Change country:

Venture beyond the resort town of Ixtapa

Ixtapa Island beckons the moment you spot it from your balcony at the all-inclusive Azul Ixtapa Grand Resort and Spa overlooking the Pacific Ocean on Mexico’s west coast. A mere 15-minute water taxi ride away, we waited until the second-to-last day of our trip to check out the island’s restaurants, snorkeling, swimming and massage, on […]
Load more
Read full article on:
NYC COVID-19 infection data reveals new case average has doubled since last month
The Big Apple’s surge in coronavirus cases continued unabated Friday as new stats from the Health Department reveal the city is now averaging 2,000 new cases every day. The 2,043 new cases revealed Friday represents a doubling in the average number of new cases in just one month, up from the 1,098 reported on the...
Fact Check: Has COVID-19 Had No Impact on Overall US Deaths This Year?
In late November, the student-run Johns Hopkins News-Letter published a story, since retracted, about a study claiming that there have been no extra deaths, known as "excess deaths," this year due to COVID-19 compared to deaths expected in an otherwise normal year. Those claims proved to be false.
Trump heads to Georgia as attacks on officials continue
President Donald Trump heads to Georgia to campaign for two Republican senators ahead of a critical Senate runoff that will determine which party controls the Senate. CNN's Jeremy Diamond reports Trump's visit comes as he continues to attack party officials in the state, casting doubt on its voting process and questioning one of the lawmakers he's urging voters to elect.
Hotel lets couple stay for free on Valentine's Day for 18 years after they conceived on the holiday
British Columbia hotel chain, Hotel Zed, has given a couple one free stay every year for the next 18 years.
Football player tackles ref after being ejected from game
A South Texas high school football player was charged with assault after rushing from the sideline and knocking a referee to the ground during a game.
Nearly 6 million people to be under stay-at-home order in San Francisco Bay Area
Six San Francisco Bay Area governments issued a stay-at-home order Friday ahead of California's statewide mandate, restricting activities in a drastic effort to reduce the spread of Covid-19 as hospitals cope with a surge of patients.
TV's Ty Pennington flips Venice charmer onto the market
In Venice, former 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition' host Ty Pennington is asking $2.8 million for a 1920s home that he restored.
Biden: Haven't seen a Covid-19 vaccine distribution plan
President-elect Joe Biden said the Trump administration had shared information with his transition team about distributing a coronavirus vaccine to various states, but Biden said his team had not seen a "detailed plan." CNN's Arlette Saenz reports he also would not commit to appointing a person of color as his attorney general or defense secretary.
COVID-19’s second wave is here — and it’s brutal, warns NYC contact tracer
"When people are irresponsible it makes my job harder," she said.
Trump administration must accept new DACA applications, judge orders
The Trump administration must post a public notice that it will accept new applications for the Obama-era program shielding undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children from deportation, a federal judge ordered Friday.
NYC must downsize its government and other commentary
Budget expert: NYC Must Downsize Its Gov’t With tax revenue down sharply thanks to the pandemic, Yankees president and former labor commissioner Randy Levine, at Empire Report New York, sees no alternative to “downsizing” city government. “The private sector has taken an enormous financial hit.” Yet “for the most part, city government has not.” Structural...
Trump orders a near total withdrawal of US troops from Somalia
President Donald Trump has ordered the majority of US troops to leave Somalia "by early 2021," in just the latest major military policy decision being taken in the final days of the Trump administration.
Krebs responds to Trump lawyer's threat: We'll talk in court
Former cybersecurity official Chris Krebs responds to Trump campaign attorney Joseph diGenova after he said on "The Howie Carr Show" that Krebs should be shot.
Details of leaked Pentagon reports mention ‘unidentified’ UFOs
Details from two allegedly classified intelligence reports from the Pentagon on apparent UFOs have been leaked, including photos of purported “unidentified aerial phenomena.” The Web site published the details this week of the alleged reports from 2018 and last summer issued by the Pentagon’s Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force. According to, the reports...
Biden urges taking coronavirus vaccine, wearing masks but says they shouldn’t be mandatory
Biden urges taking coronavirus vaccine and wearing masks but says they shouldn’t be mandatory
Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Selena: The Series’ About The “Queen Of Tejano Music” And Her Family’s Road To Superstardom
Christian Serratos stars as the late Tejano superstar in a series produced by her older brother and sister.
Sonos One and One SL speakers discounted 20 percent for Amazon sale
The Sonos Black Friday and Cyber Monday savings are over. But you can still score some exciting deals on the brand at Amazon. For a limited time, Amazon is taking 20% off the Sonos One and Sonos One SL speakers. And these are some tech deals you don’t want to miss — with the savings...
7 Shows Like ‘Virgin River’ to Watch After You Finish Season 2
From Hart of Dixie to Heartland, there are plenty of dramas to queue up next.
Vanderbilt broadcaster resigns, enters rehab after ‘unacceptable’ show
Longtime Vanderbilt play-by-play broadcaster Joe Fisher announced Thursday he had resigned and checked himself into a rehab facility following his “unacceptable” behavior on the Commodores coach’s show earlier this week. “I have had the honor of being the Voice of the Commodores for 23 years,” he wrote on Twitter. “Recently I went on the air...
Atlanta raises $150G in a day to help eatery facing coronavirus closure
An Atlanta community came together to help raise $150,000 in 30 hours for a restaurant on the brink of closure because of COVID-19.
Biden confident Congress will pass COVID relief bills
Biden would not say whether or not he has spoken with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Matthew Law, a 35-year-old veteran & father of five, dies of coronavirus
CNN's Jake Tapper reports.
Biden says future 'bleak' without more economic relief for the American people
CNN's MJ Lee reports.
Presidential pardon investigation involves Kushner lawyer and GOP lobbyist, sources say
The Justice Department bribery-for-a-presidential-pardon investigation, which became public this week, involves the past efforts of well-connected Washington lawyer Abbe Lowell and Republican lobbyist and fundraiser Elliott Broidy in the early days of the Trump White House, sources tell CNN.
Foul play suspected in deaths of two men found at Fort Bragg
Investigators believe foul play is suspected in the deaths of two men found deceased at the embattled Fort Bragg army base where at least 31 staffers have died this year, reports said Friday.  The two men, identified as Master Sgt. William J. Lavigne II, 37, and Timothy Dumas, 44, were found dead Wednesday afternoon in...
CDC recommends "universal mask wearing" outside home
New guidance lists "universal wearing of face masks" as the first strategy to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Why Some Libraries Are Ending Fines
When I was a kid, the sin of returning books late to the public library populated a category of dread for me next to weekly confessions to the Catholic priest (what can an 8-year-old really have to confess?) and getting caught by the dentist with a tootsie roll wrapper sticking out of my pocket. So decades later, when I heard about libraries going “fine-free,” it sounded like an overdue change and a nice idea.Collecting fines for overdue books has been going on for over a century, originally seen as a source of revenue and as an incentive for people to behave responsibly and actually return borrowed books. Then, as early as the 1970s, research and experiments with going fine-free began to pick up steam. But as recently as four years ago, over 90 percent of libraries in the U.S. were still charging small change for late returns.A Seinfeld episode from 2009, called The Library Cop, seems at once timely and untimely. This is Seinfeld; it will make you laugh.Missions, Policies, Changes:The last five years have been very busy in the world of overdue fines. In what has been the “Fine-Free Movement,” many librarians have begun to question the traditional policy of overdue fines, and attitudes have begun to change. Are fines consistent with a fundamental mission of libraries: to serve the public with information and knowledge? And to address that mission equitably across the diverse population of rich and poor library users?A 2016 Colorado State Library system report showed that eliminating overdue fines removed barriers to access for children. While some people only notice fines as an irritation, others feel the weight heavily enough to be driven away from the library.In 2017, a Library Journal poll of 450 libraries found that over 34 percent considered eliminating at least some fines.In 2018, a poll of Urban Libraries Council (ULC) member libraries found that the most common reason (54 percent, dwarfing all others) responding libraries had gone fine-free was that eliminating fines increased access for low-income users and children.By late in 2018, several big-city public-library systems including San Diego, Nashville, Salt Lake City, Baltimore, St. Paul, and Columbus, Ohio eliminated overdue fines.The powerful American Library Association, representing some 55,000 members, adopted “a resolution of monetary fines as a form of social inequity” at their midwinter meeting in 2019.In January, 2019, the city of San Francisco issued an extensively-researched and influential report called Long Overdue, on the impact of fines on the mission of libraries, and the costs of eliminating fines on libraries, users, and the city and county of San Francisco. The report ultimately recommended eliminating overdue fines throughout the public library system.When the pandemic closed libraries and made it hard or impossible for people to return books, many libraries revisited their policies on overdue fines. In Washington D.C., an early shorter-term amnesty experiment at the beginning of COVID-19 grew into a subsequent vote by the Public Library Board of Trustees to expand eliminating fines for only youth, to everyone.Experiments in fines, amnesties, alternatives:Libraries have been experimenting with lots of different ways to address fines for overdue books. Some stopped fining all patrons; others only children or youth; still others exempted active military and veterans from fines. Some forgive fines up to a certain dollar amount. Santa Barbara, California, follows one common practice—forgiving fines for a certain number of days (30 in this case) days, then charging for the cost of the book, which can be forgiven upon its return.Lost or damaged books are in a different category. The loss of a book is much more costly and cumbersome to a library than a late return, and libraries work out various ways to address that.When libraries offer popular amnesty periods for returning overdue books, the books often pour in like gushers. An amnesty program in Chicago brought in 20,000 overdue items; Los Angeles nearly 65,000; San Francisco just shy of 700,000. And a bonus: After the Chicago library went fine-free, thousands of users whose fees were forgiven returned to the library for new cards, and readers checked out more books overall than before.Other libraries found substitutes for monetary fines. In 2018, the public libraries in Fairfax County, Virginia, began a food-for-fines program, which collected 12,000 pounds of food to donate to a nonprofit food pantry. Each donated item accrued one dollar toward a maximum $15 fine forgiveness. In Queens, New York, the public library has a program for young people to “read down” their 10-cent per day fines. One half hour of reading earns one dollar in library bucks to pay off fines.Calculating costs of fines and the benefits of going fine-free:The 2017 Library Journal poll of about 450 libraries across the country estimated that nearly 12 million dollars in monthly library fines would be collected nationwide that year.In fact, loss of revenue takes different size bites from libraries’ budgets. Some seemed like nibbles. When the New Haven, Connecticut, public library went fine-free in July 2020, the sum of overdue fines was less than one-quarter of one percent of the library’s annual budget. In San Francisco, fines in FY 2017-18 represented 0.2 percent of the operating budget. In Schaumburg Township, Illinois, 0.25 percent of the annual budget. In Santa Barbara, 1 percent. The St. Paul, Minnesota, libraries found that they spent $250,000 to collect $215,000 in fines.But a late 2018 ULC poll of 160 of its members reported that one in five libraries that were considering eliminating fines named the biggest deterrent as financial. (Only larger was political reasons, at 34 percent.) The Long Overdue report found that fines disproportionately harmed library customers in low income areas and those with larger proportions of Black residents. While libraries in all areas “accrued fines at similar rates,” those located in areas of lower income and education and higher number of Blacks, have “higher average debt amounts and more blocked users.”As Curtis Rogers, the Communications Director of the Urban Libraries Council described the findings to me: “Overdue fines do not distinguish between people who are responsible and those who are not—they distinguish between people who have or do not have money.”Funding sources for libraries vary considerably. Some libraries enjoy a secure line item in a city or county budget. Others patch together a more fragile existence of fundraising, philanthropy, public bonds and levies, and other sources.Other factors have changed the landscape as well. The growth of e-book lending, which can automatically time out and incur no fines, have cut into overall fine revenue numbers somewhat.To make up for losses in revenues, libraries have come up with creative answers. For example: processing passport renewals; a “conscience jar” for overdue books; charging fees for replacing lost cards and for copying, scanning, and faxing; charging rent for community rooms or theaters; and general tightening of spending.The impact of fines should be measured in ways beyond cash revenues. Collecting fines and blocking accounts can be time-consuming, stressful, and unpleasant for librarians, and can cause general discomfort and even ill will in a community.I witnessed a small episode of the toll that fines can take on the strong currency of people’s trust and goodwill in libraries. During a summer visit a few years ago to the public library in an unnamed town in the middle of the country, I was hanging around the check-out-desk when I saw a man reach the front of the line to borrow a few books. The librarian told him that his card was blocked, and he needed to pay his fines before he could borrow the book. The man was part of the town’s sizable Spanish-speaking population, and he didn’t understand the librarian. She repeated her message, louder each time. A line was building at the check-out. Finally, the man went to fetch his elementary-school-age daughter to translate for him. It all ended badly: He was embarrassed, the daughter was embarrassed. Others like me who witnessed the exchange were embarrassed. The man left without borrowing the books. The librarian was stuck behind non-transparent rules, although I have seen more gracious handling of such situations.In 2016, the Orange Beach, Alabama, public libraries swapped overdue fines with voluntary donations, which they soon dropped as well. Steven Gillis, the director of the public library, wrote that the overall goodwill the library earned in the community with their new fine-free policy had leveraged into increased municipal funding from a sympathetic and appreciative city council.The Long Overdue report also found that eliminating fines increased general good will between users and staff, and also increased the numbers of users and the circulation of books. They saw no increases in late book returns. * * *In 2018, a young research fellow at the Urban Libraries Council (ULC), Nikolas Michael, set out to tell the story of libraries going fine-free by creating an interactive map, which has since become one of ULC’s most used resources.Here is the map and how it works:View larger map | Provided courtesy of the Urban Libraries CouncilEach arrow on the map represents a library that ULC has logged to tell its story of going fine-free. The gold arrows are ULC member libraries; silver are non-member libraries.The map is interactive; click on an arrow and you’ll see some of the why’s, wherefore’s, and impact of the change on a particular library. The map updates with each additional entry.Curtis Rogers, from ULC, and Betsey Suchanic, a program manager there, described on a Zoom call the background and impact the map has made on telling the story and building a movement.The map helps libraries make well-informed decisions, as they use it for research and evidence to weigh the pros and cons of going fine-free.In Philadelphia, Councilwoman Cherelle Parker called for a hearing to explore eliminating fines at the Free Library of Philadelphia. She directly referenced the ULC map of fine-free libraries as evidence. ULC submitted written testimony for the subsequent hearing, which happened about six weeks ago.The map and ULC’s other reporting on the fine-free movement contribute to larger-context conversations—for example, on the topic of the pros and cons of other kinds of municipal fines, like parking tickets.The Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County just went fine-free, and they used the map specifically to make their case to their board. You can see the map on page 8 of the library’s PowerPoint presentation. * * *America’s current national focus on issues of racial, economic, educational, health, and environmental equity, and on policing and justice, has a way of reaching a sound-bite ending in media segments or conference panel wrap-ups. It goes something like this: “We need to have a national conversation about …”Public libraries, which are in business to be responsive to public needs and wants, are a model for moving beyond conversations to action. For example, public libraries open their doors to homeless people, they feed hungry children in after-school programs, they offer free wifi access for people and places (especially rural) where it is hard to come by, and in increasing numbers, they find ways to forego monetary fines. These actions shore up in a tangible way a major mission of public libraries: to provide equal access to information and knowledge for all citizens.
You Asked, We Answered: What to know about the COVID-19 vaccines
We asked you to tell us your biggest questions about the COVID-19 vaccines. Here are some answers.
White House exodus begins even as Trump continues to baselessly claim victory
White House staffers at all levels are plotting their departures as a growing number of aides to President Donald Trump are abandoning his quest to overturn the 2020 election results -- some in frustration with the building they are leaving behind.
Marc Jacobs says clothing has no gender
"I’m like, 'What’s the difference?' Whether they did it for men or women, I’m wearing it."
USWNT star Kelley O’Hara is ready to call D.C. home, on and off the field
The two-time World Cup defender was traded to the Spirit from the Utah Royals.
Video shows suspected drunk driver speeding on Brooklyn Heights Promenade
A drunk driver with a water bottle filled with alcohol took a joyride up and down the Brooklyn Heights Promenade — as shocked pedestrians looked on, according to cops. Police say got the call about a reckless driver speeding on the car-free walkway just before 5 p.m. on Wednesday. A video posted to Reddit shows...
CDC Recommends Wearing Mask Indoors When Not at Home, a Day After Biden Says He'd Urge Nationwide Masks
The agency recommends wearing a mask in all indoor spaces, a day after Joe Biden said he would encourage Americans to commit to 100 days of masks on his first day in office.
The PS5 and Xbox Series X just ushered in a new game era. But not for the reasons you think
Making games more accessible is the next technological leap. Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X bring us closer but don't ignore how Nintendo's Switch and Microsoft's Game Pass are changing how we play.
Biden says inauguration likely to emulate DNC's virtual proceedings
The president-elect said his staff will consult with public health experts as they formulate their plans for Inauguration Day.
Judge orders restoration of DACA, opens program to new applicants
One million undocumented immigrant teens and young adults who qualify for DACA on paper could apply for the Obama-era protections from deportation following the court order.
Supreme Court agrees to hear Trump effort to revive Medicaid work requirements
Lower court judges who have addressed the issue said the purpose of Medicaid was to provide the needy with health benefits, not to shed those eligible for its help.
Nearly half of NYC residents not sold on getting COVID-19 vaccine, survey finds
Twenty percent of Gotham residents said they would not take the vaccine and 27 percent were not sure.
Biden expands search for HHS secretary
New candidates for the job include Barack Obama's health secretary and California's attorney general.
Stream It Or Skip It: ‘The Hardy Boys’ On Hulu, An ‘80s-Set Reboot Of The Classic Brother Detective Novels
Rohan Campbell and Alexander Elliot star as the teen detectives in this dark reboot of the 93-year-old mystery franchise. James Tupper also stars.
California sheriff's office doesn't plan to use patrols to enforce stricter COVID orders
The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Office in Southern California said Friday it will not utilize law enforcement patrols to enforce Gov. Gavin Newsom's latest coronavirus mitigation orders.
High school football player who attacked referee charged with assault
Emmanuel Duron is facing the misdemeanor charge after a video showed him body-slamming a referee.
Trump orders most of the 700 US troops out of Somalia
President Donald Trump has ordered the Pentagon to remove most of the 700 U.S. troops in Somalia.
Young member of Sen. Kelly Loeffler's campaign staff dies in car wreck
A young field staffer working on Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s campaign has died in a car crash.
Bay Area counties will begin stay-at-home order on Sunday, ahead of state mandate
Bay Area health officials have issued a stay-at-home order effective Sunday, fearing that COVID-19 patients could otherwise overwhelm hospitals.
Explore the biggest little world of wonder in South Africa
Positioned near the southernmost tip of Africa is a nature reserve like no other. Made up of thousands of Fynbos plant species, the Cape Floral Region is a biodiversity hotspot.
Dates to circle in the NBA's first half schedule
SportsPulse: In a blink of the eye a new NBA season is upon us and we're here to provide you with a users guide to the most anticipated matchups in the first half.
UCLA faces Arizona State in a continuation of bizarre COVID-19 circumstances
Dorian Thompson-Robinson could be back for UCLA for its fifth game of the season against an Arizona State team that has only played once.