Washington Salutes Agreement on Agrarian Reform between Bogotá and FARC

first_imgBy Dialogo May 30, 2013 The deputy spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State, Patrick Ventrell, congratulated “the first agreement ever reached between the Colombian government and the FARC,” considering it a “very positive step towards peace negotiations.” “We have strongly supported President Santos and the Colombian government for a long time in their quest for lasting peace and security, to which the Colombian people are entitled,” Ventrell added. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos also welcomed this first agreement with Marxist guerrillas on May 28, and stated that it would lead to an “integral rural reform” in the next few years. center_img On May 28, U.S. diplomats hailed the agreement on agrarian reform between Bogotá and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), announced on May 26, and expected to contribute to peace in Colombia. The Colombian authorities and FARC rebels, who have held peace negotiations in Cuba for six months, announced that they had reached an agreement regarding the agrarian reform on May 26.last_img read more

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U.S. Announces Major Operation against Synthetic Drugs in Five Countries

first_img The drugs come mainly from Asian countries, such as China and India, and enter U.S. ports illegally. On June 26, U.S. authorities announced an international effort against synthetic drug trafficking with Australia, Barbados, Canada, and Panama, resulting in over 150 arrests. Project Synergy started in December 2012 with 75 arrests and intensified in the last three days, with raids and arrests in 49 cities, DEA chief of operations James Capra told the press. Synthetic drug trafficking causes the loss of “millions of dollars from the loss of lives of young people. It is a level of evil that is not fully understood by many people,” Capra stated. The majority of victims who died from the use of these drugs are between 12 and 29 years old, Tracy Lembke, Homeland Security’s Deputy Assistant Director in charge of operations, stated. “It represents the largest operation against synthetic drugs in the history of the war on drug trafficking,” Rusty Payne, spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) stated. Capra added that “now more than ever” terrorists are funding their operations through international drug trafficking, even though the official did not specify if this was the case for this investigation. Authorities have since seized over 1,500 kilos of synthetic drugs, out of which 550 kilos were captured only on June 26. center_img They are sold in small packages with warnings against being consumed by people, but they come with colorful labels (alluding to cartoons, for example) that attract young people, according to authorities. In February 2012, the U.S. Drug Czar’s office issued a special warning due to the sudden deaths of about 30 young people who had used envelopes containing substances that quickly provoked dizziness, nausea, and hallucinations that can last for days. Authorities highlighted the collaboration of the Panamanian government in the investigation, a country where traffickers kept assets, although the investigation is still tracking the financing of these groups to the Middle East and other parts of the world. By Dialogo June 28, 2013 According to Capra, synthetic drugs represent a “new boundary” for the fight against drug trafficking, because as soon as authorities declare certain substances illegal, traffickers may transform them into legal products only by modifying a molecule. In recent years, the United States suffered a considerable increase in the use of “designer drugs,” manufactured with chemical precursors and packed in envelopes, as if they were bath salts, incense or even fertilizer. last_img read more

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Uruguayan and Peruvian Troops Provide Security for Haitian Elections

first_imgThe Uruguayan and Peruvian contingent maintained ongoing oversight before, during, and after the opening and closing of the polls, which included conducting patrols and ensuring security at polling centers and for those who voted. To ensure direct technical coordination with the Chief Military Liaison Officers (CMLOs), the Haitian National Police (HNP), UNPOL, and electoral authorities who worked under and reported directly to the Force Commander of the UN Mission, Liaison officers were also deployed in the departmental capitals. The URUPERBAT is protecting the Haitian voting process while MINUSTAH is aiming to consolidate peace nationwide, with the goal being a gradual and phased reduction of the mission’s Military component, in accordance with UN Resolution 2180, of 2014. “As part of the security strategy, Peruvian and Uruguayan Troops in Haiti have been leading efforts since July 15 to obtain the necessary information to facilitate the fulfillment of the mission to ensure security for the presidential and parliamentary elections,” Col. Gentini told Diálogo. Uruguayan and Peruvian Soldiers serving in the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) are cooperating through the Ecclesia plan to provide security throughout the country’s parliamentary and presidential elections. The 410-member URUPERBAT, which began deploying the Ecclesia plan in mid-July, started monitoring and improving security at polling stations primarily in the Northeast and Central departments during Haiti’s first round of parliamentary elections on August 9. They established a Temporary Operating Base (TOB) in the village of Hincha, in the central part of Haiti; it was operated by about 100 Soldiers from the Uruguayan contingent’s Combat Team Alpha. Meanwhile, Bravo Combat Team which is made up of the Peruvian URUPERBAT troops, assumed its role in the Northeast department. During the voting on October 25 — and again on December 27, if the presidential election goes a second round — the Uruguay-Peru Battalion (URUPERBAT) will maintain public safety throughout Haiti, contributing 246 Uruguayan and 164 Peruvian Troops to the total of 2,300 Troops and 2,339 police officers participating in the effort. By Dialogo October 13, 2015 It’s a good newspaper it has everything Time of transition “The military presence during the first round of parliamentary elections acts as a deterrent, and no incidents were reported. The military operation was rated as a success by national and international authorities. The Ecclesia plan was put to the test in this first round of elections.” “There will be centralized planning for the elections, with significant autonomy and opportunities to take the initiative within the guidelines provided by the military commander,” Colonel José I. Gentini, URUPERBAT’s Battalion Commander, told Diálogo. “A tiered strategy involving the participation of local authorities, the United Nations Police (UNPOL), and the military components from Brazil and Chile will be employed as part of the Ecclesia plan.” Within this context, the UN proposed that Brazil and Chile lead the final phase of the Military operation in Haiti, which will begin to wind down in 2016, after the completion of the presidential election. Protecting voting centers “We are proud to be part of the contingent that has led to the development of a democratic life in Haiti that will allow its own authorities to take charge of their country,” Col. Gentini said.last_img read more

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Bolivia Receives International Support to Fight Fires in Amazon

first_imgBy Erick Foronda / Diálogo September 19, 2019 More than 7,000 members of the Armed Forces, police, and firefighters continue to work tirelessly to fight wildfires in the Bolivian Amazon that have already wiped out nearly 5 million acres, according to official figures from the Evo Morales government.About 18 aircraft and more than 200 vehicles take part in the operation to control the fires that have destroyed forests since August in Chiquitanía, a region of Santa Cruz department on the border with Brazil and Paraguay. The fire has damaged five forest reserves, home to more than 550 animal species and more than 50 native plants, the Bolivian government said.In early September, Bolivian firefighting efforts received support from France, with the arrival of 38 specialized firefighters and drone operators trained for fire reconnaissance and localization missions, as well as 2 tons of donations, including water pumps and personal protection equipment. The French assistance is in addition to the regional support coming from Peru, with two helicopters that can carry 790 gallons of water, and from Argentina, which sent 85 members of the White Helmet Commission (a humanitarian civil organization under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) along with 200 service members and 40 vehicles.Through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the United States also contributed with the delivery of 2,000 units of equipment for firefighters, valued at $3 million. On September 9, a Russian bomber aircraft (with capacity to unload 13,200 gallons of water) joined the extinguishing efforts of the Supertanker — the largest firefighting plane in the world — and the Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopter, which have water transport capacities of 39,600 and 3,100 gallons, respectively (both aircraft were hired through U.S. companies.)“We are grateful for all the international solidarity that continues to grow,” Morales said in a press release.In early September, Morales met with experts of international organizations such as the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the United Nations, and the European Union, in addition to the U.S. and U.K. Embassies, to devise a fire prevention, action, and recovery plan. The Bolivian president also took part in a summit in Leticia, Colombia, on September 6, where seven of the Amazon countries agreed on protection measures for the Amazon, the largest rainforest in the world.Deforestation, illegal mining, illicit crops, and cattle farming in prohibited areas are the most serious threats to the Amazon. Sixty percent of the Amazon jungle is in Brazil, while the rest extends through Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, French Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela.Environmental organizations and advocates of indigenous rights have accused the Morales government of being responsible for the fires, after modifying a decree which regulates production on forest lands. The decree, passed in July, authorizes controlled fires for agricultural purposes in the Santa Cruz and Beni departments, which have been affected by the fires.On September 9, Amnesty International asked the Bolivian government to suspend the decree and demanded punishment for those responsible. “Bolivian authorities must conduct a scientific and independent investigation to find out the origin of this serious crisis,” said María José Veramendi Villa, South America researcher for the nongovernmental organization.last_img read more

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Bill gives prosecutors the last say in all cases

first_img December 1, 2005 Regular News Bill gives prosecutors the last say in all cases Bill gives prosecutors the last say in all cases Mark D. Killian Managing Editor A law that would rewrite a criminal procedural rule that has given the defense the last say in some cases for more than 150 years has cleared a Florida House panel.The House Criminal Justice Committee voted 8-0 November 9 to pass out HB 147, sponsored by Rep. Dick Kravitz, R-Orange Park, the committee’s chair, during one of the legislature’s interim committee weeks.If it passes both chambers by a two-thirds vote, it would replace part of Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.250. That rule provides in cases where the defense calls only the defendant to testify and no other witnesses that the defense attorney gets the first closing argument, and then a rebuttal after the prosecution makes its closing argument. In other cases where the defense calls other witnesses, the prosecution gets the first and last closing arguments.The bill provides that in all criminal cases, the state attorney gets the first closing argument, the defense lawyer may reply, and the prosecutor may offer a rebuttal to the defense attorney’s closing. The issue is also now pending before the Florida Supreme Court as part of a package of proposed rule amendments.Kravitz said it was time for Florida to change which side gets the last say to conform with how it is done in 47 other states, the federal courts, and the District of Columbia.This is the third year Kravitz has sponsored the measure. An identical bill – SB 658 by Sen. Steve Wise, R-Jacksonville — has been filed in the Senate.“Since the state has the burden of proof, then it is my feeling that we should have the last shot at the jury,” Kravitz said.Rep. Marcelo Llorente, R-Miami, voted in favor of the bill, but expressed separation of powers concerns and said he is retaining “the right to change my mind” when the bill is heard again at the House Justice Council.“I would encourage the people who testified today to provide the data to support that this is a matter of substance as opposed to procedure, according to how the other states and the [federal] courts are doing it,” Llorente said. “This is a matter that concerns me a great deal—-the separation of powers issue. It came before the legislature last year and had great debate on this matter. I will look forward to hearing more about this issue at the next stop.”Kravitz cited the case of a rape victim who testified in support of the bill last session as evidence for changing the rule. The women said her attacker, whom she did not know, was able to get personal information about her from her pretrial deposition and then claim they had a relationship, and her rape claim was in retaliation for his ending it.“In [the defense’s] closing argument to the jury, they made it sound like it was somewhat consensual because he knew all about her,” Kravitz said. “And [the state] obviously did not have a chance to rebut and so the last thing the jury heard was the defendant, so he was acquitted.”One of the defense attorneys in the case, Christopher Brown, however, has said having the last say played no role in the outcome.Paula Saunders, representing the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, spoke in opposition saying the rule has been a vested procedural right in Florida since 1853 and the only reason she’s heard for changing the rule is “that somewhere, sometime, someone felt they lost a case” because the defense got the final closing argument.“Well, I’d like to think all criminal defense lawyers have such brilliant oratory skills that we won our cases based solely on our closing arguments, but the truth is the cases are won and lost on the strengths or weaknesses of the evidence, on the credibility of the witnesses, on failures in investigations,” Saunders said. “There are a host of factors that go into winning and losing cases, not just the closing arguments of counsel.”Saunders said if the rule is changed, defense lawyers will no longer have an incentive to not put on marginal witnesses or exhibits or recall state witnesses, which will result in extending trials and clogging up already overcrowded dockets.Sixth Circuit Public Defender Bob Dillinger, representing the Florida Public Defender Association, said the rule is set up now to level the playing field.“I would submit to you when a jury walks into a criminal courtroom — even though we all learned in civics class the defendant is presumed innocent — when a jury sits down and looks at a defendant they don’t usually say, ‘What is this falsely accused person doing in this courtroom?’” Dillinger said. “They usually say, ‘What did he do?’ or ‘What is he charged with?’ That is a tremendous benefit the government has and tremendous burden for the defense to overcome in terms of presumption of innocence.”He said allowing the defense to go last in these cases protects the citizens against the immense power and resources of the state.However, Buddy Jacobs, general counsel for the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association, said times have changed significantly since 1853 and the “playing field” is much more level now, noting the state spends a great deal on providing counsel to indigent defendants, and private defense lawyers are highly skilled.Jacobs also noted the Third DCA in Diaz v. State urged the Supreme Court to “revisit the wisdom” of the provision.“This is something that needs to change,” Jacobs said. “It is good for victims in Florida, and it certainly is good for the system.”Kravitz said he can appreciate the opponents’ arguments because the way the rule works now benefits their clients “and that’s their job.“But when the status quo is unfair, then in my opinion it is time to change and this has became a defense tactic. . . and. . . a fairness issue,” Kravitz said. “If the people have the burden of proof, then the people should have the last shot at the jury.”last_img read more

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HR Answers: Credit unions transition to a new way to work

first_imgLast month, credit unions around the country, along with other businesses of all types and sizes, found themselves suddenly faced with a crisis that would upend “business as usual” and impact staff, members and communities.The coronavoris or, more specifically, COVID-19, had impacted people in all 50 states by the end of March, and had resulted in a myriad of state, county and local stay in place and stay at home orders. While some locations (such as New York and Louisiana) have been impacted more dramatically than others, literally no community has gone unscathed. As the media carried daily reports of new diagnoses, and deaths, and federal and state government agencies scrambled to make critical, and highly sensitive decisions to protect both public health and the economy, credit unions quickly emerged as one of a number of “essential businesses” meaning that they could stay open to serve member needs but also, in some cases, requiring employees to continue to report to work. Others were able to leverage prior experience with remote work and online services. All remained focus on member—and staff—needs.Transitioning to a New Way of WorkingWednesday, March 18 was the final day that $4 billion Corporate America Credit Union, Irondale, Alabama, had staff physically in its offices serving members. “It was a hard decision,” says Pete Pritts, president/CEO. Information had been changing rapidly, he says, but in hindsight, he says, “I believe it turned out to be the right decision.” ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading »last_img read more

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Inside a WWII-Era Plane’s Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach Practice Flight

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Playing follow the leader in sunny skies over Long Island, three World War II-era ex-military planes came daringly close to one another before breaking off, leaving white smoke trials in their wake. The daredevil pilots flying this trio of propeller-powered SNJs—the U.S. Navy version of the T-6 Texan, a trainer plane dubbed “the pilot maker” that tops out at 208 mph—were practicing their routine in advance of the 13th annual Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach, one of the biggest events on LI, this Memorial Day weekend.“They don’t make ‘em like they used to,” said pilot Chris Orr, who took this reporter along for the ride Thursday. “These planes are 76 years old and they’re working all the time, hard. And they make almost every show.”RELATED STORY: Inside the Blue Angels Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach PracticeOrr, a member of a squadron known as the Geico Skytypers, gave some tips unlike any heard by commercial airline flight attendants before taking off. In the unlikely event that something goes wrong but somehow I didn’t hear the pilot yell “bailout” three times, another sign to jump out of the plane is that the pilot is no longer strapped into the seat directly in front of the passenger seat, THE only other seat in the plane. And when bailing out, jump directly at the wing—the wind speeds ensure jumpers won’t actually hit the wing.Thankfully, we didn’t have to heed that advice. Aside from performing in air shows, clients also hire Orr’s team to write customized smoke messages in the sky. And since the company is based at Republic Airport in East Farmingdale—they’re some of the few local performers in the Jones Beach air show—it’s like their homecoming.Leading the show this year is the Blue Angels, the elite squadron of F/A-18 Hornets that woo crowds with their signature diamond-formation trickery. Jets joining them include the F-35 Lightning II, a 5th Generation fighter, the Royal Canadian Air Force Snowbirds, and the Breitling Jet Team, a civilian aerobatics team. That’s in addition to demonstrations by civilian stunt pilots such as Sean Tucker, John Klatt and others, as well as flyovers by the American Air Power Museum’s warbirds and the U.S. Army Parachute Team.RELATED STORY: Inside the Cockpit of a Jones Beach Air Show Stunt Pilot As usual, crowds came early to the airport to watch the pilots practice. Such fandom is not uncommon on an island with a rich aviation history—including Charles Lindbergh’s record-breaking trans-Atlantic flight from Roosevelt Field, former local Grumman manufacturing plants building the Apollo Lunar Module that put men on the moon, and many other firsts.Although he’s flying vintage aircraft these days, Orr is no stranger to the advanced fighter jets sharing the stage at Jones Beach. He flew F-14s for the U.S. Navy before joining the Air National Guard. He also flew C-130s on combat missions to rescue U.S. Special Forces units from hostile places, although he can’t discuss details.Since retiring from the military, his new mission is showing off his skills in these 600-horsepower, 29-foot wingspan, flying relics of a bygone era. Catch the show Saturday and Sunday!last_img read more

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Alexis Claude-Maurice rejects Arsenal move in favour of Borussia Monchengladbach

first_imgAlexis Claude-Maurice is set to join Borussia Monchengladbach (Picture: Getty)Arsenal’s move for Lorient forward Alexis Claude-Maurice is off after the striker confirmed he wants to join Borussia Monchengladbach.The Gunners have had two bids rejected for the 21-year-old attacker but had been confident of striking a deal worth around €20million (£17.83m).Reports earlier this month claimed the forward had gone as far as agreeing personal terms with the Gunners and was keen on a move to the Emirates.However, Claude-Maurice has appeared to end the speculation over a move to England by revealing he wants to join Gladbach.ADVERTISEMENT Advertisement Alexis Claude-Maurice rejects Arsenal move in favour of Borussia Monchengladbach Metro Sport ReporterWednesday 19 Jun 2019 7:53 amShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link578Shares Alexis Claude-Maurice playing for France’s U20s (Picture: Getty)‘I want to join Gladbach,’ confirmed Claude-Maurice.They are a club that focus on young players, there is a good structure, they are playing in the Europa League. I like their project & it suits me.’AdvertisementAdvertisementMore: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing ArsenalThe news will come as a blow to Unai Emery, who is yet to make a signing this summer with six weeks left in the transfer market.The Spaniard is keen to reinforce his attack after the departure of Danny Welbeck, who left after his contract expired earlier this month.Arsenal have just £45m to spend this summer after failing to qualify for the Champions League for a third successive season.MORE: Phil Foden scores stunning solo effort but Aaron Wan-Bissaka nets shocking own goal in England Under-21 defeat to France Comment Advertisementlast_img read more

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Preview: Equatorial Guinea v Ghana

first_imgHosts Equatorial Guinea will be aiming to claim another big scalp on Thursday when they take on Ghana in an Africa Cup of Nations semi-final clash in Malabo. The National Thunder improved on their best-ever showing at the African showpiece when they defeated Tunisia in a controversial come-from-behind victory in the quarter-finals. Striker Javier Balboa fired the host nation through to the semi-finals with a crucial brace against Tunisia and is certain to retain his place in the starting line-up. And Equatorial Guinea captain Emilio Nsue is relishing taking on the Black Stars, telling CAF Online: “We are pleased with this achievement and to see the country proud. “But at this stage, anything is possible. We have showed that we can compete at that level and we will go out and do our best against Ghana. “We prepared well and we have kept our focus and concentration and taken every game one at a time.  “Our fans have also been fantastic and I would like to salute them and the people of Equatorial Guinea for their support. “We hope to see them in full voice tomorrow and I hope we will continue to do well and get a dream result against Ghana.” Ghana, meanwhile, have been dealt a blow with the news that skipper Asamoah Gyan is set to miss out through injury. The talismanic forward was injured by Guinea goalkeeper Naby Yattara in the quarter-finals and has been unable to train this week. However, there is an outside chance that Gyan will be able to play through the pain barrier on Thursday.  Kwesi Appiah is expected to step into the breach if Gyan is not deemed fit to play.last_img read more

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Lakers to unveil Shaquille O’Neal’s statue on March 24

first_imgThe ceremony will begin at 5 p.m. and will be open to the public. Then, O’Neal, former teammates, colleagues and friends will speak about his 20-year NBA career, which included 15 All-Star appearances and a seventh place standing on the league’s all-time scoring list (28,596 points). The statue will be unveiled at approximately 6:05 p.m.Homecoming KingThe crowd cheered loudly, and Lakers forward Brandon Ingram had not even scored a basket. But that’s okay. The nearly 450 fans from Kinston, N.C. attending the Lakers-Hornets game on Tuesday in Charlotte mostly wanted to see their hometown hero. “Where I’m from, you probably know everybody,” Ingram said. “I knew just about everyone there.”Ingram wasn’t exaggerating. Kinston boasts about 20,000 residents, meaning that nearly 2.5 percent of the city’s population made the four-hour drive to the game as part of “Kinston Teens.” Through that, fans from Ingram’s hometown received discounted tickets and had a meet-and-greet before the game. Ingram made a birthday wish come true to an unnamed elderly man that he said had been to every one of his games at Kinston High School. “I set the inspiration that you can make it out of my hometown by just putting the work in and staying the course,” Ingram said. “Everything that I do, it’s showing that anybody can make it out of my hometown.” Staying preparedThe smile on Julius Randle’s face told the whole story. He understandably feels “very excited” he will soon be a father to his baby boy, Kyden. Lakers coach Luke Walton granted Randle to go to Los Angeles on Sunday to support his fiancé. “Really nice. That’s my guy. He took care of me,” Randle said of Walton. “I got to go home to take care of some things and I’m back here with my guys.”Randle also joked his soon-to-be born son “needs to make up his mind on what he wants to do.” Walton, who has two children including newborn Landen, offered three words of advice to Randle.“Just be supportive,” Walton said. CHARLOTTE, N.C. >> The Lakers have scheduled something for late March, and it’s a safe bet many of their fans will dig it.Former Lakers and Hall of Fame center Shaquille O’Neal will have his bronze statue unveiled in Star Plaza at Staples Center on March 24, 2017 before the team’s home game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.In a tribute to O’Neal’s commanding 7-foot-1, 325-pound frame, the 1,200 pound, 9-foot statue of O’Neal dunking will be connected to Staples Center and suspended 10 feet above the ground at Star Plaza. After the Lakers acquired him as a free agent in 1996, O’Neal used that presence to win three of his four NBA titles, a regular-season MVP and three NBA Finals MVPs with the Lakers (1996-2004). The Lakers then traded him to the Miami Heat amid concerns about his long-term durability and frequent clashes with Kobe Bryant.O’Neal will be the fifth member with the Lakers to have a statue outside of Staples Center, including former center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Nov. 2012), former guard and executive Jerry West (Feb. 2011), the late broadcaster Chick Hearn (April 2010) and former guard Magic Johnson (Feb. 2004). Staples Center also features statues of former Kings Wayne Gretzky and Luc Robitaille and world champion boxer Oscar De La Hoya.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

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