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60-year Castro era ends in Cuba as new president takes the oath of office

Cuba’s National Assembly has elected Miguel Diaz-Canel as the new president on Thursday in an historic moment which brought an end to the Castro era. Outgoing president Raul Castro confirmed to Diaz Canel that “from this moment on you are the new president of this country,” after the vote in the assembly. Diaz-Canel, previously the […]

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Ecuador and Colombia tighten noose on drug cartel; ‘El Guacho’ is in the crosshairs

Joint military and police operations by Ecuador and Colombia against drug traffickers are producing dramatic results. Launched last weekend, following the murders of three Ecuadorian journalists, more than 100 suspects have been arrested or detained on both sides of the border. On Wednesday, Colombian army and police raided dozens of locations in Tumaco, considered the […]

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Vegan fine dining comes of age in Cuenca

Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part series on vegan and vegetarian dining in Cuenca. Tomorrow: Cuenca’s vegan super chefs. Text and photos by John Keeble It was not so long ago that the phrase “vegan fine dining” was an oxymoron – but no longer. Now, in Cuenca and around, vegan cuisine has […]

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Ecuador may join the Pacific trade alliance

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced on Monday that the Pacific Alliance plans to add new members and Ecuador may be interested in joining. The alliance is a trade organization that currently consists of Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. Ecuador President Lenin Moreno says he is studying the possibility of joining the alliance and said […]

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Venezuelan congress begins impeachment proceedings against Maduro but it may not matter

The Venezuelan National Assembly approved preliminary impeachment proceedings against Nicolás Maduro with 105 votes in favor (and 2 against), citing enough evidence linking him to acts of corruption regarding the Odebrecht scandal. Although the step opens debate in the assembly, there will not be immediate effects at a national level since the country’s legitimate Supreme […]

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Ecuadorian couple kidnapped by drug traffickers near Colombian border

Only days after a three journalists were murdered by drug traffickers, an Ecuadorian couple has been taken hostage near the Colombian border. It is unclear whether the abduction took place in Colombia or Ecuador, or where the couple is being held. In a Tuesday afternoon meeting of Ecuadorian and Colombian officials in Quito, President Lenin […]

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Drug gang refuses to turn over bodies of murdered journalists; Capture of ‘El Guacho’ is priority, Ecuador and Colombia say

The Óliver Sinisterra Front issued a statement Monday saying it has stopped efforts to return the bodies of three Ecuadorian journalists. The front, which controls drug production and trafficking operations in southwest Colombia, has taken responsibility for the kidnapping and murder of the journalists working for the Quito newspaper, El Comercio. “We have taken the […]

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Is Cuenca beautiful? (Part 2)

By Gil Castle This is the second article in a two-part series. The first article posited that beautiful cities can be analyzed using 15 categories of civic beauty. The 15 categories — the 15 “Beautiful Facets” — emerge from research conducted by CitiesBeautiful.org [http://citiesbeautiful.org/] on “common threads” in theories of beauty from the ancient Greece […]

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Is Cuenca beautiful?

By Gil Castle While “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” (as Plato was the first to say), we can nonetheless answer the question fairly objectively. Beautiful cities can be analyzed using 15 categories of civic beauty. The 15 categories – hereafter, the 15 “Beautiful Facets” – emerge from research conducted by CitiesBeautiful.org [http://citiesbeautiful.org/] […]

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