree. Despite Meneses claims that the current decree is more balanced, environmentalists say that it simply shifts the advantages from one industry to another.“It’s like taking from Peter to give to Paul,” said Randall Arauz, whose conservation group, Pretoma, was consulted by INCOPESCA during the decree’s revision.Marco Quesada with Conservation International agreed.“The decree makes no real changes. Even the restrictions it makes on purse seiners come with an out if the industry gets angry,” Quesada said. “I don’t think this decree has any teeth, and I don’t see anything changing.”The futureMeneses is not deaf to the complaints from environmental groups. With the passage of the decree, Meneses also announced INCOPESCA’s plans to create a more comprehensive fishing plan for the country, promising an integrated management plan for the country’s fisheries within the year. Though the specifics of this plan have yet to be announced, Meneses told The Tico Times during an interview in July that the institute is considering plans for more zoning, establishing fishing seasons and cracking down on bycatch violations.“To the environmentalists who are upset, all I can say is that we are working on it,” he told The Tico Times.Since its creation, INCOPESCA has been considered a do-nothing organization by most marine conservationists. With a board of directors loaded with industry insiders, the fishing management institution has been accused of serious conflicts of interest. But Meneses hopes to change that reputation in his four-year term.“Right now there is just not an integrated plan for our marine resources,” Meneses told The Tico Times. “It’s no small task, but ideally I will leave INCOPESCA in four years having left beyond a roadmap to sustainable management in our oceans.” Related posts:Tuna company, fishermen and environmental groups squabble over unpublished fishing decree Costa Rica’s dolphin-safe tuna designation under scrutiny Stop giving away free tuna fishing licenses, says NGO Costa Rica Ombudsman’s Office pushes for better marine conservation Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Going for Gold La Sele unveils special Gold Cup uniforms

first_img Facebook Comments Related posts:No Navas as Costa Rica names roster for Peru friendly Costa Rica’s La Sele throttles Jamaica 3-0 ‘La Sele’ draws Nicaragua, Haiti and Bermuda in Gold Cup group Costa Rica announces provisional 40-man roster for Gold Cup Costa Rica’s men’s national soccer team will have a new look during the 2019 Gold Cup.La Sele unveiled a special black-and-gold kit it will wear during the biennial tournament.#LaSele utilizará un uniforme cautivador y elegante en la @GoldCup 2019. Nota: https://t.co/RFewWx7q3j pic.twitter.com/S83EwjIovs— FEDEFUTBOL Costa Rica (@fedefutbolcrc) May 14, 2019“For quite some time, we have talked about participating in the Gold Cup with a different design,” said Rodolfo Villalobos, President of the Costa Rican Soccer Federation. “For the first time in history, we will wear a black shirt with gold.”While the design is unique, longtime Costa Rica soccer fans may remember when La Sele rocked a black-and-white kit during the 1990 World Cup in Italy. (Costa Rica also sported black, white and gold in a more recent throwback to that team.)“With the black we look for inspiration, the fight and strength of that great team of Italy 90 that for the first time led us to fulfill a great goal in our footballing history,” Villalobos said. “With the gold, we want to highlight the energy and brightness that we carry inside, that makes us succeed internationally and put on high the name of our country.”The 2019 Gold Cup begins June 15 to determine the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Soccer Associations (CONCACAF) champion.For the first time in the tournament’s history, a Central American country will host a Gold Cup match when Costa Rica welcomes Nicaragua on June 16 at the National Stadium in La Sabana.The Ticos will also face Bermuda and Haiti as part of Group B play. Those matches, as well as all knockout stages, will be played in the United States.Fans hoping to purchase the new kit should act quickly, and the purchase won’t come cheap. New Balance made just 9,500 shirts, and they retail for 49,900 colones (about $84) at PLS and New Balance stores.last_img read more

Britain bedeviled by binge drinking

first_imgAssociated PressLONDON (AP) – The girls slumped in wheelchairs look barely conscious, their blond heads lolling above the plastic vomit bags tied like bibs around their necks.It’s an hour to midnight on Friday, and the two girls, who look no older than 18, are being wheeled from an ambulance to a clinic set up discreetly in a dark alley in London’s Soho entertainment district.They’re the first of many to be picked up on this night by the ambulance, known as a “booze bus,” and carried to the clinic _ both government services dedicated to keeping drunk people out of trouble, and out of emergency rooms. (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Binge drinking has reached crisis levels in Britain, health experts say, costing the cash-strapped National Health Service 2.7 billion pounds (US$4.4 billion) a year, including the cost of hospital admissions related to booze-fueled violence and longer-term health problems. Unlike all other major health threats, liver disease is on the rise in Britain, increasing by 25 percent in the last decade and causing a record level of deaths, according to recent government figures.Doctors believe rising obesity is combining with heavy drinking to fuel the spike in liver disease, which is hitting more young people than ever.“Undoubtedly professionals are seeing more (patients) in their late-20s to mid-30s, which would have been unusual 20 years ago,” said Chris Day, a liver disease specialist at Newcastle University.On the streets of Soho, most people are too busy drinking to notice passed-out partyers. The streets, lined with pubs and nightclubs, are just beginning to get rowdy: Men chasing each other and shrieking like teenagers; women stumbling and falling over in their too-short skirts and high heels. Soon the sidewalks are littered with empty beer bottles and reeking puddles. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Sponsored Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Comments   Share   center_img Quick workouts for men Such public displays of extreme drunkenness are inexplicable and shocking to many foreigners living in Britain, even those who hail from heavy drinking cultures.“(At home) it’s embarrassing to be drunk. Here it’s kind of something you brag about,” said Kaisa Toroskainen, a Finnish graduate student in London having a beer with her friends.The headline-grabbing figures about ever-younger liver disease victims may seem to suggest that Britain has quite recently turned into a nation of raging alcoholics. But it’s not news that the British like their tipple. This is, after all, a nation known around the world for its ales and its pubs, the default venue for any British social gathering from a quiet date to after-work networking.Despite that, most experts agree that Britons, on the whole, don’t drink more than other Europeans _ in fact, overall alcohol consumption levels here have come down since the mid 2000s.But that’s the average. The problem seems to lie with a minority of hard-core drinkers who tend to down a huge amount in a short time.“The key point is the ways in which we behave when we’re drinking _ it involves very public displays of reckless drunkenness,” said Jamie Bartlett, a researcher at the London-based think tank Demos who has written about alcohol abuse. Cut-price booze has been blamed for the increasingly popular practice of “pre-loading,” where drinkers indulge in shop-bought drink at home before they head out to bars and pubs, where the drinks are much more expensive.Prime Minister David Cameron has declared binge drinking a national “scandal,” and the government is seeking to curb the excess by introducing a minimum price for each unit of alcohol sold. Scotland, which has long struggled with a dire alcohol abuse problem, announced Monday it wants to set a minimum price of 50 pence (80 U.S. cents) per unit _ which would mean an average bottle of wine could cost no less than about 4.70 pounds ($7.55).The proposals have sparked lively debate _ not least because of the unusually interventionist stance taken by the Conservatives. More to the point are questions about whether higher prices will actually cut excessive indulgence.Simon Antrobus at the drug and alcohol treatment charity Addaction is hopeful that the proposals will increase public awareness.“We’re beginning to see people thinking, `I have to do something about this,’” he said. “The challenging bit is getting people to understand the potential harmful consequences of alcohol. People need to know their limits.” Top Stories “It’s not an issue of consumption. It’s an issue of behavior.”Anyone who’s gone out on a Friday night in any of Britain’s larger towns and cities will be familiar with boozed out groups of people shouting, brawling and causing a scene as they spill out of bars and pubs. Commuters aren’t immune to the antics _ especially on evenings when soccer matches are on.“We are the whites, we are we are the whites!” one clearly intoxicated young man was heard relentlessly singing on a train carriage on a recent night, urging wary strangers to join in.The problem isn’t confined to a particular class, and even members of the social elite can be caught in embarrassing drink-fueled trouble. In 2000, the teenage son of then Prime Minister Tony Blair was arrested for being “drunk and incapable” when he was found semiconscious and vomiting on the sidewalk in London’s Leicester Square.The event was remarkable only because of his father’s prominence.The legal drinking age in Britain is 18, compared to 21 in the U.S., but many drinkers start younger. Social workers say lax control of retail sales and cheap alcohol _ commonly available for less than 70 pence ($1.10) a can in supermarkets and liquor stores _ makes it easy for young people to experiment with liquor. Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Top holiday drink recipeslast_img

Police investigating fires near Jerusalem

first_img Top Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Jerusalem police chief Niso Shaham said the fire was probably set deliberately. Several arrests were made over the past few weeks in series of suspicious fires that caused damage in Jerusalem, he said.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvementscenter_img JERUSALEM (AP) – Two large forest fires on the outskirts of Jerusalem sent smoke wafting across the city and temporarily closed the main highway to Tel Aviv.Police say several people were treated for smoke inhalation, and an unknown number of people were evacuated from the affected area before the blaze was brought under control Tuesday.Traffic on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway, one of the nation’s busiest, was backed up for about 50 kilometers (30 miles). Sponsored Stories Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Comments   Share   New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t likelast_img read more

Gazalinked Egypt attack hurts Hamas border bid

first_img Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Hamas, itself a fundamentalist Islamic militant group, appears to be losing control over some of the Islamist militants operating from its territory.In recent years, followers of a fundamentalist stream of Islam, known as Salafis, have formed a number of cells in Gaza, some of them inspired by al-Qaida, but without central organization. They have claimed responsibility for several attacks on Israel.A senior Hamas official on Monday described the Salafi cells as “ticking bombs that threaten not only the Gaza government.” He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss intelligence assessments with reporters. Hamas has arrested suspected Salafis in the past, even clashing with them in shootouts on some occasions.A former Israeli deputy military chief, Maj. Gen. Dan Harel, did not expect Hamas to go after militant groups. “They condemn it, but they don’t do enough to control those extremist movements and terror organizations,” he said.___Associated Press writer Mohammed Daraghmeh in Ramallah contributed reporting.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) In a meeting with Hamas officials from Gaza last month, Morsi appeared sympathetic to their demands to lift restrictions on travel out of Gaza, though he was noncommittal about opening the border to trade as well.In return, Morsi asked Hamas to crack down on militants moving in and out of Gaza through the tunnels, according to an official close to the talks who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the content of closed-door discussions with reporters.Morsi told Hamas his leadership would be tested by how he deals with Islamic militants in Sinai and asked Hamas to help make his first term a success, the official said.The bloody attack on the border that left 16 Egyptian soldiers dead threw the implied agreements into disarray. It also left Hamas in a damage-control mode, with few options beyond pleading for a fair inquiry.The Hamas government condemned the attack as an “awful crime” and promised to help Egypt find the culprits, but also denied Gaza militants were involved. “We reject using the name of Gaza (in the context of the attack) without investigation and without finding out who is standing behind it,” said Deputy Prime Minister Mohammed Awad. Top Stories Associated PressGAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) – The weekend’s deadly attack on the Egypt-Israel border by Islamic militants with purported ties to Gaza spells trouble for the territory’s Hamas rulers.Hamas had lobbied Egypt’s new president, who like the group has roots in the region-wide Muslim Brotherhood, to end Gaza’s 5-year-long border blockade by throwing open a shared border crossing that is the territory’s only gate to the world. More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Check your body, save your life Instead, one of the first steps President Mohammed Morsi took after Sunday’s attack was to slam the Gaza border crossing shut indefinitely.Egypt’s military said the attackers had the help of Palestinian militants, saying “elements from the Gaza Strip” aided them by shelling the Egyptian-Israeli border crossing with mortars as the attack was taking place.An Egyptian government official charged anonymously that at least some of the attackers came from Gaza, infiltrating through smuggling tunnels under the border.Hundreds of tunnels run under the 15-kilometer (9-mile) Gaza-Egypt border, dug over the years to evade border restrictions and move contraband, including weapons and militants.Hamas announced it closed the tunnels temporarily following the attack that left 16 Egyptian border troops dead. Egypt indicated it would crack down from its side after mostly ignoring the underground passages for years.Morsi pledged that now, Egypt’s military will go after the militants in the Sinai, a move that could reinforce Gaza’s isolation.After Morsi’s election victory earlier this summer, Hamas had been hopeful that the Gaza border blockade _ imposed by Israel and Egypt after Hamas overran the territory in 2007 _ was coming to an end. Comments   Share   A senior Egyptian official alleged that Hamas has failed to prevent militants from slipping in and out of the Sinai desert through the tunnels. “After Egyptian blood was spilled, we will not accept words of condemnation, denials or failing to take responsibility,” the official said of Hamas, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss internal government deliberations with reporters.In a first sign of tension between Morsi’s’ government and Hamas, the movement’s deputy leader, Moussa Abu Marzouk, wrote on his Facebook page that closing the Rafah crossing amounted to collective punishment.Since taking office, Morsi has been careful to avoid the impression that he puts the interests of fellow Islamists, including Hamas, above those of Egypt. After Sunday’s attack, he is under even greater pressure to clamp down on Islamic militants seen as a threat to his country’s national interests.“Hamas will be the first to pay the price of this attack, and I think the ones who carried it out meant to embarrass Hamas,” said Abdel Majed Swailem, a West Bank analyst. “Egypt is going to be very tough on the borders and that will harm Hamas’ standing. The first target for Egypt now will be the tunnels, the main artery for Hamas.” Sponsored Stories last_img read more