Puerto Rico Governor Under Increased Pressure To Resign

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS)

 

By Nicole Acevedo

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló doubled down on his plans to stay in his job after protests calling for his resignation turned violent Monday night. The massive protests injured about two dozen police officers and roughly five protesters were arrested as a result of the demonstration, according to authorities.

During a press conference Tuesday afternoon, the embattled governor said, “I was elected by the people,” citing this as one of his main reasons for not resigning.

The remarks and the protests come in the wake of multiple scandals that have hit the Rosselló administration during recent weeks regarding corruption investigations and the leaking of private chats between the governor and some officials and close associates.

At least 889 pages of the private chats, which included profanity-laced, misogynistic and homophobic comments were released Saturday by Puerto Rico’s top investigative journalism media outlet after excerpts were first reported days before.

In the chats on the encrypted messaging app Telegram, Rosselló made fun of an obese man he posed with in a photo, called former New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito a “whore” and said Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of San Juan who had announced her intent to run for governor against Rosselló in 2020, was “off her meds.”

“Either that, or she’s a tremendous HP,” the governor said, using the Spanish initials for “son/daughter of a b—-.”

The members of the chat group were Luis Rivera Marín, Rosselló’s secretary of state; Christian Sobrino, who held a series of important economic posts; Carlos Bermúdez, a one-time communications aide; Edwin Miranda, a communications consultant; Interior Secretary Ricardo Llerandi; Public Affairs Secretary Anthony Maceira, and Elías Sánchez, one-time representative to the board overseeing Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy.

Image:
Citizens protest near the executive mansion demanding the resignation of Gov. Ricardo Rossello, in San Juan, Puerto Rico on July 15, 2019.Carlos Giusti / AP

The chat also contains vulgar references to Puerto Rican star Ricky Martin’s homosexuality and a series of emojis of a raised middle finger directed at a federal control board overseeing the island’s finances.

Talking about a lack of forensic pathologists as the death toll rose after Hurricane Maria, Sobrino said, “Can’t we feed a body to the crows?”

The scandal has sunk Rosselló into the deepest crisis of his career.

The messages were leaked shortly after Puerto Rico’s former secretary of education, former Puerto Rico Health Insurance Administration head Ángela Ávila-Marrero and four other people with government contracts under Rosselló’s administration were arrested last week and are facing 32 counts of money laundering, fraud and other related charges for the alleged embezzlement of $15.5 million in federal funding between 2017 and 2019.

The White House reacted to the unrest in Puerto Rico on Tuesday afternoon saying, “The unfortunate events of the past week in Puerto Rico prove the President’s concerns about the mismanagement, politicization, and corruption have been valid.”

“We remain committed to Puerto Rico’s recovery and steadfast in protecting taxpayers and the Puerto Rico survivors from political corruption and financial abuse,” the statement said.

In reaction to comments from the White House, Rosselló said that “corruption is a social evil” and it “has occurred in all administrations.”

The U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, is expected to make a stop in San Juan on Thursday, as part of an official trip that will take him to Argentina, Ecuador, Mexico and El Salvador.

The scandal comes as the U.S.Senate is prepared to add more restrictions that could limit federal funds for the island, including $12 billion in Medicaid appropriations for the next four years and other hurricane-recovery aid.

Puerto Rico is still recovering from the category 4 hurricane that destroyed the island’s long-neglected infrastructure and power grid and resulted in the deaths of at least 2,975 people, making it the deadliest U.S.-based natural disaster in 100 years and has come to define a sad turning point in the island’s history.

For many Puerto Ricans still recovering from Hurricane Maria and on the back of the island’s biggest public financial collapse, the scandal analysts and ordinary people are calling “Chatgate” or “Rickyleaks” has resulted in unprecedented protests against the U.S. commonwealth’s chief executive.

Growing protests

As thousands marched in the capital Monday calling for Rosselló’s resignation, police tried to disperse them with pepper spray in front of the Fortaleza governor’s residence, which was protected by barricades.

Puerto Rico police spokesperson Axel Valencia told Telemundoduring live coverage of the demonstrations that such protests are one of the biggest, most intense he’d seen in the island in recent history — leaving about 40 properties in Old San Juan, where protests took place, damaged.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Drug Enforcement Administration are investigating the violent acts and vandalism that took place Monday.

Protesters have been calling for Rosselló’s resignation for over three consecutive days. Demonstrations first started with hundreds of people, then growing to the thousands. The growth was reflected on Twitter as the hashtag #RickyRenuncia (Resign Ricky, a shortened version of his name, Ricardo) was trending worldwide Monday.

Some leaders of the U.S. territory’s Legislature said they weren’t planning impeachment proceedings. Others introduced a resolution to initiate a process of impeachment for Rosselló. In it, House Rep. Dennis Márquez outlined 18 possible crimes that stem from the leaked chats.

At the same time, an influential association of mayors from Rosselló’s pro-statehood party said he had lost their support.

The president of the commonwealth’s House of Representatives, Carlos Méndez Núñez, said Sunday night that legislators from Rosselló’s pro-statehood New Progressive Party, which has a majority in both houses, did not support starting impeachment proceedings against the governor. He said they gave Rosselló a one-week deadline to reflect, show contrition and prove he could continue to govern.

“Impeachment isn’t on the table yet,” he said. “But we reserve the right to evaluate if that’s merited.”

Puerto Rican artists Benito A. Martínez Ocasio, known as Bad Bunny, and René Pérez, known as Residente, both said on social media they planned to return to Puerto Rico to protest Rosselló’s administration on Wednesday.

Playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose production of “Hamilton” on the island is mentioned in the chats, called them “a very disturbing portrait of how this Administration operates.

Even if Rosselló survives until next year’s election, it’s clear to many observers that he has been profoundly weakened and less able to deal with crises.

Despite widespread cynicism in Puerto Rico about politicians’ corruption and self-dealing, the chat shocked residents in a way that other scandals haven’t, particularly given Rosselló’s image as a gentle, even meek family man, said Mario Negrón Portillo, a professor at the University of Puerto Rico’s school of public administration.

“Everyone woke up one day and the governor was spouting vulgarities,” Negrón said. “There’s nothing worse for a politician than losing legitimacy. I think Ricardo Rosselló has lost legitimacy.”

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Associated Press contributed.

7 Most Visited Attractions in New York City

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

7 Most Visited Attractions in New York City

Call it befitting that The City That Never Sleeps lives in the dreams of citizens of the world. Home of the National Stock Exchange, high fashion, fine art, exquisite cuisine, and skyscrapers reaching high as the American Dream, New York consistently brings in millions of visitors from all over the globe. The most densely populated U.S. city has an endless list of attractions to explore on any given day, but a handful stand out with numbers as large as the city itself.

Times Square

Credit: ChristopheLedent / iStock

From New Year’s to the stock exchange, entertainment to dining, Times Square endures as an iconic center of thriving metropolitan life. With over 39 million visitors annually, “the center of the universe” is the most visited tourist site in the world. The staggering number of visitors to the square prompted the city to make adjustments to address the hectic streets when it established designated areas for performers, seating, and exit routes.

Brooklyn Bridge

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In spite of countless private sales, the Brooklyn Bridge remains the property of the city. The nearly 6,000-foot bridge connecting Brooklyn to Manhattan sees over 120,000 vehicles, 4,000 pedestrians, and 2,600 bicyclists daily. By choice or by necessity, the Brooklyn Bridge is one of New York’s busiest hot spots, offering an idyllic view of the harbor for misty-eyed tourists and disgruntled commuters alike.

Grand Central Terminal

Credit: focusstock / iStock

Driving through New York has never been for the faint of heart, making its public transit system a staple of many New Yorkers’ daily lives. Grand Central Terminal has been coined the “world’s loveliest station” with its opal glass clock, astronomical decorations, and fine dining. The beauty of its corridors attracts tourists and natives to breathe in the air of constant movement.

The 9/11 Memorial

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On September 11, 2001, the world shook in the face of horror and tragedy. From the ashes of the World Trade Center, America summoned its strength to erect a monument in honor of the loss of innocent lives and the courage of the first responders who gave theirs in turn at a moment’s notice. Ten million visitors have graced the grounds of the memorial since its opening in 2014.

The Empire State Building

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“Twas beauty that killed the beast,” but the tourists come for the view. At a height of 1,454 feet, the Empire State Building Observatory towers 102 stories above the heart of Manhattan with its breathtaking view of the New York City skyline. The National Historic Landmark continues to draw crowds, nearly competing with its own enormity. Over 110 million have visited the monument to date, with yearly totals around 3 million.

The Statue of Liberty

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Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to snap the perfect photo op for their Instagram account. Our green lady from France is still an internationally renowned landmark of the United States. Countless tourists from around the world and locals seeking a reminder of American history flock to the Statue of Liberty every year. In 2018, the Statue of Liberty saw 4.34 million recreational visitors.

The Metropolitan Art Museum

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The image of New York is one of busy city streets, larger-than-life ambitions, and world-class art. It’s this last point that has been drawing the biggest crowds of any single attraction in the city. 2018 saw a record high for the Metropolitan Art Museum with 7.35 million visitors. This last year, the Met housed an exhibit of over 200 installations of Michelangelo’s work titled “Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer.”

5 U.S. Cities with Multiple Airports

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

5 U.S. Cities with Multiple Airports (and Which Are the Best to Fly Into)

If you’ve ever planned a trip to a major city, you know that often there’s more than one airport you can choose (or if you’re going to somewhere remote, there might not even be any to choose from). And while this means you have more options, it can make planning your flight more difficult. Which airport should you pick? In truth, there’s no easy answer as it’s going to depend on your route, budget, and ability to access an airport. So check out this guide for five cities served by multiple airports.

New York City

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Airports: EWR, HPN, ISP, JFK, LGA

Of course, the city that never sleeps is first. There are only two airports that are within New York City limits. But three airports are directly associated with the Big Apple, and the remaining two are known only to locals as a smart alternative—depending on your travel routes. Of the three major airports, John F. Kennedy International (JFK) and LaGuardia International (LGA) are based in the extreme outskirts of Queens while Newark Liberty International (EWR) is located in New Jersey, 30 minutes outside of the city. But Westchester County Airport (HPN) and Long Island MacArthur Airport (ISP) are two popular regional alternatives that also provide domestic service for select airlines—if you can figure out how to get there.

JFK and EWR are the easiest to reach via mass transit thanks to their air trains that connect directly to the NYC MTA Subway and New Jersey Transit trains that terminate at New York Pennsylvania Station respectively. If you don’t mind buses, the NYC MTA M60 bus will drop you off at LGA. But flight delays and long waits on the tarmac for your flight to take off might make you rethink this airport. To make it easy on yourself, select “NYC” as the airport code to get as many options as possible in your search results.

Chicago

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Airports: MDW, ORD

Chicago is serviced by two primary airports, Chicago Midway International (MDW) and O’Hare International (ORD). Of the two, O’Hare is far larger and manages more traffic—serving as a popular layover option for numerous domestic airlines like American and United. Typically, O’Hare is preferred for international flights while Midway is best known as a more convenient option for domestic flights thanks to shorter security lines.

Like many major cities, you can rely on mass transit to get to and from O’Hare. Both airports offer direct access to CTA rail lines for 24-hour service to Chicago and surrounding suburbs. If your trip is for farther beyond the Chicago city limits, the Metra is the commuter rail option for you from O’Hare.

Miami

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Airports: FLL, MIA, PBI

Bienvenido a Miami! If your travels are taking you to one of the sexiest cities in the U.S., you have three airport options: Miami International (MIA), Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International (FLL), and West Palm Beach International (PBI). Unlike a lot of other cities, Miami’s busiest airport (MIA) is a short drive from the heart of the city. Within less than 20 minutes you can be on South Beach sunning yourself and enjoying the weather.

MIA is the nation’s third busiest airport, which means that while you’ll have the greatest number of flight options, you can also experience delays both on the runway and at the security checkpoint. FLL and PBI offer a more laid-back experience but fewer flight options depending on your airline. However, PBI is the only airport that’s accessible by train—the Tri-Rail system. All other airports must be accessed by taxi or rideshare service.

San Francisco

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Airports: OAK, SFO, SJC

San Francisco is another popular destination for tourists and business travelers. Most people are aware of only their largest airport, San Francisco International (SFO). However, locals know that there are two alternate options, Oakland International (OAK) and Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International (SJC). While SFO offers the most flights and variety of carriers, it’s not uncommon to experience delays—especially through security. Still, direct access to the city via their transit train line, BART, makes SFO an attractive option.

But if you don’t like the crush of crowds, SJC and OAK can be prime alternatives. OAK is specifically ideal if you aren’t planning a standard trip to San Francisco. For travels through nearby cities or even Napa or Sonoma, OAK is perfect. But if you want to stay in San Francisco but just avoid the pain of SFO, SJC is a great alternative south of the city that’s also serviced by the Caltrain.

Los Angeles

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Airports: LAX, SNA, BUR, LGB, ONT

Finally, we round out this list with the city of angels. Los Angeles is a popular vacation and business destination that’s serviced by five airports. Los Angeles International (LAX) and Ontario International (ONT) are ideal for international travelers, with ONT offering less stress for immigration and from security lines.

If your plans don’t require international travel, skip the frustration of LAX and opt for the domestic-only airports: John Wayne (SNA), Bob Hope/Hollywood Burbank (BUR), or Long Beach (LGB). But be aware, LGB offers flights through only four carriers. Burbank (BUR) is the only L.A. area airport with direct rail access; all others can be accessed via taxi, rideshare or shuttle service. However, we’re fans of LAX because of the In-n-Out across the street where you can order their famed burgers off the secret menu, sit outside, and watch the planes land!

These U.S. states consume the most coffee

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIVIA GENIUS)

 

These U.S. states consume the most coffee

In 2018, Americans drank an average of 2 cups of coffee per day. The USDA forecasts 174.5 million bags of coffee will be produced in 2019 and lists the United States as the 2nd largest importer of coffee in the world. Across the country, we consume 25,835,000 bags of coffee.

We are a highly caffeinated nation.

We are merely doing our civil duty — after the Boston Tea Party, drinking coffee was a sign of patriotism. Since then, the popularity of coffee in the U.S. has only grown. The National Coffee Association’s annual report showed coffee drinking in America is at its highest levels with over 60% of all Americans consuming coffee every day.

Coffee in the Pacific Northwest

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It would be very difficult to discuss coffee in America without Seattle, Washington. Seattle might be the origin story for Starbucks, but Conde Naste doesn’t list it in their top 10 best Seattle coffee shops. Still, cities all over Washington are listed in the top 10 best cities in America for coffee lovers on many lists.

Here are some quick stats on Washington’s caffeine addiction:

Seattle, Washington:

  • 1 coffee shop per 2,308 residents
  • 278 coffee shops total

Everett, Washington:

  • 1 coffee shop per 2,752 residents
  • 40 coffee shops total

Vancouver, Washington:

  • 1 coffee shop per 2,224 residents
  • 78 coffee shops total

Travel & Leisure listed Portland, Oregon, the best coffee city due to its high number of coffee shops per capita. Portland also has the most coffee manufacturers per capita than anywhere else in the United States.

Coffee in New York City

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Frank Sinatra crooned he wanted “to wake up in the city that never sleeps.” With the most coffee shops per capita, the most donut shops per capita and the most affordable coffee shops per capita, New York fits the bill and is WalletHub’s #1 choice for “Best Coffee Cities in America.”

Coffee in California

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The west coast is a standout region for coffee drinkers. WalletHub found 4 of the top 5 cities for highest average coffee spend are in California: Fremont, Irvin, San Francisco and San Jose. California also holds 3 out of the 5 cities with the highest percentage of adult coffee drinkers as well: Anaheim, Los Angeles and Santa Ana.

Apartment Guide released a list of best cities for coffee lovers in America and Berkley was their top pick.

Coffee consumption in the Southeast

Nowhere in the southeastern corner of the U.S. makes any list of “cities with the most coffee shops” or “states with the highest coffee consumption.” The northeastern United States consumes the most coffee, according to Statista.

More coffee statistics

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  • If you love to grab coffee on the way to work, don’t move to Laredo, Corpus Christi and Garland, Texas. They have the fewest coffee shops per capita, alongside Hialeah, Florida, and San Bernardino, California.
  • Despite having so few coffee shops, Hialeah has the 3rd highest percentage of adult coffee drinkers.
  • Square analyzed data over the course of a year and found the latte is America’s most-ordered drink.
  • More than 60% of adults 18 and over consume coffee every day. And more than half of the coffee consumed is gourmet. Cold brew orders are up 42% over iced coffee.

With younger people driving the gourmet coffee market and 70% of coffee consumption happening at home, surely we can get a good Alexa-enabled coffee pot worth more than a hill of beans.

5 Biggest Chinatowns in the U.S.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

5 Biggest Chinatowns in the U.S.

If you don’t live near a big city, you might be unfamiliar with the term “Chinatown” and its significance in American history.

The Oxford Dictionary defines a Chinatown as: “A district of a large non-Chinese town or port in which the population is predominantly of Chinese origin.” So-called Chinatowns exist all around the world, though there are particularly large concentrations in North America, Europe, and Australia.

While Chinatowns had existed in other countries for hundreds of years before making their way to the U.S., the United States features a particularly high number of Chinatowns relative to its size. Here are a few of the biggest Chinatowns you’ll find in the states.

5. Honolulu, Hawaii

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While the exact boundary (and thus, the exact population) of the Honolulu Chinatown isn’t precisely known, it deserves mention on this list for its historical role in Chinese-American culture.

One of the earlier Chinatown settlements, Chinese immigrants came to Hawaii to work the island’s rich sugar plantations. Many of these laborers stayed in the area to work as merchants, and eventually, the early boundaries of Hawaii’s first Chinatown began to form. Of course, the area wasn’t without hardship—the Honolulu Chinatown was rocked by a great fire in 1886, an outbreak of bubonic plague in 1899, and another huge blaze in 1900. But the area endured, and it stands today as the home of the largest Chinese population in Hawaii.

4. Seattle, Washington

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Further north than most other U.S. Chinatowns, the Seattle Chinatown — more officially known as the Chinatown-International District of Seattle — is the biggest Chinese enclave in the American northwest. Home to a diverse range of Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, and Vietnamese populations, the area acts as a hub of Asian culture in the region and brings in substantial tourism throughout the year.

3. Chicago, Illinois

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The second-oldest in the United States, the Chinatown neighborhood in south Chicago is certainly worth visiting. The bulk of the Chicago Chinatown population came from immigrants fleeing persecution on the West Coast; the establishment of the San Francisco Chinatown (as detailed below) made Chinese culture a staple in America, but the immigrants there faced extensive prejudice from U.S. nationals.

In an ironic twist, U.S. citizens viewed Chinese influence as a detriment to American culture, despite the fact that American culture (not even 100 years old at that point) had its foundation in African slave labor and Native American blood. Regardless, immigrants found some relief in their newly-formed Chinatown, where it stands today as one of the most populous Chinese enclaves in the country.

2. San Francisco, California

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The San Francisco Chinatown is possibly the largest, and certainly the oldest, Chinese enclave in America. Its origins date back to the 1850s, when large influxes of Chinese immigrants made their way to the West Coast. These immigrants typically worked hard-labor jobs, such as mining or railroad construction, and struggled to integrate into American culture. As their populations grew, so too did their enterprise, with Chinese-owned shops, restaurants, and apartments filling the town. This gentrification led to the birth of the United States’ first Chinatown, a historic landmark that exists to this day.

1. Manhattan, New York

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The Manhattan Chinatown is one of the biggest in the world, with the New York City area featuring the biggest Chinese population outside of Asia. Indeed, there are so many Chinese people there that one Chinatown can’t hold everyone; to date, there are nine different Chinatown neighborhoods in New York City alone.

This particular Chinatown is considered a bastion of Chinese culture, both in the U.S. and abroad. The region is home to the Museum of Chinese in America and is a regular destination for new Chinese immigrants coming to the country. However, in true Manhattan fashion, rent prices are skyrocketing in the area, forcing out many of the poorer populations in favor of wealthier patrons who can afford the exorbitant prices.

Going Down to Chinatown

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This list is just a small sampling of the diverse Chinatowns that exist in America. The enclaves have long been thought of as cultural oddities to natives, but to Chinese immigrants, they’re welcome reminders of the comfort and culture they left behind. And while most Chinatowns these days have experienced surges in diversity compared to what they once had, there’s no taking away from the cultural impact they’ve had on our history.

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3 New York Tourist Attractions Worth the Hype

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

3 New York Tourist Attractions Worth the Hype

New York is an amazing city. It is one of the four fashion capitals of the world and it is home to tons of art museums and theaters. It can be a bit of a polarizing city, though, because for every person who finds it full of wonder and culture, there is another person who thinks it is overcrowded and over-hyped. Luckily, there are a few tourist attractions that everyone can agree are pretty great. Here is a list of the top three attractions that locals and tourists alike can agree are worth the hype.

The Brooklyn Bridge

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It took 14 years to build this suspension bridge to connect Manhattan and Brooklyn, but the result is a spectacular sight. It is also useful, as it was created to be an alternate method for traveling between the two cities instead of relying on the ferry. Although this city and others have gotten increasingly taller since then, when it was constructed in the 1800s, it was the tallest structure in the entire Western Hemisphere. Today it may not be the tallest, but it is one of the most picturesque, as it offers some incredible views of the Manhattan skyline. If you want to visit the bridge without having to fight through the crowds, locals recommend arriving in the early morning before the people have begun to gather.

The Statue of Liberty

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No visit to New York is complete without a visit to the Statue of Liberty. Although it is often crowded, this monument to American freedom is something that every American and visitor to America simply has to see. The statue stands at 305 feet tall and was made of copper by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi in 1875. It was a gift of friendship from France to the United States, and served as a symbol of welcome for thousands of immigrants for nearly 70 years. Today, you can visit the observation deck in the statue’s pedestal, or with a special ticket you can climb 354 narrow steps up to the top to look out over the city through her crown. Even the most critical tourists will tell you that you can’t over-hype that view.

Central Park

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Number one on our list, beating out even the Statue of Liberty, is Central Park. This place is like an oasis in the middle of the big city: it is full of greenery and nature, and it has plenty of space to spread out so you don’t get caught up in the crowds heading to other tourist attractions. Perhaps the best part about Central Park, though, is that it is more than just a park. It has multiple tourist attractions inside it, including Strawberry Fields (a memorial for John Lennon), Belvedere Castle, the Lake, multiple fountains, several beautiful gardens, and the Central Park Zoo. In the winter, you can even go ice skating at Wallman Rink. If it sounds impossible to hold all of those things inside one park, keep in mind that this one is 2.5 miles long. This is the perfect destination for tourists who want to see New York away from the bustling city streets, and definitely lives up to the hype.

The five Richest Cities In The World

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

Although money isn’t the most important thing in the world, we know that when it comes to picking stellar travel destinations, some of the best spots are cities that have the money. They tend to invest in attracting you there and making sure you have a good time.

To figure out which are the richest in the world, we looked at cities with the highest gross domestic product — basically, the strongest economies. Here’s a look at the cities that top the list.

London, England

London, England

Credit: IakovKalinin/iStock

GDP: $731.2 billion

Those bright red telephone booths that provide the perfect photo op on your visit can’t come cheap. Fortunately, London can afford it. If it’s good enough for the Queen of England’s home at Buckingham Palace, it’s good enough for us to visit. But even though the city has a reputation for being an expensive travel destination, there’s still plenty to do on a budget, from incredible food to free museums. We can’t recommend the Victoria and Albert Museum or the Tate Modern enough. Allow those generous donors in the fifth wealthiest city to bankroll your cultural education!

Seoul, South Korea

Seoul, South Korea

Credit: Sean Pavone/iStock

GDP: $779.3 billion

This massive metropolis is where modern meets tradition, and luxury meets low-fi. Thanks to amazing food from street vendors, an emphasis on technology and Buddhist influence, there are countless reasons to love the city — including these 50. Stay in a luxury, futuristic hotel or in a hostel close to universities and nightlife. You want this city on your list of places to travel to in 2019.

Los Angeles, U.S.A.

Los Angeles, U.S.A.

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GDP: $789.7 billion

It makes sense that the city a bunch of movie stars call home would be one of the richest, right? It’s not all movie stars, of course, but Hollywood has no shortage of movie studios and glitz and glamour. Be sure to swing by luxurious Beverly Hills and shop (or at least window shop) on Rodeo Drive. And Venice Beach, on top of having the draw of the Pacific Ocean, boasts some of the most interesting people watching in the U.S. You definitely wouldn’t be bored in the City of Angels.

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New York, U.S.A.

New York, U.S.A.

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GDP: $1,210 billion

Home of Wall Street, New York City is the second wealthiest city in the world and the wealthiest in the U.S. We could tell you about all the things you can do there (from major attractions like Times Square and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to more subtle scenes like Brooklyn art galleries and hole-in-the-wall Manhattan restaurants), but odds are you already have a mental list of what you want to check out based on every movie and TV show you’ve ever seen. There’s no wrong way to do New York City.

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

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GDP: $1,520 billion

The richest city in the world is also one of the most crowded, with a population of about 10 million. Japan’s capital combines the ancient and the brand new. You can do or see pretty much anything you could want to in the city. There are ancient temples and beautiful gardens. You can enjoy glittering nightlife and incredible technology. Stop in an exceptional, affordable restaurant or take in the quaint homes. The city is an international mecca. Don’t miss out on a chance to see what it has to offer.

Shanghai refugee’s New York surprise

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWSPAPER ‘SHINE’)

 

Shanghai refugee’s New York surprise

Ti Gong

Guests are pictured at a reception at Brooklyn Public Library for an exhibition recalling the life of Jewish refugees in Shanghai.

A former refugee given shelter in Shanghai during World War II got a surprise when she spotted herself in photographs at an exhibition which has just opened in New York.

The exhibition, “Jewish Refugees in Shanghai,” documents the period when about 23,000 Jewish people arrived in Shanghai between 1933 and 1941 to escape the Nazis. It tells of how they adapted to the city life and of the friendships they made with local residents.

“That young lady is me,” Betty Grebenschikoff, 90, said as she stood in front of a photograph showing her family on Lintong Road, formerly known as Macgregor Road, in Hongkou District in 1941.

A photo of Grebenschikoff and her husband, a Russian sports teacher, at the former racecourse near People’s Square in 1949 was also on display at Brooklyn Public Library, along with photos of their marriage certificate in Chinese and her residence certificate.

It was in Shanghai that Grebenschikoff met her husband, who died in 2002. The couple held their wedding in the Park Hotel in Shanghai in 1948.

Grebenschikoff, who is originally from Berlin, lived in Shanghai from 1939 to 1950. She was just 10 years old when war broke out. Her father bribed the captain of a Japanese ship to take her, along with her parents, sister and uncle, to Shanghai.

She has since been back to the city several times to visit her former home at 51 Zhoushan Road in Hongkou with her daughters. She donated her wedding dress, a classic local-style garment handmade by her husband’s mother to the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum. Her third and fourth daughters wore the wedding dress when they got married.

She has also written a memoir, “Once My Name Was Sara,” which was published in English and Chinese, about her life in Shanghai.

Ti Gong

Betty Grebenschikoff (second from left), a 90-year-old former Jewish refugee in Shanghai, looks at some of the photos on display at the Brooklyn Public Library.

At the reception of the exhibition, Grebenschikoff met another former Jewish refugee who had lived in Shanghai, and both shared their memories of the city.

The exhibition, under the guidance of the Information Office of Shanghai and the Hongkou District government, was organized by the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum and Brooklyn Public Library.

“The exhibition showcases the dust-laden history to US audiences, which has shocked and touched them,” a museum official said. “Some visitors appreciated the generous assistance offered by Shanghai and its citizens even if Chinese people were also suffering during that period.”

The exhibition, which is underway at the library until May 10, incorporates photographs from the time and two Shanghai-produced documentaries. Conferences and meetings between former refugees, their children and historians are also being held.

Over 70 former refugees, diplomats and officials with Jewish organizations attended the reception at the library on Tuesday.

Brooklyn has some 580,000 Jewish residents, many of them former Shanghai refugees and their children.

Ti Gong

A former refugee who lived in Shanghai shares her experiences with visitors at the Brooklyn Public Library reception.

Politically Correct: The Acidic Evil That Is American Politics

Politically Correct: The Acidic Evil That Is American Politics

Good evening folks, tonight I wish to speak with you about a subject matter that is not near or dear to my heart, it is called political correctness. This subject matter touches each and every one of us on a regular basis in our daily lives. In its simplest form political correctness is the attempt to avoid offending anyone at anytime regardless of the subject matter. I believe that when most of us hear the term political correctness it is not a smile that crosses our face, it is more likely to be a disgusted frown. Today if a person says anything about a subject matter when it may in any way shed a light of truth on the events of today, if that truth in the slightest degree has any measure of negatives then you will be labeled as a hater. There was a time in this country when people were allowed to be honest in their speech but unfortunately that is not the case these days. Now if you say anything about anyone person or persons even if you are speaking the total truth to the best of your knowledge, you have become a hater or some kind of a bigot whom is very likely to be sued in court because you dared to be honest. In the past we could describe a dirty old man in simple terms/truths, these days political correctness (stupidity) airbrushed the truth stains away so that you don’t offend that dirty old man. These days that person is a sexually focused chronologically gifted individual. Laziness is now referred to as motivationally deficient. I am now no longer short being only five feet eleven and three-quarters inches tall, I am vertically challenged because I didn’t make it to at least six feet. It is comforting to know that I didn’t really have trouble with algebraic equations in college, I simply had a memory deficiency.

 

We could all just sit back in our Lazy Boy recliners with a glass of Jose Cuervo in one hand and a big blunt in the other and just sit back and laugh at American politicians and media talking heads as they spout this stupidity. The scary part of this is that what we the people call stupidity/political correctness, some of the fore mentioned people cultivate this ignorance as their personal gospel. This ignorance is a gospel of re-education and it does show via the ignorance and apathy we see and hear when today’s streamlined, bought and paid for politicians open their mouths. Today at almost all of our college campuses as well as the secondary and primary schools this re-education propaganda is widely referred to as diversity education. This ignorance that our politicians and the media push down our throats tries to please everyone all of the time and to never offend anyone any of the time. This is a nice story line if it were in a small child’s fantasy or Fantasy Island handbook but in the real world it is simply poison. Most all of us adults know that political correctness if allowed to play out and to become the laws of the land, we are all doomed to be the laughing-stock of the whole world. Today if people dare attempt to speak the truth about real world issues they are branded as haters or we are people with stone-age ideologies. Truth is that when people do dare to speak the truth on real issues what you say will most likely offend some people whom do not happen to agree with you. When we are cultivated away from the truth and told we can’t say such things isn’t this the same thing as saying to advance in our society today that you must either be and idiot, or an habitual liar?

 

For those who might think that this mental disease is a spin-off of the 1960’s and 70’s hippy drug culture then you need to crack open some college level history books and increase your knowledge on this subject matter. My friends, political correctness has been around and practiced through other cultures around the world far longer than any of us have been alive. Political correctness is really nothing more than cultural Marxism in some professors views and I can’t say that I disagree with them. If we compare the basic tenets of political correctness with classical Marxism the parallels of the two are very obvious. When Marxist Communists take over a country such as Russia, China, North Korea or Cuba the personal freedom of speech ceases to exist.

 

I leave you tonight with just one last observation, isn’t it amazing how much Russia and her politics have turned to look more like our politicians rhetorical babbling? Or, is it more correct to say that our government is starting to look more like the Russia of President Putin or even that of Germany of the mid 1930’s in that free honest intelligent conversation can be construed as a hate crime? Is political correctness in places like D.C., Hollywood and New York City going to be a nail in America’s coffin? Time will tell us all what the truth is but I totally have my doubts that anyone alive today will live long enough to see that day. Friends, good night, stay well, God Bless.

Marijuana Is Not A Gateway Drug Up: It Is A Step Down Drug Though

Marijuana Is Not A Gateway Drug Up: It Is A Step Down Drug Though

The first time that I ever tried smoking Marijuana (Pot) was in the High School parking lot the year I turned 17, that was 1973. As I learned through the years the Pot I tried was Norther Illinois Homegrown and was basically worthless as far as getting a buzz (high) from it. Back then you could buy a five-finger bag for $15 but I thought it to be a waste of 15 hard-earned dollars. I am now 62 years old so I have been around Marijuana for 45 years now so yes, I do have some opinions that I would like to share with you about what I think and believe about this God-given plant. The next time I tried Pot I was 23 years old and living in Houston Texas. I have never really been a drinker of alcohol nor a user of hard drugs and I have never once stuck or been stuck with a needle with street drugs in it, I have never had such a desire to do so. The far right (wrong) media has been talking trash about Pot at least since about 1988 saying it is a ‘gateway drug” that gets people to go into doing “hard” drugs like Crack, Pills and Heroine. Folks, my life’s experiences have shown me that Pot being a “gateway drug” is a bunch of lies (BS).

 

Folks, I have known people who have smoked Pot their whole adult lives who have never gone onto harder drugs and that includes alcohol. I have known people in several professions who liked to smoke Pot in the evenings when they got home from work to help relax from the stress of their day and who would smoke it on the weekends for the relaxation of it. These people I speak of are my age and older who are now retired from their jobs. These people were/are inner twined into the fabric of our economy. They bought and paid off homes, cars, boats, and raised families. None of these people who I know ever did anything to get into trouble with the law, they weren’t/aren’t robbers, murderers or violent people. Many millions of people believe that this is a God-given plant that is given to the people for many health benefits and believe that no man, no government has any right to refuse it to the people.  President Obama as well as this idiot we have in the Oval Office now say that Marijuana should stay in the class one category of drugs because it has no medical value and this is what the DEA also spouts as truth. I know that these are educated people (at least Mr. Obama is) but if they believe this they would have to be both ignorant and stupid. The only reason that these people would say something so stupid is if big money is involved, and you know it is. So, is it stupidity, ignorance or just plain crooked. Personally I have to go with the big money, thus the crooked concept.

 

I am a service connected disabled Veteran from active duty Army service. I was only in for seven months because in the second month I was struck by lightning during a training exercise. The VA has in the past loaded me up with pain killers which do almost nothing for the nerve pain so I had them stop them about 4 years ago as I have no desire to walk around like a Zombie. The only thing that I have found that helps is if/when I can find some good quality Pot. The Pot does not cure the issues but then again, neither do the pills. The Pot works like a block on the nerve pain, the pain is still there but it does not let the pain signals go from (A to B) SO IT STOPS THE PAIN SIGNAL FROM GOING TO THE BRAIN. About two years ago the Senators and Congressmen who were on the committee over seeing the budget for the VA at the last-minute took the provision to okay medical Marijuana out of the VA funding bill. These disgusting people should all be fired this November!

 

In my life I have seen many cases where people who used to smoke Pot but had to quit because of laws about pre employment and random drug test at their employers, if I remember correctly this kicked into high gear in about 1988. If you are old enough to remember this is about when our Federal Government started their so call ‘war on drugs’. This ignorance, the way they have gone about things have cost many thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars that could have gone into the economy instead. For many people when they had to quit smoking Pot because it stays traceable in your system for about 30 days they then started drinking or just drinking more than they ever had. Also for many people who still wanted a ‘high’ when they had to quit smoking Pot turned to things like Cocaine, Crack, Heroine, and Pills because these things only stay in a person’s system about three days. So in essence, the Government has increased drug usage with their ‘war on drugs’. Check the stats, in states where Marijuana is now legal drug overdoses have gone down, Pill usage has gone down because people would rather have the mellow high that Pot gives and a fact is, no one has ever died from an overdose of Marijuana. If states would all legalize real Marijuana this new product called K-2 would disappear. It seems like every week we are hearing of people having to go to the hospital because of the chemical effects of this synthetic version of Pot. Just yesterday it was on the news that 10 people in Austin Texas were sent to the hospital because of it.

 

There is only one thing that comes to mind for the reason that Marijuana is not legalized and that is there is very big money flowing into D.C. politicians to keep it illegal. Remember what I said about the VA? If Marijuana became legal and the VA was able to dispense it the drug companies would lose billions of dollars each year because there would be no need or reason to take their chemicals. This would also save the VA and the tax payers billions of dollars each year, this is money that could be going into the economy instead of CEO’s pockets. The U.S. ‘war on drugs’ has in fact created drug traffickers and cartels. This ignorance has created revenue for street gangs here in the States. How many lives have been taken by these gangs from South America and Mexico to Los Angeles to Chicago to New York to small towns all over the U.S.? Marijuana being illegal has helped fuel other much more dangerous drugs and gang warfare on our city streets! How many police have lost their lives in this war? I don’t know that answer but even one Officer losing their life over the bought and paid for politicians and their hypocrisy is just plain evil. There is also the reality that many policing agencies go after the people with small amounts of Pot for the purpose of stealing people’s personal property like their homes, cars, land and bank accounts. It is safer and more profitable to go after these people who are much more mellow type of folks. The exception would be when the police are trying to arrest some of the Pot dealers, some times some of these folks will have guns or big dogs to worry about. There is also the concept of the Prison Industry which cost the public billions of dollars to arrest, convict and house/jail Pot smokers each year. Some States cry about over crowded prisons and want to have more jails and prisons built. The remedy to this problem is simple, free the people you have in the prisons who are there for simple possession of Pot. This would free up many cells in which to put the violent offenders! Also there is the problem of our Court system being so backed up with people charged with simple possession that it takes ridiculous amounts of time to adjudicate the cases of the violent criminals that our local jails are over-flowing. One last thought, the U.S. has more people in Prisons than any nation on Earth, more than Iran, Russia, China or even North Korea. The remedy to all these ill’s is simple, make Marijuana legal, every thing about this issue is a win win for our Country and our people.

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