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  • Drug Trafficker and Paramilitary Sought in Colombia Dies

    first_imgBy Dialogo January 03, 2011 Pedro Guerrero, alias ‘Cuchillo’ [‘Knife’], one of Colombia’s most-wanted drug traffickers and former paramilitary leaders, accused of around three thousand murders, died in a police operation on Christmas Eve, President Juan Manuel Santos said on 29 December. “The murderer of murderers fell. We’ve been after him for many years,” Santos specified at a press conference, after adding that this is “the heaviest blow that has been struck against the criminal gangs.” The director of the police, Gen. Oscar Naranjo, displayed a pistol encrusted with gold and diamonds that Guerrero used to carry, according to him, as well as a knife with which the forty-year-old drug trafficker was in the habit of “beheading his victims.” Guerrero, for whom the United States was offering a 2.5-million-dollar reward, died in an operation by around two hundred “jungle” commandos, in the town of Puerto Alvira, between the departments of Meta and Guaviare (in southeastern Colombia), according to the police. After battling with his bodyguards, the uniformed personnel arrested seven men, including “El loco Harold” [“Crazy Harold”], the criminal organization’s finance chief. Nevertheless, Guerrero was not found, and a search began that ended on 28 December with the discovery of his corpse floating in a stream located two hundred meters from the site where the fighting was concentrated, according to Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera. All the same, ‘Cuchillo’s’ body did not show any wounds on an initial examination. “It has not been documented that he died from a bullet or a stab wound,” affirmed the director of the state Institute of Legal Medicine, Juan Isaac. “Guerrero’s cause of death is being studied,” Isaac added. Nevertheless, an official announced later that the Colombian police believe that ‘Cuchillo’ drowned in a spring in the eastern part of the country, after suffering a heart attack and while fleeing drunk through the jungle. “‘Cuchillo’ was drunk, and when he became aware of the presence of our helicopters over the house where he was celebrating Christmas, he succeeded in escaping together with two of his bodyguards, while others shot at us with machine guns,” affirmed Gen. Carlos Mena, director of the Judicial Police (Dijín). Accused of around three thousand crimes, ‘Cuchillo’ was the subject of four open arrest warrants for criminal conspiracy, aggravated homicide, and narcotics trafficking. He was also under investigation for forced disappearance and forced displacement of peasants. Despite announcing in April 2006 that he would demobilize, amid negotiations between the United Self-Defense Units of Colombia (AUC, extreme right-wing paramilitaries) and then-president Alvaro Uribe’s administration (2002-2010), ‘Cuchillo’ declined to do so and became the leader of the self-proclaimed Anticommunist Popular Revolutionary Army of Colombia (Erpac), an AUC dissident group. He then became a kind of heir to Carlos Castaño, one of the founders of the AUC, an organization that he promised to refound after the process of demobilization. According to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, Erpac has around one thousand men. Other sources, such as the private Institute of Development and Peace Studies (Indepaz), indicate that the group has influence in twelve of the country’s thirty-two departments, even in the capital itself. According to the United States, the organization led by ‘Cuchillo’ is one of the chief suppliers of cocaine to its territory. In addition to Erpac, which the Colombian authorities classify within the group of criminal gangs (Bacrim), criminal organizations at the service of drug traffickers and made up of former paramilitaries, at least five other similar factions are active. Prominent among them are the Águilas Negras [Black Eagles], the Urabeños, the Paisas, the Renacer [Rebirth] gang, the Machos, and the Rastrojos [Stubble], which are believed, according to Indepaz, to be made up of between 7,400 and 12,000 men, counting the members of their support networks.last_img read more

  • China plans to repatriate tourists stranded in Bali

    first_imgBali Airport Authority head Elfi Amir said the details of the plan – including the number of Chinese nationals to be repatriated from Bali and the number of airplanes to be used for the repatriation – were still uncertain.“We have yet to receive an official notice. We’ve only received verbal information. The permits will be processed in Jakarta,” Elfi told on Thursday morning. “In principle, [the airport authority] supports [the move].”He said the authority had coordinated with related parties to ensure that the technicalities of the plan would be properly addressed.“We last heard that [China] was still preparing the required permits and that Indonesia would support the repatriation of Chinese nationals,” Elfi said.A Boeing 777 owned by China Eastern Airlines is due to land at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport on Friday, he said.“It will depart for Denpasar from Shanghai and then go to Wuhan,” he said. (rfa)Topics : The Chinese government plans to repatriate its citizens from Bali following the recent cancellation of all flights to and from mainland China, Bali airport authority officials have said.Flights to and from China have been suspended since Wednesday at Ngurah Rai International Airport as part of government measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, stranding thousands of Chinese tourists on the island.Read also: Thousands of Chinese tourists stranded in Bali as govt halts flights to and from Chinalast_img read more

  • Hesitant flyers: People remain wary of air travel because of health, cost concerns, survey shows

    first_imgMany people remain reluctant to fly amid lingering fears of COVID-19 and concerns about travel costs, a survey by state-owned airport operator Angkasa Pura (AP) I has found.The AP I survey found that 84 percent of the 500 respondents were erring on the side of caution and were taking a “wait and see” approach, mostly because of the perceived heightened risk of COVID-19 transmission during flights.The results of the survey come despite the government laying out strict health protocols for the aviation industry. The protocols were stipulated in Transportation Ministry Circular No. 13/2020 and cover mandatory procedures from pre-flight to post-flight to reduce the risk of virus transmission. “We need to pay special attention to [consumers’] level of confidence. Airports needs to demonstrate compliance with the health protocols,” AP I president director Faik Fahmi said on Wednesday during an online webinar held by The Habibie Center.The low level of consumer confidence is a major challenge for the already struggling aviation industry, which has been battered by the pandemic as people canceled travel plans due to travel restrictions.Domestic air passenger numbers saw a steep 98.3 drop in May, falling to 87,000 from 5.3 million in May 2019, according to Statistics Indonesia (BPS). The number of international air passengers also dropped more than 99 percent year-on-year (yoy) in May to 11,700 passengers.However, AP I recorded around 394,000 passengers in the first 10 days of July, a huge increase from around 222,000 passengers in the first half of June and 76,000 passengers in the entire month of May. To address the passengers’ concerns, Faik said the company, which manages 13 airports across the country, planned to digitize airline passenger check-in procedures to minimize person-to-person contacts.In the AP I survey, 68 percent of respondents said they favored online flight check-in to avoid contacts with airport staff, while 76 percent said they would feel more comfortable using digital customer service at airports.“The role of technology has become crucial to meet our customers’ desires,” he said.In addition to the fear of COVID-19 transmission, the high cost of rapid and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, a requirement for air travel, has also dampened people’s interest in flying. As many as 78 percent of the survey respondents said they hoped air travel costs could be reduced.“A lot of our customers complained about the high prices of rapid tests. While the Health Ministry has set a price ceiling of Rp 150,000 [US$10.25] for the test, in reality the price is much higher,” Faik said.The Health Ministry issued on July 6 a circular that set a price ceiling of Rp 150,000 for COVID-19 rapid tests, following numerous complaints over high prices.Earlier this month, Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi has also asked the Finance Ministry to subsidize rapid tests for public transportation users.Several Indonesian airlines have also taken initiatives to drive up air travel demand by providing free or low-cost COVID-19 testing for their passengers.Airlines under Lion Air Group, namely Lion Air, Wings Air and Batik Air, are offering rapid COVID-19 testing for passengers, with prices starting from Rp 95,000, the company’s spokesperson Danang Mandala Prihantoro said in a statement in June.Meanwhile, national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia service and business development director Ade R. Susardi emphasized on Wednesday the importance of restoring consumer confidence in the aviation industry.“We are now trying to increase our passengers numbers by convincing people that it is safe to fly. With a rising number of passengers, we can boost our cash flow,” Ade said.Garuda Indonesia currently has an occupancy rate of around 40 percent, he said.Topics :last_img read more

  • UN pension fund launches digital identity pilot project

    first_imgIt added that the proof of concept aimed to “overcome the limitations of the existing manual process and prevent new risks from happening, which could hamper the flow of entitlements”. The United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF) is gearing up to test the use of biometrics and other modern technologies to certify pensioners’ benefit entitlement after more than 70 years of a manual, paper-based process.The move to launch a pilot project follows a successful “proof of concept” prototype that used biometrics, blockchain, geo-location, and mobile apps, according to a statement from the $60.8bn (€54.9bn) defined benefit pension fund.The prototype was created and tested in collaboration with the International Computing Centre, an information technology and communications provider within the UN system.According to the UNJSPF, the proof-of-concept experience “confirmed the value of digital identity and blockchain technologies to automate the certificate of entitlement process with secure mechanisms that create traceable, immutable, and independently auditable evidence”. Source: UN Photo/Evan SchneiderEvery year the pension fund has to verify more than 70,000 beneficiaries located in more than 190 countries, confirming they are still alive.For the last 70 years, this confirmation has required every beneficiary to return a signed paper-based form – a certificate of entitlement – which is currently sent by regular post.The pension fund also has to confirm beneficiaries’ residence if they are paid under a “local track” system, which converts the value of US residency-based benefits to a local currency and local cost of living.According to the UNJSPF, the biometrics were used for personal identification and confirming a beneficiary was still alive, while geo-location was used to confirm a beneficiary’s residence.Following the success of the proof-of-concept prototype, the pension fund is taking steps to start a pilot project with a view, if successful, to implement the solution for all new retirees.New pensioners of select UN entities or member organisations will be given the opportunity, on a voluntary basis, to use and test the new approach.In 2018, the UNJSPF had nearly 130,00 active participants and more than 78,000 beneficiaries, who were paid $2.67bn in benefits.last_img read more

  • Crystal Powell wins Mission Catwalk Avant Garde Challenge

    first_img Sharing is caring! Share EntertainmentNewsRegional Crystal Powell wins Mission Catwalk Avant Garde Challenge by: – May 16, 2012 Share Sharecenter_img Front view of design. Photo credit: Tiffany Lue YenAGSelectPR, Kingston, Thursday, May 17, 2012: Jamaican Crystal Powell wowed judges on Mission Catwalk episode eight with an avant garde, couture garment made from alternative material- old newspapers and materials from a hardware store. This is the second win for the 25 year-old who previously won the Flapper challenge on episode three.For Crystal, the win was a confidence booster: “I got a chance to show the judges that I can be dramatic and over the top and very intense, moods I usually reserve for my poetry and drawings. Avant guarde is highly regarded in fashion, so for me it was a validation of my design acumen.”Inspired by the Crusades, Crystal wanted her design to be pretty but unsettling to reflect “how something which purportedly started out with good intentions could have such devastating and ugly results.Side view of design. Photo credit: Tiffany Lue YenThe garment’s top was made from newspaper with a unique amour-like stencil made by applying black spray paint over a polyflex sink protection mat. The collar and belt of the dress (made from folded newspapers spray painted in red) formed both a sword and cross. The skirt was made of cut newspaper folded into flower-like shapes, still using the same stencil pattern but this time sprayed in red. The bold and dark effect was accentuated by black flowers, lipstick and gloves. The purple feather earring and cobalt (blue) tights were used to incorporate the traditional colours of priesthood- purple, red and blue and continue the theme of the Crusades. Copper and steel wires added for further dramatic effect.Crystal’s effort won her a feature in OCEAN Style Magazine. Guest judge and editor of OCEAN Style, Douglas Gordon thought her work was “creative, interesting, well-constructed and editorial-ready.” Equally impressed were the regular judging panel: Keneea Linton-George, host and executive producer of Mission Catwalk, Novia McDonald-Whyte Jamaica Observer Lifestyle editor and Carlton Brown, celebrated menswear designer. Crystal Powell. Photo credit: Alty Benjamin Jr.Though Ryan Berkeley of Guyana did meet the challenge requirement, the episode five runner-up received the lowest score and was sent home. Of the remaining seven designers, three are Jamaican (Crystal Powell, Janel Jolly and Gregory Williams), two are from Barbados (Kesia Estwick and Kerin Scott) while Trinidad and Belize have one representative each in Ryan Chan and Rebecca Stirm. Mission Catwalk originally started with an all Jamaican cast, with season two seeing participants from five countries from around the region.The series will climax with a grand showdown at Caribbean Fashion Week with the top three designers in June. To find out ‘Who will rule the catwalk?’, keep watching the show which airs Tuesdays at 8:30 PM on TVJ and is simultaneously streamed online at Episodes also repeat Thursdays at 5:30 PM. Presented by NCB, Supreme Ventures and Digicel, Mission Catwalk is now shown in six regional countries: Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Guyana and Belize. Press Release 298 Views   one comment Tweetlast_img read more

  • Matt Jarvis hopes to get frustration out of his system

    first_img The Canaries were beaten 2-1 at home by Leicester before the international break, which was a first defeat in a promising run of four matches. Jarvis, on loan from West Ham, admits not having another game to quickly try to put things right has made it a difficult spell for those left at the Norfolk club’s training base. “As a group it wasn’t nice to lose before the international break as you have that feeling for two weeks,” Jarvis said. “We have had time to reflect on Leicester and want to put things right now.” Jarvis added: “We want to keep our away record going and have shown in games how well we can play. “Everyone can see how good the team is, but you have to be consistent too. “In every match this season we are looking to make a strong start to ensure the other team doesn’t pick up momentum, and Sunday is no different.” Jarvis has impressed since his deadline day loan move from West Ham, scoring twice in four appearances. The 29-year-old, however, is not about to rest on his laurels. “It has been a good start for me here,” he said at a press conference. Winger Matt Jarvis hopes Norwich can finally get a fortnight of frustration out of their system with victory at Newcastle on Sunday. “I scored quite a few for Wolves when I was in the Premier League with them, and it is one thing I have needed to improve on. “I have scored a couple at Norwich already, and hopefully I can keep that up. “We have got a competitive squad, so I know I need to maintain my form. “When you are given the chance to play you have got to take it.” Newcastle may be currently propping up the rest of the Premier League, but Canaries boss Alex Neil will not allow any complacency from his squad. “We want to make sure that we go about our business in the right way and hopefully put a really good performance in,” the Scot said on Norwich City TV. “Out of the 10 games we have played so far (in all competitions), we have done really well in eight. “That is a great ratio for us, but we will be looking to improve on that as well. “It is such fine margins by which you win or lose games at this level. “There have been a couple of games this season where I felt we have deserved to win, but we haven’t – and those four or five extra points would put you in a very different scenario.” Press Associationlast_img read more

  • PBC Supervisor of Elections Wendy Link tells 850WFTL “We’re Ready” for Presidential Primary

    first_imgFlorida voters will head to the polls on Tuesday, March 17th to cast their ballots in the presidential primary and also to decide 20 different municipal elections including selecting a new mayor of Boca Raton.Already some 40,000 absentee ballots have been cast in Palm Beach County.Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Wendy Link sat down with 850 WFTL to explain how this time around, the county is ready for a problem-free election with new voting equipment and no problematic apps to get in the way like in Iowa.Listen to the full interview here.’s too late to register to vote in the upcoming presidential primary, but you still have time to do so for the August primary and the general election in November.Click here to register.last_img read more

  • The Latest: US Tennis Association says best to not play now

    first_imgEarlier this week, Wyoming athletic director Tom Burman announced he was taking a 10% salary cut through Dec. 31.___The CONCACAF Nations League semifinals and final in June have been called off.The U.S. had been scheduled to play Honduras on June 4 in Houston, with Mexico meeting Costa Rica in the other semifinal. The winners were to play three days later at Arlington, Texas.The Confederation of North and Central American and Caribbean Football said Friday it made the decision due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It is not yet known when the matches will be rescheduled. Company-wide layoffs by NASCAR on Friday were part of previously planned restructuring. NASCAR did not reveal the number of employees affected. NASCAR “centralized” Iowa Speedway by dismissing most of its staff to instead use the employees from Kansas Speedway. That track is roughly four hours away from Iowa Speedway. The personnel changes were planned as part of restructuring from last years’ merger of NASCAR and track operator sister company International Speedway Corp.NASCAR already has issued pay-cuts to its entire organization. It last week cut executives’ salary 25%, and 20% for other employees as stock car’s sanctioning body adapts to the new coronavirus pandemic. The 38-race NASCAR schedule is the longest in sports spanning nearly 11 months and the season was suspended four races into the year. The next publicly scheduled race is May 9 at Martinsville Speedway, but Virginia is under a state-at-home order into June. NASCAR has privately floated to teams revised 2020 schedules but not announced anything about rescheduling its races.___ The Southeastern Conference is extending its ban on practices and organized gatherings through the end of May.The ban includes team and individual practices, meetings and other gatherings — whether voluntary or required — as well as camps and coaches clinics. Atlanta Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce says team employees have been tested after exhibiting symptoms for the new coronavirus. He says no players or members of the coaching staff have shown any symptoms or been tested. Pierce said Friday he doesn’t know the identity of those who were tested. He said at least 18 or 19 days have passed since any members of the team would have had contact with the employees.“Everyone that has been tested, the symptoms they had or reported, they do feel better,” Pierce said. He said he has “become a master of this Zoom app” while having video conferencing with players, assistants and other NBA coaches.___ The statement from the organization that runs the U.S. Open Grand Slam tournament said there have not been specific studies about tennis and the COVID-19 illness.But there is “the possibility” that germs could be transferred among people via sharing and touching of tennis balls, net posts, court surfaces, benches or gate handles.So the USTA wants players “to be patient in our return to the courts.”In the meantime, the group encouraged people to create what it termed “tennis-at-home” variations.The U.S. Open is still scheduled to start Aug. 31 in New York. ___The players are all making 20% pay cuts for the next three months to fund the voluntary gesture.They plan to detail the charitable donations next week.The announcement by the Professional Cricketers’ Association followed talks over how England’s leading players would respond to the crisis after a request from the ECB for 20% pay cuts.___ ___More than a dozen U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes received reassurance this week when Toyota North America announced it would extend their endorsement contracts through the rescheduled Tokyo Games in 2021.The auto company and major Olympic sponsor has 17 U.S. athletes under contract. They include swimmer David Boudia, gymnast Laurie Hernandez, Paralympian Oksana Masters and sprinter Michael Norman.The status of endorsement contracts is a major concern to athletes because most signed deals that were set to expire after this year’s scheduled Olympics. They have been rescheduled for 2021 and that has forced corporations to reset and rethink the structure of their deals.Visa is another major sponsor and has also told its global roster of nearly 100 Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls that it will extend sponsorships through 2021. Testing has been suspended since March 27 under a previous round of measures.Isolation measures around the world have led to a sharp drop in anti-doping tests. That’s led to warnings that some athletes could take advantage of the situation. The World Anti-Doping Agency says it is trying to track gaps in testing.___Former marathon world record holder Wilson Kipsang was among 20 people arrested in Kenya for locking themselves in a bar and drinking alcohol in breach of a curfew imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic.Police say the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist was among those detained at a police station in Iten, one of Kenya’s famous high-altitude towns where distance runners train. They were in breach of a 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew. The group included a local politician. Philadelphia 76ers owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer, as well as All-Star center Joel Embiid made a combined contribution of $1.3 million to Penn Medicine.The money established a funding campaign for COVID-19 antibody testing of front line health care workers. The pledge from Embiid, Harris and Blitzer was expected to help boost efforts to quickly identify health care workers who may have immunity to the virus.Embiid says “we need to do everything possible to help those heroes who are putting their lives at risk to help us.” The gifts will support new experimental serology tests that detect antibodies to determine if a person has ever been infected with the virus-identifying staff and providers that might have immunity.___One of the major summer baseball leagues for college players has canceled its season because of the coronavirus pandemic. ___The Tour de Suisse has been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, removing one of the few cycling events left on the calendar before the Tour de France is due to start.The nine-day Swiss race was scheduled to run from June 6-14 and is designed to give riders a chance to prepare for the three-week Tour de France. The French race is still scheduled to start on June 27.Colombian rider Egan Bernal won in Switzerland last year ahead of his first Tour de France title.Organizers in Switzerland say its “the first time since the Second World War that the traditional event will not take place.” The SailGP global league has suspended its season through the end of June due to the coronavirus pandemic, wiping out a regatta scheduled for New York on June 12-13. Ticket purchasers will be automatically refunded by the end of June.SailGP already canceled its San Francisco regatta that had been set for May 2-3.Two more regattas are on the schedule for 2020, at Cowes, England, Aug. 14-15 and at Copenhagen Sept. 11-12. The opening regatta of SailGP’s second season, held in Sydney in late February, was won by British sailing star Sir Ben Ainslie, who also is leading an America’s Cup campaign. SailGP was co-founded by former America’s Cup winner Russell Coutts of New Zealand and tech billionaire Larry Ellison.___ Commissioner Bruce Alger of the Valley Baseball League in Virginia said the executive committee unanimously agreed the risk to players’ health would be too great.The 11-team Valley League has been sanctioned by the NCAA since 1961 and began using wooden bats in 1993. It’s among dozens of leagues where college players spend their summers.The Cape Cod League, generally considered the top summer league, said it had not decided whether to cancel its season. Play is scheduled to begin June 13.___Major League Lacrosse has postponed the start of its season because of the coronavirus outbreak. The decision was made on Friday by a FIFA panel of soccer officials worldwide created to address the soccer shutdown.Two women’s World Cup tournaments — the Under-20s hosted by Panama and Costa Rica in August and September, and the Under-17s in India in November — are postponed.___Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper is donating $500,000 to help coronavirus relief efforts in his hometown of Las Vegas and in Philadelphia. Harper and his wife, Kayla, are giving money to Direct Relief and Three Square in Las Vegas and Philabundance in Philadelphia. The team says the furlough applies to about 55% of full-time employees, who would be directed to access unemployment benefits through the government’s $2.2 trillion economic rescue package.Furloughed employees ineligible to collect full base salaries through unemployment would receive a bonus from the organization when the furlough ends “to be made whole.”Additionally, furloughed employees will keep healthcare benefits, with the team covering premium payments during that time.In a statement, team president and general manager Don Waddell says the organization “remains committed to taking care of our staff as well as possible given these unprecedented circumstances.” Waddell said the plan “protects our employees from financial hardship while also mitigating the losses suffered by the company during this shutdown.”___ The Kings are also donating 100,000 medical masks and $250,000 to community service organizations.___The PGA Tour executive who oversees player activity is the first PGA Tour employee to have tested positive for COVID-19.Ross Berlin, the tour’s senior vice president of player affairs, says he was self-isolating after The Players Championship was canceled when he complained of losing his sense of taste and smell. His doctor put him through a coronavirus hotline interview and told him he wasn’t a high-risk candidate without a fever or breathing difficulties.Berlin says a few days later, on March 27, he had a fever. He at first was told he had pneumonia, but a test came back positive for the virus. He says he called everyone with whom he has been in contact — including his barber — and is feeling better. He says doctors told him players he might have seen on March 13 shouldn’t be concerned because he’s beyond the 14-day incubation period.Berlin has been in various positions with the tour since 1998, with a brief spell as Michelle Wie’s first agent. He says his wife is awaiting her test results, though she has not shown any symptoms.___The Carolina Hurricanes are putting more than half of full-time staff on furlough through June 7 while taking steps they said would ensure affected employees don’t lose income amid the coronavirus pandemic that has led to the suspension of the NHL season.The team announced the plan Friday with the team and PNC Arena having shut down operations last month to ensure social-distancing practices. The All England Club announced this week that it had canceled this year’s edition of Wimbledon. The French Open was postponed from May to September.___Wyoming says football coach Craig Bohl and wife Leia have made a $100,000 gift to fund the scholarships of spring-sport senior athletes who plan to return to school next year after having their seasons canceled by the coronavirus outbreak. The school said the estimated cost of the scholarships will be $70,000. The NCAA announced earlier this week that spring-sport athletes would be granted an extra year of eligibility and seniors could return next year without being counted against scholarship limits. But those athletes would not be guaranteed scholarship funds. How much athletes received would be up to each individual school.Wyoming announced the remainder of the Bohls’ donation would go to supporting the athletic training table and nutritional needs. ___German soccer club Borussia Dortmund is converting part of its stadium into a treatment center amid the coronavirus pandemic.The Bundesliga club says a space inside Germany’s largest soccer stadium has been made available for medical staff to examine people with virus symptoms.The move comes after an influx of suspected coronavirus cases put existing facilities in the city of Dortmund under strain.The center will open on Saturday. ___World Triathlon has extended its suspension of all events from the end of April to the end of June because of the coronavirus outbreak.The latest events to be called off include the Yokohama leg of the world series, three African Cups, three American events, four Asian Cups, one event in Oceania and eight in Europe.World Triathlon president Marisol Casado says “the suspension of all activities doesn’t mean at all that we stop working” on finding alternative dates.___ The NFL’s Indianapolis Colts are giving season-ticket holders the option to defer April’s payment until June 15.On Friday, team officials emailed letters to those with payment plans, giving them a Wednesday deadline to accept the offer.The final two installments were initially due April 15 and May 15. The Colts have not announced any changes about the May payment.“In light of the unique circumstances right now, we have decided to modify the payment options for members of our season ticket family on payment plans,” the letter reads in part.The move comes one day after the Indiana High School Athletic Association canceled the entire spring sports season. State officials had previously announced all schools would remain closed for the rest of the academic year. April 3, 2020center_img The winner of the week-long tournament will receive a $100,00 donation to a coronavirus-related relief effort of their choice.BetMGM has a free bracket game available on its website to all verified New Jersey players. All competitors with a perfect bracket will split $20,000 in prizes.If there are no perfect brackets, the prize will be split among the highest scorers.BetMGM is also donating the same amount to the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund.___ The WNBA has postponed the start of its season because of the coronavirus pandemic. The league was set to open training camps on April 26 and the regular season was to begin on May 15. The WNBA will still hold a “virtual” draft on April 17.Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a statement. “While the league continues to use this time to conduct scenario-planning regarding new start dates and innovative formats, our guiding principle will continue to be the health and safety of the players, fans and employees.” The WNBA, which was set to begin its 24th season, is the longest running professional women’s sports league.___ The Serie A says it will consider resuming only “when health conditions permit it.”The Italian league has been suspended since March 9, when the government ordered a nationwide lockdown.A new government decree issued this week prevents clubs from training — even in small groups — for at least another 10 days.Twelve rounds of Serie A remain, plus four games that were postponed from the weekend of Feb. 22. Also, the Italian Cup semifinals were interrupted after the first leg.Following a video conference meeting of all 20 Serie A clubs on Friday, the league said “it will await the decrees from the government and place in primary consideration taking care of the athletes’ health and all people involved.” The powerhouse league had previously announced that in-person athletics activities were suspended through April 15 because of the coronavirus pandemic.Also Friday, the conference said virtual film review that does not include physical activity is permissible. Effective April 6, activity of this nature will be expanded to four hours a week consistent with an NCAA rule waiver and NCAA legislation, an increase from the previously permissible maximum of two hours a week.___A gaming site is donating $20,000 for pandemic relief in New Jersey and giving out another $20,000 to fans who can predict the results of the NBA 2K tournament among NBA players.The 16-player tournament begins Friday night and will air on ESPN. Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant is the overall No. 1 seed and opens play against No. 16 Derrick Jones Jr. of the Miami Heat in the first round. ___Officials say they’re working to find a new date for the Preakness Stakes, the second jewel of horse racing’s Triple Crown.The Maryland Jockey Club and Stronach Group announced Friday that whenever the Preakness is run in 2020, it will go on without infield activities that had been one of the race’s biggest traditions. The Preakness was scheduled for May 16 in Baltimore.The organizations say in a joint statement finding a new date for the Preakness “will take into consideration all of the recommended best practices from local and governmental health authorities to protect our community.” The Kentucky Derby was postponed from May 2 to Sept. 5. No decision has yet been made on the Belmont Stakes, which is scheduled for June 6 at Belmont Park in New York.___ Associated Press FIFA has extended the age limit for the men’s soccer tournament at the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics due to the coronavirus pandemic.FIFA says it also postponed two women’s age-group World Cups due this year, and no international games will be played in the early June dates protected for national team call-ups.The amended Olympic rule retains the “players born on or after Jan. 1, 1997” standard for the Tokyo Games. It means players eligible for the intended under-23 tournament in 2020 can still play in Japan at age 24 next year. Men’s soccer kicks off ahead of the July 23, 2021 opening ceremony in Tokyo. The 16 teams at the Tokyo Olympics next year can also select three over-age players in their rosters. A stellar lineup includes Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany and Spain. The Lawn Tennis Association is giving up to 20 million pounds ($24 million) through grants and interest-free loans to help venues, coaches, officials, and players in Britain during the coronavirus pandemic.Singles players world ranked from 101 to 750 and doubles players ranked from 101 to 250 — who are not already receiving funding — are eligible for grants, and there will be increased prize money for British tour events if the tours resume. This week, Wimbledon was canceled and the tours suspended the British grass-court season.Most of the focus of the LTA package is on protecting the grassroots, including continued funding for development centers and the two national academies, and supporting full-time coaches.Chief executive Scott Lloyd and the executive team will take temporary pay cuts of 20%, while some staff will be furloughed next week but will be paid 80% of their salary.___ “Now is the time to come together and adhere to the guidelines of medical professionals! We are wishing the best to all with our prayers during this time,” the couple said in a statement. ___The Sacramento Kings’ former arena and practice facility is being converted into a surge field hospital for COVID-19 and trauma care patients.The arena, in suburban Natomas, was the Kings’ home from 1988 until 2016, when they moved into a downtown facility.The Kings and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services say the hospital will have approximately 360 beds along with additional hospital services. ___Mental health experts who were supposed to be available to help American athletes at the Tokyo Olympics are being asked to start working now. The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee says the experts are leading discussions about mental health and wellness for athletes and staff in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Those same experts will also be on hand at the Tokyo Games, which have been postponed a year.The USOPC also disclosed the 13 members of a new external mental health task force created to support American athletes and coaches. It includes Olympians, doctors and the head of The Speedy Foundation, a mental-health organization named after the late Jeret “Speedy” Peterson, an Olympic silver medalist in aerials. That group is working with an internal group at the USOC being led by chief medical officer Jonathan Finnoff. ___The world heavyweight title fight between Anthony Joshua and Kubrat Pulev on June 20 has been postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.The fight was scheduled to take place at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London and will be Joshua’s first defense of his IBF, WBA, WBO belts since he regained them from Andy Ruiz Jr.Joshua’s promoter, Matchroom Boxing, says a new date for the fight is being worked on. The Latest: US Tennis Association says best to not play now The six-team league was scheduled to begin its 20th season on May 30.In a statement, the league says “this decision was made to safeguard the health of our players, fans and staff, as well as those within our MLL communities as a result of the global pandemic.”MLL has teams in Boston, Denver, Philadelphia, Long Island, New York, Annapolis, Maryland, and Fairfield, Connescticut.No date has been set for the season to begin. The league says it will be guided by CDC recommendations.___ ___The Ottawa Senators have offered use of the Canadian Tire Centre, the building’s nine adjacent parking lots and three other community arenas affiliated with the team to the Ontario government for temporary use during the coronavirus pandemic.The NHL team said Friday that owner Eugene Melnyk approached the province this week and is awaiting a reply. The offer comes with the potential use of 17 unleased private suites inside Ottawa’s NHL rink — including Melnyk’s — and amounts to roughly 200,000 square feet of adaptable space.The NHL paused its season March 12. Six members of the Senators’ organization, including at least two players, tested positive for COVID-19, as did the radio color commentator.England’s contracted men’s players are donating 500,000 pounds ($610,000) to the England and Wales Cricket Board and selected good causes, and the England’s women’s squad is taking a pay cut for April, May and June because of the coronavirus pandemic. They say “the risk of additional strain on the Swiss health system due to possible crashes during racing is high.”___The Russian anti-doping agency is preparing to freeze all testing until May to comply with new government measures shutting down work deemed non-essential.RUSADA deputy CEO Margarita Pakhnotskaya tells The Associated Press that her agency is looking for possible exemptions to instructions from President Vladimir Putin for all Russians except those working in essential sectors to stay home through April 30.Pakhnotskaya says in a text message that she “will check on Monday the possibility to receive special permission” from government bodies for staff to collect samples from athletes. There will be no testing this month if that isn’t granted. The Premier League has pushed back its restart date and says play will not resume at the beginning of May.The league had given a return date of April 30 amid the coronavirus outbreak but now says the season “will only return when it is safe and appropriate to do so.”It says there remained a “combined objective” for all remaining domestic league and cup matches to be played to maintain the integrity of each competition.The league also says it has consulted players over a pay deduction or deferral of 30%.It also voted to advance funds of 125 million pounds ($150 million) to clubs in the English Football League and fifth-tier National League. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditThe Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:The U.S. Tennis Association says its best not to play the sport right now because of the coronavirus pandemic.In a posting on its website on Friday, the USTA called it “in the best interest of society to take a collective pause” from tennis. Kipsang, who is also a police officer, was provisionally suspended this year from track and field and charged with doping offenses that include tampering with doping samples. He has also won the New York, London and Berlin marathons.Twelve athletes were arrested in Iten earlier this week for breaching Kenyan government regulations on social gatherings during the COVID-19 crisis. The runners were arrested for training in a group, which has been banned in Kenya. Training camps have been shut down and athletes must train alone.___More AP sports: and,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6last_img read more

  • IPL 2020 likely to be played in the UAE between September and November

    first_imgBy  Nagraj Gollapudi News editor, ESPNcricinfoTHE 2020 edition of the IPL being played entirely in the UAE is now a distinct possibility, and ESPNcricinfo understands that the BCCI has earmarked a tentative window between September 26 and November 7 for it.A final decision will be taken by the BCCI once the ICC announces the likely postponement of the men’s T20 World Cup, scheduled between October 18 and November 15 in Australia.The ICC Board is scheduled to have a call on July 20 to discuss the matter and a final decision on the World Cup is likely to be taken then. It is understood that the BCCI has written to the Indian government seeking permission for the tournament to be shifted to UAE and also get the necessary travel permission for the players and officials of the teams.On Friday, BCCI’s Apex Council discussed the possibility of the IPL being played in the UAE in its entirety. It is understood that the BCCI would still prefer conducting the tournament in India, but the COVID-19 situation – the number of infections in the country are on the rise – has meant that the UAE has been identified as the next-best option.In April, BCCI deferred the IPL indefinitely because of the pandemic. With over a million cases at the moment, India is third on the list of countries in terms of infections and has officially recorded over 26 000 deaths.“We are ready to fully support the IPL if it chooses to come and play in the UAE. We will provide all the support concerning the protocol and government permission required to host the IPL. We are waiting for written confirmation from BCCI” – Mubashshir Usmani, ECB secretary The BCCI had originally wanted to conduct the IPL behind closed doors in limited venues and singled out Mumbai as the hub, but India’s commercial capital has a huge number of COVID-19 infections in the country, making it unfeasible.In June, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly wrote to the state associations, stating the board was “optimistic” about the IPL taking place this year and “all possible options” were being worked out including playing to “empty stadiums”.If the tournament does shift to the UAE, it would be the second time for the IPL there, after the first 20 matches of the tournament were staged in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah in 2014 because of the general elections in India.In April, the Emirates Cricket Board had written to BCCI, offering UAE as an alternative venue for the tournament. And the board is ready to play host now, if the BCCI green-lights the switch. “We are ready to fully support the IPL if it chooses to come and play in the UAE,” Mubashshir Usmani, ECB secretary, told ESPNcricinfo. “We will provide all the support concerning the protocol and government permission required to host the IPL. We are waiting for written confirmation from BCCI.”The tournament is expected to be played at the three main grounds in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, while it is not clear whether the oval at the ICC Academy in Dubai, too, could be used as one of the venues with the tournament likely to be played behind closed doors.As far as the franchises are concerned, they discussed playing in the UAE during an owners’ call on July 13. With most of the global pool of players homebound due to the pandemic, the franchises are primarily concerned about the players getting enough training ahead of the tournament, which could go on for at least six weeks. If the tournament does move to UAE, it is understood that franchises are likely to set up their bases a month in advance, for training and also to cater to any quarantine measures imposed by the UAE government.It is understood that the main reason for marking November 7 as the date for the IPL final was to ensure Indian players get enough time to travel to Australia for the four-match Test series, set to begin in December.last_img read more

  • ‘Bathrobe Crusader’ starts bathrobe business

    first_imgSophomore Josh Barach recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to turn what started as an Instagram joke into a full-fledged business. With a mission to “[change] the world before he changes his clothes,” Barach takes on the persona of “Mr. Bathrobe Crusader” to spread his love of luxury bathrobes.It all started when Barach and his friend Benjamin Milstein, a philosophy major at Indiana University, were traveling through Europe together last year. When Barach whipped out his fuzzy blue bathrobe, Milstein remembers being baffled by his packing decisions.“Historically, Josh has always liked lounging around in a bathrobe,” Milstein said. “But while we were at our first stop in London, he pulled his bathrobe out of a small backpack and I just couldn’t believe my eyes.”Barach ended up wearing the bathrobe to a few tourist attractions, and soon “Mr. Bathrobe Crusader” was born.“I actually had my bathrobe on during a tour of the Buckingham Palace and took a picture during the changing of the guard,” Barach said. “That was our first documented photo that went on social media.”From there, Barach and his friends decided to put together an Instagram account dedicated to following the travels of the elusive Mr. Bathrobe Crusader.Besides London, Mr. Bathrobe Crusader has been spotted in Amsterdam, Paris, Beaune, Nice, Cannes, Geneva, Saint Tropez, Barcelona, Madrid, Copenhagen and Berlin.“Most people chuckle when they see me and just think it’s funny,” Barach said. “But there was this one incident in the Musée de l’Orangerie when I got stopped by several security guards, who thought I had something hidden in my robe.”Barach resolved that situation and went on to leave more lasting impressions for the remainder of his trip. Now that he is back at school, however, Barach wants to focus on a new business opportunity involving bathrobes.“I honestly think the bathrobe is a lost form of clothing,” Barach said. “Ever since Hugh Hefner in the ’70s, there hasn’t really been anything big with the bathrobe. Not to mention there aren’t a lot of comfortable bathrobes out there.”Realizing a huge gap in the market for luxury lifestyle bathrobes, Barach wants to create a niche bathrobe, and is hoping to start by targeting greek life and college students.“My short-term goal is to spread the word and reach $10,000 on my Kickstarter, which I just launched with the help of Ben and our other friend, Yimin,” Barach said.Yimin Zhang, a freshman majoring in animation and digital arts, was responsible for creating the promotional video for Barach’s Kickstarter.“I am thrilled to participate in the creation process of an emerging cultural trend,” Zhang said.So far, 11 backers have pledged $1,274 to the Kickstarter campaign. Barach hopes the number will keep going up, so he can expand the business to include other luxury loungewear and donate some of the profits to charity.“Eventually, I’d like to sell slippers, sweatpants, towels and things like that,” Barach said. “I’d also like to contribute 20 percent of profits towards the Methuselah Foundation and other projects dedicated to extending healthy lives.”Currently, Mr. Bathrobe Crusader is keeping the details of this first bathrobe a secret, but he has mentioned he will use “the finest materials” and has already created a design.The bathrobe is $95 for the first 100 backers on Kickstarter, and future retail value will be $250. Barach realizes this is a steep price but stressed that any luxury lifestyle brand is the same.“Lululemon makes lifestyle athletic wear, Vilebrequin makes lifestyle swimwear, [Nike’s] Air Jordan makes lifestyle footwear,” Barach said. “But currently there is no luxury lifestyle loungewear, so I’m starting a bathrobe revolution.”If the success of the first batch is successful, the Bathrobe Crusader plans on releasing a line of other limited edition college and greek life-themed robes.“I better see everybody wearing bathrobes on the Row next semester,” Barach said.last_img read more