Ecuador declares prison emergency after 118 killed in riot

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By GABRIELA MOLINA

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — Ecuador’s president has declared a state of emergency in the prison system following a battle among gang members in a coastal lockup that killed at least 118 people and injured 79 in what authorities say was the worst prison bloodbath ever in the country.

Officials said at least five of the dead were found to have been beheaded.

Dozens of police and military vehicles, as well as ambulances, entered the prison compound on Thursday. Helicopters flew over the area.

There could be more bodies or seriously injured people in the prison, said Col. Tannya Varela, the national police commander.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the crime lab in Guayaquil, hoping to collect the bodies of relatives they believed were killed in the prison. The prosecutors’ office said on Twitter that police were working to identify bodies.

Henry Coral, a police official, asked family members to help speed the identification of bodies by telling authorities about any tattoo, scar or other distinguishing feature of prisoners believed to have been killed. Some bodies were mutilated or burned, making identification harder.

President Guillermo Lasso decreed a state of emergency Wednesday, which will give the government powers that include deploying police and soldiers inside prisons. The order came a day after bloodshed at the Litoral penitentiary in Guayaquil that officials blamed on gangs linked to international drug cartels fighting for control of the facility.

“It is regrettable that the prisons are being turned into territories for power disputes by criminal gangs,” Lasso said, adding that he would act with “absolute firmness” to regain control of the Litoral prison and prevent the violence from spreading to other penitentiaries.

Images circulating on social media showed dozens of bodies in the prison’s Pavilions 9 and 10 and scenes that looked like battlefields. The fighting was with firearms, knives and bombs, officials said. Earlier, regional police commander Fausto Buenaño had said that bodies were being found in the prison’s pipelines.

Outside the prison morgue, the relatives of inmates wept, with some describing to reporters the cruelty with which their loved ones were decapitated and dismembered.

“In the history of the country, there has not been an incident similar or close to this one,” said Ledy Zúñiga, the former president of Ecuador’s National Rehabilitation Council.

Zúñiga, who was also the country’s minister of justice in 2016, said she regretted that steps had not been taken to prevent another massacre following deadly prison riots last February.

Earlier, officials said the violence erupted from a dispute between the “Los Lobos” and “Los Choneros” prison gangs.

Col. Mario Pazmiño, the former director of Ecuador’s military intelligence, said the bloody fighting shows that “transnational organized crime has permeated the structure” of Ecuador’s prisons, adding that Mexico’s Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation cartels operate through local gangs.

“They want to sow fear,” he told The Associated Press on Wednesday, urging the government to temporarily cede control of the prisons to the National Police. “The more radical and violent the way they murder,” the more they achieve their goal of control, he added.

Luis Hernández, an analyst on political and military affairs who was a general in Ecuador’s army, said imprisoned gang members extend their control from prisons to the streets, managing debts, deliveries and other aspects of the illegal drug trade.

Ecuador is a key transit point for drug trafficking organizations because of its good road infrastructure, three international maritime ports and two international airports, Hernández said.

Ecuador’s president said that care points had been set up for relatives of the inmates with food and psychological support. He added that a program to address the country’s prisons will be accelerated, starting with investments in infrastructure and technology in the Litoral prison.

The former director of Ecuador’s prison bureau, Fausto Cobo, said that inside penitentiaries authorities face a “threat with power equal to or greater than the state itself.” He said that while security forces must enter prisons with shields and unarmed, they are met by inmates with high-caliber weapons.

In July, the president decreed another state of emergency in Ecuador’s prison system following several violent episodes that resulted in more than 100 inmates being killed. Those deaths occurred in various prisons and not in a single facility like Tuesday’s massacre.

Previously, the bloodiest day occurred in February, when 79 prisoners died in simultaneous riots in three prisons in the country. In July, 22 more prisoners lost their lives in the Litoral penitentiary, while in September a penitentiary center was attacked by drones leaving no fatalities.

Foxconn is buying Lordstown Motors’ Ohio EV factory for $230 million

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Lordstown Motors Headquarters Ahead Of Earnings Figures

iPhone assembler Foxconn is buying an automotive factory from struggling EV startup Lordstown Motors for around $230 million, the companies announced late Thursday. Foxconn says it has agreed to build Lordstown Motors’ electric pickup truck at the plant, which is where General Motors used to make the Chevrolet Cruze, and that the startup will remain a tenant there. Lordstown Motors will also “agree to provide Foxconn with certain rights with respect to future vehicle programs.”

The deal gives the Taiwanese conglomerate its first automotive factory, and a significant new presence in the United States — one that the company will use as it tries to establish itself as a global electric vehicle automaker. Foxconn previously announced a…

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Dre, Snoop, Eminem, Blige, Lamar to perform at Super Bowl

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LOS ANGELES — Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar will perform for the first time on stage together at the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show.

The NFL, Pepsi and Roc Nation announced Thursday that the five music icons will perform on Feb. 13 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Lamar are Southern California natives.

Dre emerged from the West Coast gangster rap scene alongside Eazy-E and Ice Cube to help form the group N.W.A., which made a major mark in the hip-hop culture and music industry with controversial lyrics in the late 1980s. Dre is responsible for bringing forth rap stars such as Snoop Dogg, Eminem, 50 Cent and Lamar. Dre also produced Blige’s No. 1 hit song “Family Affair.”

“The opportunity to perform at the Super Bowl Halftime show, and to do it in my own backyard, will be one of the biggest thrills of my career,” Dre said in a statement. The seven-time Grammy winner added that their halftime performance will be an “unforgettable cultural moment.”

The Super Bowl returns to the Los Angeles area for the first time since 1993. It’s the third year of collaboration between the NFL, Pepsi and Roc Nation.

Roc Nation and Emmy-nominated producer Jesse Collins will serve as co-producers of the halftime show. The game and halftime show will air live on NBC.

The five music artists have a combined 44 Grammys. Eminem has the most with 15.

Roc Nation founder Jay-Z said in a statement that their show will be “history in the making.”

Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Blige and Lamar join a list of celebrated musicians who have played during Super Bowl halftime shows, including Beyoncé, Madonna, Coldplay, Katy Perry, U2, Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira and most recently The Weeknd.

NFL and Pepsi will join together to support the launch of Regional School #1, a magnet high school in south Los Angeles. It’s set to open for students next fall as part of the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The high school is based on the USC Iovine and Young Academy, a program founded by Jimmy Iovine and Andre “Dr. Dre” Young. It will offer an educational model focused on the theme of integrated design, technology and entrepreneurship.

“This effort will help develop and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators,” said Megan K. Reilly, the LA Unified Interim Superintendent. “We are excited about the additional opportunities this partnership will bring to our students.”

The best USB-C hubs for your laptop or tablet

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New USB-C logos make picking USB cables, chargers less confusing

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Ecuador declares prison emergency after 116 killed in riot

This post was originally published on this site

By GABRIELA MOLINA

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — Ecuador’s president has declared a state of emergency in the prison system following a battle among gang members in a coastal lockup that killed at least 116 people and injured 80 in what authorities say was the worst prison bloodbath ever in the country.

Officials said at least five of the dead were found to have been beheaded.

President Guillermo Lasso decreed a state of emergency Wednesday, which will give the government powers that include deploying police and soldiers inside prisons. The order came a day after bloodshed at the Litoral penitentiary in Guayaquil that officials blamed on gangs linked to international drug cartels fighting for control of the facility.

Lasso, visibly moved by the carnage, said at a news conference that what had happened in the prison was “bad and sad.” He also said he could not guarantee that authorities had regained control of the lockup.

“It is regrettable that the prisons are being turned into territories for power disputes by criminal gangs,” he said, adding that he would act with “absolute firmness” to regain control of the Litoral prison and prevent the violence from spreading to other penitentiaries.

Images circulating on social media showed dozens of bodies in the prison’s Pavilions 9 and 10 and scenes that looked like battlefields. The fighting was with firearms, knives and bombs, officials said. Earlier, regional police commander Fausto Buenaño had said that bodies were being found in the prison’s pipelines.

Outside the prison morgue, the relatives of inmates wept, with some describing to reporters the cruelty with which their loved ones were decapitated and dismembered.

“In the history of the country, there has not been an incident similar or close to this one,” said Ledy Zúñiga, the former president of Ecuador’s National Rehabilitation Council.

Zúñiga, who was also the country’s minister of justice in 2016, said she regretted that steps had not been taken to prevent another massacre following deadly prison riots last February.

Earlier, officials said the violence erupted from a dispute between the “Los Lobos” and “Los Choneros” prison gangs.

Col. Mario Pazmiño, the former director of Ecuador’s military intelligence, said the bloody fighting shows that “transnational organized crime has permeated the structure” of Ecuador’s prisons, adding that Mexico’s Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation cartels operate through local gangs.

“They want to sow fear,” he told The Associated Press on Wednesday, urging the government to temporarily cede control of the prisons to the National Police. “The more radical and violent the way they murder,” the more they achieve their goal of control, he added.

Ecuador’s president said that care points had been set up for relatives of the inmates with food and psychological support. He added that a $24 million program to address the country’s prisons will be accelerated, starting with investments in infrastructure and technology in the Litoral prison.

The former director of Ecuador’s prison bureau, Fausto Cobo, said that inside penitentiaries authorities face a “threat with power equal to or greater than the state itself.” He said that while security forces must enter prisons with shields and unarmed, they are met by inmates with high-caliber weapons.

In July, the president decreed another state of emergency in Ecuador’s prison system following several violent episodes that resulted in more than 100 inmates being killed. Those deaths occurred in various prisons and not in a single facility like Tuesday’s massacre.

Previously, the bloodiest day occurred in February, when 79 prisoners died in simultaneous riots in three prisons in the country. In July, 22 more prisoners lost their lives in the Litoral penitentiary, while in September a penitentiary center was attacked by drones leaving no fatalities.

CSU’s “non-degree” Denver campus will be used to attract the 37% of kids who don’t go to college

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Colorado State University Chancellor Tony Frank is fixated on the 56,505 babies born around the state in 1997. One-third of them graduated by age 25 from college, data analyzed by CSU administrators shows, and 37% never enrolled.

Frank and CSU, along with other schools nationwide, are targeting that segment — toward the longstanding U.S. goal of making higher education widely available. A $200 million “non-degree campus” that CSU is building at the National Western Center in north Denver will be devoted to attracting future students, Frank said.

Campus leaders plan to invite every teenager in junior high along on Colorado’s Front Range twice a year to visit and observe researchers in CSU’s new, shiny glass buildings, which are scheduled to open next year.

“We want to pound home the message that there is a pathway to college,” he said in an interview. “In America, we do still agree that, if you have the talent and the motivation, you should be able to make the most of it. But there are barriers. And we are trying to go way back — to the grade school level — and embed experiential learning and implant the idea at an early age that college is really possible.”

Eight miles away in the East Colfax neighborhood, ambitious low-income teens are interested — but say affordability is a major obstacle.

“Man, that sounds so good,” said Pru Soe, 19, a member of the Street Fraternity collective of refugees. He was born at a camp in Thailand after his parents fled civil war in Myanmar and long has talked of applying to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Universities increasingly want to attract students like Soe and the tens of thousands of others likely to skip higher education — especially as the long-term trend of declining enrollment threatens schools’ revenues.

Over the past year, total U.S. college enrollment decreased by 3.5% to 16.9 million. Since 2010, enrollment has been declining at an average rate of 1.6% a year, according to data from the National Student Clearinghouse, a nonprofit that conducts research for colleges and universities. Even in Colorado where the population is exploding, the annual number of students enrolled in colleges has decreased since 2010 by 2.7%.

Higher education officials blame the declines on an aging population and other factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic and doubts about the value of higher education.

Drawing students more broadly from all segments of U.S. society could help boost enrollment, and this is compelling CSU and other schools to focus more on hard-to-reach communities — even where family incomes are insufficient to afford college. Growing numbers of potential students live in urban areas nationwide where foreign-born residents make up a significant portion of the  population (15% in Denver and 19% in adjacent Aurora), adding language and cultural challenges.

Community colleges traditionally catered to low-income families — and still do. Colorado has 13 of these, with 40 locations, serving 137,000 students who receive technical training tied to workforce needs as well as science and humanities courses that can count toward four-year degrees.

High school graduate Onaing Sar, 19, a refugee from Myanmar whose family was resettled in Denver, will start next fall at the Community College of Aurora. She excelled as an A student at the New America School — and, with help from a teacher and a counselor, filled out applications for schools and federal financial aid.

She’ll walk 15 minutes from her family’s two-room apartment to classrooms, she said, planning to concentrate on math, business and science.

“My mother always told me, since we came to the United States: ‘Go to school.’ She said the most important thing is to go to school. ‘You go to school, better for you,’” Sar said. “She wanted to go to school, too, but she didn’t have a chance. So I will go for her.”

CSU officials now are talking more aggressively about seeking potential students like Sar.

Construction workers from JEDUNN Construction work ...
Rebecca Slezak, The Denver Post

Construction workers from JE Dunn Construction work on the Vida building being built on Colorado State University’s campus in Denver, Colorado, on Sept. 16, 2021. The building is expected to be completed by January 2022.

Beyond the economic benefits of ample enrollment, CSU is a land-grant school with a statutory mission of providing agriculture and industrial education to a broad population. Higher education served mostly elites until U.S. leaders in the 1860s set up those schools to bolster democracy and development. Today, the United States ranks among the top 10 nations in the portion of residents (about 46%) who’ve received post-secondary degrees.

The three-building CSU campus in north Denver — just east of Interstate 25 and north of Interstate 70 in Globeville — gives a foothold for expansion. Research facilities here add to the lab opportunities on CSU’s main Fort Collins campus with a focus on water supplies, food production and veterinary sciences. Denver Water is relocating its municipal water-quality testing lab to the campus.

The facilities will be open — at no cost — for public observation. Large windows enclosing the various labs are designed to engage would-be students who can watch veterinarians conducting surgeries on cats and dogs. In a mock exam room, elementary and high school visitors can inspect X-ray images, try to diagnose ailments and play the role of surgeons themselves. They’ll be able to see injured horses receiving acupuncture treatment and race horses training on underwater treadmills.

CSU will spend $10 million a year running this new campus, Frank said, including elementary school partnerships and recruiting activities.

He acknowledged huge financial obstacles in trying to enroll more students whose families cannot easily afford college. CSU relies on private support, tuition, room and board to cover 90% of its budget due to relatively paltry state funding. Low-income students can receive federal and other financial aid based on a sliding scale depending on family income, Frank said, and grants are available to help cover costs of room and board.

“I want all of them to attend college,” Frank said. “We’re going to need all of them. It’s not as if our generation has left the next generation with an easy set of problems to solve.”

But recruiters will be hard-pressed if Street Frat members and other teens in east Denver are an indication.

Most face pressure to earn money to help support their families. “Mistrust of higher education” deters others, said Street Frat director Yoal Ghebremeskel, 36, whose team runs this collective from the basement of a Disabled American Veterans building. “Like, ‘I go to college for four years. Then what?’”

Yet many are motivated. “I’m thinking of college, looking for scholarships,” said Daniel Numbi, 14, who was born in Congo before his family fled war to Uganda. “But I have a B in math.”

CSU and other universities trying to attract potential students “will have to be consistent” in their efforts, Ghebremeskel said. And Kamal Arar, 34, who helps out at Street Frat, recommended reaching teens when they’re in middle school “because then they will listen.”

Among the scores of teens who since 2013 have hung out, horsed around, trained, studied and shared meals at the Street Frat, Soe stands out as one of the smartest, with a knack for asking “foundational questions,” program coordinator Levon Lyles said. But he’s been in trouble, leading to multiple court hearings that have delayed his studies at South High.

Soe claims he’s “clean” now, wiser and determined.

“I want to get everything right. I don’t want to be a criminal,” he said on a recent evening. “Some guys here say after high school you’re done, that you don’t have to go to college to be successful. My mother said: ‘If you go to college, you will be more successful.’”

His friend Micro Win, 22, said he tried college in Montana and found it “too tough,” partly because “they make fun of your accent sometimes.” He turned to a Job Corps program and recently began a night shift job at Home Depot earning $18 an hour with health benefits.

Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post

Entrepreneur John Oo, 21, works behind the counter at his new business Ohlala Sweets, a cookie/pastry kiosk in the Town Center at Aurora Mall in Aurora on Sept. 29, 2021.

Rather than wait for outside financial help, South High graduate John Oo, 21, concluded he and his family must help themselves before higher education is possible.

For years, Oo endured pressure as the eldest son to become a doctor. He began biology and other studies at the University of Colorado in Denver, but realized his family could not afford the bills.

He persuaded his parents to let him delay his studies after completing a two-year degree and obtaining a nursing certificate. While working $25-an-hour night nursing shifts, following a day shift at Chick-fil-A, he said, he saved enough to purchase a kiosk in the Aurora Town Center Mall – called Ohlala Sweets – where he now works “to build an established customer base” and create a family financial engine.

He’s training his 17-year-old sister on weekends to help run the business. Soon, Oo said, he’ll apply for college again. His goal: become a doctor and provide medical help for people in the United States and around the world who cannot afford it.

“”If somebody gives me the opportunity to attend school, I’ll gladly take it. Financial need has been the biggest barrier for me,” Oo said. “And I don’t want to be in debt because that’s too much of a burden for me and my family.”

Get yourself a 14-inch Lenovo Chromebook for a ridiculous $169

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Experience is Everything: How to Delight Customers and Employees With High-Quality Wi-Fi

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