Messi Under Fire By Human Rights Foundation Over Gabon Visit

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As I have read on the UK telegraph, and many other news outlets have also reported on this, the famous Argentine and Barcelona star Lionel Messi came under fire by the Human Rights Organisation for his trip to Gabon. As the Human Rights Organization president Thor Halvorssen stated: “In providing PR services to Gabon’s Bongo family, Lionel Messi has seriously undermined the credibility of his own charitable foundation.”. Furthermore, Messi was accused of being paid an astonishing 3.5 million euros by France Football, but those accusations were categorically denied by the Gabon embassy.

The Human Rights Foundation was founded in 2005, with the first office opening a year later in New York in August of 2006. The HRF is a non-profit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a special focus on closed societies. Their mission is, as stated on their website, to: “Unite people in the common cause of defending human rights and promoting liberal democracy”. Since they are against closed societies, this is probably the main cause of their reaction to Messi’s visit to Gabon.

The country’s president Ali Bongo was previously accused by the HRF for acting as a dictator and was involved in a scandal with a ritual in which young children are sacrificed and their organs harvested for human consumption. That does not sound like a guy you want to anyone involved with, especially not a sportsman like Messi.

Messi was a guest of honor in Gabon, one of the activities during his visit was to lay the first stone for the construction of the Port-Gentil stadium. This stadium is set to be the venue for the African Cup of Nations, scheduled for 2017.

The controversy does not end there – Messi was further accused for his outfit. Quoting the political party Union De Peuple Gabonais, it was obvious that they were not happy with the way Messi looked.

“The messiah of football arrived in Gabon like he was going to a zoo: dirty, unshaven and his hands in his pockets, looking for peanuts to throw at them!

When you’re called Lionel Messi and you’re a multi-millionaire, you don’t have the right to present yourself to officials of a republic, even a banana one, with your hands in the pockets of a ripped, tattered pair of shorts. Gabon isn’t a zoo. We don’t know what the Argentine came to Gabon for, but we at least have the right to denounce his negligence and his lack of respect for standards and principles. Only for these reasons, linked to respect for the host country, do we condemn the footballer’s delicateness, to say the least!”.

I do not think that the criticism of the Union De Peuple Gabonais should be taken seriously, it looks like they are just trying to gain cheap political points for their political party. Messi is a football player and not an ambassador or president of a different state, it was not a meeting between two high ranking political officials. He was a guest of honor, promoting a future sport event and should be allowed to dress any way he feels most comfortable.

Are Messi’s criticisers right? Should he have been more careful and more aware of the political and human rights situation in Gabon? Or was he just used by these parties for gaining media attention. I leave you to make that decision for yourself.

Andy Wirth Sidestepped Death to Lead Squaw Valley to Prosperity

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Andy Wirth, who recently became head chairman of the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority Board, has come a long way in the past few years. The name Andy Wirth might faintly niggle at the back of your brain but you probably don’t really know why. The truth is that Andy Wirth is the CEO of the Squaw Valley Ski Resort but you probably know of Wirth for his near deadly skydiving accident and the amazing recovery that followed thereafter.

If you ask Andy if he is an adrenaline junky he’d probably shake his head but there is no denyign that the man likes to take on nature, and he usually wins. Wirth is an avid skier, cycler, and triathlete but his passion has always been skydiving. On a fateful day last October Wirth went on his normal jump routine but something went terribly wrong. He was blown out of his landing zone and forced to land in a vineyard. This forced him to make evasive maneuvers in order to avoid trees and other debris. He end up hitting a pole, immediately taking his arm off.

Wirth was stuck with an arm injury that would rapidly cause him to bleed out. Instead of panicking or giving in to the injury, Wirth slowed his breathing and hummed a song in order to offset shock and stay calm. He was able to stay calm while slowing the blood flow long enough for help to arrive. He spent three months in a hospital before he was back out. Life had slowed down for the man in a way he wasn’t used to but he didn’t stay lax for long.

After recuperating ni the hospital Wirth then made friends with a member of a Navy Seal team and before long the Squar Valley CEO was back in the thick of things, this time racing in the vaunted IRONMAN. Now Wirth runs for a purpose, more than just the adrenaline, as he represents a Navy Seal Foundation that raises money for soldiers who have lost their limbs or their lives while defending the country.

Less Expensive than Manhattan

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Apartment communities are great places to make friends, to live in secure environments with doormen and ultimately live in a place where everything is taken care of for you. In addition, with many people working from home, at least part of the time, it is really nice to live in a complex where there is access to a fitness facility, bike storage, laundry facilities, parking garages and those which are also not far from mass transportation, especially in the greater New York tri-state area. In a lot of ways, higher end apartment complexes are like living in luxurious hotels. New Jersey has its fair share of these communities, and they cater to those that are looking for a little more than a place to hang their hat. The Aspire, in New Brunswick, New Jersey does just that.

This community was designed with residents needs in mind. There is a covered parking garage and bike storage on the premises. There is also two spacious outdoor decks, with one being on the 18th floor providing panoramic city views. You can also feel safe with a 24-hour doorman lobby. Apartments are often not big enough to entertain in, at least not if you are entertaining more than a few people. The Aspire has a Resident Club which has a kitchen attached to it, as well as a library and dining room. This area can be booked by residents for parties or other gatherings requiring some additional space than one might have in their apartment. All residents can enjoy the 24-hour, state-of-the-art fitness facility. This community is also pet friendly, and every apartment also comes equipped with a washer and dryer.

New Brunswick has a thriving night life, and this complex is surrounded by an eclectic mix of bars, restaurants and shopping options. The company that completed The Aspire project, also owns One Spring Street, another upscale community of New Brunswick luxury apartments. There is also another New Jersey apartment complex being undertaken by this development firm in Newark called One Rector Street. This is the first high-rise that is being built in this city, which unfortunately is the home to decaying structures that are reminiscent of an earlier, thriving, and industrial time.

Reinvesting in these areas is going to bring much needed additional housing options to Northern New Jersey in particular, which is home to an enormous amount of Manhattan residential overflow. Newark is also only about a 20 minute commute to the city for those that are looking for less expensive housing options while also wanting to avoid long commutes. New Jersey is a great place to live if you work in Manhattan, as you get a lot more for your money while remaining commutable distance from work and one of the world’s most thriving cities.

Another Blow to Marijuana Activists as Judge Rules to Keep Pot Listed as a Schedule I Drug

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U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller was praised by pot activists for being bold enough to hold a 5-day hearing last year in Sacramento, CA to evaluate the current classification of marijuana. Under the Controlled Substance Act of 1970, marijuana is listed as a Schedule I drug along with such toxic drugs as heroin, LSD and ecstasy. Having a Schedule I classification implies that those drugs are unsafe, have no medicinal function and present a high capacity for abuse, all of which have been scientifically proven false for marijuana. Many activists all over, including Crystal Hunt (facebook.com), are appalled that anyone could put marijuana in the same class as heroin and incredibly upset by the fact that despite overwhelming evidence that our government can still say that marijuana does not possess any medicinal properties.

Unfortunately, Mueller couldn’t see through the pot prohibitionists’ propaganda and ruled not to reclassify the drug. Leafonline.com, a blog devoted to marijuana activism, quoted Mueller as saying, “At some point in time, a court may decide this status to be unconstitutional, but this is not the court and not the time.” Her original decision to hear the issue was brought on by defense lawyers for accused marijuana growers.

Had she made a favorable ruling to lower the drug’s classification status, it could have proven to be a pivotal point in the marijuana legalization battle. However, her decision to not remove pot from its precarious classification will greatly slow the anti-prohibition roll. Director of California’s branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), Dale Gieringer, says that until the case against the marijuana farmers is settled either late this year or early next year, Mueller’s ruling cannot be appealed.