Cuban festival to feature Chicago style jazz

The legendary jazz tradition of the US city of Chicago will be represented at the 2020 International Jazz Plaza Festival with the presence of guitarist Stanley Jordan and multi-instrumentalist David Liebman, according to organizers.

Already in its 35th edition, the event once again attracts performers from all over the world and brings together some of the best contemporary jazz musicians.

The inclusion of the likes of Jordan and Liebman add prestige to the line-up of the event, which will take place on different stages of this capital from January 14 to 19. Audiences will also be able to enjoy jazz from other latitudes such as Spain.

Jordan is an exceptional guitarist who has carved out a unique career within jazz by becoming one of the greatest exponents of the technique known as 'touch' or 'tapping,' an unconventional way of playing the instrument.

Meanwhile, Liebman masters instruments such as the saxophone, flute, clarinet, piano and drums. He is also an acclaimed composer and has worked with renowned musicians such as Miles Davis and Chick Corea.

Both have produced an interesting discography that has established them among the most striking jazz musicians of the late 20th and 21st centuries.

In addition to the musicians from Chicago, the Jazz Plaza Festival boasts other figures of renowned prestige in the genre, such as saxophonists Billy Evans and Puerto Rican Miguel Zenon, his fellow countryman Eddie Gomez, and bands from New Orleans, the birthplace of the genre.

The events will also welcome instrumentalists from Spain, Austria, Chile, Holland, Martinique, Mexico, Canada, Argentina, Norway, Australia, Japan, Venezuela, Brazil and Germany, among other countries.

A wide range of the country's best musicians will take to Havana stages, including winners of the National Music Prize, Grammy and Latin Grammy nominees. The program will also feature a tribute to the emblematic Irakere band and diva Omara Portuondo.

  • Published in Culture

Silk-covered Poison

Since the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, Washington and its acolytes (aware or unaware) have acted on a very complex board.

They don’t forgive, firstly, that it put an end to its status as a U.S. neo-colony.

Neither, that it began to promote a socio-economic program in favor of the majority.

Those first signs were more than enough for Washington to decide to eliminate the new power.

Only hours after the arrival in Havana of the Rebel Army with Fidel Castro leading, a campaign of lies against Cuba began.

The main version assured that in the midst of a "bloodbath" opponents of the Revolution were executed.

What happened actually? The trials of torturers and murderers of the pro-North American tyranny of Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar.

There were so many slanders, that Fidel Castro called a huge press conference named Operation Truth.

In the middle of that first month of 1959 several hundred foreign journalists arrived in Havana.

Those lies were then smashed, although Washington has never given up using them.

The propaganda machinery of the United States has gone through the most unthinkable anti-Cuban lies.

Their objective? Essentially misinterpret the reality of that neighboring nation and adjust it to their convenience.

In order to achieve this goal, as a permanent style they use three key elements:

The falsehood, the half lies, and everything that contributes to raise doubts.

They pay close attention to those they value as local enemies, the uninformed, and the naive.

They save some space next to those for the hyper-critics who can’t even run their own houses properly.

Finally, those self-proclaimed untouchables, or at least difficult to touch.

This is how the silk-covered poison has existed until today.

French activists highlight Cuba's resistance against US aggression

The Association Cuba Cooperation France (CubaCoop) highlighted this Friday the resistance and unity of the Cuban people in the face of the escalation of US hostility in 2019.

The problems and obstacles created in Cuba by the Trump administration seemed insurmountable, but once again the resistance and unity of the Cuban people allowed them to find strength and solutions to maintain progress in the development of the country, the organization noted.

The association founded in 1995 to promote ties of friendship and solidarity with Cuba recalled President Miguel Diaz-Canel's speech at the end of the year, when he noted that Washington's hostility was faced without the need to appeal to neoliberal recipes, such as closing schools and hospitals, or raising the prices of fuel and electricity.

Last year, Cubans demonstrated their ability to overcome the tightening of the blockade, with a stable economy (which grew a modest 0.5 percent) and intact social protection, despite the unfair, inhuman and illegal measures, CubaCoop stressed.

With the purpose of strangling the Cuban economy, Trump did not cease to attack the small country, denounced the association that in the last two decades has promoted several projects of popular benefit in transport, water supply, renewable energy and culture in the provinces of Cienfuegos, Havana, Santiago de Cuba and Matanzas.

In this context, the association ratified its support for Cuba in 2020 and its commitment to cooperation, as a means to oppose the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed for almost 60 years.

  • Published in Cuba

Middle East after Baghdad embassy attack

The United States said on Tuesday it was sending additional troops to the Middle East, after hundreds protesters stormed its embassy compound in Iraq, setting fires and chanting: "Death to America!"

Angered by US air raids that killed two dozen militia fighters on Sunday, supporters of the powerful Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) paramilitary group spilled through checkpoints in the high-security Green Zone on Tuesday, demanding the removal of American troops from Iraq.

Reacting to the attack, US President Donald Trump said he held Tehran "fully responsible" for the incident, and said the protesters "will be held fully responsible", he wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

"In addition, we expect Iraq to use its forces to protect the Embassy, and so notified!"

Trump later warned in a separate statement that Tehran would "pay a very big price" after the attack, but when asked later in the day about the possibility of tensions spiralling into a war with Iran, Trump told reporters: "Do I want to? No. I want to have peace. I like peace. And Iran should want to have peace more than anybody. So I don't see that happening."

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the attack was "orchestrated by terrorists", one of whom he named as Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

Al-Muhandis has been identified as the second-in-command of the Tehran-backed Hashd al-Shaabi group which includes Kataib Hezbollah, the group that was hit in the US air raids.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in a statement that about 750 troops from a rapid response unit of the 82nd Airborne Division are prepared to deploy over the next several days to the region.

"This deployment is an appropriate and precautionary action taken in response to increased threat levels against US personnel and facilities, such as we witnessed in Baghdad today," he said.

A social media post from the US Marines said the troops from its crisis response command in Kuwait were deployed to Iraq.

  • Published in World

United States: The Right to Live on the Street

The United States Supreme Court in Washington rejected a legal appeal on December 16th that aimed to restore Boise, the Idaho laws that ban outdoor camping for homeless.

To some people, this law may hinder the ability of local governments to fight back wandering around and facilitate the printing of negative headlines in California and elsewhere almost daily. They set as an example San Francisco, which has become a city plagued by public defecation and unleashed crime.

On the other hand, website reported that those against it said that the 9th Circuit acted correctly by blocking the law, which allowed officials to accuse homeless of the crime of sleeping outdoors when there was no room available in the shelters.

The circuit court confirmed "the incontrovertible principle that a person can’t be charged with a crime for participating in an activity that is simply a universal and inevitable consequence of being human," said lawyers.

Like many locations throughout the United States, Boise regulates camping and sleeping in public places to ensure that these areas remain safe, accessible and safe for the continued use of residents, visitors, and wildlife, the city argued in a writing submit to the court.

Camping and sleeping restrictions are part of the “city effort to address and prevent the proliferation of dangerous camps,” which “are often a thriving ground for crime, violence and disease, and that pose serious threats to public health and safety".

Boise has a camping ordinance which makes it a misdemeanor "for anyone to use any of the streets, sidewalks, parks or public places as a place to camp at any time."

Camping is defined as “the use of public goods like a place of temporary or permanent residence, sheltering or residence, or as accommodation at any time between sunset and sunrise, or to stay”.

An ordinance of disorderly conduct prohibits “[any] one” “[occupy], stay or sleep in any building, structure or place, whether public or private… without the permission of the owner or the person entitled to possession or in control of it ”.

One of the original plaintiffs, Pamela Hawkes, told the New York Times that she was happy with the Supreme Court ruling. "I think it’s time for cities to start focusing on the issue of homeless people as a whole and not medium term," she said.

No wonder by the end of 2017, Phillip Alston, the United Nations special rapporteur for extreme poverty on a trip he took through Skid Row, Los Angeles, California, Alabama, Georgia, West Virginia, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico to observe the state of poverty in the United States concluded in its report: "the American dream is rapidly becoming the American mirage."

The 40 million poor, the increase in inequality, the persistence of poverty, the fall in life expectancy for the bulk of the population, the disappearance of a comfortable retirement for the elderly: this is the true reality of which Trump boasts when he talks about "making the U.S. big again."

Both parties in Washington (Democrats and Republicans) are rival factions of the same ruling elite, and both defend North American capitalism, which is the underlying cause of all these social evils.

At the moment the only "good" thing about the tragedy suffered by beggars of the richest country in the world and champion of inequality in developed countries today, is that at least - for now - they have the right by law to camp in the middle of the street without fear of being fined or imprisoned. What apparently they will never have, is someone responsible for solving the causes that originated their situation.

  • Published in Specials

France condemns Title III of the Helms-Burton Act

The French government reiterated its condemnation of the activation of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, a US initiative aimed at tightening the economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba, the French Senate stated today.

On its website, the upper house of the French Parliament disclosed the position, expressed by the Foreign Ministry in response to Senator for Martinique Catherine Conconne, who on November 28 requested clarification of the French goverment´s position in the face of escalating White House hostility towards the island.

According to the written response, France considers Washington's decision to activate Title III of the Act, which seeks to deprive Cuba of foreign investment, based on its extraterritorial nature, as an unacceptable violation of International Law.

The United States threatens our economic sovereignty, by attempting to dissuade companies, especially European companies, willing to make investments on the island, the text highlighted.

The Foreign Ministry recalled this December 19 the European Council regulation 2271, adopted in 1996 when the US Congress passed the Helms-Burton Act, which codifies the blockade, to protect the interests of the European Union from the application of extraterritorial laws.

The regulation from Brussels does not recognize any administrative or legal measure issued by a third country applied on European soil, thus rejecting Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, activated in May after previous White House administrations refrained from doing so in the face of global opposition.

Paris ratified that it will seek with its partners new measures to protect European interests and companies operating in Cuba.

  • Published in Cuba

Chicago shooting: 13 people shot at party on South Side

A party in Chicago held to memorialize someone who was killed earlier in the year turned into a scene of chaos and violence early Sunday when at least one person opened fire and 13 ended up shot.

The Chicago Police Department confirmed on Sunday morning that 13 people were wounded by gunfire, with the incident unfolding at three different locations. There are as yet no fatalities.

Four are in critical condition in hospital, the rest are in stable condition, CPD’s Fred Waller said in a press briefing. The ages of the victims range from 16 to 48, he said.

Two people were in custody and being questioned on Sunday morning. Police said the incident appeared to be gang-related. One of two arrested was apprehended with a weapon, Waller said, while the other was wounded. Officers recovered a revolver.

The shooting stemmed from a dispute at a the party being held to honor the life of a man killed in April, Waller said.

According to police, around 12.35am ShotSpotter technology alerted officers of shots fired in the 5700 block of South May Street in Englewood, a crime-troubled neighborhood about 10 miles from the heart of downtown Chicago.

According to local media reports, the incident occurred at a party in honor of Lonell Irvin, a 22-year-old man fatally shot during an attempted carjacking earlier this year.

Witnesses said shots were fired in the house. As partygoers began to flee, a shooter was seen on video firing more shots. A second shooter was seen firing a weapon.

“From outside, definitely there were two different shooters,” Waller said. “It looked like they were just shooting randomly at people as they exited the party.”

Local resident Terrence Daniely told WLS Chicago: “I was awoken by the sound of, seemed like 4, 5, or 6 gunshots and it seemed pretty loud, so it seemed kind of close.”

He added: “I didn’t see any commotion when I looked out the window but then shortly after I heard the sounds of people screaming and running from a party on the street.”

It is understood that more than 100 police officers attended the incident at a party.

According to The Chicago Tribune, 2,594 people have been fatally shot in the city this year. That is 248 fewer than 2018 and is the third straight year of significant decline in the numbers, with the improvement being felt across the city, including in high-crime areas.

Police have credited Chicago’s drop in crime to the use of technology used to predict where shootings might occur, while experts also credit anti-violence programs that offer jobs and gang conflict mediation.

But homicide totals are still significantly higher for Chicago than comparable metropolitan areas, such as New York or Los Angeles.

In New York, figures compiled by police officials show the city has recorded 249 murders between 1 January and 6 October , up just over 1% from 246 murders in the same period in 2018.

  • Published in World

Iowa woman targeted girl she thought was Mexican in hit-and-run, police say

A woman in Iowa has been charged with attempted murder after she told police that she intentionally ran over a 14-year-old girl because she believed the teenager was Mexican, authorities said Friday. The girl, Natalia Miranda, suffered a concussion and severe bruising but is expected to make a full recovery.

Clive Police Chief Mike Venema said Friday during a news conference that Nicole Marie Poole Franklin, 42, admitted to steering her SUV onto a sidewalk on December 9 in the suburban Des Moines community and running over the teenager, who was walking to school to watch a basketball game. Franklin then fled the scene.

Franklin made several derogatory statements about Latinos during a police interview in which she admitted she intentionally ran over the teenager, police said.

"Franklin told investigators she ran the girl over because she was, in her words, a Mexican,"

Hate crime charges are also being considered, reports the Des Moines Register. Venema said he "was very shocked to hear that this was an intentional act," the paper reports.

"I want to say in the strongest terms possible that there is no place in our community ... for this type of hatred or violence," Venema said.

Natalia was hospitalized for two days.

"I don't remember the impact," the teenager told CBS Des Moines affiliate KCCI in the days after the crash. "I just remember the car coming at me."

The teen's parents told KCCI after the incident she was unconscious for about 15 minutes before she woke up in the snow, and was able to stumble the rest of the way to her school for help. Her parents said they found her injured, shaking and scared.

Speaking to KCCI, Natalia recalled trying to get up out of her hospital bed, and being unable to.

"Sitting up was the worst pain I've ever felt," she said.

Franklin was already in jail on a separate assault charge when police linked her car to the hit-and-run using surveillance video, KCCI reports. In the assault case, which also occurred on December 9, she's accused of making racist remarks to a West Des Moines convenience store clerk and customers and throwing items at the clerk.

Franklin is charged with assault, operating under the influence, theft and public intoxication in that incident, and hate crime charges are being considered in that case as well, the paper reports.

Franklin appeared in court Friday and is being held in Polk County jail in lieu of $1 million bond, KCCI reports.

  • Published in World
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