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Leap Year Blamed For Glitch at New Zealand Gas Pumps
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Leap Year Blamed For Glitch at New Zealand Gas Pumps

Like clockwork, leap years roll around every four years. But many companies are never quite prepared for it, with every Feb. 29 marred by glitches and malfunctions.Computers have shut down, satellite navigation devices have failed and airport conveyor belts have refused to move luggage onto planes. This year, dozens of gas stations across New Zealand malfunctioned on Thursday, with car and truck drivers reporting problems filling up in the early hours of the morning.“Motorists have been turning up and unable to get fuel,” said Julien Leys, a spokesman for Gull New Zealand, one of the companies whose gas pumps malfunctioned. “It’s been incredibly frustrating for our customers.”Drivers were unable to pay for their fuel because the software used by payment terminals at gas pumps “couldn’t cal...
Discover Dominica’s Secret Garden of Waterfalls and Hot Springs Before Everyone Does
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Discover Dominica’s Secret Garden of Waterfalls and Hot Springs Before Everyone Does

The hiking trail to Middleham Falls on the Caribbean island of Dominica is all wet leaves, slippery black stones and steps formed by tree roots. It could be a path in Middle-earth, shrouded, shadowy and green, fit for hobbits and fairies. Where sunlight pierced the canopy, rainbows formed in the mist, almost close enough to poke. Here and there, hummingbirds drew nectar from huge blossoms.The goal on that January day: a 200-foot forest cascade filling and refilling little pools on the valley floor, where I could — as one does in the secret hot pools and isolated waterfalls of Dominica — shed my clothes, slip into water and commune with the hummingbirds like a fairy queen.Dominica, 29 miles long and, at its widest, 16 miles across, is one of the wildest Caribbean islands. A former British c...
31,000 Ukrainian Soldiers Killed in Two Years of War, Zelensky Says
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31,000 Ukrainian Soldiers Killed in Two Years of War, Zelensky Says

Some 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed since Russia’s full-scale invasion began two years ago, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Sunday, acknowledging for the first time in the war a concrete figure for Ukraine’s toll.“This is a big loss for us,” Mr. Zelensky said at a news conference in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital. But he declined to disclose the number of wounded or missing, saying that Russia could use the information to gauge the number of Ukraine’s active forces.Mr. Zelensky’s tally could not be independently verified. It differs sharply from estimates by U.S. officials, who, this past summer, put the losses much higher, saying that close to 70,000 Ukrainians had been killed and 100,000 to 120,000 had been wounded. Russia’s military casualties, the officials said, were abo...
Argentina’s Leader Meets With Blinken, as He Heads to Meet Trump
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Argentina’s Leader Meets With Blinken, as He Heads to Meet Trump

President Javier Milei of Argentina hosted U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken in Buenos Aires on Friday morning to discuss the various ways Mr. Milei is reshaping Argentina foreign policy in line with the United States.A few hours later, both men were set to board separate planes for Washington. Mr. Blinken was going back to the White House and President Biden. Mr. Milei was headed to the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, where he would take the stage ahead of former President Donald J. Trump and give a speech that would almost certainly rail against the dangers of the left.Mr. Milei’s hectic itinerary — traveling south to north, left to right — shows how the new Argentine president is trying to navigate the politically turbulent waters of the United States in an el...
A Billionaire Bought a Chunk of Manchester United. Now He Has to Fix It.
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A Billionaire Bought a Chunk of Manchester United. Now He Has to Fix It.

The process was six months old and already starting to wear on Jim Ratcliffe, the British billionaire, the first time he brought out the Champagne to toast his purchase of Manchester United. But even that celebration, at the Monaco Grand Prix in May, proved premature.There was no deal. Not yet.Doing one was never going to be easy. Mostly, that was because any potential sale for United offered a tantalizing marriage of money, power and history: Mr. Ratcliffe, the wealthy chairman of INEOS, the petrochemicals giant, had supported Manchester United since he was a boy. United, the most decorated club in English soccer, was one of the most iconic brands in global sports. And the Premier League, to which it belonged, was the richest soccer league in the world.What ensued was an auction as unpred...
Overlooked No More: Pierre Toussaint, Philanthropist and Candidate for Sainthood
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Overlooked No More: Pierre Toussaint, Philanthropist and Candidate for Sainthood

This article is part of Overlooked, a series of obituaries about remarkable people whose deaths, beginning in 1851, went unreported in The Times.In 1849, Mary Ann Schuyler, a wealthy New Yorker, was reminded fondly of her longtime hairdresser, Pierre Toussaint, while visiting a Roman Catholic chapel in Europe. “Send my love to him,” she wrote to her sister, Hannah Farnham Sawyer Lee. “Tell him I think of him very often and never go to one of the churches of his faith without remembering my own St. Pierre.”By then, Toussaint, 68, had built a reputation as “the Vidal Sassoon of his day,” as Daniel W. Bristol Jr. wrote in “Knights of the Razor: Black Barbers in Slavery and Freedom” (2015): He had mastered the in-vogue hairstyles of the French — powdered hair, or false hair added on — as well ...
Let Tesla Expand? Three German Teens Have a Few Thoughts.
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Let Tesla Expand? Three German Teens Have a Few Thoughts.

Tesla’s hulking assembly plant outside Berlin, which opened two years ago in a community known for its forests and lakes, still rubs many residents the wrong way. They worry it threatens the quality of their water and air, and has disrupted the peacefulness that drew them to the area.Steffen Schorcht, 63, who lives across the freeway from the plant, said the light pollution alone meant he could no longer see the stars when he looked up at night.Now Tesla wants to clear out an additional 250 acres of forest near the plant for warehouses and a rail yard, as well as for a day care center for employees and the community. Mr. Schorcht and many of his neighbors are determined to make sure that doesn’t happen.“We say, ‘enough is enough,’” Mr. Schorcht said. Their resistance campaign includes week...
Residents Oppose Expanding Drug Use Sites to Suburban Vancouver
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Residents Oppose Expanding Drug Use Sites to Suburban Vancouver

British Columbia’s rampant drug deaths have more than once thrust public health officials into uncharted territory. It became the first province to decriminalize small quantities of hard drugs for personal use in 2022, about two decades after Vancouver opened the first supervised injection site in North America. But as overdoses increase in some British Columbia towns, there is disagreement in one city about how to address it.In Richmond, one of British Columbia’s largest cities, with 230,000 people, municipal council chambers turned raucous this week as a full public gallery of residents opposed a plan for staff to study whether a safe consumption site for drug users would be viable in the community. The plan was adopted on Tuesday, but the effort is off to a rocky start, with few officia...
Venezuela Expels U.N. Human Rights Agency
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Venezuela Expels U.N. Human Rights Agency

A United Nations agency that defends human rights was ordered on Thursday to leave Venezuela by the government of President Nicolás Maduro, an extraordinary move that will further strip the country of foreign oversight at a time when its government has been accused of intensifying repression.The announcement, by foreign minister Yvan Gil, comes just days after the detention and temporary disappearance of Rocío San Miguel, a prominent security expert and human rights advocate.Following her detention, several United Nations entities issued online statements expressing concern about the arrest, some calling it part of a pattern in which the government tries to silence critics through intimidation.Mr. Gil said he was giving the staff of the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights...
Brazil’s Carnival Only Starts When 12-Foot John Travolta Arrives
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Brazil’s Carnival Only Starts When 12-Foot John Travolta Arrives

It was near the start of one of Brazil’s most famous Carnival celebrations, in the northern seaside city of Olinda, and the town plaza was jammed with thousands of revelers. They were all awaiting their idol.Just before 9 p.m., the doors to a dance hall swung open, a brass band pushed into the crowd and the star everyone had been waiting for stepped out: a 12-foot puppet of John Travolta.Confetti sprayed, the band began playing a catchy tune and the crowd sang along: “John Travolta is really cool. Throwing a great party. And in Olinda, the best carnival.” (It rhymes in Portuguese.)The giant John Travolta, perched on the head of a puppeteer, then led a parade through the cobblestone streets.The “boneco,” as such giant puppets are known in Brazil, wore a bedazzled disco-era turtleneck and su...