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Ecuador Says 57 Guards And Police Officers Are Released After Being Held Hostage In Several Prisons

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QUITO, Ecuador — Ecuador authorities announced Friday the release of 50 guards and seven police officers who had been held hostage for more than a day in what the government described as a response by criminal groups to the South American country’s efforts to retake control of several large correctional facilities.

The National Service for Attention to Persons Deprived of Liberty, the country’s correctional system, stated that the 57 law enforcement officers held in six different jails are safe, but it didn’t say how they were released.

The latest in a series of strikes this week, criminal groups in Ecuador used explosives to damage a bridge early Friday. The explosion caused no injuries.

Officials have portrayed the violent attacks as the work of criminal gangs with members in prison in response to authorities’ efforts to seize control of various prisons by transferring convicts, seizing firearms, and other measures.

In less than 48 hours, four car bombs and three explosive devices exploded nationwide. The newest dynamite explosion occurred early Friday on a bridge connecting two cities in the coastal region of El Oro, according to National Police Chief Luis Garcia.

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Ecuador authorities announced Friday the release of 50 guards and seven police officers who had been held hostage for more than a day.

A home petrol tank containing dynamite had burst under a different bridge in the Napo province of Napo, located within Ecuador’s portion of the Amazon jungle.

The governor of Azuay province, Consuelo Orellana, announced early Friday that 44 hostages held at a prison in Cuenca had been released. The country’s correctional system later stated that all 57 had been released.

According to security researcher Daniel Pontón, the sequence of events three weeks after presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio’s assassination was a “systematic and clearly planned” attack that demonstrated the state’s ineffectiveness in preventing violence.

“What is the role of state intelligence in these situations?” “It hasn’t done anything, even though the orders (for explosions) are almost certainly coming from the prisons via cellphones,” he added.

Pontón believes the strikes are aimed at instilling fear among the populace and influencing politicians. Ecuador will pick a president in a runoff election on October 15.

“The issue is that we are seeing an escalation of the problem, and given the state’s level of incompetence, we can expect attacks against the population in the future,” Pontón added. “It’s a terrible scenario that is predictable.”

ecuador

Ecuador authorities announced Friday the release of 50 guards and seven police officers who had been held hostage for more than a day.

The chain of explosions began on Wednesday night when a car bomb burst in Quito, Ecuador’s capital, near an office of the country’s prison system. Two more car bombs exploded in El Oro province, in the country’s southwest.

Another truck exploded in Quito on Thursday, this time near the existing offices of the prison system. An explosive device was also detonated in Cuenca, southern Ecuador’s Andes mountains. A judge ordered the detention of six people accused of being involved in the capital explosives while the inquiry was ongoing.

Four people have been arrested in connection with the Napo explosives, according to police commander Fausto Martnez. He claimed three adults and a youngster were arrested while riding in a cab after officials uncovered chunks of dynamite that “were already synchronised to an explosive device” with a slow fuse. The discovery prompted agents to carry out two controlled detonations.

Ecuadorian officials ascribe the recent increase in violence to a leadership vacuum caused by the death in 2020 of Jorge Zambrano, alias “Rasquia” or “JL,” the leader of the local Los Choneros gang.

Los Choneros and other gangs affiliated with Mexican and Colombian cartels are fighting for control of drug routes and territory, even within jail facilities, where at least 400 convicts have died since 2021, according to police.

Gang members carry out contract killings, extortion is carried out, drugs are moved and sold, and gang members rule jails.

The presidential contender, Villavicencio, was well-known for his harsh stance on organized crime and corruption. Despite having a security detail that comprised police and bodyguards, he was assassinated on August 9 at the end of a political gathering in Quito.

He accused Los Choneros and its imprisoned current leader, Adolfo Macas, alias “Fito,” of threatening him and his campaign crew in the days leading up to the assassination.

Six Colombian males have been apprehended in connection with Villavicencio’s death.

SOURCE – (AP)

Celebrity

Iris Apfel, Fashion Icon Known For Her Eye-Catching Style, Dies At 102

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VOR News

NEW YORK — Iris Apfel, a textile expert, interior designer, and fashion celebrity renowned for her unique style, has died. She was 102.

Lori Sale, Apfel’s business agent, confirmed her death and described her as “extraordinary.” No cause of death was specified. It was also confirmed on her verified Instagram page on Friday, a day after she celebrated her 102nd and a half birthday on Leap Day.

Apfel, born on August 29, 1921, was known for her irreverent, eye-catching costumes that combined haute couture with huge costume jewellery. A traditional Apfel ensemble would include a feather boa, strands of chunky beads, bangles, and a jacket embellished with Native American beadwork.

apfel

Iris Apfel, Fashion Icon Known For Her Eye-Catching Style, Dies At 102

With her large, round, black-rimmed glasses, bright red lipstick, and short white hair, she stood out at every fashion event she attended.

Her style has been the focus of museum exhibits and the documentary film “Iris,” directed by Albert Maysles.

“I’m not pretty, and I’ll never be pretty, but it doesn’t matter,” she commented at one point. “I’ve got something far better. “I have style.”

Apfel achieved late-life stardom on social media, accumulating nearly 3 million followers on Instagram, where her profile reads: “More is more & Less is a bore.” She gained 215,000 TikTok followers as she waxed eloquent about fashion and style and promoted previous collaborations.

“Being stylish and being fashionable are two entirely different things,” she stated in a TikTok video. “You can simply buy your way to being fashionable. I believe you have a natural sense of style. It denotes inventiveness and boldness.”

She never retired, saying “Today” that “I believe retiring at any age is a fate worse than death.” Just because a number appears does not mean you have to stop.

“Working with her was an honour of a lifetime.” “I shall miss her regular calls, always greeted with the usual question: “What have you got for me today?,” Sale said in a statement. “A testament to her voracious drive to work. She was a visionary in every sense of the term. She observed the world through a unique lens equipped with massive, unusual spectacles perched on her nose.”

Apfel was an expert in textiles and ancient fabrics. She and her husband Carl ran Old World Weavers, a textile manufacturing company specializing in restoration work, including projects at the White House for six U.S. residents. Apfel’s celebrity clients included Estee Lauder and Greta Garbo.

apfel

Iris Apfel, Fashion Icon Known For Her Eye-Catching Style, Dies At 102

Apfel’s celebrity skyrocketed in 2005 when the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City staged a show about her called “Rara Avis,” Latin for “rare bird.” The museum characterized her approach as “both witty and exuberantly idiosyncratic.”

Her individuality is generally seen in her mingling of high and low fashions—Dior haute couture with flea market finds, 19th-century church vestments with Dolce & Gabbana lizard trousers.” According to the museum, her “layered combinations” broke “aesthetic conventions” and “even at their most extreme and baroque” showed a “boldly graphic modernity.”

The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, was among several museums nationwide that held a touring version of the display. Apfel later donated hundreds of pieces to the Peabody, including couture gowns, to help them establish what she described as “a fabulous fashion collection.” The Museum of Fashion & Lifestyle, located near Apfel’s winter home in Palm Beach, Florida, also plans a gallery to display artefacts from her collection.

Apfel was born in New York City to Samuel and Sadye Barrel. Her mother owned a store.

apfel

Iris Apfel, Fashion Icon Known For Her Eye-Catching Style, Dies At 102

In her later years, Apfel appeared in advertisements for M.M.A.C. Cosmetics and Kate Spade, contributing to her reputation. She also created a line of accessories and jewellery for Home Shopping Network, worked with H&M on a collection of brightly coloured apparel, jewellery, and shoes that sold out in minutes, launched a makeup line with Ciaté London, an eyeglass collection with Zenni, and collaborated with Ruggable on floor coverings.

In a 2017 interview with APA.P.t the age of 95, she claimed her favourite modern designers were Ralph Rucci, Isabel Toledo, and Naeem Khan, but added, “I have so much, I don’t go looking.” When asked for fashion tips, she replied, “Everyone should find her own way. I’m a strong advocate for individualism. I don’t like trends. If you learn who you are, what you look like, and what you are capable of, you will know what to do.”

She dubbed herself the “accidental icon,” which inspired the title of a book she published in 2018, replete with keepsakes and style ideas. Odes to Apfel abound, ranging from a Barbie in her likeness to T-shirts, eyewear, artwork, and dolls.

Apfel’s husband died in 2015. They had no children.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Fashion

2024: MLB Players Concerned About Uniform’s ‘See-Through’ Pants Ahead Of The New Season

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MLB

Major League Baseball players have encountered an unexpected issue ahead of the new season: a defective outfit.

Players and spectators have previously expressed issues about the new jerseys worn this season, and on Thursday, as spring training games began, MLB Players’ Association (MLBPA) executive director Tony Clark expressed concern over the pants.

“A lot of the rhetoric is confirmation that the trousers are see-through,” Clark stated, according to ESPN. “It’s been a continuing conversation, with each day bringing something new that appears to make less sense than you’d like.

mlb

MLB Players Concerned About Uniform’s ‘See-Through’ Pants Ahead Of The New Season

“Universal concern,” Clark remarked, “is the pant.”

The jerseys for the new uniforms, designed by Nike and manufactured by Fanatics, have already received criticism from fans for seeming cheap, lightweight, and having an unappealing appearance. Meanwhile, a Baltimore Orioles player described the new jerseys as “a knockoff” from TJ Maxx.

“It’s disappointing that we’ve landed in a place where the uniforms are the topic of discussion,” Clark said.

According to a news release, Nike collaborated with over 300 athletes to create a more breathable, lightweight, and stretchy jersey.

mlb

MLB Players Concerned About Uniform’s ‘See-Through’ Pants Ahead Of The New Season

The corporation has yet to react to CNN’s prior request for comment on criticism of the uniforms, and Fanatics has declined to comment.

Players wore them during last season’s All-Star Game, and Nike and MLB reported that they were favourably received.

“They’re designed to be performance wear rather than what’s traditionally worn, so they’ll be different,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said of the uniforms.

mlb

MLB Players Concerned About Uniform’s ‘See-Through’ Pants Ahead Of The New Season

“I think after people wear them a little bit, they’re going to be really popular.”

This year’s Opening Day is set for March 28, but the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres will play two regular-season games in Seoul on March 20 and 21, marking the first MLB games in South Korea.

SOURCE – (CNN)

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Nike Is Cutting About 1,700 Jobs

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Nike will lay off approximately 2% of its employees, or almost 1,700 people, as the sportswear titan seeks to save up to $2 billion in expenditures.

“The actions we’re taking put us in a position to right-size our organisation to pursue our most promising growth opportunities,” a Nike (NKE) representative said in a statement Friday. “While these changes will impact approximately 2% of our total workforce, we are grateful for the contributions made by all Nike teammates.”

According to its most recent annual report, the corporation employs around 83,700 individuals globally as of May 31, 2023.

nike

Nike Is Cutting About 1,700 Jobs

Nike lowered its revenue projection and announced cost cuts in December, citing rising fears that consumers worldwide are cutting back on spending. The corporation aimed to save up to $2 billion over the following three years.

Customers are shifting their spending habits, preceding discretionary purchases of things such as pricey trainers and athletic apparel in favour of necessities and experiences like concerts and travel.

Nike Is Cutting About 1,700 Jobs

Nike also faces stiff competition from emerging companies like Hoka and On Cloud.

When presenting the company’s latest financial results in December, Nike finance boss Matt Friend said its gloomier forecast reflected “indications of more cautious consumer behaviour around the world” and “increased macro headwinds in China and Europe.”

Nike Is Cutting About 1,700 Jobs

China, the world’s second-largest economy, is confronting significant hurdles, including dissatisfied customers, a real estate collapse, and decreased exports.

Meanwhile, according to official statistics released Wednesday, Europe narrowly averted a recession in the final three months of 2023, with its economy flatlining. Germany, the region’s largest economy, contracted last year for the first time since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

SOURCE – (CNN)

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