Pence says on Texas visit Venezuelan president must go

HOUSTON — Vice-President Mike Pence said Friday during a visit to Texas that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro “must go” because of the “suffering he has brought” to the people of that country.“The struggle in Venezuela is between dictatorship and democracy, but freedom has the momentum. Nicolas Maduro is a dictator with no legitimate claim to power, and Nicolas Maduro must go,” Pence said at the Baker Institute at Rice University in Houston, named for former Secretary of State James Baker.Houston is home to a large Venezuelan immigrant community, as well as the corporate headquarters of CITGO, a subsidiary of Venezuela’s state-run oil giant PDVSA. Pence earlier this week called for the release of six CITGO executives who’ve been jailed in Venezuela for more than a year without trial. Pence has said the five American citizens and one legal permanent U.S. resident , all with roots in Texas and Louisiana, are being “illegally detained.” Pence said some of their relatives were at his speech Friday in Houston.The U.S. and about 50 other countries contend Maduro’s election last year was illegitimate and that support opposition leader Juan Guaido’s claim to the presidency.Pence Friday said that “for far too long the people of Venezuela have suffered under the heavy hand of oppression.” He noted there’s been a mass exodus from the country, with more than 3 million abandoning it so far. He said that “for those who stay behind, it is a society of lawlessness, corruption, crime and violence.”The U.S. on Friday added two oil-sector companies and 34 vessels to a sanctions list aimed at forcing Maduro to step down. A Treasury Department announcement said the companies and vessels are being used to ship fuel to Cuba or in other aspects of the oil industry and help support the Maduro government.Pence said the only way Maduro “clings to power” is with the help of Cuba.“All options are on the table,” Pence said. “We will not stand idly by while the Venezuelan people suffer under dictatorship and oppression. And Nicolas Maduro would do well not to test the resolve of the United States of America.”Earlier Pence made a stop in Houston to thank U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents for their service. He’s set later Friday to head to the George H.W. Bush Presidential Center in College Station where he’ll participate in a discussion on the American vice presidency with former vice-presidents Dick Cheney and Dan Quayle.The Associated Press read more

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Macys 400M makeover dressing beloved oldfashioned NYC icon in sleek 21st century

AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Macy’s $400M makeover dressing beloved, old-fashioned NYC icon in sleek 21st century style NEW YORK, N.Y. – A $400 million makeover is giving New York’s iconic Macy’s store a sleek, new 21st-century style.And some preservationists aren’t happy about it. They see the overhaul of America’s biggest department store as scrapping classic Beaux Arts and Art Deco touches in favour of the latest trend in retail design — something like an Apple computer store.“Macy’s has Apple fever,” said Theodore Grunewald, a New York preservation activist. “Everyone is jealous of Apple, and thinks the secret to the company’s success is this beautiful, elegant minimalist design vocabulary they have. But this is about protection of our heritage.”Macy’s reconstruction, to be completed in 2015, will add 100,000 square feet to the 1.1 million square feet of existing retail space. Floor-to-ceiling fabric shrouds areas under renovation. But some sections already have been finished, including the world’s largest women’s shoe department, which offers 280,000 pairs of shoes — several thousand displayed in white settings.Macy’s spokeswoman Elina Kazan gushes that the store will be a “spectacular place to shop at an iconic New York City destination.”About 20 million shoppers a year visit Ohio-based Macy’s flagship store. The building has nine floors of retail space and covers nearly an entire city block, from West 34th Street to West 35th Street, between Seventh Avenue and Broadway.It is best known as home of the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and as the setting that inspired the beloved 1947 Christmas film, “Miracle on 34th Street.”Originally constructed in 1902 in the Beaux Arts style, it was expanded in the 1930s with plenty of Art Deco details. Most noticeable was a jazzy, geometric coating of marble, encasing more than 100 columns that soar to the ceilings.Grunewald said the columns will now be simplified, losing the marble and the ornamental toppings that give the space “its pizazz.”While Macy’s has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1978, it has not been given landmark designation, allowing its owners to make architectural changes.“I was stunned they were doing this, making it look like everywhere else in America when they have a little treasure here,” said preservationist Christabel Gough of the Society for the Architecture of the City.Macy’s officials said it was premature to compare the renovation to Apple since it is still a work in progress. They said, too, that the plan actually revives some of the building’s distinctive features.Originally, the interior street floor “was one great retail hall, and Macy’s asked us to bring it back as one grand space,” said Jay Valgora, chief architect for the renovation. “Macy’s asked us to bring back the grandeur of the original store, and whenever there’s true historic fabric, to restore it.”Also, the original, ornate entrance on 34th Street will return, and some huge old windows that were painted over have been opened again, lighting a new chocolate-and-champagne cafe. Forty-two of the store’s original wooden escalators will stay.Valgora said the old and the new Macy’s will “complement each other” in the same light-filled venue.“I like it — how organized and open it is,” said Rosie Pina, a Manhattan schoolteacher. “Change is good.”Brian Williams, a sports club technician from Queens, joked, “I’m a male, and I don’t really care how it looks when I’m shopping.”But standing by the jewelry area near some aging, cream-colored pillars and looking over at a gleaming, snow-white new section, he added: “I like the older better — it feels warmer, more at home.” by News Staff Posted Sep 19, 2012 8:19 am MDT read more

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