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UCF Puerto Rico Research Hub Receives $500K to Expand Research

The UCF Puerto Rico Research Hub (PRRH) has been awarded $500,000 in funding to expand its research capabilities to better track key social and economic trends. The funding is part of the FY2023 Consolidated Appropriations Act, which supports a range of domestic and foreign policy priorities.

“There is no better investment than education and research to understand the impact of the continuous growth of the Puerto Rican population in Florida, particularly in Central Florida,” says Fernando Rivera, PRRH director. “Understanding and coming up with solutions to the pressing issues encountered by this important segment of the population is not only important for Puerto Ricans in Florida, but to all who live and call Central Florida home.”

Rivera founded the PRRH after Hurricane Maria devasted the island in 2017, resulting in a surge of the Puerto Rican population in Central Florida. The hub provides essential information about Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican population to communities throughout Florida and elsewhere in the United States. Through research, educational, outreach, and partnership activities, the PRRH has become a model for study and engaging with this growing, diverse community.

The funding will allow the PRRH to conduct polls on key social and education issues. It will allow the hub to invest in communication and marketing tools to develop reports, infographics and other educational materials for distribution to scholars, the community, policy makers and others. The PRRH will also hire new research staff, support community focus groups and events that assist with research, purchase technology and software. The information garnered from the PRRH’s research will, among other things, enable government officials and community leaders to make more informed decisions as to how best to allocate resources to serve communities with significant Puerto Rican populations.

“This funding will be instrumental in expanding the capacity of the hub, which is vital given the presence of the diaspora here in Central Florida,” says Zoé Colón, senior advisor to the PRRH and associate director of Global Perspectives & International Initiatives, who spearheaded UCF efforts to secure the funds.  “I am also thrilled about the increased opportunities for students to get involved in research at the hub.”

U.S. Rep. Darren Soto (Kissimmee), whose father is Puerto Rican, was instrumental in including funding for the PRRH in Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill last summer. This was later lumped into the year-ending omnibus, which included all outstanding appropriations bills. “Rep. Soto has been a champion for the Puerto Rico Research Hub since day one and want to thank him for believing that education and research are pathways to advance and enhance the lives of our community members,” Rivera says.

UCF will publish research findings through a public awareness campaign, and include these findings in a new magazine being jointly produced by the PRRH and the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) – Rio Piedras, which will begin publication in 2023. UCF will also disseminate findings to members of Congress, and officials in states and localities with significant Puerto Rican population clusters.

Inclusive Excellence
Community Impact
UCF Global
Puerto Rico Research Hub

Ana Montes: Former top spy says she will live in Puerto Rico

  • Published

Image source, CBS

Image caption,

Ana Montes after her release from prison

Ana Montes, a long-time Cuba spy recently released from prison in the US, has landed in her native Puerto Rico.

In a statement, Montes said she is now focused on leading a private life.

She has also called attention to difficulties facing people in Puerto Rico and the ongoing US embargo on Cuba.

Montes spent 20 years in custody after she was found to have been spying for Cuba for two decades.

The 65-year-old was called one of «the most damaging spies» by a US official.

Her spying, conducted during her time as an employee at the Defence Intelligence Agency, is said to have significantly exposed US intelligence operations in Cuba.

During her time at the agency, her colleagues, who did not know about her spying, dubbed her «the Queen of Cuba» because of her expertise in the region,

She was arrested in 2001 by the FBI, just 10 days after the attacks of 9/11.

On Friday, Montes was freed from a federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas.

  • Ana Montes: Top spy freed in US after more than 20 years

In the first statement to the media since her release, Montes said that she hoped the focus would shift away from her and towards what she said were «serious problems» facing people in Cuba and Puerto Rico.

«I, as a person, am irrelevant. I don’t matter,» Montes said in her statement, written in Spanish. «There are serious problems in our global homeland that require attention.»

The island of Puerto Rico, where Montes’ grandparents immigrated to from Spain, is still reeling from significant damage after a series of powerful hurricanes and an earthquake that hit the region in recent years.

Many in Puerto Rico — a territory of the US — have accused the US government of not doing enough to help its people recover and rebuild their homes.

Meanwhile, Cuba has been under a US embargo for 60 years, which is said to have had a significant economic impact on residents of the island.

The embargo began following the Cuban revolution in 1959, which saw Fidel Castro rise to power and strengthen relations between Cuba and the Soviet Union.

The United Nation estimates the embargo has cost Cuba around $130bn (£106.55bn).

  • Cuban farmers wait for US embargo’s end
  • Puerto Rico: The island struggling to secure its future

In November, the UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to condemn the ongoing US embargo on the island.

Montes has long spoken openly against US government policies in Central America. According to the FBI, she was recruited as a spy by Cuba after they sensed that she would be sympathetic to their cause.

When she began working at the US Defense Intelligence Agency in 1985, Montes was already spying for Cuba.

She went undetected for many years, partly due to her ability to type up information from memory on her personal laptop outside of work hours, instead of removing classified documents from the agency. She then transferred information to Cuban officials onto encrypted disks.

Montes was detained in September 2001 after US intelligence officials received a tip that a government employee was spying for Cuba. She then pled guilty and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

She will remain under supervision for five years upon her release and will have her internet use monitored. Montes is also banned from working for the government.

  • Cuba
  • Spying
  • Puerto Rico
  • United States

Oral sex, bribes and intrigues of rivals — Novye Vedomosti

What the organizers of Miss Universe are hiding and where the rumors about fraud come from

The jury’s conclusions were almost immediately questioned, and not for the first time. The organizers were quick to deny accusations of rigging the results, but the bad reputation of Miss Universe makes it difficult to take their word for it. «Lenta.ru» figured out what was happening behind the scenes of the competition. nine0005

Dirty game

Dissatisfied with the victory, American women appeared during the broadcast of the final of the contest on the Internet and on television. There were so many critics that the English words “deception” and “rigging” entered the Twitter trends. Even Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro joined the opponents of the competition. He stated that the Venezuelan Amanda Dudamel, who took second place, had been robbed of her victory.

Scandals have plagued R’Bonnie Gabrielle for months now. When she won the Miss USA 2022 national pageant, her rivals did not congratulate her, but defiantly left the stage. Soon, several finalists stated that the decision on her victory, apparently, was made in advance. According to them, Gabrielle constantly communicated with the staff and management of the competition and received benefits that other participants did not have. nine0005

Gabrielle’s most ardent opponent «Miss Montana USA» Heather Lee O’Keel attributed this to her connections with one of Miss USA’s important sponsors. In addition, Gabrielle was personally acquainted with one of the jury members who evaluated the costume contest.

The Miss Universe Organization, which hosts Miss Universe and Miss USA, has vowed to investigate and temporarily suspend the president of the US pageant. According to the chief executive of the company, Amy Emmerich, the results of Miss USA 2022 were checked by an independent organization and found no evidence of fraud. To doubt the accuracy of the results of Miss Universe 2022, in her opinion, is completely absurd, since they were summed up under the supervision of one of the largest audit firms in the United States. nine0005

Scandals and undercover wrestling

The Miss Universe contest has long had a kind of glory. Both its participants and organizers now and then get into dubious stories. For example, in 1974, there was simply no one to award: the winner was demoted for breach of contract, and the second-place winner dropped out when a secret child was found with her. It was a unique situation that no one had encountered before or since that incident.

In 2001, someone started a rumor that a French representative was transgender. In order not to lose the right to participate, she had to publicly show her birth certificate. And in 2007, someone sprayed pepper spray on Miss Puerto Rico’s dress and cosmetics right during the ceremony. She stood on the stage, shedding tears, and then, already backstage, found that her skin was covered with a rash. nine0005

Petersburg police officer Oksana Fedorova, who in 2002 became the first and only representative of Russia to win the Miss Universe, lost her title after just four months. Officially, it was alleged that she was punished for refusing to perform her duties and not appearing at the Miss Teen USA awards. According to rumors, in reality the reason was different: the organizers allegedly found out that she secretly played a wedding. The New York Post newspaper quoted an anonymous insider who claimed that the girl had put on seven kilograms and was most likely pregnant. nine0005

Fedorova herself offered several explanations at once. In particular, her departure was associated with an interview with radio host Howard Stern, which she gave at the suggestion of the owner of the competition, future US President Donald Trump. She had to answer live questions about which penis she prefers, what and where she shaves, and how she relates to sex with blacks (this is the word the translator used, causing a furore among those present in the studio). A significant part of the interview was devoted to whether she would eat corpses if she was stuck in the mountains after a plane crash. “I would be patient,” the girl replied embarrassedly. nine0005

Later, Fedorova insisted that she herself gave up her title in order to return to her homeland and graduate from the University of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. In 2022, she recalled that Trump, upon learning of this, told her: “Do you understand that many girls dream of this crown? You took someone else’s place!» To put her thoughts in order, she had to hide from him in the toilet.

In this conversation, I asked to go to the bathroom to call my mother and friends for advice. And all the girlfriends shouted with one voice: “Are you out of your mind? Don’t you dare come back!» And my mother, like a wise woman, replied that I had to make the decision myself. An hour later, they were already pulling on the doors, I had to calm down and leave the toilet with some kind of solution . — Oksana Fedorova, interview for the YouTube channel “Open, David!”

The title passed to the second place winner, Panamanian fashion model Justine Pasek, and Fedorova returned to Russia and began to host the Good Night, Kids! TV program. The Russian press suggested that readers take comfort in the fact that Pasek was also not completely alien: despite her Latin American roots, she was born in the USSR.

The Trump Rule

Since 1996, Miss Universe and Miss USA have been owned by Donald Trump. Although officially the winners were chosen by the jury, in reality, no one received the crown without his personal approval. Among themselves, the Miss Universe employees called this procedure the “Trump rule.” nine0005

In 2009, TMZ published an audio recording of Trump’s words secretly recorded backstage at the competition. In it, he claimed that before, when he did not interfere, the most beautiful applicants were weeded out ahead of time. Therefore, according to him, you have to decide everything yourself. In fact, according to eyewitnesses, the participants fell into disgrace for the «wrong» skin color or because they rejected his advances. Trump relished his power and entered locker rooms unannounced to look at naked girls. Not only ill-wishers said so: in one of the interviews, Trump’s daughter Ivanka also confirmed this. nine0005

We were told to line up on stage in dresses for the opening number, covering the body no better than a swimsuit. Donald Trump arrived with his retinue and studied us more closely than any general inspecting troops. He stopped in front of each girl, examined her from head to toe and said: «Hmm» . — Carrie Prejean, Miss USA 2009 contestant

A similar system operated at all levels of the competition. In 2013, Jezebel published an investigation according to which beauty pageant recruiters hinted to potential contestants that there was no successful career without sex. One of the heroines of the material said that the contestant demanded oral sex from her right in the parking lot in front of Starbucks. She refused and went to the police, but got nowhere. The man confirmed to reporters that he really spoke with the girl on this topic, but did not mean himself. nine0005

After Fedorova’s victory, it was rumored that she got the crown for a bribe. Experts interviewed in 2002 by Kommersant Dengi magazine doubted that the international competition really trades in prizes. “It is very difficult to determine the addressee of a possible bribe here,” explained Vitaly Leiba, president of the Red Stars modeling agency. “It can be said that Trump was given a bribe, or it is possible that the United States, represented by Trump, offered a bribe to Russia by encouraging its representative at the contest.

New order

In 2015, because of Trump’s offensive remarks during the election campaign, TV channels began to terminate contracts with the organizers of Miss Universe. The future US president had to urgently sell the contests, and in 2022 they changed hands again: they were acquired by the Thai company JKN Global Group, which is owned by transgender woman Jakkapong Jakrajutatip.

The new owners say that now for the «Miss Universe» will come a different time. However, «Miss Russia» Anna Linnikova suspects that the changes are unlikely to be significant. nine0005

The competition has changed its owner and a couple of people from the management, but the whole team is old. They have been holding these contests for decades and know exactly what kind of miss they need, with what values ​​

Anna Linnikova

Linnikova admitted that there are rumors about bias and favoritism of the organizers. Despite this, she has no doubt that the American R’Bonnie Gabrielle deserved to win. “I had a chance to talk with a participant from the USA, she is very smart, kind and positive. I am sure that she will brilliantly cope with the duties of Miss Universe,» she said in an interview with Super.ru. nine0005

Miss Montana USA Heather Lee O’Keel, who exposed Gabrielle’s ties to Miss USA’s sponsor in October, shares a similar opinion. She also does not condemn the winner and puts all the blame on the organizers and sponsors, who agreed on everything behind the backs of the participants.

Photo: pixabay

Oleg Paramonov

Source: Lenta.Ru

20 years ago, a system administrator set up Windows NT in a bank and at night gave access to capacities for the [email protected] project / Sudo Null IT News0001

A system administrator admitted to the Register that 20 years ago he set up Windows NT at a bank and gave overnight access to the organization’s computing power, including dozens of servers and high-end workstations, for the [email protected] science project. But one day, the script that turned off the load in the morning did not work, and after the employees arrived at work, the computer systems were 100% loaded.

The system administrator decided to remain incognito, and Register published his story under the pseudonym Alf. He once worked for a team that installed and configured Windows NT on servers and workstations at a major investment bank. nine0005

Alf’s time at the bank coincided with the launch of the [email protected] project, which was popular with many users around the world. As part of this project, volunteers provided the computing power of their computers to process data on radio signals from space received by the Arecibo Radio Telescope in Puerto Rico and the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia, USA. Any PC owner could use it for a project, running calculations, for example, instead of a screen saver. The project quickly gained popularity. As Wired magazine reported in 2000, in just a few months, the additional computing power from the volunteers’ computers amounted to about 25 trillion calculations per second, which made [email protected] twice as powerful as the best supercomputer of the time. By the time the project closed in 2020, [email protected] had about 1.8 million users. nine0005

Alf also liked the idea of ​​helping [email protected] Moreover, the organizers of the project kept a list of the most powerful user systems, on the top lines of which, for some time, the bank system provided by Alf ended up.

In addition to maintaining and configuring bank employees’ workstations, Alf had access to the organization’s laboratory systems with powerful computers. Alf deployed [email protected] applications on a dozen multi-core servers, a couple of high-performance multi-processor workstations, and unlisted computers that needed support or were just being evaluated for integration into the organization’s system. nine0005

“All this computing power was mostly idle at night. Therefore, being a conscientious guy, I decided to donate all unused PCs and servers to science, downloaded the SETI client and set it up to work, ”admitted Alf.

Everything went well for a while. Alf quickly made it to the top 100 in the [email protected] member rankings and climbed up a few spots every night.

«Not content with that, and using my skills as a Windows engineer, I created a version of the SETI client that could be run over the network on multiple workstations at the same time,» he admitted. Soon, he added about twenty more laboratory workstations and half a dozen servers. nine0005

But history has shown that such charity could not last long.

“One Monday morning, about two weeks after the active rollout of SETI clients, I got a call from my boss and asked if I could come in early as there were reports that we were having a major virus attack and they were in urgent need of hands of engineers to prevent it, ”recalls Alf.

The system administrator quickly arrived at the bank, guessing the cause of the problem. Alf at the meeting heard his boss’s report that the bank’s lab had been infected with a virus that consumed 100 percent of the CPU power and had already spread to every workstation and server in the department’s lab. According to management, if this spreads to production systems, the bank will be in very, very big problems. nine0005

Alf «put on his most innocent but worried face» to hide the fact that he was the cause of the problem. He also wondered why the script he created to enable and disable the [email protected] application over the network did not do its job, as it had done every morning for several weeks.

“As the rest of the staff struggled to understand what was going on and had numerous discussions about it, I had to act quickly to prevent mass panic. I quickly got to my terminal inside the lab, ran the required script, and disabled the SETI clients on all lab PCs and servers to get everything back to normal. I also removed the script from the scheduler of my PC, carefully covered all traces, and also deleted copies of the application on other PCs in the bank’s network, ”said Alf. nine0005

It worked. Within an hour, everything calmed down at the bank’s headquarters, the management canceled the alarm. There was no particular investigation, and the incident and the “virus” itself were recognized as an anomaly.

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