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March 12, 2018 T: 582-7800 | F: 582-7044

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Trump: Voters Must Support GOP in Pittsburgh-Area House Race By BILL BARROW JILL COLVIN Associated Press MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. (AP) — President Donald Trump told western Pennsylvania voters Saturday night that his new tariffs were saving the steel industry and urged them to send a Republican to the House so he can keep delivering those kinds of results. The president lent his weight to Republican Rick Saccone in the final days of a surprisingly competitive special election outside Pittsburgh that could reverberate nationally ahead of the November midterm elections. “We need our Congressman Saccone,” Trump said, unabashedly framing the race as a tune-up for

the GOP’s efforts to maintain its control of Capitol Hill. Hitting peak campaign mode for himself, he revived many of his favorite 2016 riffs and even touted his planned 2020 slogan, “Keep America Great!” But, the president warned, “we can only do that if we elect people who are going to back our agenda,” repeatedly urging his backers to support Saccone and stave off an upset by Democrat Conor Lamb in a district the president won ENJOY MAROC! by 20 percentage points over Hillary Clinton. “The people of Pittsburgh cannot be conned by this guy Lamb,” Trump said, dismissing Lamb’s efforts to run as a moderate DemoU.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Atlantic Aviation in Moon Township, crat. Pa., Saturday, March 10, 2018. Continued on Page 3

Located next to Wilhelmina Restaurant Tel. 583-0404

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)


Monday 12 March 2018


Steel standoff: EU, Japan press ally US for tariff exemption By DANIELA BERRETTA ANGELA CHARLTON Associated Press BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union and Japan pressed U.S. President Donald Trump’s trade envoy Saturday to exempt them, as longtime U.S. allies, from upcoming steel tariffs that have sparked fears of a new trade war. But they appeared to win no quick concessions. EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem said after meetings in Brussels that she got “no immediate clarity on the exact US procedure for exemption,” and that new talks are planned next week. The tariffs come into force in two weeks, and if the 28-nation EU cannot secure an exemption, it has threatened retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products like peanut butter and orange juice. Japan has warned of the dangers of tit-for-tat measures. Malmstroem said in a statement that she had a “frank” discussion with U.S. Trade Representative Rob-

European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstroem, center, Japanese Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko, right, and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, pose for photographers prior to a meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels on Saturday, March 10, 2018. The EU is still seeking clarity from Washington about whether the 28-nation bloc will be exempt from U.S. President Donald Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs. (Stephanie Lecocq, Pool Photo via AP)

ert Lighthizer about the steel tariffs, insisting that “the European Union must be excluded” because it is a close U.S. ally. The two also met with Japan’s Minister of Economy,

Trade and Industry of Japan Hiroshige Seko, and all three pledged in a statement afterward to work together to fight dumping that hurts jobs and industries around the world.

Lighthizer didn’t comment publicly after the meetings. Trump tweeted that he spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, saying they are “discussing opening up Japan to much bet-

ter trade with the U.S. Currently have a massive $100 Billion Trade Deficit. Not fair or sustainable. It will all work out!” Trump is opening up oneon-one trade talks with countries on the new tariffs, to see if he can win concessions for the U.S. Trump insisted in a phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron — a leading EU player staunchly opposed to the tariffs — that the “decision is necessary and appropriate to protect national security.” The White House said in a statement Saturday that “both presidents discussed alternative ways to address United States concerns,” without elaborating. Trump later tweeted: “The European Union, wonderful countries who treat the U.S. very badly on trade, are complaining about the tariffs on Steel & Aluminum. If they drop their horrific barriers & tariffs on U.S. products going in, we will likewise drop ours. Big Deficit. If not, we Tax Cars etc. FAIR!”q

US officials:

No more conditions imposed on North Korea for talks By MARK SHERMAN ROBERT BURNS Associated Press Trump administration officials said Sunday there will be no more conditions imposed on North Korea before a first-ever meeting of the two nation’s leaders beyond the North’s promise not to resume nuclear testing and missile flights or publicly criticize U.S.-South Korean military exercises. The officials’ comments followed the surprise announcement last week

that President Donald Trump has agreed to meet the North’s Kim Jong Un by May. “This potential meeting has been agreed to, there are no additional conditions being stipulated, but, again they — they cannot engage in missile testing, they cannot engage in nuclear testing and they can’t publicly object to the U.S.-South Korea planned military exercises,” deputy White House spokesman Raj Shah said.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the summit would give Trump a chance “to sit down and see if he can cut a deal” with Kim over the North’s nuclear program. “The president has been very clear in what the objective is here. And that is to get rid of nuclear weapons on the (Korean) peninsula,” Mnuchin said. The administration officials credited toughened economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations,

and pushed by the United States, with helping bring Kim to the brink of negotiations. “Our policy is pressure, is pressure from our partners and allies around the world, pressure to the United Nations, pressure through China, these have had an impact. It’s impacted Kim Jong Un’s behavior. It’s impacted his conduct,” Shah said. But some members of Congress said they worry that Trump acted impulsively in

agreeing to meet with Kim, before negotiators for both countries had a chance to set some goals the leaders could agree to. “But the important thing is the diplomatic work that has to go in before such a meeting. A meeting like that would be kind of an afterthought after things are negotiated. Here it looks as if, you know, that’s kind of the opening gambit. And that’s a little worrisome,” said Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., a frequent Trump critic. q


Monday 12 March 2018

Trump: Voters must support GOP in Pittsburgh-area House race

U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a campaign rally at Atlantic Aviation in Moon Township, Pa., Saturday, March 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) Continued from Front

“He’s never going to vote for us. He can say, ‘I love President Trump.’ ... I don’t want to meet him. I might like him.” Democrats need to flip 24 GOP-held seats to claim a House majority. A victory in such a Republican-leaning district would boost their hopes and renew GOP concerns of a bad November. Lamb, a 33-year-old Marine veteran and former prosecutor, has positioned himself as more representative of the district than Saccone, a 60-year-old state lawmaker. Lamb touts his resume and declares that he wouldn’t vote for Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi as party leader. He also avoids criticizing Trump. Trump conceded Lamb might not back Pelosi but said most House Democrats will. And if Pelosi were in charge of the House, Trump said, Lamb would simply “vote the party line.” While Trump was ostensibly in Pennsylvania for Saccone, the rally was as much

about the president as it was an underperforming congressional candidate. The president repeatedly reminisced about his election, when Pennsylvania helped put him over the top after decades of landing in the Democrats’ column. The president criticized Democrats for blocking his long-promised border wall and attacked so-called sanctuary cities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. He also called for harsher punishments for drug dealers, including the death penalty, pointing to China and Singapore as models Trump continued his attacks on the press, criticizing media coverage of his decision to meet with the leader of North Korea and complaining that he doesn’t get credit for accomplishments. He singled out NBC’s Chuck Todd as a “sleeping son of a bitch.” He also made sure the workers in this industrialheavy region see the new steel tariffs as “my baby,” even as Lamb and Sac-

cone have endorsed the move. Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District has an estimated 17,000 steelworkers and almost 90,000 voters from union households. “Not all of our friends on Wall Street love it, but we love it,” Trump said of the tariffs. He added that Lamb’s party leadership opposes his protectionist policy. He sidestepped the fact that most of his own party’s leaders oppose tariffs, as well. Trump’s appearance was part of a White House push to help Saccone avoid a once-

unlikely defeat. National GOP forces could exceed $10 million in spending on the race, and Saturday was the president’s second recent visit to the area. But Trump risked another embarrassing defeat after backing Republican Roy Moore in last December’s Alabama Senate election, only to watch Moore lose a seat his party had held since 1997. The Pennsylvania special election is to replace Republican Rep. Tim Murphy, who resigned last year amid revelations of an ex-

tramarital affair in which the anti-abortion lawmaker urged his mistress to get an abortion when he thought she was pregnant. Murphy, an eight-term congressman who had union support, never had a close election and had no Democratic challenger in his last two elections. But Saccone has struggled with his own fundraising, is a union foe and hasn’t run as aggressive a campaign as Lamb, prompting criticism from Republicans in Washington who quietly concede Lamb is a stronger candidate.q

A4 U.S.

Monday 12 March 2018


GOP crusader Walker reaches to center in volatile Wisconsin By THOMAS BEAUMONT SCOTT BAUER Associated Press JANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) — Not long ago, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was the voice of a conservative revolution in the heartland, a Republican at the vanguard and a possible future president. Today, he’s the voice of concern, warning his party — at home and nationally — that change is coming again.

In private meetings, public forums and his own policy moves, Walker has made clear he sees worrisome signs for the GOP and the hard-line conservatism that’s marked his eight years in office. Wisconsin, which helped hand the White House to Republicans, is looking for something different, Walker has said, and Democrats are motivated. A recent local election

should be a “wake-up call” to the changes afoot in the rural and exurban pockets that 17 months ago voted enthusiastically for President Donald Trump, he recently told a group of GOP donors and activists. Walker is acting on his own advice. As he seeks a third term in office, he’s embraced a bipartisan tone and a strikingly moderate set of policy proposals. The man who eight years ago Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker delivers a speech during a campaign stop in Eau Claire, Wis. Once the voice of a Midwestern conservative revolution, Gov. Walker is now a Republican voice of concern. Walker is pointing to a big Democratic win this year in a Wisconsin Senate special election in a district that Trump won easily in 2016. He says it’s a sign that voters are unhappy and Democrats are motivated. (Marisa Wojcik/The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram/AP)

set out to dismantle public employee unions is now backing efforts that mirror aspects of former President Barack Obama’s health care law and describing his policy differences with Democrats as modest. “We heard from people across the state. These aren’t Republican or Democrat issues. These are things people care about in Wisconsin,” Walker told The Associated Press in a recent interview. “As a Republican, I might have a slightly different angle about how to address it. But these are (about) just me listening to people across the state.” Walker’s concerns about the mood of white working-class voters resonate beyond Wisconsin and could easily translate to Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania — Rust Belt states that Trump won and that could go a long way toward determining who controls Congress next year. As a battle-tested Republican from such a state, and who shares the ballot this

fall with Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Walker is worth heeding, said Matt Brooks, executive director of the national Republican Jewish Coalition. “There are a lot of winds aloft that could have impacts on the broader electoral outlook,” Brooks said. Walker knows something about misjudging the resilience of a political moment. Riding the tea-party wave and anti-union fervor, Walker got national attention for his push to strip public employee unions of bargaining power, in a state that first encoded such rights 50 years earlier. Tens of thousands of teachers, prison guards and other public employees demonstrated in the Capitol, and Walker beat back a recall effort, receiving 200,000 more votes than he did in his election win less than two years earlier. Walker tried to use the platform to launch a presidential bid, but his campaign quickly fizzled. By early November 2016, he was at Trump’s side at a campaign stop in northwest Wisconsin.q


Monday 12 March 2018

Shooter had sought healing from California vets center By MICHAEL BALSAMO Associated Press When Albert Wong returned from an Army deployment in Afghanistan in 2013, he knew it had affected him. He had trouble adjusting to regular life, couldn’t sleep at night and was hyper-vigilant about his surroundings. But when he found a treatment program for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who suffer from posttraumatic stress or traumatic brain injuries, he saw it as a way to get help and readjust to civilian life, said Cissy Sherr, who was his legal guardian and raised him for several years as a child. Until he was recently expelled. On Friday, police said Wong slipped into a going-away party at the program, The Pathway Home, and took three employees hostage. After an hourslong standoff, Wong and the three female workers, one of whom was pregnant, were all found dead. As a child, Wong had always dreamed of joining the Army, said Sherr, who began caring for him when he was 6 after his father died and his mother developed medical issues. “He had a lot of role models in the Army,” Sherr said Saturday in an interview with The Associated Press. “He was patriotic and he wanted to do that forever.” Sherr and her husband raised Wong for several years, enrolled him in Catholic school and signed him up for baseball, basketball and track teams. Together, they traveled to Florida, Hawaii and Boston, where he experienced snow for the first time. “He was a pretty happygo-lucky kid,” Sherr said. “He always had a smile on his face.” When Wong became a teenager and Sherr and her husband worked fulltime, they decided to put him in foster care. He stayed with a foster father in San Francisco who had other teenage boys and he attended high school near San Francisco. An older adopted brother, Tyrone Lampkin, recalled

playing hockey and going fishing with Wong when they were kids. They also got into fights. Wong’s outbursts at times forced

“He loved computers and he liked music. He was thoughtful and independent,” Sherr said. “He didn’t have a traditional upbring-

said, seeing the program as a possible path to recovery with other veterans in a similar position. Officials have declined to

Resident Tom Parkinson places flowers on a sign at the Veterans Home of California, the morning after a hostage situation in Yountville, Calif., on Saturday, March 10, 2018. A daylong siege at The Pathway Home ended Friday evening with the discovery of four bodies, including the gunman, identified as Albert Wong, a former Army rifleman who served a year in Afghanistan in 2011-2012. (AP Photo/Josh Edelson)

him to live elsewhere for stints, including the time as a teenager he pushed another brother down the stairs, breaking his leg, Lampkin told the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat in a story published Sunday. Wong served in the Army Reserve from 1998 until 2002, enlisted for active duty in May 2010 and was deployed to Afghanistan in April 2011, according to military records. He was a decorated soldier and was awarded the Expert Marksmanship Badge. But that also meant Wong was tasked with dangerous assignments, where he saw “really horrible things” that affected his mental well-being, Sherr said. He sometimes called her before he’d go on a mission, when Army officials told the soldiers to call their families. “I had the impression he was kind of put in harm’s way, knowing that he didn’t have a family,” she said. “He didn’t seem the least bit resentful.” Sherr said after Wong was honorably discharged from the Army in 2013, he planned to enroll in school and earn a degree in computer programming and business.

ing but still he became a fine young man.” Wong, who had a passion for working out at the gym, would often bring his ailing mother her favorite foods and spent a lot of time with her before she died last year, Sherr said. But post-traumatic stress affected his ability to adjust to everyday life, Sherr said. He had trouble sleeping and was always wary of his surroundings. “I think he realized that it started to catch up with him,” she said. “A couple of years ago, he told us if a door opens unexpectedly, I ask, ‘What is that?’” Lampkin said Wong was never the same after getting out of the military, often becoming fixated on petty grievances such as people owing him money or not pulling their weight. Wong told Sherr he had found a program at the veterans home in Yountville, California, and had met people who helped him enroll in a treatment program. He was also receiving assistance at a veterans hospital in San Francisco, she said. He told Sherr: “I think I’m going to get a lot of help from this program,” she

provide additional information about why Wong was thrown out of the group. But they say the former Army rifleman went to the center about 50 miles (85 kilometers) north of San Francisco Friday morning before exchanging gunfire with police and holding the women hostage in a room inside the center. “Albert was a good person, he really was a good person,” said Lampkin, who kept in touch with Wong by phone but hadn’t seen him for years. “I heard he stopped taking his meds and started drinking a lot ... He never told me, he never told me.” The victims were identified as Executive Director Christine Loeber, 48; Clinical Director Jennifer Golick, 42; and Jennifer Gonzales Shushereba, 32, a clinical psychologist with the San Francisco Department of Veterans Affairs Healthcare System who was also seven months pregnant. After the shooting, John Dunbar, the mayor of Yountville and a member of The Pathway Home’s board of directors, said Wong was “one of our heroes who clearly had demons.”q

A6 U.S.

Monday 12 March 2018


Third nor’easter in 2 weeks on the horizon

A passerby pauses near a pile of rocks, sand and debris near beachfront homes, Sunday, March 11, 2018, in Marshfield, Mass. The Northeast is bracing for its third nor’easter in fewer than two weeks. The National Weather Service reports Sunday that a southern storm is expected to make its way up the coast causing more snowfall. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Associated Press BOSTON (AP) — The Northeast is bracing for its third nor’easter in less than two

weeks, while some people are still feeling the effects of the last storm that dumped more than 2 feet of snow in

some areas and left hundreds of thousands of customers without power. A southern storm is expect-

ed to make its way up the coast, causing more snowfall this week, the National Weather Service said on Sunday. The Boston area is expected to get up to a foot, while southern Maine could see almost 18 inches by Wednesday. New York could get 4 to 6 inches of snow and Philadelphia could see a few inches by Tuesday’s morning commute. Eight inches could fall in West Virginia and 4 inches is expected in Kentucky. A winter storm watch is in effect for most of New England, parts of New York and Virginia. Alexandra Soto, of Bushkill, Pennsylvania, said she was not looking forward to the next storm. Her home lost power during the first nor’easter on March 2 and the lights did not come back on until Saturday, well after the second storm.

“I’m hoping they have enough crews to deal with whatever happens and that they took some proactive measures so that next time, they don’t have to be reactive,” Soto said. “Frankly, I’m hoping this next storm just misses us, because I don’t think I could take another.” The risk for coastal flooding is expected to be lower than the last nor’easter, which flooded much of Cape Cod and seaside towns. Massachusetts officials said 2,700 customers remained without power on Sunday. Thousands more across southern New England also remained without electricity as they prepared for the third nor’easter in 12 days. “It doesn’t happen very often, I’ll say that. It’s not like it hasn’t happened before, but it’s rare,” said Joe Miketta a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.q

Implosion: Tallest building in Kentucky’s capital demolished

The 28-story Capital Plaza Tower falls during a controlled demolition in Frankfort, Ky., on Sunday, March 11, 2018. Built in 1972, the former state government office building was demolished to make way for a new five-story building and parking garage. AP Photo/Adam Beam)

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The tallest building in Kentucky’s capital city came crashing down in a controlled implosion Sunday , delighting thousands of onlookers who quickly scurried away to avoid the dust cloud that billowed overhead. Sunday’s demolition of the 28-story Capital Plaza Tower will make way for a new modern fivestory office building and its 1,100-spot parking garage. The tower opened in 1972 as a state office building and closed in 2016. Republican Gov. Matt Bevin did not push the ceremonial plunger to start the demolition. Instead, he auctioned off that right on eBay, with all proceeds going to ben-

efit a charity started by his wife. The #WeAreKY Foundation supports the state’s foster children. It has no paid staff, and the Executive Branch Ethics Commission said it is not a conflict for Bevin to raise money for charity this way. “It’s amazing that even as we are here to see a building come down, the dollars that are being generated in some measure from this are helping to build families up,” Bevin told the crowd shortly before the demolition. The winning bid of $15,000 came from a Shelbyville resident, A.J. Stivers, who owns a company that provides on-site vision and hearing exams at schools across Kentucky.q


Monday 12 March 2018

Maple syrup season gets early start in parts of New England By LISA RATHKE Associated Press EAST MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The annual maple season got off to another early start with warmups in parts of New England, and producers are hopeful the recent cold and snow will extend it. Some producers in Vermont, the country’s largest producer of maple syrup, have been going strong and producing a fair amount since about mid-February, but historically the season has been later, said Matt Gordon, executive director of the Vermont Maple Sugar Producers Association. “It’s a little disturbing that we’re starting so early. It’s getting to be the norm almost,” said Doug Bragg, of Bragg Family Farm Sugarhouse & Gift Shop in East Montpelier. “But the thing is that when it starts early, you know it’s going to get cold again, so you almost, so far, you get kind of two shots at it. It’s almost like a second little season,” he said while boiling sap in the sugar house last week. It takes warm days and freezing nights for sap to flow in maple trees. But when temperatures get too high, the season abruptly ends with the appearance of buds on maple trees. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the maple season has started in early January in the past three years in Vermont but historically has started in late February. That’s largely due to technology such as tubing and vacuum sap collection sys-

tems that allow producers to take advantage of January and February thaws, said Gary Keough, state statistician with the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service in Concord, New Hampshire. More sugar makers are getting their taps in earlier, so they’re ready for those early sap flows, according to the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association. Producers along the coast and in southern New Hampshire had early sap runs during late January and early February, according to Jim Fadden, president of the New Hampshire Maple Producers Association. In Maine, however, some syrup makers are just getting started in the northern part of the state. To the south, others are afraid the season is just about over.

Doug Bragg of Bragg Farm Sugarhouse & Gift Shop in East Montpelier, Vt., loads firewood into an evaporator that fuels the boiling of maple sap into syrup. Maple syrup season started early this year in parts of New England. Historically the season has started later. (AP Photo/Lisa Rathke)

“The fear is that it’s so warm that the season will end

soon,” said Michael Bryant, of Hilltop Boilers Maple Syr-

up in Newfield, in southern Maine.q

Fishermen of baby eels expect high price By PATRICK WHITTLE Associated Press ROCKPORT, Maine (AP) — Members of Maine’s babyeel fishing industry are expecting high prices for the tiny fish this year because of a shortage on the international market, and sushi lovers could end up feeling the pinch. Maine is the only U.S. state with a significant fishery for baby eels, or elvers. The tiny, translucent eels are sold to Asian aquaculture companies to be raised to maturity for use as food. They’re a key piece of the worldwide supply chain for Japanese dishes such as unagi, and some

eventually make it back to the U.S. The eels sold for about $1,300 per pound at the docks last year, about on par with an ounce of gold, and are already one of the most lucrative fisheries in the country on a perpound basis. Fishermen in Asia are seeing a poor harvest this year, and European eel fisheries are cracking down on poaching, said state Rep. Jeffrey Pierce, a Dresden Republican and consultant to the elver fishery. That means Maine’s elvers will be in higher demand, and prices could be higher for consumers. “It was just a bad year in

Asia,” Pierce said. “With Europe tightening up that market, and us already having tightened up, it should be a good year.” The elver fishing season begins March 22 and ends June 7. They are fished by nets from rivers and streams and sold to dealers in a tightly regulated fishery that uses a swipe-card system to deter poaching. It takes more than 2,000 elvers to make a single pound. Richie Akizaki, a sushi chef at Benkay in Portland, said he buys his eels from a New York distributor who has told him prices will likely be double the normal amount

this summer. “Eel prices are going to be really high this year. We’re having problems with the harvest of baby eels,” Akizaki said. “Serious problems with catching baby eels in Japan.” Maine’s elver fishery must also abide by a strict quota system set by an interstate commission. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission limits the fishery to 9,688 pounds of elvers per year and unveiled new rules in February that could increase that total to 11,479 pounds. But an increase won’t be approved in time for this fishing year, if it happens at all.q


Monday 12 March 2018


Contamination in ex-spy case ups pressure on UK to act By GREGORY KATZ JO KEARNEY Associated Press SALISBURY, England (AP) — The health implications of the nerve agent attack on a Russian ex-spy and his adult daughter broadened Sunday when British officials conceded that limited traces of contamination were found in a restaurant and a pub in Salisbury, a city in England. Public health officials said the risk of others being sickened by the chemicals that put the father and daughter in critical condition a week ago was very low. But they advised people who had patronized the businesses during a two-day period to wash their clothes, double-bag articles for dry cleaning, and to wipe down items like jewelry. “It’s really important to understand the general public should not be concerned. There is, on the evidence currently, a very low risk.” Dr. Jenny Harries of Public Health England said during a news conference. Sergei Skripal, 66, and his

Forensic officers work at the cemetery in Salisbury, England, Saturday March 10, 2018, as investigations continue at the cemetery where former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal’s wife Liudmila and son Alexander are laid to rest. Emergency service personnel and troops trained in chemical warfare were deployed on the streets of Salisbury as investigations continue into the nerve-agent poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter. (PA via AP)

daughter, Yulia 33 were found comatose on a bench near Zizzi restaurant and The Mill pub on March 4. Several hundred people would have been in the Salisbury establishments that day and the day after,

Harries said. The public health concerns — and the seven days it took authorities to give instructions for reducing possible exposure risks — are increasing pressure on the British government to take

action against whoever is deemed responsible for the rare nerve agent attack. Treasury chief Philip Hammond added his voice Sunday to the chorus of senior British figures vowing that strong steps will be taken

if a foreign government is found to be responsible. Britain would “respond appropriately” in that case, Hammond said. The government has not yet named the nerve agent used or signaled that the evidence collected so far suggests that another government is to blame. The widow of another Russian former spy who was poisoned in England and spent three weeks hospitalized before he died told the BBC Sunday that British officials have not made good on a written promise to take every possible step to prevent crimes like the killing of her husband, Alexander Litvinenko. “It means something was not done,” Marina Litvinenko said of the attack on Skripal. “And the lesson that we received after the murder of my husband was not learned.” She said Prime Minister Theresa May signed the agreement in her earlier capacity overseeing domestic security as Britain’s home secretary. q

Plane flying from UAE to Turkey crashes in Iran, killing 11 By AMIR VAHDAT JON GAMBRELL Associated Press TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — A Turkish private jet flying a group of young women from the United Arab Emirates to Istanbul crashed Sunday in heavy rain in a mountainous region of Iran, killing all 11 people on board, authorities said. Days earlier, the doomed aircraft carried a bachelorette party bound for Dubai, although it was not clear who was

on the plane when it went down. Iranian state television quoted a spokesman for the country’s emergency management organization as saying the plane hit a mountain near Shahr-e Kord and burst into flames. Shahr-e Kord is some 370 kilometers (230 miles) south of the capital, Tehran. The spokesman, Mojtaba Khaledi, later told a website associated with state TV that local villagers had reached the site in the Za-

gros Mountains and found only badly burned bodies and no survivors. He said DNA tests would be needed to identify the dead. Villagers said they saw flames coming from the plane’s engine before the crash, according to a report by Iran’s state-run judiciary news agency Mizan. The plane took off late Sunday afternoon and climbed to a cruising altitude of just over 35,000 feet. A little over an hour later, it

rapidly gained altitude and then dropped drastically within minutes, according to FlightRadar24, a flighttracking website. The flight took off from Sharjah International Airport, according to the General Civil Aviation Authority in the UAE. A private company that handles public relations for the Sharjah airfield, the home of low-cost airline Air Arabia, declined to comment. Sharjah is a neighboring emirate of

Dubai. Turkey’s private Dogan News Agency identified the plane as a Bombardier CL604, tail number TC-TRB. Turkey’s Transport Ministry said the aircraft belonged to a company named Basaran Holding, which The Associated Press could not immediately reach. Basaran Investment Holding is active in the food, finance, energy, construction, tourism and travel industries, according to the company’s website.q


Monday 12 March 2018

Syrian army cleaves rebel enclave of eastern Ghouta

This photo shows a member of the Syrian Civil Defense group carrying a boy who was wounded during airstrikes and shelling by Syrian government forces in Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, Syria, Sunday, March. 11, 2018. (Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP)

PHILIP ISSA Associated Press BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian government forces divided the eastern Ghouta enclave outside Damascus into two, pro-government media said Sunday, dealing a major setback to rebels and threatening to exacerbate an already dire humanitarian situation at the doors of the country’s capital.

A military media outlet linked to the Syrian army and its Lebanese allies, the militant group Hezbollah, said pro-government forces broke through rebel lines to establish a corridor through the besieged eastern Ghouta region after capturing the town of Mudeira. The advance cuts off the towns of Douma and Ha-

Israel’s Netanyahu in new talks amidst coalition crisis By TIA GOLDENBERG Associated Press JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s prime minister held emergency negotiations with key coalition partners on Sunday in hopes of averting a crisis that has threatened to plunge the country into early elections. The political tremor comes as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is battling a slew of corruption allegations over accepting gifts from billionaire friends and claims that he unlawfully engineered favorable media coverage for himself and his family. The country’s attorney general is currently examining whether to indict Netanyahu in two separate cases.

But Netanyahu has seen his fortunes improve in recent polls, with his base appearing to rally behind him amid the mounting graft accusations. The long-serving ruler could hope for a successful run in early elections as way to cement his political legitimacy in the face of the scandals. Members of Netanyahu’s government have been quarreling over whether to extend military draft exemptions afforded to ultraOrthodox men. His religious partners say they will not vote for the 2019 budget without the draft exemptions, while a key secular partner has vowed to bolt the coalition if the budget isn’t passed soon. q

rasta from the rest of the enclave, according to the Central Military Media outlet. Douma is eastern Ghouta’s largest settlement. In Douma, residents and local authorities are now considering evacuating the town, said local council member Iyad Abdelaziz. “The idea of leaving was refused outright, at first, but now with the regime advances and the siege that’s

been tightened, there are negotiations about something along those lines,” Abdelaziz relayed to The Associated Press by voice note. Government jets pounded Harasta Sunday evening, said Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV station, which was broadcasting live from a lookout over the town. Hezbollah is one of several regional Shiite militias organized by Iran to support

government forces and put down the rebellion sparked by the violent crackdown on anti-government demonstrations in 2011. The government’s advance followed 22 days of intensive ground and air assaults on rebels and civilians trapped inside eastern Ghouta, which have killed over 1,100 people according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.q


Monday 12 March 2018


China says no to US trade war, but vows to defend interests By YANAN WANG Associated Press BEIJING (AP) — China said Sunday that it would not initiate a trade war with the United States, but vowed to defend its national interests in the face of growing American protectionism. “There are no winners in a trade war, and it would bring disaster to our two countries as well as the rest of the world,” Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan said at a briefing on the sidelines of China’s annual parliamentary session. “China does not wish to fight a trade war, nor will China initiate a trade war, but we can handle any

challenge and will resolutely defend the interests of our country and our people,” he said. It was Beijing’s latest statement on “problems in SinoU.S. economic trade and cooperation,” alluding to President Donald Trump’s plan to impose heavy tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. Trump said Thursday that he was slapping tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum, temporarily exempting big steel producers Canada and Mexico. Chinese leaders have threatened in the past to retaliate against raised Chinese Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan speaks at a press conference in Beijing, Sunday, March 11, 2018. China says it will not initiate a “disastrous” trade war with the United States, but is vowing to defend its national interests in the face of growing American protectionism. (Li Xin/Xinhua via AP)

trade barriers, but have yet to take direct action following Trump’s announcement. Citing Chinese researchers, Zhong said the U.S. has

been overstating its trade deficit with China by about 20 percent every year. He gave no details on how this figure was reached, but the U.S. and Chinese

governments generally report widely differing trade figures because Beijing counts only the first port to which goods go instead of their final destination.q

UN rights chief:

Philippines’ Duterte should undergo checks GENEVA (AP) — The United Nations’ human rights chief suggested Friday that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte “needs to submit himself to some sort of psychiatric evaluation” over his “unacceptable” remarks about some top human rights defenders. Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein demanded that the Human Rights Council, which counts the Philippines among its 47 member countries, “must take a strong position” on the issue, and insisted “these attacks cannot go un-

answered.” Speaking to reporters in Geneva, the rights chief referred to a court petition filed last month by Duterte’s government accusing the U.N. rapporteur on indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, and others of being members of a key communist rebel group. Human Rights Watch says the allegations, which Tauli-Corpuz has denied, have put her and some 600 other people in danger. The Filipino leader also has repeatedly insulted the U.N. expert on extrajudicial

killings, Agnes Callamard, lashing out at her for raising alarm over the thousands of suspects killed under his anti-drug crackdown. He has also taken aim at International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, who announced last month that she was opening a preliminary examination into alleged extrajudicial drug killings. In a speech Wednesday, Duterte insulted the international court’s justices as “dumb” and “evil,” and said Callamard was “thin” and “undernourished.” q


Monday 12 March 2018

Trump administration’s words, deeds on Africa are colliding By JOSH LEDERMAN Associated Press NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK, Kenya (AP) — On the outskirts of a sprawling reserve of Kenyan grasslands where endangered animals roam wild, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson lavished praise on an American-funded forensics lab that tracks down elephant-poachers for prosecution, and urged aggressive action in Africa on conservation. Yet earlier this month, the Trump administration quietly lifted the U.S. ban on importing African elephant trophies, to the dismay of environmental groups who said it sends precisely the wrong message. U.S. words and deeds are colliding as Tillerson travels across Africa. On trade policy, HIV/AIDS and humanitarian aid, the United States at times seems at odds with itself, muddying efforts to show it wants the continent to flourish and is here to help. In the case of the elephants, conservationists appeared to have a powerful ally in President Donald Trump, who intervened personally last year to stop the U.S. Fish and Wildlife

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks with a survivor at Memorial Park on the site of the deadly 1998 U.S. Embassy bombing in Nairobi, Kenya, March 11, 2018. (Jonathan Ernst/Pool Photo via AP)

Service from lifting the Obama-era ban on tusks imported from Zambia and Zimbabwe. Trump took to Twitter to call the practice a “horror show.” At the forensics lab at Nairobi National Park, the only such lab in east and central Africa, Tillerson agreed Sunday when famed conservationist Richard Leakey warned that the “huge interest” in wildlife products

such as elephant and rhinoceros parts was fueling the international trafficking trade. “That’s really the key, is to shut it all down,” Tillerson said. But three months after Trump’s move to keep the ban in place, his administration reversed course again, saying elephant trophies could be imported on a “case-by-case ba-

sis.” The U.S. agency said it chose that course of action to comply with a court ruling that said the Obama administration failed to follow proper procedure in enacting the original ban. In Kenya, where the elephant population has plummeted to roughly onefifth of what it was in the 1970s, the new Trump policy fell flat. “The whole world is against

it,” said Paula Kahumbu, an elephant expert and CEO of Wildlife Direct, a leading Kenyan environmental group. She said past U.S. support for banning the ivory trade has pushed China and other nations to act as well. “To then say, ‘Oh, but we have a special case for some of our people, they should be allowed to have ivory,’ it totally undermines the U.S. leadership role.” American leadership has been repeatedly questioned since Trump took office in January 2017 as Washington pulls back from past commitments to NATO, to the United Nations and to aid programs that form the core of U.S. “soft power” diplomacy. Tillerson’s trip to Kenya was designed in part to highlight the success of PEPFAR, the 15-year-old HIV/AIDS program that has saved millions of lives and helped see the continent through an epidemic that once threatened to wipe out a whole generation. More than 13 million people with HIV in Africa are on lifesaving antiretroviral drugs thanks to PEPFAR, the U.S. has said.q

Ethiopia command post says 9 civilians killed by mistake By ELIAS MESERET Associated Press ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopian security forces mistakenly killed nine civilians in Moyale, located on the country’s southern border with Kenya, according to a command post established to oversee Ethiopia’s state of emergency. Five members of Ethiopia’s National Defense Forces involved in the killings have been disarmed and are under investigation, the command post stated. “A special armed unit set

up in the border area to take measures against the Oromo Liberation Front militants mistakenly attacked civilians that resulted in the deaths of nine people,” said a statement issued by the command post, adding that 12 other civilians were also injured in the incident. Since Ethiopia’s government declared a state of emergency in mid-February the security forces have killed several other people, according to a human rights group. Seven people

were killed by security forces in the restive Oromia region since the beginning of the month, the Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia said on March 9.“We also received information that hundreds of people were arrested for violating the (latest) state of emergency, a few weeks after the government released thousands of prisoners, including high profile political prisoners . They have not been charged and their current location is unknown,” said

the rights group. Ethiopia imposed the state of emergency following months of unrest in some parts of the country that tarnished the country’s image as one of Africa’s best performing economies. Security forces are now instructed to take measures against any threats to them, a move that many fear may lead to the killing of civilians and peaceful protesters. The emergency effectively bans contacting parties and individuals labeled ter-

rorist groups, obstructing transport services, carrying weapons in specified areas and obstructing educational institutions. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on March 8 during a visit to Ethiopia that the United States believes the answer to the country’s demonstrations is greater freedom, not less. Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn recently resigned amid the protests and a new leader is expected to be inaugurated in the coming days.q


Monday 12 March 2018


Colombia’s former guerrillas face first electoral test By MANUEL RUEDA Associated Press BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombia’s former leftist guerrillas faced their first electoral challenge as a political party Sunday in congressional voting that also measured the strength of the country’s main political factions two months before presidential elections. Analysts see the balloting for the Senate and House of Representatives as a test of the democratic viability of the political party that emerged from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, which fought the state for 52 years until a historic peace deal in 2016. The new party has the same Spanish initials as the rebel group: the FARC. “I think this is a crucial moment for Colombia,” said Pablo Catatumbo, a former rebel commander who is now a Senate candidate for the FARC, after casting his ballot in Bogota. “It’s the first time in my life that I have voted and I am doing so for the sake of peace,” the 64-year-old said. But Leon Valencia, a former combatant who now directs the Peace and Reconciliation Foundation think

Ivan Marquez, who is running for Senator with the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force political party (FARC), leaves a voting station during legislative elections in Bogota, Colombia, Sunday, March 11, 2018. Colombia’s former leftist guerrillas face their first electoral test as a political party Sunday in congressional voting also seen as a measure of the strength of the country’s factions two months before presidential elections. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

tank, said, “The FARC are in a tough position.” “If they get a low turnout, as is expected, their congressmen will be shunned. They will not be seen as true representatives of the people,” said Valencia, referring to the fact that the FARC is guaranteed 10 seats in congress under the terms of the peace deal that ended more than a

half century of brutal conflict. Casting a shadow over the FARC’s political ambitions is the recent withdrawal of its presidential candidate for health reasons. Former rebel leader Rodrigo Londono, more commonly known by nom-de-guerre Timochenko, underwent successful heart surgery last week and earlier suffered a stroke.

The ex-rebels have also expressed fears of irregularities in the electoral process and difficulties accessing campaign funds. Some of Londono’s campaign stops were met with protests. The FARC’s leaders have said that despite these “obstacles” they hope to prove they have a future in Colombia’s political landscape.

“There are parts of the country where people support us,” Catatumbo earlier told Colombia’s Caracol Radio. “In many regions of the country we have been received enthusiastically, with horse parades and motorcycle shows.” Opinion polls and political analysts, however, suggest the composition of Colombia’s congress will not change drastically with the former rebels receiving little support. Center-right parties, whose lists are stacked with regional electoral barons, are expected to take around 60 percent of the seats. The Peace and Reconciliation Foundation says that 65 politicians tied to corruption scandals could win seats because of their ability to buy votes in rural and impoverished areas. “This election will help us to measure just how much politics has changed in Colombia,” Valencia said. Sunday’s election also included two presidential primaries, one for leftist candidates and another for candidates backed by conservative movements. A shortage of primary ballots at some polling places led to protests in several cit-

Chile again veers right as Pinera returns to presidency By EVA VERGARA Associated Press SANTIAGO, CHILE (AP) — Conservative Sebastian Pinera returned to Chile’s presidency on Sunday, vowing to revive an economy that has slumped under center-left leader Michelle Bachelet. The outgoing leader handed the presidential sash to the president of Congress, who then swore in Pinera — who himself had turned over the office to Bachelet

in a similar ceremony four years ago. Pinera, a billionaire entrepreneur, oversaw growth that averaged 5.3 percent a year during his first term from 2010 to 2014, aided by pro-business policies, rising prices for Chile’s chief export, copper, and a massive rebuilding effort following a magnitude 8.8 earthquake that hit just before he took office. A slump in copper prices helped sour Bachelet’s

second round as president, with the economy — and the president’s popularity — slipping badly in 2014 and 2015. The country’s first female president had been wildly popular when she ended her initial term by handing power to Pinera. “From day one, Pinera is going to want to show that under him, the wheels of the economy will start to spin again,” said Cristobal Bellolio, a professor of government at the Adolfo

Ibanes University. His first administration was marked by massive street demonstrations to demand reforms to education and other services, as well as by the start of softening copper prices, and he left office with favorability ratings in the 30s. Pinera, whose first term ended 20 years of leftleaning governments, has said he hopes to work with center-left rivals to achieve his goals, but he also faces a challenge of herding his

own sometimes fractious coalition, which includes parties that backed the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet from 1973 to 1990. “We have to see effectively if the right, for the first time in history, has the capacity to work as a team,” said political analyst Miguel Zlosilo. Among those at the ceremony were the presidents of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru.q


Monday 12 March 2018

MAROC: Mediterranean Bite with a Caribbean Twist

ORANJESTAD – What about a wonderful mix of the following ingredients: a trendy, stylish and Mediterranean feel restaurant in the heart of Oranjestad, a menu with tapas (small bites originally from Spain) and main dishes, all prepared with the freshest products and under the wings of maybe the best-know chef in Aruba, and last but not least an impressive wine selection - all against affordable prices, for lunch as well as dinner available. Step out of the tourist zone and come mingle with the hip local crowd at MAROC! Grouper Maroc style, Downtown Pinchos, Beef Tajine and Lasagne al Forno are just some of the mouthwatering dishes MAROC presents to you. If you crave for ‘something of everything’ to taste there is another possibility: pick you pick from the Tapas Menu where cold & hot tapas are to be chosen as well as tapas platters. All served in the typical ceramic dishes from the Mediterranean with Caribbean flair because of the regional products. You must check this place out if you would like to experience some real Aruba! Personal Touch Chef Dennis van Daatselaar: “Maroc is the sister of Restaurant Wilhelmina and Carte Blanche, all located in a renovated Art Deco building in the heart of Oranjestad. Wilhelmina and Carte Blanche are upscale dining establishments, so my wish was to add a more low-key, trendy restaurant/bar to that duo.” A place where everybody can walk in and dine in city-vibe surroundings, Chef van Daatselaar strived to create an interior with Moroccan

tiles and a hip style with art painted by himself on the walls. The personal touch is felt throughout, from the staff to the food. All Fresh “We use the same ingredients for MAROC as we use for Restaurant Wilhelmina and Carte Blanche. That’s to say: the highest quality. Fresh fish from Aruba and Surinam, home-baked bread, vegetables from local farmers whenever possible and all sauces and dips we make ourselves. The menu is frank and clear, there is something for everybody as the choice is grand. “Tuesday is Combination Night which means a Chef’s Platter with all kinds of tapas and sangria, Wednesday is Local Fish Night with the fresh caught of the day, Thursday is Ladies Night where all ladies get a free glass of Prosecco and we prepare a 12-piece Finger Food Platter, Friday is Moroccan Night with tajines and Wine Specials, Saturday is Tapas Night with all tapas for $ 5 and Sunday is Local Night. You can bring in the complete family because there is absolutely something for each taste. Com-

bine a shopping morning with a lunch at MAROC or enjoy the lunch here after or before your city walk ,and if you prefer the evening, also possible. Parking is no problem as you can park just in front of the place. For more information: or Facebook Maroc Tapas Bar Chef Dennis van Daatselaar received the finest culinary training for six years in Michelin-starred restaurants in his native country, the Netherlands. Prior to opening Carte Blanche in 2010 he worked as a chef and consultant for several years at a number of renowned restaurants. After introducing the chef’s table concept to Aruba, he partnered with fellow Dutchman Glen Bonset. Since then the restaurateurs have received international praise for their combination of skill and knowledge that entertains guests and pleases their palates. Wilhelmina Restaurant is a casual, elegant restaurant with a creative setting. Wilhelmina offers a cool inside setting, or outside in our “speakeasy” city garden.q


Monday 12 March 2018

Aruba Honors Loyal Visitors at the Marriott Surf Club

ORANJESTAD - Recently the Aruba Tourism Authority honored a big group of loyal visitors as Distinguished

Visitors of Aruba as a token of appreciation for visiting the island for 10-to-19 consecutive years.

The honorees were Mr. Ralph Main and Ms. Georgina King, Mr. Ken and Mrs.

Beth Gordon, Mr. Ed and Mrs. Carin Case, Ms. Susan Kukla, Mr. Ed and Mrs. Terri Grass, and Mr. Stanley and

Mrs. Carol Weinberg. Ms. Darline de Cuba representing the Aruba Tourism Authority together with General Manager Mr. Joop Bangma, Ms. Luzdary Leest and Ms. Jenny Boekhoudt of the Marriott Surf Club bestowed the certificates on the guests and handed some presents to the honorees and thanked them for choosing Aruba as their vacation destination and as their home away from home for so many years on behalf of the Government of Aruba. These loyal guests say they love Aruba because the people are very welcoming, the beauty of the island, the beaches, the excellent cuisine, and because it’s truly their home away from home.q


Monday 12 March 2018

This Holy Instant

What is time without the notion of past or future? There can never be such thing as time, which is mind created, without a belief that there is a past or future. One can only experience the past as a memory at this very moment, one can only imagine a future from an idea of what may be, and this only can be felt at this very moment. So just by realizing that one can never leave this Holy instant and experience the

past or future can be very liberating as most of our psychological pain arises from a belief of something that is in the past or the future to be true. One can see the fallacy of this belief as one can never be experiencing something that isn’t here and now. Within this Holy Instant lies the Seed of Divine Grace, that in which our lives can be nourished and experience it’s Blessedness.q

Suresh Mirchumal is a spiritual writer. “Well, you can categorize it like that, although I don’t call myself one. These thoughts come in effortlessly.” His aim is in a way to reach out to whoever gets inspired or has an eye opening event within them that may transcend their current state of consciousness. “Or let’s say current emotional state too. If one in a thousand benefits, that is already great.” Due to the current world state, lots of struggles and stresses, we seem to lose touch with that inner peace that we long for, Suresh explains. “I wish to ease that through these small articles or tidbits.” You will find his tidbits in Aruba Today from now on, like a sunray of the day.


Monday 12 March 2018

Ms. Canada’s 7th Annual Beach Volleyball Tournament a Big Hit!

Volleyball Tournament on Eagle Beach. All raised funds will benefit several foundations and good causes across the island.

EAGLE BEACH - Ms. Canada’s 7th Annual Beach Volleyball Tournament for charity took place on Aruba this weekend to the delight of participants and spectators alike. Ms. Michelle Begin is from Ottawa, Canada, and is

a true loyal visitor of our Happy Island for 38 years already. She is not the standard tourist though. Michelle, alias ‘Ms. Canada,’ has a heart for the people of Aruba. She dedicates her time here to raise funds for those who need support. “It makes me happy

to see other people happy. To make a difference in somebody’s life is my drive. I have always done charity work, I have the need to give. It’s in my nature.” Hundreds joined in her good-hearted initiative this weekend by participating in the 7th Annual Beach

The presentation of the checks and the prize drawing event will be March 24th at 6PM at the Hard Rock Café.q


Monday 12 March 2018

Hotel Hustle Column by: Shanella Pantophlet

By the People, for the People The one thing that really separates traditional chain hotels and timeshare resorts is the hierarchy structure. Chain hotels usually consist of various levels from the company owners, to the CEO’s, corporate teams and executive committees for the individual properties. Everyone on the chain of command has both experience and education in the hospitality industry and as I’ve stated before they continue to build their knowledge as the field keeps growing and changing. Timeshares however have a vastly different hierarchy concept in which they function as an HOA that has a board of directors comprised of owners at the resort, but also have a management team that consists of individuals educated and experienced in hospitality. Each structure obviously has its pros and cons, but in timeshare decisions made by the board of directors has consequences that not only affect the business, but the other members who in this case are stakeholders in the property. In an ideal situation the board of directors who are voted in by the membership would have some working knowledge of hospitality, if not then they should work with the management team towards the best interests of the resort. It’s glaringly obvious, when comparing timeshare resorts on the Island where the board and management team work well together and where this is not the case or where the board may be inexperienced, but not willing to defer to the team assigned to run the hotel. The biggest issue however comes when those on the board and the ones who voted for them forget that they are there to serve, not to dictate. In my experience and in speaking with colleagues at various other resorts, we all have stories of members who join the board to laud that status of “board member” over people and are interested in their own agenda instead of what is best for the resort as a whole. It’s rather difficult to work with a board more concerned with elevating themselves than achieving goals that will continue to make the timeshare profitable and sustainable long past their terms. Luckily however timeshares do have a system of checks and balances to hold the board accountable. The system consists of weekly members meetings, twice annual board of directors meetings and most importantly the yearly convocation which members must vote on. It is up to the members to be actively engaged in reviewing minutes on the member’s forum, attending the meetings and carefully reading through and asking questions about what is proposed in the convocation before voting. Most importantly again is that they do vote, because any actions taken by management is based on what the majority decides in those votes. Sadly and despite best efforts there seems to only ever be a small majority actually voting and thus making decisions for in some cases over 7000 members. The biggest threat to any timeshare is an apathetic membership base who, fail to hold the board accountable. Ultimately the community of owners must be engaged and active to ensure that their investment continues to grow in value over the course of their ownership, which in most cases is a lifetime. q

Aruban born and bred Shanella Pantophlet is passionate about tourism. That is the world she studied and works in, so we might as well call her a specialist. Luckily for Aruba Today Shanella also loves to write. And together with the fact that the majority of our readers are tourists, we found ourselves a perfect combination for a column: Hotel Hustle.


Monday 12 March 2018

PUTT DOWN Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick (4) celebrates after winning a NASCAR Cup Series auto race on Sunday, March 11, 2018, in Avondale, Ariz. Associated Press

Kevin Harvick races to 3rd straight NASCAR Cup victory

By JOHN NICHOLSON AP Sports Writer AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Kevin Harvick raced to his third straight NASCAR Cup Series victory Sunday, holding off Kyle Busch for his record-extending ninth win at ISM Raceway. Harvick patted the back window of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford in celebration, a nod to penalties in part fueled by social media photos last week of his buckled rear window after his victory in Las Vegas. “I’ve been mad as all get out because this team does a great job,” Harvick said. “This organization does a great job and we’ve got fast race cars. And to take that away from those guys just really (ticked) me off last week. “To come here to a race track that is so good for us is a lot of fun and everyone was just determined this week, and we just wanted to just go stomp them. We didn’t stomp them, but we won. That’s all that really matters. Just proud of this team. Put a fire in our belly.” Continued on Page 21

Brandt Snedeker, left, shakes hands with Tiger Woods after the two finished their final round of the Valspar Championship golf tournament Sunday, March 11, 2018, in Palm Harbor, Fla. Associated Press

Casey wins at Innisbrook; Woods come up short By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer PALM HARBOR, Fla. (AP) — Right when Paul Casey felt he was a winner in the Valspar Championship, he looked up at the TV and saw a scene that was all too familiar. Tiger Woods, red shirt blazing on Sunday, holed a

45-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole at Innisbrook that pulled him to within one shot of the Casey’s lead. Moments later, Woods settled over a birdie putt from just inside 40 feet that would have forced a playoff. “I loved his putt on 17. That was amazing,” Casey said.

“I thought he was going to hole the one on 18.” Not this time. Not yet. A long victory drought on the PGA Tour ended Sunday, just not the one most people — Casey included — were expecting. Casey rallied from five shots behind. He ran off three

straight birdies early on the back nine, closed with a 6-under 65 and won by one shot when Patrick Reed had a 45-foot putt roll back to his feet on the 18th hole, and Woods came up a few feet short of a birdie putt on the final hole. Continued on Page 20


Monday 12 March 2018

Raptors roll to 8th straight win, rout Knicks 132-106 By BRIAN MAHONEY AP Basketball Writer NEW YORK (AP) — Between an emotional win in their last game and an early start to this one, there were plenty of reasons why the Toronto Raptors might not be sharp. And a pretty simple reason why they were. “We just want to hoop, man,” All-Star DeMar DeRozan said. “Every time we get an opportunity to hoop, we’re going out there and doing what we know how to do and that’s to play, whether if it’s an early game, a late game, whatever it may be. No matter who we’re playing.” Jonas Valanciunas scored 17 points, Kyle Lowry had 16 and the Raptors kept right on rolling, beating the New York Knicks 132-106 on Sunday for their seasonhigh eighth straight victory. The Raptors had no letdown after edging NBAleading Houston on Friday in a matchup of the No. 1 teams in each conference, leading much of the game even with DeRozan shooting just 4 for 16 for nine points. But seven Raptors finished in double figures in Toronto’s 15th win in 16 games. The Raptors fell one point shy of their highest total of the season, set in a victory over Cleveland on Jan. 11. “They’re playing fantastic basketball right now and they’re continuing with that momentum through this last part of the season,” Knicks forward Tim Hardaway Jr. said. “They’re playing playoff basketball.” Hardaway scored 25 and Luke Kornet had 18 as the Knicks dropped their seventh straight game and 15th in the last 16. Coach Dwane Casey talk-

ed to the Raptors in the morning about this being a trap game, warning them to forget about their 108105 victory over Houston and to ignore the Knicks’ record. But none of that, or the early tip, slowed Toronto, which shot 50.5 percent. “All we can do is keep getting better as a team,” Lowry said. “We understand that teams are going to come out there and throw their best shots at us and we’ve got to just maintain.” The Raptors got a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from CJ Miles to lead 32-27 after one, then one from Malcolm Miller at the half to make it 65-57. And when New York got within seven late in the third quarter, the Raptors closed the period with an 11-2 run to take a 102-86 cushion to the fourth. TIP-INS Raptors: Toronto has scored 100 or more points in 19 straight games, one shy of the franchise record set in the 2009-10 season. ... Casey said before the game that reserve G Delon Wright would remain out with a sprained right big toe, but Wright felt good enough after working out that he played 20 minutes off the bench, scoring 12 points. Knicks: New York played without starting center Enes Kanter because of back spasms. F Lance Thomas sat out with a sprained right thumb after he was hit in the loss at Milwaukee on Friday. X-rays taken before the game were negative. ... G Courtney Lee came off the bench after missing the last two games for family reasons. Coach Jeff Hornacek said Lee would practice Monday and likely return to his starting spot Tuesday. ... New York opened the first of the two remaining five-game homestands on its schedule. TIPPING OFF Both coaches were asked before the game if they were worried about a 1 p.m. start that felt like noon

because of the beginning of daylight saving time. “Those 12 o’clock games, 1 o’clock games, you never know how the players are going to end up coming out, but we’re pretty young team so I would expect that it would be fine,” Hornacek said. Casey was more concerned that it would be a factor. “No question it does, because you’re out of your body rhythm, your rhythm of you’re used to playing at 7, 7:30,” he said. “You’re out of your routine so to speak, so again, it becomes a professional approach and a professional game.”q

Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) goes to the basket against New York Knicks center Kyle O’Quinn (9) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, March 11, 2018, at Madison Square Garden in New York. Associated Press


Monday 12 March 2018

Casey wins Continued from Page 18

After Woods signed for a 1-under 70 — his first time since August 2013 that he tied for second with all four rounds under par — he worked his way toward Casey to congratulate him on his first PGA Tour title since the Houston Open in 2009, a span of 132 starts. “It’s the only time he’s congratulated me immediately after a victory,” Casey said. “Normally, it’s the other way around. That’s something special. Just really cool. I’m sure he was disappointed he didn’t get the victory. I actually thought he was going to win today before the round started. I thought it was just teed up beautifully for him. I said a couple times, ‘If I don’t win this thing, I actually want Tiger to win it.’ “I’m glad it’s this way.” Woods opened with a twoputt birdie to briefly tie for the lead. That was his last birdie until he revved up the raucous crowd with his long birdie on the 17th, giving him his best chance to win since his back problems began not long after

his most recent victory, the Bridgestone Invitational in August 2013. This was his fourth PGA Tour event since returning from his fourth back surgery. He is getting better with each tournament, though he didn’t feel sharp with his irons on Sunday and played too often to the fat of the greens. “I had a good shot at winning this golf tournament,” Woods said. “A couple putts here and there, it could have been a different story.” Two shots behind going to the back nine, with Casey running out of birdie chances, Woods failed to birdie both par 5s. He pulled a wedge into the left rough on No. 11 and threeputted from 80 feet on No. 14. He failed to make a pair of birdie putts from the 15foot range. And then he showed up with one big putt, looking very much like the Woods of old who lingers long enough to make his opponents worry. Casey, who finished at 10-under 274, goes up to No. 12 in the world with what he called one of the

Paul Casey holds up the champion’s trophy after winning the Valspar Championship golf tournament Sunday, March 11, 2018, in Palm Harbor, Fla. Associated Press

most rewarding of his 16 victories worldwide. “Probably more satisfying, the fact that it was on a week where Tiger played some good golf and got to see some amazing stuff and hear the roars and it

just was a great week — the buzz, everything about it,” Casey said. Reed, who closed with a 68, had a better chance at winning than Woods, and the disappointment was clear. He tied for the lead with a birdie on the par-5 14th, and he hammered a tee shot on the uphill 18th that left him a wedge to the green. He thought he flushed it. He twirled his club. But the ball came down the slope, leaving him about 45 feet away up the ridge. The first putt, which had to travel across a section of the fringe, was so short that it rolled all the way back to his feet. Reed used a wedge for the next one and came close, though it was never on line. “It happened to be unfortunate it got around the corner of the green where I was on the green, had to go over the fringe, through about 7 feet of fringe and back on the green, and I thought I could putt it,” Reed said. “I gave it extra because I knew it was going to either pop or come out slow. I just didn’t hit it hard enough.” Woods played conservatively with an iron off the 442-yard, uphill closing

hole on the Copperhead course. From 185 yards, his 7-iron came up some 40 feet short, and his birdie putt to force a playoff was 2 feet short. Next up for Woods is the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill next week, which he hasn’t played since winning five years ago. He is an eight-time winner at Bay Hill, and the euphoria over his return is sure to reach even higher decibels. “I felt very comfortable. My game was quite solid this entire week,” Woods said. “As a whole I felt very good about what I did this week.” Corey Conners, the Canadian rookie who started the final round with a one-shot lead, fell back quickly after opening with a bogey on the easiest hole at Innisbrook. He shot 77 and tied for 16th. Justin Rose, among six players who had a share of the lead at some point in the final round, had back-to-back bogeys on the back nine and never atoned for his mistakes. He closed with a 72 and finished three shots behind. That left Casey the winner, finally. Woods has to wait at least another week, with the next stop at a golf course Arnold Palmer built and Woods used to own.q


Monday 12 March 2018

Bourdais snatches IndyCar victory on streets of St. Pete By JENNA FRYER AP Auto Racing Writer ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Sebastien Bourdais wept as he crossed the finish line Sunday for his second consecutive victory at St. Petersburg. The win was a milestone for him in his recovery from serious injuries suffered in a crash at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Across the paddock, Robert Wickens fumed at the disastrous turn of events that had cost him a victory in his IndyCar debut. He dominated the seasonopening event and had the win in his grip until contact with Alexander Rossi on a restart took him out of contention. Even Bourdais, overcome with emotion after winning again on his hometown track, understood that the race had been Wickens’ to win. “I’m heartbroken for him,”

Bourdais said. Wickens was a star in touring cars in Germany but defected to IndyCar this year at the coaxing of good friend James Hinchcliffe. Although he was one of seven rookies in the 24car field Sunday, he is 28 and a proven winner. He is part of an all-Canadian lineup at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, and he and Hinchcliffe were strong the entire weekend. Wickens was only the third driver since 1993 to win the pole for his IndyCar debut — Nigel Mansell did it in ‘93 in Surfer’s Paradise and Bourdais at St. Pete in 2003 — and the victory would have been a firm announcement of his arrival in the American open-wheel series. Instead, two late cautions gave Rossi a chance to take it away. On a restart with two laps remaining, Rossi tried to

Kevin Harvick Continued from Page 18

Also the winner in Atlanta after crashing and finishing 31st in the season-opening Daytona 500, Harvick is the first driver to win three straight Cup races since Joey Logano in 2015. Harvick got in front of Busch on the last series of pit stops on the mile oval.

Busch’s team dropped the jack and had trouble with the right rear tire on his stop with 53 laps left, allowing Harvick — who pitted three laps earlier — to slip ahead en route to his 40th Cup victory. Harvick took the lead with 22 laps left when Ryan Newman finally made his last stop on the sunny af-

Sebastien Bourdais (18) celebrates after winning the IndyCar Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Sunday, March 11, 2018, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Associated Press

dive inside of Wickens entering the first turn. The two cars made contact and Wickens spun off course. Bourdais slid by both cars from third for the victory. It is the 37th career victory for the Frenchman, who ranks sixth on IndyCar’s all-

time list. Bourdais trails Al Unser by two wins for fifth on the list. It was the sixth victory for Dale Coyne Racing, the first since Bourdais won at St. Petersburg last year. The team this year has been bolstered by the owner-

ternoon after morning rain. Busch finished 0.774 seconds back. Chase Elliott was third, followed by Denny Hamlin, pole-sitter Martin Truex Jr., Clint Bowyer, Aric Almirola, Eric Jones and Kurt Busch. Harvick broke a tie with Busch with 14 NASCAR national-series victories at the track, also winning an Xfinity event and four Truck races. In 31 Cup starts in Phoenix, the California driver has 15 top-five finishes. Harvick was extra motivated following the NASCAR penalties from Las Vegas. “Actions speak louder than any words I can come up with,” Harvick said.

NASCAR said Wednesday that inspectors at its research and development center in North Carolina found the Ford violated a rule requiring rear window support braces holding the glass rigid, and another requiring the right rocker panel extension to be aluminum. Harvick was penalized the seven playoff points he earned for winning the Las Vegas race and the first two stages. He was docked 20 regular points and the team lost 20 owners’ points. Crew chief Rodney Childers was fined $50,000, and car chief Robert Smith suspended two races.

ship group of Jimmy Vasser and James Sullivan, which reunited Bourdais with his former bosses. Wickens finished a heartbreaking 18th. Rossi was not penalized for the contact and finished third. “The run was perfect for me, made the pop, he defended the position, in doing so, he put me in the marbles pretty late in the corner,” Rossi said. The American said he not spoken to Wickens but imagined that Wickens was upset with him. But Rossi was adamant that he didn’t err and was justified in racing for the win. The race debuted IndyCar’s sleek new race car that is designed to improve competition, level the playing field and cut costs. Sunday saw a race-record 366 on-track passes, breaking the mark of 323 set in 2008.q Harvick regained the points lead Saturday, moving 12 ahead of Busch. Kyle Busch won the first 75lap stage, and brother Kurt Busch took the second in a one-lap shootout after a caution period.q


Monday 12 March 2018


Richard Sherman signs 3-year deal with 49ers SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Richard Sherman officially has gone to the other side. The four-time All-Pro cornerback signed a three-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, two days after being released by the rival Seattle Seahawks. The deal reportedly is worth up to $39.15 million. “Richard is one of the premier competitors Kyle and I have ever encountered,” 49ers general Manager John Lynch said, referring to coach Kyle Shanahan. “We look forward to him sharing his wealth of experience and his passion for the game of football with our team. “Richard has long been looked at as the prototypical corner in our scheme and the opportunity to have him mentor our players was one we needed to attack. Most importantly, we are excited to have a championship-caliber corner on the field for the 49ers.” Sherman played an inte-

In this Oct. 29, 2017, file photo, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (25) runs after he intercepted a pass from Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (not shown) late in the second half of an NFL football game, in Seattle.  Associated Press

gral role in the fierce NFC West rivalry between Seattle and San Francisco earlier this decade. With

the Seahawks retooling their defense, he became expendable. His deflection on a potential winning

touchdown pass in the 2013 NFC championship game against the 49ers led to an interception that sent the Seahawks to the Super Bowl, which they won. Sherman then celebrated a Thanksgiving night win in a road game against the 49ers the following season by eating a turkey leg on the 50-yard line. Now, the player who was reviled so much by 49ers fans is joining their team after the Seahawks decided he wasn’t worth his $13 million salary for 2018. San Francisco hopes he can make a big impact even as he turns 30 later this month and is coming off an Achilles tendon injury that cost him half of the 2017 season. Sherman also had a cleanup surgery on his opposite ankle during the offseason. The 49ers had a glaring need at cornerback with 2017 third-round pick Ahkello Witherspoon and slot cornerback K’Waun Williams the only players under contract with exten-

sive experience. The Niners believe Sherman can fill that role in a defense modeled by coordinator Robert Saleh after the one that had so much success in Seattle. Saleh was a former defensive assistant with the Seahawks. Sherman became a star in Seattle, bringing a brash attitude and willingness to speak out on any topic to go along with his stellar play. His best seasons came in 2013 and 2014, when Seattle made two Super Bowl appearances, and he has 32 career interceptions. He still was one of the better cornerbacks the past three seasons, ranking second in the NFL by allowing just 49.2 percent of passes against him to be caught, according to Pro Football Focus. Sherman played his college ball in the Bay Area at Stanford under former coach Jim Harbaugh, who then went up against Sherman during his four seasons in charge of the 49ers.q

AP sources: Free agent ace Arrieta, Phillies reach 3-yr deal

This may 26, 2017, file photo shows Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta throwing to the plate during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, in Los Angeles. Associated Press

By ROB MAADDI AP Sports Writer CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — The Philadelphia Phillies made their boldest move yet. Two people familiar with the decision tell The Associated Press that free-agent ace Jake Arrieta and the Phillies have agreed to a three-year deal. Both people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Sunday because the contract is pending a

physical. The deal is reportedly worth $75 million. NBC Sports Philadelphia first reported the agreement. The 32-year-old righty was among several top free agents who didn’t get a deal for six or seven years in a changing offseason market. The Phillies, who have plenty of money to spend, waited until the price was right for them. The Phillies haven’t had a winning season since 2011,

but now have added veteran slugger Carlos Santana, Arrieta and quality relievers to a young nucleus that could show considerable improvement over last season’s 66-96 mark. New manager Gabe Kapler’s motto throughout spring training has been: “Be Bold.” Players and coaches have been wearing T-shirts with those words on them and they’ve been using the phrase often in interviews.q


Monday 12 March 2018

Ethiopia’s Assefa wins Nagoya Women’s Marathon NAGOYA, Japan (AP) — Meskerem Assefa of Ethiopia pulled ahead of favorite Valary Jemeli of Kenya with four kilometers left to win the Nagoya Women’s Marathon on Sunday. Assefa won in a time of 2 hours, 21 minutes and 45 seconds, one minute and three seconds ahead of Jemeli. Japan’s Hanami Sekine, making her marathon debut, was third with a time of 2:23:07. Assefa pulled even with Jemeli at the 38-kilometer mark and was unchallenged over the closing kilometers to take two and a half minutes off her personal best time. With 21,915 female runners, 2,058 more runners than the previous year, the Na-

Meskerem Assefa of Ethiopia crosses the finish line, winning Nagoya Women’s Marathon in Nagoya, central Japan, Sunday, March 11, 2018. Associated Press

goya race is the world’s largest all-female marathon event.q

Marc Soler upsets Simon Yates to win Paris-Nice by 4 seconds NICE, France (AP) — Marc Soler of Spain won the weeklong Paris-Nice race after dislodging overnight leader Simon Yates of Britain with a successful attack in the final stage on Sunday. Soler, who rides for Movistar and trailed his British rival by 37 seconds ahead of the eighth and final stage in the Nice hinterland, claimed his biggest career win by just four seconds. “It’s really a dream come true to win Paris-Nice and add my name to the winners’ list next to some of the greats of cycling,” Soler said. “I’m progressing each year and I’m getting used to ride at that level. I’m progressing step by step.” The 24-year-old Soler moved to the front of the

Patrick Roest takes allround world title after Pedersen fall AMSTERDAM (AP) — In a stunning finish to the speedskating Allround World Championships, Dutchman Patrick Roest won the title Sunday after Sverre Lunde Pedersen of Norway fell in the closing 10,000-meter race as he was on track for a convincing overall victory. Pedersen picked himself up off the ice at the temporary, outdoor oval at Amsterdam’s Olympic Stadium and still managed to come back to beat ninetime allround champion Sven Kramer in their headto-head battle to finish second overall. But he lost so much time that a title that was his for the taking slipped through his fingers and went to Ro-

est. After the race, Pedersen sat at the side of the oval with his head in his hands as Kramer gave him a consoling pat on the back. “I am almost never falling,” Pedersen said. “I don’t know what to say.” In a changing of the guard, Pedersen’s fall handed the allround title to Roest, Kramer’s 22-yearold teammate and training partner. “I can’t believe it,” Roest said. “Of course it’s a shame that Sverre fell. You wouldn’t wish that on him. But it’s very cool to be world champion allround.” Dutchman Marcel Bosker took third place in the overall standings and Kramer finished fourth.

Pedersen, who won an Olympic gold medal in the team pursuit last month, appeared to have set up victory with a win in the 1,500, crossing in 1 minute, 48.33 seconds. Kramer could only manage 5th place, more than two seconds behind. That result meant that Kramer had to beat the 25-year-old Norwegian by more than 16 seconds in a head-to-head battle in the final pairing of the closing 10,000. Roest was some eight seconds behind Pedersen ahead of the 10,000. On Saturday, Roest won the opening 500 in 36.97 and Pedersen edged Kramer in the 5,000, winning in 6 minutes, 33.81 seconds.q

Winner of the Paris-Nice cycling race, Marc Soler of Spain, celebrates on the podium in Nice, southeastern France, Sunday, March 11, 2018. Associated Press

race with more than 40 kilometers left on the first category Cote de Peille — one of the six climbs making up the 110-kilometer stage — with fellow Spaniards David De La Cruz and Omar Fraile. Yates found himself isolat-

ed at the back and the trio built a maximum lead of 1 minute and 30 seconds. Soler collected bonus seconds in the second intermediate sprint at La Turbie before Fraile unsuccessfully tried to go solo in the descent of Col d’Eze. q

Yates wins 5th stage with solo, Kwiatkowski moves into lead FILOTTRANO, Italy (AP) — Adam Yates soloed to victory in the fifth stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico race on Sunday, while Michal Kwiatkowski finished third to take the overall lead with just two stages remaining. Yates attacked with about four kilometers remaining of the hilly 178-kilometer (110mile) route from Castelraimondo to Michele Scarponi’s hometown of Filottrano — and no one could catch him. The British rider crossed the line seven seconds ahead of Peter Sagan and Kwiatkowski. “In climbs like this, you just go hard and give as much as you can,” Yates said. “I tried to attack after my teammates positioned me well at the bottom of the hill. All I could do was

Britain’s Adam Yates celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the 5th stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico cycling race, from Castelraimondo to Filottrano, Italy, Sunday, March 11, 2018. Associated Press

to attack. It fell into place. I don’t have a sprint to beat Sagan, I had to go away.”q


Monday 12 March 2018

Digital ads, social media hide political campaign messaging By NICHOLAS RICCARDI Associated Press The main events in a political campaign used to happen in the open: a debate, the release of a major TV ad or a public event where candidates tried to earn a spot on the evening news or the next day’s front page. That was before the explosion of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as political platforms. Now some of a campaign’s most pivotal efforts happen in the often-murky world of social media, where ads can be targeted to ever-narrower slices of the electorate and run continuously with no disclosure of who is paying for them. Reporters cannot easily discern what voters are seeing, and hoaxes and forgeries spread instantaneously. Journalists trying to hold candidates accountable have a hard time keeping up. “There’s a whole dark area of campaigns out there when, if you’re not part of the target group, you don’t know anything about them,” said Larry Noble of

This Oct. 26, 2016 file photo shows a Twitter sign outside of the company’s headquarters in San Francisco. Associated Press

the Campaign Legal Center in Washington, which seeks greater transparency in political spending. “And if reporters don’t know about it, they can’t ask questions about it.” The problem came to widespread attention during the 2016 presidential race, when Donald Trump’s campaign invested heavily in digital advertising, and the term “fake news” emerged to describe proTrump propaganda masquerading as online news. Russian interference in the campaign included covert ads on social media and

phony Facebook groups pumping out falsehoods. The misinformation shows no sign of abating. The U.S. Senate election in Alabama in December was rife with fake online reports in support of Republican Roy Moore, who eventually lost to Democrat Doug Jones amid allegations that Moore had sexual contact with teenagers when he was a prosecutor in his 30s. Moore denied the accusations. Politicians also try to create their own news operations. U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes’ campaign funded a pur-

ported news site called The California Republican, and the executive director of Maine’s Republican party last month acknowledged that he runs an anonymous website that is critical of Democrats. Phony allegations are nothing new in politics. But they used to circulate in automated phone calls, mailers that were often tossed in the trash or, as far back as the 1800s, in partisan newspapers that published just once a day, noted Garlin Gilchrist, executive director of the Center for Social Media Responsibility at the University of Michigan. The difference now is how quickly false information spreads. “The problem is something that’s always existed ... but social media is a different animal than news distribution in the past,” Gilchrist said. A study released this past week found that false information spreads faster and wider on Twitter than real news stories. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology traced the path of more than 126,000 stories on Twitter and found that the average false story takes about 10 hours to reach 1,500 users compared with about 60 hours for real ones. On average, false information reaches 35 percent more people than true news. A data analysis by Buzzfeed’s news site after the 2016 election found that the most popular fake stories generated greater engagement on Facebook than the top real stories in the three months before Election Day. Because it’s increasingly easy to fabricate videos, which are viewed as the most reliable evidence available online, reporters

“need stronger tools” to weed out frauds, Gilchrist said. Social media also upends campaign advertising practices. Federal regulations require a record of every political advertisement that is broadcast on television and radio. But online ads have no comparable requirements. Earlier this month, Twitter Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey announced that the platform would take new steps to try to stop harassment and false information. Facebook has partnered with media organizations, including The Associated Press, to flag false information on its platform. It recently announced plans to reform its political advertising, including making all ads on a page visible to all viewers, regardless of whether they were intended to see the spots. It also will require a line identifying the buyer on every political ad and create a four-year archive. Still, because there are so many candidates for office in the U.S., Facebook is limiting itself to federal races at first. “Facebook is moving faster than regulators are around the world toward some better stuff,” said Sam Jeffers of the UK-based group Who Targets You, which pushes for better online campaign disclosure. He cited three recent elections in which underdog campaigns invested heavily in online ads and beat the polling expectations to win: the 2015 parliamentary races and the Brexit vote and the U.S. presidential race the following year. Who Targets You designed an online tool that will collect Facebook political ads and deposit them in a database.q


Monday 12 March 2018

Of Mutual Interest:

Politics could matter to emerging-market investors this year By STAN CHOE AP Business Writer NEW YORK (AP) — All politics may be local, but investors around the world still need to care about them. There are high-stakes elections on the calendar this year beyond the midterm elections for the United States, including several across emerging markets, stretching from South America to Asia. Regardless of how the results pan out, emerging-market stock and bond funds may swing widely in the interim following their stellar and nearly uniformly upward ride in 2017. Higher highs and lower lows are nothing new for emerging-market funds, which invest in stocks and bonds from China, Brazil and other developing countries. These economies are growing at a faster pace than the developed world, which can mean bigger profit possibilities for their companies and higher yields for their bonds. They also have a history of crashing more than the U.S. market when trouble strikes, such as during the 2008 financial crisis. Many investors, though, may have taken their first step into emerging markets recently and experienced only the good times. Last year was an exceptional one, and emerging-market stock funds returned an average of 34 percent. That towered over the roughly

A woman wearing headphones, listens to an appellate court ruling on a corruption conviction against ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Concerns are high that Brazil’s presidential election could hinder efforts to reform the country’s pension system and make other fiscal changes. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

22 percent return for S&P 500 index funds. The eye-popping figures helped convince investors to pour more than $50 billion into emerging-market stock funds during 2017, just two years after they pulled more money out of such funds than they put in, according to Morningstar. Those investors got a reminder of the potential volatility in recent weeks, when emerging-market stock funds lost just as much as S&P 500 index funds during the sell-off in late January and early February, even though the trigger for the market’s fear was an economic report out of the

United States. For this year, much attention is on elections coming up in Brazil and Mexico, which are two of the larger components of many emerging-market funds. Together, they make up about 10 percent of the MSCI Emerging Markets index. In Mexico, the front-runner in the July election for president is Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Some investors worry that a Lopez Obrador victory could lead to a rollback of marketfriendly policies or of more acrimonious negotiations

for the North American Free Trade Agreement. Concerns are also high that Brazil’s presidential election could hinder efforts to reform the country’s pension system and make other fiscal changes. Brazil only recently emerged from a punishing recession. Investors have gone back and forth in recent years on whether it’s worth caring about politics. Last year, the answer seemed to be “no,” as markets registered only minor hiccups when Catalonia declared independence from Spain and rhetoric got heated

between nuclear-armed North Korea and the United States. The year before that, though, politics mattered when the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union shook markets around the world. Even with the increased possibility of election-related turbulence, many fund managers say they remain optimistic about the prospects for emerging markets. Emerging economies are in better fiscal shape than they were before prior downturns, and their stock and bond markets are typically less expensive than markets in the United States. U.S. markets have led the world for years, which has many investors calling foreign markets more attractively priced. Plus, the gap between the developed and emerging worlds may be slimming when it comes to how much of a risk politics can play. In the United States and elsewhere in the developed world, one of the main causes for anger is the growing inequality between the rich and everyone else. In the emerging world, the opposite is happening, said Samy Muaddi, portfolio manager at T. Rowe Price. Middle classes are expanding in many emerging markets, with wages rising and more people owning property.q


Monday 12 March 2018


Conceptis Sudoku

6 Chix


Mother Goose & Grimm

Baby Blues


Saturday’s puzzle answer

Sudoku is a number-placing puzzle based on a 9x9 grid with several given numbers. The object is to place the numbers 1 to 9 in the empty squares so that each row, each column and each 3x3 box contains the same number only once. The difficulty level of the Conceptis Sudoku increases from Monday to Sunday.


Monday 12 March 2018

Town seeks $1 from town for new increased school budget TIVERTON, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island school district is asking local taxpayers to dig deeper into their pockets to fund next year’s school budget. But don’t expect outrage in Tiverton. The school committee wants a total of $1. The committee is proposing increasing the next fiscal year’s school budget by $800,000 over last year, but noted that it is getting an expected $340,000 in state aid and will withdraw almost $460,000 from its reserve fund. That leaves the town on the hook for $1, a minimum amount required by state law. School Committee member Deborah Pallasch tells The Newport Daily News that the board has never asked for just $1 before. q


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Monday 12 March 2018

Imported guard dogs deployed as part of U.S. wolf-sheep study By KEITH RIDLER Associated Press BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Federal scientists are trying to decide if it’s time to let the big dogs out. Nearly 120 dogs from three large breeds perfected over centuries in Europe and Asia to be gentle around sheep and children but vicious when confronting wolves recently underwent a study to see how they’d react to their old nemesis on a new continent. The dogs were gathered as puppies in Portugal, Bulgaria and Turkey and sent to the American West, where they spent four years guarding sheep. “When we were first looking at doing this, a lot of people wanted to know: What dog do I use in dealing with wolves and grizzly bears?” said Julie Young, a Utah-based research biologist with the U.S. Agriculture Department’s National Wildlife Research Center.

In this 2014 photo provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture a Kangal dog walks with a heard of sheep at the Hutterite Rockport Colony near Pendroy, Mont. Associated Press

The department looked to areas where dog breeds developed to guard sheep against wolves and brown bears. Then scientists supplied Cao de Gado Transmontanos, a large though lean and agile dog de-

veloped in a mountainous region of Portugal; Karakachans, developed by nomadic sheepherders in a mountainous area of Bulgaria; and Kangals, another powerful breed with an instinct for guarding, this

one originating in Turkey. Dogs from all three breeds can weigh up to 140 pounds (64 kilograms), about the size of a wolf. The dogs were sent to guard 65 herds in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Washington and

John Sulston, who decoded the human genome, dies at 75

A Monday, Feb. 12, 2001 file photo of John Sulston, former director of the Sanger Center and leader of the UK effort to sequence the human genome, stands in front of a picture of a model of the DNA double helix after a press conference to announce the completion of the mapping of the human genome. Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — John Sulston, a Nobel Prize-winning British scientist who helped decode the human genome, has died.

He was 75. The Wellcome Sanger Institute, the successor to the cutting-edge genomic research center he once founded and di-

rected, confirmed Friday that Sulston had died but did not say when or give the cause of death. Sulston shared the prize in 2002 for his contribution to work unraveling how genes control cell division. He traced the adult nematode worm, C. elegans, to decipher how cells divide and create something new — findings the Sanger Institute said were key to understanding how cancers develop. “He had a burning and unrelenting commitment to making genome data open to all without restriction and his leadership in this regard is in large part responsible for the free access now enjoyed,” Mike Stratton, the institute’s di-

rector, said. “We all feel the loss today of a great scientific visionary and leader who made historic, landmark contributions to knowledge of the living world, and established a mission and agenda that defines 21st century science,” Stratton added. Sulston was fascinated from an early age with the mechanical workings of organisms. He graduated from Cambridge University in 1963, and did postdoctoral research in California before joining Sydney Brenner’s group at the Cambridge University molecular biology lab, where the structure of DNA was first identified. They published the gene map of the nematode worm in 1990..q

Oregon. Scientists are still analyzing information from notes, remote cameras and GPS collars, Young said, with four or five scientific papers expected in the next year. But overall, she said, the dogs did well keeping away wolves and better than traditional guard dogs at deterring coyotes. One dog died during the study. It was hit by a vehicle as sheep crossed a road. For decades, most U.S. sheep producers have used large white dogs such as Great Pyrenees, Akbash or Maremma Sheepdogs. Light brown Anatolian Shepherds are also used. But the reintroduction of wolves in the American West in the 1990s has led to questions about whether those breeds are up to the task. Since wolves returned to Idaho in 1995, the Agriculture Department’s Wildlife Services says, wolves have killed 50 guard dogs through the end of last year and injured nearly 40 others in the state. Federal officials in 2017 killed 56 wolves in Idaho due to attacks on livestock. Young said the study found wolves left areas when sheep bands, dogs and herders arrived, but their absence emboldened smaller predators such as coyotes. Not all dogs in the study succeeded. Jill Swannack, president of the Washington State Sheep Producers, is a veterinarian who also has a ranch with about 800 sheep on private land in eastern Washington state. She received three Karakachans. “When we came home, they preferred to be home with us,” she said. “They really didn’t bond to the sheep.” She also said the dogs were only about 70 or 80 pounds (32 to 36 kilograms). One went to a young family with sheep near their house, and now that dog plays with the children and has successfully guarded those sheep against coyotes. The dogs that work best at her ranch are Anatolian Shepherds, though wolves killed one in 2014.q


Monday 12 March 2018

Kathy Griffin to do new shows, 9 months after Trump photo By JOCELYN NOVECK AP National Writer NEW YORK (AP) — Comedian Kathy Griffin is embarking on her comeback, some nine months after she provoked outrage — and lost much of her work — by posing with a fake severed head that appeared to depict President Donald Trump. Griffin announced on HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher” on Friday night that she had just booked upcoming shows at New York’s Carnegie Hall and at Washington’s Kennedy Center — “Trump’s backyard,” she called it. “I’m dipping my toes into touring again,” Griffin said, adding that the Republican president and his supporters would prefer she never worked again. Griffin’s appearance on Maher’s show — and what she called her “small victorious announcement” — appeared to mark the be-

ginning of her comeback, after the backlash over the offending photo last May badly hurt her ability to work. “TMZ was reporting my show cancellations in real time,” she said of her standup tour. She also lost her longtime New Year’s Eve hosting gig on CNN. Unable to tour in the United States, Griffin went overseas, performing in 23 cities in 15 countries, she said. But because she was under investigation in the United States, she was “detained at every single airport,” she said. Griffin thanked Maher for being one of the only celebrities who publicly supported her during the ordeal. Introducing Griffin, Maher told the audience that “she is a good American who loves her country and should be able to work in it.” Initially, Griffin apologized for the photo that ap-

In this Friday, March 9, 2018 photo provided by HBO, comedian Kathy Griffin, left, appears with host Bill Maher on “Real Time With Bill Maher, in Los Angeles. Associated Press

peared last May, taken by photographer Tyler Shields. But she later said she was no longer sorry, because the reaction had gotten so out of hand.

Referring to the desire of some Trump supporters to “decimate” her, she raised her arms defiantly and exclaimed, “I’m not decimated!”

Griffin has not specified the dates of her upcoming shows in New York, which she also announced on Twitter, and in Washington.q


& ARTS ‘Black Panther,’ 4 weeks in, tops ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ Monday 12 March 2018

By LINDSEY BAHR AP Film Writer LOS ANGELES (AP) — T’Challa still rules the box office four weeks in, even with the fresh rivalry of another Walt Disney Studios release in “A Wrinkle in Time.” “Black Panther” took the No. 1 spot at the North American box office with $41.1 million according to studio estimates Sunday, leaving another newcomer in its wake. The Marvel and Disney phenomenon crossed the $1 billion mark worldwide this weekend and became the 7th highest grossing domestic release with $562 million. Not accounting for inflation, it’s now passed “The Dark Knight.” With a marketplace still dominated by “Black Panther,” Disney faced some stiff competition from its own studio in launching Ava DuVernay’s adaption of “A Wrinkle in Time,” which opened in second place with $33.3 million from 3,980 locations. The PGrated film, which cost around $103 million to produce and stars Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon, received mixed reviews from critics

This image released by Disney and Marvel Studios’ shows Chadwick Boseman in a scene from “Black Panther.” Associated Press

(it’s currently at a “rotten” 44 percent on RottenTomatoes) and audiences who gave it a B CinemaScore. In gauging “A Wrinkle in Time’s” long-term prospects, a somewhat similar comparison could be Disney’s “Tomorrowland,” a PG-rated scifi pic with middling reviews

and a B CinemaScore which opened to $33 million in the early summer of 2015 and went on to gross $93 million domestically. “Tomorrowland,” however, notably cost nearly twice as much to make as “A Wrinkle in Time.” But the “Black Panther” effect is the x-factor here. For Disney, it’s a “win all around.” “When you think about having two films at the top of the box office, it’s definitely a win all around,” says Disney’s worldwide theatrical distribution president Dave

Hollis. “We’re feeling good about this start ... We’re feeling good about what, for us, is a little family competition between now and (the Easter holiday).” Hollis says he doesn’t think the studio would have done anything differently regarding “Wrinkle’s” release had they known the scope and longevity of “Black Panther’s” prospects. “There’s always going to be competition in the marketplace,” he says. “With a tentpole strategy like ours, four weeks of separation is about

what we can expect.” Still, “Black Panther” has devoured the marketplace for a month straight now, leaving all other newcomers in the dust. The new horror film “The Strangers: Prey At Night,” with Christina Hendricks, took third place with $10.5 million. The Jennifer Lawrence thriller “Red Sparrow” landed in fourth in its second weekend with $8.2 million and the comedy “Game Night” placed fifth with $7.9 million in weekend three. Hardly any of the new releases, which also included the thriller “The Hurricane Heist” (8th place, $3.2 million) and the dark action comedy “Gringo,” (11th place, $2.6 million) were well-reviewed going into the weekend, save for the limited release independents like “Thoroughbreds,” which made $1.2 million from 549 locations, and Armando Iannucci’s “The Death of Stalin,” which opened in four theaters to $181,000. It also left room for the Academy Award best picture winner “The Shape of Water,” which is also available on home video, to capitalize on its post-Oscars stature. The Fox Searchlight film added 720 theaters and took in in $2.4 million from 1,552 locations, bringing its domestic total to $61 million..q

‘Wolf of Wall Street’ film company to pay $60 million settlement LOS ANGELES (AP) — The production company behind “The Wolf of Wall Street” has agreed to pay the U.S. government $60 million to settle claims it benefited from a massive Malaysian corruption scandal. The settlement between prosecutors and Red Granite Pictures Inc. was approved Thursday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. The case was part of an effort to recover more than $1 billion prosecutors said was stolen from 1MDB, a Malaysianowned investment fund. The Department of Justice said the complex money launder-

ing scheme was intended to enrich top-level officials of the fund, including some close to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. Money was diverted from the fund to buy properties in New York and California, a $35 million jet, art by Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet, and a $260 million yacht. Proceeds also went to fund movies by Red Granite Pictures, which was co-founded by the stepson of Razak. The funds financed the Martin Scorsese-directed “The Wolf of Wall Street,” which starred Leonardo DiCaprio in a film about the excesses of

a crooked stock trader. The settlement also included forfeiture claims to the rights of “Dumb and Dumber To” and “Daddy’s Home.” The film production company said in a statement that it was happy to put the matter behind it so it could focus on filmmaking. The 1MDB case is the largest single action the Justice Department has taken under efforts to recover foreign bribery proceeds and embezzled funds and several other lawsuits are pending. Other countries including Singapore and Switzerland are conducting probes.q

People & Arts A31

Monday 12 March 2018

Southwest ‘casta’ paintings spotlight race, popular culture By ANITA SNOW Associated Press SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Masked Mexican rebel leader Subcomandante Marcos, wearing a purple three-piece suit, is paired with Britney Spears in a Wonder Woman costume. Their child is a tiny albino Marcos, smoking a pipe and wearing a turban with his own little ski mask, his body the black-suited torso of James Bond. Another work by border artist Claudio Dicochea shows Ronald Reagan standing on a Pan American jet in colorful cowboy boots. Coupled with Salma Hayek reprising her role as Frida Kahlo but wearing the uniform of a Russian czar, their son is Heath Ledger as the Joker dressed in a pirate’s getup. Their daughter is the late Mexican movie star Dolores del Rio with the body of superhero Vampirella and the headdress of Aztec emperor Montezuma. Spotlighted in the exhibit “Acid Baroque,” on display at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art through May 20, these and other works by the 45-year-old Dicochea give a modern psychedelic spin to the colonial “casta” or caste paintings first created in 18th century Mexico, taking viewers to the crossroad of colonialism and contemporary popular culture as he examines the idea of “mestizaje,” or mixed-race identity. The exhibit is part of a program at the museum that showcases up-and-coming artists from Mexico and

In this Feb. 16, 2018, photo border artist Claudio Dicochea explains one of the paintings in his “Acid Baroque” exhibit on display at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art in Scottsdale, Ariz., through May 20. Associated Press

the American Southwest. The original caste paintings are still seen at some museums, including the one at Mexico City’s Chapultepec Castle, and feature portraits of mixed-race families — usually the parents and one or two children. They illustrate how intermarriage among Indians, blacks, Spaniards and mixed-race people after the conquest created hierarchal classifications of every mix imaginable, with the children born from diverse couplings arranged from lightest- to darkest-skinned in a kind of table of elements. In Dicochea’s reimagining of the genre, public figures and celebrities from the 20th and

21st centuries such as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Fidel Castro, as well as numerous Mexican TV soap opera stars, are the parents and children. Race is fluid as the artist uses various materials on wood including acrylic, charcoal, graphite and transfer to tie images together into colorful collages. John Wayne the cowboy movie idol is pictured as an Indian rather than an Indian killer. Albert Einstein is shown as a black child in jeans and T-shirt on a bicycle. “It’s a really serious meditation on race by someone who grew up on the border,” museum director and chief curator Sara Cochran said. “I

like to call this a Trojan horse show, a beautiful show that teaches you something by the back door.” For Dicochea, creating a new riff on the old casta paintings is a critique of the role visual arts play in shaping ideas about race. “At the core level, I’m showing that the ideas of race and ethnicity are social processes that are made up rather than natural phenomenon, that they are constructed to exert control,” he said. His work is being displayed through the museum’s southwestNET program, which annually spotlights one or more mid-career artists from the region believed to be on the

verge of achieving iconic status, Cochran said. The artists can come from Mexico or anywhere in the Southwest from California to Texas and up to Utah and Colorado. Past southwestNet artists have included Postcommodity, an arts collective that brought a four-channel video with sound of the U.S.-Mexico border fence, titled “A Very Long Line,” to the 2017 Whitney Biennial in New York. Dicochea was born in San Luis Colorado, Mexico, where the northwestern corner of Sonora state meets southwestern Arizona, just south of Yuma. His family immigrated to the U.S. when he was an infant, and he grew up along the border. As a youth, Dicochea labored briefly as a farmworker, irrigating fields in the Yuma Valley. He left at age 20 to study at the University of Arizona in Tucson, later continuing his studies at the San Francisco Art Institute and Arizona State University in Tempe, where he obtained a master’s in fine arts. He and his wife, Adriana, a painter from the border city of Nogales, Mexico, now live in San Antonio, Texas. Among Dicochea’s earliest mentors was the late AfricanAmerican painter Robert Colescott, known for satirical paintings such as “George Washington Carver crossing the Delaware,” which replaced the revolutionary war hero with the black botanist and inventor standing in a boat filled with domestic workers and minstrels. q

Dark side of Vegas is revealed in ‘All the Beautiful Girls’ By KIM CURTIS Associated Press After Lily’s glamorous and free-spirited parents and sister are killed in a car crash, the 8-year-old moves in with her aunt and uncle and leaves behind her entire universe of Salina, Kansas. And the conservative Midwest of the 1960s is not hospitable to a smart, curious, precocious young girl who dreams only of becoming a dancer. But Lily endures. As soon as she gradu-

ates from high school and turns 18, she changes her name to Ruby Wilde (“She thought it worked ... the elegance lent by that extra e, like shoppe.”) and heads to Las Vegas. Within months, her beauty and voluptuous body, along with her dancing skills, grant access to stages at clubs like the Tropicana and Stardust. She learns her trade and excels, amassing jewelry, furs and a small fortune. “All the Beautiful Girls” feels

comfortably familiar. It’s not a new story. It’s one that’s been told and retold dozens of times, but it’s Elizabeth J. Church’s gorgeous prose that elevates this far above the boundaries of the mundane. Church’s appreciation of language is apparent as she masterfully creates pictures with words, like when the young girl reflects on her loss: “Sorrow was not so easily fooled; it stuck to the soles of Lily’s feet and dogged her every step.”

Or when the older Ruby imagines a traditional, domestic future: She “was far too tainted ever to kiss the pristine garments of wholesomeness.” Despite its predictability, Church keeps readers engaged in and flying through the pages. She’s not interested in imparting any new wisdom here or providing untilled ground to tread. Instead, “All the Beautiful Girls” provides a delightful antidote to cold and dark mid-winter days.q

This cover image released by Ballantine shows “All the Beautiful Girls,” a novel by Elizabeth J. Church. Associated Press


Monday 12 March 2018

Crew with seeds, corals restore environment in Puerto Rico By DANICA COTO, Associated Press FAJARDO, Puerto Rico (AP) — As crews re-string electric lines and clear debris from Hurricane Maria, a small group of Puerto Rican and international conservationists is working on rebuilding natural wonders destroyed by the strongest storm to hit the island in nearly a century. Environmental groups and volunteers are gathering native seeds to replant forests across the U.S. territory and grafting broken coral back onto shattered reefs to help repair damage in the largest-ever effort of its kind for Puerto Rico. The Category 4 storm damaged 1.2 billion trees and snapped hundreds of thousands of corals off reefs around the island when it hit on Sept. 20. Despite the widespread destruction, a lack of funding and pressing human needs kept pushing back long-term plans to replant trees and rebuild corals. Now that Puerto Rico is slowly regaining its footing after the storm and initial funding has been secured, conservationists are fanning out across the island and into its waters to repair and restore what’s left of the island’s flora. “The damage is huge,” said Nilda Jimenez, marine ecology director for the island’s Department of Natural Resources. Helping nature recover has environmental and economic importance: Puerto Rico’s natural beauty is one of its biggest tourist draws. Experts also note that reefs protect coasts from heavy swells and serve as habitat for many species consumed on the island, including red snappers, lobsters and octopi. Last week, a group of divers assembled on a dock in the northeast coastal town of Fajardo, a popular destination for tourists eager to explore reefs that once boasted bright colors and a multitude of fish. Now, hundreds of broken corals that are still alive lay scattered across the turquoise waters, ranging in size from

In this March 2, 2018 photo, Manuel Sepulveda, a nursery management coordinator with Para la Naturaleza, a non-profit organization, transplants several small native oak tree seedlings, in one of its nurseries in the in Rio Piedras Botanical Garden, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Associated Press

a grapefruit to a car. Armed with buckets of cement, divers pick up the broken pieces and swim to reefs that have been identified as healthy despite the battering they received from the storm. The divers brush away any algae that have built up and push the pieces down into the freshly laid cement. “If you think about what you’re seeing, it’s broken

animals,” said Jim Ritterhoff, executive director of Force Blue, a nonprofit organization made up of retired U.S. Special Operations veterans working on coral reef conservation projects. The group is participating in a nearly $1.5 million project largely funded by the U.S. government with help from the U.S. nonprofit organization Ocean Conservancy to help restore between

100 and 300 corals a day in Puerto Rico for two months. They are focusing on the island’s northeast region, where swaths of mostly elkhorn and staghorn corals received the brunt of large swells generated during the hurricane. If further funding is available, divers will target other areas as well. “The sooner we get out there, the better,” said Sean Griffin, coral reef res-

In this In Feb. 28, 2018, photo, diver and Force Blue Co-Founder Rudy Reyes handles a crate full of coral to replace corals ripped off the reef during Hurricane Maria, as part of a nearly $1.5 million coral reef restoration effort largely funded by the federal government, off the coast of Fajardo, Puerto Rico. Associated Press

toration ecologist with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “There are still tens of thousands of corals out there that are upside down or even just on their side that we can get out there and save.” Similar restoration efforts are taking place on land miles away from the divers. At a greenhouse run by the nonprofit group Para La Naturaleza in the capital of San Juan, volunteers and workers tend to thousands of budding plants that will grow into trees as they’re planted across the island. They have planted nearly 1,900 trees since January, with a goal of 750,000 in the next seven years, said Luisa Rosado, the group’s habitat manager. “This is a project where we really won’t see the results,” she said. “The results will be from now to 100 years.” It’s also a labor-intensive project where crews have to return every three months to the site where the trees are planted to monitor their progress during the first year, then every four months in the second year. Rosado said more volunteers are needed, especially because the nonprofit is tied up visiting places around the island trying to find seeds for native and endemic species. Sometimes they get lucky and people call them, saying they uncovered seeds amid hurricane debris. A man from the western mountain town of Lares recently brought in a 4-foottall bag filled with branches and leaves but also a tiny black seed known as aceitillo, which is now a rare species. The find drew a big smile from Manuel Sepulveda, greenhouse managing coordinator for Para La Naturaleza. “There are very few seed banks in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean,” he said. “We need millions of seeds.” The efforts also have a deeper meaning for Rosado. “This is a way for us to recuperate together,” she said. “To recover the island.”q

March 12, 2018  
March 12, 2018