Posted by: ivetteromero | November 16, 2014

Route du Rhum 2014 Smashes Records


The Route du Rhum regatta, also known as “Route du Rhum Destination Guadeloupe” is a transatlantic single-handed yacht race taking place every four years in November.  It is considered to be one of the toughest boat races in the world. The route follows the trajectory of rum (slave) trade: between Saint-Malo, France and Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe. This morning, Euronews’s Rémi Pelletier reported on the first arrivals at the finish line at Creole Beach in Le Gosier and the record-breaking results.

“Welcome to Guadeloupe and the finish line of the Route du Rhum. The distance between the buoys is 440 yards (402 metres). All competitors must cross the finish line in front of the Creole Beach in Gosier. Right now, we’ll see who’ll win the IMOCA category.”

Manning ‘Massif’, skipper François Gabart was this year’s victor. We spoke to him following his win.

“The people of Guadeloupe have certainly had the Route du Rhum in their blood for a long time. It’s part of the island’s history and we’re always given a warm welcome”, he said. “It was great to see the island from downwind. The conditions are not always easy, but a lot of boats came to see us. And this was lovely. It means we had the support of many people. And so our arrival at Pointe-à-Pitre was just magical.”

The winners broke all speed records for multihulls and monohulls.


Second-placed Jérémie Beyou skippered the Maître Coq. He described the total physical commitment needed just to take part in such a competition. “The IMOCAs – the Vendée Globes – are very difficult boats because there are many sails. To advance at the fastest speed possible, you need to change the sails constantly and move all the equipment on board. My body feels broken! I’m hurting everywhere! It’ll be good to get a water massage, then when I feel a bit perkier I’ll do some kite surfing. The wind has picked up and I’m really keen to get out there.” Skipper Marc Guillemot’s Safran took third place, completing the podium.

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Posted by: lisaparavisini | November 15, 2014

Rubén Blades: A Latin Musician Translates a Meeting of Cultures


Rubén Blades at the Rose Theater, reviewed by Ben Ratliff for The New York Times.

The reality that jazz and Afro-Latin music have been mixed for a century can sometimes lead to the myth that a musician trained in one tradition is effectively trained in the other, and that fluency runs both ways at all times, in all places.

And so you might have looked at an advertisement for the Panamanian singer Rubén Blades collaborating with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, as he is doing through Saturday night at the Rose Theater, and thought, sure, Latin jazz.

Not really, though. What they’re doing isn’t a glib middle ground. It’s a jazz band playing Afro-Latin dance music with authority, which it has taught itself to do over the years, and Mr. Blades gamely singing American standards jazz-style, which he isn’t known for; sometimes, it’s both in the same song.

The new arrangements are by the orchestra’s bassist, Carlos Henriquez. They alternate, and sometimes fuse, clave and swing rhythm, cleverly demonstrating the intersection of traditions. (Three percussionists augmented the band — Marc Quiñones, Bobby Allende and Carlos Padron — as well as the singer Eddie Rosado.) This is all the sort of thing a singer like Mr. Blades — not that there are many like him — would be more likely to try in a recording studio than in a concert without his regular band, a situation in which so much can go wrong. And so even when Thursday’s concert wasn’t entirely hitting where it aimed, you were always watching two virtues: novelty and risk.

Mr. Blades, 66, may be best known for the progressive New York salsa records he made at the start of his career in the late ’70s, singing provocative lyrics about power relationships and social realities over Willie Colón’s arrangements. Though he’s a strong and resourceful singer, his endeavor is a literary one as much as anything else. He’s working with not only regional traditions of rhythm and sound, but also with global traditions of narrative and politics.

He’s been as a statesman, too, serving as his country’s minister of tourism. On his website this year, he announced that his 2015-16 tour would be his last round of salsa-based performing. After that he plans to work with a small group exploring a “musical fusion,” and to return to political life in Panama. It’s clear enough that music, per se, doesn’t define him.

But storytelling does, to a greater extent, and therefore language, too. On Thursday he seemed most comfortable in songs that had a lot to say, that kept developing a thought or a metaphor; these were typically his own, and sung in Spanish. If there was a peak moment of audience joy, it came during “Pedro Navaja,” his hit from 1978, a story of a petty criminal trying to rob a prostitute, inspired by Bobby Darin’s version of “Mack the Knife.” The crowd sang it all with him, which helped, but Mr. Blades’s voice fully inhabited the song: His words and phrasing expanded to the end of every long breath.

Given his vocal range and his ability to mimic — he imitated Sammy Davis Jr.’s speech patterns a few times on Thursday — he could probably put on a decent imitation of Frank Sinatra. He didn’t do that; he found his own way, taking the job seriously, and hitting some bumps. In songs like “Too Close for Comfort,” “Fever” (sung in a duet with his wife, Luba Mason) and “They Can’t Take That Away From Me,” as well as “Don’t Like Goodbyes,” by Harold Arlen and Truman Capote, he shut down some words a bit early and over-invested certain phrases with vibrato; it was a tentative and regimented kind of singing that made you too aware of meter.

Mr. Blades is loose and personable on stage. But it was fascinating how he could sometimes seem limited by the literary concision of the songs he chose, in which a line or a stanza stands autonomously, with its own meaning, without flowing toward the next thought.

It’s not easy to put on a concert like this: It takes preparation and momentum. Mr. Henriquez’s arrangements delivered consistently. The pianist Dan Nimmer fit the songs’ changing requirements, and Wynton Marsalis’s extravagant trumpet playing in “Ban Ban Quere” did exactly the right thing: It jump-started a complicated experiment. But for the encore, Mr. Blades’s song “Patria,” a severely reduced version of the band came out to back Mr. Blades: just the percussionists, with Mr. Henriquez on bass and Mr. Marsalis playing soft improvised accompaniment. It was simple and radically beautiful. It also suggested that there could be a whole other kind of concert to do.

Rubén Blades performs through Saturday at the Rose Theater, Jazz at Lincoln Center, 60th Street and Broadway; 212-258-9595,

For the original report go to

Posted by: lisaparavisini | November 15, 2014

Anthony Bourdain explores Jamaican foods on CNN Sunday

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World-renowned chef, best-selling author and Emmy-winning television personality Anthony Bourdain explores Jamaica at 9:00 pm (EST) Sunday on CNN, Jamaica’s Observer reports.

Bourdain’s food trek includes stops in Port Antonio, Portland; Winnifred Beach also in Portland; and James Bond Beach in St Mary.

On Parts Unknown: Jamaica, Bourdain samples the island’s national dish ackee & saltfish, fried fish, jerk chicken, Red Stripe beer and even white rum with breakfast.

“A splash of rum won’t hurt … or, for the braver souls, a generous shot of the liquor in a Red Stripe beer for a local fisherman’s drink called ‘steel bottom’,” Bourdain says.

Parts Unknown with Bourdain takes viewers to “extraordinary locations” around the globe highlighting snippets of culture and cuisine.

For the original report go to

Posted by: lisaparavisini | November 15, 2014

Muslims found Americas, says Erdogan


Muslims discovered the Americas more than three centuries before Christopher Columbus, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said.

He made the claim during a conference of Latin American Muslim leaders in Istanbul, pointing to a diary entry in which Columbus mentioned a mosque on a hill in Cuba.

Mr Erdogan also said “Muslim sailors arrived in America in 1178″.

He said he was willing to build a mosque at the site Columbus identified.

The Turkish president – whose AK Party is rooted in political Islam – gave no further evidence to back up his theory, instead stating: “Contacts between Latin America and Islam date back to the 12th Century.


A new study found that Dominicans have become the largest Latino group in New York City, surpassing the Puerto Rican population for the first time, The Latin Post reports.

The study also found that Dominicans had the highest number of births in the city among Latino subgroups, according to New York City’s Bureau of Vital Statistics.

Over 33,000 children were born to Dominican mothers between 2010 and 2012. Although data has not been released for the following year, it be assumed that about 11,000 more were born in 2013.

CUNY’s Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies shows that the city’s Puerto Rican population is no longer the largest Hispanic group as it has been for a long time.

“What stands out from the data is the extraordinary increase in the Dominican population of the city since 2010,” said Laird B. Bergad, director of CLALCS, in a statement.

“Dominicans increased by over 140,000 people in these three years, or more than the growth experienced in the decade between 2000 and 2010.”

Since 1990, the number of Puerto Ricans in the city has been steadily declining, mainly because immigration from the region has decreased and many Puerto Ricans have moved from the City to other suburbs.

Puerto Ricans have also relocated to other parts of the U.S. in large numbers, especially to Florida.

Meanwhile about 14,000 Dominicans came to the City from other parts of the U.S. between 2010 and 2013.

“If anything, this examination of the three American Community Survey data sets for 2013 indicates the difficulty of arriving at precise population estimates for subgroups of the population, such as Latino nationalities in New York City and its surrounding counties,” Bergad said.

There were about 747,473 Dominicans in the five boroughs in 2013, compared to the 719,444 Puerto Ricans, according to the Census data analyzed for the report.

Between 2010 and 2013, over 55,000 Dominicans arrived to the U.S.

For the original report go to

Posted by: lisaparavisini | November 15, 2014

Haiti hopes to woo back tourists with resorts


A report from the Associated Press.

Off this sleepy southern Haitian village, fishermen in weathered wooden boats slowly move across azure waters. Miles of picture-perfect sandy beaches slope gently, fringed by grasses and framed by mountains.

In any other Caribbean country, such a pristine stretch of shore would have been developed long ago. But in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, the tranquil Cotes-de-Fer area is mostly uninhabited, holding just a scattering of shacks lit by candles, with little to do apart from fishing or working the sunbaked soil.

Things may be changing radically, however. President Michel Martelly’s administration wants to build Haiti’s biggest tourism development here, hoping that foreign visitors can help spur an economic revival in the nation of 10 million, where most adults lack any kind of steady work and survive on less than $2 a day.

So far there are only tentative signs of the hoped-for boom in Cotes-de-Fer. Dirt access roads have been widened with the help of Taiwan and Venezuela and locals hope they will soon be paved. The government is refurbishing the fishing village and training tourist police as it tries to line up investors for a country enjoying a period of relative tranquility after years of turmoil.

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“We know it’s a huge task and it won’t be easy, but this is one chance that Haiti cannot miss. We’ve been at the bottom of the ladder for too long,” Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe told The Associated Press as he visited Cotes-de-Fer.

A master plan for the area promises tax-free investments for 15 years in a development that could eventually cover about 5,680 acres (2,299 hectares), with up to 20,000 hotel rooms and condos. The first phase would cost nearly $48 million, with 1,266 rooms in four hotels and 1,133 tourist residences, an 18-hole golf course, and a beach club by 2017. A small airport would be built nearby.

Officials hope it will become Haiti’s version of Punta Cana, a major resort town carved out of a fishing village in the neighboring Dominican Republic in the 1970s. Grupo PuntaCana, which operates the Dominican resort, has assisted Haiti with developing its plans.

The $266 million project would be the biggest ever in Haiti, which is recovering from a devastating 2010 earthquake that shattered the crowded capital, Port-au-Prince, and surrounding areas.

The broader tourism push includes development of the southern island of Ile-a-Vache. Plans there call for a resort with roughly 2,500 rooms and its own international airport. Dredging to accommodate supply ships is nearing completion, and the site for a future airport is being graded.

Haiti also has signed a memorandum of understanding with Carnival Corp. to develop a $70 million cruise port on Ile de la Tortue, an island off the north coast long known as a departure point for smugglers.

For now, the vast majority of tourists are cruise ship passengers who never leave Labadee, Royal Caribbean’s fenced-in port and beach attraction in northern Haiti.

In Cotes-de-Fer, the possibility of a tourism boom is being welcomed by many, especially young people eager for opportunities.

“We’re all hopeful about what the future will bring,” 15-year-old Doyana Sterne said as she filled jugs with water at a pump where mules get loaded with saddlebags made of woven palm thatch. She has dreams of becoming a civil engineer to help build up her hometown.

Some have doubts about the viability of the projects. Haitian economist Kesner Pharel said potential investors may be scared off by a lack of good roads and other infrastructure as well as the possibility that political instability will return.

Lamothe, however, says the country has turned a corner, with more than $250 million in direct foreign investment projected for this year, up from $4 million in 2001.

Among those interested is the Pennsylvania-based Apple Leisure Group, which is working with the government to bring together hoteliers and airport developers for the south coast resort proposals. Its AMResorts arm operates 32 resorts in 13 beach destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean, including six in Punta Cana.

“We are confident that Haiti’s natural beauty and proximity to the U.S. gives it great potential,” said Apple Leisure CEO Alex Zozaya.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Haiti’s tourism business grew under the brutal but stable dictatorships of Francois and Jean-Claude Duvalier. But political instability and the AIDS epidemic that struck Haiti in the 1980s largely devastated the sector. Seaside resorts turned into ghost towns, including a 700-bed Club Med complex.

But Haiti never lost its idyllic beaches, delicious food and rich history. The former French colony became the first black republic in 1804 after a successful slave rebellion.

It already draws adventuresome travelers. Haiti’s second largest city, Cap-Haitien, is a cultural capital where French colonial buildings resemble old New Orleans. The picturesque south coast town of Jacmel attracts European and U.S. vacationers.

Tourism Minister Stephanie Villedrouin has lately been flying around the world to woo investors and hospitality companies.

“It’s a day-to-day battle to change Haiti’s image. But once you experience what it’s really like, you leave with a different perception,” she told AP as she sipped strong Haitian coffee outside a family’s Cotes-de-Fer home where she spent the night instructing locals how to welcome tourists.

For the original report go to

Posted by: lisaparavisini | November 15, 2014

Dominican Republic Jazz Festival delivers enchanting 18th edition


The Dominican Republic Jazz Festival celebrated its 18th edition with four nights of free concerts with tremendous performances, packed venues and glorious weather in Puerto Plata, Sosua and Cabarete Beach Nov. 6-9, 2014, Dominican Today reports.

Of special note, the cherished Dominican composer-pianist Rafael Solano, 83, was presented with an award for his achievement in music, and gave a surprise performance of his famous love song, “Por Amor,” to the joy of the Saturday night audience at Cabarete Beach.

Also recognized were musicians Marco Pignataro and Matt Marvuglio, of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute, for their continued support to the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival, FEDJUAZZ and youth of the world.

With a combined estimated audience of 12,000 people for the entire festival, music lovers from around the country and around the world enjoyed the shows which included the sounds of Grammy Award winner Ignacio Berroa Group (USA) with Giovanni Hidalgo (Puerto Rico); Berklee Global Jazz Institute (USA); Ramón Vázquez TríoS (Puerto Rico) with Special Guest The Prodigy (Dominican Republic); Grammy Award winner Joe Lovano’s Quartet (USA); Colin Hunter & Joe Sealy’s Quartet (Canada); La Familia Andre (Dominican Republic); Edgar Molina (Dominican Republic); Wavelength – The Original (Israel); Patricia Pereyra and Band (Dominican Republic) with special guest Alex Jacquemin (France) and more.

The Dominican Republic Jazz Festival provides more than culture and entertainment with its affiliation with FEDUJAZZ, a non-profit organization that conducts music education workshops for Dominican youth. Hundreds of schoolchildren from the North Coast of the Dominican Republic attended engaging, educational sessions where the artists from the festival demonstrated their pure love of music and showed the children ways to connect with music in their daily lives.

Presented by the Ministry of Tourism, sponsors for the 18th Dominican Republic Jazz Festival included Ron Macorix, JetBlue, the United States Embassy, Berklee Global Jazz Institute, Sea Horse Ranch Luxury Resort, Ultravioleta, Millennium Resort & Spa, Casa Linda, the Municipality of Sosúa and Cibao Recycling.

The Dominican Republic Jazz Festival’s 19th edition is set for Nov. 5-8, 2015.

For the original report go to

Posted by: lisaparavisini | November 15, 2014

When Being Borinqueña Acquired New Meaning


This article by Greetchen Díaz appeared in Scientific American.

I knew my idea was not unique, mainly because it originated from a collective need. Like many others, I felt the need to have a voice and to form a space for a community that would highlight and represent the women in science of Puerto Rico. This was my personal desire and aspiration, but one I shared with many other women and men who expressed their joy when the Borinqueña blog was launched in November 2013 as an initiative of Ciencia Puerto Rico, a non-profit organization engaging Hispanic scientists with science communication and education.

The concept of the Borinqueña blog went through many changes before it was completed. It changed its name and its colors, and became a group initiative more than a personal one. However its original purpose remained clear: to focus attention on the scientific contributions of Boricuas and Hispanic women and thereby motivate and set an example for future generations of female scientists.

The team at the Borinqueña blog made a reality of what once was the idea of a dreamer. Recruiting the members of this team was very easy, mostly because they understood and shared my need to have a voice for Borinqueñas in science, and because they overflowed with enthusiasm and excitement for the project. It turned out to a special team, indeed, which gave shape to my idea and started building a new page in the history of Puerto Rican women in science.

This team of young, female Boricua scientists, who volunteer their time, is committed to nurturing the seeds of success planted by our young girls. An, in addition to highlighting the work currently active women in science, the Boriqueña blog provides an opportunity to look back and recognize the legacy of the women who came before us, whose intellect and passion helped develop science during more difficult times.

We are very fortunate to have had other Borinqueñas joining this effort. They’ve helped the blog grow and become the voice of the Boricuas women in science. The success of the Borinqueña blog is theirs too.

We have told many stories during the first year of the Borinqueña blog. We have learned from each other and from other women’s experiences. We have shared stories of successes, stories on overcoming failures and challenges, stories of dreams and how to make them a reality.

Today, about 30 posts from a dozen contributors have been published, showcasing more than 50 women and future generations of women in STEM. From a promising college student planting seeds of success in computer sciences, to a brave materials scientist dreaming to be the first Puerto Rican woman astronaut; from Latinas making bright futures a reality, to a woman chemist making history in her country. All those stories where accompanied by advice from the Borinqueña community to empower women in STEM and help develop their careers. Borinqueña’s blog entries are among the most popular within the Ciencia Puerto Rico website.

A year ago being Borinqueña turned into something that describes so much more than being one of Borinquen’s children—much more than having Puerto Rican blood running through our veins or having this tiny island attached to our hearts. In the last year, being Borinqueña has become a synonym for a professional woman who is leaving her fingerprint through science, paving the way for future generations of women.

Now, after completing my postdoc at the U.S. and returning to my beloved island, I look back and my heart is filled with joy when I think that the idea for the blog was not just mine and was not unique. Rather, it was an idea that represented the voice of every Puerto Rican female scientist—every Borinqueña.

Puerto Rico is privileged to have abundant scientific talent, but nevertheless, we have a lot of work to do in terms of gender equality in the work force, especially in science. Unfortunately, gender equality is not just a Puerto Rican issue. It is a global issue, but we are looking to set an example for the rest of the world.

Unlike other countries, Puerto Rico has exceptionally high enrollment and graduation of women in some STEM fields. Know that we are many and we are strong. We have a lot to tell the world, but especially our own country.

Puerto Rico, if science and technology is to be the path toward finding solutions to our biggest challenges, and therefore to enhance our economy, then our island is fortunately in the hands of women.

Thank you Borinqueñas for all the triumphs so far! Let’s go for more.

During this month, Borinqueña blog is celebrating its first anniversary showcasing the stories of Puerto Rican and Hispanic women in STEM. You can read this post in Spanish here. All images in this post courtesy of  Borinqueña blog and CienciaPR.

For the original report go to

Posted by: lisaparavisini | November 15, 2014

Andrea Levy: One minute interview


Andrea Levy sat down for a one-minute interview with London’s Independent. Here’s the text. You can watch the video by clicking on the link below.

Where are you now and what can you see?

At my kitchen table looking out on to my small north London garden. A big chestnut tree is shedding its leaves over everything. It looks nice but I’ll have to sweep them up!

What are you currently reading?

A new book by Mathew Parker called Goldeneye. It’s about Ian Fleming and his love affair with Jamaica where he built a house and wrote all the James Bond novels. The book is an amazing portrayal of British racial and colonial attitudes in the 1950s and 60s. It’s the Jamaica that my mum and dad grew up in and it is helping me to understand the society that formed them. I’m really enjoying it.

Choose a favourite author and say why you admire her/him

I don’t think I can single out someone like that. I’ve had many favourite books over the years that have been influential – The Women’s Room, The Remains of the Day, English Passengers, Going to Meet the Man – but I tend to think of books I admire, not authors.

Describe the room where you usually write

It’s the biggest and untidiest room in the house. Large L-shaped desk, sofa, and three tall sash windows looking out on to the street.

Which fictional character most resembles you?

At the moment I feel a little like Bertha in Jane Eyre.

Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?

My husband, Bill. If you had lived with me for 30 years you’d understand.

For the original report go to

Posted by: lisaparavisini | November 15, 2014

Haydee Milanés honors Marta Valdés


This article by Rafa Faridis appeared in

The phonogram Palabras, a musical tribute to the renowned Cuban composer Marta Valdés, was officially introduced last November 4 at Café Miramar in Havana with the Bis Music label, celebrating the return of the talented singer Haydée Milanés after three years of absence from the Cuban scenarios.

“This album was a laborious one, with complex songs but also with very high sensitivity and poetry, I feel comfortable singing them and taking them to different instrumental formats”, said to the press Milanés. The themes have a deep emotional attachment to the singer, which qualifies as songs with very beautiful atmospheres.

“In this album Haydée pulled out the musical arranger in her” said Marta Valdés, proud of merging fourteen tracks of her own with the very personal style of Milanés.
To Valdés, one of the most representative figures of the XX century Cuban song book, has been already dedicated spaces in several musical productions, by musicians such as Miriam Ramos and Elena Burke, however the octogenarian author sees in Haydée a deep respect for the original musical piece, which has made very pleasant working together in this last issue.

According to Tony Pinelli, songwriter and record producer, Marta’s work goes beyond feeling and being one of the main antecedents of the Cuban trova, “Marta is simply Marta, her songs are timeless and Haydée has been able to find the exact juncture to add taste to these songs”
In the album, there are songs like No te empeñes más, Sin ir más lejos, Aida, Canción fácil, among others, accompanied by a record note of the distinguished writer and intellectual Leonardo Padura, gesture that makes Palabras a jewel of Cuban art.

In the same way, the singer thanked the participation of talented musicians in the production of the phonograms, such as the guitarist Sam Fong, the trumpeter Frank Carlos, Enrique Plá on drums, Jorge Reyes on acoustic bass, among others.

This album, which will be presented in the next edition of the fair CUBADISCO, comes with a homonym documentary, with the DVD of the concert held last October at the Mella Theater in Havana and with the music video Palabras which already has three nominations for the Lucas awards.
Milanés also announced the national tour of this album for next February. Another of her future projects is to finish an album started in Brazil, which combines the best of this South American music; likewise she intends to finally sing Pablo Milanés themes.

For the original report go to

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