Tuesday, November 11, 2014

U.S. Politicians Visit Puerto Rico, Promise Help - The Inquisitr | Reform, information and transparency; The degradation of public debate - by CNE Group | Divers recover Puerto Rico pilot's remains | "Our Brand is Crisis" in Puerto Rico: a political comedy-drama... | Chikungunya Fever Rampant In Puerto Rico: Puerto Rico’s Health Department released figures from last month showing 401 confirmed cases of Chikungunya and 2006 suspected cases on the island. For the year, Puerto Rico reports 3,242 confirmed cases

CBS Local
The mosquito-borne disease is rampant now in parts of the Caribbean in Latin America with large numbers of cases reported in Puerto Rico. Dr. Nabil El Sanadi, the medical director at Broward Health Hospital System said travelers must be extra careful ...

Puerto Rico’s Health Department released figures from last month showing 401 confirmed cases of Chikungunya and 2006 suspected cases on the island.
For the year, Puerto Rico reports 3,242 confirmed cases.  “It’s something to be aware of, especially for those who are traveling to the island,” said Dr. El Sanadi.

Divers recover Puerto Rico pilot's remains - Yahoo News

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Divers recover Puerto Rico pilot's remains
Yahoo News
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Authorities have recovered the remains of a Puerto Rican pilot who went missing when a small cargo plane crashed into waters off a tiny Dutch Caribbean territory late last month. Puerto Rico's emergency management agency ...
Wreckage of Small Plane Found off St MaartenABC News

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Fox News Latino
Sandra Bullock is in Puerto Rico to shoot scenes for "Our Brand is Crisis," a political comedy-drama co-produced by George Clooney. Hollywood's highest-paid actress arrived over the weekend at San Juan's Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport, Puerto ...

Rafael Bernabe (left).
Rafael Bernabe (left).

» Denuncian fraude por parte del PPD
11/11/14 05:55 from Metro - Últimas noticias
Ante más de 200 miembros y simpatizantes reunidos en asamblea, el Partido del Pueblo Trabajador...

» UPDATE 1-Puerto Rico's increasing debt service a concern -Nuveen - Reuters
11/11/14 01:31 from puerto rico - Google News
UPDATE 1- Puerto Rico's increasing debt service a concern -Nuveen Reuters (Adds declined comment from press officer, debt service details from commonwealth report). NEW YORK Nov 10 (Reuters) - The escalating cost to service Puerto Ri...

Governor Alejandro García Padilla rejected Monday that there is a stalemate between La Fortaleza and the Legislature by increasing the excise on oil.(Andre.kang@gfrmedia.com)

» García Padilla niega tranque con la Legislatura - El Nuevo Dia.com
11/11/14 01:08 from alejandro garcia padilla - Google News
Primera Hora García Padilla niega tranque con la Legislatura El Nuevo Dia.com El gobernador Alejandro García Padilla rechazó este lunes que haya un tranque entre La Fortaleza y la Legislatura por el aumento del arbitrio al combustible, a...

Governor makes pitch for oil tax hike

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» Puerto Rico is “Ready” for Mega-Ships - Caribbean Journal
10/11/14 21:56 from puerto rico - Google News
Caribbean Journal Puerto Rico is “Ready” for Mega-Ships Caribbean Journal Puerto Rico is “ready” to receive the new wave of “mega” cruise ships, according to Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla. Old San Juan's port recently completed a...

Puerto Rico Announces Plan for Port of the Americas - Business Wire (press relea... 

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Puerto Rico Announces Plan for Port of the Americas - Business Wire (press release)0

Puerto Rico Announces Plan for Port of the Americas
Business Wire (press release)
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Puerto Rico announced today that it is …

Puerto Rico Announces Plan for Port of the Americas - Business Wire (press release)

Reform, information and transparency 

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Magnifier over Figures
By Sergio M. Marxuach
Recently, the administration has begun to shift selective and partially disclose some of the details of his proposal for a tax reform which presumably would generate significant tax relief. According to the information that has been reported in the press, individuals with earned income less than $ 35,000 and married with earned income under $ 70,000-approximately 835,000 taxpayers-would not pay income tax. Moreover, the marginal rates for taxpayers who earn income in excess of these exemptions would be reduced. The total tax relief for this group is estimated at about $ 354 million.
Now that does not mean that these people would not pay any tax. First, employers are still required to withhold 7.65% of their salary as Social Security and Medicare. In addition, government employees are also subject to the retention of their contribution to their respective retirement plan.
More importantly we are still reports that the Sales Tax and Use (IVU) would be replaced by a Value Added Tax (VAT). VAT, according to the information that has been reported so far, basically apply to all sales of goods and services in Puerto Rico with three exceptions: exported goods and services, financial services and payment for rental housing. Everything else, such as prescription drugs, college tuition for the kids, and the products of the basic food basket, such as milk, bread, eggs, taxed at a rate estimated to be at least double that of IVU, which would be at least 14%. The government has announced, however, that "weighted" to establish a quarterly credit to mitigate the impact of VAT on lower income taxpayers and that loan could cost between $ 500 and $ 600 million.
At the same time, the government has informed investors who buy bonds of Puerto Rico that his tax reform is expected to increase "materially" the revenues of the general fund. Apparently, the goal is to increase net revenues between $ 900 and $ 1.200 million. If we assume that the government seeks to increase net revenues by $ 1.000 million, then the new tax would raise at least $ 1,954,000 in excess of what it collects SUT currently ($ 1,000 million to Treasury, $ 600 million to fund the loan to mitigate regressive, and $ 354 million to replace the revenues on account of the reduction in taxes on income).
Under this scenario, it could happen that some middle-class households, depending on income, consumption patterns and the amount of the new loan, end up paying more than they pay now. But we do not know for sure since we do not have all the information to do the analysis.
In fact, what has been reported so far raises more questions than it answers. For example, how "low-income taxpayer" is defined for purposes of the new loan ?; Did you know that when you buy a medicine to control blood pressure or to relieve cardiac arrhythmia trusts, and charged a VAT of 14%, the Treasury will pay you back in three months ?; Are you prepared the Treasury Department to implement the VAT ?; What happen to the deficit if the reliefs are retroactive to January 2015, but Treasury takes six months to start charging VAT? At what rate the income taxed capital gains, dividends and interest? We simply do not know.
The reason we do not know the answers to these and many other questions is that the tax reform is based on a report prepared by the consulting firm KPMG and the government has decided not to publish. However, it is imperative that this document be disclosed in full to the public is properly informed and able to exercise their right to free expression, so that we can thoroughly analyze the proposals of the administration, and to stimulate public discussion informed about the benefits and shortcomings of the proposed reform.
From the outset it should be noted that the work of KPMG has been publicly funded, making the document in one of the public domain. That fact, by itself, should be enough to make the report public.
Second, the general rule in Puerto Rico, at least since the decision of our Supreme Court in Soto v.Attorney, 112 DPR 477 (1982), is that all information in the possession of the State, subject to five exceptions (none of which apply in this case), is public and must be accessible to the general public.The court in Soto was clear in stating "that there is a close correspondence between the right to free speech and freedom of information. The premise is simple. Without knowledge of facts can not judge; Nor may require governmental tort remedies through court proceedings or through the process of the polls every four (4) years. "
In the case of the tax reform, the lack of disclosure of the KPMG report prevents citizens can conduct a thorough analysis of the government's proposal to not make public the factual and analytical background which this proposal appears. Reiterate, "without knowledge of facts can not judge ..."
It would seem, however, that the government wants to occupy the discursive field on this important issue through an expensive propaganda campaign in the media but at the same time, limiting our constitutional right to information and limiting our ability to performing a weighted and truly informed public debate... 

U.S. Politicians Visit Puerto Rico, Promise Help - The Inquisitr

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The Inquisitr

U.S. Politicians Visit Puerto Rico, Promise Help
The Inquisitr
New York City's mayor and some other regional politicians are getting to know Puerto Rico and promising more financial help for the flooding. Mayor Bill de Blasio, who took office this past January, has been in Puerto Rico since last Thursday ...

NYC mayor visits Puerto Rico's capital, calls on fed to fix city's polluted canal - Fox News Latino

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New York Daily News

NYC mayor visits Puerto Rico's capital, calls on fed to fix city's polluted canal
Fox News Latino
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) – New York City's mayor visited a polluted canal in Puerto Rico'scapital city on Saturday and said the federal government must do more to clean it up. Mayor Bill de Blasio visited the Canal Martin Pena with other elected ...
Bill de Blasio skips Puerto Rico's beach for politickingNew York Daily News

Mayor Tours Puerto Rican Neighborhood, Meets with IDC HeadNY1
NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio and Fellow Democrats Head To Puerto Rico For ...Latin Post 

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 Mayor Tours Puerto Rican Neighborhood, Meets with IDC HeadNY1

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» New York City Mayor Visits Puerto Rico, Meets With Governor Alejandro Garcia ... - Caribbean Journal
10/11/14 21:36 from puerto rico governor - Google News
Caribbean Journal New York City Mayor Visits Puerto Rico , Meets With Governor Alejandro Garcia ... Caribbean Journal A few weeks after a high-profile visit by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republi...

» Above: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro ... - Caribbean Journal
10/11/14 21:36 from puerto rico governor - Google News
Caribbean Journal Above: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro ... Caribbean Journal A few weeks after a high-profile visit by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic...

Council members call for same-sex marriage in Puerto Rico - Capital New York

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Council members call for same-sex marriage in Puerto Rico
Capital New York
SAN JUAN, P.R.—New York City council members and state lawmakers gathered on the last day of the Somos El Futuro Conference on Sunday to ask the governor of Puerto Rico to support legalization of same-sex marriage on the island. Councilwoman ...

Drug Cartels Find Argentina Attractive Transit Way - ABC News

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ABC News

Drug Cartels Find Argentina Attractive Transit Way
ABC News
U.S.-led efforts to stifle the drug trade in more northern countries and in the Caribbean have pushed the traffic south to Argentina, according to drug experts and justice officials. The country also is proving to be a place where artisans are crafty ...

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Prosecutor: There’s Proof of Fujimori Government Ties to Drug Trafficking

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Peruvian anti-drug prosecutor Sonia Medina said that there is abundant proof linking the 1990-2000 government of former President Alberto Fujimori to drug trafficking.

Dominican Republic man pleads guilty to conspiring with corrupt police officers in Puerto Rico

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- A Dominican Republic man has pleaded guilty to conspiring with corrupt police officers to commit a July 2012 robbery of a home in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. Fernando Reyes-Rojas, 43, of the Dominican Republic, pleaded guilty on November 6, 2014, to violations of robbery, civil rights, narcotics, and firearms laws.

Policía responde a rumor de ausentismo masivo

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A través de las redes sociales está circulando una imagen que advierte sobre la posible ausencia de miles de policías.

A New Restaurant -Within-a-Restaurant at Puerto Rico's El San Juan - Caribbean Journal

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Caribbean Journal

A New Restaurant -Within-a-Restaurant at Puerto Rico's El San Juan
Caribbean Journal
There's a new restaurant-within-a-restaurant at Puerto Rico's El San Juan Resort and Casino, a Hilton Hotel. The property has announced the debut of the “Chef's Studio” venue, which seats up to eight guests for a private culinary experience, according ...0

The degradation of public debate 

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By Sergio M. Marxuach
Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the late senator from New York, used to say that the United States was defining "normal down". The implication was that his warning had to raise the bar of what American society expected of its citizens, its universities, its political, in short, of all institutions, if they wanted to prevent the decline of that society. It seems that time has proven him right.
In Puerto Rico has something very similar happened with the quality of our public discourse. Each year the rod is lowered more and more. Most citizens are not interested in asking questions or questioning what our rulers and parroting what they say "jihadists of his party," as Benjamin called Torres Gotay. In the best case demand that they explain everything in "rice bean" in 140 characters or less, or journalistic accounts that do not exceed 500 words.
This phenomenon is interesting because, according to official statistics, education levels in Puerto Rico have increased significantly over the last fifty or sixty years. However, the quality of public discourse in Puerto Rico, and in many other countries, has deteriorated dangerously during the same period. I suggest you go to the library of the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus and look for a microfilm of any copy of the newspaper El Mundo published in 1964. You will notice immediately that the news at that time were not written in "rice and beans "and editorials and opinion columns usually exceed 1,500 words. All this in Puerto Rico where the enrollment rate was about half what it is today.
How can this apparent paradox be explained? I think, as social phenomenon, there is no single explanation but is the product of a confluence of several factors. First, primary and secondary education in Puerto Rico, both in public and private schools, has lost its way. The aim of such education should be, Meira Levinson, professor says in the Graduate School of Education at Harvard, in his book No Citizen Left Behind (Harvard, 2012), "teach our young people the knowledge and skills to alter and disrupt power relations directly, through civic, public and political action. "Schools are not sophisticated care centers or mass storage children or embutirles lechoneras to the brain as a black pudding mogolla data, dates and "historical" events more or less randomly. They are places to teach them to think, to discern good arguments from the bad and to create them a moral implying (and means) to live in a democracy, civic awareness, and ethical.
Second, it has distorted the mission of the University of Puerto Rico, the most important center of higher education in the country. In part this is because the University has had to devote an increasing amount of resources to remedy the deficiencies of students who graduate from high school with enormous intellectual gap. In part because it has dedicated, especially during the last thirty or forty years, mostly to train employees and managers for multinational companies instead of teaching critical thinking skills. And partly to bureaucratization and politicization of the entire public university system. The result has been two, maybe three generations of Puerto Ricans who have come to live without thinking critically, and have no ability to civic or moral will needed to participate effectively in public debate.
Third, the media have contributed and who have dedicated themselves to entertain rather than to inform, to review the grossest crimes and sensational manner, repeating the propaganda of the government communications office and give any political platform marquee provided that says an awful lot to cause controversy.
The problem is that for a modern democracy to function properly, it requires that citizens actively participate in the polis . The problems facing modern society are complex and require an effort, however minimal, on the part of citizens to understand. Otherwise, the public debate is inevitably degraded.
I regret to inform you that the difference between the SUT and VAT can not be explained in 140 characters or less; to understand the consequences of credit degradation Puerto Rico or the restructuring of at least part of our public debt will require you to have to make an effort to educate themselves on these issues; and shortcomings and failures that afflict Power Authority can not be explained in a "sound bite" and "rice and beans".
If you are not willing to participate, educate themselves and think critically about public issues that affect us all, then do not complain when your electricity bill continues to increase, when imposing VAT at 15% without explaining why, when you go to Medical Center and have to wait six hours for care while you are lying on a gurney in the middle of a dark and gloomy hallway, or when there are enough teachers at the beginning of class.
Do not complain either if elections are a joke, if 

impunity and corruption are rampant among the ruling class and if the violation of civil rights is constant, starting with the corrupt Police of Puerto Rico. 

In short, all forms of accountability are ineffective can not complain if in Puerto Rico, because you are an essential part of the problem not well informed and demand more rigorous performance standards of our public officials.

Monday Photos: Puerto Rico - Surfing Magazine

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Surfing Magazine

Monday Photos: Puerto Rico
Surfing Magazine
This wave has literally scalped a man, but Balaram Stack ain't here for a haircut. The anticipation. Hi Bal! Balaram, an item of admiration. TJ Gumiela spends his winters away from the cold of New York and into the warmth of Puerto Rican tubes ...