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Zorro

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Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 50
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 9,542

Journal Archives

Maduro's critics want to know: Is he actually Colombian?

A high-profile group of Venezuelans has called on the opposition-controlled National Assembly to investigate persistent rumors that President Nicolas Maduro is in fact Colombian, disqualifying him from holding the office.

A letter addressed to assembly president Henry Ramos Allup and reproduced in local news outlets refers to "the reasonable doubts existing around the true origins of Maduro, who has so far refused to produce his birth certificate."

The letter -- with echoes of the challenges to the citizenship of US President Barack Obama -- carries 62 signatures, including those of a former ambassador, a leading businessman and some former military leaders opposed to Chavism, the leftist ideology associated with Maduro's predecessor, the late president Hugo Chavez.

The letter asserts that Maduro, as the "son of a Colombian mother" and having lived in that neighboring country as a youth, is "Colombian by birth" under the Colombian Constitution.

http://news.yahoo.com/maduros-critics-want-know-actually-colombian-212048184.html

Final two California escapees captured near upscale store

Source: AFP

The two remaining escapees from a jail break in southern California have been captured in San Francisco, police announced Saturday.

The two -- identified as Hossein Nayeri, 37, and Jonathan Tieu, 20 -- were arrested after a passerby recognized their white van as the one authorities said had been stolen following the dramatic jail break last week in Santa Ana, near Los Angeles.

Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens told reporters that Nayeri ran from the van, which was in the parking lot of a Whole Foods grocery store near Golden Gate Park, as police approached.

Nayeri was arrested following a short foot chase, and Tieu was then captured when police returned to the van.

Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/final-two-california-escapees-captured-near-upscale-store-215330043.html



Escapees shopping at Whole Foods -- it's a California thing.

FARC will be 'ally' in Colombia war on drugs: president

FARC rebels will be an "ally" of the Colombian government in the war on drug trafficking once they strike a peace deal to end a half century of conflict, President Juan Manuel Santos said Thursday.

The Marxist guerrillas and Bogota have made several key advances in recent months and the two sides set a deadline of March 23 to sign a final peace accord -- though the FARC have warned that "substantial" obstacles could get in the way.

The conflict, which has killed more than 220,000 people and displaced six million, has drawn in right-wing paramilitaries, drug traffickers and several leftist rebel groups, of which the FARC is the oldest and largest remaining.

Illegal drugs have given rise to horrific violence by drug cartels in Colombia and fueled the five-decade conflict.

http://news.yahoo.com/farc-ally-colombia-war-drugs-president-001459051.html

Interesting statement. Will the FARC will be transitioned into some sort of rural police force? It might be quite a challenge to kick the habit and the narcotrafficking income.

Venezuela opposition leader urges fast action to oust president

Source: Reuters

Venezuela's opposition must define within weeks its strategy for ending Nicolas Maduro's presidency given the OPEC nation's "monstrous" economic crisis, opposition leader Henrique Capriles believes.

Having won control of the National Assembly last month due to voter ire at Venezuela's punishing recession, the opposition coalition has vowed to find a constitutional mechanism to oust Hugo Chavez' successor in the first half of 2016.

Options for the multi-faction coalition include demanding his resignation, forcing a recall referendum as allowed half-way through his term, or reforming the constitution to trigger a new presidential election.

"We have to find a common position. The clock is ticking ... We can't wait longer than the first quarter," Capriles, a state governor who narrowly lost a 2013 presidential vote to Maduro, told Reuters in an interview late on Thursday.

Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/venezuela-opposition-leader-urges-fast-action-oust-president-140929811--business.html



The Venezuelan economy's downward spiral will continue unless Maduro changes his policies, and there's every indication he plans to stay the course. It's a case of politics trumping reality, much like what is seen in supply-side embracing states like Kansas.

2 BASE jumpers presumed dead after leaping off iconic Big Sur bridge

Source: LA Times

Two BASE jumpers are presumed to have drowned after leaping off the iconic Bixby Bridge in Big Sur last week, sheriff’s officials said Tuesday.

Mary Katherine Connell of Ventura and an unidentified man from Finland remain missing, according to Cmdr. John Thornburg, spokesman for the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office.

The pair are believed to have been overpowered by tumultuous surf shortly after landing on a small beach below Pacific Coast Highway on Wednesday.

Authorities only learned of the jumpers' fate on Sunday, when they recovered a parachute and helmet camera on the beach, and then watched the recording.

Read more: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-base-jumpers-dead-big-sur-bridge-20160126-story.html

In Reversal, Campaign Says Ted Cruz Does Have Health Insurance

Ted Cruz has health insurance, and he had it all along, his campaign said Friday night, reversing what the presidential candidate said a day earlier.

Mr. Cruz told a Manchester, N.H., audience on Thursday that he was currently uninsured — which he said infuriated his wife –after Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas canceled many individual policies, including his. As a result, Mr. Cruz said he was now looking to buy a new plan at sharply higher premiums, a turn of events he attributed to the Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare. Mr. Cruz has been a harsh critic of the health law.

But it turns out he was never uninsured. So why did he think he had lost coverage and didn’t have any currently?

Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier said Friday that Mr. Cruz’s insurance broker had told him that he lost his health coverage when his Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas preferred provider organization, or PPO, policy terminated on Dec. 31.

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2016/01/22/in-twist-campaign-says-ted-cruz-has-health-insurance-no-coverage-gap/

What a good Christian liar.

Russian ruble plumbs new depths against dollar

Source: AFP

Russia's ruble on Thursday continued to plummet to new record lows against the dollar, tumbling by over 4 percent beyond 85 to the greenback on falling oil prices.

The ruble -- which has already been battered over the past 18 months by low energy prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine -- also weakened to over 93 against the euro.

Russia's recession-hit economy relies on oil and gas for over half of its budget revenues and the authorities are coming under increasing pressure to act to stave off further damage to the currency.

The Kremlin insisted that the ruble's plunge was "not a collapse", insisting the authorities would be able to stop the rot.

Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/russian-ruble-drops-over-3-plumbs-low-against-080916276.html

Venezuela Congress plans to investigate PDVSA, China loans

Venezuela's new opposition-led Congress plans to investigate state-run oil company PDVSA's [PDVSA.UL] financial health and hefty Chinese loans, a lawmaker said on Tuesday.

The OPEC member country depends on oil for nearly all of its export revenue. With the political opposition in control of the National Assembly since this month, rivals of leftist President Nicolas Maduro want to use their new perch to push for greater transparency and accountability at PDVSA.

"We want to know the real state of PDVSA's books," Elias Matta, an opposition lawmaker and vice president of the energy and oil commission, told Reuters on the sidelines of the National Assembly.

"The country wants to know how the money from the Chinese funds were spent. We also want to investigate what the real cost of production is. And why haven't they done the output increases they talked about so much? We're going to have a lot of work in this commission," he added with a smile.

http://news.yahoo.com/venezuela-congress-plans-investigate-pdvsa-china-loans-210609085--business.html

Heidi Nelson Cruz: A Political Spouse Making Sacrifices and Courting Donors

Heidi Nelson Cruz stepped to the lectern in a black gown, waiting for the applause to settle. She was beaming.

Speaking to college graduates in Tennessee, Mrs. Cruz — then 31, with an M.B.A. from Harvard and a dream job at the White House — peppered her commencement address with a cache of worldly wisdom: No job is beneath you. Don’t be afraid to fail. And, perhaps most important, choose the right partner.

“Marry someone who complements you, literally and figuratively,” she said. “Few, if any, decisions will have a greater impact on your happiness.”

Left unspoken: Mrs. Cruz and her husband, Senator Ted Cruz, were living 1,500 miles apart and trying to find a happy balance in their own lives.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/18/us/politics/ted-cruz-wife-campaign.html

Fact Checker of Republican Debate Hospitalized for Exhaustion

CHARLESTON (The Borowitz Report)—A fact checker who has vetted all of the 2016 Republican Presidential debates was hospitalized for exhaustion during the sixth G.O.P. forum in Charleston on Thursday evening.

Martin Slessky, a former journalist who works for HonestyWatch, a Minnesota-based fact-checking organization, was resting comfortably after suffering what his doctors called a “total physical and mental collapse” during Thursday’s debate.

Harland Dorrinson, the executive director of HonestyWatch, said he first became concerned about Slessky’s health when the fact checker started having heart palpitations and shortness of breath every time Texas senator Ted Cruz spoke.

“I turned to Martin and said, ‘Are you all right? Are you going to be able to make it through this?’ ” Dorrinson said. “And he said, ‘I’ll be fine. Ben Carson is starting to talk now, that’ll be soothing.’ ”

http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/fact-checker-of-republican-debate-hospitalized-for-exhaustion
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