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Powerful Opening for the Start of the Colombian Peace Process

first_imgBy Dialogo October 22, 2012 The Colombian government and the FARC guerrillas showed a harsh – and sometimes tense – tone at the start of the peace process on October 18. However, both parties highlighted their will to achieve an agreement to put an end to almost half a century of armed conflict, according to analysts. Gathered for the formal ceremony to begin peace talks at a hotel north of Oslo, where they announced that they will carry out negotiations in Cuba starting on November 15, both sides adopted a distant attitude, without exchanging looks or handshakes. “Each party has clearly established their starting point. For the FARC, peace will not be possible without social changes, while the government insisted that armed conflict should be changed into political combat in a democratic scenario,” political scientist Jaime Zuluaga from the Colombian National University, told AFP. While Iván Márquez, chief of the guerrilla delegation, stated in his speech that “peace is not equivalent to the silence of rifles, but it encompasses the transformation of the State structure,” government delegate Humberto De la Calle recognized that “ending the conflict is the precursor to peace.” Beyond that coincidence, however, strong contradictions that threaten to accentuate Colombia’s divisions surfaced; throughout half a century, the armed conflict has left hundreds of thousands dead, and 3.7 million people displaced by violence. “I would like to reiterate that talks will not be centered on an economic development model, or foreign investment. For that to happen, the FARC must disarm, get involved in politics, and win elections,” said De la Calle after Márquez’ speech, where he questioned the presence of multinational companies in Colombia and referred to them as “vampires.” Nevertheless, other sensitive matters that go beyond the peace talks came up. “We have not committed crimes against the people,” declared Iván Márquez, number two in the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. “The FARC should identify their victims,” responded De la Calle, who was Colombian vice-president between 1994 and 1996.last_img read more

EU reaches deal on post-pandemic recovery after marathon summit

first_imgThe European Central Bank has pumped unparalleled money into economies to keep them going, while capitals hammer out their recovery fund.Diplomats said the leaders appeared to put aside the rancor that stood in the way of a compromise over hours of haggling through the weekend.”Stingy and egotistical”Emotions had ran high at a dinner on Sunday as a group of fiscally frugal northern nations led by the Netherlands stood their ground on the level of free grants within a proposed special recovery fund of 750 billion euros overall.French President Emmanuel Macron lost patience in the early hours of Monday, banging his fist on the table in frustration at “sterile blockages” by the “frugals”, two diplomats said.Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki also railed against the “frugals”, branding them “a group of stingy, egotistic states” that looked at things through the prism of their own interests.Poland would be a top beneficiary of the recovery package, receiving tens of billions of euros in grants and cheap loans, along with high-debt Mediterranean-rim countries that have taken the brunt of the pandemic in Europe.But the rhetorical skirmishing faded on Monday, and the leaders homed in on an agreement on the stimulus package and, linked to it, the EU’s 2021-2027 common budget of around 1.1 trillion euros.Hopes for a deal to help address Europe’s deepest recession since World War Two sent Italy’s borrowing costs to their lowest since early March and pushed the euro to a 19-week high.Michel proposed that within the 750 billion euro recovery fund, 390 billion should be non-repayable grants, down from 500 billion originally proposed, and the rest in repayable loans.The Netherlands had pushed for a veto on aid for countries that backslide on economic reform, but diplomats said it was now willing to back a “stop-the-clock” mechanism by which member states could put a brake on disbursements for three months and have them reviewed.Disbursements will also be linked to governments observing the rule of law. Hungary, backed by euroskeptic ally Poland, had threatened to veto the package if funds were made conditional on upholding democracy, but diplomats said a way forward on that was found. Topics : Officials said the deal, which came after Michel presented compromises on a 750 billion euro recovery fund, is critical to dispel doubts about the bloc’s very future.The EU was slow to coordinate its initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic and, already weakened by Britain’s departure from the bloc, a united front on economic aid would demonstrate that it can step up to a crisis and stay united.”It has been a long summit and a challenging summit but the prize is worth negotiating for,” Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin said as the Brussels summit approached the record length set at a 2000 meeting in the French city of Nice of almost five full days.European nations have done a better job of containing the coronavirus than the United States after a devastating early few months that hit Italy and Spain particularly hard, collaborating on medical, travel and economic fronts. European Union leaders reached a deal on a massive stimulus plan for their coronavirus-blighted economies at a pre-dawn meeting on Tuesday after a fractious summit that went through the night and into its fifth day.Summit chairman Charles Michel tweeted “Deal” shortly after the 27 leaders reached agreement at a 5.15 a.m. (0315 GMT) plenary session.While another official present at the summit said: “Conclusions adopted!”.last_img read more

Soak up the breathtaking views from this waterfront mansion

first_img39 Parklane Terrace, Sovereign Islands 39 Parklane Terrace, Sovereign Islands“One afternoon we came and looked at it and we fell in love with it straight away,” Mrs Breust said. “We were quite taken by the view — the view from the home is quite special.”They were quick to buy the palatial property in 2011.More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa18 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag2 days agoMr Breust said it was like living in a “five-star hotel” with its modern style, towering ceilings and wall of windows that frame picture perfect Broadwater views to South Stradbroke Island.“We get the dolphins come up every now and then,” Mr Breust said.“It’s a special place to be (because) it’s extremely relaxing and peaceful,” Mrs Breust said.The only part of the home they weren’t too fond of when they bought it was the kitchen.“The kitchen in the home wasn’t to our liking so we had that kitchen removed,” Mrs Breust said.They redesigned a new one with Enigma Interiors to create a more sleek and versatile version, which was named the Queensland and Australian Kitchen of the Year in 2013. 39 Parklane Terrace, Sovereign Islands 39 Parklane Terrace, Sovereign Islands 39 Parklane Terrace, Sovereign IslandsTHE breathtaking view from this luxury waterfront mansion on Sovereign Island was the selling point for Garnet and Valerie Breust.The couple had been searching for their dream home for eight months when they came across 39 Parklane Terrace. 39 Parklane Terrace, Sovereign Islands 39 Parklane Terrace, Sovereign Islands 39 Parklane Terrace, Sovereign Islands“We probably spent about eight months designing the kitchen,” Mr Breust said.“We were lucky because we had a lot of space to work with.” Along with the kitchen, there is also a large guest suite, media room and formal lounge room on the ground floor.Upstairs, there are four ensuited bedrooms and a family living area.Mrs Breust said the upstairs living area, known as the “parent’s retreat”, was her favourite part of the home to spend time in.“We’ve got five living areas in the house so it’s easy to disappear somewhere if you want to,” Mr Breust said.The home also has both a plunge and lap pools and a basement garage with wine cellar.Mr Breust said they were reluctant to sell the home but it was much too big for them now two of their three children had moved out.“We’ve been looking around for about 12 months — it’s very hard to find somewhere as good as Sovereign Island because everyone is really friendly and looks after each other,” he said. “We’ll definitely miss the home — it’s something you dream of having.” 39 Parklane Terrace, Sovereign Islandslast_img read more

Tutor Center to offer online food ordering

first_imgThe Undergraduate Student Government and USC Hospitality are working to implement an online ordering system for USC restaurants by fall 2011.The program, which is being tested on the Health Sciences Campus, will allow students to order food online from the Ronald Tutor Campus Center restaurants and pick it up later.Tim Sae Koo, USG’s director of University Affairs, said this plan was initially proposed because USG saw people waiting a long time in line at the Campus Center.“Lines were going crazy, people were taking up to 20 or 30 minutes just to get food,” Sae Koo said.After that realization, USG conducted a survey of undergraduate students and was able to formulate a plan based on the responses.“According to the survey, everybody really wanted an online system like the one in Chipotle so they wouldn’t have to waste so much time standing in line,” Sae Koo said.Lauren Perez, a senior majoring in psychology, said she thinks this could help students who don’t have a lot of time to get food.“This would be really nice because sometimes there are students who work on campus or have classes close together, and they just don’t have very much time to grab food,” Perez said. “This would be an excellent new addition.”Kris Klinger, director of USC Hospitality, said this program would show the strengths of Hospitality.“Hospitality already has Lemonade and CPK, which show how we are ahead and above other universities,” Klinger said. “Online ordering is just another example of how progressive Hospitality is.”Klinger also said this would be an effort that originates right from within the school because computer science students will be the ones to create the online ordering system. Since most of the effort is student-generated, there will be minimal costs to introduce and maintain the program, according to Sae Koo.Sae Koo said this system would be open to anybody, not just students or faculty.“This is for anyone,” Sae Koo said. “Basically, the overall goal is to expedite lines to make everything easier and wait time shorter,”Hannah Goodman, a sophomore majoring in vocal arts performance, said this is a great idea in response to the problem of overcrowding at the Campus Center.“I think it’s great because there are busy hours where the restaurants at the Campus Center literally have lines out the door, and this would no doubt alleviate some of that wait time,” Goodman said.Although the plans for system have yet to be finalized, the tentative timeline has the program starting in the fall of 2011 and begin with the restaurants withthe highest traffic.“The program would start first where the lines are longest, which is CPK,” Sae Koo said. “They are probably not going to launch it at all the restaurants at one time, but will probably see if it works efficiently before expanding,”last_img read more