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Ambler Moss, diplomat, professor, and dean, helped foster global

But engage him in a conversation about world affairs, and Moss could easily navigate the various issues at play in either English, Spanish, French, or Catalan, colleagues said.

A professor and dean of Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Miami after a storied career in the U.S. State Department—both in the foreign service and as an ambassador to Panama—Moss passed away Dec. 27 at his Coral Gables home. He was 85.

In his 37 years at the University, faculty members said Moss elevated its ties to Latin America and the world and helped entice students to join the foreign service.

“He had worked for both Republican and Democratic administrations at the State Department and served the U.S. and its interests with sobriety and balance, as well as a view to the long term,” said David Abraham, professor of law emeritus, who specializes in Europe, immigration, and the political economy and often conversed with Moss as a colleague. “He brought those same skills and approaches to the University.”

Moss came to the University in 1984 from Panama, at the encouragement of his college roommate from Yale, Edward Thaddeus “Tad” Foote II, who, as president of the University of Miami, wanted to expand the University’s global reach.

Soon thereafter, Moss became the founding dean of the Graduate School of International Studies. And since he had earned an interdisciplinary undergraduate degree at Yale with a global focus, Moss wanted to emulate the same type of education at a more advanced level for graduate students in Miami. Richard Weisskoff had taught at Yale and was lured by Moss’ creative vision and his kindness. So, he left the United Nations to teach international economics at the U.

“He was interested in peace and in bringing the world into his students’ lives and that’s what Ambler did,” said Weisskoff, who now chairs the Department of International Studies at the College of Arts and Sciences and served as an economist at the Graduate School of International Studies. “He opened the University up to the world.”
Moss also was director of the University’s Dante B. Fascell North-South Center from 1984 to 2003. Under his leadership, the center provided scholarships to international students and produced research about a range of inter-American issues, like democracy, trade and economic policy, sustainable development, migration, narcotics trafficking, security, and business and labor issues.

“Students came from all over Latin America to study here and then many of them went back to teach or to work in government or in business—it became an international center for students,” Weisskoff added.

Yet before moving to Coral Gables, Moss helped negotiate of the U.S.-Panama Canal Treaties and their ratification and was U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Relations. He also served as U.S. Ambassador to Panama from 1978 until 1982, after being appointed by both President Jimmy Carter and President Ronald Reagan. Moss also served as a member of the U.S.-Panama Consultative Committee from 1978 to 1982 and from 1995 to 2001. Prior to that, as a member of the foreign service, he served in Spain, in the U.S. Delegation to the Organization of American States, and as Spanish Desk Officer in the U.S. Department of State.

During Moss’ early years in the service in 1967, he made a trip to his former Maryland boarding school, where he met Joaquín Roy. At the time, Roy was teaching at the Gilman School, but later, as University faculty members, the two became close friends and colleagues. They often shared research projects and participated in conferences together.
“He looked like your typical American diplomat, but then he turned around and started talking to me in Catalan,”

referring to the language of Spain’s northeastern region. “His knowledge of Catalan was astronomical.”
Roy said Moss was an unusual government official in that he truly knew and understood the culture of Spain and Europe, as well as Latin America. This helped him bridge the gaps between different constituencies because he pinpointed what could truly improve relations between the United States and those countries, Roy noted.

“He was not your typical diplomat trying to sell the United States as this big power,” said Roy. “He was really trying to understand other countries, and if he had to criticize his own country, he did.”

Andy Gomez, a leading Cuba scholar who took over as dean of the Graduate School of International Studies several years after Moss stepped down to focus on teaching, said Moss was a unique scholar, as well as a great mentor to him.

“Because he served as an ambassador to Panama, and in the U.S. Department of State, Ambler was able to teach his students both practice and theory, which is very rare and very needed in international studies,” said Gomez, a former fellow, assistant provost, and co-founding director of the University’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies.

“He was very well known in the consular corps in Miami, which helped place many students in internships in the consular offices and at the U.S. State Department, too,” Gomez said.

His friendship with Foote—whose wife Roberta “Bosey” Fulbright Foote was the daughter of the late U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas—also led Moss to encourage many students to apply for U.S. Fulbright Scholarships to travel abroad. The program thrived under his leadership at the University, Gomez indicated.

But aside from teaching and diplomacy, Moss was also a lawyer. He earned his law degree in 1970 from George Washington University, and before that he served as an officer in the United States Navy, in their submarine division. From 1972 to 1976, he was a resident attorney with the law firm of Coudert Brothers in Brussels (Belgium) and practiced in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, European anti-trust law, international sales transactions, and international franchising transactions. In addition, he was of counsel to the law firm Greenberg Traurig in Miami from 1994 to 2010.

Moss is survived by his wife Serena; his daughter Serena; and sons Ambler, Benjamin, and Nicholas; along with grandchildren Slater, Acadia, and Oliver.

 

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Erdogan unveils Turkey’s first astronaut on election trail

Turkey’s first astronaut will travel to the International Space Station by the end of the year, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday after an illness forced him to cancel several days of appearances.

Air force pilot Alper Gezeravci, 43, was selected to be the first Turkish citizen in space. His backup is Tuva Cihangir Atasever, 30, an aviation systems engineer at Turkish defense contractor Roketsan.

Erdogan made the announcement at the Teknofest aviation and space fair in Istanbul, the president’s first public appearance since falling ill during a TV interview on Tuesday. He appeared alongside Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev, and Libya’s interim prime minister, Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh.

“Our friend, who will go on Turkey’s first manned space mission, will stay on the International Space Station for 14 days,” Erdogan said. “Our astronaut will perform 13 different experiments prepared by our country’s esteemed universities and research institutions during this mission.”

Erdogan described Gezeravci as a “heroic Turkish pilot who has achieved significant success in our Air Force Command.”

The Turkish Space Agency website describes Gezeravci as a 21-year air force veteran and F-16 pilot who attended the U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology.

Wearing a red flight jacket, Erdogan appeared in robust health as he addressed crowds at the festival. Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled for May 14, and opinion polls show Erdogan in potentially his toughest race since he came to power two decades ago.

Turkey is dealing with a prolonged economic downturn, and the government received criticism after a February earthquake killed more than 50,000 in the country. Experts blamed the high death toll in part on shoddy construction and law enforcement of building codes.

While campaigning for reelection, Erdogan has unveiled a number of prestigious projects, such as Turkey’s first nuclear power plant and the delivery of natural gas from Black Sea reserves.

 

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Florida

Israelis rally for 17th week against judicial overhaul plans

Tens of thousands of Israelis protested judicial overhaul proposals Saturday in the 17th weekly rally against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition.

The demonstrations have been ongoing since the beginning of the year, and organizers plan to continue, despite Netanyahu delaying the changes last month. The leaders of the mass protests want the proposals scrapped altogether.

“We are just getting started,” read a banner that demonstrators held at the main protest in Tel Aviv, Israel’s economic hub. Smaller demonstrations were reported in several parts of the country.

Spanish Prime Minister and Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez voiced support to the Israeli antigovernment protesters in a video message aired on a large screen in Tel Aviv.

We as Socialist International have always fought for freedom, equality, justice, and democracy. Yet, as many of you know, these are values that we cannot take for granted,” Sanchez said.

Protesters argue the proposed changes threaten Israel’s democratic values, hurting a system of checks and balances and concentrating authority in the hands of Netanyahu and his extremist allies.

They also say that the prime minister has a conflict of interest in trying to reshape the nation’s legal system at a time when he is on trial.

Such changes would result in weakening the Supreme Court, giving parliament, which is controlled by Netanyahu’s allies, authority to overturn its rulings and limiting its ability to review laws.

The protest gained support from the military’s elite reserve force, businesses, and large sectors of the Israeli community. But on Thursday, tens of thousands of right-wing Israelis who support the legal

 

 

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Florida

‘Total nightmare:’ As Florida insurance companies go insolvent, homeowners pay the price

Seminole county couple has three-year open claim because of insolvent insurer.

What happens when your property insurer goes out of business?

It is happening quite a bit in Florida and is leading to all policyholders paying more.

The Florida Insurance Guaranty is adding a 1% assessment to policyholders starting in October to cover claims for insolvent companies.

A Seminole County couple has lived without a fully functioning kitchen for three years because their insurer went out of business.

Sandra Braga Alfonso said what started as a leak under her sink has turned into a three-year nightmare.

She said there was already a fight with her insurer to pay out the claim, but then the company went under and it got worse.

Alfonso has a fridge and an oven but is missing lower cabinets, a stove, her normal sink, and a dishwasher.

“It has been a total nightmare,” Alfonso said.

It started in December of 2019 with a leak under her sink, she said.

She eventually discovered water in all her lower cabinets and in the sheetrock behind the cabinets, she said.

“The insurance company gave us approval to rip everything out that was damaged and now they don’t want to pay to put it back in,” Alfonso said.

The insurance company cut a check for $4,800, she said.

Of that $4,300 went to water mitigation to prevent mold. That left about $500, not nearly enough to replace her kitchen, she said.

“We’ve tried to settle, go to mediation, everything,” she said.

Finally, Alfonso and her husband filed a lawsuit against her insurer, but after two years of hearings and motions and waiting for a court date, her insurer went out of business.

She was with Capitol Insurance, but according to the Florida Department of Financial Services, Capitol was merged into Southern Fidelity, which is now one of 14 companies in liquidation.

“I’m over it. I just want my kitchen. I just want to be able to live again. I love to cook, and I can’t,” Alfonso said.

In the last year, Florida lawmakers have had three special legislative sessions to deal with Florida’s property insurance crises.

News 6 asked Alfonso if she thinks anything is being done in Tallahassee to help consumers with their insurance issues.

“No, it’s all for the insurance company,” she said.

One of the biggest moves made in Tallahassee over the last year is the legislature doing away with what is referred to as “one-way attorney’s fees.”

That means if you sued your insurer over a claim and won, the insurance company had to pay your attorney’s fees. Without it, Alfonso said she would never have been able to sue her insurer even though in her case, it didn’t do any good.

No. My husband’s retired. He’s on disability and he’s retired we’re on a fixed income,” Alfonso said.

Alfonso has now turned to the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association, which handles the claims of insolvent property and casualty insurance companies.

They are still negotiating the amount it will take to fix her kitchen — more than three years later.

“I owned my first home when I was 20-something years old,” Alfonso said. “I’ve been paying my insurance premiums since I’m like 25, never filed a claim and look where I am now,” Alfonso said.

 

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