Wednesday, January 19, 2022

LA PAZ - Bolivia’s interim government said on Friday it had asked Venezuelan officials to leave the country, and accused Cubans, including doctors, of instigating unrest after the resignation of former president Evo Morales.

New Foreign Minister Karen Longaric said Cuba would fly home 725 of its citizens, mostly medical doctors, after she raised concerns about their alleged involvement in protests. She said she had also asked all Venezuelan diplomats to leave for similar reasons.

The foreign policy shake-up comes as protests against the four-day-old government of conservative interim President Jeanine Anez roil the country amid Bolivia’s biggest political upheaval in over a decade.

Venezuela and Cuba were key allies for leftist Morales, who swept to office as the country’s first indigenous president in 2006 and resigned under pressure on Sunday over a disputed Oct. 20 election.

The vote gave him an outright win but was tarnished by allegations of fraud, sparking widespread anti-government protests that often turned violent.

Morales and his vice president fled the country earlier this week to take up an offer of asylum in Mexico. But protests by Morales’ supporters have continued in the capital La Paz, nearby El Alto, and the central city of Cochabamba.

In a statement, Cuba’s foreign ministry denied its doctors had supported any protests. Venezuela’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Both countries have backed Morales’ assertion that he was toppled in a foreign-backed coup.

Other countries in the region, including Brazil and Ecuador, have taken similar action against Cubans in recent months.

The Caribbean island nation has a respected health service and generates income by sending more than 50,000 health workers to over 60 countries. Cuba has been accused of mistreating its doctors and pressuring them to take part in political activities, which the country denies.

Police in La Paz fired teargas at protesters on Friday, while schools remained closed and fuel deliveries were disrupted by road blocks.

Local media showed violent standoffs between coca farmers and police in the region of Cochabamba, a stronghold of Morales support.

Bolivia’s official ombudsman said at least five people were killed in the town of Sacaba and more than 30 injured on Friday, and it called for an urgent government investigation into the use of force by police and the military.

The ombudsman puts total deaths so far since the October vote at 19, a number which has accelerated over the last week.

The head of the powerful Bolivian Workers’ Center (COB) union, Juan Carlos Huarachi, said on Friday that the group was open to dialogue to help stop the bloodshed.

“We are seeing the army and the police mobilized, using tear gas, firing bullets and that worries us,” he said, demanding that the government find a route to peace.

The new minister of government, Jerjes Justiniano, said at a press conference that Anez had called an emergency Cabinet meeting to address the violence.

EVO RETURN?

Anez said on Friday that Morales was free to return to Bolivia but would have to respond to allegations of electoral fraud and would not be immune from investigation.

Morales resigned after an Organization of American States audit found electoral irregularities and the military withdrew its backing and urged him to step down to help restore calm.

In the first sign of a potential breakthrough, lawmakers from Morales’ party said they reached an agreement with the interim government late on Thursday to work toward a new presidential election.

Anez has said Morales could not be a candidate in that election.

“Nobody has thrown him out, but yes, there’s a need for him to respond to accusations of electoral fraud, as well as many allegations of corruption,” Anez told reporters at the presidential palace.

Morales said in an interview in Mexico on Friday that elections could be held without him. But no candidate from his Movement for Socialism (MAS) party has yet emerged to replace him.

Carlos Mesa, the leading challenger to Morales in October’s disputed vote, urged Anez to schedule new elections by Sunday.

“It’s very important that the international community and the country know she has set a date and time,” Mesa was quoted as telling Spanish newspaper El Pais in an interview.

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Entertainment

September 7, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — Actor Michael K. Williams, who as the rogue robber of drug dealers Omar Little on “The Wire” created one of the most beloved and enduring characters in a prime era of television, died Monday. Williams was found dead Monday afternoon by family members in his Brooklyn penthouse apartment, New York City police said. He was 54. His death was being investigated as a possible drug overdose, the NYPD said. The medical examiner was investigating the cause of death. Little, a “stick-up boy” based on real figures from Baltimore, was probably the most popular character among the devoted fans of “The Wire,” the HBO show that ran from 2002 to 2008 and is re-watched constantly in streaming.

September 8, 2021 LOS ANGELES (AP) — Britney Spears’ father filed Tuesday to end the court conservatorship that has controlled the singer’s life and money for 13 years. James Spears filed his petition to terminate the conservatorship in Los Angeles Superior Court. “As Mr. Spears has said, again and again, all he wants is what is best for his daughter,” the document says. “If Ms. Spears wants to terminate the conservatorship and believes that she can handle her own life, Mr. Spears believes that she should get that chance.” Judge Brenda Penny, who oversees the case, will need to approve the move. Britney Spears attorney Matthew Rosengart said in an email the filing “represents another legal victory for Britney Spears — a massive one — as well as vindication for Ms. Spears.”

September 8, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — With Katie Holmes and Lil’ Kim on his front row and singer Marina on the mic high above his runway, Christian Siriano helped kicked off New York Fashion Week’s first big pandemic round of in-person shows Tuesday with a flurry of neon and lace-inspired in part by all the Italian women in his life. From ornate Gotham Hall, beneath a stained-glass skylight 70 feet up, Siriano’s commitment to size inclusivity was never stronger as he opened and closed the show with plus-size breakout model Precious Lee. She first walked in a stunning yellow trouser suit with wide loose pants and an asymmetrical jacket, a matching crossover bralette underneath.

September 7, 2021  VENICE, Italy (AP) — Paul Schrader knows he has a limited number of films left, so whatever he does from here on out is going to be for himself. At 75 years old, the writer of “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull” and director of “American Gigolo” and “Mishima” was even somewhat prepared to call it a day after his 2018 film “First Reformed,” for which he got his first Oscar nomination. He didn’t want to. He just knew it might be the reality. “I thought I would go back to this character again for about the fifth time,” Schrader said in a recent interview. By “this character” he means “the man in the room.” It’s Travis Bickle. It’s John LeTour. It’s Julian Kay. And it’s a formula he’s been working with for 45 years.

Business News

September 8, 2021  -Stocks were mostly lower in Asia on Wednesday after a lackluster session on Wall Street, where weak jobs data and pandemic concerns weighed on sentiment. Shares rose in Tokyo after economic growth for the April-June quarter was revised upward to an annualized 1.9% from an earlier estimate of 1.3%. “Any feel-good factor was ignored, though, given the climb was less than half of the 4.20% fall in Q1,” Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary. “Japan will be lucky to break even this year as the current Covid-19 wave will almost certainly have weighed on domestic consumption,” he said.

September 8, 2021 NEW YORK (AP) — There will be something missing at two Whole Foods stores opening next year: the rows of cashiers. Amazon, which owns the grocery chain, said Wednesday that it will bring its cashier-less technology to two Whole Foods stores for the first time, letting shoppers grab what they need and leave without having to open their wallets. Cameras and sensors track what’s taken off shelves. Items are charged to an Amazon account after customers leave the store with them. But there will be an option for those who want to shop the old-fashioned way: Self-checkout lanes will be available that take cash, gift cards and other types of payment. Amazon first unveiled the cashier-less technology in 2018 at an Amazon Go convenience store and has expanded it to larger Amazon supermarkets. But it will be the first time it has appeared at Whole Foods, a chain of more than 500 grocery stores Amazon bought four years ago.

September 8, 2021  BEIJING (AP) — An avalanche of changes launched by China’s ruling Communist Party has jolted everyone from tech billionaires to school kids. Behind them: President Xi Jinping’s vision of making a more powerful, prosperous country by reviving revolutionary ideals, with more economic equality and tighter party control over society and entrepreneurs. Since taking power in 2012, Xi has called for the party to return to its “original mission” as China’s economic, social and cultural leader and carry out the “ rejuvenation of the great Chinese nation.” The party has spent the decade since then silencing dissent and tightening political control. Now, after 40 years of growth that transformed China into the world’s factory but left a gulf between a wealthy elite and the poor majority, the party is promising to spread prosperity more evenly and is pressing private companies to pay for social welfare and back Beijing’s ambition to become a global technology competitor.

Fashion News

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