The Federal Reserve, “the Fed”, is the central bank of the United States of America that was created in 1913 by Congress. It is a banking cartel that has a government-granted monopoly on the creation of money and credit. The Fed literally loans “money” (Federal Reserve Notes) into existence. Federal Reserve Notes are paper promises backed by nothing of intrinsic value and they are only functioning as money because the government forces them on the public through legal tender laws. Federal Reserve Notes are referred to as dollars but are not. The definition of a dollar is a weight of silver (371 grains). To put it simply, the Fed is a group of banks running a national counterfeiting operation with the protection of the government.
One terrifying implication of the attack on the free speech of Christians and the idea of “hate speech,” is that on the top of the list of language that is deemed hateful and worthy of censorship is often ripped right out of the pages of the Bible.
In short, as private companies and public organizations continually suppress the biblical view of homosexuality, we can visualize a full-on ban of the Bible in the not-too-distant future.
A recent app removal on the part of tech giant Apple is a great example, after a gay-rights organization lobbied for them to remove a Christian app that addresses homosexuality as a sin.
I don’t know about you, but every Bible app on my phone also addresses homosexuality as a sin. Will they be pulled next?
Apple has removed from its online store a religious app accused of falsely portraying being gay as an “addiction,” “sickness,” and “sin” after a national gay-rights organization petitioned to have it pulled.
Truth Wins Out, which says it fights “anti-gay religious extremism,” launched a petition Thursday urging Apple to remove the app…
Truth Wins Out alleged in its petition that the app sought for LGBT youth “to change from gay-to-straight through prayer and therapy.”
The petition had 356 supporters. Truth Wins Out said it will seek to have the Living Hope Ministries app removed from other platforms that still host it.
In this day and age, risqué can be risky. But Cynthia von Buhler is bringing sexy back to NYC.
The illustrator has thrown, by her own estimation, hundreds of over-the-top parties over almost three decades. But this year marks her first-ever New Year’s Eve bash — and she’s going all out: hosting a massive, “Eyes Wide Shut”-style blowout for 800 guests at the Williamsburg Savings Bank Tower.
Attendees, who are shelling out $200 to $400 per ticket, are coming “from all over the world — Amsterdam, Germany, Australia,” said von Buhler, 54. “We have people flying in just for this.”
‘New York has become more sanitized, and this is old-school underground craziness.’
Although von Buhler makes clear the Illuminati Ball “is not a sex party,” there is no mistaking the titillation factor. Hers is a sophisticated, fun brand of sexiness — giving guests the old-fashioned thrill of the tease.
“New York has become more sanitized, and this is old-school underground craziness. It’s respectful, but erotic and decadent,” she said. “I think this is a chance for people to really let their hair down and be free.”
At the Dec. 31 bash, there will be a human “cake” — with a model’s face, hands and feet sticking out of a body-shaped dessert — and a swimming mermaid in a tank. Von Buhler plans to create her own version of the New Year’s Eve ball drop: acrobats descending from the bank’s famed stained-glass dome.
And then there’s Kamadhenu the cow goddess and her four maidens. “You can milk the maidens’ [fake breasts] and also taste their milk [from a baby bottle],” the hostess said.
Although she doesn’t want to give away too much of the plot line, she revealed that the New Year’s Eve story centers around “human-animal hybrids who have escaped a lab,” including half-woman, half-bird sirens.
Modal TriggerCynthia von Buhler, founder of Illuminati Ball
Cynthia von Buhler, founder of Illuminati BallKyle Dorosz/Illuminati Ball
By day, von Buhler is a Newbery Medal-winning illustrator and children’s book author. By night, she has developed a reputation for throwing some of the sexiest, most provocative parties around. Last year, she hosted two Illuminati Balls, with scantily-clad fire-breathers, contortionist and aerialists, guests in masks and bustiers, and dancing men in bondage-style bikinis.
She was inspired by photos of heiress Marie-Hélène de Rothschild’s 1972 Surrealist Ball, which was attended by Audrey Hepburn and Salvador Dalí. “A lot of the people were wearing stag heads,” von Buhler said.
And it has nothing to do with black magic, she makes very clear. “I’m not into the occult at all,” von Buhler noted. For her, “the whole idea of the Illuminati Ball is, it’s an Illuminati that has been started to help animals and the environment.”
It all started in 2011, when the married Berkshires native, who had long been hosting wild events, produced her first immersive party a la the theatrical experience “Sleep No More.” The theme was Speakeasy Dollhouse, a louche wise-guys-and-gals period bash. “My grandfather was murdered in Manhattan in 1935, right after Prohibition ended,” von Buhler said. “He was a bootlegger.” (She is also descended, the artist said, from “Italian royalty.”)
Von Buhler added that, after the Speakeasy, she lost her deal with a Norfolk Street landlord “because of noise. We shot a gun off in the alley.”
She’s since hosted five or six additional immersive productions, including more intimate affairs for no more than 40 guests at an eight-acre estate an hour north of the city. There, she said, “We swim naked in the lake.”
Modal TriggerFOR SUNDAY FEATURES – THE ILLUMINATI BALL
Courtesy of The Illuminati Ball
For three of her affairs, she has created an accompanying graphic novel, including “Minky Woodcock: the Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini,” released in August of this year tied to an immersive event themed around the magician. Titan Comics, which is distributed by Random House, will publish von Buhler’s Illuminati Ball graphic novel in October 2019.
It’s gotten to the point where the artist — who was commissioned by Steven Spielberg in 2001 to illustrate a kids book to benefit the Starbright Foundation for seriously ill children — wants to be a solo act. “I prefer to create my own projects [now] rather than illustrate other people’s words,” von Buhler said.
She also likes creating her own world. That’s why attendees to the black-tie New Year’s Eve party will be given masks, and high-paying VIPs will receive watches that grant them entrance to an upstairs space where a dancer will perform ritualistic interactions.
The funny thing is, “It’s my least favorite holiday,” von Buhler admitted. “A lot of times, New Year’s Eve is just about drinking. But this [party] really could change your life.”
— With additional reporting by Kirsten Fleming
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Chris Pratt, the stud in such movies as “Guardians of the Galaxy’’ and “Jurassic World,” who’s shined his Hollywood star on a slew of film and TV roles, has apparently broken from the pack of bland, pretty-boy actors — by farming the land, openly worshipping God and observing a brand of personal and political conservatism capable of making progressive heads explode.
How dare he! Perhaps more remarkable considering all of the above, in 2015, Pratt was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world on the annual Time 100 list.
And yet that didn’t stop Kaitlin Thomas from going after him in a snarky piece published by TV Guide last week as part of the magazine’s “12 Days of Chris-Mas’’ feature — a celebration of 12 dudes named Chris, including Chris Pine and Chris Tucker, even Ludacris. Pratt comes in fifth place, but only after a sound drubbing.
The piece — headlined, “How to Love Chris Pratt Without Hating Yourself: He’s Definitely the Most Divisive of the Chrises” — is so petty and mean-spirited, it could only have been intended to turn fans against its subject. This, even as the author asserts that “many people” — maybe in Tinseltown — share the author’s distaste for Pratt’s way of life.
“When you take a deeper look at Pratt the man and not necessarily Pratt the actor, some of the shine wears off,” Thomas wrote. And then she goes at Pratt for, apparently, trying to give away his family’s aging cat via Twitter in 2011. The cat found a good home, and crisis was averted. But that was only Thomas’ first gripe.
Next, she attacks Pratt because he and his then-wife, Anna Faris, tried to get rid of the family’s pet Chihuahua five years later (the couple’s son was allergic), resulting in the pooch for a while wandering the streets of Los Angeles.
Horrors! The beastie was returned to a loving home. But of all the animal-cruelty complaints against Pratt, the most wickedly unfair is Thomas’ diatribe about his love of hunting — a responsible and clean method of feeding his family. (And I would never kill an animal.)
Writing about the lambs he raises on his farm on an island off the coast of Washington state, Thomas condemns Pratt for a video he posted to Instagram this year, in which he said: “They are the happiest lambs on the planet, they are so sweet and then one day they wake up dead and they’re in my freezer.” The writer doesn’t divulge if she eats meat.
Pratt then comes under fire for joking about the “outrage culture’’ that has engulfed society, which the TV Guide piece, I would venture, illustrates perfectly. He also takes licks for telling Men’s Health in 2017 that stories about his kind of blue-collar upbringing are under-represented in Hollywood. Well?
“The idea that Pratt doesn’t see himself — though he may come from a working-class family and spends most of his time on a farm, he’s also a successful, straight white man at the heart of two major film franchises — as being represented in television or film is ridiculous,” Thomas writes. “But the truth is, the reason Pratt’s comment enraged so many people is because it ignored the fact there are a number of communities actually struggling for better representation.’’
Perhaps to fend off people coming for him with pitchforks, Pratt actually apologized for making this “stupid’’ comment about the lack of characters like him in Hollywood fare.
He shouldn’t have bothered.
Thomas makes clear that her main grievance against Pratt is with something over which he has no control — he’s a “straight white man.” As much as she might resent Pratt’s skin color, his sexual orientation and his success, she can’t just wish him away.
Then there was the egregious Instagram post in which Pratt told people to “turn up the volume” and not just “read the subtitles” — which apparently could offend the hearing impaired. Whatever.
One thing not expressly referred to in TV Guide is Pratt’s deep Christian faith, a rarity in amoral Hollywood. And something I applaud. You are free to hate Chris Pratt’s hunting, his conservatism, even his acting. But don’t hate him. He is to be praised, not scorned, for the way he lives. This is one good and humble man.
Witchcraft is powerful, according to Bracciale, because of the “intersectionality of feminism, sexuality, gender, the fight for freedom, eschewing the patriarchy and having sort of a vitriolic response towards it”.
Witchcraft “has a ton of roots in Christianity”, the Brooklyn witch says. Indeed, in Bracciale’s view, the Bible is a spell book, particularly the Book of Psalms.
Witchcraft is thriving in the US, with an estimated 1.5 million Americans now identifying as witches – more than the total number of Presbyterians. As Christianity declines across the country, paganism has swung to the mainstream, with witchcraft paraphernalia for sale on every high street and practises normalised across popular culture. In the past two years, it has also become darkly politicised.
Dakota Bracciale, a 29-year-old transgender/queer witch and co-owner of Catland Books and witch shop in Brooklyn, is pleased with the outcome of the ritual hex placed on US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in October. The curse, carried out from Catland Books, was well attended by witches, atheists ad humanists – and was followed around the country on social media.
On Christmas Eve, 1914 in West France, WWI was still raging on, British and German soldiers locked in trench warfare, firing artillery and gunfire, but upon that night, both sides cease fire and the silence was broken by a man singing in the German trench. the rest of the German soldiers sung with him and the British join in. That song was Silent night. sung in both English and German in union. The following morning on Christmas day, they were preparing to attack each other again but General Fritz of the German forces emerged from the trench waving his arms, soon the soldiers followed with him. and soon British forces emerged from the trenches and meet their enemies in the middle of no man’s land. They shook hands, greeting each other, giving each other food, alcohol, cigarettes and they played Soccer/football with germans winning. They all hung out and talked, cutting up and console each other like brothers. Unfortunately it didn’t last.. later that night, the fighting resumed, some of those soldiers who met each other, ended up killing each other.
The most wonderful song ever written. 1818 and on the 24th December it will be 200 years ago.
MFM Transmedia presents “Run the World (Gays)” by creator, writer, and producer Christian Schulte, director and choreographer Leah Dowdy, and editor/cinematographer Alicia Slough. “historic and unprecedented turnout of LGBTQ candidates running in the 2018 Midterm RTW” is a celebration of the Election.
The music video strikes an inclusive, unifying, and powerful message, that together, we can accomplish anything we set our minds to. We strive to take our responsibility seriously, and carry on the baton of progress from the previous generation. While our ancestors fought for hope and acceptance, and we now run for equality and acceptance —in society, in our communities, and in elected office.
This group of young artists are promoting activism and awareness through music and dance, set to the undeniably fierce empowerment anthem: Beyonce?’s “Run the World (Girls)”. In 2018, we have seen individuals from every race, creed, sexual orientation, and gender identity rise to the occasion of running for office on every level of government. This work embodies the collective pride we have in them, as they seek to represent our interests and protect our American rights and values. It sends a clear and defiant message that it is possible to live in the kind of country we imagine for ourselves; a nation in which anyone with a dream for a better way of life can become a leader, while simultaneously being exactly who they were born to be.
Cast members include Asia Miller (Dream Girls, The Greatest Showman), Steve Fogelman (Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire), Kendra Alexander (America’s Got Talent, “Til’ the World Ends”, Britney Spears), Hana Kozuka (GMA, MTV’s TRL), Lily Davis (After Everything, Happy!, SyFy) and Shaun-Avery Williams (Christmas of Many Colors, NBC).
Involved with the “RTW” production team are director/choreographer Leah Dowdy (“Lose You”, Camille Trust) cinematographer/editor Alicia Slough (Modern Hero), MFM Transmedia founder Molly Fahey (Grand Theft Auto V, Shirley), and sound producer Andry De Leon.
Christian Schulte, (The President Show, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) the creator, writer, and producer of “Run the World (Gays)” endeavored to make a political mark ahead of this high-stakes election, while also turning the focus to inclusion and unity over division and partisanship. “I can think of nothing more American than standing up for what you believe to be right, and fighting with your heart, ideas, and faith in something that is bigger than yourself,” said Schulte. “We honor those who came before us that gave us hope, and we continue their run toward a government and a country that is kinder, stronger, more accepting, and more representative of each of its citizens.
For centuries, Santa Claus has traditionally been a jolly, white-bearded man in a red suit who has a craving for milk and cookies.
However, a new survey from GraphicSprings, a logo creation company, has sparked a new debate over whether Santa should be a man, a woman or gender neutral.
The company got the input of 400 people from America and the United Kingdom about ways to modernize St. Nicholas in October and November. They then used the top suggestions to survey 4,000 people on how they would envision a 2018 version of the legendary character.
The results showed that roughly 19 percent of U.S. people believe Santa should be identified as neither male nor female. More than 10 percent said Santa should identify as a woman, which means about 70 percent of people still believe Father Christmas should be a male.
The survey also touched on what people think a modern day Santa should look like.
Traditionally, the character is represented as a bearded old man with his iconic white and red suit, black belt, matching boots and a reindeer-drawn sleigh.
However, it seems some people think modern Santa should be rocking some skinny jeans, sunglasses, trainers and instead of riding in a sled powered by beloved Rudolph and his peers, he might be cruising from town to town in a flying car.
20 percent of people responded that he should have tattoos and 18 percent said his iconic red-and-white suit should be replaced with skinny jeans, while 22 percent said his sleigh needs to be exchanged for a flying car. 21 percent of respondents said he needs to go on a diet.
As well as the debate over Santa’s gender, there has also been talk about the sex of his faithful reindeers. Wildlife experts at Texas A&M University weighed in on the conversation.
“Santa’s reindeers were really females, most likely,” said Alice Blue-McLendon, a veterinary medicine professor specializing in deer who cites the depictions of Santa’s helpers with antlers as the primary evidence.
Reindeer grow antlers regardless of gender, and most bulls typically shed their fuzzy protrusions before Christmas.
However, Greg Finstad, who manages the Reindeer Research Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, said Santa’s sleigh helpers might also be castrated males, also known as steers.
Santa Claus is based on St. Nicholas who was a Christian bishop born in Patara, a land that is part of present-day Turkey, circa 280.
St. Nicholas provided for the poor and sick. After his death, the legend of his gift-giving ways traveled. Over the years, stories of his miracle work for the poor spread to areas all of the world, which is how St. Nicholas transformed into the iconic character Santa Claus.
Tatiana Mirutenko emerged happy from a bar in an upscale part of Mexico City after a night of dancing. Seconds later, the 27-year-old Chicago native was dead — hit by a stray bullet from two men on a speeding motorcycle.
Mirutenko, her husband and a group of friends had traveled to the sprawling metropolis of 21 million people to celebrate a delayed honeymoon and a first wedding anniversary in July.
Woman celebrating anniversary in Mexico killed by stray bullet
They ate at Pujol and Quintonil, among the top-rated restaurants in the world, and Mirutenko texted her parents photos of the food, the ornate churches and even dogs at a local park in Lomas de Chapultepec, a privileged part of the city where billionaire Carlos Slim owns a mansion.
“She loved the culture, loved the people,” said her father Wasyl Mirutenko, who owns a security company in Chicago. He told The Post that his family had vacationed in Mexico — in Puerto Vallarta and Oaxaca — since Tatiana was a little girl.
But this time, Tatiana, a slim blonde who worked for a pharmaceutical company in San Francisco, returned home in a body bag, becoming one of the 16,399 homicides recorded in the country in the first seven months of this year, according to statistics collected by Mexican law enforcement.
Already, 2018 promises to be one of the most violent years on record in the country. Homicides shot up 16 percent during the first half of this year — a number that has been rising at an alarming rate over the last two years as splintered groups of drug traffickers and gangs battle for dominance.
Were Tatiana’s killers caught?
“I don’t really care,” Mirutenko told The Post, choking back sobs. “Whatever happens, it will not bring her back.”
In Acapulco, the once-glamorous Mexican resort town where John Wayne owned a posh hotel and newlyweds John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy frolicked in the surf on their honeymoon, tourists gingerly stepped around two dead bodies on their way to the beach.
The two men had been mown down in a barrage of gunfire on a sunny afternoon in October, and although tourists ran for cover as bullets flew, many returned to the beach minutes later. There, police had cordoned off the corpses, which lay bleeding at the entrance to a popular seaside restaurant.
Months earlier, in April, stunned beachgoers on nearby Caletilla Beach stumbled over a bullet-riddled fisherman’s body as it washed ashore. Police said he was likely killed in a fight over drugs.
Acapulco has long been known as the murder capital of Mexico. Last year, there were 953 homicides in the Pacific coast city of 700,000, up from 918 in 2016, according to police. By comparison, New York City, with a population of 8.6 million, recorded 290 murders in 2017.
Violent crime is so out of control in Guerrero state, where Acapulco is located, that last year the US State Department warned Americans to stay away. Guerrero and a handful of other Mexican states have the same Level 4 “Do Not Travel” advisory as Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.
“Armed groups operate independently of the government in many areas of Guerrero,” the warning notes. “Members of these groups frequently maintain roadblocks and may use violence toward travelers.”
Modal TriggerTatiana Mirutenko with her husband James Hoover.
Tatiana Mirutenko and her husband James Hoover.Facebook
But despite these warnings, visitors have not stayed away from the country.
Last year, there were more than 35 million visitors to Mexico, an increase of 9 percent over the previous year, according to the Madrid-based United Nations Tourism Organization.
In October, 2018 — the last month for which statistics are available — Mexico received 688,000 visitors from the US, compared to 642,200 in October 2017, a 7 percent increase, according to data compiled by the Mexico Tourism Board.
Mexican tourism officials contacted by The Post said that they are working with law enforcement in tourist centers such as Acapulco and Cancún to ensure a greater police presence during peak tourist seasons. In Acapulco, the local government last year set up a Tourist Assistance and Protection Center — known by its Spanish-language acronym, CAPTA — where foreign tourists can report incidents and seek assistance if they are victims of a crime.
“American tourists should know that recent incidents of violence have had almost zero impact on tourists or tourist areas,” said Dario Flota Ocampo, CEO of the tourism board in Quintana Roo, the state where Cancún is located. “Tens of millions of Americans have visited Quintana Roo over the past 10 years and the vast majority of them are not involved in any sort of incidents . . . They have a great time and come back over and over again.”
Quintana Roo officials doubled down on security after five people were killed at an electronic-music festival in Playa del Carmen in January 2017. Two Canadians, an Italian and a Colombian were shot dead at the Blue Parrot nightclub. The tourists were the victims of stray bullets after a gun fight broke out among nightclub patrons.
And it’s not just bullets tourists fear. Even black-market tequila has reportedly killed tourists.
Woman died from ‘poisonous’ booze at Mexican resort: lawsuit
Abbey Conner, a 20-year-old University of Wisconsin-Whitewater student, drowned in a shallow pool at the Hotel Iberostar Paraiso del Mar in Playa del Carmen in November 2017 after drinking tequila shots at the all-inclusive, upscale resort with her older brother, Austin. Both blacked out at the pool, but Austin survived, waking up in a hospital room the next day with a large bump on his forehead and no memory of how he got there, according to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The newspaper found that dozens of tourists to Mexico had blacked out and become ill over tainted tequila. Last month, the Conner family filed a wrongful death suit in Florida against the resort and its US-based Web site operator, Visit Us, saying in court papers that the hotel knew the booze was “tainted, substandard, poisonous, unfit for human consumption.”
Mexican authorities have cracked down on the illicit alcohol and busted two distilleries churning out tequila with dangerous levels of methanol. Although it’s not known how many tourists suffered blackouts and other illnesses related to the bootleg tequila, police have confiscated tens of thousands of gallons of tainted alcohol since Conner’s death last year, according to published reports.
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But these days, in order to stay safe, travel experts warn that tourists need to be more aware.
“People really need to exercise caution and have some idea of where they are going,” said Chris Hagon, a former London cop and founding partner of IMG, a Florida-based security company that helps clients travel safely. “They also need to have in place some kind of mechanism for getting help when they need it.”
Even the savviest tourists who have traveled dozens of times to Mexico have recently found themselves in terrifying situations in a country where the cops are often so corrupt that tourists are actively discouraged from seeking police assistance if they are the victim of a crime.
In July, a 41-year-old mother from Astoria, Queens, flew to Cancún with her Mexican-born husband and two young children and barely escaped becoming a drug mule for a Mexican cartel.
The woman, who did not want to be identified, said that after leaving a high-end, all-inclusive resort in Cancún en route to Mexico City, she found that someone had placed two bags of white powder in her backpack. She discovered what she thought was cocaine when she arrived at an Airbnb in the Mexican capital and emptied out her backpack. Her husband had already returned to the US for work but was planning to meet up with her again in Mexico City, she said.
“It was scary, I was with my kids and I locked myself in the apartment. I was worried that a drug trafficker was going to barge in with guns to get the drugs,” she told The Post.
She said she worried about calling the Mexican authorities “because there’s a lot of criminal activity in Mexico, and if you don’t know who you are dealing with you can find yourself in even more trouble. You can’t trust the police in Mexico.”
Instead, she called her husband and the security firm she works for in the US. Their advice was to leave her backpack in the Airbnb and get on the first flight out of the country with her children.
“I left the backpack in the bathtub and just left,” she said.
A few days later, when her husband returned to check out of the Airbnb, the backpack was no longer there, she said.
“To this day, I don’t know what happened,” the woman told The Post. “I was either used as a decoy for someone or it was a test run for a drug delivery.”
Despite the incident, she said she plans to vacation in Mexico again.
Patricia Protage has sworn off Mexico, where her family has vacationed for years. She said she wished she had known more about the all-inclusive resort in Cancún where her 19-year-old son went on spring break three years ago.
The day after he arrived, the 185-pound rugby player found himself lying on the floor of a filthy jail cell.
“He can’t remember anything that happened after he took his first sip of his second beer,” Protage told The Post from her home in Seattle.
Protage’s son, who did not want to be identified, went to a bar with friends in Cancún’s tourist zone, said Protage.
Modal TriggerA woman mourns outside the Blue Parrot nightclub after a deadly shooting in Playa del Carmen.
A woman mourns outside the Blue Parrot nightclub after a deadly shooting in Playa del Carmen.Getty Images
“This is a kid who has never done drugs, and only ever drank a couple of beers,” said Protage.
The morning after his trip to the bar, he woke up in the Cancún jail cell, without his shoes and covered in sand. “There was sand in his ears, sand in his hair,” said his mother.
The local police told him that they had found him face down in a ditch and asked for $300 to spring him from jail. Although his wallet had been stolen, his mother said that the police handed him his student card and driver’s licence — necessary pieces of identification in order to pick up a Western Union money order from the US, said Protage.
“That’s the way they extort money from parents,” she said. “Funny how his wallet is missing but the police had his ID.”
Protage wired the cash as soon as she heard from a friend who had made the trip to Mexico with her son.
“We had no idea what had happened to him, and no way to communicate with him,” said Protage. “We were absolutely terrified when we heard from his roommate that he was in custody.”
Although the family called the US Consulate in Cancún, authorities told them that there was little they could do. “They said that this kind of thing happens a lot. They asked if we wanted to press charges, but we just wanted to get our son out of the country,” Protage said.
“It was terrifying and it’s happening all the time with kids who go to Mexico for spring break,” she said.
After her son paid the police the $300 in cash, he checked out of the hotel and headed straight to the airport.
“He never wants to go back there,” said Protage. “We’re the #NeverInMexico family. We travel quite extensively, but none of us will ever be going back there.”
PARIS (AP) — Anticipating a fifth straight weekend of violent protests, France’s president on Friday called for calm and the Paris police chief warned that armored vehicles and thousands of officers will be deployed again in the French capital.
Police chief Michel Delpuech told RTL radio that security services intend to deploy Saturday in the same numbers as last weekend, with about 8,000 officers and 14 armored vehicles protecting the streets of Paris during a planned anti-government protest by the yellow vest movement.
Delpuech said the biggest difference will be the deployment of more groups of patrol officers to catch vandals, who last weekend roamed the streets around the elegant Champs Elysees, looting and causing damage. Police arrested more than 1,000 people in Paris last weekend and 135 people were injured, including 17 police officers.
French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner also urged protesters to express themselves peacefully after a police shootout on Thursday ended a two-day manhunt for a man suspected of killing four people near a Christmas market in the eastern city of Strasbourg. Hundreds of police were mobilized in the search, which ended with the suspect being shot dead.
“I can’t stand the idea that today people applaud police forces and that tomorrow some people will think it makes sense to throw stones at us,” Castaner said from Strasbourg.
A sixth “yellow vest” protester was killed this week, hit by a truck at a protest roadblock. Despite calls from authorities urging protesters — who wear the fluorescent safety vests that France requires drivers to keep in their cars — to stop their violence demonstrations, the movement rocking the country since mid-November has showed no signs of abating.
“Last week, we pretty much handled the yellow vests but we also witnessed scenes of breakage and looting by criminals,” Delpuech said. “Our goal will be to better control this aspect.”
The protests began Nov. 17 against a rise in gas taxes but have morphed into an expression of rage against France’s high taxes and a sense that President Emmanuel Macron’s government does not care about French workers.
Macron has acknowledged he’s partially responsible for the anger and has announced a series of measures aimed at improving French workers’ spending power but has refused to reinstate a wealth tax that was lifted to spur investment in France.
On Friday, Macron called for calm and order ahead of another weekend of protests.
“I don’t think our democracy can accept” the “occupation of the public domain and elements of violence,” Macron said in Brussels, speaking after attending a European Union summit there.
“Our country needs calm. It needs order. It needs to function normally again,” Macron said.
He insisted he had heard the protesters’ concerns and defended his promises to speed up tax relief. He also dismissed calls for his resignation, which is now among the protesters’ disparate demands.
Some trade unions are now calling for rolling strikes across the country.
“The best action is to go on strike,” said Philippe Martinez, the head of leftist trade union CGT. “There are inequalities in this country and we need to make big company bosses pay.”
One group of yellow vests has urged a non-violent protest on the Place de la Republique in Paris under the slogan “Je Suis Strasbourg” (“I am Strasbourg”) to show solidarity with those killed and injured in Strasbourg on Tuesday night.
That refers to the “Je Suis Charlie” motto used by supporters of freedom of speech after a 2015 attack in which 12 people were killed at the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
A fourth person died Friday from wounds suffered in an attack on the Christmas market in Strasbourg, as investigators worked to establish whether the main suspect had help while on the run.
Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz, who handles terror cases throughout France, told a news conference that seven people are in police custody for the Strasbourg attack, including four family members of suspect Cherif Chekatt.
Chekatt, 29, was shot dead Thursday during a police operation.
“We want to reconstruct the past 48 hours in order to find out whether he got some support,” Heitz said.