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How Miss Universe Pageant Is Taking The Spotlight Off Bukele’s Potential Dictatorship

Miss Universe Pageant

How much glitz and glamour does it take to divert attention from the human rights violations of an authoritarian regime and its aspiring dictator? Well, in the case of El Salvador, it seems they’re going all out to do just that. The stage is set for the Miss Universe pageant, with yards of sequins, dazzling spotlights and the media frenzy that come with hosting such an event. The 86 contestants vying this year for the crown and title of the most beautiful woman in the world came to the “new” El Salvador.

However, the country’s political system represents everything we wanted to leave behind with the signing of the Chapultepec Peace Accords in 1992. Almost half a century has passed since the beauty queens were last welcomed here in 1975. Back then, the military government of Arturo Armando Molina brutally suppressed student protests against the extravagant expenditure of hosting the event.

Why bother with democracy when you have a propaganda machine consistently pushing the narrative that having the “right” leadership is all a country like El Salvador needs? This is a nation that was, until recently, plagued by horrific violence. Now it seeks to host beauty pageants instead of focusing on prevention and rehabilitation. The Bukele approach is all about punishment and repression, because as it turns out, democracy couldn’t ensure the safety of all the people living in gang-controlled communities.

Bukele’s many supporters justify entrusting the entire government apparatus to a single individual by saying he has at least brought some semblance of peace to the country, albeit through a dark alliance with gangs. However, this fragile peace has come at the expense of constitutional rights and the arbitrary detention of thousands of people who don’t know if and when they will ever be released. Even innocent children born in prison have been stripped of their rights.

In El Salvador, any subject is welcomed as long as it distracts from the important issues. Take, for instance, the recent capture of “Crook,” the aging MS-13 leader who was ferreted out of his hiding place in Mexico and extradited to the U.S. Several years ago, a Bukele official actually helped Crook escape from a Salvadoran prison and flee to Guatemala. Rather than focusing on corruption and lack of transparency, the country seems to prefer ogling women and boosting the popularity of their benevolent leader who so generously invited them to El Salvador.

The Miss Universe pageant is just another publicity stunt to bathe the impending dictatorship in the glow of democracy. The contestants happily ride horses in a nature reserve that was closed to the public under the pretense of maintenance. Instead of serving as a platform for contestants to raise awareness about their countries, the pageant has devolved into a parade of eye candy at ribbon-cutting ceremonies in the capital city’s historic downtown. They wear caps advertising the president’s illegal re-election campaign as they promenade through freshened-up plazas with strings of colorful LEDs.

As he unabashedly undermines democracy in his own country, the Salvadoran president orchestrated a glitzy spectacle focused on beauty instead of the women themselves. He spent over $12 million for the pageant rights and an additional $60 million on the infrastructure.

Bukele is determined to see a return on his investment, even if it’s not a financial one. It matters little to him that all the obligatory public appearances have exposed contestants to unwanted advances from fans and transphobic comments directed at the trans contestants representing Portugal and the Netherlands.

In 2021, the Miss Universe contestant from El Salvador wore an outfit protesting femicide and forced disappearances. This year, it’s a platform for a leader who denies authorizing systematic prison torture, who believes that flooding the streets with soldiers will prevent femicides, who controls a legislature that refuses to pass laws protecting transgender individuals. There was a drastic change in 2022 — the representative from El Salvador wore a shimmering gold dress touting the country’s adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender.

The Bitcoin initiative was just another ploy to burnish the self-proclaimed “cool” president’s image, as the cryptocurrency is not widely used despite the huge government investment. Our representative this year wore a dress that evoked a volcano and conveyed a more poetic message. According to the designer, the outfit symbolizes the country’s evolution toward “a new day, a new hope and new beginning” — and perhaps also a new dictatorship.

Miss Universo
Miss Universe contestants tour a geothermal energy plant in Ahuachapán, El Salvador; November 8, 2023. Rodrigo Sura (EFE)

When the pageant last came to El Salvador 48 years ago, our representative was among the 10 finalists. Even if we do better this time, we risk losing everything amid the streamers, bright lights and fireworks. As long as the Bukele show goes on, the resounding applause that heralds the demise of democracy will echo loudly.


Choco: Revolutionizing The FoodTech Industry With Innovation & Sustainability | EU20

By Clint Bailey

— In the rapidly evolving world of food technology, European startup Choco has emerged as a pioneering force. With its website,, this Berlin-based company is transforming the way food industry professionals operate by leveraging innovative digital solutions. By linking restaurants, distributors, suppliers, and producers on a single platform, Choco is streamlining the supply chain process while promoting sustainability.

Let’s explore the journey of and its impact on the overall foodtech industry.

  1. Company: Choco Technologies GmbH
  2. Website:
  3. Head Office: Berlin, Germany
  4. Year Established: 2018
  5. Founders: Choco was co-founded by Daniel Khachab, Julian Hammer, and Rogerio da Silva.
  6. Industry: Choco operates in the foodtech industry, specifically focusing on digitizing the supply chain for the food industry.
  7. Funding: Choco has secured significant funding rounds from investors, including Bessemer Venture Partners & Coatue Management.
  8. Market Presence: Choco has a strong presence in several European cities, including Berlin, Paris, London & Barcelona.
  9. Mission: Choco aims to revolutionize the food industry by leveraging technology to simplify supply chain management, promote sustainability, and reduce food waste.

Simplifying Supply Chain Management

One of the core focuses of Choco is to simplify supply chain management for food businesses. Traditionally, the procurement process in the food industry has been cumbersome and inefficient, with numerous intermediaries and manual processes. Choco’s digital platform replaces the traditional paper-based ordering system, allowing restaurants and suppliers to communicate and collaborate seamlessly.

Choco’s platform enables restaurants to place orders directly with suppliers, eliminating the need for phone calls, faxes, or emails. This not only saves time but also reduces the likelihood of errors and miscommunications.

By digitizing the ordering process, Choco improves transparency, making it easier for restaurants to compare prices, track deliveries, and manage inventory efficiently.

Streamlining Operations For Suppliers & Producers

Choco’s impact extends beyond restaurants. The platform also provides suppliers and producers with valuable tools to streamline their operations. By digitizing their product catalogs and integrating them into the Choco platform, suppliers can showcase their offerings to a wide network of potential buyers.

Suppliers benefit from increased visibility, enabling them to reach new customers and expand their market presence. Moreover, Choco’s platform helps suppliers manage their inventory, track orders, and plan deliveries effectively. These features enhance operational efficiency, reduce waste, and ultimately contribute to a more sustainable food system.
YouTube Channel

Promoting Sustainability & Reducing Food Waste

Choco recognizes the critical importance of sustainability in the food industry. According to the United Nations, approximately one-third of the world’s food production goes to waste each year. By digitizing the supply chain and enabling more efficient ordering and inventory management, Choco actively works to combat this issue.

Air France – Deals & Destinations

Choco’s platform facilitates data-driven decision-making for restaurants, suppliers, and producers. By analyzing purchasing patterns & demand, Choco helps businesses optimize their inventory levels, reducing overstocking and minimizing food waste. Additionally, Choco supports local sourcing, enabling businesses to connect with nearby suppliers & promote sustainable, community-based practices.

Expanding Reach & Impact

Since its founding in 2018, Choco has experienced rapid growth and expansion. The startup has successfully secured significant funding rounds, allowing it to scale its operations and establish a strong presence across Europe and other global markets. Today, Choco’s platform is used by thousands of restaurants and suppliers, revolutionizing the way they operate.

Choco’s impact extends beyond operational efficiency or sustainability. By connecting restaurants, suppliers & producers on a single platform, Choco fosters collaboration & encourages the exchange of ideas. This collaborative approach strengthens the overall foodtech ecosystem and creates a supportive community of like-minded aiming to drive positive change within the industry.

Future Of FoodTech

Choco’s rise to prominence in the foodtech industry exemplifies the reach of sustainability, innovation, and community. Through its user-friendly platform, Choco simplifies supply chain management, streamlines operations for restaurants & suppliers, and actively promotes sustainable practices. By harnessing the potential of digital, Choco is disrupting the future of the food industry, making it more efficient and transparent.

As Choco continues to expand its impact and reach, its transformative influence on the foodtech sector is set to inspiring, grow other startups, and established players to embrace technology for a better and more sustainable food system.

We Can’t Thank You Enough For Your Support!

— Compiled by Clint Bailey | Team ‘Voice of EU’
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The Hat Worn By Napoleon Bonaparte Sold For $2.1 Million At The Auction

A faded felt bicorne hat worn by Napoleon Bonaparte sold for $2.1 million at an auction on of the French emperor’s belongings.

Yes, that’s $2.1 million!!

The signature broad, black hat, one of a handful still in existence that Napoleon wore when he ruled 19th-century France and waged war in Europe, was initially valued at 600,000 to 800,000 euros ($650,000-870,000). It was the centerpiece of Sunday’s auction collected by a French industrialist who died last year.

The Hat Worn By Napoleon Bonaparte Sold For $2.1 Million At The Auction

But the bidding quickly jumped higher and higher until Jean Pierre Osenat, president of the Osenat auction house, designated the winner.

‘’We are at 1.5 million (Euros) for Napoleon’s hat … for this major symbol of the Napoleonic epoch,” he said, as applause rang out in the auction hall. The buyer, whose identity was not released, must pay 28.8% in commissions according to Osenat, bringing the overall cost to 1.9 million euros ($2.1 million).

While other officers customarily wore their bicorne hats with the wings facing front to back, Napoleon wore his with the ends pointing toward his shoulders. The style, known as “en bataille,” or in battle, made it easier for his troops to spot their leader in combat.

The hat on sale was first recovered by Col. Pierre Baillon, a quartermaster under Napoleon, according to the auctioneers. The hat then passed through many hands before industrialist Jean-Louis Noisiez acquired it.

The entrepreneur spent more than a half-century assembling his collection of Napoleonic memorabilia, firearms, swords and coins before his death in 2022.

The sale came days before the release of Ridley Scott’s film Napoleon with Joaquin Phoenix, which is rekindling interest in the controversial French ruler.

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The Call for AI Regulation in Creative Industries

THE VOICE OF EU | Widespread concerns have surged among artists and creatives in various domains – country singers, authors, television showrunners, and musicians – voicing apprehension about the disruptive impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on their professions.

These worries have prompted an urgent plea to the U.S. government for regulatory action to protect their livelihoods from the encroaching threat posed by AI technology.

The Artists’ Plea

A notable rise in appeals to regulate AI has emerged, drawing attention to the potential risks AI poses to creative industries.

Thousands of letters, including those from renowned personalities like Justine Bateman and Lilla Zuckerman, underscore the peril AI models represent to the traditional structure of entertainment businesses.

The alarm extends to the music industry, expressed by acclaimed songwriter Marc Beeson, highlighting AI’s potential to both enhance and jeopardize an essential facet of American artistry.

The Call for AI Regulation in Creative Industries

Copyright Infringement Concerns

The primary contention arises from the unsanctioned use of copyrighted human works as fodder to train AI systems. The concerns about AI ingesting content from the internet without permission or compensation have sparked significant distress among artists and their representative entities.

While copyright laws explicitly protect works of human authorship, the influx of AI-generated content questions the boundaries of human contribution and authorship in an AI-influenced creative process.

The Fair Use Debate

Leading technology entities like Google, Microsoft, and Meta Platforms argue that their utilization of copyrighted materials in AI training aligns with the “fair use” doctrine—a limited use of copyrighted material for transformative purposes.

They claim that AI training isn’t aimed at reproducing individual works but rather discerning patterns across a vast corpus of content, citing precedents like Google’s legal victories in the digitization of books.

The Conflict and Seeking Resolution

Despite court rulings favoring tech companies in interpreting copyright laws regarding AI, voices like Heidi Bond, a former law professor and author, critique this comparison, emphasizing that AI developers often obtain content through unauthorized means.

Shira Perlmutter, the U.S. Register of Copyrights, acknowledges the Copyright Office’s pivotal role in navigating this complex landscape and determining the legitimacy of the fair use defense in the AI context.

The Road Ahead

The outpouring of concern from creative professionals and industry stakeholders emphasizes the urgency for regulatory frameworks to safeguard creative works while acknowledging the evolving role of AI in content creation.

The Copyright Office’s meticulous review of over 9,700 public comments seeks to strike a balance between innovation and the protection of creative rights in an AI-driven era. As the discussion continues, the convergence of legal precedents and ethical considerations remains a focal point for shaping the future landscape of AI in creative industries.

Thank You For Your Support!

— By Darren Wilson, Team

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