12 Jun

Paramilitary threats against journalists in Santander department show predators have not disarmed

first_img Receive email alerts RSF_en RSF begins research into mechanisms for protecting journalists in Latin America News News RSF, IFEX-ALC and Media Defence, support FLIP and journalist Diana Díaz against state harassment in Colombia Reporters Without Borders is very worried about the media and, in particular, two journalists who have been threatened in Barrancabermeja, in Santander department, a region still exposed to the danger of paramilitaries and currently experiencing a new crime wave. Help by sharing this information News Follow the news on Colombia 2011-2020: A study of journalist murders in Latin America confirms the importance of strengthening protection policies to go further May 13, 2021 Find out more ColombiaAmericas Reports ColombiaAmericas January 23, 2008 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Paramilitary threats against journalists in Santander department show predators have not disarmed April 27, 2021 Find out more Organisation Reporters Without Borders calls for greater vigilance by the authorities after threats and intimidation, apparently by paramilitaries, against journalists in Barrancabermeja, in the northern department of Santander, especially Alvaro Pérez Vides, the head of community TV station Tele Petróleo, and Diro César González, the editor of the regional daily La Tarde. “Those who prey on the press have not disarmed,” the press freedom organisation said. “Despite the demobilisation of the United Self-Defence Groups of Colombia (AUC) from June 2003 to June 2006, the paramilitaries continue to pose a grave threat to civil liberties, especially in the provinces.”Reporters Without Borders added: “Pérez has a bodyguard and González is being protected by the interior ministry but this unfortunately does not remove the threat. As ‘demobilised’ paramilitaries infiltrate society, judicial actions pending against them need to be speeded up. Investigative work is also needed involving both the authorities and civil society, including the press.”Pérez was alerted twice by his bodyguard about the presence of paramilitaries around his home and the premises of the Barrancabermeja-based TV station he runs, Tele Petróleo. Two men on a motorcycle and three in pickup took up position outside the entrance to the station on 21 January. Notified by the bodyguard, members of the Department for Security Administration (DAS), an intelligence agency, arrested the three in the pickup (one of whom was a minor) and quickly identified them as demobilised AUC members. In the absence of an arrest warrant, the DAS released them.When the bodyguard came to collect Pérez the next day, he noticed individuals watching the house. Neighbours told Pérez the surveillance had been going on for several days. Their attire (ponchos and long boots of the kind used in marshes) was the same as that worn by the men outside Tele Petróleo. Some paramilitaries are recognisable by this kind of dress.Pérez attributes these threats to the judicial proceedings that were begun after his brother was murdered in 2006. Pérez has often spoken critically on the air this year about the presence of paramilitaries from the Bloque Central Bolívar (one of the AUC’s branches) in some of Barrancabermeja’s neighbourhoods. Paramilitaries have on occasions turned up unannounced at the TV station demanding to take it over. His family has also been threatened.González has also been targeted by paramilitaries and has been getting protection from the interior ministry for more than a year. His wife has nonetheless receiving threatening calls in recent weeks describing his movements. In November, he received a small bottle in the mail apparently containing blood and a death notice naming him as the deceased. Two months before that, a 9 mm bullet was found outside the door of his office.Twenty murders have been committed in Barrancabermeja since the start of the month in a new crime wave. Local human rights groups said: “The situation of the media is becoming increasingly tense because the victims (of violent crime) or those close to them do not want these cases reported at the national level.” Alluding to the paramilitaries, the human rights groups added that “the police and judicial authorities are doing nothing to investigate these people.” October 21, 2020 Find out morelast_img read more

4 Jun

#WATCH Maurice Quinlivan becomes Sinn Fein’s first #Limerick TD at #GE16…

first_imgLimerick Artist ‘Willzee’ releases new Music Video – “A Dream of Peace” Predictions on the future of learning discussed at Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Advertisement Maurice Quinlivan celebrates his election with family Andrew Carey at the Limerick Count [email protected] Fein’s Maurice Quinlivan has taken the second Dail seat in the Limerick City constituency after receiving almost 3,500 transfer votes from the eliminated AAA candidate Cian Prendiville who was knocked out of the race on the fourth count.In a hotly contested constituency that has gone to the wire for the remaining two seats, Maurice Quinlivan praised the work of his team and thanked his supporters who are looking for a “progressive next government” after taking a total of 10,517 votes from the 46,761 valid ballot papers.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up Maurice Quinlivan celebrates his election with familyIn doing so, the newly elected TD had a surplus of 1,164 votes having reached the 9,353 quota on the fifth count.Three exiting TDs now remain in the hunt for the last two seats as Minister for Finance Michael Noonan, Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sullivan and Fine Gael TD Kieran O’Donnell battle for the Dail.With Michael Noonan now sitting on a total of 9,018, the Fine Gael stalwart is likely to take the third seat ahead of his party colleague Deputy O’Donnell with Jan O’Sullivan likely to retain her seat as she leads by 210 votes following the fifth count.Kieran O’Donnell is facing an election exit, but as the margin is so close, a nail-bitting finish is awaited. Limerick’s National Camogie League double header to be streamed live NewsBreaking news#WATCH Maurice Quinlivan becomes Sinn Fein’s first #Limerick TD at #GE16 in over 90 yearsBy Staff Reporter – February 28, 2016 1048 Linkedin Email WATCH: “Everyone is fighting so hard to get on” – Pat Ryan on competitive camogie squads center_img WhatsApp TAGSfeaturedlimerickMaurice QuinlivanSinn Fein Print Limerick Ladies National Football League opener to be streamed live Facebook Twitter Previous articleNeville joins O’Donovan and Collins as county #Limerick TDsNext article#WATCH #Limerick retains Jan and Noonan in #GE16 as O’Donnell loses out Staff Reporterhttp://www.limerickpost.ie Billy Lee names strong Limerick side to take on Wicklow in crucial Division 3 clashlast_img read more

12 Aug

Local Publix employee tests positive for the Coronavirus

first_imgA Publix in West Boca Raton has undergone a deep cleaning of it’s establishment after one if it’s employees tested positive for the coronavirus.The employee worked at the store on the corner of Clint Moore Road and U.S. Highway 441.“The store has completed a disinfection-level deep cleaning in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in addition to our daily cleaning and sanitation protocols,” Publix spokeswoman Nicole Krauss told our news partners at WPTV.Publix also announced on Monday that it will supply employees with facemask and gloves which they can choose to wear if it makes them feel more comfortable. They also reported, however, that they have a limited supply of gloves for associates and that they will not supply masks as they are in short supply and are needed for medical staff.Some stores have also begun putting up plexiglass barriers between cashiers and customers to prevent the spread of the virus.last_img read more

21 Dec

Humboldt Eagles soaring after pair of wins

first_imgArcata >> Summer-league teams can be tricky to navigate. The case of the Humboldt Eagles 19-and-under American Legion baseball team is no different.The Eagles are a team chock full of some of Humboldt County’s best and brightest prep baseball stars, all vying for at-bats and playing time.A few weeks into the summer season and it’s “so far, so good” for the Eagles, who are starting to gel and winning baseball games as a result.On Thursday, the Eagles beat the Perth Heat Colts, an …last_img read more

19 Dec

Humans May Have Lost Beneficial Traits

first_imgImagine if you could regrow teeth all your life. Have we lost some capabilities during human history?Aside from the occasional aches and pains, our bodies are pretty amazing. Cuts can heal, hearts can beat for decades non-stop, and brains can conceive profound abstractions. The versatility of human motion is astonishing, as any Olympic Games broadcast shows. Still, we can see other animals with traits that would be nice to have. On second thought, maybe our ancestors did have them.Jaws envy. Sharks can regenerate teeth throughout their lives. Why can’t we? Science Daily describes the genetics behind tooth regeneration in sharks, then says,Humans also possess this set of cells, which facilitate the production of replacement teeth, but only two sets are formed — baby and adult teeth — before this set of specialised cells is lost.The Sheffield-led team show that these tooth-making genes found in sharks are conserved through 450 million years of evolution, and probably made the first vertebrate teeth. These ‘tooth’ genes, therefore make all vertebrate teeth from sharks to mammals, however in mammals like humans, the tooth regeneration ability, that utilises these genes, has been highly reduced over time.Why would evolution keep a trait for so long, only to reduce it in the most advanced organisms?Partial regeneration hints at better times past. Liver tissue can regenerate. Skin and bone can heal. Stem cell research shows that our bodies carry around raw materials for rebuilding tissues and organs. Why can’t we regrow arms like amphibians? Why do some people go bald? Is the partial regenerative ability of the human body merely a leftover of a full repair kit that would enable much longer life? Here are some headlines that suggest innate regenerative potential in the body.Aging diminishes spinal cord regeneration after injury (Medical Xpress). Why does this ability decline over time?Researchers link absence of protein to liver tissue regeneration (Science Daily). A healthy liver can regrow 70% of its tissue after injury. Why don’t other organs do that?Specific gene network found that promotes nervous system repair (Science Daily). UCLA scientists found “an existing drug that mimics that gene network has been repurposed to promote nerve regeneration in the CNS [central nervous system].” Has that ability been lost?Mechanism to regenerate heart tissue identified (Science Daily). If drugs can “help the body grow muscles and remove scar tissue,” what if the body could have done this without external help?New research shows young muscle stem cells can improve adult muscle regeneration (Medical Xpress). If the muscles are there and work in the unborn child, why do they lose capacity later in life?Complex learning dismantles barriers in the brain (Medical Xpress). The brain has astonishing ability to rewire itself and re-learn things after injury. Why, then, do some brain disorders fail this repair process?Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) shown to form multiple types of functional lymphocytes in vivo (Medical Xpress). What if this capability did not have to be induced but happened naturally as the need arose?Stem cells used to successfully regenerate damage in corticospinal injury (Medical Xpress). A team finds that neural stem cells support regeneration.3-D ‘mini-retinas’ grown from mouse and human stem cells (Science Daily). Cambridge biologists are trying to “harness the flexibility” of stem cells to regenerate parts.Bioengineering a 3D integumentary organ system from iPS cells using an in vivo transplantation model (Science Magazine). Their experiments can regrow skin, complete with hair. A cure for baldness coming? See the picture and description in the BBC News; the sample even sprouted hair and glands.‘Game changing’ stem cell repair system (Science Daily). This headline screams for attention in the stem cell world. Scientists publishing in PNAS announced a promising new method for tissue regeneration. Using a new way to reprogram body cells into “induced multipotent stem cells” (iMS), scientists can extract fat cells and dope them with AZA, a compound known to induce cell plasticity. “When the stem cells are inserted into the damaged tissue site,” Science Daily says, “they multiply, promoting growth and healing.” The new cells take on the characteristics of the tissue into which they are inserted. This new method overcomes ethical problems with embryonic stem cells, and doesn’t require viral vectors to reprogram the cells. Look what they compare it to:Stem cell therapies capable of regenerating any human tissue damaged by injury, disease or ageing could be available within a few years, following landmark research led by UNSW Australia researchers.The repair system, similar to the method used by salamanders to regenerate limbs, could be used to repair everything from spinal discs to bone fractures, and has the potential to transform current treatment approaches to regenerative medicine.Morally challenged descendents. Why are there psychopaths with no empathy for others? Why so much hate and anger in the human race? Maybe charity is the default, and lack of it represents a degradation. Some UCLA neuroscientists claim to have found “potentially groundbreaking” evidence that humans are “hard-wired for altruism,” Science Daily says:It’s an age-old quandary: Are we born “noble savages” whose best intentions are corrupted by civilization, as the 18th century Swiss philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau contended? Or are we fundamentally selfish brutes who need civilization to rein in our base impulses, as the 17th century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes argued?After exploring the areas of the brain that fuel our empathetic impulses — and temporarily disabling other regions that oppose those impulses — two UCLA neuroscientists are coming down on the optimistic side of human nature.“Our altruism may be more hard-wired than previously thought,” said Leonardo Christov-Moore, a postdoctoral fellow at UCLA’s Semel Institute of Neuroscience and Human Behavior.Evolutionary theory would have us believe that beneficial capabilities arose by chance, then were lost by chance. What if, instead, there has been a gradual decline in original capabilities due to the accumulation of mutations and genetic entropy?Update 4/6/16: Another article in Science Daily appeared suggesting that humans lost regenerative abilities:If you trace our evolutionary tree way back to its roots — long before the shedding of gills or the development of opposable thumbs — you will likely find a common ancestor with the amazing ability to regenerate lost body parts.Lucky descendants of this creature, including today’s salamanders or zebrafish, can still perform the feat, but humans lost much of their regenerative power over millions of years of evolution.But why would evolution lose an “amazing ability” that would surely seem to augment fitness? The system was already there. It’s just a matter of genes and proteins and stem cells. This is devolution, not evolution. Millions of years not required.Christians believe the original creation was perfect, but that perfect state fell due to sin. Even so, the Bible says humans lived for hundreds of years before the Flood before succumbing to the judgment of death God had warned our parents of. If God’s “plan A” was eternal life, it makes sense He would have created with built-in capacities for repair and regeneration, along with an environment conducive to health (a stronger magnetic field and better atmosphere, perhaps, and unknown benefits from the Tree of Life). The fact that some of these regenerative mechanisms still exist suggests that they were stronger in the past, but have declined over the millennia due to mutational load and genetic entropy.Even with today’s genetic burdens, there’s no reason humans couldn’t live much longer and healthier lives than most do. Medical science and healthful advice about diet and exercise can often improve longevity. It won’t cure death this side of the New Creation, of course, but there’s something charitable about reversing some of the effects of the curse. The Bible’s description of a future state (some consider this the Millennium) hints at much longer, healthier lives before a final judgment, then life everlasting for those who repent of their sin and trust Christ. There will be no bodily regeneration without spiritual regeneration first (Titus 2:11-14). But with bodies this amazing even in a fallen world, just imagine what resurrection bodies will be capable of in the absence of sin! (I Corinthians 15:42-49). Here’s a quote from C.S. Lewis:To shrink back from all that can be called Nature into negative spirituality is as if we ran away from horses instead of learning to ride. There is in our present pilgrim condition plenty of room (more room than most of us like) for abstinence and renunciation and mortifying our natural desires. But behind all asceticism the thought should be, ‘Who will trust us with the true wealth if we cannot be trusted even with the wealth that perishes?’ Who will trust me with a spiritual body if I cannot control even an earthly body? These small and perishable bodies we now have were given to us as ponies are given to schoolboys. We must learn to manage: not that we may some day be free of horses altogether but that some day we may ride bare-back, confident and rejoicing, those greater mounts, those winged, shining and world- shaking horses which perhaps even now expect us with impatience, pawing and snorting in the King’s stables. Not that the gallop would be of any value unless it were a gallop with the King; but how else— since He has retained His own charger—should we accompany Him? — C.S. Lewis, MiraclesIt makes sense that an all-wise Creator, who intends abundant life for His creatures, knows how to bring it about. It makes no sense to think that regenerative abilities arose by chance. (Visited 635 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

18 Dec

Midmar Mile record holder to swim for charity

first_img22 January 2014 Seven-time champion Keri-anne Payne will return to the Midmar Mile for the 12th time on the weekend of 8 and 9 February. She won’t be challenging for the women’s title again, however. This time her visit is all about charity. The South African-born British star, a two-time 10 kilometre open water swimming world champion, will be part of the Eight Mile Club, which raises funds for various charities. She will be swimming for two charities, supporting the Pink Drive’s fight against breast cancer in South Africa and the UK educational charity, Skill Force, which partners with schools, and draws on the skills and experiences of predominantly ex- Forces personnel, to inspire young people to succeed.‘Midmar is part of my history’ “Midmar is part of my history and a race I love doing,” she said of her loyal support of the world’s largest open water swimming event. “Midmar was the competition we used to do as a family when we lived in South Africa, so I have many, many fond memories of the swim and will keep coming back as long as they will keep having me.” While still living in South Africa, Payne won her first Midmar Mile title in the girls’ under-13 category in 2001. It was a win that she still regards as a highlight of her swimming career, but, she said, the Midmar Mile has been the source of many other personal highlights.‘Highlights’ “Every year at Midmar has had highlights for me, whether it was the year that I first came back from moving to the UK, or the year that British Swimming brought out a team to do the race, or the year I got the record for the Mile. “My best Midmar, though, has to be the year I equalled the record for number of wins with Natasha Figge [now Panzera, with six victories]. I will always remember my brother Mark and father Jim talking about her when I was about 12 saying ‘She is amazing. I can’t see anyone beating her record!’ That was the year I decided that I would try my best to do that!” Payne’s hold on the title, which she had held since 2008, was broken last year when Ashley Twichell became the first American to claim the honours. Payne had taken a break after the London Olympics where she narrowly missed out on a medal after finishing in a heart-breaking fourth place and was not in prime form, but she was still good enough for second place.‘A really interesting year’ “It was a really interesting year for me,” she recalled, looking back on 2013. “Midmar 2013 was the starting point last year to step back into the open water racing world and I had decided that I wanted to make it back to World Championship form and compete in Barcelona .” Payne placed 14th, just six-and-a-half seconds behind gold medallist Poliana Okimoto. After competing in Barcelona, it was time to rethink her approach. “After the World Champs I took some time out and decided that I needed a break from the sport and had time to really think about what it is that I want to do. After a lot of thought and discussions with my coach, we decided to put a plan in place to get me in the best form possible for Rio 2016, which has meant that this season – September 2013 to September 2014 – I have taken a year out of elite competitive racing marathon swimming. “So far, this year has involved swimming once a day, more gym work, and working on my step into the ‘media’ world.”An exciting time For Payne, who has dedicated so much of her time to competition, the new year is an exciting time filled with very different goals than those she has held onto in recent times. “2014 is a year for me recuperate the mind and body and do things I have not been able to do for many years,” she explained. “An example was being able head out to San Fransisco and Brazil for ‘fun’ competitions, and I am finally able this year to compete in my first Eight Mile Midmar, which I am very excited about!”last_img read more

30 Nov

Jordan Spieth finishes with an eagle at the Australian Open

first_imgStronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort View comments Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa “I’d love to explore it,” Spieth said. “It’s just a matter of, like I’ve said every year, I try and figure out what’s going on the next week, let alone a year from now.”Spieth will play next week at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas where tournament host Tiger Woods will make his return to competitive golf. Wolves beat Booker-less Suns “It was a great finish,” Spieth said. “I felt like I hit a lot of really beautiful shots that weren’t necessarily rewarded today based on just trying to judge the crosswinds.“That’s all it was today. I really felt like I shot 62 today and it was 67, I had so many looks.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutSpieth was coming off his longest layoff since his college days, nearly seven weeks since last playing in the Presidents Cup.Spieth was also playing without his regular caddie, Michael Greller, who stayed in the U.S. after the recent birth of his son. Spieth’s longtime coach, Australian Cameron McCormick, was on his bag the week Spieth was trying to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years.He won the Australian Open in 2014 in his first appearance in the tournament when it was played at The Australian. He won again last year in a playoff at Royal Sydney. In 2015, he finished in a tie for second with Adam Scott and a shot behind winner Matt Jones at The Australian.He said having his coach as caddie was beneficial.“I was just kind of voicing a lot more than I would have ever voiced to Michael,” Spieth said. “I thought it was important for Cam to kind of hear how I’m feeling hole after hole, day after day and about different situations. I think we actually made a lot of progress in that sense, or at least have a good starting point to make some progress this off-season.”Spieth was non-committal about making another trip Down Under for next year’s Australian Open.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES MOST READ CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Read Next Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Jordan Spieth of the U.S. hits his second shot on the 10th hole during the fourth round of the Australian Open Golf tournament in Sydney, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)SYDNEY — Defending champion Jordan Spieth’s difficult week in Sydney ended on a positive note Sunday — the American eagled the 18th hole for a 4-under 67.Spieth never seemed comfortable at The Australian Golf Club earlier in the tournament and couldn’t break 70 over the first three rounds, posting earlier scores of 70-71-70 for a tournament total of 6-under 278.ADVERTISEMENT Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Cayetano: 4 social media groups behind SEA Games ‘sabotage’ Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:36Manny Pacquiao part of 2019 SEA Games opening ceremony01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon Citylast_img read more

27 Oct

Video: Georgia Commit Jake Fromm Finds 5-Star WR Jalen Hall For Crazy 1-Handed Catch At The Opening

first_imgTwo Georgia Bulldogs football helmets sitting on a field.CLEMSON, SC – AUGUST 31: Two Georgia Bulldogs helmets sit on the field prior to the game against the Clemson Tigers at Memorial Stadium on August 31, 2013 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)When you get together a giant group of four and five-star recruits, you’re bound to have some crazy plays. The 7-on-7 competitions didn’t disappoint. During a Saturday game, five-star 2018 wide receiver Jalen Hall, the top player at that position in his class, made a phenomenal one-handed touchdown catch on a great throw by Georgia commit Jake Fromm.The only thing that might top the catch is the coordinated double-backflip celebration from Tyjon Lindsey and future Fromm teammate Richard LeCounte III.#AlphaPro acrobatics from @LilEasy_35 & @tyjonlindsey at @TheOpening. pic.twitter.com/3o9TsKDsnO— B/R The Future (@BR_TheFuture) July 10, 2016Pretty much everything that happened in this video was super athletic and impressive.last_img read more

24 Oct

Government to Launch Revolving Loan Scheme for Selected Crops

first_imgStory Highlights Addressing farmers in Douglas Castle, St. Ann, on September 19, the Minister said that RADA will assist farmers with land preparation. In another two weeks, the Government will be launching a revolving loan scheme for farmers across the island for selected crops. In another two weeks, the Government will be launching a revolving loan scheme for farmers across the island for selected crops.Under the arrangement, registered farmers with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), will access the support through their local farm organisations, which will oversee the repayment of the loans.Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, said the initiative has support from several private-sector partners, and funds will only be loaned for crops that have available markets.Addressing farmers in Douglas Castle, St. Ann, on September 19, the Minister said that RADA will assist farmers with land preparation.The function. dubbed ‘Salute to Farmers’, was organised by St. Jago Farm and Hardware Supplies (SJFHS) to honour farmers for exemplary service in agriculture.Mr. Hutchinson said markets are “guaranteed” for the crops that will be grown under the programme.Some 96 farmers in the area received agricultural inputs from SJFHS, including a spraying machine.Meanwhile, Executive member of the Douglas Castle Production and Marketing Organisation, Bishop Paul Black, said recently they implemented a revolving loan programme with a 98 per cent success rate.He called on potential beneficiaries of the new scheme to be honest, so that the system works for the farmers.Several farmers welcomed the help that they received from SJFHS, as it will help to boost production, given the loss from the recent floods.For his part, Managing Director of SJFHS, O’Brien Johnson, said his company will be taking the programme to St. Thomas and St. Elizabeth.He argued that farming needs all the support it can possible get, and the farmers should use the items wisely.“This is intended to motivate them, and for them to recognise that they are doing something good,” Mr. Johnson said. Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, said the initiative has support from several private-sector partners, and funds will only be loaned for crops that have available markets.last_img read more

13 Oct

Super Bowl Ads shy from politics and mind their manners

first_imgNEW YORK, N.Y. – Peyton Manning takes a family to Universal Parks & Resorts. Chris Pratt works out to get in shape to tout Michelob Ultra. Bill Hader takes a break on set to snack on some Pringles.This year’s Super Bowl advertisers are minding their manners. They’re trying hard to steer clear of everything from politics to the #MeToo movement with lightly humorous ads that don’t offend.The goal is to capture the attention of the 111 million-plus viewers expected to tune in Sunday when the Philadelphia Eagles take on the New England Patriots. Thirty-second slots are going for more than $5 million for airtime alone.Last year, ads that tackled political issues fell flat, like an 84 Lumber ad about immigration. And some thought the recent Grammy Awards’ low ratings were because the show contained too many political moments, such as Hillary Clinton reading from the Trump biography “Fire and Fury.”People are in the mood for “political-free entertainment,” said Kim Whitler, a marketing professor at the University of Virginia.Several ads will be taking a light-humour approach with mostly male celebrities. PepsiCo brands Doritos Blaze and Mountain Dew Ice are showcased in two 30-second linked spots showing Morgan Freeman and Peter Dinklage in a lip-sync rap battle.In a Pringles ad , Bill Hader has a snack on set and introduces a made-up practice dubbed “flavour stacking,” in which he mixes and matches different Pringles varieties. M&Ms enlisted Danny DeVito to embody what happens when a red M&M becomes a person after wishing on a lucky penny.Keanu Reeves surfs on his motorcycle through the desert in an ad for Squarespace. Chris Elliott lives in a bio dome to tout avocados from Mexico, while “Stranger Things” star David Harbour shows up in Tide’s commercial.“They’re light hearted and good natured,” Whitler said. “That’s on target with the mood of the country.”“We’re exposed to so much constant negativity,” said Andy Goeler, a marketing executive at Bud Light. “Delivering something just light hearted and fun is the root at what beer is all about.” The brand’s two spots showcase a mythical kingdom a la “Game of Thrones” centred on Bud Light and the catchphrase “Dilly Dilly.”Amazon’s 90-second fourth-quarter ad stars a bevy of celebrities who sub for the voice of Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant: singer Cardi B, actress Rebel Wilson, star chef Gordon Ramsey and even actor Anthony Hopkins putting a Hannibal Lector spin on things. Leading up to the halftime show, Pepsi’s ad references past celebrities who have appeared in Pepsi Super Bowl ads: Britney Spears, Michael Jackson, Cindy Crawford and others.Nonetheless, two Super Bowl ads are bucking the trend and sidling up to political issues, however obliquely.Coca-Cola’s anthemic 60-second ad features varieties of Coke, from Coke Zero to the stevia-flavoured Coke Life, quaffed by women, men and a person who uses the “they” pronoun.“There’s a Coke for he, and she and her and me and them,” a voiceover states.Coca-Cola executives say the ad highlights the diversity the company has always used in its advertising, adding that they consulted African-American and LGBTQ groups among its own employees. A biracial couple and a person in a wheelchair also appear in the spot.“We want to celebrate all the people that make up the world,” Coca-Cola executive Brynn Bardacke said. “We don’t want to exclude anyone.”On the other hand, WeatherTech, which makes car mats and other interior car products, has a staunchly pro-American approach in its ad, which shows the construction of a factory that opened late last year.“At WeatherTech, we built our factory right here in America,” the ad’s text reads. “Isn’t that the way it is supposed to be?”It’s the fifth year WeatherTech has advertised in the Super Bowl touting its all-American operations. Founder and CEO David MacNeil said his ad doesn’t have typical Super Bowl accoutrements — “no ponies, no puppies, no pretty girls” — but said it’s straight to the point about its message.“Isn’t it just logical to build your own factory in your own country so your own fellow citizens can have jobs?” he said. He said he doesn’t believe the ad might be divisive. “It wouldn’t occur to me that I could offend anyone by supporting my own country,” he said.While the majority of advertisers release their ads ahead of time to try to drum up publicity, there are some holdouts. Fiat Chrysler usually appears during the game without advance warning. Other advertisers that have remained mum about their plans so far include E-Trade and Monster Products.“It may be that advertisers with risky ads are waiting for the game, hoping to protect the surprise and break through the clutter,” said Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University.last_img read more