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jueves, octubre 20, 2011

A good yarn: Knitters make sweaters for penguins after oil spill

Laura T. Coffey writes

It's a sad story with a happy twist. Blue penguins in New Zealand have been soaked with oil after a container ship ran aground near the east coast of the country's North Island earlier this month. New Zealand’s Environment Minister Nick Smith has described the oil spill as the nation’s “most significant maritime environmental disaster.”



A little blue penguin from Papamoa Beach was covered in oil after a Liberian cargo ship hit a reef on Oct. 7 in Tauranga, New Zealand.

In their oil-soaked state, the birds shouldn’t preen themselves because their feathers are contaminated. They also need help staying warm before and after rescue workers do what they can to clean them up.

So Skeinz, a knitting shop in Napier, New Zealand, put out a call for knitters to make little sweaters for penguins in need. And boy, have knitters around the world responded. One blog post from the folks at Skeinz.com ran under the headline “It’s raining jumpers.” Another ran with the headline “We have Critical Mass” — but Skeinz is still encouraging determined knitters to send their handiwork along to “keep stocks available for the Wildlife Rescue Team to draw from if required.”

This isn't the first time that penguins have been outfitted with sweet little sweaters. Let's take a waddle down penguin lane to see some other penguins in sweaters — because you can never have enough photos of that!


Toby Zerna / Newspix via Rex USA file

Back in 2005 in Australia, tiny fairy penguins Toby and Percina modeled sweaters that were being sent for the rehabilitation of penguins involved in oil spills.


Anna Zieminski / AFP - Getty Images file

In 2000, a group of penguins were rescued off the coast of South Africa after getting caught in an oil spill from a sunken carrier ship. Sweaters helped them stay warm while they recovered.

Want to make an adorable sweater for a penguin in a pinch? You can find specifications — (for instance, they must be made of 100 percent wool yarn, and they must be just the right size) — as well as an address to send your creations, here.


AP file

After a spill near Tasmania in 2000, a penguin was clad in a knitted sweater in an attempt to prevent it from ingesting oil.

viernes, julio 01, 2011

Algo sobre mi / About me

Humano, alien (aun, por unos pocos meses más en EE.UU), ciudadano (seré, sin satisfacerme serlo en un solo país, me otorgo serlo del mundo), hijo (para mama y para algunos familiares), hijo de !>#$@... (para los "no amigos" y algunos "amigos"), independiente, directo, rebelde, extraño, inusual ("weirdo" or "strange" en ingles), loco, pseudo-escritor, "chino" (aunque no tenga origen asiático), amiguero (aunque tenga cada vez menos "amigos" que mis amigos en facebook, o en su defecto por la cara de "pocos amigos"), ahorrativo (por herencia de mama y por aprendizaje con Abuelo Jaime), despilfarrador (en algunas ocasiones y con quien quiero. Sera esto herencia de papa?), impaciente (con algunos), paciente (con otros, y a veces ni lo merecen), testarudo, prolijo (en algunos ámbitos), artístico (de algún lado de la familia), ortodoxo (no por religión), vehemente, suspicaz, sarcástico (muchas veces con algo de humor, que algunos no entienden o no quieren entender), perseverante, emotivo (con quien quiero), inexpresivo (cuando quiero) Me llamo Jaime, como mi abuelo y Jamie o James (en ingles, algo que a solo pocos permito que me llamen), Puchis, Ronsoco, Erik el Rojo (sobrenombres en la familia, ni me pregunten por qué!). Algo más?... si me acuerdo lo escribiré, si me lo haces saber también...

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Human, alien (even for a few more months in the U.S.), citizen (I will be in few months, dual citizenship is not enough, grant me to be a world's citizen), son (for mom and dad and some relatives), son of !> #$@... (for "no friends" and some "friends"), independent, direct, rebellious, strange, unusual ("quemado" or "extrano" en espanol), crazy, pseudo-writer, "chino" (even without an Asian background ) friendly (even with fewer "friends" than my friends on facebook, or even with my "few friend's face"), thrifty (Mom was like that and I learned with Grandfather Jaime), wasteful (sometimes and with whomever I want. Was this inheritance from dad?) impatient (sometimes), patient (with others and sometimes they don't deserve it), stubborn, verbose (in some areas), artistic (from every side of the family), orthodox (not because I'm religion) , passionate, suspicious, sarcastic (often with some humor, some people do not understand or want to understand it), persistent, emotional (with who I want to), deadpan (when I want to)

My name is Jaime, like my grandfather and James and Jamie (in English, something that only a few are allowed to call me), "Puchis", "Ronsoco", Erick the Red (nicknames in the family, please don't  ask me why!). Something else ...? I will write it if I remember, if you do know something else, let me know, I will write it too ...


domingo, junio 05, 2011

The Washington Post article about peruvian presidential election

In Sunday’s presidential election in Peru, the daughter of a former president who is in jail for having authorized death squad murders is pitted against a former army officer whose father led a sect that proclaimed the racial superiority of the country’s Indians.
Both are, essentially, running against their pasts as they try to distance themselves from relatives who are in jail or remain in hiding. And the stakes are high: One of them will squeak to victory in a tightly contested election and preside over one of Latin America’s fastest-growing economies.
 “It’s an operetta,” said Gustavo Gorriti, a Peruvian investigative reporter.
Keiko Fujimori, 36, is the daughter of former president Alberto Fujimori, who fled Peru as his government collapsed in a corruption scandal in 2000. He was later convicted of extensive human rights abuses and corruption and given a 25-year prison term.
Her opponent is Ollanta Humala, 48. As a lieutenant colonel, he led an uprising against Fujimori and, in a failed 2006 bid for the presidency, proclaimed admiration for Venezuela’s firebrand president, Hugo Chavez. A brother, Antauro, is in jail for leading his own revolt, which Humala had encouraged. Their father, Isaac, meanwhile, has long tried to reclaim Incan glory. And the business community is spooked because of the candidate’s past pledge to crack down on multinationals.
Polls show the two in a virtual tie in the country of 30 million.
“Both of these candidates have very troubling backgrounds,]and] are not committed to democracy,” said Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington policy group. “Peruvians are facing a very, very difficult, unhappy choice in this election.”
Indeed, the two candidates have high disapproval ratings and, in a first round of voting in April, finished far from getting a majority of votes. But three centrist candidates canceled themselves out, permitting Humala and Fujimori to advance to Sunday’s election.
Both have tried hard to convince voters that they are moderates, not radicals. Humala wears a business suit, has publicly distanced himself from Chavez and pledged on a Bible that he will respect democratic institutions. His advisers are from Brazil’s ruling Workers Party, which is well respected in the region.
“Humala has an excellent campaign, run by the Brazilians,” said Fernando Rospigliosi, a former Peruvian interior minister. “They present him as a moderate and evenhanded, but I do not believe it.”
Fujimori, too, has tried to cast herself as a centrist who will be a scrupulous caretaker of an economy that has grown an average of 6.3 percent a year since 2002. That has given her establishment support, from the country’s leading newspaper, El Comercio, and Peru’s entrepreneurs.
But some of those who were in her father’s government remain by her side. That has been worrisome to many here because of the widespread abuses and corruption in Alberto Fujimori’s regime — a government that Transparency International, a watchdog group, lists as among the seven most corrupt in modern world history.
“You look around her, it’s all of the same people,” said Coletta Youngers, a Peru expert at the Washington Office on Latin America, a policy group. “People involved in her campaign — those not on the run or in jail — are either key advisers or part of her coalition or part of her congressional bloc.”

lunes, abril 11, 2011

Boston.com - Peruvian Elections 2011

LIMA, Peru-Peru's voters will choose between an ex-army officer who vows to redistribute the nation's wealth and the daughter of incarcerated former President Alberto Fujimori when they vote for a new president in a June runoff, unofficial results show.
The outcome of Sunday's election -- in which three less-polemical candidates collectively captured 44 percent but canceled each other out -- reflects the disarray that has plagued Peruvian politics since Fujimori's 1990 emergence from obscurity.
His daughter, Keiko Fujimori, could end up beating Ollanta Humala in the June 5 runoff, as Humala was the lone candidate advocating a greater state role in the economy to provide poor Peruvians with a greater share of the country's mining riches.
The ex-army lieutenant colonel also won the first round in Peru's 2006 presidential vote but was defeated 53 percent to 47 percent by Alan Garcia in a runoff widely seen as a rebuff to Hugo Chavez, who had openly backed him.
This time, Humala distanced himself from the leftist Venezuelan president, while Fujimori backed away from vows to pardon her father she made two years ago when he was convicted of approving death squad killings and sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Nobel literature laureate Mario Vargas Llosa had called the Humala-Fujimori runoff option "a choice between AIDS and terminal cancer," given perceptions of their anti-democratic tendencies.
The official vote count was slow, but complete unofficial results provided by nonprofit electoral watchdog Transparencia gave Humala 31.7 percent -- well short of the simple majority needed to win outright.
Keiko Fujimori -- whose father Peruvians alternately esteem and revile -- got 23.3 percent, trailed by Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, a 72-year-old former World Bank economist and investment banker, with 18.3 percent.
In fourth was Alejandro Toledo, Peru's president from 2001-2006, with 15.9 percent. Former Lima Mayor Luis Castaneda was fifth with 9.9 percent.
Pre-election polls had indicated either Toledo or Castenda would defeat Humala in a second round while Kuczynski and Fujimori would have a harder time.
George Mason University political scientist Jo-Marie Burt said Sunday's outcome puts Peru on "a really terrible road and I think it shows how weak the whole political system really is." Politics in this resource-rich Andean nation have been chaotic since its traditional parties were unable to cope with civil war and hyperinflation in the late 1980s and all but dissolved.
"There is a lot to admire about Peru but its political class is not among its strongest assets," said Michael Shifter, president of the nonpartisan Inter-American Dialogue think tank. "It is a country of paradoxes and contradictions -- impressively robust growth but precarious politics. In this election, the extremes came out on top."
"There was a chance to embrace a moderate, middle ground, but that opportunity slipped away," he said.
Humala has spooked foreign investors by promising to divert natural gas exports to the domestic market and obtain greater royalties from foreign investors in Peru's mineral wealth. He called his victory proof that Peruvians "want a great transformation."
Peru is a top exporter of copper, gold and silver, commodities whose rising prices have helped fuel economic growth averaging 7 percent during Garcia's tenure. But it is a growth that has hardly trickled down to the poor.
Eliminated candidate Toledo said voters simply "expressed their rage ... at having economic growth without the distribution of the benefits of that growth."
Keiko Fujimori constantly invoked her father during the campaign, running on his legacy of delivering essential services to Peru's forgotten backwater and of being tough on crime. It's a potent message in a nation 30 million where one in three live on less than $3 a day and lack running water, and the murder rate doubled under Garcia.
During her victory speech from the terrace of a downtown hotel, jubilant supporters changed "Chino. Chino. Chino," her father's popular nickname.
She thanked him and sought to dispel concerns of a return to authoritarian rule: "We are going to work my dear friends with absolute respect for democracy, press freedom, human rights and the rule of law."
Peru ranks 13th out of 17 countries in the region in citizen access to social services, according to the World Bank. In the country's rural highlands, where both Humala and Fujimori ran strongly, 66 percent of Peruvians live in poverty, half in extreme poverty, it says.
Kuczynski, a German immigrant's son who was economics and prime minister under Toledo, climbed into contention in the campaign's final weeks. But the perception of him as the candidate of big foreign capital hurt him.
Toledo had led in the polls until late March, when Humala overtook him. His voters also defected to Kuczynski.
Humala, 48, made promises similar to those of Keiko Fujimori: free nursery school and public education, state-funded school breakfasts and lunches, a big boost in the minimum wage, and pensions for all beginning at age 65.
He says he would respect international treaties and contracts, but many Peruvians don't believe him.
Humala, who launched a bloodless, short-lived revolt against Alberto Fujimori just before the latter fled into exile in 2000, advocates rewriting the constitution, as Chavez and his leftist allies in Bolivia and Ecuador have done.
He says it will make it easier to enact reforms -- vowing not to seek re-election, as Chavez and the Bolivian and Ecuadorean leaders have.
Fujimori has a rock-solid constituency thanks to her father's defeat of the Maoist-inspired Shining Path insurgency, taming of hyperinflation in the 1990s and social agenda.
"Because of him we are free. Because of him we're at peace," said Luz Montesino, a 60-year-old bakery owner who voted at a school built during his presidency.
Like other Fujimori voters, she was not bothered by the dark, authoritarian side of the Fujimori legacy -- including Alberto's shutting down of Congress in 1992.
Nor do Keiko Fujimori backers seem concerned by critics' fears Keiko would pardon her father, and he'll call the shots in her presidency.
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Associated Press Writers Carla Salazar and Franklin Briceno 
© Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved.