Dutch sensation journalist Derk Bolt and his cameraman released in Columbia

2 Dutch journalists freed unharmed by Colombian rebels

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Two Dutch journalists have been freed unharmed after being held captive for almost a week by leftist rebels in Colombia.

Derk Bolt and Eugenio Follender were released before dawn Saturday near where they were apprehended by guerrillas belonging to the National Liberation Army. Bolt said the two are doing well and anxious to be back with their families in Europe.

In an interview with Colombia’s Caracol radio, Bolt said the two men were treated well by their captors, suffering only a few scratches from 14-hour marches to evade security forces who had mounted a massive search.

He said the reporters at first thought they were being robbed because their captors demanded they turn over their cameras. Then they were shuttled from safe house to safe house before eventually taking refuge in the jungle.

“It was very hard, but the people who took us captive were very warm and treated us with lots of respect, almost like friends,” Bolt told Caracol. “They always told us our lives weren’t in danger.”

The volatile Catatumbo region in northeast Colombia where the journalists were held is one of the country’s most lawless areas, a major transit zone for drug trafficking to neighboring Venezuela and historically one of the ELN’s strongholds.

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Last year, the ELN held three journalists in the same region for almost a week.

Bolt is host of a Dutch sensation television show called “Spoorloos” (Without a Trace) and Follender is a cameraman for the show, which attempts to help people find their long-lost relatives.

“We are incredibly happy and relieved,” the show said in a Facebook post. “We are grateful to the ministry of foreign affairs. They have done everything, in The Hague and Bogota, to get Derk and Eugenio home safely.”

The ELN is Colombia’s last major guerrilla army, with about 1,500 troops. This year, it joined the government for peace talks in Ecuador, bringing closer than ever the possibility of an end to a half century of political violence after the much-larger Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia reached a deal of its own last year to lay down its weapons.

Unlike the FARC, which has a cohesive, centralized command structure, leaders of the more ideological, Cuban revolution-inspired ELN have had trouble keeping tabs on their troops. Peace talks with the government were delayed by almost a year over the refusal of some guerrilla units to free several civilians and a politician they had been holding captive.

The ELN in a statement said the journalists were detained preventively because they had entered a conflict zone where Colombia’s military often operates covertly.

“Our first duty is the preserve the life of the communities and people that enter these territories, not exposing them” to danger, members of the group said.

Source – AP

#Ukraine – Kiev puts finishing touches to Eurovision as song contest gets political.

With the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest set to kick off in a few days, host city Kiev puts final touches on preparations.

With the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest set to kick off in just a few days, host city Kiev is rushing to complete the final touches on preparations for the international competition.

Kiev has started welcoming Eurovision fans and set up food stalls, performance stages and big screens in the centre of the town which will broadcast the semi-finals and final next week. But as Ukraine prepares to host the final stages of the Eurovision competition next week, a dispute remains over its decision to bar Russia’s entrant to the contest – because she had performed in Crimea after it was annexed by Russia in 2014.

Russia has vowed to boycott the competition, saying Ukraine’s move had tarnished the event. Ukraine hit back by saying that Moscow had deliberately tried to provoke Ukraine.

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Relations between Ukraine and Russia soured following the annexation and the outbreak of a war between Kiev and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine that has killed more than 10,000 people. Hostilities spilled over into the glitzy Eurovision show after Ukrainian contestant Jamala unexpectedly won the contest last year with an entry that Russia called politicized.

Russia’s proposed entry, Yulia Samoylova, is due to perform in the Crimean city of Sevastopol on Tuesday, May 9, coinciding with the first semi-final of Eurovision.

Ukraine expects about 12,000-14,000 spectators to attend the competition next week with millions more watching on television. It will be the second time that Kiev hosts the event.

Source

Miss Thailand enters final 6 at Miss Universe 2017

Miss Thailand Chalita Suansane kept her Miss Universe title hope alive after emerging as the final 6 contestants following completion of the evening gown show. 

The next round will be Q&A session, where only the top three will be advancing. Joining Miss Thailand to round of the last 6 are Miss France, Miss Kenya, Miss Philippines, Miss Haiti and Miss Colombia.

Source: TheNation

This captivating short film by Johnnie Walker will inspire all Thais to come together for a brighter year

Presented by

As we head into 2017, with New Years resolutions written in our Notes app and social media feeds filled with good wishes, Johnnie Walker urges us to reflect on the year and see how we can be better, together.

It’s been a hard year for Thailand. We’ve lost the captain of our ship, the leader we all look to for guidance and the father of our nation. So 2017 is a time of change, which is always difficult, always constant, and always crucial.

This new video short film by Johnnie Walker opens with beautifully crafted, yet familiar scenes of Bangkok; traffic jams, crowded skywalks and shouting motorcy dudes. Everyone is in black, looking somber. But the familiar quickly gives way to something else. The motorcy dudes are giving free rides and the passengers are smiling thankfully.

“We all play different roles. Sometimes we are the givers. Sometimes we are given to.” How true.

Heartwarming scenes of cleaning the city, painting over graffiti and sharing support for farmers quickly follow. The ominous voiceover turns hopeful and reminds us that although we are different, we all face obstacles together. We are 60 million strong, all united under a shared goal of a better tomorrow. (Queue the orchestra, the watery eyes and repeat viewings of this video.)

Johnnie Walker reminds us that together, #wewillkeepwalking towards a brighter future. When we’re alone, making an impact seems scary and overwhelming. But when all Thai people come together then anything is possible.

And if you ask us, we can’t imagine a better message for 2017: a future of giving, a future of helping one another, a future of doing it all together.

Watch the video and share the message for a brighter 2017. Then help ensure a better tomorrow by visiting www.wewillkeepwalking.com to make a pledge and inspire others. Because when we walk together we progress the furthest. 

VIDEO

Source: Coconut.co

 

Mariah Carey stopped on social media

Mariah Carey shows via her Twitter account known that for the time being to stop on social media.
She does this after the controversy that arose on her New Year performance on Times Square the was completely fallen into the water.

Maria Carey on Twitter