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Puerto Rico’s Governor Forced to Resign After Weeks of Mass Protest

On Monday, 400,000 people took to the streets of San Juan and demanded Ricardo Rosselló’s immediate resignation.



Puerto Rico Governor Resigns
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(TMU) — After weeks of protest that saw hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans filling San Juan’s streets, Governor Ricardo Rosselló announced his intention to resign on Friday, August 2nd at 5:00 pm during a pre-recorded statement released through Facebook Wednesday night as protests turned into celebrations.

Mensaje al Pueblo

El gobernador, Ricardo Rossello, ofrece un Mensaje al Pueblo.

Posted by La Fortaleza de PR on Wednesday, July 24, 2019

I announce that I will be resigning from the governor’s post effective Friday, August 2 at 5 pm,” Rosselló said in a statement hours after leaving members of the media waiting for a press conference that never materialized.

During the almost 14 minute statement delivered by Rosselló Wednesday night, the governor touted his many accomplishments as well as those of his wife, Beatriz Areizaga, while Puerto Ricans and allies across the world flooded livestreams with comments bemoaning the content of his statement. Comments in support of Rosselló were seemingly nowhere to be found.

According to Johnny Méndez, leader of the Puerto Rico House, lawmakers were set to begin impeachment proceedings on Thursday had the governor not announced his plans to resign. Méndez claims there existed sufficient votes to oust Rosselló.

On Monday, 400,000 people demonstrated in the streets of San Juan after Rosselló continued to resist calls for his resignation. The massive protests began after a nearly 900-page leak referred to as “RickyLeaks” revealed vulgar, homophobic and misogynistic messages pertaining to fellow politicians, celebrities, members of the media and others. While the leak was significant, it merely served as the tipping point on the island currently crippled with debt and still rebounding from 2017’s Hurricane Maria.

Puerto Rico has been U.S. colony since 1898 and while residents were granted U.S. citizenship back in 1917, the island’s 3.4 million residents do not have representation in Congress and are not entitled to electoral votes in presidential elections. Keeping in line with its second-class status, the island struggled with the extremely slow pace of recovery after Hurricane Maria thanks to little help from the federal government. Hurricane Maria brought additional debt to the country and unsavory “recovery” contracts involving Rosselló’s corruption-riddled administration.

In fact, $15 million was funneled toward consultants connected to top officials in the governor’s palace.

Puerto Ricans have long been promised that achieving statehood would someday be on the horizon. Residents have been continually let down by leaders making empty promises of statehood while creating closer ties with corporate America rather than putting the needs of Puerto Ricans first.

As calls for Rosselló’s resignation increased, rumors of his would-be successor began swirling.

According to Puerto Rico’s constitution, the secretary of state should assume the governorship. However, on July 13 Rivera Marín resigned from that position after allegations of his involvement in RickyLeaks. Wanda Vázquez, a former district attorney and current secretary of justice is now next in line.

Vázquez, who like Rosselló is a member of the New Progressive Party—which is neither new nor progressive—has been involved in her own scandals over the years. Talk of potential takeover has inspired the Twitter hashtag #WandaRenuncia, foreshadowing what may end up being a long-term protest movement to rid the island of those who have preyed on its resources and status as a U.S. territory for far too long.

Rosselló has not officially announced who would be his successor and seemed to leave open the possibility that someone other than Vázquez could be in place by August 2.

Earlier on Wednesday, as the press was being stood up by Rosselló, the Mind Unleashed had an opportunity to speak with two people on the ground in Puerto Rico who had been present at the recent protests. Salvador, a 72-year-old human rights attorney, explained the deep history of Puerto Rico as well as the factors that led up to the recent protests.

“You don’t appreciate your bones until they are broken. Puerto Rico’s liberty is broken. And the people feel it in their bones.” – Salvador Tio

It remains to be seen whether or not protests will continue as a new governor assumes office and if momentum will grow into a movement seeking complete independent from the United States, but one thing is abundantly clear: ¡el pueblo unido, jamás será vencido!

By Emma Fiala | Creative Commons |

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Akon Finally Breaks Ground On His Futuristic $10 Billion Solar Powered “Crypto City”



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The rapper, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Akon has been making significant progress on his development plans in Africa, which involve the creation of a futuristic city that runs on clean energy and cryptocurrency.

In January of last year, Akon revealed that his agreements with Senegal President Macky Sall were going forward, and a few months later it was announced that the engineering and consulting firm KE International was awarded a $6 billion contract to build the city. The company previously said it had already received $4 billion from investors for the first two phases of Akon City’s construction, giving the project a price tag of at least $10 billion. 

The project goes much further than just this one city and it has already begun to make an impact across the continent. In the short time since the deal was finalized last year, a large number of solar street lights, and solar home lighting units, have been installed across 14 African countries, according to Akon Lighting Africa.

The effort was made possible by a private-public partnership model and a well-established network of partners including SOLEKTRA INT, SUMEC, and NARI.

Phase 1 of construction on the city is expected to be completed in 2023, and will include roads, a hospital, residences, hotels, a police station, a waste facility, a school, and a solar power plant. The entire city is expected to be finished around 2029. The city’s economy will be facilitated by Akon’s cryptocurrency “Akoin,” which runs on the Stellar blockchain. Stellar is a crypto ecosystem that includes its own cryptocurrency XLM, and also allows for the development of other projects, such as decentralized exchanges and additional currencies like Akoin. Banks around the world have also been considering using the Stellar blockchain for stablecoin deployment. 

Akon believes that cryptocurrency is the solution to the corruption problems that create widespread inequality in Africa because the blockchain provides a record that would make corruption extremely obvious if it were to take place. With an independent cryptocurrency, governments are unable to print money and devalue the currency, and the control of the money is decentralized.

In an interview with TMZ last year, Akon compared the vision that he has for the city with the fictional “Wakanda” from the movie Black Panther.

“This movie literally made an idea of what Africa could really be. It’s just ironic that I was already working on this before the movie came out, but it’s something that helped me a lot when I was trying to explain to explain to people what I was trying to do,” Akon said.

The city’s crypto-economic system will also solve many problems specific to the developing world, like instantly calculating conversation rates for currencies, which is often an obstacle because there are so many different regional currencies and methods of trade. In some cases, people even use prepaid cellphone minutes as a currency because it is easier to use and exchange than traditional currencies. Akon says that the Akoin wallet will allow users to trade between cryptocurrencies, fiat currencies, and cellphone minutes instantly without having to go through a major exchange using Atomic Swap technology. The app will also teach users to become more familiar with the technology in general.

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Florida Man Uses Stimulus Check to Start Thriving Home Garden to Feed His Community



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When millions of people across the United States received their federal stimulus checks to help them cope with the devastating economic repercussions of the novel coronavirus pandemic and resulting lockdown, most people spent their checks on basic necessities like food, rent, mortgage, utilities, and other basic necessities

However, one man from East Tampa, Florida, decided to use his funds to invest in a much more long-term project: building his own garden at home and using it to help provide food for himself. He’s now teaching his community about the massive benefits of food independence.

Michael Chaney, who goes by the nickname “Spirit Mike,” has long been interested in gardening. It wasn’t until the pandemic struck and local supermarkets were struck by the crisis that he was able to muster the self-motivation and time to fully pursue what began as a hobby and now has turned into his passion.

When he received his first stimulus check, he immediately used the funds to purchase some pots and start growing his first tomato plant. He also spoke to seasoned gardeners at the nearby A Land of Delight Natural Farm to pick up some materials and advice that would enable him to begin growing his own food, he told local radio station WMNF.

Now, Chaney is growing not only tomatoes but also collard greens, ghost peppers, mustard greens, strawberry guava, eggplants, onions, papaya, cashew apples, sugar cane, lemon, yucca, and lettuce, among other plants on his .3 acres of land.

“I do biointensive gardening, which means planting as much as you can in a small space,” Chaney told Atlanta Black Star. “I specifically picked these types of fruits [dwarf plants] because they grow fruit fast.”

Chaney derives the most pride from his moringa trees, which he values for its high viamin C content and celebrated medicinal properties as well as its antifungal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antidepressant qualities.

“That is the Michael Jordan and the Kobe Bryant together,” Chaney told WMNF with pride.

“If you were stranded somewhere and all you have his this and water you would not only survive, you would thrive,” Chaney added. “I don’t work out. All I did was add this to my diet and add flax seed fiber and I lost 65 lbs.”

Chaney also has nine chickens that he purchased for only $3 per chick.

“My aim is to make my food cost zero,” he explained. “So, my food scraps go into the soldier fly larvae bin, they eat that and produce more larvae. Those larvae get fed to the chickens. The chicken produces eggs, I sell the eggs and eat the eggs; life is good.”

Chaney made sure to meticulously plan his garden so that actually managing it and ensuring its success would be much easier.

“It’s very important that you plan your garden. Do your research before you put a dollar down because you want your dollar to go as far as it can,” Chaney said.

He is now upholding the garden – which he has named New World Growers – as an example of community self-determination and food independence at a time when food insecurity is sharply on the rise.

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Edward Snowden Applies For Russian Citizenship As He Announces He’s About To Be A Dad



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U.S. NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden has announced that he is going to be a dad and that he has applied for Russian citizenship due to the coming change in his life. Snowden said the move is to prevent separation from his unborn son.

Snowden and his wife are applying for Russian citizenship in order not to be separated from their future son in an era of pandemics and closed borders, he said on Monday. Snowden’s wife, Lindsay, is expecting a child in late December, the RIA news agency said, citing his Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena, Reuters reported.

Snowden fled the U.S. and was given asylum in Russia after leaking secret NSA files in 2013 that revealed vast domestic and international surveillance operations carried out by the U.S. National Security Agency where he was a contractor. Snowden exposed various capabilities by the NSA by revealing various extensive privacy violations. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently found one such program was unlawful and that the U.S. intelligence directors who publicly defended it had lied to the public. The court determined that the warrantless telephone dragnet that secretly collected millions of Americans’ telephone records violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

U.S. authorities have for years wanted Snowden to return to the U.S. to face criminal charges on espionage brought against him in 2013.

“After years of separation from our parents, my wife and I have no desire to be separated from our son. That’s why, in this era of pandemics and closed borders, we’re applying for dual US-Russian citizenship,” Snowden wrote on Twitter. “Lindsay and I will remain Americans, raising our son with all the values of the America we love, including the freedom to speak his mind. And I look forward to the day I can return to the States, so the whole family can be reunited. Our greatest wish is that, wherever our son lives, he feels at home.”

Russia has already granted Snowden permanent residency rights, his lawyer said last month, a requisite step towards Russian citizenship.

Snowden’s wife recently publicly announced her pregnancy last week in a photograph posted to Instagram. “A long time in the making,” she wrote. “Our greatest collaboration coming soon.” Snowden said; despite applying for Russian citizenship, he hopes to one day return to the U.S. to reunite his family.

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