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EL ESPECTADOR

New Geolocation System To Track Paroled Prisoners In Real Time

Extra-surveillance, inside a Colombian prison
Extra-surveillance, inside a Colombian prison
Mary Luz Avendaño

MEDELLIN Crimes being committed by some of Colombia's 38,000 convicts on prison leave have become an almost "daily headache," with some returning to a life of lawlessness despite wearing electronic tags or bracelets.

The need to keep closer tabs on prisoners who have been granted leave has led two prison authority (INPEC) employees and a policeman to create software allowing inmates to be located anywhere, in real time. It is apparently the first such application in Latin America, and it is intended to complement the existing tagging system, allowing police and prison authorities to view the same information at the same time.

"On the map, you can see all of INPEC's geo-referenced locations," says one of the inventors, INPEC employee Alba López Torres. "With a click, you can view the basic information on the inmate, his or her exact location, the ID number, date of arrest, and his or her photo."

She says police can download the application on any of their systems to see who is in which parts of town, complete with their full criminal IDs. The application is set to be tested in Medellín, where there have been 61 recividist incidents in 2014.

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Society

Gluten-Free In France: Stepping Out Of The Shadows, Heading Upmarket

For those in the haute cuisine world of French food, a no-gluten diet (whether by choice or health requirements) has long been a virtual source of shame. But bakers, chefs and pastry makers are now taking the diet to whole new levels of taste and variety.

photo of a man carrying bread in a field

Paris-based entrepreneur Adriano Farano, in Sicily, where his company's wheat is grown

Adriano Farano's Instagram page
David Barroux

PARIS — The "gluten-free" aren’t hiding anymore.

Whether they avoid the grain protein by choice or by obligation — due to taste, allergies or an intolerance — many stick to a diet seen by the outside world as a little bit funny, or perhaps simply just bland.

For some, being gluten-free even came with some amount of self-consciousness: about being that person, the one who announced at the beginning of dinner that they wouldn’t be eating that bread, or that pasta, or that pastry — or about coming across as precious and complicated, or worse, as a killjoy for everyone else’s gustatory pleasure.

For those who feel that it is hard to speak up, it's often easier just to keep the gluten intolerance to themselves and eat only the vegetables at meals, abstaining from bread and dessert to avoid stomach cramps.

But the times, they are a-changin'. Living without gluten used to feel punitive; now it feels more like an option. The number of gluten-free products has exploded, in both quantity and quality, and there’s never been a better time to join the "no-glu" camp.

In supermarkets, bakeries and restaurants, there are increasingly varied alternatives to gluten. And demand is just as high — €1 billion per year in sales in France alone, according to Nielsen. The research consultancy found that 3% of French households were gluten-free in 2019. Now, that number is 4.4%, which is twice as high as the number of “strictly vegetarian” households.

According to market research firm Kantar, the frequency and number of purchases, as well as the average amount spent for gluten-free products, continues to increase — up 6% compared with 2019.

In this context, it’s hardly surprising that gluten-free alternatives are becoming increasingly chic.

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