Tag Archives: Puerto Rico

Catholic flock thinning in Latin America


The Catholic Church is definitely on the decline, and this is a very good thing. One of the most corrupt organizations in the history of mankind is dwindling in its popularity and followers. That it has taken this long is a testament to the gullibility of the masses. Yet, thanks to the internet, among other things, people have realized what this Church is all about; greed and hypocrisy. Playing on people’s feelings and using guilt has finally run its course. Hopefully the Catholic Church will be reduced to nothing by the end of this century, as the world will be a better place because of it… TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Associated Press

AFP

Pope

Washington (AFP) – Although Argentine-born Pope Francis is largely popular in Latin America, the number of adults in the region who describe themselves as Catholic is falling, says a study published Thursday.

In a study of 18 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean as well as the US territory of Puerto Rico, the Pew Research Center said the Roman Catholic church is losing adherents to Protestant faiths or seeing them abandon organized religion altogether.

The study said that historical data suggest that from 1900 through the 1960s at least 90 percent of Latin America’s population was Catholic.

But today 69 percent of adults polled identified themselves as Catholic, the study said.

Latin America has more than 425 million Catholics, who account for nearly 40 percent of the world’s Catholic population, the center said.

But the number of people switching to other religions, mainly Protestant churches, is on the rise.

According to the report, 84 percent of today’s Latin American adults say they were raised as Catholics. That is 15 percentage points more than those who still call themselves Catholic.

At the same time, membership of Protestant churches and people who say they are not affiliated with any church are increasing.

Nine percent of Latin Americans say they were raised as Protestants, but almost one in five now call themselves Protestants.

“In nearly every country surveyed, the Catholic Church has experienced net losses from religious switching, as many Latin Americans have joined evangelical Protestant churches or rejected organized religion altogether,” the study said.

As to why Catholics are leaving the church, Pew said that of eight answers available in the poll, the most frequently chosen was that people were “seeking a more personal connection with God.”

The study said that in general Latin America has embraced the former Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a Jesuit who was elected pope in March 2013 and took the name Francis.

In his native country, 91 percent of those polled have a favorable view of the pontiff. But that support is uneven across the region.

“Among former Catholics, relatively few give the pope a positive rating, with many saying it is too soon to rate him,” the study said.

“Similarly, while majorities of Catholics in most countries describe the election of Francis as representing a major change for the Catholic Church, this view is held by much smaller shares of former Catholics,” it added.

Abuse charges roil heavily Catholic Puerto Rico


I’ve stated it before and will do so again… Everywhere that the Catholic Church exerts its power, its control over the minds of the people, there is sexual abuse by its clergy. I realize that the masses like to live in a fairytale world and believe that all priests are decent people who wouldn’t hurt a fly, but there is enough evidence out there to prove otherwise. Ireland, Germany, England, France, Italy, Poland, the Philippines, the United States; you name it. Priests have been abusing people from the first Inquisition to the present, and will continue to do so as long as people continue to believe that the clergy have a connection to God.

Wise up folks, and stop trusting your children to these predators who hide behind the cloth. TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Associated Press

Associated Press By DANICA COTO

Church

ARECIBO, Puerto Rico (AP) — First, the Catholic Church announced it had defrocked six priests accused of sex abuse in the Puerto Rican town of Arecibo. Then, local prosecutors disclosed that at least 11 other priests on the island were under investigation for similar accusations.

Now, as U.S. authorities acknowledge that they, too, are looking into abuse allegations by priests on this devoutly Catholic island, many are reeling from revelations of abuse involving some of the U.S. territory’s most beloved clerics.

Puerto Ricans had largely been spared the lurid accounts of sex abuse involving the Catholic Church, and many had come to believe they were immune. But Barbara Dorris, a director with the U.S.-based Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said the new reports mean it’s likely the problem is much worse than previously imagined.

“In general, these things tend to snowball because victims are afraid to come forward,” Dorris said. “If the priests have been on this island for a while, it probably means that it’s dozens upon dozens of victims out there.”

Puerto Rico Justice Secretary Cesar Miranda said last week that at least four dioceses are being investigated. He also warned he might file charges against church officials suspected of withholding information.

He described the situation as “truly scandalous.”

“We are not going to rest,” Miranda said. “We are going to capture them, we are going to process them and we are going to put them in jail.”

Allegations of sex abuse by priests are not new here, but the latest wave of investigations has dwarfed anything seen on the island of 3.6 million people, more than 70 percent of whom identify themselves as Catholic.

“People want to believe in the specialness of the priests, in the power of the priests,” said Richard Sipe, a California-based psychologist and former priest who is an expert on clergy sexual abuse. “The Latin American community is much slower in bringing charges against the priests. …The priests themselves are held in greater esteem, and the culture is identified with the Catholic Church more closely.”

On a recent Sunday morning in Arecibo, churchgoers streamed through the heavy wooden doors of the city’s 17th century cathedral. A swell of voices soon joined the priest inside in prayer, while 44-year-old Jose Soto hurriedly walked past the Mass in the town’s deserted streets.

“When you go in through those doors, it is supposed to be a spiritual, wholesome place,” he said, adding that he once regularly attended Mass in the cathedral. “You don’t know who you’re listening to anymore … It’s like using the word of God for other purposes.”

The wave of allegations began in late January with a series of reports in local media, primarily in the newspaper El Nuevo Dia.

In response, Arecibo Bishop Daniel Fernandez released a statement disclosing that since 2011 he had defrocked six priests accused of sex abuse, an unusually large number for a diocese with about 90 priests. Church officials said they have also provided counseling for at least one alleged victim and reparations in an unspecified number of cases across the island.

Last week, one of Arecibo’s defrocked priests, Edwin Antonio Mercado Viera, was charged with committing lewd acts. The 53-year-old, who had been a popular figure in the parish, is accused of fondling the genitals of a 13-year-old altar boy in 2007.

Prosecutor Jose Capo Rivera said the bishop himself is “part of the investigation” due to accusations he committed lewd acts involving a minor. Fernandez has said he is innocent.

“Clearly, it’s revenge for the decisions I’ve taken since the moment I assumed leadership of the diocese, where the situation that I found was not the most positive,” he said in a written statement.

Agnes Poventud, an attorney for a man who says Fernandez molested him when he was child, told The Associated Press that federal agents recently interviewed her and her client. She declined to say when the alleged abuse occurred or how old her client was at the time, only to say he was a minor.

A federal official confirmed to the AP that U.S. authorities have requested information about alleged clergy abuse from the Puerto Rico Justice Department. The official agreed to discuss the case only if not quoted by name because the information was not yet public.

Further revelations have followed the Arecibo cases. The Diocese of Mayaguez, on Puerto Rico’s west coast, said it has handled four cases of alleged sex abuse, the majority of them being reviewed by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which takes on such accusations.

In addition, San Juan Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez Nieves said prosecutors are investigating six alleged sex abuse cases in the diocese of Puerto Rico’s capital. He said the accused priests have been suspended and the statute of limitation has expired in five cases.

Prosecutors also are investigating a sex abuse allegation in the Diocese of Caguas, Capo said.

Meanwhile, justice officials accuse the Arecibo diocese of withholding information and are fighting a lawsuit still pending in court that the diocese filed to keep secret the names of alleged victims to protect their confidentiality. Prosecutors assert the move is intended to protect the accused priests, a charge diocese attorney Frank Torres denies.

“The church has cooperated and has a policy of transparency, but that cooperation does not mean the church is free to violate the guarantees of confidentiality it has awarded the victims,” Torres said in a phone interview.

Diocese officials in Puerto Rico say that the statute of limitations has expired in many cases, an argument that Florida-based lawyer Joseph Saunders said has been the church’s first line of defense. He said many church officials argue they should have been sued when the alleged violations occurred.

“Nobody sued a bishop or a priest back then,” he said. “There’s an underlying fear of going to hell for suing the bishop.”

Huge Asteroid Cruises Past Earth


Interesting… Millions upon millions of human beings waste their lives fighting with one another, abusing one another, killing one another… And yet, if one of these gigantic asteroids collides with Earth, people will realize just how stupid they are and how frivolous all the fighting really is. Unfortunately, if one of these asteroids does hit us, relatively few of us will remain. TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Space.com

SPACE.comBy Mike Wall | SPACE.com

Asteroid

An asteroid wider than nine ocean liners sailed safely past Earth today (May 31), making its closest flyby of our planet for at least the next 200 years.

Asteroid 1998 QE2, which is about 1.7 miles (2.7 kilometers) wide, cruised within 3.6 million miles (5.8 million km) of Earth at 4:59 p.m. EDT (2059 GMT) today, then slipped silently off into the depths of space once again.

The huge space rock never posed any danger of hitting Earth on this pass, scientists say. Indeed, at its closest approach this afternoon, 1998 QE2 was still about 15 times farther away than the moon is from Earth.

But astronomers have been tracking the asteroid closely nonetheless, regarding the close encounter as an opportunity to learn more about 1998 QE2’s composition, structure and orbit.

They’ve trained two huge radio telescopes on the space rock — NASA’s 230-foot-wide (70 meters) Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, Calif., and the 1,000-foot (305 m) dish at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.

“It is tremendously exciting to see detailed images of this asteroid for the first time,” Lance Benner, principal investigator for the Goldstone radar observations at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said in a statement earlier this month.

“With radar, we can transform an object from a point of light into a small world with its own unique set of characteristics,” Benner added. “In a real sense, radar imaging of near-Earth asteroids is a fundamental form of exploring a whole class of solar system objects.”

The observation campaign is set to run through June 9, but it has already transformed scientists’ understanding of 1998 QE2. Researchers announced Thursday (May 30), for example, that the asteroid is actually a binary system, in which a 2,000-foot (600 m) moon circles the much larger space rock.

Asteroid 1998 QE2 was discovered in August 1998 by astronomers working with MIT’s Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research program in New Mexico. The space rock is one of 10,000 or so near-Earth asteroids identified to date, but the total population of these close-flying objects is thought to exceed 1 million.

Scientists are working hard to find and track as many of these asteroids as they can, starting with the biggest and most dangerous ones. The good news is that they’ve spotted virtually all the mountain-size asteroids like 1998 QE2 that could threaten human civilization if they hit Earth, and none are on a collision course with Earth for the foreseeable future.

Many smaller but still hazardous objects remain undiscovered, however. For example, astronomers have catalogued less than 30 percent of the asteroids at least 330 feet (100 m) wide that are thought to come uncomfortably close to Earth at some point in their orbits. Such objects could destroy an area the size of a state if they slammed into Earth.

Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on SPACE.com.

Ex-boxer ‘Macho’ Camacho dies after shooting


Because of the nature of the sport, very few professional fighters are what one would call “decent” human beings. Most come from broken homes and grow up in the streets as thugs. By the way, boxers aren’t the only ones to which this applies. Promoter Don King, pictured below with the “nest” on his head, is a bigger scum-bag than most boxers combined. This guy has to go down in history as one of the biggest leeches of all-time. TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Associated Press

By DANICA COTO and DAVID SKRETTA (Associated Press) | The Associated Press

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Hector ”Macho” Camacho, a Puerto Rican boxer known for skill and flamboyance in the ring as well as for a messy personal life and run-ins with the police, was declared dead on Saturday, four days after being shot in the face. He was 50.

Shot while sitting in a parked car outside a bar Tuesday with a friend in the city of Bayamon, he was declared dead at the Centro Medico trauma center in San Juan. The friend, 49-year-old Adrian Mojica Moreno, died at the scene of the shooting. Police said Mojica had nine small bags of cocaine in his pocket and a 10th bag was found open in the car.

Originally from Bayamon, just outside San Juan, Camacho was long regarded as a flashy if volatile talent, a skilled boxer who was perhaps overshadowed by his longtime foil, Mexican superstar Julio Cesar Chavez, who would beat him in a long-awaited showdown in Las Vegas in 1992.

Camacho fought professionally for three decades, from his humble debut against David Brown at New York’s Felt Forum in 1980 to an equally forgettable swansong against Sal Duran in Kissimmee, Florida, in 2010.

In between, he fought some of the biggest stars spanning two eras, including Sugar Ray Leonard, Felix Trinidad, Oscar De La Hoya and Roberto Duran.

”This is something I’ve done all my life, you know?” Camacho told The Associated Press after a workout in 2010. ”A couple years back, when I was doing it, I was still enjoying it. The competition, to see myself perform. I know I’m at the age that some people can’t do this no more.”

Camacho’s family moved to New York when he was young and he grew up in Spanish Harlem, which at the time was rife with crime. Camacho landed in jail as a teenager before turning to boxing, which for many kids in his neighborhood provided an outlet for their aggression.

Former featherweight champion Juan Laporte, a friend since childhood, described Camacho as ”like a little brother who was always getting into trouble,” but otherwise combined a friendly nature with a powerful jab.

”He’s a good human being, a good hearted person,” Laporte said as he waited with other friends and members of the boxer’s family outside the hospital in San Juan after the shooting. ”A lot of people think of him as a cocky person but that was his motto … inside he was just a kid looking for something.”

Laporte lamented that Camacho never found a mentor outside the boxing ring.

”The people around him didn’t have the guts or strength to lead him in the right direction,” Laporte said. ”There was no one strong enough to put a hand on his shoulder and tell him how to do it.”

Drug, alcohol and other problems trailed Camacho after the prime of his boxing career. He was sentenced in 2007 to seven years in prison for the burglary of a computer store in Mississippi. While arresting him on the burglary charge in January 2005, police also found the drug ecstasy.

A judge eventually suspended all but one year of the sentence and gave Camacho probation. He wound up serving two weeks in jail, though, after violating that probation.

Camacho’s former wife, Amy, obtained a restraining order against him in 1998, alleging he threatened her and one of their children. The couple, who had two children at the time, later divorced.

He divided his time between Puerto Rico and Florida in recent years, appearing on Spanish-language television as well as on a reality show called ”Es Macho Time!” on YouTube.

Inside the boxing ring, Camacho flourished. He won three Golden Gloves titles as an amateur, and after turning pro, he quickly became a contender with an all-action style reminiscent of other Puerto Rican fighters.

Long promoted by Don King, Camacho won his first world title by beating Rafael Limon in a super-featherweight bout in Puerto Rico on Aug. 7, 1983. He moved up in weight two years later to capture a lightweight title by defeating Jose Luis Ramirez, and successfully defended the belt against fellow countryman Edwin Rosario.

The Rosario fight, in which the victorious Camacho still took a savage beating, persuaded him to scale back his ultra-aggressive style in favor of a more cerebral, defensive approach.

The change in style was a big reason that Camacho, at the time 38-0, lost a close split decision to Greg Haugen at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas in 1991.

Camacho won the rematch to set up his signature fight against Chavez, this time at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. Camacho was roundly criticized for his lack of action, and the Mexican champion won a lopsided unanimous decision to retain the lightweight title.

It was at that point that Camacho became the name opponent for other rising contenders, rather than the headliner fighting for his own glory.

He lost a unanimous decision to another young Puerto Rican fighter, Trinidad, and was soundly defeated by De La Hoya. In 1997, Camacho ended Leonard’s final comeback with a fifth-round knockout. It was Camacho’s last big victory even though he boxed for another decade.

”Hector was a fighter who brought a lot of excitement to boxing,” said Ed Brophy, executive director of International the Boxing Hall of Fame. ”He was a good champion. Roberto Duran is kind of in a class of his own, but Hector surely was an exciting fighter that gave his all to the sport.”

The fighter’s last title bout came in 1997 against welterweight champion Oscar De La Hoya, who won by unanimous decision. Camacho’s last fight was his defeat by Duran in May 2010. He had a career record of 79-6-3.

Cuba’s 2nd city without power, water after Sandy


People who read this article shouldn’t be misled by its contents. Cuba didn’t need hurricane Sandy in order to be without electricity and running water. The Castro regime, in power since 1959, has systematically destroyed what was once an island paradise.

Except for tourist areas in Havana and Matanzas provinces, the rest of the country is in shambles. The country’s infrastructure is destroyed; roadways, bridges, highways, etc. haven’t been repaired in 50 years. Hospitals are insect-ridden and without air conditioning. Buildings are falling apart with leaky roofs, stucco which is peeling off the walls in sheets and little paint. Water and sanitary piping are corroded to the point of bursting and electrical wiring throughout entire commercial and residential districts is exposed, even indoors. What cars are still operational date back to the fifties. In short, the country is a toilet bowl. In this regard, Fidel and Raul Castro are right at home!

However, worse than all of the physical damage, the “real” damage has been done to the Cuban people. People who were once industrious, prosperous and proud are now lazy, and many have resorted to theft, prostitution and the like in order to survive under this failed system of government. TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Associated Press

By PETER ORSI | Associated Press – Mon, Oct 29, 2012

In this Oct. 26, 2012 photo, residents walk past tree branches and power lines felled by Hurricane Sandy in Santiago de Cuba. Residents of Cuba's second city continued to find themselves without power or running water, Monday, Oct. 29, 2012, four days after Hurricane Sandy hit. (AP Photo/Franklin Reyes)

HAVANA (AP) — Residents of Cuba’s second-largest city of Santiago remained without power or running water Monday, four days after Hurricane Sandy made landfall as the island’s deadliest storm in seven years, ripping rooftops from homes and toppling power lines.

Across the Caribbean, the storm’s death toll rose to 69, including 52 people in Haiti, 11 in Cuba, two in the Bahamas, two in the Dominican Republic, one in Jamaica and one in Puerto Rico.

Cuban authorities have not yet estimated the economic toll, but the Communist Party newspaper Granma reported there was “severe damage to housing, economic activity, fundamental public services and institutions of education, health and culture.”

Yolanda Tabio, a native of Santiago, said she had never seen anything like it in all her 64 years: Broken hotel and shop windows, trees blown over onto houses, people picking through piles of debris for a scrap of anything to cover their homes. On Sunday, she sought solace in faith.

“The Mass was packed. Everyone crying,” said Tabio, whose house had no electricity, intermittent phone service and only murky water coming out of the tap on Monday. “I think it will take five to ten years to recover. … But we’re alive.”

Sandy came onshore early Thursday just west of Santiago, a city of about 500,000 people in agricultural southeastern Cuba. It is the island’s deadliest storm since 2005’s Hurricane Dennis, a category 5 monster that killed 16 people and did $2.4 billion in damage. More than 130,000 homes were damaged by Sandy, including 15,400 that were destroyed, Granma said.

“It really shocked me to see all that has been destroyed and to know that for many people, it’s the effort of a whole lifetime,” said Maria Caridad Lopez, a media relations officer at the Roman Catholic Archdiocese in Santiago. “And it disappears in just three hours.”

Lopez said several churches in the area collapsed and nearly all suffered at least minor damage. That included the Santiago cathedral as well as one of the holiest sites in Cuba, the Sanctuary of the Virgin del Cobre. Sandy’s winds blew out its stained glass windows and damaged its massive doors.

“It’s indescribable,” said Berta Serguera, an 82-year-old retiree whose home withstood the tempest but whose patio and garden did not. “The trees have been shredded as if with a saw. My mango only has a few branches left, and they look like they were shaved.”

On Monday, sound trucks cruised the streets urging people to boil drinking water to prevent infectious disease. Soldiers worked to remove rubble and downed trees from the streets. Authorities set up radios and TVs in public spaces to keep people up to date on relief efforts, distributed chlorine to sterilize water and prioritized electrical service to strategic uses such as hospitals and bakeries.

Enrique Berdion, a 45-year-old doctor who lives in central Santiago, said his small apartment building did not suffer major damage but he had been without electricity, water or gas for days.

“This was something I’ve never seen, something extremely intense, that left Santiago destroyed. Most homes have no roofs. The winds razed the parks, toppled all the trees,” Berdion said by phone. “I think it will take years to recover.”

Raul Castro, who toured Cuba’s hardest-hit regions on Sunday, warned of a long road to recovery.

Granma said the president called on the country to urgently implement “temporary solutions,” and “undoubtedly the definitive solution will take years of work.”

Venezuela sent nearly 650 of tons of aid, including nonperishable food, potable water and heavy machinery both to Cuba and to nearby Haiti, which was not directly in the storm’s path but suffered flash floods across much of the country’s south.

Across the Caribbean, work crews were repairing downed power lines and cracked water pipes and making their way into rural communities marooned by impassable roads. The images were similar from eastern Jamaica to the northern Bahamas: Trees ripped from the ground, buildings swamped by floodwaters and houses missing roofs.

Fixing soggy homes may be a much quicker task than repairing the financial damage, and island governments were still assessing Sandy’s economic impact on farms, housing and infrastructure.

In tourism-dependent countries like Jamaica and the Bahamas, officials said popular resorts sustained only superficial damage, mostly to landscaping.

Haiti, where even minor storms can send water gushing down hills denuded of trees, listed a death toll of 52 as of Monday and officials said it could still rise. Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe has described the storm as a “disaster of major proportions.”

In Jamaica, where Sandy made landfall first on Wednesday as a Category 1 hurricane, people coped with lingering water and power outages with mostly good humor.

“Well, we mostly made it out all right. I thought it was going to be rougher, like it turned out for other places,” laborer Reginald Miller said as he waited for a minibus at a sunbaked Kingston intersection.

In parts of the Bahamas, the ocean surged into coastal buildings and deposited up to six feet of seawater. Sandy was blamed for two deaths on the archipelago off Florida’s east coast, including a British bank executive who fell off his roof while trying to fix a window shutter and an elderly man found dead beneath overturned furniture in his flooded, low-lying home.

___

Associated Press writers Anne-Marie Garcia in Havana, David McFadden in Kingston, Jamaica, and Jeff Todd in Nassau, Bahamas, contributed to this report.

___

Peter Orsi is on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Peter_Orsi

Santero priest targeted in PRico drug operation


As long as the demand for drugs exists, there will always be scum bags willing to supply those demands; for profits of course. Kill the demand and the drug traffickers go out of business. Sounds simple but it isn’t, as there will always be a demand for drugs. The alternative is to legalize them, but this isn’t likely to happen anytime soon. TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Associated Press

Associated PressBy DANICA COTO | Associated Press

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A Santeria leader charged with helping run an organization that allegedly smuggled drugs bound for the U.S. and rigged Puerto Rico’s lottery system to launder money was among dozens of suspects arrested Tuesday, according to federal agents.

Orlando Robles Ortiz is accused of helping the group transport U.S.-bound cocaine from the Dutch Caribbean island of St. Maarten to Puerto Rico and of consulting with a spirit named “Samuel” on which days were best to do so, officials said.

Robles also would consult the spirit before accepting new members to the organization, said Pedro Janer, acting special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Caribbean division.

He noted that while Afro-Caribbean religions have played an important role in drug trafficking here, it is unusual for a Santero priest to help lead such an organization.

By Tuesday afternoon, at least 18 of the 22 suspects had been arrested in San Juan and in New York following a seven-month investigation named “Voodoo Sam.”

“It appears the spirit was on vacation thanks to Holy Week,” Janer said about the group’s failure to recognize that federal agents were closing in thanks to a tip received from authorities in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The organization had operated since 2003 and is accused of earning $127 million distributing at least 840 kilograms (1,850 pounds) of cocaine a year across Puerto Rico and to Connecticut and New York aboard commercial planes, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Mariana Bauza.

Among those accused is a former stewardess for American Airlines, a former local basketball player and the former owner of a local baseball team.

The organization also had developed a contact within Puerto Rico’s lottery office that would give them winning numbers that had not been claimed so they could hide their earnings, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Jose Capo.

The group bought at least 33 tickets for their actual price plus 20 percent commission and then present the ticket as if it were theirs, he said. The lottery office would then write a check for the winning amount, helping the organization launder more than $1.4 million, he said.

The suspects face a maximum of life in prison if found guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.

Puerto Rico matches number of killings for 2010


Must be that Spanish blood…

People may think I’m kidding, but there is no doubt that the Spaniards have a long history of violence. In fact, look at some of their favorite pastimes; bullfighting and bull runs – lost of blood in both cases. Is there any other explanation as to why all Central and South American nations, those conquered by the Spanish, are for the most part full of political corruption, drug trafficking and violence?

That defiant Spanish attitude prevails… TGO

Refer to brief story below. Source: Associated Press

AP – Sat, Nov 12, 2011

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico has equaled the number of killings reported for all of last year when the U.S. Caribbean territory marked its second highest number of slayings ever.

Police said Saturday that 983 people have been killed so far this year. The most recent killing was that of a driver shot several times in the face Saturday in the central mountain town of Cidra.

The victim had previously been charged with robbery and drug possession.

A record 995 people were killed in 1994 in this island of 4 million people.

Police say the majority of slayings are drug-related.

Earl batters Caribbean, threatens US East Coast


This is the first hurricane that poses a real threat to the United States this summer It is at about this time that hurricanes “line up” along the western coast of Africa en route to the Caribbean, Central America and the United States… TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Associated Press

By MIKE MELIA, Associated Press Writer Mike Melia, Associated Press Writer

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Hurricane Earl battered tiny islands across the northeastern Caribbean with heavy rain and roof-ripping winds Monday as it rapidly intensified into a major Category 4 storm taking a path projected to menace the United States.

Already dangerous with sustained winds of 135 mph (215 kph), Earl was expected to gain more strength before potentially brushing the U.S. East Coast this week and bringing deadly rip currents.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami warned coastal residents from North Carolina to Maine to watch the storm closely.

“Any small shift in the track could dramatically alter whether it makes landfall or whether it remains over the open ocean,” said Wallace Hogsett, a meteorologist at the center. “I can’t urge enough to just stay tuned.”

In the Caribbean, Earl caused flooding in low-lying areas and damaged homes on islands including Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla and St. Maarten. Several countries and territories reported power outages. Cruise ships were diverted and flights canceled across the region.

The storm’s center passed just north of the British Virgin Islands on Monday afternoon. By nighttime, the hurricane was pulling away from the Caribbean, but heavy downpours still threatened to cause flash floods and mudslides in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands by drenching already saturated ground.

Earl was forecast to approach the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region around Thursday, before curving back out to sea, potentially swiping New England or far-eastern Canada.

The Hurricane Center said it was too early to say what effect Earl would have in the U.S., but warned it could at least kick up dangerous rip currents. A surfer died in Florida and a Maryland swimmer had been missing since Saturday in waves spawned by former Hurricane Danielle, which weakened to a tropical storm Monday far out in the north Atlantic.

Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said Earl’s approach ought to serve as a reminder for Atlantic coastal states to update their evacuation plans.

“It wouldn’t take much to have the storm come ashore somewhere on the coast,” Fugate said. “The message is for everyone to pay attention.”

Close on Earl’s heels, Tropical Storm Fiona formed Monday afternoon in the open Atlantic. The storm, with maximum winds of 40 mph (64 kph), was projected to pass just north of the Leeward Islands by Wednesday and stay farther out in the Atlantic than Earl’s northward path. Fiona wasn’t expected to reach hurricane strength over the next several days.

The rapid development of Earl, which only became a hurricane Sunday, took some islanders and tourists by surprise.

Wind was already rattling the walls of Lila Elly Ali’s wooden house on Anegada, the northernmost of the British Virgin Islands, when she and her son went out to nail the doors shut Monday.

“They say the eye of the storm is supposed to come close to us, so we’ve just got to pray. Everyone here is keeping in touch, listening to the radio,” the 58-year-old said by phone from the island of 280 people.

After Earl’s center passed, there were reports of roofs torn from homes on Anegada, but the extent of damage across the Virgin Islands was unclear Monday night. Emergency officials said they had no immediate reports of any fatalities or serious injuries.

“Thank God we survived,” said a caller to the British Virgin Islands’ ZBVI Radio.

In Anguilla, several utility poles were down and a couple of roofs had blown away, but it was still too dangerous to go out and assess the full extent of damage, said Martin Gussie, a police officer.

At El Conquistador Resort in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, people lined up at the reception desk, the lights occasionally flickering, to check out and head to the airport. There, more delays awaited.

John and Linda Helton of Boulder, Colorado, opted to ride out the storm. The couple, celebrating their 41st wedding anniversary, finished a cruise Sunday and planned to spend three days in Puerto Rico.

“There was a huge line of people checking out as we were coming in, and I thought it was just that summer vacation must be over,” said John Helton, a real estate appraiser. “But we paid for the room, so we might as well stick it out.”

“I don’t think we could get a flight even if we wanted to leave,” Linda Helton added.

There were no reports so far of major damage from Earl.

In St. Maarten, sand and debris littered the streets, and winds knocked down trees and electricity poles and damaged roofs. But police spokesman Ricardo Henson said there was no extensive damage to property.

Alisha Daya, a 24-year-old tourist from Milwaukee, wore earplugs but still had trouble sleeping overnight because of the wind and crashing waves at the Oyster Bay Beach Resort.

“It was loud because we were right on the ocean,” Daya said, adding that the storm delayed their planned departure Monday but the worst seemed to be over.

In Antigua, at least one home was destroyed but there were no reports of serious injuries. Governor General Dame Louise Agnetha Lake-Tack declared Monday a public holiday to keep islanders off the road and give them a chance to clean up.

Jeremy Collymoore, head of the Barbados-based Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency, said islands such as Antigua and Anguilla appeared to have been spared worse damage because they were raked by the system’s northwestern quadrant — the most forgiving part.

Some 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters) of rain were forecast to fall on islands including Puerto Rico.

The U.S. Virgin Islands imposed a curfew for Monday night.

The Hovensa LLC oil refinery in St. Croix said operations were normal except for the harbor, which was closed along with all ports in the U.S. Virgin Islands by order of the Coast Guard.

By late Monday, Earl was about 105 miles (170 kilometers) north of Puerto Rico’s capital, San Juan, and steaming west-northwest near 14 mph (22 kph), according to the center in Miami. Hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 70 miles (110 kilometers) from its center.

___

Associated Press writers Ben Fox in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, Anika Kentish in St. John’s, Antigua, Judy Fitzpatrick in Philipsburg, St. Maarten, Clive Bacchus in Basseterre, St. Kitts, David McFadden in San Juan and Sofia Mannos in Washington contributed to this report.

Potentially Dangerous Asteroid Spotted Passing Earth


If one of these monster-sized asteroids ever hits our planet humans will probably be a thing of the past. Even a smaller space-rock could cause widespread devastation. Should this occur, mankind will realize the stupidity of fighting and killing one another over insignificant things such as religion. But I suppose that until then, nothing will change. TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Space.com

SPACE.com Space.com Staff

space.com Thu Apr 29, 12:01 pm ET

An asteroid on the list of potentially dangerous space rocks that could endanger the Earth was caught on camera as it zoomed past our planet this month, and found to be larger than astronomers originally thought.

The asteroid buzzed the Earth on April 19 and came within 1.5 million miles (2.4 million km) of the planet. That’s about six times the distance between Earth and the moon.

Astronomers used the planetary radar system on the famed Arecibo radio telescope in Arecibo, Puerto Rico to spot the asteroid, called 2005 YU55, over four days starting on April 19. The photo revealed the asteroid as a half-lit space rock flying through the solar system.

“This object is on the list of ‘potentially hazardous asteroids’ maintained by the Minor Planet Center, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Mass.,” Arecibo astronomers said in a statement. [More asteroid photos.]

The astronomers found that the asteroid is about 1,300 feet (400 meters) in size – about a quarter-mile (400 meters) long and twice as big as originally thought. The Arecibo telescope’s planetary radar system resolved features on the asteroid down to about 25 feet (7.5 meters).

Asteroid 2005 YU55 was first discovered by astronomer Robert McMillan, of the Spacewatch detection team, on Dec. 28, 2005. And this isn’t the only chance astronomers will have to study 2005 YU55.

The space rock will be back.

On Nov. 8, 2011, the asteroid will complete another trip around the sun and swing by Earth again just inside the moon’s orbit. It should fly by at a distance of 191,120 miles (307,577 km), about eight-tenths the distance between Earth and the moon. The distance from Earth to the moon is on average about 238,900 miles (384,472 km).

The asteroid poses no risk of impacting the Earth when it returns next year, though astronomers will keep watching its path through space.

NASA routinely tracks asteroids and comets that may fly near the Earth with a network of telescopes on the ground and in space. The agency’s Near-Earth Object Observations program is responsible for finding potentially dangerous asteroids and studying their orbits to determine if they pose a risk of hitting the Earth.

So far, the program has found about 85 percent of the huge asteroids that fly near Earth, but it hasn’t been quite as good at finding rocks that are smaller. The program detected only 15 percent of space rocks that are 460-feet (140-meters) wide and could potentially cause widespread devastation at their impact sites if they hit us, according to a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences.

Only 5 percent of asteroids 164-feet (50-meters) across have been found, the report found. More funding is needed if NASA hopes to reach a Congress-mandated goal of tracking all potentially dangerous space rocks.

President Barack Obama has proposed a budget increase in NASA’s asteroid-tracking program that would boost its resources from $3.7 million in 2009 to $20.3 million in 2011. The program received a $2 million increase in 2010 to support the Arecibo telescope.

Obama has also proposed sending astronauts to visit an asteroid by 2025 to study it and gather data that could help astronomers find ways to deflect space rocks before they threaten all life on Earth.

The Arecibo Observatory is part of the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center which is managed by Cornell University under a deal with the National Science Foundation. Astronomers with Cornell, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology and the University of Maine participated in the observing of asteroid 2005 YU55.

List of national capitals by population


I thought it would be informative if not interesting to provide a list of world countries, their capital city and the approximate population of that city. Note that dependencies and disputed territories in the list below are marked in italics. The population statistics given refer only to the main city area, and does not include the wider metropolitan/urban district.

I must admit, there are many countries on this list which I had never heard of. Also of note, Washington D.C. is ranked 112th among world capitals in terms of population. TGO

Refer to information below. Source: Wikipedia

Rank Country/Territory Capital City City Population
1 Japan Tokyo (de facto) 12,790,000
2 Russia Moscow 10,524,400
3 South Korea Seoul 10,421,782
4 Mexico Mexico City 8,836,045
5 Indonesia Jakarta 8,489,910
6 Peru Lima 7,866,160
7 China Beijing 7,741,274
8 Egypt Cairo 7,438,376
9 Iran Tehran 7,404,515
10 United Kingdom London 7,287,555
11 Colombia Bogotá 7,220,971
12 Hong Kong (China) Hong Kong 6,752,001
13 Thailand Bangkok 6,542,751
14 Bangladesh Dhaka 6,080,671
15 Iraq Baghdad 5,556,562
16 Saudi Arabia Riyadh 5,318,636
17 Chile Santiago 5,012,973
18 Singapore Singapore 4,408,220
19 Democratic Republic of the Congo Kinshasa 4,385,264
20 Turkey Ankara 3,561,187
21 South Africa Cape Town 3,497,097
22 Germany Berlin 3,405,250
23 Vietnam Hanoi 3,398,889
24 Spain Madrid 3,232,463
25 North Korea Pyongyang 3,144,005
26 Afghanistan Kabul 3,140,853
27 Argentina Buenos Aires 3,021,865
28 Ethiopia Addis Ababa 2,737,479
29 Kenya Nairobi 2,665,657
30 Taiwan Taipei 2,619,920
31 Ukraine Kiev 2,591,277
32 Italy Rome 2,503,056
33 Angola Luanda 2,453,779
34 Syria Damascus 2,270,000 (2002)
35 Cuba Havana 2,236,837
36 Uzbekistan Tashkent 2,207,850
37 Brazil Brasília 2,176,681
38 France Paris 2,103,674
39 Azerbaijan Baku 1,879,251
40 Romania Bucharest 1,876,857
41 Dominican Republic Santo Domingo 1,875,453
42 Venezuela Caracas 1,838,939
43 Morocco Rabat 1,789,635
44 Sudan Khartoum 1,740,661
45 Hungary Budapest 1,728,718
46 Poland Warsaw 1,706,724
47 Belarus Minsk 1,702,061
48 Ghana Accra 1,640,507
49 Cameroon Yaoundé 1,616,000
50 Madagascar Antananarivo 1,613,375
51 Lebanon Beirut 1,574,387
52 Philippines Manila 1,568,926
53 Austria Vienna 1,552,789
54 Algeria Algiers 1,518,083
55 Ecuador Quito 1,504,991
56 Zimbabwe Harare 1,487,028
57 Yemen Sana’a 1,431,649
58 Guinea Conakry 1,399,981
59 Malaysia Kuala Lumpur 1,381,830
60 Uruguay Montevideo 1,369,797
61 Zambia Lusaka 1,331,254
62 Mali Bamako 1,289,626
63 Uganda Kampala 1,284,156
64 Haiti Port-au-Prince 1,235,227
65 Jordan Amman 1,200,603
66 Libya Tripoli 1,184,045
67 Kuwait Kuwait City 1,171,880
68 Czech Republic Prague 1,150,332
69 Serbia Belgrade 1,124,729
70 Somalia Mogadishu 1,097,133
71 Bulgaria Sofia 1,090,295
72 Congo Brazzaville 1,088,044
73 South Africa Pretoria 1,086,418
74 Belgium Brussels 1,080,790
75 Armenia Yerevan 1,080,487
76 Mozambique Maputo 1,076,689
77 Georgia Tbilisi 1,044,993
78 Senegal Dakar 1,030,594
79 Burkina Faso Ouagadougou 1,005,231
80 Ireland Dublin 1,045,769
81 Guatemala Guatemala City 964,823
82 Pakistan Islamabad 955,629
83 Nicaragua Managua 926,883
84 Myanmar Naypyidaw 925,000
85 Mongolia Ulan Bator 907,802
86 Kyrgyzstan Bishkek 843,240
87 Togo Lomé 824,738
88 Panama Panama City 813,097
89 Bolivia La Paz 812,986
90 Nepal Kathmandu 812,026
91 Oman Muscat 797,000
92 Niger Niamey 794,814
93 Nigeria Abuja 778,567
94 Sweden Stockholm 770,284
95 Tunisia Tunis 767,629
96 Turkmenistan Ashgabat 763,537
97 Chad N’Djamena 751,288
98 Israel Jerusalem 747,600
99 Netherlands Amsterdam 740,094
100 Honduras Tegucigalpa 735,982
101 Central African Republic Bangui 731,548
102 Canada Ottawa 731,200
103 Greece Athens 721,477
104 Mauritania Nouakchott 719,167
105 Rwanda Kigali 718,414
106 Latvia Riga 713,016
107 Jamaica Kingston 701,063
108 Kazakhstan Astana 700,000 (2007 est.)
109 Croatia Zagreb 699,164
110 Cambodia Phnom Penh 650,651
111 Moldova Chişinău 592,900
112 United States of America Washington, D.C. 591,833
113 United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi 585,097
114 Tajikistan Dushanbe 582,496
115 Finland Helsinki 568,676
116 Lithuania Vilnius 556,723
117 Gabon Libreville 556,425
118 Eritrea Asmara 543,707
119 Norway Oslo 575,475
120 Portugal Lisbon 564,657
121 El Salvador San Salvador 521,366
122 Paraguay Asunción 520,722
123 Macau (China) Macau 520,400
124 Yemen Aden 507,355
125 Macedonia Skopje 506,926
126 Denmark Copenhagen 506,166
127 Scotland Edinburgh 471,650
128 Côte d’Ivoire Yamoussoukro 454,929
129 Guinea-Bissau Bissau 452,640
130 Slovakia Bratislava 424,207
131 Puerto Rico (USA) San Juan 421,356
132 Estonia Tallinn 403,547
133 Burundi Bujumbura 384,461
134 Bosnia and Herzegovina Sarajevo 383,604
135 New Zealand Wellington 381,900
136 Albania Tirana 376,642
137 Australia Canberra 345,600
138 Costa Rica San José 328,195
139 Qatar Al-Doha 303,429
140 Papua New Guinea Port Moresby 299,396
141 Tanzania Dodoma 287,200 (2002 est.)
142 India New Delhi 292,300
143 Laos Vientiane 287,579
144 Cyprus Nicosia (south) 270,000 (late 2004)
145 Lesotho Maseru 267,652
146 Slovenia Ljubljana 264,265
147 Suriname Paramaribo 254,147
148 Namibia Windhoek 252,721
149 Botswana Gaborone 225,656
150 Benin Porto-Novo 223,552
151 Bolivia Sucre 217,000
152 Western Sahara Western Sahara (Morocco) El Aaiún 194,668 (2009 est.)
153 Mauritius Port Louis 147,251
154 Montenegro Podgorica 141,854
155 Bahrain Manama 140,616
156 Réunion (France) Saint-Denis 140,415
157 Guyana Georgetown 134,599
158 Cape Verde Praia 125,464
159 Switzerland Berne (de facto) 121,631
160 Sri Lanka Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte 118,556
161 Iceland Reykjavík 115,000
162 Maldives Malé 103,693
163 Bhutan Thimphu 101,259
164 Equatorial Guinea Malabo 100,677
165 New Caledonia (France) Nouméa 89,207
166 Fiji Suva 84,410
167 Swaziland Mbabane 81,594
168 Luxembourg Luxembourg 76,420
169 Northern Mariana Islands (USA) Saipan 62,392 (2000)
170 Comoros Moroni 60,200
171 Solomon Islands Honiara 59,288
172 East Timor Dili 59,069
173 Saint Lucia Castries 57,000
174 Sao Tome and Principe Sao Tome 56,166
175 French Guiana (France) Cayenne 55,638
176 Mayotte (France) Mamoudzou 54,253
177 American Samoa (USA) Pago Pago 52,000 (2003)
178 Trinidad and Tobago Port of Spain 50,479
180 Netherlands Antilles (Netherlands) Willemstad 49,885
181 Samoa Apia 39,813
182 Vanuatu Port Vila 38,000
183 Monaco Monaco 32,965 (2009 est.)
184 Kiribati Tarawa 30,000
185 Aruba (Netherlands) Oranjestad 29,998
186 Seychelles Victoria 29,298
187 Jersey (UK) Saint Helier 28,380
188 Brunei Bandar Seri Begawan 28,135
189 Cayman Islands (UK) George Town 26,798
190 Isle of Man Douglas 26,600
191 French Polynesia (France) Papeete 26,200
192 West Bank (Israel/PNA) Ramallah (de facto) 25,500
193 Marshall Islands Majuro 25,400
194 Andorra Andorra la Vella 22,884
195 Antigua and Barbuda St. John’s 22,679
196 Tonga Nukuʻalofa 22,400
197 Faroe Islands (Denmark) Tórshavn 18,573
198 Guernsey (UK) St. Peter Port 16,701
199 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Kingstown 16,031
200 Greenland (Denmark) Nuuk (Godthåb) 15,047
201 Saint Kitts and Nevis Basseterre 13,043
202 Belize Belmopan 12,300
203 United States Virgin Islands (US) Charlotte Amalie 10,817
204 Federated States of Micronesia Palikir 9,900
205 Grenada St. George’s 7,500
206 Malta Valletta 6,315
207 Cook Islands (NZ) Avarua 5,445
208 Liechtenstein Vaduz 5,248
209 San Marino City of San Marino 4,493
210 Tuvalu Funafuti 4,492
211 Falkland Islands (UK) Stanley 2,115
212 Nauru Yaren (de facto) 1,100
213 Vatican City The Vatican 826 (2009 est.)
214 Niue (NZ) Alofi 616
215 Palau Melekeok 391
216 Pitcairn Islands (UK) Adamstown 45
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