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Illegal dump operator arrested

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Illegal dump operator arrested

BY RACQUEL PORTER
Observer staff reporter
porterr@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, February 21, 2019

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A man was taken into custody yesterday for allegedly operating an informal dump at his home on Woodhaven Avenue in St Andrew.

The National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) said that the man, whose identity was not released, offers garbage removal services and would dump the garbage at his property to avoid paying a fee to use the Riverton disposal site just outside Kingston.

“Acting on intelligence we came here and we saw a resident right at this premises harbouring and storing a number of different types of material — old refrigerators, engine blocks, construction debris, old bed, old mattresses, you name it, every type of material,” NSWMA regional operations manager for the parishes of Kingston and St Andrew, St Catherine and St Thomas Adrian Grant told the Observer yesterday.

Grant said that the agency had issued a number of warning notices to the man, including up to two weeks ago, to desist from dumping the waste in the residential community. “The man’s motor van that was parked outside the man’s home was loaded with additional waste,” Grant said he noted when the NSWMA and other agencies arrived at the property approximately 7:30 am yesterday.

When the Observer arrived at the premises shortly before midday, the NSWMA had removed several loads of debris from the property which the agency said was a health hazard.

“So far we have removed eight loads and we are on the ninth one there now and we still have a number of loads inside,” Grant said.

Insisting that the State had to act on the complaints, he said yesterday’s operation was a multi-agency approach.

“It was a serious health hazard. The people in the community they are very glad with what we are doing because of what was happening,” he said.

Some of the residents who watched the clean-up operation from behind their fence were delighted.

“Mi feel good say the place a go look nice and clean again. Nobody no like see the dump,” a woman who gave her name only as Jackie said.

Another resident, Carol Nangle, who has been living in the community for more than 30 years, said they are oftentimes verbally abused by the man who was taken into custody.

“He’s unapproachable. He uses a lot of bad words and threatening language. I am very happy, is like a win the lotto; I’m elated,” Nangle said.

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Twitter details political ad ban, admits it’s imperfect

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Twitter details political ad ban, admits it’s imperfect

Saturday, November 16, 2019

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TEXAS, USA (AP) – Twitter’s new ban on political ads will cover appeals for votes, solicitations for campaign contributions and any political content. But the company quickly acknowledged Friday that it expects to make mistakes as individuals and groups look for loopholes.

Twitter is defining political content to include any ad that references a candidate, political party, government official, ballot measure, or legislative or judicial outcome. The ban also applies to all ads — even non-political ones — from candidates, political parties and elected or appointed government officials.

However, Twitter is allowing ads related to social causes such as climate change, gun control and abortion. People and groups running such ads won’t be able to target those ads down to a user’s ZIP code or use political categories such as “conservative” or “liberal.” Rather, targeting must be kept broad, based on a user’s state or province, for instance.

News organisations will be exempt so they can promote stories that cover political issues. While Twitter has issued guidelines for what counts as a news organisation — single-issue advocacy outlets don’t qualify, for instance — it’s unclear if this will be enough to prevent partisan websites from promoting political content.

Twitter announced its worldwide ban on political advertisements on October 30, but didn’t release details until yesterday. The policy, which goes into effect next Friday, is in stark contrast to Facebook’s approach of allowing political ads, even if they contain false information. Facebook has said it wants to provide politicians with a “level playing field” for communication and not intervene when they speak, regardless of what they’re saying.

Response to Twitter’s ban has been strong and mixed, with critics questioning the company’s ability to enforce the new policy given its poor history of banning hate speech and abuse from its service. The company acknowledges it will make mistakes but says it’s better to start addressing the issue now rather than wait until all the kinks are worked out.

Aside from ongoing concerns about foreign elections interference, the political advertising issue rose to the forefront in recent months as Twitter, along with Facebook and Google, refused to remove a misleading video ad from President Donald Trump’s campaign that targeted Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

In response, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, another presidential hopeful, ran her own ad on Facebook taking aim at Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The ad claimed — admittedly falsely to make its point — that Zuckerberg endorsed Trump for re-election.

Over the past several weeks, Facebook has been pressed to change its policy. But it was Twitter instead that jumped in with its bombshell ban.

Drew Margolin, a Cornell University communications professor who studies social networks, said Twitter’s broad ban is a reflection that “vetting is not realistic and is potentially unfair”.

He said a TV network might be in a position to vet all political ads, but Twitter and Facebook cannot easily do so. While their reliance on automated systems makes online ads easier and cheaper to run, Margolin said it also makes them an “attractive target” for spreading misinformation.

Political advertising makes up a small sliver of Twitter’s overall revenue. The company does not break out specific figures each quarter, but said political ad spending for the 2018 midterm election was less than $3 million. It reported $824 million in third-quarter revenue.

Because of this, the ban is unlikely to have a big effect on overall political advertising, where television still accounts for the majority of the money spent. In digital ads, Google and Facebook dominate.

Unlike Facebook, which has weathered most of the criticism, Google has been relatively quiet on its political ads policy. It has taken a similar stance to Facebook and does not review whether political ads tell the truth.

Twitter, Facebook and Google have already taken steps to prevent political manipulation by verifying the identities of some political advertisers — measures prompted by the furor over Moscow’s interference. But the verifying systems, which rely on both humans and automated systems, have not been perfect.

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Bolivia’s new leaders break ties with Venezuela

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Bolivia’s new leaders break ties with Venezuela

Saturday, November 16, 2019

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LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — Bolivia’s interim leadership says it has broken diplomatic ties with the Government of Venezuelan President Nicols Maduro and ordered Cuban medical teams to leave Bolivia.

The announcement yesterday represents a turnaround in Bolivia’s foreign policy following the resignation of Evo Morales, a socialist who quit after a disputed election that sparked massive protests.

Karen Longaric, the foreign minister of Bolivia’s interim Government, also said the country is leaving the Union of South American Nations, known by its Spanish acronym UNASUR. The group was set up in 2008 by Venezuela’s Hugo Chvez and other leftists to support regional integration efforts and counter US influence in South America.

Longaric also says Bolivia is no longer a part of ALBA, a regional group that espouses socialist ideology.

In the meantime, Bolivia’s interim leader says Evo Morales will have to “answer to justice for electoral fraud” if he returns home.

Jeanine ez made the comment during a news conference yesterday, a day after Morales insisted from asylum in Mexico that he remains the country’s legitimate president because his resignation was forced by the military and wasn’t formally accepted by Congress.

Aez was the top-ranking Senate opposition official when Morales resigned Sunday and says that the resignation of everyone else in the chain of succession left her with the presidency.

Morales left following massive demonstrations across the country alleging fraud in the October 20 presidential election — irregularities certified by a team of auditors from the Organization of American States. Morales had claimed victory in his bid for a fourth term in office.

ez said Morales “left on his own. Nobody threw him out.”

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Cuba medical programme becomes source of controversy

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Cuba medical programme becomes source of controversy

Saturday, November 16, 2019

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HAVANA, Cuba (AP) — A much-lauded overseas medical programme has become the focus of accusations that it serves as cover for fomenting protests against governments opposed by Cuba.

Cuba said yesterday that it’s pulling 700 members of its medical mission to Bolivia after the arrest of four members of the programme, which began under now-exiled President Evo Morales. The four were accused of fomenting protests against the Government that took over from Morales, a Cuban ally.

The end of Cuba’s 400-person medical mission to Ecuador was also announced this week, along with the accusation by Ecuador’s interior minister that Cuba misused official passports to bring in 250 Cubans during protests against President Lenin Moreno, whom Cuba also opposes.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro ended his county’s Cuban medical programme after taking office last year.

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