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Schools And Shops Are Closed In Ecuador’s Biggest Cities After A Gang Attack Is Broadcast On Live TV

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Guayaquil, Ecuador – Schools and stores were closed, many people stayed at home, and military patrolled the streets of Ecuador’s largest cities Wednesday, a day after armed gang members stormed a television station during a live broadcast, instilling additional terror in a country already plagued by criminal violence.

Following Tuesday’s attack on public television station TC Television in Guayaquil, Ecuador’s most violent city, tensions rose throughout the country. Military men and tanks guarded hospitals, public transportation, newsrooms in the area, and Quito, the capital city.

The hooded invaders who entered TC Television’s headquarters and studio with firearms and explosives unleashed at least 15 minutes of on-air threats, frightening journalists and other personnel. No one was harmed, and police soon swooped in to arrest 13 people.

Even though a presidential contender was slain last year, the blatant daytime display of force broadcast into Ecuadorians’ homes and offices was unprecedented. The motivation for targeting the station was unclear, but the incident elicited an instant response from the authorities.

President Daniel Noboa, who took office in November on a vow to bring peace to the South American country, signed a decree declaring an “internal armed conflict.” The declaration prompted some commentators to call the incident a watershed event for Ecuador.

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Schools And Shops Are Closed In Ecuador’s Biggest Cities After A Gang Attack Is Broadcast On Live TV

“We are fighting for national peace; we are fighting against terrorist groups that number over 20,000 people,” Noboa said in an interview with a local radio station Wednesday.

As of Wednesday morning, police stated they had arrested at least 70 persons for alleged terrorist crimes, including the 13 detained at the television station. The armed guys rushed in during TC Television’s mid-afternoon newscast.

On a public television channel, a man with a pistol appeared in the middle of a live broadcast, then another man with a shotgun, and so on. With the show’s title, “After the News”, behind them, station personnel were led onto the set and told to lie down. Screams could be heard, followed by the sound of gunfire.

“We’re on air, so you know you can’t play with the mafia,” one of the assailants says.

Masked individuals were seen aiming firearms at news crews. Somebody said, “Don’t shoot!” After around 15 minutes, the stream was interrupted.

Alina Manrique, TC Television’s chief of news, was instructed to take the floor. With a gun pointed at her head, “I thought about my entire life, about my two children,” she told The Associated Press when the ordeal was over.

“I am still in shock,” Manrique added. “Everything has collapsed…” I know it’s time to leave this country and travel far away.

Shortly after the incident, Noboa issued a decree branding 20 drug-trafficking gangs operating in Ecuador as terrorist organizations and enabling the military to “neutralize” them by international humanitarian law.

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Schools And Shops Are Closed In Ecuador’s Biggest Cities After A Gang Attack Is Broadcast On Live TV

A day earlier, the president declared a national emergency, allowing authorities to suspend people’s rights and mobilize the military in places such as prisons.

Noboa’s action came after Adolfo Macías, also known as “Fito,” the head of the Llos Choneros gang, reportedly escaped from prison on Sunday. According to authorities, Los Choneros, one of the Ecuadorian gangs suspected of being responsible for an increase in car bombings, kidnappings, and slayings, has ties to Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel.

Macías’ location was unknown. The government claims at least 30 attacks have occurred since he was discovered missing from his cell in a low-security jail where he was serving a 36-year term for drug trafficking, murder, and organized crime. He was supposed to be transported to a maximum security facility that day.

The commander of the Armed Forces Joint Command told journalists on Tuesday that the recent attacks were the gangs’ response to the government’s operations against them.

“They have unleashed a wave of violence to frighten the population,” Adm. Jaime Vela explained.

According to Noboa, the governments of the United States, Peru, Argentina, Israel, Canada, Colombia, and Russia have all offered to assist Ecuador’s government in combating the gangs. The president also expected an aid package from the United States in the coming days.

Will Freeman, a political analyst at the Council on Foreign Relations, said that while gangs in Ecuador have previously slain presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio and detonated vehicle bombs in front of government facilities, Tuesday’s actions represented “a turning point.”

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Schools And Shops Are Closed In Ecuador’s Biggest Cities After A Gang Attack Is Broadcast On Live TV

“Depending on how the government responds, it will set the precedent for these kinds of incidents to continue, or it will use this as a catalyst and make some very necessary structural reforms so that the state can start to win its war against crime,” he said.

On Wednesday, the National Police of Ecuador said on X, formerly Twitter, that it had obtained the return of three policemen kidnapped earlier in the week, recovered 17 escaped prisoners, and seized explosives, cartridges, weapons, and vehicles during raids across the nation.

Fabricio Colón Pico, a Los Lobos gang leader, escaped from a prison in Riobamba, Ecuadorian officials announced on Tuesday. Colón Pico was apprehended Friday as part of an abduction probe and has also been accused of attempting to assassinate one of the country’s top prosecutors.

Ecuador, located on South America’s Pacific coast between Peru and Colombia, the world’s two main cocaine producers, has recently emerged as a key drug transit route. Much of the country’s violence stems from drug gangs fighting each other and the government over control of ports and smuggling routes.

SOURCE – (AP)

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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China Tries To Go For 8-For-8 Sweep In Diving Gold At The Paris Olympics

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China | AP news Image

Chinese divers won seven of eight gold medals at the previous Olympics in Tokyo, making it one of the best performances in Olympic history.

More is predicted this time in Paris.

China Tries To Go For 8-For-8 Sweep In Diving Gold At The Paris Olympics

China has dominated diving for decades. However, it has never completed the elusive gold medal sweep at the Games. In a recent article, the People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s official publication, called this lapse “regrettable”.

How is that for pressure?

“I hope that all of us can stand on the top of the podium,” Tokyo gold medalist Quan Hongchan said in an interview with state media.

They might, and the evidence is already startling.

China has won 47 out of 64 gold medals, dating back to the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, when it earned its first diving gold. Add to that 23 silver and 10 bronze. If you start counting from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, China has won 27 of 32 gold medals.

That’s almost perfect, but someone always spoils the party, such as American David Boudia, Australian Matthew Mitcham, British Tom Daley, or Russian Ilya Zakharov.

The People’s Daily called the team to “launch an all-out bid this time for gold medals in all diving events.”

Three years ago, at 14, Quan won gold on the 10-meter platform. Teammate Chen Yuxi, who won gold in synchro on the platform, was only 15. Both have returned and are most likely in separate classes.

Wang Zongyuan, the silver medalist on the 3-meter springboard in Tokyo behind teammate Xie Siyi, is expected to be the favorite in Paris.

The American Challenge
Drew Johansen will coach the United States diving team for the fourth consecutive Olympics. Wenbo Chen, the University of Minnesota’s Chinese-born coach, assists the head coach at Indiana University. Purdue coach David Boudia, who won an Olympic gold medal on the platform in 2012, is also on the staff.

Three Tokyo silver medalists are back: Andrew Capobianco, Jessica Parratto, and Delaney Schnell. They all reached the podium in synchronized events, which may provide the best opportunities for Americans and others.

Parratto will dive again with Schnell on the 10-meter synchronized platform while Capobianco is on the 3-meter springboard. He did not qualify for synchronized. Schnell and Daryn Wright will compete on the platform.

“The world has been catching up to the Chinese in all the events except for women’s platform,” Johansen told reporters. “Chinese women on the tower are still way ahead of the world.”

Sarah Bacon and Kassidy Cook have a chance in the 3-meter synchronized springboard, while Bacon and Alison Gibson should compete as soloists.

Carson Tyler is the new name to watch in both the 10-meter platform and the 3-meter springboard, a rare in both disciplines and reminiscent of Greg Louganis’ double-double gold medals in 1984 and 1988.

“Carson has shown up as a great mental performer,” Johansen added.

“We’ve managed to beat China in certain events over the years and I feel like some parity has come to the sport,” he said afterward. “We have been hovering around those gold medals and points away from getting them.”

According to Johansen, part of the objective is to create pressure on the Chinese by attempting more difficult dives that, if completed successfully, will earn them more points.

“It’s a risk-reward game,” he explained.

The Mental Game
Johansen praises Xu Yiming, who taught Chinese Olympic divers from the mid-1980s to the 2000s, for sharing his technical expertise with the rest of the globe. Johansen considers Xu a mentor from their time together while Johansen was coaching at Duke University.

China Tries To Go For 8-For-8 Sweep In Diving Gold At The Paris Olympics

“He taught me a lot of their physical techniques right after he retired,” she said.

After incorporating this knowledge, the next plateau is mental conditioning.

“I physically couldn’t train them any better,” he told me. “I didn’t know anyone who was doing it better. The only way I could help my athletes succeed was to mentally prepare them, which I didn’t know how to do.

Johansen says he’s lately started creating a “performance think tank” to educate mental focus and sports psychology. Without naming names, he stated that the team comprises a Navy SEAL, a book author, and others who practice executing under pressure.

The program was launched only a few months ago and includes Paris, but the primary focus is on the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

“We acquired China’s physical skills, but if we want to beat them, we must also overcome them intellectually. “I’m convinced of that,” Johansen stated. “We have an advantage over the Chinese if we can be mentally stronger and better performers.”

SOURCE | AP

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Former President Trump Survives Being Shot at Pennsylvania Rally

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former President Trump is surrounded by U.S. Secret Service agents

The United States Secret Service has announced that former President Trump is safe after being shot at a rally in Pennsylvania. A video shows Trump grimacing and placing his right hand to his head before the Secret Service intervenes.

“The Secret Service has implemented protective measures and the former president is safe,” a Secret Service spokesperson said on X after what the agency called an incident. “This is now an active Secret Service investigation and further information will be released when available.”

Multiple shots were heard at the outdoor rally in Butler, Pennsylvania, shortly after President Trump began his speech.

The Secret Service then surrounded President Trump pushing him beneath the platform, while armed officers took up positions at the front of the stage. President Trump repeatedly raised his fist to the audience and shouted as he was led to a vehicle by the Secret Service.

There is no information on whom the attempted assassin may have been or if any arrests have been made.

former President Trump is surrounded by U.S. Secret Service agents

President Trump is surrounded by U.S. Secret Service agents – AP Image

In a statement, Trump’s communication director, Steven Cheung, said that the former president “is fine” and being checked over at an unnamed medical facility. He said President Trump thanks law enforcement and first responders for their quick action during this heinous act.

Reuters reports the venue where Trump was speaking was abandoned with chairs knocked over and yellow police tape around the stage. A helicopter flew above and law enforcement officers walked through the area, the video feed showed.

Armed law enforcement officers were also seen on a roof near the stage where President Trump was standing.

In 2020 a New York man upset with what he perceived as Donald Trump’s threat to democracy was criminally charged on Monday with threatening to kill the former president, who he once referred to as Hitler, the Guardian reported.

According to an unsealed complaint, Thomas Welnicki, 72, of Rockaway Beach, showed an interest in assassinating the then-president in an interview with US Capitol police in July 2020, as well as repeated calls to the Secret Service the following year.

Welnicki was charged with threatening to kill, kidnap, and do bodily damage to Trump. He allegedly told Capitol police that if Trump lost the 2020 election and refused to resign, he would “acquire weapons” and “take him down”. In one voicemail left with the Secret Service, he stated that he would “do anything I can to take out” Trump.

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On Anniversary Of Frida Kahlo’s Death, Her Art’s Spirituality Keeps Fans Engaged Around The Globe

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Frida Kahlo | AP news Image

MEXICO CITY — Frida Kahlo has no religious affiliations. So, why did the Mexican artist depict various religious motifs in her paintings before her death on July 13, 1954?

“Frida conveyed the power of each individual,” said Ximena Jordán, an art researcher and curator. “Her self-portraits are a reminder of the ways in which we can exercise the power that life — or God, so to speak — has given us.”

Kahlo, born in 1907 in Mexico City, where her “Blue House” is still exposed to the public, drew inspiration from her own experiences to create her art.

The bus accident she survived in 1925, the physical suffering she suffered as a result, and her tumultuous relationship with her husband, Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, all fueled her creativity.

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo | AP News Image

On Anniversary Of Frida Kahlo’s Death, Her Art’s Spirituality Keeps Fans Engaged Around The Globe

Her perspective on life and spirituality forged a bond between her paintings and their viewers, many of whom are still ardent admirers of her work on the 70th anniversary of her passing.

According to Jordán, one of the keys to understanding how she accomplished this is through her self-portraits.

Kahlo appears in several of her paintings, yet she does not depict herself in a naturalistic manner. Instead, Jordán claimed, she “re-created” herself using symbols conveying inner human life’s profundity.

“Diego and I” is an excellent example. Kahlo painted it in 1949, and it sold for $34.9 million at Sotheby’s in New York in 2021, setting an auction record for a work by a Latin American artist.

Kahlo’s demeanor in the picture is calm despite the tears that fall from her eyes. Rivera’s face is on her forehead. In the center of his head is a third eye, representing the unconscious mind in Hinduism and enlightenment in Buddhism.

According to certain views, the artwork reflects the grief Rivera caused her. Jordán, on the other hand, proposes an alternative interpretation.

“The religiosity of the painting is not in the fact that Frida carries Diego in her thoughts,” Jordán informed me. “The fact that she bears him as a third eye, and Diego has a third eye of his own, reflects that his affection for her made her transcend to another dimension of existence.”

In other words, Kahlo illustrated how people connect with their faith via love.

“I connected with her heart and writings,” said Cris Melo, a 58-year-old American artist whose favorite Kahlo piece is the one mentioned above. “We had the same love language, and similar history of heartache.”

Melo, unlike Kahlo, was not involved in a bus accident that penetrated her pelvis and resulted in a lifetime of surgery, abortions, and leg amputations.

Melo, however, claimed to have suffered from bodily pain for years. And amid that anguish, afraid that her strength might wane, she told herself, “If Frida could handle this, so can I.”

Even though most of her work shows her emotional and physical agony, Kahlo’s paintings do not evoke melancholy or helplessness. On the contrary, she is viewed as a woman — not just an artist — capable of dealing with a wounded body but never losing her spirit.

“Frida inspires many people to be consistent,” said Amni, a London-based Spanish artist who only goes by his creative name and uses artificial intelligence to reimagine Kahlo’s work.

“Other artists have inspired me, but Frida has been the most special because of everything she endured,” she remarked. “Despite her suffering, the heartbreak, the accident, she was always firm.”

With him, as with Melo, Kahlo’s most unforgettable pieces are those in which Rivera appears on her forehead, almost like a third eye.

According to Jordán, Kahlo struck a chord that most artists of her day did not. Influenced by revolutionary nationalism, muralists such as Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros maintained a distance from their audience through academic works primarily concentrating on their social, historical, and political beliefs.

Kahlo, on the other hand, was open about her physical difficulties, bisexuality, and the variety of ideas that weigh on the human spirit.

In “The Wounded Deer,” she is transformed into an animal whose body bleeds from being shot with arrows. And, like a martyr in Catholic imagery, Kahlo’s expression is composed.

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo | AP News Image

On Anniversary Of Frida Kahlo’s Death, Her Art’s Spirituality Keeps Fans Engaged Around The Globe

Kahlo, who supported Marxist theory, saw the Catholic Church as emasculating, meddling, and racist. Despite her dislike for the organization, she recognized that devotion leads to a positive spiritual journey.

A decade after her accident, undoubtedly overwhelmed by her survival, Kahlo began collecting votive gifts, which are little paintings that Catholics offer in appreciation for miracles. Her Blue House still houses the 473 votive offerings.

Jordán speculated that Kahlo may have considered her survival a miracle. “The only difference is that she, due to her context, did not attribute that miracle to a deity of Catholic origin, but to the generosity of life.”

Perhaps that is why, in her final days, she painted a sequence of brilliant, colorful watermelons as her last work.

She painted “Vida la vida,” or “Long live life,” on the canvas above a split watermelon beneath a gloomy sky.

SOURCE – (AP)

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