Dataset Preview Go to dataset viewer
id (string)title (string)abstract (string)keyphrases (json)prmu (json)date (string)categories (json)
For Donald Trump’s Big Speech, an Added Pressure: No Echoes
CLEVELAND — Until Monday night, Donald J. Trump’s biggest concern about his convention speech was how much to reveal about himself and his family in an address that is often the most personal one a presidential candidate delivers. But the political firestorm over his wife’s speech , which borrowed passages from Michelle Obama’s convention remarks in 2008, raised the stakes exponentially. Mr. Trump’s speech on Thursday night cannot merely be his best ever. It also has to be bulletproof. By Tuesday morning, word had spread throughout his campaign that any language in Mr. Trump’s address even loosely inspired by speeches, essays, books or Twitter posts had to be either rewritten or attributed. Mr. Trump’s chief speechwriter, Stephen Miller, reassured colleagues that the acceptance speech was wholly original, according to two staff members who spoke with him and described those conversations on the condition of anonymity. Mr. Miller also told campaign aides that he had looked closely at passages that Mr. Trump had contributed — handwritten on unlined white pages — and was confident they contained no problems. (Mr. Miller declined an interview request.) Even so, one of the staff members downloaded plagiarism-detection software and ran a draft of the speech through the program. No red flags came up. The intense scrutiny of Mr. Trump’s words added new pressure to a speechwriting process that has been one of the most unpredictable and free-form in modern presidential campaigns. A month ago, Mr. Trump began giving dictation on themes for the speech, and he tossed ideas and phrases to Mr. Miller or other advisers on a daily basis. On printed copies of each draft, he circled passages he liked, crossed out or put question marks beside lines that he did not favor and frequently suggested new words or phrases. Image Stephen Miller, left, Mr. Trump’s chief speechwriter, and Paul Manafort, the campaign chairman, before an event for the candidate at the Trump SoHo hotel in New York last month. Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times “I’ve been amending the drafts big-league,” Mr. Trump said in an interview in his Manhattan office before the convention. “I get ideas from a lot of different places, a lot of smart people, but mostly I like language that sounds like me.” Yet in the aftermath of Melania Trump’s speech, campaign advisers have fretted that they do not know for sure where Mr. Trump gets his ideas and language — whether they are his own, in other words, or are picked up from Twitter, television, or, say, a best seller by Bill O’Reilly of Fox News, a commentator whom Mr. Trump likes. Borrowing or adapting may not always be tantamount to plagiarism, but several Trump advisers, who also insisted on anonymity, said that after the furor over Ms. Trump’s remarks, the campaign cannot allow a similar blowup. Ed Rollins, a Republican strategist who is advising a “super PAC” supporting Mr. Trump, said that the candidate could not afford any mistakes. “His speech is the whole game,” Mr. Rollins said. “Viewers have to watch it and say, ‘There is the next president of the United States.’” In the interview, Mr. Trump said his speech would center on his vision of a strong and secure America that “once existed and no longer does, but can again under a Trump administration.” Latest Election Polls 2016 Get the latest national and state polls on the presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump. His greatest challenge, he said, was “putting myself in the speech” — discussing his upbringing and early experiences and relating them to the hopes and aspirations of other Americans. “I was never comfortable getting personal about my family because I thought it was special territory,” Mr. Trump said, glancing at a picture of his father on his desk. “It can feel exploitative to use family stories to win votes. And I had a very happy and comfortable life growing up. I had a great relationship with my father. But my focus needs to be on all the Americans who are struggling.” He said he was unsure if he would discuss his older brother Fred, who died as an alcoholic in 1981 at 43 — and whom he has described as an example of how destructive choices can damage lives that seem golden. “Without my brother Fred I might not be here,” Mr. Trump said. “He was really smart, great-looking. I don’t drink or smoke because of what happened to him. I focused on building my business and making good choices. I may talk about that, but I don’t know if I should.” Acceptance speeches seldom seem complete without anecdotes about personal trials and triumphs: Mitt Romney, trying to persuade voters to see him as more than a rich businessman, devoted about a fourth of his 2012 address to his parents’ unconditional love, his Mormon faith and reminiscences about watching the moon landing. In 2008 , Barack Obama described how his grandfather benefited from the G.I. Bill and how his mother and grandmother taught him the value of hard work. And Bill Clinton’s 1992 speech vividly recalled the life lessons he learned from his mother about fighting and working hard, from his grandfather about racial equality — and from his wife, Hillary, who, Mr. Clinton said, taught him that every child could learn. Mr. Clinton finished his speech with a now-famous line tying his Arkansas hometown to the American dream. “I end tonight where it all began for me,” he said. “I still believe in a place called Hope.” James Carville, a senior strategist for Mr. Clinton’s 1992 campaign, said that if Mr. Trump hoped to change the minds of those who see him as divisive or bigoted, he would need to open himself up to voters in meaningfully personal ways in his speech. “If he’s really different than the way he seems in television interviews or at his rallies, Thursday’s speech will be his single greatest opportunity to show voters who he really is,” Mr. Carville said. Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign chairman, said that Thursday’s speech would be “very much a reflection of Mr. Trump’s own words, as opposed to remarks that others create and the campaign puts in his mouth.” “He’s not an editor — he is actually the creator of the speech,” Mr. Manafort said. “Mr. Trump has given Steve Miller and I very specific directions about how he views the speech, what he wants to communicate, and ways to tie together things that he has been talking about in the campaign. The speech will end up being tone-perfect because the speech’s words will be his words.” Mr. Trump prefers speaking off the cuff with handwritten notes, a style that has proved successful at his rallies, where he has shown a talent for connecting with and electrifying crowds. But his adjustment to formal speeches remains a work in progress: He does not always sound like himself, and reading from a text can detract from the sense of authenticity that his supporters prize. One question is whether, or how much, he will ad-lib. He has sometimes seemed unable to resist deviating from prepared remarks, often to ill effect — ranting about a mosquito , or joking that a passing airplane was from Mexico and was “ getting ready to attack .” “Ad-libbing is instinct, all instinct,” Mr. Trump said. “I thought maybe about doing a freewheeling speech for the convention, but that really wouldn’t work. But even with a teleprompter, the speech will be me — my ideas, my beliefs, my words.”
[ "Donald Trump", "Speeches", "Plagiarism", "Melania Trump", "2016 Presidential Election", "Republican National Convention,RNC" ]
[ "P", "P", "P", "P", "R", "M" ]
[ "us", "politics" ]
In Home Opener, Rangers Lose Gaborik and Drury to Injuries
There were silver linings to the Rangers ’ wild 4-3 overtime loss in their home opener at Madison Square Garden on Friday night. But the clouds they lined were huge, dark and ominous. Marian Gaborik left the game with a separated left shoulder in the second period after being boarded by Toronto’s Colby Armstrong. Gaborik, whose 42 goals led the Rangers last season, will be out of action for at least two weeks, Rangers Coach John Tortorella said after the game. Chris Drury also left with an injury in the second period after colliding with his teammate Michal Rozsival and falling into the boards. Drury, making his season debut after missing the first two games with a broken left index finger, broke the same finger in a different place. He will be out six weeks, Tortorella said. Vinny Prospal, the Rangers’ No. 2 scorer last season, will be operated on Tuesday to repair the right knee that has prevented him from playing so far this season. Tortorella said Prospal would be out indefinitely. The silver linings could be found in the Rangers’ ability to rally from a 3-1 second-period deficit, as well as a 30-12 shooting deficit, to tie the Leafs at the end of regulation and salvage a point in the standings. The star of the game for the Rangers was Brian Boyle, who scored both goals. Boyle, the fourth-line center, scored only four times in 71 games last season. But he was given extra shifts because of the injuries to Gaborik and Drury, and he made the most of the opportunity. “It’s great to get into the rhythm of a game,” Boyle said. “To get called on a few more times, that was a good feeling.” Henrik Lundqvist also deserved credit for the point, stopping 34 of 38 shots from the Leafs, who are now 4-0 — their best start since 1993-94. The Rangers are 1-1-1. “I’m happy about our resiliency, getting a point after not doing what we needed to do through the first two periods,” Tortorella said. “We’ll take the point.” Brandon Dubinsky tried to dwell on the positive, saying, “We found a way to come back from two goals and create something positive.” But the clouds cast a shadow over any positive developments. Particularly troubling was the second period, when the Rangers were overwhelmed and surrendered three unanswered goals. “They were screaming through the neutral zone,” Tortorella said of the Leafs. “We couldn’t catch them. I can’t believe they’re that quick.” Clarke MacArthur, Mike Komisarek and Phil Kessel scored for Toronto, all on plays that involved rushes down ice with Rangers chasing in futility. The Rangers also lost Gaborik and Drury in the second period. But their rally in the third tied the score thanks to Boyle and Sean Avery, who had about as mixed a game as any player can have. He had two assists, including the setup on the Boyle goal that tied the score, and went plus-3. Avery also took two needless penalties — one in which he dropped his gloves to fight Armstrong, who had not dropped his, and another in which he needlessly slashed Komisarek across the back of the legs during a stoppage in play. “Sean gave us some effective minutes,” Tortorella said. “But that’s where we’re going to have to continue working with him. He has to realize there are different ways to accomplish that.” Boyle’s goals, Lundqvist’s saves and the Rangers’ six penalty kills got them to overtime. But then the Rangers surrendered a seventh power play, after Marc Staal was penalized for interfering with Tim Brent. Kessel scored his second goal of the game on the ensuing advantage, 3 minutes 8 seconds into the overtime session. Tortorella said he was frustrated by Staal’s taking an unnecessary penalty. Now the Rangers — who have managed to avoid injury trouble the last two seasons — must figure out how to plug the holes opened by the loss of Gaborik and Drury. Erik Christensen, recovered from a groin pull, should be ready to take Drury’s place at center. Todd White may dress to take another vacant forward position, or the Rangers may try to call up Tim Kennedy, recently demoted to Hartford in the American Hockey League. But they could easily lose him to waivers, as he carries only a $275,000 cap hit for any claiming team. That is another big cloud hovering over the Rangers.
[ "Hockey Ice", "Toronto Maple Leafs", "New York Rangers", "Lundqvist Henrik" ]
[ "R", "M", "M", "R" ]
[ "sports", "hockey" ]
The Role of Politics in Wealth Distribution
MITT ROMNEY has apologized for his depiction of 47 percent of America as wealth takers rather than wealth makers. But his blunder touched inadvertently on some discomforting truths about the importance of politics in income distribution in the United States. If Mr. Romney’s points were to be reformulated in a more defensible direction, the outline might look something like this: OF MAKING AND TAKING The correct distinction is not “makers versus takers.” The problem is that taking, rather than making wealth, appears to be growing in relative influence. Most of us are actually both makers and takers. Consider farmers who produce food and favor agricultural subsidies. The question is whether the role of wealth maker has more influence over our politics, at any given time, than does the taker role. Is public policy being adjudicated on grounds of ethics and efficiency, or is the real story about lobbying and the relative power of different interest groups? It isn’t easy to measure whether politics is less public-spirited these days, and we should resist the tendency to idealize the past. Still, job creation, median income and other measures of economic well-being have done poorly since the late 1990s. That suggests that America isn’t paying enough attention to creating wealth and increasing general prosperity. FOLLOW THE MONEY Seven of the 10 most affluent counties in the nation are near Washington, D.C. That means a growing number of educated people are making a very good living advising, lobbying and otherwise influencing the federal government. This is a talent drain. It’s far from obvious that we are getting better policy as a result, and true wealth creation has not kept pace. As Matthew Yglesias, a columnist for the online magazine Slate, has pointed out, there is also a subtler point about those wealthy Virginia and Maryland counties. They have high per capita incomes, not only because they attract educated, government-oriented professionals, but also because their zoning and building codes limit the supply of low-cost housing. That’s a significant government intervention that hurts lower-income people, who must pay more. Privilege-seeking through government is often most pernicious when it has a tidy front and a well-manicured green lawn. UNEQUAL INFLUENCE Politics based on lobbying stacks the deck against lower-income groups, who are often outmaneuvered. For instance, one of the biggest problems faced by the poor today is inadequate K-12 education. They need improved public schools, more school choice, or some mix of both. Over time, such improvements would help deal with many other social and economic issues, including global competitiveness, domestic unemployment, public health and the budget deficit, because quality education has many beneficial effects. Instead, the current system of transfers offers to the poor various sops in place of more effective reforms. Fundamental improvements to education would involve more challenging changes to residential zoning, teacher unions and certification systems, and might also take some educational finance and control out of the hands of local municipalities. It is no surprise that well-off families want to keep a system that has done very well by them, and that the poor often lose political battles over education. EVERYONE FEELS ENTITLED People tend to think that they have justice on their side, whether it comes to making or taking. For example, millions of homeowners have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on the premise that the tax deduction for mortgages will be continued. If they support a continuation of that deduction they hardly feel like brigands, even though a bipartisan consensus of economists doubts the efficiency of this tax break. As years and decades pass, recipients of this deduction and other benefits start to see them as deeply and richly deserved. Furthermore, almost all of us reap one or more of these benefits, so few individuals are consistently opposed to all government transfers. It becomes difficult for a politician to articulate exactly what is wrong with this arrangement when the audience itself is in on the game and perhaps does not want to hear about its own takings. A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE The Founding Fathers were extremely worried about the threat to society posed by corruption and privilege-seeking. Drawing on examples going back to antiquity, they understood how unmitigated wealth-taking could create a negative and cumulatively self-reinforcing political dynamic. They also understood that the Constitution — or any constitution — would be an extremely imperfect remedy for this problem. • It is therefore correct to reject Mr. Romney’s depiction as off-base and misleading. Yet the fact that he didn’t present the truth is an indication that the problem is actually worse than many of us realize.
[ "United States Economy", "Romney Mitt", "Income Inequality", "Presidential Election of 2012", "Lobbying and Lobbyists", "High Net Worth Individuals", "Poverty", "Washington (DC)" ]
[ "M", "R", "M", "M", "M", "M", "U", "M" ]
[ "business" ]
Timofey Mozgov of the Knicks Helps Russia at Worlds
ANKARA, Turkey — An international scout for the last 15 years, Kevin Wilson said that no matter how politically incorrect it is, he engages in profiling when analyzing European players. When scouting Russians, Wilson acknowledged, he casts a skeptical eye. Too often, he said, they have a poor work ethic and lack mental toughness. It is a stereotype that the Russian national team coach, David Blatt, said stemmed from a rule in the lucrative professional leagues there that requires teams to have two Russians on the floor at all times. But the back story of Timofey Mozgov, who signed with the Knicks in July , belies that of a typical player in the Russian system, which tends to usher top young players to pro teams and coddle them. Mozgov, 24, is an athletic 7-foot-1 late bloomer whose performance for Russia during pool play at the world championships has been one of the surprises of the tournament. Coming off the bench behind the former Kansas star Sasha Kaun, Mozgov scored 18 points in Russia’s victory over Greece on Thursday, has averaged 11.8 points over all and has helped lead a Russian team without any N.B.A. players to a 4-1 record. “I think it’s going to be easier for him in the N.B.A. than in Europe,” Blatt said. “He’s not going to have to be a lead player, and they’ll probably put him in a small area of the game where he has to pick and cut or run the break hard, which he does extremely well. “Still, it’s going to be a big adjustment for Timofey.” If Russia beats France and the United States beats Angola in knockout-round games Monday, the teams will play Thursday . The game would give N.B.A. players their first significant look at Mozgov. Last week in Ankara, he looked like a polished passer in Blatt’s hybrid Princeton offense and showed a soft touch on his jump shot. Tapping in putbacks against Ivory Coast is easier than boxing out his childhood idol, Kevin Garnett, but there are certain things that will not be lost in translation. “You can’t teach what he has — body, size and athletic ability,” said Tony Ronzone, the director of international player personnel for USA Basketball. “They’re hard to find in the world.” Mozgov said he was excited at the opportunity to come to the N.B.A. and described his only visit to New York as crazy. He said he planned on moving to New York with his girlfriend but did not know where he was going to live. Mozgov said he had been learning more English to help ease his adjustment, and at a recent interview he used an interpreter only about half the time. “I will have to prove myself, and I will try and show the coach that I can play,” he said. He added with a smile, “Because I want to play.” How much Mozgov plays will depend on his adjustment on and off the floor. Wilson said Mozgov was “kind of a maverick” by Russian basketball standards. He started playing late, never signed with a powerhouse Russian club and avoided signing with a Russian agent. Having to fight to be noticed helped him forge his work ethic. Mozgov spent most of his childhood near Krasnodar, a small agricultural city about 100 miles from the Black Sea. His family moved there from St. Petersburg, he said, because his father had health problems. The youngest of four brothers, Mozgov grew up in a working-class family. He said his father worked as a driver for a private company and his mother stayed at home to raise the family. “His family is definitely blue collar,” Wilson said. “He’s never had money, and he’s not money conscious the way a lot of poor kids are. That’s another thing that I like about him.” It is common in Europe for top youth players to sign with pro teams at young ages. But Mozgov said he did not start playing basketball seriously until age 15 when he went to a boarding school in St. Petersburg at the suggestion of a local coach. “I was playing only in my school, and it wasn’t a school that prepared me for basketball,” he said. That trip matured Mozgov’s game and also helped him handle his older brother, who he said roughed him around while growing up. “When I left and studied, and after my year I came back, my brothers couldn’t do anything,” he said with a smile. Mozgov never signed with a powerhouse Russian team like Dynamo Moscow or CSKA Moscow. He also did not play a lot for his club team, B.C. Khimki. Blatt said that Mozgov did not play much more than 15 minutes a game last year and compared him to a young pilot needing flight time. “His adjustment will be bigger than most, but his upside is great,” Blatt said. “I’m looking forward to Timofey making the jump. It’s not going to be easy for him. If he works hard and the New York people help him, he’s got a good chance to do something.” Part of Mozgov’s value to the Knicks is as an athletic big man who can alleviate some of the pounding that Amar’e Stoudemire, their prized free-agent signing , will take in the post. But to trade elbows with N.B.A. centers, Mozgov will need to continue to fill out his 269-pound frame. Because his most polished skill is his ability to use his athleticism to run the break, it is easy to see how he fits into Coach Mike D’Antoni’s up-tempo system. From his limited time working out Mozgov and seeing him on tape, D’Antoni said he was impressed with his ability to shoot the 15-footer, play pick-and-roll and run the floor. But he called Mozgov’s hands average and cautioned that success in individual workouts and Europe did not always translate to the N.B.A. “This kid, I’m excited about him; I want to see him play five on five,” D’Antoni said. “But what we saw of him working out, we’re excited. We think he can be really good.” He added, “He can be a good bookend with Amar’e. I do worry about his defense a little bit.” Mozgov signed a three-year deal with the Knicks worth about $9 million, but his impact may not be felt immediately. A classic late bloomer, Mozgov will need time to mature in New York. “He’s very raw, and he needs a lot of work,” said Wilson, the Knicks’ director of international scouting. “It’s unfair to him or anyone else to expect he’s a superstar out of the gate. “The best thing is if he could progress from a 5-minute guy to a 15-minute guy. If he can warrant being on the floor from 15 to 18 minutes, I think that would be a great first season for him.”
[ "Basketball", "Mozgov Timofey", "New York Knicks" ]
[ "P", "R", "R" ]
[ "sports", "basketball" ]
Craig Spencer, New York Doctor With Ebola, Will Leave Bellevue Hospital
Craig Spencer, the New York City doctor who became the first person in the city to test positive for Ebola, is free of the virus and is set to be released from Bellevue Hospital Center on Tuesday, hospital officials said on Monday. Dr. Spencer, 33, who had been in Guinea treating Ebola patients with Doctors Without Borders, was rushed to Bellevue by ambulance on Oct. 23 after reporting a fever of 100.3 to the authorities that morning. He was placed in isolation in a secure ward, and within hours a blood test confirmed he had the virus. His infection set the city on edge and set off a race to find his contacts over the previous few days, when he went bowling , dined out and rode on the subway and in an Uber taxi. But to date, no one else in the city has tested positive for the virus. Dr. Spencer is scheduled to appear at a news conference on Tuesday at the hospital. Ana Marengo, a spokeswoman for Bellevue, said in a statement that “after a rigorous course of treatment and testing,” Dr. Spencer posed “no public health risk.” It was unclear on Monday whether Dr. Spencer would return to his Hamilton Heights apartment, where his fiancée, Morgan Dixon , is under quarantine. Two friends who had contact with him in the days before his diagnosis were initially held in quarantine, but were recently released. Dr. Spencer was given a range of treatments, including an experimental drug and blood plasma donated by a recovered Ebola patient, Nancy Writebol , a 59-year-old missionary who contracted the virus in Liberia. His condition was serious at first, but by last week, he had recovered enough that he asked for, and was given, his banjo and an exercise bicycle to pass the time while he was in isolation. Dr. Spencer’s recovery adds to the evidence that when treated in advanced American hospitals, Ebola has a far lower fatality rate than in West African field hospitals starved of doctors, nurses and equipment. While 70 percent of Ebola patients in Africa are dying, eight of the nine patients treated in the United States have survived. The only one who died was Thomas Eric Duncan , a Liberian, whose treatment was delayed when a Dallas hospital initially misdiagnosed his illness. The experience of the Dallas hospital — two nurses who treated Mr. Duncan there contracted Ebola, but survived — caused American hospitals and public health officials to re-examine how they responded to possible cases. Requirements for protective gear were revamped, and when Dr. Spencer was taken to Bellevue, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dispatched a team to New York even before tests confirmed he had the virus. In Dallas, the C.D.C. did not arrive until two days after it was called. A day after Dr. Spencer went to Bellevue, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that all travelers arriving in New York who had had contact with Ebola patients in West Africa would be quarantined for 21 days, even if they had no symptoms and thus were not likely to be contagious. That policy, which New Jersey and several other states also enacted, was criticized by some public health experts as an overreaction that would discourage doctors and nurses from traveling to Africa to help contain the virus. Mr. Cuomo said he preferred to err on the side of caution.
[ "Craig Spencer", "Ebola", "Bellevue Hospital Center", "NYC" ]
[ "P", "P", "P", "U" ]
[ "nyregion" ]
Bill Pascrell Defeats Steve Rothman in New Jersey
PATERSON, N.J. — In a hard-fought race that pitted two Democrats and onetime friends against each other, Representative Bill Pascrell Jr. won the primary in the Ninth Congressional District on Tuesday. With 90 percent of precincts reporting, Mr. Pascrell had 64 percent of the vote, beating Representative Steve Rothman, with 36 percent, according to The Associated Press. The Ninth District, in northern New Jersey, is one of a handful of newly shaped Congressional districts across the country with Democrats facing each other because of election maps redrawn after the 2010 census. The race was exceptional in that one of the candidates, Mr. Rothman, moved in order to challenge a fellow Democrat. And not just any Democrat, but one with whom he had shared dinners and commutes to Washington over 16 years together in Congress. A result was the kind of bitter campaign usually seen between two parties, with negative advertising, furious accusations of betrayal and voter suppression, and visits from prominent surrogates. Mr. Pascrell had a rally on Friday with former President Bill Clinton. And Mr. Rothman, the first in New Jersey’s delegation to endorse Barack Obama in 2008, campaigned with the president’s chief political adviser, David Axelrod. Taking the gymnasium stage to the theme song from “Rocky” at Passaic County Community College, Mr. Pascrell, 75, began simply, “We did it!” and then theatrically rolled up the sleeves of his white dress shirt. “My parents always told me not to start fights, but to know how to end them,” he said. “Tonight, we did just that.” In the nearby 10th District, which includes Newark, Donald M. Payne Jr. won a six-way race for the seat left open by the death of his father in March. His closest contenders were Nia Gill, a state senator who asked voters to make her the only woman in the state’s Congressional delegation, and Ron Rice Jr., who serves on the Newark Municipal Council, of which Mr. Payne is president. In November, Mr. Pascrell will face the winner of the Republican primary on Tuesday, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, the author of “Kosher Sex” and a memoir of his time as spiritual adviser to Michael Jackson. Rabbi Boteach won a three-way race. But the district heavily favors the Democrat in the general election, and the party’s primary had become the state’s most closely watched campaign. Mr. Pascrell’s victory was a triumph of assiduous retail politicking and an aggressive get-out-the-vote effort, particularly in his hometown, Paterson, the state’s third largest city. The demographics of the newly configured district favored Mr. Rothman. Just over half its residents had been in the district he represented before the lines were redrawn. In Bergen County, where most voters in the reshaped Ninth District live, Mr. Rothman had the so-called line, the party blessing that translates into a favorable ballot position, with his name alongside President Obama’s as the official Democratic candidate. But analysts warned all along against counting out Mr. Pascrell and his love for a street fight. His campaign pinned its hopes on increasing turnout in Paterson, a largely poor, immigrant city where he had been mayor. The campaign said it had registered 10,000 new Democrats there. That strategy appeared to have worked, with campaign operatives reporting high turnout in the city and relatively low turnout in Englewood, where Mr. Rothman was once mayor. The two men, both elected to Congress in 1996, began their battle after New Jersey’s redistricting commission, faced with eliminating one of the state’s 13 districts, moved Mr. Rothman’s home in Fair Lawn into the Fifth District, which has slightly favored Republicans. It is now represented by Scott Garrett, who is almost invariably labeled “a Tea Party darling” in local papers and blog posts. Mr. Pascrell, who has extensive political connections in the state — his former chief of staff was on the redistricting commission — was given the Ninth, a heavily Democratic district. Rather than run against Mr. Garrett, Mr. Rothman, 59, opted to move and run against Mr. Pascrell. This caused consternation for New Jersey Democrats who thought both men had served the state well in Congress, and for national Democrats, who were trying to win 25 House seats needed to retake the majority. The party’s Congressional leaders beseeched Mr. Rothman to challenge Mr. Garrett instead of one of his own, arguing that even if he lost, he would be a hero to the party should he decide to run for the United States Senate, as he has said he would like to. Mr. Pascrell relentlessly accused Mr. Rothman of being too weak to take on the real fight, against a conservative Republican. Mr. Rothman argued that much of the Ninth District included his former constituents — even if his house and district offices were in the Fifth. He argued he was “the Democrats’ Democrat,” trying to paint Mr. Pascrell as aligned with Republicans on health care, abortion and taxes. But the two largest newspapers in the district, The Star-Ledger of Newark and The Record of Hackensack, both endorsed Mr. Pascrell. They criticized Mr. Rothman for fighting against a fellow Democrat rather than a Republican, and for running misleading ads that edited footage to suggest Mr. Pascrell had supported Republican positions on taxes.
[ "New Jersey", "Elections", "Pascrell William J Jr", "Rothman Steve", "House of Representatives", "Garrett E Scott", "Redistricting and Reapportionment" ]
[ "P", "P", "M", "R", "R", "M", "M" ]
[ "nyregion" ]
At Pulaski Meat Products, Kielbasa Is King
At Pulaski Meat Products in Linden, there’s a strong aroma of smoked meat from the countless kielbasi and hams that hang from the ceiling and fill the display cases. Shelves at this Polish specialty store are lined with an array of imported goods, like dried mushrooms, smoked fish and all sorts of sauerkraut and pickled preserves. The deli serves prepared dishes, including pirogi (50 cents apiece), stuffed cabbage ($2.99 each) and goulash ($5.99 a pound), among other takeout meals and sandwiches. “I never had any Polish food in my life but, boy, did I get the best,” said the store’s manager, Judy Preiss, 47. She was referring to the business started in the 1960s by the parents of her husband, Ron Preiss, whom she married in 1985. Over the years, the operation has expanded so that Pulaski now sells its meats wholesale. They are still made on site, in a large processing area taking up almost an entire block, and sent to grocery stores, delis and distributors nationwide. “We always make kielbasa daily, tons and tons of it,” said Mrs. Preiss, whose husband oversees the business along with his brother, Paul. The Preisses’ son, Jarred, 24, now works there full time as well. The 3,500-square-foot store sells 16 varieties of the sausage, 11 types of hams and nearly 30 different kinds of loaf meats. Sweets, like the beautifully wrapped boxes of chocolates, are also mainstays. An off-site baker makes plum cakes ($6.49 a pound) and babkas (cherry, crumb and cheese types; prices vary, from $2.99 to $30 for one weighing four pounds). A box of flaky chrusciki — angel wing cookies — would be apt for a Christmas party ($2.99 to $5.99). Pulaski Meat Products, 123 North Wood Avenue, Linden; (908) 925-5380. Open Monday and Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Wednesday and Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. .
[ "Meat", "Ham", "Cooking and Cookbooks", "Restaurants" ]
[ "P", "P", "M", "U" ]
[ "nyregion" ]
Chinese Activist, Missing for Weeks, Is Said to Be in Custody
BEIJING — A well-known Chinese human rights activist who had not been seen or heard from for more than three weeks is in police custody, accused of possessing secret government documents and spiriting them abroad, state-run news outlets said on Friday. The activist, Jiang Tianyong, is a disbarred lawyer who has energetically supported the families of human rights lawyers caught in a crackdown that began in July 2015. Mr. Jiang’s family and friends lost contact with him on Nov. 21. The website of The Legal Daily, an official newspaper, said on Friday that the police detained Mr. Jiang when he tried to travel to Beijing by train from Changsha, a city in southern China. They accused him of using a fake identity card to buy a ticket. After he was in custody, much graver charges were lodged: Citing the police, the newspaper said Mr. Jiang “illegally possessed multiple secret state documents, colluded with overseas institutions, organizations and individuals, and is suspected of illegally providing state secrets abroad.” It appears likely that Mr. Jiang, 45, will join a long list of Chinese rights advocates who have been detained, discredited and in some cases imprisoned as a warning to others not to embrace dissent. About 250 lawyers and activists were detained in the crackdown last year. Most were released, but about 17 were arrested and in some cases tried and imprisoned on subversion and other charges, according to estimates by Amnesty International. The Legal Daily said Mr. Jiang was a “citizen advocate” who “meddled in some serious cases, wantonly fabricated and spread rumors on the internet, and incited petitioners and the families of people in legal proceedings to resist state agencies.” Patrick Poon, who researches Chinese issues for Amnesty International from Hong Kong, said in an interview that “without access to a lawyer of his own choice, Jiang Tianyong is at risk of torture or other ill treatment.” The Chinese news reports said Mr. Jiang had been held under “criminal coercive measures” since Dec. 1. Those measures give the police vaguely defined powers to hold suspects secretively. The reports said the police had notified Mr. Jiang’s family about his case. “That’s simply a lie,” Mr. Poon said. Mr. Jiang’s wife, Jin Bianling, who lives in California, denied in an emailed statement that his family had received any official notice. She said the authorities had concocted the allegations “to avenge and crush Jiang Tianyong’s long-running work in rights defense.”
[ "Jiang Tianyong", "China" ]
[ "P", "P" ]
[ "world", "asia" ]
At Brooklyn’s Fish Tales, Friendly People. Noses Agree.
ONE of the first things you notice when walking into Fish Tales Gourmet Seafood Market is the smell. There is none. But the fish motif is definitely in the air, including walls strung with nets and traps and a whole fish mounted above the stained wainscot. The shotgun layout feels like the well-lighted hull of a boat. The bustling shop, near Court and Bergen Streets, leads to a pescatarian’s paradise, catering to home chefs and local restaurants. Between a tank with live lobsters and a freezer with frozen shellfish are racks stacked with sauces, seasonings, crackers, batters and peelers. Side-by-side coolers layered with house-prepared appetizers and salads sit opposite an assortment of smoked fish and caviar. A table piled with curled crustaceans is nearby. The corner spot, which fronts the busy but unseen kitchen, is a mountain of ice piled with clusters of sealed mussel and clam shells. And at the far end of the store are gourmet entrees and crocks of soups and chowders. But the highlight of Fish Tales is the colorful, fresh-cut fillets and whole fish — orange salmon, ruby tuna, china cod, opaque tilapia, striped bass, red snapper, speckled trout. The fish is so fresh and tenderly treated, it provides pleasure to the eyes with no impression on the nose. There’s a reason for this. The shop’s owner, John Addis, arises at 2 a.m. at his home on Staten Island to get to the Fulton Fish Market in the Bronx by 3. There, he spends two to three hours shopping for the best catch. After loading a refrigerated van, Mr. Addis is at the shop in Brooklyn around 6 to unload and to start filleting in preparation for a 9 a.m. opening. This is a neighborhood place run by neighborhood guys. Mr. Addis and his two longtime countermen, Lewis Spada and Alex Ortiz, provide high-end, exceptional service in a low-key, familiar way. They know names. They peel off plastic gloves to shake hands. Dialogue is constant and inclusive, but it’s not chatter; it’s conversation. And it usually revolves around fish and its preparation, which can easily become a group discussion among patrons and staff. After each purchase, customers are reminded to grab a few free lemons and to stop by the table near the door stacked with recipe print-outs. All three men work long hours, but their easy manners never tire. Over the years, Mr. Addis became a zealot for customer service. “I tell my guys, treat every customer the way you want your mother treated,” he said. Mr. Addis, a native of Bensonhurst, who has been in the restaurant business since childhood, became a partner in Fish Tales around 1998 and became the sole proprietor in 2001. When my wife and I moved to the area, we shopped there every other week or so. Mr. Addis knew my wife; he knew my name before I knew his. A few years later, we moved away, though I’d still pop in once or twice a year. By the time we moved back to the area, it had been almost five years since I had set foot in Fish Tales. The place was crowded and full of familiar conversations. I figured I had been forgotten. “Andrew,” Mr. Addis said without pause, peeling off his plastic glove to shake my hand. “How’s it going? How’s Pam?” It’s nice to be treated like somebody’s mother.
[ "Seafood", "Cobble Hill (NYC)", "Shopping and Retail" ]
[ "P", "U", "M" ]
[ "nyregion" ]
E.M.T. Convicted of Sexual Attacks on 5 in Brooklyn
An emergency medical technician with the Fire Department was convicted on Wednesday of a series of sexual assaults in Brooklyn, including an attack on an 11-year-old girl inside an elevator. The technician, Angus Pascall, 36, was convicted of first-degree rape, among other charges, for five separate attacks on young women and girls ages 11 to 22 stretching to 2001. Most of the assaults occurred in 2009 and 2010, the year he was arrested, the Kings County district attorney, Charles J. Hynes, said in a statement. Mr. Pascall’s lawyer, Edward Friedman, said his client would appeal the verdict. In each of the attacks, Mr. Pascall was armed, sometimes with a gun or a knife. In one attack on a 19-year-old woman in 2009, he used a machete, the district attorney said. In the assault on the 11-year-old, he used his emergency responder’s key to trap the victim inside an elevator. “Pascall then put a gun to her face and repeatedly sexually assaulted her,” according to the statement. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 13, and he faces up to life in prison. Mr. Pascall had worked for the Fire Department for five years when he was arrested in 2010.
[ "Brooklyn", "Angus Pascall", "Rape", "Emergency medicine", "Charles Hynes", "Decisions and Verdicts", "NYC", "Child Abuse" ]
[ "P", "P", "P", "M", "R", "M", "U", "U" ]
[ "nyregion" ]
Kaba Faces Suit Over Push-Button Locks Breached With Magnet
Yeshai M. Kutoff was house-proud, having bought a home in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, for his family of five. And as an Orthodox Jew, he bought push-button locks for the doors — an accommodation for the Sabbath, when many of the devout do not carry keys. When a neighbor told him that the locks he had bought could be opened by a powerful magnet costing about $30, Mr. Kutoff was perturbed. “It does bother me that other people could easily figure it out,” he said. Mr. Kutoff did not buy a magnet to see for himself. “It doesn’t interest me to know how to break into my own lock,” he said. If this were a problem with security software instead of errant bits of steel, a company could send out a patch. If this was someplace other than the United States in the 21st century, Mr. Kutoff might have called a locksmith. But because it is the United States in the 21st century, lawyers are involved. And now, in a federal courthouse in Ohio, 11 lawsuits have been consolidated into one against Kaba, a lock industry leader whose Simplex push-button locks are used by hospitals, airports, casinos, banks, the Department of Defense and police departments. The company markets the locks as part of their “strong, powerful security solutions ” and calls the push-button locks vandal resistant ; the plaintiffs’ lawyers say otherwise. In fact, they accuse Kaba of deceptive trade practices, common-law fraud, negligence and product liability. They say the locks, which can cost less than $200 or more than $1,000, depending on the model, are defective by design. And they are demanding that the company replace the locks, pay compensatory damages and even turn over all profits made from the locks over the years. Plaintiffs’ briefs suggest that the class includes “hundreds of thousands of persons and entities,” and the case already involves some big players in the legal community, including Richard J. Arsenault and Daniel E. Becnel Jr. of Louisiana and Mark J. Geragos of Los Angeles. Mr. Arsenault, the co-lead counsel for plaintiffs in the litigation, called the locks insecure and said the problem was a “slow-motion disaster.” Mark P. Miller , a lawyer for Kaba, has argued in court that the plaintiffs’ lawyers were “fear-mongering,” and he ridiculed the lawsuits as “another Happy Meals case ” — a reference to a much-belittled class-action suit filed in California in December that accuses McDonald’s of using toys to lure children into unhealthy eating habits. In court filings, Kaba argued that it had “never advertised or warranted in any way that any of its access control products are impenetrable.” Locksmiths learn techniques to defeat all kinds of locks, and “thieves and others who want to defeat locks can obtain the same tools and learn the same techniques locksmiths use,” the filings said. “Indeed, any thief — even the most clumsy — can use a sledgehammer, a pry bar or bolt cutter to bypass essentially any lock.” In a statement, Mr. Miller added that the company had “never received any confirmed report of a break-in” because of a magnetic bypass, and that it heard about the potential for magnetic mischief only in August 2010. Kaba is preparing a free kit to modify the locks and make them magnet-proof, he said. In an earlier hearing in the case, Mr. Miller argued that beating a push-button lock was not as simple or easy as the plaintiffs claimed. “My own personal research shows that it takes a magnet the size of a bagel to get the locks open,” he said. In fact, the magnet required is only a couple of inches square, and a video shows the magnet alongside a bagel for comparison. Mr. Miller also argued in court that the magnet was unwieldy and too powerful for most people to use. “It’s a big, heavy thing that if you have it in your pocket, and you happen to walk by something that’s made out of metal, you will get stuck to it and have to call 911 to get your pants somehow removed to save yourself,” he said. This month, lawyers for the plaintiffs showed a video in court as an informal briefing for the judge that countered some of Mr. Miller’s contentions. The video shows someone sliding a magnet against a lock and removing it with one hand. The magnet pulls a locking plate away from the mechanism, allowing the door handle or knob to turn freely. Once the magnet has been removed, the narrator says, the plate slides back into place, and there is no evidence that the mechanism has been bypassed. To Mr. Arsenault, Kaba’s argument that no one has been harmed by the locks is a weak one. He said that “there’s no way to know that,” and that even if no one has yet been harmed, “it’s obviously irresponsible to wait for criminal activity to occur before warning the public and taking immediate corrective action.” As for the company’s proposed fix, he said, “the devil is in the details.” And while many might look askance at a lawsuit over locks, this is not the first. Kryptonite, the maker of distinctive U-shaped bicycle locks, settled a class-action lawsuit in 2004 when it was revealed that its cylindrical locks could be defeated with the barrel of a Bic pen. The company redesigned the locks and offered customers exchanges or vouchers. Marc Weber Tobias, an expert on locks and security who is not working for the lawyers in the Kaba case at this time but has met with them, said, “This is a serious deal and affects lots of agencies.” He wrote about the locks in his blog for after sending an alert to law enforcement agencies, security professionals and locksmiths. “This is a very significant issue, because they are playing a game of jeopardy with the protection of property and lives,” he said. Mr. Tobias acknowledged that brute force could defeat any lock. But he said: “Nobody is concerned about someone walking into an airport or bank or credit card facility with a sledgehammer or crowbar. They are concerned, however, about an unauthorized individual or criminal bypassing the security of a facility in two seconds, covertly, with a magnet.” Meanwhile, Mr. Kutoff said he would simply like to get his locks exchanged for something safer. “It’s something that everybody wants to do — put a good lock on your house,” he said. “In a perfect world, the locksmith doesn’t have a job,” Mr. Kutoff said. “But it’s not a perfect world.”
[ "Suits and Litigation", "Magnets and Magnetism", "Security and Warning Systems", "Locks and Keys" ]
[ "R", "R", "M", "R" ]
[ "us" ]
N.B.A. Playoffs — Celtics Rally Around Jason Collins
WALTHAM, Mass. — Doc Rivers said he received a phone call a few days ago. On the other line was Jason Collins, who had appeared in 32 games for the Boston Celtics this season before being traded in February. The way Rivers, the Celtics coach, recalled it on Tuesday before his team left for New York for Game 5 of its playoff series with the Knicks on Wednesday night, the call was a courtesy on Collins’s part. He was calling to tell his former coach that he was going to announce to the world that he was gay . “I thought we were past all this, but I said, ‘Great,’ ” Rivers said. Then he told Collins: “I wish you could have gotten me more rebounds. Because at the end of the day, that’s all I really care about.” One day after Collins publicly revealed something he had long kept secret, the Celtics gathered for what may be their final practice of the 2012-13 season. They trail the Knicks, three games to one, in their best-of-seven playoff series. The obvious, and inevitable, clichés held sway when the talk revolved around what might happen in Game 5. Jeff Green noted how “the playoffs are all about adjustments.” Jason Terry said he was approaching Game 5 “as if it was a Game 7.” To a man, the Celtics spouted the familiar party line: cut down on turnovers, try to beat the Knicks in transition and see if they might be able to crack the 90-point barrier. A more thoughtful, reflective tone prevailed, however, when the topic turned to the well-liked Collins. Paul Pierce lauded Collins for his decision to come out, and possibly open the door for more athletes to do the same. Kevin Garnett said he was happy that Collins could “be himself.” Green said Collins “showed me what it takes to be a pro.” Image Jason Collins signed with the Celtics as a free agent before the start of the season. Credit Bruce Bennett/Getty Images Terry said that he not only liked having Collins as a teammate but that he wished he still had Collins as a teammate. “We definitely needed his toughness,” Terry said. “We’d love to have it in this series. He’s one of the toughest guys in the N.B.A..” Pierce said he and Rivers had talked recently about the likelihood of a gay player’s coming out, but the Boston captain said he was nonetheless floored when Collins called him Monday morning to deliver the news. “I was definitely surprised,” Pierce said. “I had no idea. We don’t know what people do with their off-time.” Pierce added: “There are so many professional athletes, there are so many human beings that live a dark life and are scared to expose it because of what people may think. But I think what he did is a great thing — to open the door for a number of athletes who are going to have the courage to come out.” Collins signed with the Celtics as a free agent before the start of the season. He started 7 of the 32 games in which he appeared, averaging 10.3 minutes. Still, he made a big impression on his coach and his teammates for the way he handled himself, for the time and work he put in, and for being a positive force in the locker room. At the trade deadline, the Celtics traded him to Washington with the injured Leandro Barbosa for Jordan Crawford. Boston had wanted to keep Collins and instead trade Chris Wilcox, but it could not swing that deal. So Collins departed. He played only 54 minutes for Washington. “When we traded him, it was hard for me to let him go,” Rivers said, “because he was so good in the locker room and said all the right things. And when you say the right things and you’re not playing, that’s unusual.” Video The Times’s John Branch on reactions to Jason Collins and how the N.B.A. veteran has broken barriers in the sports world by publicly stating he is gay. Credit Credit Bruce Bennett/Getty Images Every Celtics player who talked to reporters Tuesday said he would welcome back Collins next season. “He set good screens and got me open,” Green said, joking. “That’s all you can ask for.” Rivers said that from his experience, players wanted to play and they wanted to win. “That’s all they really care about it and honestly, that’s all they should care about,” he said. He added that when Collins called him, he had a strong inkling of what his former player was going to say. “I said, ‘Jason, I could care less what you’re going to tell me,’ ” Rivers said. ‘’That’s how I feel. I could care less. It’s not a factor to me. I know it is a factor to a lot of people. I’ve just never understood why.” REBOUNDS In Greenburgh, N.Y., Jason Collins was also on everyone’s minds as the Knicks made t preparations on Tuesday for Wednesday’s Game 5. Significantly, two Knicks — Jason Kidd and Kenyon Martin — played with Collins on Nets teams that, a decade ago, twice went to the N.B.A. finals. Both were asked about Collins’s decision to disclose that he is gay. Like many other N.B.A. players, both were supportive. “Takes a brave man,” Martin said of Collins’s actions. “I commend him for having the courage to do it.” “And he was the first to do it, so you have to take off your hat to him,” he added. Kidd said: “He’s a true professional on and off the court, and it takes a lot of courage to do what he did. But it’s just going to make the world a better place at the end of the day.” Asked if he was surprised by Collins’s announcement, Kidd said: “I was caught off guard. He called me in the morning yesterday and wanted to talk to me about it and I fully support his decision. I think everything now will work itself out.” Asked if he thought that Collins, who is 34 and will become a free agent on July 1, would be signed by an N.B.A. team for the 2013-14 season, Kidd said: “I wouldn’t see why not. He’s a guy that can help and he’s a veteran guy. In this league, you need veteran guys.”
[ "Celtics", "Jason Collins", "Basketball", "Homosexuality" ]
[ "P", "P", "U", "U" ]
[ "sports", "basketball" ]
Time Warner Cable Finds That Money Covers Charter’s Flaws
Time Warner Cable has concluded that one out of four ain’t bad. Last year, the cable operator rejected a takeover bid from a smaller rival, Charter Communications, balking at the price and the amount of leverage, cash and stock on offer. Most of the terms haven’t changed much in the deal it just agreed to, but the valuation has gone up appreciably, to more than $56 billion. It’s a stark reminder about what really matters in mergers. In January 2014, Time Warner Cable’s chairman, Robert D. Marcus, and his board rejected a “third grossly inadequate proposal” of $132.50 a share from Charter, backed by the cable mogul John C. Malone. Time Warner Cable didn’t like the amount of debt the combined company would carry. Mr. Marcus also wanted more cash and protection — so-called collars — for his shareholders against any swings in the Charter stock being proffered, because it was trading so richly. If nothing else, the tough stand bought Time Warner Cable the time that Comcast needed to swoop in with a higher bid. The offer was all in stock, at about $159 a share, and included none of the safeguards Mr. Marcus had wanted from Charter. It even lacked a provision for Comcast to pay a fee if the deal fell apart. That proved foolish, as regulators eventually killed the transaction. With the European telecommunications company Altice unexpectedly circling Time Warner Cable, Charter’s chief executive, Thomas M. Rutledge, and Mr. Malone delivered a knockout bid of almost $196 a share. It values its quarry richly at over nine times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or Ebitda, before the effect of any cost savings — worth about $6 billion today — compared with the seven times it offered last time. The deal includes the $100 a share in cash that Mr. Marcus originally requested, but this time it’s a lower proportion of the overall price. And the combined company, including Bright House Networks, which Charter is also buying for $10.4 billion, will carry hefty debt equivalent to about 4.5 times Ebitda. The huge premium Time Warner Cable has secured is impressive. Its shares were trading at about $95 each two years ago, before initial reports of Charter’s interest. It certainly helps distract from the complex ownership structure, high leverage, regulatory risks and rapid shifts occurring in customer habits. In financial transactions, money, not love, covers a multitude of sins.
[ "Time Warner Cable", "Charter Communications", "Comcast", "Mergers and Acquisitions", "John C Malone", "Robert D Marcus" ]
[ "P", "P", "P", "M", "M", "M" ]
[ "business", "dealbook" ]
Iowa Football Coach Shot at High School He Helped Rebuild
Ed Thomas, the longtime coach who helped rebuild the Aplington-Parkersburg High School football program after the Iowa school was wiped out by a tornado last year, was shot and killed in a makeshift weight room near the school Wednesday. The gunman, identified by the authorities as Mark Becker, 24, who once played for Thomas at the school, was arrested. Thomas was airlifted to Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo, where he died, said a hospital spokeswoman, Andrea Barker. He was 58. Parkersburg, which is about 80 miles north of Des Moines, was devastated by a tornado on May 25, 2008. It killed eight people and leveled scores of homes, including Thomas’s. But Thomas set out to rebuild the football field in time for the season, and when the team went 10-0 and reached the semifinals of the state playoffs, it provided a lift in morale for a town laid low. “He embodied the essence of what a coach should be, and that legacy will endure,” Richard Wilkow, executive director of the Iowa High School Athletic Association, said in a statement. “He will be forever remembered not so much for his many wins on the field, but for the exemplary manner in which he coached kids and led the Aplington-Parkersburg community and school.” Becker was being held at Butler County Jail, charged with first-degree murder. On Sunday, he was charged by the police after a late-night, high-speed chase through two counties. Cedar Falls Police Chief Jeff Olson told the Associated Press Wednesday that the Butler County deputies who arrested Becker after the car chase agreed to take him to a hospital psychiatric ward and request that the Cedar Falls police be notified when he could be released. Olson said the Cedar Falls police did not hear anything more. Becker spent Tuesday night at his parents’ house, according to Jeff Jacobson, a special agent with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. Kevin Winker, assistant director of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, said Becker did not threaten anyone else in the weight room and was arrested without incident at home a short time after the shooting. The Des Moines Register reported that about 50 students were in the school, which was not in session, at the time of the shooting, around 8 a.m. Several football players were working out in the weight room at the time and witnessed it. Becker played football at the school, where the stadium is named after Thomas , whose 37-year coaching record was 292-84. Thomas was named by the N.F.L. as high school coach of the year in 2005, and four of his former players play in the N.F.L.: Green Bay’s Aaron Kampman, Jacksonville’s Brad Meester, Detroit’s Jared DeVries and Denver’s Casey Wiegmann. That alone is remarkable for a small high school with an enrollment around 250.
[ "Aplington-Parkersburg High School", "Coaches and Managers", "School Shootings", "National Football League" ]
[ "P", "M", "R", "M" ]
[ "sports" ]
Radioactive Material Leaks Into Mohawk River
WASHINGTON — Several hundred gallons of water contaminated with radioactive materials from a 1950s nuclear research site spilled into the Mohawk River near Schenectady on Oct. 25, prompting an investigation by the United States Energy Department. The site, part of the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory , in Niskayuna, was used to develop the technology for purifying plutonium for nuclear bombs. A rainstorm washed 600 to 800 gallons of water containing plutonium, uranium and trace amounts of two other radioactive substances, strontium and cesium, into the river, according to a letter sent by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to the Energy Department and to a contractor working to clean up the site. Officials said the amount of radioactive material released into the river was no more than the amount that would naturally flow by the site every two minutes. In a separate episode in September, workers tracked radioactive materials into clean areas on their shoes, according to the Energy Department. Neither event gave a significant radiation dose to anyone, according to federal and state officials, but the cleanup prompted by the two errors is likely to cost more than $1 million. The Energy Department is trying to quickly decommission the site, using money from the stimulus bill. The Energy Department’s principal deputy assistant, Dae Chung, said that the contractor, URS Corporation of San Francisco, might be fired. In addition, New York State could fine the company for unauthorized discharges into the river. “Obviously no system is perfect,” Mr. Chung said. “Every now and then, infrequently, we get into a contamination event.” He said the investigation would look for “root causes” to try to prevent a repetition. A spokesman for the contractor did not respond to a telephone message on Tuesday afternoon. The water that spilled was supposed to have been collected and pumped to a purification unit, but the pump failed, according to the state agency. The spill was reported Saturday by The Daily Gazette of Schenectady.
[ "Radiation", "Water Pollution", "Environment", "URS Corp", "Schenectady (NY)" ]
[ "P", "M", "U", "M", "M" ]
[ "nyregion" ]
Falling Gas Prices Deny Russia a Lever of Power
MOSCOW — As energy markets shrink, the same tactics that the Kremlin used to build Gazprom , the giant energy company, into a fearsome economic and political power that could restore Russian influence in the world are now backfiring, slashing both its profits and its influence. Throughout his eight years as president of Russia , Vladimir V. Putin pursued the strategic goal of dominating natural gas supplies to Europe and the pipelines that deliver them. His success was underscored in January, when for the second time in three years a pricing dispute with Ukraine disrupted the flow of natural gas, leaving hundreds of thousands in Eastern Europe shivering in the deep winter cold. But in his zeal to monopolize gas supplies, Mr. Putin, who is now Russia’s prime minister, committed Gazprom to long-term contracts with Central Asian countries for gas at a cost far in excess of current world prices. Now that the world economic crisis has sharply curtailed demand for gas, Gazprom is saddled with a glut of expensive Central Asian supplies that it is forced to sell at a loss. In a painful twist, the company also finds itself forced to close its own wells in Russia, which produce gas for a fraction of the cost of that from Central Asia, in order to balance its supplies with declining world demand. In effect, a strategy that made business and political sense in a time of high and seemingly ever rising prices is threatening to create years of losses and declining influence, if energy prices fail to rebound. “It’s an extraordinary turnaround from what everybody was expecting,” said Jonathan P. Stern, the director of natural gas research at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. Demand for Gazprom’s natural gas will plunge by about 60 billion cubic meters this year, according to Mr. Stern — about equal to the amount the company is contractually committed to import from the former Soviet states. The turnaround for Gazprom has been as swift as it has been devastating to the company’s business model. As recently as last September, Mr. Putin, as prime minister, flew to Tashkent, Uzbekistan, to wrap up a deal that consolidated Russia’s strategic gains after the war in Georgia. Under the deal, which Russia’s RIA state news agency has described as valid until 2028, Gazprom will pay, on average, $340 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas in 2009. The price is arrived at through a complex formula based on world oil prices with a six-month delay. But that same volume of gas sells in Ukraine for an average of about $230, while European prices have sagged to an expected average of $280 for all of 2009. Gazprom, in a written statement, acknowledged that it had lost money on the Central Asian contracts this year but said they would be valuable when demand recovered. “Gazprom’s contracts with its Central Asian partners are concluded for many years into the future,” the statement said. “The world economic crisis, without doubt, is negatively influencing demand for energy. In the long term, however, demand for gas in Russia and abroad will grow. “ The declining fortunes are creating unaccustomed stresses for Gazprom, which strutted onto the world scene during the energy boom and came to symbolize the new might and swagger of Russia under Mr. Putin’s leadership. Investors, in fact, once viewed Gazprom’s close ties to the Kremlin as good for business. For example, when Gazprom raised gas prices in Ukraine after the street protests known as the Orange Revolution, the move supported the Russian foreign policy goal of pressing a pro-Western government on its southern rim. It also made money for Gazprom. Now, the political goals of Gazprom’s business in the former Soviet Union will cost the company. That trend is already visible. Last week, the European Union signed an agreement with Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and Egypt that could revive the long delayed Nabucco pipeline, which is intended to break Russia’s monopoly on Caspian Basin energy supplies. That was quite a turnabout for Azerbaijan, which after the war in Georgia last summer had offered to sell Gazprom its entire future output of gas from an offshore development. Another former Soviet supplier, meanwhile, has accused Russia of sabotaging a pipeline to shut down deliveries of expensive gas. On the night of April 9, a portion of the pipeline carrying Central Asian gas to Russia exploded in Turkmenistan , temporarily cutting off shipments. Turkmenistan’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement blaming Gazprom for closing the valve leading to Russia, preventing gas from flowing north and creating overpressure in the pipe. News reports are sketchy, but as of May 1 the pipeline was still out of commission. Gazprom has declined to comment, but a Russian energy expert, speaking on Russian state television, said the aging Turkmen pipelines were to blame. Turkmenistan responded with an immediate overture to the West on energy issues, signing an exploration deal with the German company RWE for a bloc in Turkmenistan’s sector of the Caspian Sea shelf. RWE is a participant in the Nabucco pipeline consortium. With the affairs of Gazprom and the Kremlin so intertwined, financial troubles at the company have immediate consequences for state finances. Gazprom earned profits last year of $30.8 billion on revenues of $160.5 billion, according to annual results released this month. This year, Troika Dialog, a Moscow investment bank, has estimated that Gazprom’s profits will drop to $16.7 billion on revenues of $104 billion. As the country’s largest taxpayer, Gazprom contributed $40 billion to the state’s coffers last year, including export tariffs, profit and mineral extraction taxes. This year, financial analysts who follow the company estimate, those payments will fall by nearly half, to around $22.5 billion. Gazprom’s profits are expected to remain under pressure as long as energy prices stay at or near their current level and energy demand remains subdued. Even if the purchase price of Central Asian gas trends downward, following the decline in world oil prices, Gazprom will still have to accept delivery of that gas while keeping its own reserves — which can cost as little to produce as $4 per 1,000 cubic meters — in the ground. The current problems also carry the potential to hamper the company’s future performance. Gazprom has budgeted capital expenditures this year of $27.46 billion, according to the company, and is still planning to spend $44.8 billion in 2010, even as its revenues shrink. If it maintains these spending plans, however, it will have a negative cash flow by 2010, said Alex Fak, an oil and gas analyst at Troika, and will be compelled to borrow. “Either the oil price will have to surge, or it’s not going to happen,” Mr. Fak said of the development program.
[ "Russia", "Gazprom", "Natural Gas", "Europe", "Pipelines", "Eastern Europe", "Turkmenistan", "Putin Vladimir V", "Prices (Fares Fees and Rates)" ]
[ "P", "P", "P", "P", "P", "P", "P", "M", "M" ]
[ "world", "europe" ]
British Government Cuts Lloyds Stake to Below 20%
LONDON — Just days after the general election, the British government is making progress on its goal to end its ownership of some of the nation’s largest banks. According to a stock exchange filing on Tuesday, the government has reduced its stake in the Lloyds Banking Group to just below 20 percent through additional share sales, as part of a trading plan that will run through the end of June. The British government took significant stakes in Lloyds and the Royal Bank of Scotland as part of a bailout during the financial crisis, but it is eager to end its holdings in both lenders. It had a 24.9 percent stake in Lloyds when the new trading program was announced in December, and it now holds 19.9 percent. “Today’s announcement shows the further progress made in returning Lloyds Banking Group to full private ownership and enabling the taxpayer to get their money back,” a Lloyds spokesman said. “This reflects the hard work undertaken over the last four years to transform the group into a simple, low-risk and customer-focused bank that is committed to helping Britain prosper.” The government held as much as 40 percent of Lloyds after the lender received a bailout in 2008 of 17 billion pounds, or about $26 billion at current exchange rates, but it has pared its holdings since September 2013 as the bank’s prospects have improved. Lloyds returned to an annual profit last year and will pay its first dividend this month since the government bailout. George Osborne, the chancellor of the Exchequer, vowed in the prelude to last week’s general election in Britain to sell a portion of the government’s Lloyds stake to retail investors, possibly this year. The government delayed plans in the fall to sell to retail investors amid turmoil in the markets. Newspapers over the weekend reported that the Treasury was also weighing the early disposal of its holdings in the Royal Bank of Scotland at a loss to taxpayers. Mr. Osborne told The Financial Times this year that he would like to return the bank to private ownership “as quickly as we can.” A Treasury spokesman declined on Tuesday to elaborate on the recent news reports, saying that there was no update beyond Mr. Osborne’s previous comments. The government owns a roughly 80 percent stake in R.B.S., but the lender has struggled to reshape itself into a Britain-focused retail and corporate bank. In February, R.B.S., which once had ambitions of being a global investment bank, announced plans to dismantle its investment bank and to reduce the number of countries in which it operates to about 13 from 38.
[ "Lloyds Banking Group", "Royal Bank of Scotland", "George Osborne", "Great Britain", "Banking and Finance" ]
[ "P", "P", "P", "M", "M" ]
[ "business", "dealbook" ]
In Disguises, Spies Testify of Watching Terror Suspect
Federal prosecutors presented the testimony of British intelligence officers as some of the most important evidence in the trial of Abid Naseer in Brooklyn, saying it was “essential” to proving the terrorism charges and insisting that the officers be allowed to wear disguises and that their faces be blurred by courtroom artists. Yet on Tuesday, despite tantalizing the jury with cryptic code words for the investigation (“Operation Pathway”) and Mr. Naseer (“Small Panel”), the five officers from the spy agency MI5 testified to more mundane observations: watching Mr. Naseer ride buses around Manchester, England; go to a mosque; and visit an Internet cafe. At one point, one of the officers told the jury, Mr. Naseer shopped for fruits and vegetables, after which, the officer said, “he appeared tense.” Mr. Naseer, who is representing himself , passed up some opportunities to water down the officers’ accounts, or at least point out that visiting mosques and taking buses are presumably not unusual in his Manchester neighborhood. The case in Federal District Court accuses Mr. Naseer of material support for terrorism and of conspiracy to use a destructive device. It stems from a 2009 plot to bomb a Manchester shopping center uncovered by British authorities. Other linked attacks were planned for Copenhagen and the New York City subway system, the authorities said, though none of the three plots were carried out. Each of the MI5 officers who spoke Tuesday had a role in tracking Mr. Naseer over a few weeks in March and April 2009, they said. The case ended up in the United States after the British investigation was compromised . In April 2009, a top British counterterrorism official was photographed carrying papers marked “SECRET” that laid out plans to arrest Mr. Naseer and several associates. The photo was quickly shared on the Internet, and officials had to rush to arrest Mr. Naseer and his associates. British authorities later released the defendants because of a lack of evidence. In 2010, Mr. Naseer was indicted in New York under a law that allows federal prosecutors to pursue terrorism cases outside the United States. He was extradited to the United States in 2013. Image Abid Naseer The intelligence officers’ disguises in court on Tuesday were sober — some appeared to wear wigs — and all wore wire-rimmed glasses. Prosecutors, citing security concerns, had obtained clearance from Judge Raymond J. Dearie for the officers to testify without providing their names, and while wearing “light disguises.” The MI5 officers testified that in that 2009 period, they watched Mr. Naseer as he took buses around Manchester, shopped, went to an Internet cafe and visited a mosque. They logged observations like “S.P. handed an unknown male a mobile phone,” “S.P.” referring to “Small Panel,” the code name for Mr. Naseer. One officer spent time in the Internet cafe, pretending he was looking at online job listings and observing Mr. Naseer and other targets of the investigation, including one who appeared to work there and was code-named “Glass Pendant.” The officer wrote notes like “S.P. has stopped using Terminal 9” and “S.P. appears to be using the computer behind the counter.” He testified that at one point, Glass Pendant and another target of the investigation passed a cellphone back and forth; later, Glass Pendant retrieved a flash drive from his pocket and put it in a computer. The significance of these acts was unclear. “Did you notice anything unusual about these individuals behind the counter?” Mr. Naseer asked the officer during cross-examination. “No, I did not,” the officer replied. Prosecutors showed some surveillance video, though at least on its own, the footage did not appear damning. It showed Mr. Naseer and his friends walking on Manchester streets, talking on cellphones and chatting in the Internet cafe. “Did the defendant’s movements cause you any alarm or cause for suspicion?” Mr. Naseer asked the first MI5 officer to testify. No, the officer replied.
[ "Terrorism", "Abid Naseer", "Brooklyn", "Manchester", "Al Qaeda", "Security Service MI5" ]
[ "P", "P", "P", "P", "U", "M" ]
[ "nyregion" ]
Stanford Beats UMass in N.I.T. Semifinal
In his fifth season at Stanford, Josh Owens is a bridge to better times, when the Cardinal were still an N.C.A.A. tournament regular and a powerhouse in a strong Pacific-10 Conference. Owens’s career has stumbled through darker days — including a medical condition that cost him the 2009-10 season — but he is finishing it with a flourish. In the National Invitation Tournament semifinals on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden, Owens’s 15 points and 12 rebounds paced third-seeded Stanford’s 74-64 win over Massachusetts. In the championship game on Thursday, Stanford will face Minnesota, which outlasted top-seeded Washington, 68-67, in overtime. “Our guys just pounded away,” Stanford Coach Johnny Dawkins said. “Making plays when they had to.” As it has done all season, UMass relied on its 5-foot-8 point guard Chaz Williams for a physical and emotional spark. A native of East New York in Brooklyn, Williams, a sophomore, had been UMass’s fresh burst of coiled energy since he arrived from Hofstra as a transfer. After sitting out a year, he led the team in scoring, assists, steals and minutes. But Stanford focused on Williams’s strength, not letting him penetrate with his flash-quick dribble. He scored 19 points but was 7 of 18 shooting. “We tried to keep him out of the paint as much as we possibly could,” Dawkins said. Stanford (25-11) built a 26-14 lead in the first half as fifth-seeded UMass (25-12) began out of sync offensively. But UMass closed the half strong, trimming the deficit to 3. The Minutemen took a 50-49 lead with 8 minutes 2 seconds left on a 3-pointer by Freddie Riley. Stanford used its depth and maintained its composure. Anthony Brown scored 13 of his 18 points in the second half, including a devastating 3-pointer with 2:51 remaining to give the Cardinal an 8-point lead. Stanford, which has not been to the N.C.A.A. tournament since 2008, began the season 12-2, but faded. “To be playing in the finals game, that’s an accomplishment,” Dawkins said. In the second game, the sixth-seeded Golden Gophers (23-14) built a 15-point lead, but the Huskies (24-11) clawed back. A steal and a jumper by C. J. Wilcox with 19 seconds left sent the game into overtime tied at 61-61. But Minnesota’s defense prevailed, and Andre Hollins hit a key layup for his 20th point with 31 seconds left. Now Minnesota will face the Cardinal, which has been led all season by the 6-8 Owens, who as a freshman played with Brook and Robin Lopez as well as with Landry Fields, all now in the N.B.A. But two years ago, Owens had to give up basketball for undisclosed medical reasons. There were questions about whether he would feel fit to return. Owens declined to specify what ailed him, but he indicated it was serious. “I followed the steps of the doctors that were watching me and I made it back on the court, thankfully,” he said. And his Stanford career, once thought to be over early, will continue for one more game.
[ "National Invitation Tournament", "Basketball", "Stanford University", "University of Massachusetts", "College Athletics", "Basketball (College)", "University of Minnesota", "University of Washington" ]
[ "P", "P", "M", "M", "U", "M", "M", "M" ]
[ "sports", "ncaabasketball" ]
Debt Crisis Provisions Hurt Bundesbank Profit
FRANKFURT — The Bundesbank, Germany’s central bank, said Tuesday that its profit plunged last year as it set aside money to cover risks from the sovereign debt crisis , a result that is certain to inflame a debate about the role the country plays in financing weaker countries in the euro zone. Profit in 2011 fell 71 percent, to 642 million euros, or $841.8 million, from 2.2 billion euros in 2010, the Bundesbank said. The bank said it had set aside an additional 4.2 billion euros to cover risk, bringing total provisions to 7.7 billion euros. The big falloff came as Jens Weidmann, the president of the Bundesbank, warned about the possible downside of easy credit that the European Central Bank has supplied to euro zone banks to help them survive the debt crisis . Mr. Weidmann said Tuesday that the European Central Bank’s money had eased tensions but might also have side effects. For example, he said, weak banks may face less pressure to confront their problems. “Everyone knows that the extra measures come with risks and side effects,” he said, adding that the E.C.B. should now be thinking about how to wean banks from the 1 trillion euros they have borrowed. Some of the risk comes from euro zone bonds purchased by the Bundesbank on behalf of the European Central Bank, Mr. Weidmann said. The Bundesbank has long been critical of the purchases of bonds from countries like Greece, Portugal and Ireland. Since taking office in May, Mr. Weidmann has continued the Bundesbank tradition of serving as the voice of prudence in the euro zone. But he denied reports that he had become isolated on the European Central Bank’s governing council, the body that sets official interest rates for the euro zone and includes heads of the national central banks. Mr. Weidmann also said there was no rift between him and Mario Draghi, the president of the E.C.B. “We respect each other and each other’s arguments,” he said. Many German commentators and citizens have become concerned about 547 billion euros that central banks of other euro zone countries owe the Bundesbank. Such a debate, involving the technicalities of the euro area’s internal system for large transfers of money, might be possible only in Germany, where the Bundesbank is regarded as a fortress of monetary stability. The Bundesbank is the largest bank in the Eurosystem, the network of central banks in the euro zone. As such it is one of the linchpins in a system known as Target 2 that commercial banks, stock exchanges and other large institutions use to make big transfers. Before the crisis began, countries like Greece and Spain that had large trade deficits would finance their shortfalls through commercial banks and capital markets. But as market financing dried up and was replaced by central bank credit, those shortfalls have been transferred to the books of central banks, especially the Bundesbank. Some economists have argued that stronger European countries are effectively financing the trade deficits of weaker countries while exposing themselves to huge risk. But others call the liabilities a predictable side effect of the increased role central banks have played as lenders of last resort, and argue they are not terribly worrisome. Mr. Weidmann said the risk of losses because of the payment system was largely theoretical. If one country like Greece left the euro zone, its central bank might have trouble meeting its obligations. In that case the other euro zone countries would share the losses, with Germany bearing the largest share as the biggest member of the zone. Mr. Weidmann emphasized that he did not expect any country to leave the euro zone. “That is not my scenario,” he said. The Bundesbank makes a profit from the interest and fees it charges commercial banks that borrow money from it or use its payment system or other services. The Bundesbank is also entitled to a share of the central bank’s profits. The Bundesbank’s profit is passed on to the German federal government. Risk provisions are deducted from profit, but if no losses materialize, the money will be added back in future years. The Finance Ministry said in a statement that the Bundesbank’s profit was less than the government had expected, but added that the money was “only a small piece of the budget.” News of the slump in profit is certain to heighten resentment among Germans who believe they are paying for mistakes made by others. At the same time, Mr. Weidmann gave a positive outlook for the German economy, noting that unemployment continued to fall. The ZEW survey of German economic sentiment, based on a poll of professional economists and analysts, rose to its highest level since June 2010. The data, published Tuesday, suggested that Germany was already recovering from a slowdown at the end of 2011. “The German economy is in remarkably good shape,” Mr. Weidmann said.
[ "Bundesbank", "Germany", "European Central Bank", "Banking and Financial Institutions", "European Sovereign Debt Crisis (2010- )", "Euro (Currency)" ]
[ "P", "P", "P", "M", "M", "M" ]
[ "business", "global" ]
Kepler Telescope’s Troubles, a Maya Pyramid in Ruins and More
The Kepler Space Telescope is 40 million miles from Earth, which makes sending a repairman difficult. Unlike the Hubble telescope, which was designed to be serviced by astronauts, Kepler was meant to live far from Earth, well beyond a wrench’s reach. And its Pauline-like peril and uncertain future lent some drama to this week’s scientific doings. Image A road crew in northern Belize needing crushed rock for gravel hacked at a Maya temple, dating from 250 B.C., leaving it a stump. Credit Jules Vasquez/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images Developments Archaeology A Maya Pyramid, Now Gravel A construction crew in Belize needed crushed rock for a road-building project, so it turned to a convenient mound nearby and went at it with excavators. Soon the Nohmul pyramid, a historically significant Maya temple near the Mexican border, was reduced to a stump. “Only a small chunk of the pyramid, which stood about 65 feet tall and was the center of a settlement of about 40,000 people in 250 B.C., remains after backhoes and bulldozers began removing the limestone slabs with which it was built,” as CNN put it . The government of Belize wants to find and prosecute those responsible, as do local archaeologists. “The Maya had to mine for this material using nothing more than stone tools,” Dr. Jaime J. Awe of the Belize Institute of Archaeology told a Belize news station , adding that it was “mind-boggling” that this treasured antiquity, which took centuries to build, had been wrecked in a day by machinery that could have quarried elsewhere. Public Health Remember Measles? More than 1,200 cases of measles have cropped up in Britain this year, on top of 2,000 reported last year, and public health officials say that parents who refused to vaccinate their children are to blame. “More than a decade ago, British parents refused to give measles shots to at least a million children because of now discredited research that linked the vaccine to autism,” The Associated Press reported . “Now, health officials are scrambling to catch up and stop a growing epidemic.” Although developing countries still struggle with measles, the disease has all but disappeared in richer nations, except where there have been vaccine resisters. The current outbreak, centered in Wales, puts Britain behind countries like Rwanda and Cambodia in combating measles. While the research linking autism to the vaccine against measles has been found to be fraudulent and the doctor who did it has lost his medical license, some parents still refuse to inoculate their children. Image An artist’s rendition of the Kepler telescope, which lost the second of four wheels that control its orientation in space. Credit NASA/JPL, via Associated Press Environment So Totally Our Fault In a glove tossed down to climate change deniers, a paper in the journal Environmental Research Letters looked at about 4,000 scientific articles about global warming and found that 97.1 percent of them concluded that rising temperatures were “anthropogenic,” or caused by humans. “Our findings prove that there is a strong scientific agreement about the cause of climate change, despite public perceptions to the contrary,” said John Cook, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Queensland, according to an article in The Guardian . Dr. Cook is a physicist, not a climate scientist, but he collects peer-reviewed papers on climate change the way some people do “Star Trek” memorabilia; he also maintains , which includes a list of the “most used climate myths and what the science really says.” Myth No. 1: “Climate’s Changed Before.” No. 2: “It’s the Sun.” No. 3: “It’s Not Bad.” Space Exploration A Telescope on Life Support The Kepler spacecraft has been an astronomical marvel, sending down a steady drumbeat of information that scientists use to map exotic planets far outside our solar system. But now it is in trouble , and the prospects for repair are dubious. Kepler, which is only about 9 feet by 15 feet, has four reaction wheels that are meant to keep it pointed in the right direction; at least three of them need to be working properly, and right now only two are. NASA will try to wiggle them back to life, but astronomers are deeply worried that their window to the world of exoplanets may have snapped shut. Kepler has already found more than 100 planets , providing “a mother lode of planetary systems that we will be exploring for decades in the future,” as Dimitar Sasselov, a Harvard professor who is one of Kepler’s investigators, told The Harvard Gazette . “Kepler has already delivered beyond expectations,” he added. “So it was worth every penny.” Image A model of the truck that will carry a delicate 600-ton electromagnet from Brookhaven National Laboratory to Fermilab. Credit Fermilab Bennu or Bust Speaking of space: NASA’s plan to snatch a chunk of an asteroid and bring it back to Earth moved a bit closer to fruition last week. Under the current timeline, a play date with the asteroid in question — named Bennu — will take place in 2018, two years after a spacecraft is launched for this purpose. By 2023, that spacecraft will return with a piece of Bennu, no less than 2.1 ounces, after a round trip of more than 800 million miles. The project, known by the ungainly acronym Osiris-REx, might tell us a lot; as NASA put it bluntly: “Bennu could hold clues to the origin of the solar system.” So what’s with the asteroid’s name? The Bennu was a mythical heronlike bird in ancient Egypt; a third grader from North Carolina, thinking the mission’s equipment looked somewhat birdlike, submitted the name to an asteroid-naming competition and won. Coming Up Physics An Arduous Business Trip Not everyone has a 50-foot-wide electromagnet to spare. Fortunately for the scientists at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory , who need just such an item, their colleagues at Brookhaven National Laboratory do have one sitting around. Both labs are run by the Department of Energy, and a transfer was arranged, which will be easier said than done: The 600-ton device, used to store subatomic particles called muons, will take a circuitous two-month, 3,200-mile journey from Brookhaven, N.Y., to Batavia, Ill. “The massive electromagnet must be transported in one piece,” according to a news release from Brookhaven. “It also cannot tilt or twist more than a few degrees, or the complex wiring inside will be irreparably damaged.” Popular Science said the electromagnet “will float from New York Harbor in June, down the East Coast, around Florida, up the Gulf Coast and up the Mississippi River by July.” After it arrives, the storage ring will function as a holding tank for muons generated by Fermilab’s particle accelerators, under an experiment called Muon g-2 that will look at odd properties of matter in the subatomic world.
[ "Belize", "Measles", "Climate Change", "Global Warming", "Kepler Spacecraft", "Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory", "Outer space", "Mayans" ]
[ "P", "P", "P", "P", "P", "P", "M", "U" ]
[ "science" ]
Rugby's Best Wear Nothing but Black
WELLINGTON — By completing its fourth grand slam of the British and Ireland Home Unions with a 37-25 victory against Wales over the weekend, New Zealand cemented its position as the favorite for the Rugby World Cup next year. While the November internationals have seen Graham Henry’s team sweep all before them in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales for the third time in five years, those four teams as well as France, Australia and South Africa are still jockeying for position as 2011 looms. Australia and South Africa have had mixed success in Europe this month, but both ended their tours on positive notes with contrasting victories over France and England. Those victories left the two Southern Hemisphere teams as the front-runners to challenge New Zealand next year. The Wallabies dished out a 59-16 beating to the Six Nations champions, running the faltering French ragged in the seven-tries-to-one thrashing. By contrast, it was South Africa’s sheer physicality and its ability to do the basics well that undid England, 21-11. But what the matches of the past few weeks have highlighted is the fact that, at the moment, it is the team in black that is consistently producing the goods. That is not to say New Zealand cannot improve. It has been heavily penalized in the scrums throughout the tour to the chagrin of assistant coach Steve Hansen, and its poor discipline should have been more costly than it was against Wales. But, under the astute guidance of captain Richie McCaw, who along with Mils Muliaina overtook Sean Fitzpatrick for most appearances with the All Blacks, and navigator Daniel Carter (now the leading point scorer in international rugby after surpassing the 1,187 by Jonny Wilkinson of England), the All Blacks are showing more maturity and play the game at an intensity and speed that few teams can match for the full 80 minutes. Their defense is brutal, and it is rare that they do not take any half-opportunity presented to them. No longer can the opposition simply hoof the ball down field to relieve the pressure and wait for the mistakes to come, because more often than not they do not, and the All Blacks counterattack can be deadly. Wales learned that the hard way at Millennium Stadium, with three of New Zealand’s five tries the result of poor clearing kicks. Muliaina benefited in the first half. Then with the game in the balance, Wales fullback Lee Byrne failed to find touch from a penalty, and a few moments later Hosea Gear was going over in the corner for his second try, all while New Zealand was a man down with flanker Daniel Braid in the sin bin. Isaia Toeava benefited again late in the game before John Afoa’s try crushed any lingering Welsh hopes. “I think today’s game was ideal for us,” Hansen told Reuters after beating Wales. “At times we were in similar situations that we were in another game at Cardiff against another particular team,” he said, referring to the shocking World Cup quarterfinal loss to France in 2007. “Today we actually showed our maturity and ended up winning, I think reasonably comfortably, whereas in that game we didn’t and we all went home with long faces. Today we are smiling and feeling pretty happy.” That is not to say that Wales, which has lost its last seven test matches now, did not have its moments — and it needed to after its woeful 16-16 draw against Fiji on Nov. 19. It fought doggedly up front, and in the backs Tom Shanklin was able to break the gain line a couple of times to at least keep the New Zealand defenders honest. But the ability to regularly get across the advantage line was missing, and the decision-making, accuracy and composure must improve if they are to turn defeats against the Southern Hemisphere heavyweights into victories. It has been a similar tale for England and Ireland too. They played well in patches against New Zealand, but Scotland was ruthlessly outplayed by the Tri-Nations champions and bedazzled by the outrageous off-loading ability of the giant center Sonny Bill Williams. Australia’s record victory against France has done wonders for its confidence. The youthful back line was exposed by a rejuvenated England at Twickenham earlier in the tour, and it was noticeable then that when things went wrong, the players lost their composure and their heads dropped. There was none of that against France, which had an unimpressive campaign that brought earlier victories over Fiji and Argentina. But concerns still remain with the Australian scrum, goal-kicking and defensive lapses, and all need to improve drastically if the Wallabies are to succeed at the World Cup. South Africa has not looked like a world champion team this year, and its victories against Ireland and Wales were unconvincing. A loss to a limited Scotland side, which just sneaked a 19-16 victory against Samoa over the weekend, ended South Africa’s grand slam hopes and was a new low after the positive drug tests returned by Bjorn Basson and Chiliboy Ralepelle. But the Springboks’ 21-11 triumph against England showed that winning the set-piece battle remains an important part of rugby even in this new age of attacking enterprise. England stuck to its new attacking mantra but was simply outmuscled and turned the ball over too easily. With the line-out and scrum struggling and no platform to build off, the players simply ran into a big green wall. England’s move away from the kick-centric set-piece to set-piece brand of rugby to counterattacking with ball in hand has been refreshing. And at least now England has players in Ben Youngs, Toby Flood, Ben Foden, Chris Ashton and Mark Cueto able to assess situations in front of them rather than stick doggedly to the game book. The key in the coming months will be to do it consistently and more effectively. Ireland worked hard to beat Samoa and eased past Argentina, and it showed flashes of quality on attack against South Africa and New Zealand. Its swarming defense can be hard to break down too, as those two teams found, but the effort has to be maintained for the whole match, not just 60 or 70 minutes, if victories over Southern Hemisphere opposition are to be anything other than a rarity.
[ "New Zealand", "Australia", "South Africa", "Rugby (Game)" ]
[ "P", "P", "P", "R" ]
[ "sports", "rugby" ]
Suicide Bomber Kills 15 at a Sunni Mosque in Baghdad
BAGHDAD — The plaza in front of Baghdad’s famous Abu Hanifa mosque in the Adhamiya district has lately been a place of joyous celebration and worship. On Sunday evening it was a scene of terror, as a suicide bomber struck a crowded street in front of the mosque. The police and witnesses said the blast killed 15 people and wounded 29 others. Among the dead was Faruq Abdul Sattar, a deputy commander of Adhamiya’s Sunni Awakening council, the American-backed local force that guards the neighborhood, which is a Sunni stronghold. Witnesses said that the bomber, a man, may have been riding a motorcycle that was parked about 65 feet from a traffic light on the street. Mr. Sattar, a popular figure in the neighborhood who was known by the nickname Abu Omar, was standing on the median that divided the street with a group of other Awakening Council members when the bomb went off, about 7:40 p.m., witnesses said. “Abu Omar is gone! Abu Omar is gone!,” many in the crowd shouted when Mr. Omar’s torn body was identified by a silver ring he wore on his right hand and the distinctive green pattern of his uniform. “I sat down near the traffic light and I saw Abu Omar standing near the traffic light,” said Hassan Hadi, 37, a truck driver. “He talked with some of the neighborhood people, then one of my friends asked to go with him to drink a cup of tea in a shop across the street. “After a while I saw a guy driving a motorcycle,” Mr. Hadi said. “He parked the motorcycle 65 feet from Abu Omar’s location, and then he walked toward him. After that the explosion happened.” An Awakening Council official confirmed that the explosives were detonated by a male suicide bomber. The victims included other Awakening Council members and some civilians. After the bombing, a sheik who worked at the Abu Hanifa mosque became worried when the surviving Awakening Council members began firing their weapons in the air and called over the mosque’s loudspeaker for the crowd to disperse. Adhamiya, once the site of fierce fighting between insurgents and American and Iraqi forces, has been quieter in recent months. Last spring thousands of people, drawn by the reduced levels of violence, gathered at the Abu Hanifa mosque for the first time in years to celebrate the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday. Earlier on Sunday, two journalists from the Afaq television channel and their driver were wounded by a grenade thrown inside their car near Al Zawra park in Baghdad. Violence also erupted in Iraq ’s northern Kurdish autonomous region, where police in Erbil shot and killed two people, one a 14-year-old boy, after a demonstration turned into a small riot. The demonstrators, members of a Kurdish tribe from the town of Khliffan, were protesting inadequate water services in the town. Massoud Barzani, the leader of the Kurdistan Regional Government, said in a news conference that the police opened fire when the demonstrators began to attack government buildings.
[ "Terrorism", "Iraq", "Bombs and Explosives", "Baghdad (Iraq)" ]
[ "P", "P", "R", "M" ]
[ "world", "middleeast" ]
Skipping the Legal Partner Track for a Private Shingle
Five and a half years ago, after spending years as commercial litigation lawyers at Proskauer Rose in New York City, Sari Gabay-Rafiy and Anne Marie Bowler decided to strike out on their own. They started Gabay-Rafiy & Bowler more as a lifestyle choice than a money-making venture. The first year in business, Ms. Gabay-Rafiy said, she made “just enough to pay the babysitter.” Over time, Ms. Gabay-Rafiy and Ms. Bowler learned to re-evaluate their business practices continually to assess what was useful and profitable. That led to their decision in 2009 to move to smaller office space and to discontinue storing files offsite. Moving cut their rent 35 percent (they sublet two offices in the new space to nonlawyers) and storing files onsite saved them about $300 a month. They run a lean operation — just the two of them and one assistant — and they rely on their connections to an informal network of lawyers for everything from expert advice to case referrals. They sent announcements to every lawyer they knew when they left Proskauer, and they exchange business cards everywhere they go: seminars, continuing education courses, cocktail parties, networking events, even elementary school drop-offs. Today, despite the recession, the firm is thriving. The partners say they have exceeded what they were earning when they left Proskauer. And they are part of what appears to be a trend of lawyers in their mid-20s to early 40s leaving large firms to start their own small ones. Statistics are not easy to come by, but Margie R. Grossberg, a partner at the legal recruiting firm Major, Lindsey & Africa , said she saw an increasing number of associates choosing entrepreneurship. “In the past, associates found if they worked really hard and did the right things, they made partner,” she said. “That’s not necessarily the case anymore. The odds are a lot slimmer, and it’s also not as coveted as it once was.” These lawyers want more control over their futures, Ms. Grossberg said, and they do not want to wait until they become partner to have meaningful relationships with clients. The economy is another factor. “There have been thousands of associates laid off because of the recession,” said Eric A. Seeger, a principal at Altman Weil , a legal consultancy. “We’re seeing more lawyers out there now taking risks, and that includes going out on their own.” Starting a law firm presents many challenges, especially for associates who have not had much experience running a firm. Michael Yim, Jane Chuang and a third lawyer, all former law school classmates, decided to start a firm in Manhattan last year, taking one large client with them. Three months later that client dropped them, taking 75 percent of the fledging firm’s revenue. Mr. Yim and Ms. Chuang’s third partner could not stomach the loss, and the relationship among the three became tense. He soon left, but Mr. Yim and Ms. Chuang soldiered on. “We started from scratch again, taking a long-term view of profit generation,” Mr. Yim said. The firm became Yim & Chuang and now, a year later, business is better than Mr. Yim had projected, although marketing has been difficult. “There aren’t a lot of people who know about us yet,” he said. Still, he and Ms. Chuang decided not to take work they could not handle or simply did not want, even when it was tempting. “You can get this sense of desperation where you’ll take any paying client that walks through the door,” Mr. Yim said. “We’ve learned the best clients are people we would socialize with, because the relationship is comfortable, there is trust and it’s far more productive.” In 2007 Joel Kauth and two of his colleagues left Christie Parker Hale in Irvine, Calif., to start Kauth, Pomeroy, Peck & Bailey with Kent Pomeroy, a lawyer and accountant. Mr. Kauth and his former Christie colleagues did not like the traditional billable-hours structure, so they decided to give clients a flat rate for services. “Clients love us because we give them predictability,” Mr. Kauth said. “It’s not some billable black hole.” The billing system has been profitable for the firm because its partners have enough experience to estimate their time, and they give specific prices for particular tasks. Still, once in a while, Mr. Kauth said, “if the court is being difficult or opposing counsel is crazy, the cost goes up and we just have to eat it.” The firm bills up front when the costs for third-party services like document production or expert witnesses is high. “Large firms have an infrastructure in place that can absorb big purchases for a large case,” Mr. Kauth said. “When you’ve got three or four people, it’s much tougher. I can’t front $300,000 on a project.” Clients are generally understanding, he said, and the firm gives them the vendor’s bill, so they see there is no markup. Shortly after the firm started, Mr. Pomeroy decided to pursue other career opportunities, but he provided financial guidance to the legal start-up and designed its accounting system. At first, he said, his former colleagues did not understand the costs involved in running a law firm. “These guys didn’t pay the bills at Christie,” he said. “They didn’t realize that lawyers are the last ones to get paid after rent, LexisNexis, paralegals, secretaries, utilities, workers’ compensation insurance, payroll taxes — all the things needed to run the firm.” Before Mr. Kauth and his colleagues left their jobs, Mr. Pomeroy insisted they come up with a budget for the new firm and estimate how long it might be before they would be able to pay themselves. The best case was two months. Mr. Pomeroy said lawyers going out on their own should be able to last a minimum of three months, but preferably six, without a paycheck. When Serena Minott started Minott Gore in Miami in 2007 with a fellow large-firm refugee, Keesonga Gore, she found that without a partner telling her what to do and when to do it, time management was difficult. Now, she reserves Monday through Wednesday for client work and Thursday and Friday for business development. “I also keep a daily to-do list with the top three to four things that must get finished that day,” she said. “I don’t leave until those are finished, and then I can run a couple of errands and have lunch. I’ve learned that once you leave the office, it’s hard to regain focus.” In 2010, Cynthia Gilbert, an intellectual property, or I.P., lawyer, left Choate Hall & Stewart and started Hyperion Law in Boston. She wanted to work with small companies. “If you’re a billion-dollar company, you have probably figured out your I.P. strategy,” she said. “Smaller companies don’t have the resources to hire a high-powered attorney to help with that.” At Choate, Ms. Gilbert tried to bring in small clients, but her 2,000 hours a year billing requirement left little time for business development. After leaving, Ms. Gilbert spent the next seven months networking, “going from coffee to coffee to lunch and then dinner, meeting anyone interested in having a conversation about opportunities for small businesses.” She was able to manage financially during this period by using some savings, doing contract work for other lawyers and working for two former Choate clients. Now she is learning to handle uncertainty. “Some months you do amazingly well,” she said, “and then for several months you’re slow. You have to stick it out and handle the anxiety. By the end of my first six months, I could see the ebbs and flows. I’m calmer about it now because I know it’s cyclical — it’s not that I’m failing.”
[ "Small Business", "Legal Profession", "Hiring and Promotion" ]
[ "P", "M", "M" ]
[ "business", "smallbusiness" ]
Instead of a Sale, Hulu Concentrates on ‘The Awesomes’
MOST of the news about Hulu recently has focused on whether the popular video streaming site would be sold. Last week, the owners of Hulu — 21st Century Fox, the Walt Disney Company and NBCUniversal — provided a reprieve : instead of selling Hulu, they said it would invest $750 million in the site and increase competition with Netflix, which has had tremendous success with its slate of original programming, including a handful of Emmy nominations Thursday. With a sale averted, Hulu executives can now focus on more important matters — promoting the site’s highly anticipated animated series “The Awesomes,” which will make its debut Aug. 1. The show stars Seth Meyers as the voice of one of the main characters, Prock. Mr. Meyers is also a co-creator, executive producer and writer along with Michael Shoemaker, whose production credits include “Saturday Night Live” and “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” “The Awesomes” is Hulu’s first original series this year and its first animated series. The show follows a team of less-than-stellar superheroes called “The Awesomes” who come together after the original team of elite superheroes by the same name is disbanded. In addition to Mr. Meyers, the show features the voices of other “Saturday Night Live” stars including Bill Hader and Taran Killam. In an interview, Mr. Meyers and Mr. Shoemaker described the show as a “passion project” that they shopped around to different networks until they found the right fit with Hulu. “Hulu was willing to turn it over to us creatively,” Mr. Meyers said. “Hulu was the first place that really understood it.” “The Awesomes” also secured a sponsor in Jack Link’s Beef Jerky. The brand partnership includes product integrations in the show and short episode extensions that involve the characters from “The Awesomes” and Sasquatch, the beef jerky mascot. There will also be traditional 30-second and 60-second ads with Mr. Meyers and Mr. Shoemaker writing the copy for the ads. In one episode extension, two of the characters are talking about the free food perks the group no longer receives. “No more lobster Mondays? Make-your-own-taco Tuesdays?” says Muscleman, a brawny character who wears a bright red wrestling leotard. “All gone,” says Prock, adding that he has, instead, “lots of Jack Link’s jerky.” Image Michael Shoemaker, left, and Seth Meyers are the creators, executive producers and writers of the animated series “The Awesomes,” which will start broadcasting on Aug. 1. Credit Brad Barket/Getty Images for Hulu “I love that stuff,” says Muscleman. But the characters also acknowledge, in a tongue-in-cheek way, that what they are doing is a paid advertisement. According to data from Kantar Media, a unit of WPP, Jack Link’s spent $13.1 million on marketing in 2011 and $8.8 million in 2012. Hulu spent $9.3 million on advertising in 2011 and $63.6 million in 2012, according to Kantar. Mr. Meyers said brand partnerships like this one were necessary. “I’m a realist and you have to pay for these shows,” he said. “It’s how this stuff works. I think it’s been helpful for me to work in TV for 12 years. No one’s paying to watch ‘Saturday Night Live’ but I still get a check every week.” Andy Forssell, acting chief executive and senior vice president of content at Hulu, said, “You want this to be a beacon to show how this can be done well,” referring to the brand integration. “You don’t want to have to make any creative sacrifices.” Jeff LeFever, vice president of marketing for Jack Link’s, said: “We want to become part of the everyday vernacular and everyday culture that’s out there, not just a transactional product. In this media landscape it takes everybody out of the traditional way of doing things. The studio, the media partner all leaning together.” Unlike Netflix, Hulu derives revenue from both subscriptions and advertising. Mr. Forssell said subscription fees and ad revenue from Hulu Plus, its paid subscription business, made up more than half of the company’s revenue. “Both businesses are critical and will be part of our identity for years and years to come,” he said. In addition to brand integration with Jack Link’s , Hulu has a separate plan to promote and market the show, whose target audience is adults ages 20 to 39. Digital banner ads promoting the show will run on Hulu and Hulu Plus, including personalized ads that prompt viewers who like a certain show — for instance, “Family Guy” — to watch “The Awesomes.” Digital ads will also run on sites like BuzzFeed, Pandora, the Onion, Yahoo and AOL. Hulu will show an episode of the show and host a panel with some cast members at Comic Con, a convention in San Diego on Saturday. On July 25, Xbox Live users will be able to watch an ad-free preview of the show. Billboards and other wall postings will be displayed in New York and Los Angeles.
[ "Seth Meyers", "", "Web television", "advertising,marketing" ]
[ "P", "U", "U", "R" ]
[ "business", "media" ]
After an Injury Scare, Neymar Strikes Back Against Honduras
Neymar scored the fastest goal in Olympic history and then added a penalty kick in stoppage time on Wednesday as Brazil beat Honduras, 6-0, for a spot in the gold medal match. Brazil has never won Olympic gold in the sport. Neymar scored in the first 15 seconds of the semifinal at the Maracanã stadium but collided with the Honduran goalkeeper Luis Lopez on the goal. Neymar was down on the field for several minutes, then staggered after getting up and was taken off the field on a stretcher. The crowd at Maracanã was stunned into quiet for a time before breaking into song to encourage Neymar, the country’s superstar, who returned quickly. Gabriel Jesus added to the drama with two goals, in the 26th and 35th minutes, for Brazil. Marquinhos scored in the 51st minute. Luan added a goal in the 79th minute before Neymar’s penalty kick in the first minute of stoppage time. GERMANY REACHES ANOTHER FINAL IN BRAZIL Lukas Klostermann scored in the ninth minute and Nils Petersen added a goal in the 89th to put Germany into the gold medal match with a 2-0 semifinal victory over Nigeria. The Germans will play Brazil on Saturday at the Maracanã stadium. The German senior team thrashed host Brazil, 7-1, in the 2014 World Cup semifinals. Nigeria will face Honduras in the bronze medal match. VOLLEYBALL American Men Sweep Into Semifinals The United States men’s volleyball team is on to the semifinals, beating Poland in straight sets for a fourth straight victory since a surprising 0-2 Olympic start. Bolt Is Back 13 Photos View Slide Show › Image Doug Mills/The New York Times The fifth-ranked Americans beat second-ranked Poland, 25-23, 25-22, 25-20, building some serious momentum at the Maracanãzinho arena after dropping their initial two matches to Canada and Italy. Now, both the United States men’s and women’s teams are on to the semifinals. BASKETBALL Parker Bids French National Team Adieu After a 92-67 loss to Spain, Tony Parker, a star point guard for the San Antonio Spurs, said that he is retiring from the French national team. Parker, 34, has played in France’s program for nearly half his life and said it was difficult to say goodbye. Despite all his accomplishments in the N.B.A., Parker has had limited success as an international player. France did not qualify for the 2004 Athens Games or the 2008 Beijing Games and finished sixth in London four years ago. France won its only Olympic medal — a silver — in 2000 when Parker was not on the team. BIRD HAS A KNEE SPRAIN Sue Bird, the United States women’s basketball team’s point guard and captain, has a knee capsule sprain and is day to day. A magnetic resonance imaging exam Wednesday showed the sprain, which was good news to Bird. Bird said in a statement through U.S.A. Basketball that, “Obviously I felt a huge relief.” She added that the hardest part was waiting and not knowing. Bird, 35, was injured in the second quarter and sat out the second half of Tuesday night’s 110-64 win over Japan. WATER POLO United States Women Will Play For Gold It will be the United States versus Italy for women’s water polo gold. Maggie Steffens scored four times and the United States beat Hungary, 14-10, in the semifinals. Maddie Musselman and Kiley Neushul had two goals apiece for the United States, which is trying to become the first country to repeat as Olympic champions in the sport. Italy advanced with a 12-9 victory over Australia in the first semifinal. Arianna Garibotti scored five goals and Roberta Bianconi scored twice as Italy improved to a perfect 5-0 in the tournament. Italy won the gold medal in 2004 but slipped to sixth in Beijing and finished seventh in London four years ago. The United States has won 21 in a row, including its five games in Rio by a combined score of 61-27.
[ "Neymar", "Honduras", "Brazil", "Volleyball", "Tony Parker", "Water polo", "2016 Summer Olympics", "Soccer", "US", "Records and Achievements" ]
[ "P", "P", "P", "P", "P", "P", "M", "U", "U", "M" ]
[ "sports", "olympics" ]
Baylor Center Out of N.B.A. Draft
Baylor center Isaiah Austin will withdraw from the N.B.A. draft after having been found to have a rare genetic disorder. Austin has Marfan syndrome, a disorder that affects the connective tissue and can weaken the aorta. He announced in April that he was leaving Baylor to declare for the N.B.A. draft, which is Thursday.
[ "Isaiah Austin", "Basketball", "Sports Drafts and Recruits" ]
[ "P", "U", "M" ]
[ "sports", "basketball" ]
Burress Gives London a Go
LONDON, Oct. 27 — Plaxico Burress had never been to London until this week, when he came with the Giants to play in Sunday’s game against the Dolphins . He had no interest in London, he admitted, and no plans to return later when he could take time to explore. On the field, Burress is a big-play receiver, but off it he is the type of person who would just rather be at home. Count him as one player who is not a fan of the N.F.L.’s global aspirations. But Burress had come this far. So, with a short window available on Saturday afternoon, he agreed to go on a 60-minute tour of London sights. That explained why Burress stood in a spitting drizzle near Marble Arch, waiting for one of those double-decker, open-topped tour-guided buses, the kind that snakes around the city in circles, swallowing and belching tourists at postcard spots along the way. The Giants, like the Dolphins, are viewed as ambassadors for the N.F.L. as the league experiments with how and where it wants to grow. But the teams this week were bent on trying to keep things as normal as possible. What resulted was a strange balance. Quarterback Eli Manning spent part of Saturday delivering a jersey to the prime minister’s residence at 10 Downing Street. The team released photographs of Manning standing at the door in his jersey, giving the jersey to a man in the doorway, then walking away wearing a T-shirt. They looked like time-lapse photos of a trick-or-treater handing in a costume. A visitor in the lobby at the team’s hotel noted the sour expressions many of the players wore as they came and went Saturday afternoon. The trip seems destined to be one far more appreciated in hindsight. That is probably how Burress will view it. “If he has a great game and the crowd loves him, he’ll say: ‘You know what? I do like London,’” his wife, Tiffany, said laughing. But now, Burress was standing under a bus shelter on a bleak English day, wearing a dreary expression. “Buckingham Palace,” he said. It was the one sight in London he could name. Well, that and the newly opened Wembley Stadium, which the team saw earlier Saturday. Burress declared it “the greatest stadium I’ve ever been in.” He was especially impressed by the bathrooms and the locker rooms, and said it still had that new-stadium smell. He did not seem impressed with the grass surface. He said it had little grab and he expected plenty of slipping during Sunday’s game, which could be played in rain. Of the four pairs of cleats he took, he will wear the ones with the longest spikes. A man recognized Burress at the bus stop and asked to take his photograph. Burress offered a tepid nod, and the man was unsure if that was a positive signal. Burress can be difficult to interpret; an uninterested look often masks an easy manner. This time, waiting for a bus on a loop to nowhere, Burress probably was truly uninterested. But he sat for the photograph. Tiffany came along for the ride — the couple’s 9-month-old son, Elijah, stayed home with family — and had a more enthusiastic attitude. The drizzle stopped, and the couple climbed the spiral stairs of the next bus. Down Regent Street and into Piccadilly Circus they went, to the strains of traffic noise and a guide with a microphone who explained what was zipping past. A newspaper photographer snapped countless photographs of the Burresses along the way, drawing the attention of other tourists away from London’s monuments. A woman asked, “Are they famous?” Down Whitehall from Trafalgar Square, Big Ben — actually the clock tower, which contains the bell called Big Ben — came into view. “That’s what that is?” said Burress, who knew Big Ben as his onetime teammate Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers quarterback. “The one with the clock?” The bus crossed the River Thames at Westminster Bridge, and the party climbed out at the next stop. Burress turned the corner and saw the London Eye, the giant Ferris wheel-style observation deck that twirls slowly alongside the south side of the river. There. Now that was something he had seen before. “From ‘X-Men,’” Burress said, smiling. He might have meant the latest “Fantastic Four” movie, which has a prominent scene with the Eye. A breeze chilled the air, but Burress was warming up. He walked down to the Eye for a closer look, then back across Westminster Bridge, toward the clock tower and the Houses of Parliament. He stopped to buy a cup of hot caramelized peanuts from a vendor, and chomped them as he walked. “It’s cool, man,” he said as he looked around. “This is pretty nice.” Time was almost gone. From Westminster Abbey, a black cab took the tour around St. James Park, down the Mall and past Buckingham Palace. “It’s like a house in there?” Burress asked in wonder. “And this is all backyard?” he asked as the cab passed the walled gardens. Back at the hotel, a little more than an hour after he left, Burress seemed pleased, like the Dr. Seuss character who finally ate the green eggs and ham. Burress may come back after all. “Does the sun shine over here?” he asked. “Where’s the sun at? That would help a little bit.”
[ "New York Giants", "Football", "Burress Plaxico", "London (England)", "Miami Dolphins", "National Football League" ]
[ "M", "U", "R", "M", "M", "M" ]
[ "sports", "football" ]
Guardian of a Brooklyn Housing Project
Lisa Kenner does not think of herself as poor, though she lives in the poorest neighborhood in New York City. She is the self-appointed guardian of the Van Dyke I Houses, a rambling complex of 22 brick buildings scattered around courtyards, parking lots and a community center in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Residents do not choose their neighbors at Van Dyke. They are placed in the 1,603 apartments by the New York City Housing Authority based on low-income guidelines. The average rent is $430. The average length of stay, 19 years. For Ms. Kenner, being poor and living poor are two different things. She makes that clear to everyone, in a way that has caused conflicts with residents and housing workers at times, and brought herself trouble as well. She entered a building at 372 Blake Avenue on a recent afternoon, striding past the newly scrubbed lobby to get the elevator. She pressed 14. That has always been her method, start at the top and work down. The doors slid open to a sunlit floor. She sniffed. Urine. She studied the worn floor tiles: grungy, but passable. Then she headed down the stairwell to 13. Three hall lights out, a safety hazard. Down another flight, grease stains and cigarette butts. Ms. Kenner flipped open her cellphone to call the superintendent. “I’m doing the walk down in 372,” she said in a deep, rumbling voice. “This building is nasty.” Van Dyke sits at the heart of a nine-block area, known to census workers as Tract 910, that makes up the poorest neighborhood of significant size in the city, a 2014 analysis by the Queens College sociology department found. The 5,620 residents have a median household income of $11,220 annually from all sources, including welfare benefits and food stamps, compared with $51,865 for the city. About two-thirds are black, and one-third are Hispanic. Ms. Kenner has never lived anywhere else. As president of the Van Dyke Resident Association for 12 years, she has turned a volunteer position into a full-time occupation. She scours reports from the New York City Housing Authority in a cinder-block basement office that she mops and cleans herself. She keeps the heavy metal door propped open for any resident with a problem. Sitting at a conference table, she dispenses chilled water from a refrigerator, along with advice and emails for housing officials. Image The Van Dyke I Houses are visible from the Junius Street subway station. Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times She is seen by some as their strongest advocate, and by others as unforgiving and difficult. Ms. Kenner was criticized by residents for canceling an annual Family Day celebration three years ago because she said people were not helping to organize it and were leaving their trash. The caretakers who clean the buildings have been heard to say, “Where does she think she lives, the White House?” In July, she had a confrontation with a caretaker who claimed that Ms. Kenner hit her. Ms. Kenner said she never touched the woman. The property manager for Van Dyke sent Ms. Kenner a letter warning that her lease was being considered for termination. The reasons cited were “non-desirability” because of “physical assault against a Nycha employee” and “chronic rent delinquency.” Ms. Kenner has paid rent late 10 times in the past year, according to Housing Authority records. In her defense, Ms. Kenner said she tried to pay her rent every month but sometimes did not have enough money to cover all of it. She said that she did not know she had been carrying a rent balance, and that she had not previously received late notices. Housing officials said Ms. Kenner’s monthly rent bill indicated the outstanding balance. Image Ms. Kenner, in the purple shirt. Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times “They’re trying to get me out because I stay up on stuff,” Ms. Kenner said. “It’s not that I’m looking out for me. I’m looking out for everybody.” Van Dyke, which was completed in 1955, has been drawn into efforts to help alleviate the city’s shortage of affordable housing. The Housing Authority plans to sell an underused parking lot there to a nonprofit developer for a 12-story rental building with support services for low-income and homeless families. Housing officials said the proceeds from the sale, expected to be $1.8 million, would be reinvested in Van Dyke. The plan has angered some residents, who say that the complex is crowded enough and that it has become a “dumping ground” for the poor. Ms. Kenner sees a more complex equation. She said that while she hated to lose what little Van Dyke had, she could not oppose the plan. “Who am I to stop anyone from living in a decent place?” she asked. Pockets of Poverty in New York City A 2014 analysis of census data by Queens College shows that Census Tract 910, in Brownsville, Brooklyn, is the poorest in the city. Crime is ever-present in Brownsville , though it has declined significantly in the past decade, as in the rest of the city. This year through Sept. 14, there were 13 murders, 15 rapes, 276 robberies and 446 felony assaults recorded in the 73rd Precinct, which covers Ocean Hill and Brownsville, including Van Dyke. Some residents say they constantly fear being hit by a stray bullet, or getting caught in a gang fight. Just this week, a 12-year-old boy was accidentally shot as he got off his school bus. Dorothy Glover, 56, who lives with her son and three grandchildren, said she was worried about her family’s safety. She recalled that shortly after moving there in 2001 from a homeless shelter in the Bronx, she walked out of her building to find a bullet-ridden body on the ground. “I just turned back upstairs, and I prayed and I cried for that young man,” she said. Ms. Kenner, 55, grew up at Van Dyke, the third of eight children of a truck driver and a housewife from Virginia. She was the nurturing one in the family, she said, the one who picked the middle names of her younger siblings and acted as their protector. At 17, she became a single mother. She dropped out of high school when her own mother died of cancer. Her son’s father, a boy from a neighboring project whom she met at a party, was shot five times in a nearby park. Ms. Kenner sent her son, then 6, to the funeral in Puerto Rico, but stayed home herself because she could not afford two plane tickets. Image Ms. Kenner on her rounds of Van Dyke. Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times She passed her G.E.D. exam on the second try and earned a degree in public administration from Medgar Evers College. She was a counselor at the former Spofford Juvenile Center in the Bronx and then a caseworker for the city’s Human Resources Administration. Unemployed since 2010, she lives on disability benefits for back and knee injuries. She declined to give her income. A stout woman with a pair of $2 sunglasses perpetually perched on her closely shaved head, Ms. Kenner walks around with a bullhorn to get people to meetings of the Van Dyke Resident Association, which has just 60 members. One of her ideas was a quality-of-life committee to help residents keep tabs on their own buildings. It has not worked out: Only 10 buildings are represented. “If you don’t complain, you don’t get nothing,” Ms. Kenner said. “I get up in the morning and I fight so much I’m tired. They want to beat me down, but I come right back.” Image Outside a deli on the northern edge of the housing project. Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times At a June residents meeting, Ms. Kenner chided those who tried to slip in late and rapped a silver bell — the kind used to summon a hotel bellman — whenever someone tried to talk over her or another resident. She glared at a community affairs police official on his cellphone. “It’s the president of the United States,” the official said. “He’d tell you, ‘Courtesy,’ ” she snapped. Ms. Kenner has no patience for those who do not show respect to Van Dyke. After dirty diapers were thrown out the window of one building, she identified all the households with babies and asked management to send warning letters to each one. She even reports people for hanging laundry out their windows. “That looks ghetto,” she said. “They say we live in a poverty-stricken area. We don’t have to act like we live in no ghetto. I don’t know where the ghetto is.” Image Ms. Kenner mingling after a tenants’ association meeting. Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times Luz Perez, a member of the association, called Ms. Kenner “the glue” that held their community together. “She doesn’t leave anybody out,” Ms. Perez said. “She even gives the knucklehead a chance. A lot of people don’t even see what’s happening.” A spokeswoman for the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio said city and housing officials had renewed their efforts to reduce residents’ waiting time for maintenance work and repairs in housing projects. At Van Dyke, the average response time for routine repairs was five days in August, down from 131 days in August 2013, according to housing records. At Housing Authority buildings citywide, the average response time was seven days, compared with 108 days the year before. Joan Lebow, a spokeswoman for the authority, said it had also drastically reduced its backlog of repairs and was “making rapid strides to improve residents’ quality of life by taking down construction sheds, upgrading security and adding new lighting.” “As Nycha moves forward, doing more with less, those who live and work in public housing share the aim to strengthen each community,” Ms. Lebow said. “And together Nycha and its residents are accountable for ensuring a vibrant future for public housing in New York where everyone can have the safe, clean, affordable home they deserve.” At 372 Blake Avenue, Ms. Kenner was fuming as she scraped dirt off the floor with her sandal. It was her third visit in six months, she said. After the first two, she launched a blitz of emails on housing officials. Now it was filthy again. “This floor hasn’t been washed in a month, you can tell, all this dirt,” she told Kenrick Duprey, an assistant superintendent, who trailed after her, jotting notes on a yellow pad. “Right, I got you,” he said. Mr. Duprey said later that he found Ms. Kenner helpful. “She’s tough because she wants the place to look the way it’s supposed to,” he said. But on this day, a second-floor resident came out to tell Ms. Kenner that she used to sweep the hallway to keep the mice at bay, but gave up because it got too dirty. “You need to call Housing,” Ms. Kenner replied. “You’re not supposed to live like this. I can’t come here every day.”
[ "Lisa Kenner", "Income", "Queens College", "Public Housing", "Brownsville Brooklyn", "NYC", "Housing Authority NYC", "City University of New York" ]
[ "P", "P", "P", "P", "R", "U", "M", "M" ]
[ "nyregion" ]
Chechnya: Women Forced to Wear Head Scarves, Report Says
Chechnya ’s strongman Ramzan Kadyrov is forcing women to observe an Islamic dress code, while the Kremlin remains silent, Human Rights Watch said Thursday. The New York-based organization said that women’s rights in the southern Russian republic had deteriorated to the point that they were not allowed to enter, much less work, in government offices without head scarves, long sleeves and skirts below the knee, and that girls and young women could not attend school or university if their heads were uncovered. Women are not allowed to enter movie theaters or concert halls or often even to be outdoors without head scarves, the Human Rights Watch report said. Tanya Lokshina, a Russia researcher at Human Rights Watch and the report’s author, said at a news conference in Moscow that the Chechen women shot with paintballs last summer for failing to follow the dress code were too frightened to file formal complaints. Some of the unidentified assailants were in uniform and thought to be law enforcement officials. Mr. Kadyrov has said that he was not behind the attacks, but that the assailants should receive awards for their deed.
[ "Human Rights Watch", "Chechnya (Russia)", "Women and Girls", "Muslim Veiling", "Human Rights and Human Rights Violations" ]
[ "P", "M", "R", "U", "M" ]
[ "world", "europe" ]
Pakistani Tribe Signs Pact to Cooperate With Officials
PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A major tribe with close ties to the Pakistani Taliban signed an agreement with the government on Monday to hand over several of the militant group’s local leaders, to lay down arms and to stop harboring foreign militants. The agreement with the Mamoond tribe, the largest and most strategically placed in the restive Bajaur region, followed a military victory against the local Taliban last month. It was one of the first major successes of the Pakistani forces against the militants and their affiliates in Al Qaeda since they started operations in the tribal areas in 2003. Taliban forces in Bajaur then declared a unilateral cease-fire and the Mamoond, whose members live on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, decided to cooperate with the government. According to the 28-point agreement, a copy of which was made available to The New York Times, the Mamoond will stop harboring foreign militants and will close down militant training camps. The agreement also calls for the surrender of senior Taliban leaders in Bajaur, including a deputy, Maulvi Faqir Muhammad, and the group’s chief spokesman, Maulvi Said Muhammad, who also goes by the name Maulvi Omar. The entire Taliban leadership in Bajaur comes from the Mamoond, which has also been accused of harboring Qaeda operatives. “It’s the peoples’ victory more than a military success,” Maj. Gen. Tariq Khan, who led the recent military strikes in Bajaur, told the Pakistani newspaper Dawn . He promised to clear militants from a remaining small pocket in Bajaur within the next couple of days. The agreement was signed by tribal elders from the Mamoond and a government representative in Khar. Tribe members in Bajaur “will not indulge in terrorism activities in Pakistan, including the tribal areas, nor will they facilitate anyone in this regard,” the agreement states. “They will not allow the use of their territory for any subversive activities nor will they allow anyone to do so.” It also states, “Similarly, no local or foreign militant will be allowed to cross the border with Afghanistan.” The agreement also says that all religious schools will be registered with the government, and that no new ones will be set up in Bajaur without the government’s approval. Heavy weapons must be surrendered to the authorities within 30 days, the agreement says.
[ "Pakistan", "Taliban", "Mamoond", "Bajaur (Pakistan)", "Afghanistan War (2001- )", "Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Pakistan)", "Khan Tariq" ]
[ "P", "P", "P", "M", "M", "M", "R" ]
[ "world", "asia" ]
Joe Louis and Harlem, Connecting Again in a Police Athletic League Gym
It was the evening of June 22, 1938, and nearly everyone in Harlem was doing the same thing. Huddled around radios on their fire escapes and roofs, in their kitchens and living rooms, people were listening to the heavyweight boxing match between Joe Louis and Max Schmeling. “Harlem was in stereo,” said Representative Charles B. Rangel, who grew up in Harlem and was 8 years old at the time of the fight. “Everyone had on the same station, the same fight. You heard the same screaming and yelling when he was winning, and the same sighs when he got hit.” Louis once captivated the minds and hearts of New Yorkers, especially those in Harlem’s thriving black community. But as New York’s mantle as boxing’s premier stage ebbed over the past several decades, so too did Louis’s legacy in the city. On Thursday, HBO and Everlast, a company that specializes in boxing equipment, took a step toward rekindling the memory of Louis in New York City. They opened the Joe Louis Boxing Gym in the basement of the Police Athletic League building on Manhattan Avenue near 119th Street in Harlem. “I think it’s a wonderful tribute to my father,” Joe Louis Barrow Jr., Louis’s son, said by telephone. “It will continue to keep the Joe Louis connection to New York, and specifically Harlem.” Though he was born, as Joe Louis Barrow, in Chambers County, Ala., and lived most of his life in Detroit and Chicago, Louis rose to international prominence in New York. Louis’s first fight in New York was in 1935. His promoter brought him to the city because the owners of Madison Square Garden controlled the heavyweight title and he wanted to get his fighter a shot. Louis lost his first fight against Schmeling, who was from Germany, at Yankee Stadium in 1936. A year later, he won the heavyweight title for the first time, by knocking out Jim Braddock in Chicago, and returned to New York to defend his title. In 1938 came a highly anticipated rematch against Schmeling. This fight, also at Yankee Stadium, was billed as the United States versus Nazi Germany. It was a black American, of all people, carrying the torch for a country that was deeply segregated. Mr. Barrow called his father one of the true pioneers of race relations in the United States, saying that even white Americans cheered for him. “That was the single event that allowed him to transcend from a heavyweight champion to a true American hero,” Mr. Barrow said of the rematch. Louis knocked out Schmeling in the first round, and the streets of Harlem erupted. According to an article in The New York Times the day after the fight, people jumped on cars and pushed over traffic signs. The police commissioner ordered officers to reroute traffic on Seventh Avenue between 125th and 145th Streets, saying, “This is their night, let them have their fun.” People raced to the Hotel Theresa on the corner of 125th Street and Seventh Avenue, now known as Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, trying to catch a glimpse of Louis returning from the fight. “It was madness when the fight was over,” Mr. Rangel said. Still, The Times reported, there were only 13 minor injuries and most of the celebration, including the one in Yorkville, the German-American quarter around East 86th Street, was peaceful. Louis, who died in 1981, later said a farewell of sorts to New York. In 1951, he was knocked out by the much younger Rocky Marciano at Madison Square Garden in his final professional bout. Many of Louis’s accomplishments in New York are captured in the documentary “Joe Louis: America’s Hero ... Betrayed,” which is to be broadcast on HBO on Saturday night. Today, it is difficult to find a relic of Louis’s time in New York, where he fought more than two dozen times. The area surrounding Madison Square Garden is known as Joe Louis Plaza, as noted on street signs that thousands of New Yorkers probably walk past each day without a glance. The Police Athletic League building in Harlem now has a plaque at its front entrance that reads, “Home of the Joe Louis Boxing Gym.” Inside hangs a painting of Louis by Duhirwe Rushemeza, a Brooklyn-based artist. The newly renovated boxing gym has fluorescent lighting, walls of bright red and glossy gray brick, a new ring with black canvas and a glass case holding pictures of professional boxers like Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield and Zab Judah. Mr. Barrow said his father often reminisced about the time he spent in New York, about the Harlem night life and the people who yearned for just a glimpse of him in the street. “He loved the energy in New York,” Mr. Barrow said. “He loved Harlem particularly because in those days it was a very hopping town. New York was a place where he really made his career.”
[ "Police Athletic League", "Boxing", "Louis Joe", "Harlem (NYC)", "Documentary Films and Programs", "Home Box Office" ]
[ "P", "P", "R", "M", "M", "R" ]
[ "nyregion" ]
Discounts on Hepatitis C Drug Dent Gilead’s Earnings
WASHINGTON — Earnings for Gilead Science tumbled 17 percent in the first quarter as steeper discounts and rebates on its blockbuster hepatitis C drugs cut into sales. Gilead, maker of Harvoni, the first once-daily, single-pill regimen for hepatitis C, said on Thursday that sales of the best-selling drug fell 15 percent to $3 billion in the quarter, with the steepest drop-off in the United States and Japan. The drug maker attributed the decline to discounts given to private insurers and higher rebates for patients in government-controlled health plans like Medicaid. Harvoni’s decline was offset in part by higher sales for an older hepatitis C drug, Sovaldi, which grew to $1.28 billion. Gilead, based in Foster City, Calif., has grown into one of the world’s biggest drug makers because of its breakthrough treatments for hepatitis C, a liver-destroying virus estimated to affect about 185 million people worldwide. However, use of the drug has been slowing in the United States, where many of the patients who are eligible and able to afford the drugs have already received them. Additionally, many private insurance plans and government health programs have been limiting which patients they will cover, often waiting until the patients have suffered significant liver damage. But Gilead has also become an unwilling symbol of soaring drug prices because of the high list prices for the hepatitis drugs: about $94,000 for Harvoni and $84,000 for Sovaldi. Insurers in the United States have demanded steep discounts — as much as 45 percent — to cover the two drugs but, even so, the prices strain health care budgets. For the period that ended March 31, the drug maker posted revenue of $7.79 billion . Profit slipped to $2.53 a share, compared with $2.76 in the year earlier period. Adjusted for one-time costs and adjustments the company would have earned $3.03 a share. Gilead sells the top-selling H.I.V. treatments Truvada, Viread and Stribild, and others. Sales of those drugs continued to climb. The company reported $150 million for a single-tablet H.I.V. combination called Genvoya, which was released in November. The company’s shares have fallen 3 percent since the beginning of the year. The stock closed regular trading at $97 and shed more than 5 percent in after-hours trading.
[ "Hepatitis", "Gilead Sciences", "Earnings Reports", "Pharmaceuticals" ]
[ "P", "P", "R", "U" ]
[ "business" ]
At Season’s Midpoint, Yankees Struggle to Score
BALTIMORE — The tarp was smothering the infield when the Yankees arrived Sunday afternoon at Camden Yards. It appeared to be a gloomy night for baseball, with dark clouds overhead, and the weather made for an easy metaphor. The Yankees have struggled in recent weeks, their prospects dimming by the day. Their meeting with the Orioles was to be their 81st game of the season, marking the midpoint of a trying year. The Yankees entered the game in third place in the American League East, and a glance at a handful of statistics — a collective .240 batting average and 80 home runs, to name two — made it easy to see why they had won just 42 games. Even before the game, the Yankees were assured of having assembled one of their worst first halves in recent history. They were scoring 3.9 runs on eight hits per game. Their O.P.S., a metric that combines on-base percentage and slugging percentage, was .682, which was on pace to be their lowest at a midpoint of a season since 1990, when it was .658. By comparison, the Boston Red Sox are leading the league with an O.P.S. of .795. Not coincidentally, they are in first place. Even when the Yankees were hobbling their way to a 40-41 record through the first half of 2007, they were producing a respectable 5.3 runs per game along with an O.P.S. of .787. Bolstered by improved pitching, that team caught fire over the second half of the season and won 94 games to make the playoffs. And in 2005, the Yankees were 42-39 through 81 games, with a .275 batting average and a lineup that was scoring 5.4 runs per game. They went on to win their division. Manager Joe Girardi continues to be a lonely voice of optimism. He has seen enough solid at-bats, he said before Sunday’s game, to feel confident that the team will improve. Plus, his pitching staff and its 3.86 earned run average had done what it could to keep the team from free-falling through the standings. “We’d like to be in better position, but that’s not the case,” Girardi said, adding, “It should be a very interesting second half.” The Yankees have been hindered by age and injury. Sunday’s lineup was again missing the big-name stars: Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez, all sidelined with various ailments. Their replacements went by the names David Adams, Lyle Overbay, Zoilo Almonte and Jayson Nix. Even Travis Hafner, a designated hitter and one of the team’s top off-season acquisitions, was having serious problems at the plate ahead of Sunday’s game, hitting .156 with four home runs since May 22. His woes underscored the team’s inability to hit the baseball very far. “I think you have to have the ability to hit home runs in our division,” Girardi said. “It’s hard when you’re not doing that to score five or six runs a night.” The Yankees last finished out of the playoffs in 2008, when they went 44-37 through their first 81 games. It was Girardi’s first season as manager, and that team also struggled to produce much pop, averaging exactly one home run per game through the first half of the season. For now, Girardi can only hope that his many fill-ins — the Overbays, the Nixes, the Almontes — can do an adequate job until the Jeters and the Grandersons return. “I think it’s probably fair to say it’s not real clear,” Girardi said of the team’s second-half prospects, “because you don’t know exactly when the guys are coming back or how they’re going to feel. You make the assumption that they’re going to come back and be good players. I mean, I make that assumption. There’s nothing that tells me they won’t be.” PHELPS KEEPS ROTATION SPOT Despite getting pummeled by the Orioles in Saturday’s 11-3 loss, David Phelps is keeping his spot in the rotation — for the time being, at least. Girardi said Phelps would start Thursday against the Minnesota Twins, even after he gave up nine runs in two and a third innings. Ivan Nova, who came on in relief and limited the Orioles to two runs in five and two-thirds innings, will continue to throw out of the bullpen, though Girardi said there was a chance he could find Nova a spot “somewhere else.” Nova said: “My mind is just on doing my job. I’ll take advantage of any opportunity that I get.” INSIDE PITCH Entering Sunday’s game, Mariano Rivera had pitched only once since June 22, thanks largely to the team’s losing ways. Joe Girardi said he was not concerned about Rivera’s inactivity. “Mo really knows how to prepare himself,” Girardi said. “When you’ve done it as long as he has, he knows what he needs to do to be sharp. Our biggest concern is always keeping him fresh. We’ve been able to do that for a number of different reasons. The way we’re doing it right now is not my favorite.” ... Girardi said Alex Rodriguez had three hits in six simulated at-bats Sunday at the team’s training complex in Tampa, Fla.
[ "Yankees", "Baseball", "Joe Girardi", "David Phelps" ]
[ "P", "P", "P", "P" ]
[ "sports", "baseball" ]
Texas: Man in Nursing Home Is Charged With Murder
A Houston nursing home resident accused of using the armrest of his wheelchair to beat two of his roommates to death faces a capital murder charge, the police said Wednesday. Guillermo Correa, 56, is accused of killing Antonio Acosta, 77, and Primitivo Lopez, 51, at the Lexington Place Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on Tuesday night.
[ "Nursing home", "Murders", "Houston", "Guillermo Correa", "Antonio Acosta", "Primitivo Lopez" ]
[ "P", "P", "P", "P", "P", "P" ]
[ "us" ]
Heavy Lending Creates a Surge in Chinese Economy
BEIJING — The Chinese economy grew faster than expected last month even as inflation slowed, official statistics showed on Friday, as the government continued heavy lending through its state-owned banks to rekindle growth. The latest data, including industrial production, retail sales, fixed-asset investment and electricity generation, were stronger than most economists had anticipated. They presented a consistent picture of an economy that is starting to show real growth again after a very weak spring and summer. “It has become increasingly clear that the Chinese economy is now moving in a better direction,” Zhou Xiaochuan, the governor of the People’s Bank of China, the central bank, said at a news conference Thursday, before the October figures were publicly released. Bank economists increasingly agree. “October’s growth data delivered pleasant upside surprises across the board, providing fresh evidence that the economy has indeed bottomed out thanks to the filtering through of Beijing’s policy easing,” Sun Junwei, a China economist at HSBC, wrote in a research report Friday afternoon. To be sure, the economic statistics released by the government Friday showed a return to the fairly strong economic expansion that prevailed through much of last year and early this year, and not a return to the torrid, double-digit growth that China has enjoyed for much of the last decade. Australia & New Zealand Banking said in a research note that the latest figures were consistent with 8 percent economic growth in the last quarter of this year and even faster expansion in the first quarter of next year. Growth had weakened to 7.4 percent in the third quarter and 7.6 percent in the second quarter, according to official statistics. Many economists have been suspicious that even the figures from earlier this year might have been overstated, given the weakness in categories like electricity generation, which grew barely at all in the second quarter and only slowly in the third quarter. By contrast, the economic expansion this autumn appears more broadly based. Business executives have begun to describe recovering exports and domestic sales, and cranes have begun moving again on the skylines of big cities like Guangzhou and Beijing. Steel mills and concrete factories are busier. Power generation increased 6.4 percent last month from the same period a year ago, its strongest gain since March, although still well below the double-digit annual gains in previous years. But the renewed growth has been fueled by rapidly mounting debt, as state-owned banks and the central bank have funneled hundreds of billions of dollars in additional lending to state-owned enterprises and government agencies to finance further investment projects. Stock markets in China, Hong Kong, Australia and South Korea were all down about half a percent in late afternoon trading, or about half the loss Thursday on Wall Street, as good news from China seemed to partially offset global worries about the so-called fiscal cliff in the United States and economic troubles in Europe. The Chinese National Bureau of Statistics said Friday that industrial production had risen 9.6 percent in October from the same month a year earlier, compared with 9.2 percent in September and 8.9 percent in August. Retail sales were up 14.5 percent in October from a year earlier, compared with 14.2 percent in September, even though slower inflation at the consumer level was acting as a brake on the increase in retail sales. Fixed-asset investment was up 20.7 percent for the first 10 months of this year, after having been up 20.5 percent for the first nine months of this year. China releases only year-to-date figures for fixed-asset investment, partly because of the difficulty in tracking when money is actually spent on big construction projects. Consumer prices were up only 1.7 percent in October from a year ago, compared with an increase of 1.9 percent in September. Western economists had expected inflation in China to stay steady in October instead of slowing. Producer prices were down 2.8 percent in October from a year ago, a slightly faster pace than the 2.7 percent decrease that economists had expected but not as fast a decline as in September, when they were down 3.6 percent. China has begun a once-a-decade leadership transition at its Party Congress, which began in Beijing on Thursday and will last through the middle of the coming week.
[ "China", "Economic Conditions and Trends" ]
[ "P", "M" ]
[ "business", "global" ]
Andy Roddick Talks About His Life After Tennis
Since he retired from professional tennis in 2012, Andy Roddick has talked about all things sports in television studios and podcasts as a broadcaster for Fox Sports 1. He has not, however, done match commentary on the sport he knows best. That will change when he joins the BBC broadcast team for the second week of Wimbledon, where Roddick won plenty of fans but never a title despite three appearances in the singles final. Roddick, 32, was one of the game’s biggest servers and personalities during his career. He remains the last American man to win a Grand Slam singles title, which came at the 2003 United States Open . He and his wife, the actress and model Brooklyn Decker, are expecting their first child later this year. (This interview has been condensed and edited.) Q . So why now? Why the BBC? Why Wimbledon? A. Obviously with ESPN acquiring the Slams, that was never even really a conversation with my situation with Fox. And frankly, I wanted a little bit of space, and the opportunity to dive in and do other sports was appealing to me when I first stopped. I felt like that was a pretty unique offer for me and not one that normally presents itself to a tennis guy. As far as BBC, I told Brook for a long time that that was probably the only job I’d want to do as far as commentary, at least right now, just because of the prestige of it. I’ve had a love affair with Wimbledon for a long time. Q. What kind of tennis commentator do you want to be? A. I don’t know that I want to think about it that much. One of the things I’m lucky to have now, I’ve still played against 90 percent of these guys. I can talk about situational matchups, the business end of being at Wimbledon, the different kind of pressure that people will face. I have a pretty standard rule even when I’m on Fox. I’m happy to say something, even if it’s negative, as long as I would say it to the person sitting across from me if they were looking me in the eye. And I think that’s fair. I am certainly not going to shy away from anything. Q. What’s the learning curve been like on Fox? A. It’s fun to be around people from other sports and almost watch them watch these sports. You learn more doing that and asking questions, being in a room with baseball players like Frank Thomas and Jimmy Rollins while a World Series game is going on and asking them questions about certain pitch counts and when runners are on and everything else. You learn more in that space than probably anything else. Q. During your career, you would sometimes get exasperated with the media. You have a different perspective on that now that you’re a part of it? A. Not really. I always got the American tennis thing, and I feel like I answered it with an uptick in my voice 90 percent of the time, and on the days when I didn’t, well, everybody has bad days, right? The Monday morning quarterback thing ticked me off because everyone kind of knows a game plan, but I still just never underestimate how hard it is to execute something. I guess my frustration came from being a top-five guy in the world and having someone who hasn’t actually played tennis telling me how I should have played the match. That just ticked me off to no end and, frankly, that probably still would. Q. After three years away, you’re heading back to your old workplace. Do you feel you have enough distance now? Are you going to feel comfortable in a different role? A. I don’t know that I was ever going to be the guy who needed to go and be at every tennis event when he retired. I think I’ve been to two matches just because I had to do some sponsor stuff on tour, but I never stopped watching tennis. I never stopped playing when guys are through town. I never stopped talking about tennis. I still get calls all the time from guys on tour if they want to just rap about something or need a scouting report for someone I’ve played. So being visible and still being involved in tennis are two different things. Q. What images stick with you from Wimbledon? A. I still get asked about Wimbledon every two days of my life from somebody. I have zero bitterness about it all. I really don’t. It’s the place where I have some of my biggest heartbreak, but I certainly appreciated even the chance to get after it. I don’t harbor any weird feelings. That’s the biggest hole in my résumé. It’s one that I wish I could fill. I’m certainly aware of all the ramifications from it, but I don’t have a lot of pain from it. When I think of Wimbledon, my favorite time was the practice week when you could walk to the venue without anybody there and you didn’t have to take the tunnels underneath. And just every single year the first walk from the locker room out to Aorangi Park and back, it just floored me every year with the gravity of the place. I got all things Wimbledon from a very early age and always appreciated it. Q . Watching Novak Djokovic get that extended ovation after losing the French Open to Stan Wawrinka this year, I flashed back to the Wimbledon crowd’s reaction to you after losing the marathon to Roger Federer in 2009 . Did that cross your mind? A. It’s a feeling of respect, which is really meaningful in a moment like that. After I lost ’09 Wimbledon, in the moment the only thing I was thinking was: Don’t break down, don’t break down, just get through it. Because I knew once I started a little bit I was going to start sobbing uncontrollably, which I didn’t want. So the crowd tested me with that respect and with that ovation, and it does mean a lot. Athletes tend to get melodramatic in moments, but Novak, from what I heard, showed his appreciation, and that will serve him well as far as the way he’s perceived publicly. He showed something beyond being the No. 1 player in the world who is going about his business and kind of seems immune to everything. Frankly, it’s just nice to see a human moment after something like that. Q . You are 32. Federer is close to turning 34. Ivo Karlovic, who is 36, just reached the semifinals in Halle with his big serve. Honestly, do you ever have any second thoughts? A . [Long pause.] This is just a moment of honesty. Once I stopped believing I could win a major, I didn’t want to continue. I won two of my last five events on tour, and you hate to say that wasn’t enough because you want to respect people that that would be a dream summer for. But it changed the way I wanted to be able to play a little bit. For me, going out and playing guys in practice sets that are still 30, 40, 50 in the world and kind of getting a barometer of where I would be, that is kind of enough for me. I have a pretty good understanding of where I would lay in the landscape of tennis right now. Six Players to Watch at Wimbledon Geoff Macdonald, the women’s tennis coach at Vanderbilt University, analyzes which players have made a strong impression heading to the All England Lawn Tennis Club. Q. And it wouldn’t be deep in the second week of a major? A. Deep is one thing. Getting to the second week is fine. But I don’t know how that changes my legacy. Wait, legacy is too big a word for me. How about my history in tennis? I don’t know how that changes anything. You are putting in 45 weeks and to stay in neutral, I don’t know that that’s what I wanted. I would never want to coast home. The way that I kind of narrowed talent margins with the guys I was trying to beat — and I didn’t beat them very often — was just through working and being a psychopath about that. At a certain point, my body couldn’t do it. You look at Jim Courier. He did the same thing. Lleyton Hewitt did the same thing, and his body has been touch-and-go for a while. You are starting to see it with Rafa [Nadal] a little bit more maybe. It takes its toll with the guys who kind of have to narrow the margin by being physical. I don’t have any regrets about when I walked away. Do I have an ego about playing guys now that are ranked a certain level and still wanting to beat them? Yes, absolutely. Do I feel great when it works out on a given day? Yes, I feel fantastic about it. I love it. Have I ever toyed with going back and doing it full time? I have not. Q . You’re playing doubles with Mardy Fish in Atlanta next month. But no singles wild card? No cameo? A. Frankly, if I could go play a challenger or a small tour event without the fallout of what it would take publicly; if I could put on a mask and go play a challenger, that would be awesome. I would love it because I love playing and I love the competition, but dealing with everything else that would go along with it, I’m not sure that it would be worth it to have a good time Q. Still, as innately competitive as you are, it must be strange to watch tennis knowing that you could still be out there? A. It is and it isn’t. Beating a guy handily who is 60 in the world is a lot different than trying to play in the semis of a Grand Slam. So one makes me very happy, and I like it. It’s fun. I have an ego, but the reality of being able to do it time and time again is different. Every time I watch a Wawrinka-Djokovic final I’m going, “I’m soooo good where I’m at.” Q. Fifty-shot rallies can do that to a man. A. We are good here. Retirement is fantastic. Q . Are you surprised, three years after you stopped, that Federer is still No. 2 at his age? A. No, because unlike most people I never compared myself to Roger. It’s phenomenal, and it’s kind of what we were talking about earlier with the guys who are so physical and have to consciously try to do things. With Roger, it just seems like he thinks it, and it happens. It’s an insane ability. The racket in his hand seems to just make sense. I don’t think he’s as fast as he was in his prime. I don’t think a lot of the strokes are as good as they were in his prime, but he’s just such a good tennis player, and as long as he’s healthy he can figure it out. He can mix up his game on a given day. As long as someone is not just overpowering him like Stan did in Paris, Roger has so many options that he’s going to figure out how to beat people as long as they don’t come out and just throw haymakers and land them. Q . How about that other 33-year-old, your friend Serena Williams? A . The French Open might have been her most impressive Slam, because she didn’t have her A game and she might not have had her B game. It’s like when you see a pitcher pitch a good ballgame, give up some hits but not get burned on the scoreboard. I feel like that’s what she did, and if she’s the person who can do that now consistently and get through like she did in Paris, the only thing that makes us say, “How much longer does she have?” is her age. Nothing about her game suggests it. She hasn’t really lost anything as far as weight of shot, movement, anything. Q . I was watching your fellow Nebraskan, Jack Sock, reach the fourth round at the French Open and it struck me that the pressure on you following up on the Sampras-Agassi-Courier generation was so great, but enough time has gone by that the pressure on this next generation of American players seems much lighter. People are relieved to see any kind of young, promising American talent at this stage. A . Frankly the shadow of Andre, Pete, [Michael] Chang and Courier is a lot longer than my shadow, and for good reason. When I would lose in a Wimbledon final, it was generally viewed as a massive disappointment. If Jack made the semis of a Slam, it would be viewed as a massive, massive, massive win. And that’s a good thing for him. I just had fun watching him because I feel like there’s a sense of belief. I don’t feel like he’s scared of expectation now. I loved the fact that he got a terrible draw in Paris and went out and just owned it. It’s exciting to watch him. There’s no reason he can’t get into that top 10. Q . You essentially launched this “supercoach” trend when you hired Jimmy Connors. How do you feel about the fact that it has become so prevalent now? And does the fact that the two-coach model now exists give you any desire to play that role for a player in the future? A . Not surprising for top players to rely on the .000001 percent of tennis people who can relate to what they’re trying to achieve. I don’t have any interest in coaching like that right now. Q. Have you been able to get any of the structure or adrenaline rush that you got from the tour from what you’ve done afterward? A . I will never ever in my life replace that first 30 seconds after winning a big match. That’s gone. That’s not coming back. That adrenaline rush doesn’t exist for me anymore, although that’s before fatherhood. So I know I might want to walk that statement back in the next six months. But at this point, three years gone by, I don’t think I ever expected anything to replace that. Thankfully, I had it for the moments I did, but at no point in my life did I think playing golf was going to equate with winning a Wimbledon semifinal. Where the margins are filled is not with adrenaline. It’s time with friends, being able to have a glass of wine over dinner and have a legitimate conversation. On tour, every single meal I was so high-strung and intense, I’d be in and out of dinner in 45 minutes. Very rushed, selfish, next thing, next-thing kinds of obsessions. In my opinion, you lose the adrenaline moments, but you gain the quiet moments.
[ "Andy Roddick", "Tennis", "Wimbledon Tennis,Wimbledon" ]
[ "P", "P", "R" ]
[ "sports", "tennis" ]
In Troubled Era, Housing Chief in Newark Sets His Retirement
The executive director of the Newark Housing Authority, whose agency was ranked among the nation's worst performers after a federal investigation last year found widespread mismanagement, will retire next month, according to the authority's commissioners. The director, Harold Lucas, 61, will leave his post Feb. 10, the commissioners said, after nine years leading the authority, first from 1992-98, and again starting in 2002 after a stint as assistant secretary of Public and Indian Housing in Washington, D.C. Zinnerford Smith, chairman of the authority's board, said in a statement yesterday that Mr. Lucas "will be sorely missed," specifically citing the construction of new town houses under Mr. Lucas's direction. But according to some city officials, residents of public housing and former Housing Authority employees, Mr. Lucas's retirement -- announced a day after the commissioners held their monthly board meeting -- has more to do with his failures than his triumphs. " 'Retirement' is an excuse," said Augusto Amador, a councilman representing the city's East Ward. "The pressure from either the federal government's housing office, or other federal entities, is enormous and therefore it has forced him to resign." A new federal audit is expected to be released in early February, said Michael Zerega, a spokesman for the HUD Office of Inspector General, around the time of Mr. Lucas's retirement date. One person familiar with the report said it would examine the use of authority money by the city. Mr. Lucas did not return several telephone calls seeking comment, nor did Mr. Smith or another commissioner, Fran Adubato. On Thursday night, a woman at Mr. Lucas's East Orange home who did not identify herself, said: : "He did not resign. He was not asked to leave." Mayor Sharpe James, who has been close to Mr. Lucas since the 1980's, also did not return calls seeking comment. On Thursday, at his annual fund-raising gala, Mr. James said that asking Mr. Lucas to leave his post was "the farthest thing from my mind." The trouble for Mr. Lucas, who has been working on and off with housing development in Newark since the 1970's, began last September when the authority laid off 84 people while completing a $1 million renovation of its headquarters. The New York Times reported at the time that the renovation included the purchase of a plasma television for an executive dining room and more than $14,000 in audio-visual equipment for the authority's main office. According to internal authority documents, four of Mr. Lucas's close relatives also worked for the agency, and the authority had awarded a contract for up to $25,000 to a nonprofit organization run by Mr. Lucas's daughter. His annual salary of more than $185,000 made him the city's highest-paid employee, according to the mayor. In October 2004, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development and its inspector general's office began two separate reviews that found what officials called "very serious" problems with how the Newark agency was run. The reports, released in April and May, found that the authority frequently miscalculated rents, failed to inspect and maintain its properties, and illegally used $3.9 million meant for a rent assistance program to buy property in 2003 near the site of a downtown arena now being built for the New Jersey Devils, the professional hockey team. The authority restored the $3.9 million last spring, while Mr. Lucas personally paid $2,850 to cover the cost of the plasma television. Hector Corchado, a councilman representing the North Ward, said that Mr. Lucas' departure gave the authority an opportunity to turn itself around. "It's an extremely important step that will have an impact in the community," Mr. Corchado said. "We've had a lot of allegations made and people felt things were not being done for the residents. This will give the city and the housing authority a chance to get a new start." But Mr. Amador and former employees like Nelson Nieves, one of the 84 people laid off in 2004, disagreed. Noting that the April HUD report said that the authority's six commissioners -- who have served an average of nine and a half years and are appointed by the mayor -- should be subject to shorter fixed terms, Mr. Amador and Mr. Nieves said that a broader overhaul was necessary.
[ "P", "P" ]
[ "nyregion" ]
Anthony Marshall Convicted of Larceny in Astor Case
The son of Brooke Astor , the philanthropist and long-reigning matriarch of New York society, was convicted in Manhattan on Thursday on charges that he defrauded his mother and stole tens of millions of dollars from her as she suffered from Alzheimer’s disease in the twilight of her life. The jury’s verdict means that Mrs. Astor’s son, Anthony D. Marshall , 85, faces a sentence of at least a year and as many as 25 years. A co-defendant, Francis X. Morrissey Jr., a lawyer who did estate planning for Mrs. Astor, was also convicted of a series of fraud and conspiracy charges, as well as one count of forging Mrs. Astor’s signature on an amendment to her will. The verdict drew the curtain on a long trial that cast an unflattering spotlight on one of New York’s first families of high society. Henry Kissinger, Barbara Walters and Annette de la Renta, among others, testified that Mr. Marshall mistreated his mother in her later years and conspired to inflate his inheritance from her estate — largely to appease his wife, Charlene Marshall. Mrs. Astor died in 2007 at age 105. As the verdict was read, Ms. Marshall sat stone-faced; moments later, while her husband went to meet with a probation officer, she left the courtroom, saying, “I love my husband.” She and Mr. Marshall then held hands and ignored requests for comment before being whisked away in a black Town Car. Although prosecutors were still determining how stiff a sentence to recommend, they gave a hint after the verdict was read, when Elizabeth Loewy, an assistant district attorney, asked Justice A. Kirke Bartley Jr. to increase the defendants’ bail to $5 million from $100,000. Justice Bartley denied the request, and asked the defendants to return Dec. 8 for sentencing. Mr. Marshall and Mr. Morrissey, 66, staggered ashen-faced out of the courtroom without comment. The defense is expected to ask the judge to allow Mr. Marshall to stay out of prison pending an appeal, which could take more than a year because of a long trial — more than 19 weeks — that produced about 18,000 pages of transcript and thousands more pages of exhibits. “I’m stunned by the verdict, greatly disappointed with what the jury did,” Frederick P. Hafetz, one of Mr. Marshall’s lawyers, said outside the courthouse. “I think we have a strong appeal.” Mr. Hafetz did not elaborate on what the grounds might be, but motions by the defense lawyers throughout the trial offered some insight into what their next moves might be. They are likely to keep a close eye on what jurors say in the coming days, particularly in relation to one woman who had asked to be removed from the panel this week because she said she felt threatened by another juror’s comments. The defense may also challenge the judge’s decision to allow an independent expert on trusts and estates law to testify for the prosecution, as well as the strength of the evidence in the most serious charge Mr. Marshall was convicted of — first-degree grand larceny, for giving himself a retroactive lump-sum raise of about $1 million for managing his mother’s finances. Mr. Marshall was found guilty of 14 of the 16 counts against him. One of the acquittals was on the other first-degree grand larceny charge, for selling a Childe Hassam painting that his mother owned for $10 million and keeping a $2 million commission on the sale. The other was on a lesser charge of falsifying business records. The jury of eight women and four men sat through months of testimony and arguments in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, hearing detailed accounts of Mrs. Astor’s luxurious life of summers on an estate in Maine and dinners with diplomats. Deliberations went on for 12 days, and appeared strained. Thursday’s developments drew reactions from throughout the social stratosphere in which Mrs. Astor traveled. “The only reason we got involved in Mrs. Astor’s treatment was to ensure she lived the last months of her life in comfort and peace,” Mrs. de la Renta and David Rockefeller said in a joint statement released by their spokesman, Fraser P. Seitel. Three years ago, Mrs. de la Renta and Mr. Rockefeller helped put together the guardianship petition that first accused Mr. Marshall of mistreating his mother. “Thankfully that was accomplished,” the statement said. Betsy Gotbaum, the city’s public advocate and a friend of Mrs. Astor, testified for the prosecution and said that Mrs. Astor deserved better treatment from her son. “Clearly, the jury thought he did something wrong,” Ms. Gotbaum said. “I don’t think he should go to jail, frankly. He’s 85 years old. I think he’s probably suffered enough.” At its core, this case was a story of familial dysfunction, provoked in part by Mr. Marshall’s son Philip, who filed the guardianship petition three years ago. Philip Marshall was not in court on Thursday, but reacted with disbelief when told by a reporter of the verdict. “Oh my God,” he said. “Wow. Wow.” In a statement released later, he only indirectly mentioned his feelings toward his father. “I hope this brings some consolation and closure for the many people, including my grandmother’s loyal staff, caregivers and friends, who helped when she was so vulnerable and so manipulated,” he said. The prosecution portrayed Mr. Marshall as driven to squeeze his mother for money at the urging of his wife. Because many of the convictions were related to changes to Mrs. Astor’s will that prosecutors said the defendants procured through fraud, Mr. Marshall would seem to be compromised when the battle over Mrs. Astor’s estate — worth more than $180 million when she died two years ago — shifts to Surrogate’s Court in Westchester County. Of the changes to the will, prosecutors vigorously objected to one executed in January 2004 that gave Mr. Marshall outright control of $60 million of his mother’s estate upon her death. Paul Saunders, a lawyer for Mrs. de la Renta, said the main defense argument — that Mrs. Astor understood and consented to what her son was doing — had been undermined by the criminal verdict. “The jury clearly found that she did not,” he said. “That’s important because her mental capacity is the central issue in the will contest.” Much of the contention centered on when Mrs. Astor lost her competency. Some jurors concluded that did not occur until 2005, while others, like Yvonne Fernandez, believed it happened as early as 2002. One of the major points of discussion was the issue of the $1 million retroactive raise, with jurors eventually deciding that Mr. Marshall misused his power of attorney to take that raise. “How can he give himself a raise when he’s been abusing his power?” Ms. Fernandez said. “He was wearing two hats at that point.” The defense may argue on appeal that, by the letter of the law, the power of attorney gave Mr. Marshall the right to give himself that raise. When asked about the likelihood of Mr. Marshall’s serving time in prison, Ms. Fernandez said: “It is what it is. You make mistakes in life and you’ve got to take responsibility for them.”
[ "Marshall Anthony D", "Astor Brooke", "Wills and Estates", "Frauds and Swindling", "Morrissey Francis X Jr", "Decisions and Verdicts" ]
[ "M", "R", "R", "M", "M", "R" ]
[ "nyregion" ]
Disciplined Giants Beat Lions for Third Consecutive Victory
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — On the field before Sunday’s game, the Giants welcomed several dozen former players, a lineage that stretched from Andy Robustelli to Amani Toomer. Standing together, they represented decades of intimidating defense, a sturdy rushing attack and a timely, if controlled, passing game. Theirs was a methodical style of play, even predictable, and if it seems like something from another era, the game that ensued at New Meadowlands Stadium proved otherwise. With a smothering defense and a patient offense, the Giants won their third consecutive game, taking an early lead against the outmanned Detroit Lions , and holding on for a 28-20 victory . In contrast to the sloppy play that marked the team during its stumbling 1-2 start, the Giants’ offense had no turnovers and just two penalties. It showed a measured and prized balance, with the team’s 334 total yards evenly split between the run and the pass. And the pass rush once again knocked a quarterback out of the game — for the fourth time this season. “I think we are starting to understand what we can and cannot do as a team,” said quarterback Eli Manning, who completed 20 of 30 passes for 177 yards and 2 touchdowns. “We’re starting to understand how we play, which means not hurting ourselves with turnovers and sometimes not trying to do too much. It’s a kind of smart, patient style of play.” Manning’s words probably could have been echoed by many of his Giants predecessors at quarterback, from Simms to Conerly. Giants Coach Tom Coughlin, who was raised in upstate New York watching old-school Giants football, knew he was watching a modern equivalent of a familiar model. “It is a lot of hard work — stop the run, protect the ball,” he said. “We’ve battled our way back to 4-2.” While the Lions (1-5) were hardly the strongest measuring stick — they have lost 24 consecutive road games — the Giants have in the last three weeks turned their greatest weaknesses into strengths. The pass rush that had seemed lackluster is now a peril to every quarterback in its way. Detroit quarterback Shaun Hill was knocked down on nearly every pass play until late in the first half, when he left the game with a broken left arm. His backup, Drew Stanton, played well, but he also almost had to leave the game when he was slammed to the ground in the fourth quarter. The Giants’ safeties, who made up perhaps the weakest part of last season’s team and who appeared out of sync earlier this year, have since banded together as a perfect complement to the defensive front. Safeties Kenny Phillips, Deon Grant and Antrel Rolle combined for 23 tackles, and Rolle intercepted a pass late in the game to thwart Detroit’s last rally. When the Giants were 1-2, there was no player seemingly more out of sorts than running back Brandon Jacobs, who was unproductive and chafing at his second-string status. On Sunday, Jacobs blasted through for two short touchdowns and professed his happiness, even though the new starter Ahmad Bradshaw got the bulk of the carries (19) and rushing yards (133). “If I punch two into the end zone and we win,” Jacobs said, “I’m good with that.” An obvious part of the production by both Jacobs and Bradshaw was the Giants’ offensive line — also maligned three weeks ago. Center Shaun O’Hara returned from injury, and the unit played with aggression and cohesion. And finally, Manning, plagued by quirky turnovers in the opening games of the season, had a precise, deliberate game. He found an old target, connecting with Steve Smith six times, and moved the ball around to seven receivers. “Sometimes it’s about being willing to wait for the big plays to present themselves,” Manning said. “You can’t force it. You can’t try to score a touchdown on every play.” The one past problem that seemed to resurface for the Giants was the woes enveloping the rookie punter Matt Dodge, who dropped the ball attempting his first punt not once, but twice. That miscue led to an early 7-0 Lions lead, although Dodge did kick well for the rest of the game. Jacobs’s first touchdown tied the game, and Manning found an open Mario Manningham over the middle for a 33-yard touchdown in the second quarter. The Giants never relinquished the lead, even though the Lions cut the deficit to 4 early in the fourth quarter. But Grant forced and recovered a fumble that led to a spectacular, and increasingly typical, Bradshaw run. He made several cutbacks and changed speeds once or twice before being corralled 45 yards down the field . Jacobs’s second touchdown followed, restoring the Giants lead to double digits. Next up will be a Monday night game against the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 25. Asked to assess the season, Coughlin wondered if he could have some things back and make the Giants record 6-0, then added: “But we’re not 6-0. We’re 4-2. We are controlling the things we can control, and let’s hope we keep it going.” Manning, a man of few words, had his own version. “Slow start,” he said. “More consistent now.” EXTRA POINTS In their new stadium, Tom Coughlin used to address reporters in a large glass-walled room that allowed certain fans to view, listen — and sometimes boo — as he made his postgame comments. On Sunday, for the first time, Coughlin talked to the news media in a small windowless room across the hall from the team’s locker room. The Giants said they would soon construct a new room for postgame news conferences, one away from the glass-lined setting. “I like the close quarters,” Coughlin said with a smile when asked of the switch. “It’s family like.”
[ "Detroit Lions", "Football", "New York Giants" ]
[ "P", "P", "R" ]
[ "sports", "football" ]
Is Messi the Heir Argentina Seeks?
JOHANNESBURG — Argentina may not win this World Cup, but it will pose one of the most intriguing human questions of the tournament: Can Diego Maradona manage Lionel Messi ? Maradona is Argentina’s coach, giving Messi, the team’s star, a free role in their opening World Cup match against Nigeria in Johannesburg on Saturday. They were both small boys, but people observed in their childhood that they were destined to become soccer greats. Maradona led Argentina to victory in the World Cup in 1986, and put himself up there with Pelé, Cruyff, Zidane and another Argentine, Alfredo di Stefano, as the best players of all time. Messi could earn a place in that quintet. He has the talent, the speed, the balance, the beauty of movement, the ability to outwit an entire defense and score goals. But that is the Messi of F.C. Barcelona. The Messi of Argentina has not looked the same game winner, or even a player sure of his place on the national team. The paradox has grown since Maradona became the national team coach in November 2008. The country’s aging soccer president, Julio Grondona, gambled everything on a hunch that genius would feed off genius. He presumed that, if anyone could understand what Messi needed to fulfill his pressurized role, it could be Maradona. There has been little evidence to date that Maradona, the nation’s fallen idol, knows how to convert performance into sage team management. This is unsurprising, given that his fame, and sometimes notoriety, relied heavily on his doing things without really thinking how he did them. If there is such a thing as a sports genius, Maradona looked the part — as a player. There are signs of Messi growing into a similar role. He shines for Barcelona, but seems lost, almost forlorn, with Argentina. Messi is trying hard, no question, but why has this dichotomy emerged? If soccer is so simple a game, why does suspicion arise between two men who presumably want the same thing? The situation is the more remarkable because Argentina has at its disposal seven exciting goal-scorers — more than any other country, Brazil included. What Argentina lacks is team mentality. Maradona was made national coach without even a basic apprenticeship in management. The most telling perspective on this has been made by Cesar Menotti, who coached Argentina to win the 1978 World Cup. “Things are completely different,” Menotti said last year. “Messi started as a boy with Barcelona. He came onto the bench, then he was allowed to play a few minutes before claiming a regular place.” “Messi is not responsible for the strategy at Barcelona,” he added. “That is Iniesta and Xavi. Messi is the one that completes the moves. Argentina, however, expects Messi to cope with the strategy of the team, to create goals, score goals, to do everything.” The end result, Menotti said, is, “With Barcelona, Messi plays. With Argentina, he runs.” So has Messi become part of the problem, rather than the solution to Argentina’s puzzle? It would be too harsh to suggest Messi lacks the savvy of Maradona in his time. Messi is still only 22, and at that age Maradona crashed out of the 1982 World Cup when he was red-carded for a willful two-footed kick back against a Brazilian. Maradona atoned by inspiring Argentina to win the next World Cup. By then, Maradona was the best he would ever be. He was mature, mischievous and masterful, and he carried his country with him. If Messi were to replicate that now, he would be ahead of schedule. But he couldn’t do it alone, and Argentina needs to find better balance between attack and defense. Maradona must quickly create a group ambiance. He is not the star performer any longer, and he has to trust the one who should be. Maradona says he urges his players: “Thirty days of sacrifice for the chance to kiss the World Cup is nothing in the life of a man. An achievement like this is like touching the sky. I played in two World Cups; I earned the right to talk on this subject.” There is a sense that the further Argentina goes in this tournament, the closer Messi might come to emulating Maradona. There is the hope that there is no suppressed resentment from the coach because of Messi’s youth and his untarnished reputation. For all that draws them together, Messi will never be Maradona. They are different men, from different backgrounds. It is 300 kilometers, or 185 miles, from Buenos Aires, where Maradona grew up, to Rosario, the birthplace of Messi. There was a world of difference in their childhoods. The Messis were not rich, but not dirt poor like the Maradonas. The Las Heras neighborhood of Rosario, where young Messi could run free with a ball, bears no comparison with Villa Miseria Fiorito, the barrio where Maradona learned his values. Diego’s father earned a meager living in the bone yard of a carcass factory over the ridge from their tiny house. Diego’s skills were honed where running water carried waste from the sewer into the gutter. Messi’s childhood is pleasingly captured in “Los Origines de Messi,” a documentary from 2003. It visits the primary school, the home, and the first club where the fledgling Messi emerged. Several things stand out in that film. Messi’s love of soccer was first fostered by his maternal grandmother, who taught preschool youngsters to play soccer and who took her 4-year-old grandson by the hand to a dusty compound. There, she persuaded the coach that the child was stronger than he looked. “I opened the door,” said the coach, Salvador Aparicio. “He came in. His first touch astonished me. He dribbled all the time, I called out ‘Kick it, kick it!’ He was too nice.” Few in Villa Miseria Fiorito described Maradona in such terms. To this day, Maradona looks for fighting spirit in his men, but in the news conference before the game Saturday against Nigeria, Maradona acknowledged Messi’s value. “Thank God he’s an Argentine,” he said. “We are hungry for glory. I see it similar to ’86. Besides, Messi arrives better than I was.” Perhaps, too, Messi was never quite the angel he appeared to be. His primary school teachers tell of a boy impossible to keep out of the playground, a boy whose blank exam papers were filled in by a girlfriend.
[ "Argentina", "Nigeria", "Soccer", "World Cup (Soccer)", "World Cup 2010 (Soccer)", "Maradona Diego", "Messi Lionel" ]
[ "P", "P", "P", "M", "M", "R", "R" ]
[ "sports", "soccer" ]
In China, Jeers and Cheers for ‘Kung Fu Panda’
Sometimes it is important to take a political stand. And sometimes it is just fun to watch a cartoon panda trying to do kung fu. Despite calls in China to boycott “Kung Fu Panda,” the animated movie about a panda with a passion for martial arts has become a huge box office hit. The film, from DreamWorks Animation and Paramount Pictures, has already grossed over $12 million after less than two weeks in release, making the film’s opening one of the strongest in China in recent years. Globally, the movie has brought in $275 million, Paramount said Sunday. Some Chinese critics had asked consumers to protest the film because Steven Spielberg, a top executive at DreamWorks, resigned last February as artistic adviser to the 2008 Beijing Olympics after failing to persuade Chinese officials to do more in the Darfur region of Sudan. Another group, backed by the Chinese artist Zhao Bandi, who uses pandas as an inspiration for his work, also called for a boycott, saying the animated film is exploiting a national symbol. But on June 21 the film opened to huge crowds in Beijing, Shanghai and other big cities. Chinese audiences have praised the quality of the film’s animation and its colorful and clever depiction of various aspects of ancient Chinese culture, architecture and scenery. The release of the film was postponed in Sichuan Province, the country’s largest panda-breeding center and the site of a devastating earthquake that killed over 69,000 people last month. One reason for the delay was the sensitivities involved in a region that is still in mourning. But after the film opened there last week, theater operators said their houses were packed. “It is the most successful animation movie in our cinema history,” said Li Jiqing, general manager at Wangfujing Cinema in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province. “The box office has done as well as the ‘Matrix,’ ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Pirates of the Caribbean.’ ” In China, a film that earns more than $15 million is generally considered a blockbuster, since ticket prices are often just $4 and film piracy is rampant. One of the highest grossing films ever in China was “Transformers,” which earned about $42 million last year. But each year, only a handful of films earn over $15 million. The American producers of “Kung Fu Panda,” which is set in the Li River Valley in the Guangxi Province of southwestern China, have called the movie a salute to Chinese culture and to Hong Kong martial arts films. News shows and Internet bloggers in China are now debating the merits of the film and asking why Chinese filmmakers and animators are being outdone by foreign producers, who have created compelling images of ancient Chinese palaces and temples and turned their cuddly national icon into a Hollywood darling. DAVID BARBOZA
[ "China", "Martial Arts", "Motion Pictures", "DreamWorks SKG", "Kung Fu Panda (Movie)" ]
[ "P", "P", "M", "M", "M" ]
[ "business", "media" ]
2 Blasts at Boston Marathon Kill at Least 3 and Injure More Than 100
BOSTON — Two powerful bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday afternoon, killing three people, including an 8-year-old child, and injuring more than 100, as one of this city’s most cherished rites of spring was transformed from a scene of cheers and sweaty triumph to one of screams and carnage. Almost three-quarters of the 23,000 runners who participated in the race had already crossed the finish line when a bomb that had apparently been placed in a garbage can exploded around 2:50 p.m. in a haze of smoke amid a crowd of spectators on Boylston Street, just off Copley Square in the heart of the city. Thirteen seconds later, another bomb exploded several hundred feet away. Pandemonium erupted as panicked runners and spectators scattered, and rescue workers rushed in to care for the dozens of maimed and injured, some of whom lost legs in the blast, witnesses said. The F.B.I. took the lead role in the investigation on Monday night, and Richard DesLauriers, the special agent in charge of the bureau’s Boston office, described the inquiry at a news conference as “a criminal investigation that is a potential terrorist investigation.” The reverberations were felt far outside the city, with officials in New York and Washington stepping up security at important locations. Near the White House, the Secret Service cordoned off Pennsylvania Avenue out of what one official described as “an abundance of caution.” President Obama, speaking at the White House, vowed to bring those responsible for the blasts to justice. “We will get to the bottom of this,” the president said. “We will find who did this, and we will find out why they did this. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice.” Mr. Obama did not refer to the attacks as an act of terrorism, and he cautioned people from “jumping to conclusions” based on incomplete information. But a White House official, speaking on the condition of anonymity afterward, said, “Any event with multiple explosive devices — as this appears to be — is clearly an act of terror, and will be approached as an act of terror.” “However,” the official added, “we don’t yet know who carried out this attack, and a thorough investigation will have to determine whether it was planned and carried out by a terrorist group, foreign or domestic.” Image Pandemonium erupted as runners and spectators scattered after the blasts. Credit Kenshin Okubo/The Daily Free Press, via Associated Press Some runners were approaching the end of the 26.2-mile race when the two blasts, in rapid succession, sent them running away from the finish line. “The first one went off, I thought it was a big celebratory thing, and I just kept going,” recalled Jarrett Sylvester, 26, a runner from East Boston, who said it had sounded like a cannon blast. “And then the second one went off, and I saw debris fly in the air. And I realized it was a bomb at that point. And I just took off and ran in the complete opposite direction.” There were conflicting reports about how many devices there were. One law enforcement official said there had been four: the two that exploded at the marathon and two others that were disabled by the police. The official said that the devices appeared to have been made with black powder and ball bearings, but that investigators were unsure how the two that exploded had been set off. It was unclear Monday evening who might be responsible for the blast. Although investigators said that they were speaking to a Saudi citizen who was injured in the blast, several law enforcement officials took pains to note that no one was in custody. Some law enforcement officials noted that the blasts came at the start of a week that has sometimes been seen as significant for radical American antigovernment groups: it was the April 15 deadline for filing taxes, and Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts, the start of a week that has seen violence in the past. April 19 is the anniversary of the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The explosive devices used in the attacks on Monday were similar in size to the device used in the 1996 attack at the Centennial Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta but were not nearly as large as the one used in Oklahoma City. In the Atlanta attack, a pipe bomb was detonated near pedestrians, killing 2 and injuring more than 100 — similar numbers to Monday’s attack. The attack in Oklahoma City was far larger because the perpetrator used a truck packed with thousands of pounds of explosives. The device killed more than 150 people. Image Site of the Boston Marathon explosions. Credit Aerial image from Pictometry International The attack on Monday occurred in areas that had been largely cleared of vehicles for the marathon. Without vehicles to pack explosives into, the perpetrators would have been forced to rely on much smaller devices. Officials stressed that they had no suspects in the attack. The Saudi man, who was interviewed at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, had been seen running from the scene of the first explosion, a person briefed on preliminary developments in the investigation said on Monday afternoon. A law enforcement official said later Monday that the man, was in the United States on a student visa and came under scrutiny because of his injuries, his proximity to the blasts and his nationality — but added that he was not known to federal authorities and that his role in the attack, if any, was unclear. The explosions brought life in Boston to a halt. Police officials effectively closed a large part of the Back Bay neighborhood, which surrounds the blast site; some transit stops were closed; planes were briefly grounded at Boston Logan International Airport and the Boston Symphony Orchestra canceled its Monday night concert. A Boston Celtics game scheduled for Tuesday was also canceled. Boston was bracing for a heightened law enforcement presence on Tuesday, with its transit riders subject to random checks of their backpacks and bags, and many streets in the center of the city likely to be closed to traffic as the investigation continues. Gov. Deval Patrick said Monday night that “the city of Boston is open and will be open tomorrow, but it will not be business as usual.” Boston’s police commissioner, Ed Davis, urged people to stay off the streets. “We’re recommending to people that they stay home, that if they’re in hotels in the area that they return to their rooms, and that they don’t go any place and congregate in large crowds,” he said at an afternoon news conference. It had begun as a perfect day for the Boston Marathon, one of running’s most storied events, with blue skies and temperatures just shy of 50 degrees. The race typically draws half a million spectators. And long after the world-class runners had finished — the men’s race was won by Lelisa Desisa Benti of Ethiopia, who finished it in 2 hours, 10 minutes and 22 seconds — the sidewalks of Back Bay were still thick with spectators cheering on friends and relatives as they loped, exhausted, toward the finish line. Dr. Natalie Stavas, a pediatric resident at Boston Children’s Hospital, was running in the marathon with her father and was nearing the finish line when the explosions shook the street. Video A runner and bystanders near the explosions at the Boston Marathon describe the blasts and the chaotic scene. “The police were trying to keep us back, but I told them that I was a physician and they let me through,” she recalled in an interview. First she performed CPR on one woman. “She was on the ground, she wasn’t breathing, her legs were pretty much gone,” she said, adding that she feared that the woman had not survived. Then she tried to help a woman with an injury in her groin area, and a man who had lost his foot. Dr. Stavas said she had applied a tourniquet to the man’s leg with someone’s belt. “He was likely in shock,” she said. “He was saying, ‘I’m O.K., doctor, I’m O.K.’ ” “Then ambulances started coming in by the dozen,” she said. The blast was so powerful that it blew out shop windows and damaged a window on the third floor of the Central Library in Copley Square, which was closed to the public for Patriots’ Day. A number of people were taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, said Dr. Alasdair Conn, the hospital’s chief of emergency services — and several had lost their legs. “This is like a bomb explosion we hear about in Baghdad or Israel or other tragic points in the world,” Dr. Conn said. Several children were among the 10 patients who were brought to Boston Children’s Hospital, including a 2-year-old boy with a head injury who was admitted to the medical/surgical intensive care unit. The police faced another problem as they tried to secure the blast scene: many spectators dropped their backpacks and bags as they scattered to safety, and investigators had to treat each abandoned bag as a potential bomb. There were bomb scares at area hotels. At one point in the afternoon, Boston police officials said that they feared that a fire at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum could have been related to the marathon bombs, but they later said it seemed to be unrelated. The Boston police said that they were getting numerous reports of suspicious packages. Asked if they had found all the explosive devices, Mr. Davis, the police commissioner, urged citizens to remain alert and said he was “not prepared to say we’re at ease at this time.”
[ "Boston", "Boston Marathon Bombings" ]
[ "P", "R" ]
[ "us" ]
Bridging Cultures and Finding Self
ISTANBUL — Zemra Acarli is a strong believer in what people in this part of the world call kismet; she believes that certain things are meant to be or to happen. Each person has a destiny, and hers was to create a fashion label that would merge Western and Oriental elements and help women of Anatolian background in Turkey to make a living. “For years I had the feeling that I had not found my happiness, and it was very much connected with the question, ‘Who am I and what is my identity?”’ said Ms. Acarli, 40. Then, in May 2009, she decided — inspired, she said, by her two identities, Turkish and European — to found ZemZem Atelier, which today produces mostly scarves. “ZemZem” is her nickname but also the Turkish name for the holy well in Mecca (sometimes spelled Zamzam). She grew up as the child of Turkish guest workers in Germany , parents who were determined to give her and her brother, five years her junior, the best education available. She was the first student of Turkish origin at a prestigious high school for economics in the city of Friedrichshafen, where she was born. As a result of her upbringing, Ms. Acarli said, “My identity is mixed, and that’s what you can find also in my products.” Her fashion blends Western design and Anatolian handicraft — and she started producing it not primarily to make money (she has her own public relations business, too) but to bridge her two heritages and help women in Turkey. Ms. Acarli started with scarves, each handmade, of fine cotton or silk, because she wanted to show that an object often depicted with negative connotations — or as a symbol of oppression for women — could be a “must have” for women living in the West. “I wanted to show that it can be a very traditional and modern accessory at the same time — each scarf is a cultural ambassador,” Ms. Acarli said. She designs each piece to include some traditional embroidery, crochet or knitting created by women who live on the outskirts of Istanbul. Last year she sold more than 2,000 scarves in Switzerland, Austria and Germany and has received requests from Lebanon and Dubai. Priced between €90 and €450, or $110 and $560, each piece, which can range in size from a narrow oblong to a shawl stretching three meters, or 10 feet, requires two to four days of work. Sixty-five women work for ZemZem, and for many, it is a first job. Although they had sewn, knitted or crocheted for family and friends, it was not easy to persuade them and their husbands to work with her, Ms. Acarli said. “They were very suspicious, wondering, What does this German Turk really want from us?” she said. “They thought I was just fooling around.” Not having been in Turkey for almost 20 years, Ms. Acarli had no idea where to find people of Anatolian background — the only ones she knew could do the handwork she sought — in the sprawl of Istanbul. One afternoon, in a coffee shop, she spotted a house worker with a big mustache of the type common in Anatolia. She introduced herself and asked whether his wife knew traditional handicrafts. And it was that moment of kismet that produced her first employee. The man, Seyit Cavdarli, invited Ms. Acarli home to meet his wife, Nazli Cavdarli, 34. She had finished high school but was not allowed to study far away from home, ending any opportunity to further education. She had never worked before ZemZem; even now, she says, she is happy to combine that work with being a homemaker. She and her husband have one son, now 13, and live in Samatya, near Istanbul. At the beginning, she said, she was suspicious when her husband invited this unmarried woman, who spoke only broken Turkish, to their home. Where she was raised, men do not usually invite strange women to the private home. “I was wondering, ‘What is this about, and is Zemra really interested in the handicraft?’ But when I saw how happy she was when I showed her the tablecloths and other things I had worked on, I was fascinated by the positive energy and spirit she had,” Mrs. Cavdarli said. She married at 18, and although it was an arranged match, she and her husband fell in love, she said. Since then, she has dedicated her life to housework and her family. Now, with the money she is earning, Mrs. Cavdarli feels some independence for the first time in her life. “Having my own bank account and money is just an incredible feeling, and now I am also able to support my husband paying back bills and debts,” she said. Ms. Acarli had to drink many teas and Turkish coffees at women’s homes and negotiate with their husbands about things like opening bank accounts for the women. Most husbands feared that their wives’ working with ZemZem would interfere with family life. “It was very important for the men to know that their women would work from home and would still be able to take care of their children and of them,” Ms. Acarli said. That’s how women like Hatice Parlakci, 45, were able to join the team. A mother of three sons, she went to school for five years before she had to quit. She joined the team soon after it got going and sometimes wears the scarves she has worked on. “The work for ZemZem had a very positive effect in my life. I can produce something and be part of a ladies’ team,” she said, “but I don’t have to leave the house for it.” Ms. Acarli takes care not to disrupt the women’s family routine. “I always tell the women, ‘Please, if you have the feeling that your husbands need more attention, tell me, and we can work it out, so you can take a break from work,”’ she said, recalling situations where she had to explain to clients that their scarves would take longer to produce, because the women in Turkey had other duties or because it was Ramadan and the women were fasting. “It has never been an issue with the customers,” she noted, “and even if it would have been, I am on the women’s side.”
[ "Turkey", "Scarves", "Germany", "Istanbul (Turkey)", "Women and Girls", "Fashion and Apparel" ]
[ "P", "P", "P", "R", "M", "M" ]
[ "world", "europe" ]
Minutes Reflect Fed’s Worries About Persistent Declines
A major economic weakening in the United States and across the world helped prod the Federal Reserve to pump more than $1 trillion into the economy last month, according to minutes of a recent Fed meeting released on Wednesday. At their latest meeting, members of the central bank’s Open Market Committee worried about persistent declines in the economy and talked about the best way to loosen credit markets. The minutes of the March 17-18 meeting offered a glimpse of how the Fed decided to inject more liquidity into the economy by buying $750 billion in mortgage-backed securities and $300 billion of longer-term Treasuries. Members said buying Treasury notes would ease lending conditions across long-term credit markets. But they also noted that buying mortgage-backed securities could have a more direct effect on home loan rates. Some members were concerned that buying Treasuries “might be seen as an indication that the Federal Reserve was responding to a fiscal objective rather than its statutory mandate, thus reducing the Federal Reserve’s credibility regarding long-run price stability.” But the committee voted unanimously to buy the securities. “In light of the economic and financial conditions, meeting participants viewed the expansion of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet that might be associated with these and other programs as appropriate in order to foster the dual objectives of maximum employment and price stability,” the Fed minutes said . It was a significant move. Stocks soared, and government bond prices spiked, causing yields on the benchmark 10-year note to fall from 3 percent to about 2.5 percent as investors welcomed a big new buyer to the government bond market. The price of gold rose, and the value of the dollar dropped against other currencies, a reflection of concern that the Fed’s actions could set the stage for a weaker dollar and sharp inflation once the economy begins to recover. But the minutes suggest that inflation, a major concern last year, has become a distant worry as policy makers try to prop up the economy. “All participants agreed that inflation pressures were likely to remain subdued,” the minutes said. The Fed also signaled that it would keep target interest rates low for a while. The Fed has cut its economic views, saying that real gross domestic product would flatten for the rest of the year before beginning to expand slowly in 2010. It also said the unemployment rate, which is 8.5 percent, would rise more sharply into 2010 before leveling off “at a high level.” The minutes suggested that policy makers were growing concerned about signals from the housing sector and credit and labor markets as stark economic figures piled up this year. Committee members worried that a spiral could begin if “reduced employment and production weighed on consumer spending and investment, and as the weakening economy bolstered the prospective losses of financial institutions, leading to a further tightening of credit conditions.” Also on Wednesday, the Commerce Department reported that wholesalers cut their inventories by 1.5 percent in February, the sharpest monthly decrease in 17 years. Wholesale trade grew by a seasonally adjusted 0.6 percent in February from January, but was 14 percent lower than last year.
[ "Federal Reserve System", "Obama Financial Stability Plan", "Subprime Mortgage Crisis", "Economic Conditions and Trends" ]
[ "M", "M", "U", "M" ]
[ "business", "economy" ]
32 Arrests at Rally for Airport Workers Near La Guardia
The police arrested 32 people outside La Guardia Airport on Monday afternoon at a march in support of airport contract workers having a paid holiday on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. Some local politicians were arrested at the protest, including Representative Charles B. Rangel. They were given summonses for obstructing vehicular traffic and disobeying a lawful order, the police said. The protesters were blocking traffic at 94th Street and Ditmars Boulevard in Queens around 12:30 p.m., the police said. They held banners that read: “MLK: Our Day.” The march, organized by the union SEIU 32BJ, which represents building services employees, is part of a campaign for better wages and benefits for airport contract workers. City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the city’s public advocate, Letitia James, attended the rally but were not arrested. About 15,000 people work for contractors hired by airlines and terminal operators at New York-area airports, the union said. Some of the workers, who provide cabin cleaning, terminal security and baggage handling, make about $8 an hour. Several City Council members were arrested at the protest. Councilman Ritchie Torres of the Bronx posted a photo of his arrest on Twitter. “Proudly celebrating MLK’s legacy by getting arrested for the first time ever in solidarity with airport workers!” he wrote. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has said that it supports making the day a paid holiday for airport workers and that it was having “productive discussions” with the union about the issue.
[ "Port Authority", "Jobs", "LaGuardia Airport Queens NY" ]
[ "P", "U", "M" ]
[ "nyregion" ]
Davydenko Leads Russian March to the Semis
Nikolay Davydenko is the only man who has yet to drop a set at the United States Open this year. He seems undistracted by an investigation into irregular gambling patterns in one of his matches earlier this summer, and he certainly did not seem ruffled by a tired and combustible Tommy Haas. Davydenko defeated Haas, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4, and became the third Russian in three matches yesterday to advance to the semifinals in straight sets. The other two were Anna Chakvetadze and the 2004 women’s champion, Svetlana Kuznetsova. Davydenko remained quick-footed and tight-lipped throughout the match as Haas, of Germany, grew desperate trying to find a weak spot in Davydenko’s court coverage. “At times he makes you try to do too much,” Haas said. “He got to me a little mentally. Every time I tried to do something differently to fight my way out of it, he came up with an answer.” Davydenko, who lost to Roger Federer in the semifinals of last year’s tournament, addressed several questions about the gambling investigation, which is reportedly focusing on the unusual amount of money wagered on his lower-ranked opponent at the Polish Open last month. Davydenko eventually dropped out of the match because of injury. “For me, it’s very important that I just think about my games in the U.S. Open,” Davydenko said, although he speculated that outsiders might have gathered information about his injury. The other Russians winning yesterday, Chakvetadze and Kuznetsova, will face each other in the semifinals, ensuring that at least one Russian will play in the women’s final this weekend. Kuznetsova, the fourth seed, has not won a Grand Slam event since her 2004 title, and was the runner-up to Justine Henin at the 2006 French Open. She said that momentum was on her side at Flushing Meadows. “It’s my favorite tournament,” said Kuznetsova, who has worn a Yankees cap in recent weeks. “I just give all my energy. It doesn’t matter how I feel, I just come to this court and want to give my best.” Chakvetadze beat the crowd favorite Shahar Peer of Israel, 6-4, 6-1, and Kuznetsova defeated the 18-year-old Hungarian newcomer Agnes Szavay, 6-1, 6-4. The seats in Arthur Ashe Stadium had hardly cooled from the men’s action the night before, which ended with Rafael Nadal’s loss to David Ferrer at 1:51 a.m. And they hardly had a chance to warm again yesterday, as Chakvetadze and Kuznetsova made quick work of their opponents. Kuznetsova needed just 1 hour 7 minutes to dispatch Szavay. Kuznetsova’s forehand was overpowering, but Szavay said she might have given it too much respect. “I played too much to her,” Szavay said. Peer had vocal backing from the crowd at center court. Afterward, she said she would return to Israel to perform her compulsory military service, which she said made tennis look easy. Davydenko now goes on to play Federer, who beat Andy Roddick last night, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4), 6-2. For all his confidence on the court yesterday, Davydenko was diffident about his prospects. “I feel like a top-10 player,” he said. “I play very well, but I’m not thinking I feel like I’ve reached No. 1.”
[ "Davydenko Nikolay", "United States Open (Tennis)", "Kuznetsova Svetlana", "Chakvetadze Anna", "Peer Shahar" ]
[ "R", "R", "R", "R", "R" ]
[ "sports", "tennis" ]
Taking Summer School to Get Ahead, Not Catch Up
GILL, Mass. — Chase Pellegrini de Paur didn’t flunk math, and he is not trying to hone his study skills. The 15-year-old honor-roll student nevertheless spent six weeks this summer studying geometry at the prestigious Northfield Mount Hermon boarding school here. The goal was either to get credit for the class, which would let him skip ahead to higher-level courses earlier in his high school career, particularly Advanced Placement ones, or to take the course again in the fall and, already familiar with the underlying theorems, be all but guaranteed a top grade. “It’s a win-win,” said Chase, a rising sophomore at New Canaan High School in Connecticut. As the competition to get into the most selective colleges intensifies, high-achieving students are attending academic summer schools to turbocharge grade-point averages or load up on the A.P. courses seen as gateways to top-tier schools. The practice even has its own lexicon: Students who are planning to repeat a class at their regular high schools are “previewing”; those who are using summer classes to skip ahead and qualify for higher-level subjects are seeking “forward credit.” Critics, however, say the summer classes only add to the inequities of the college admissions process, in which wealthy families can afford to hire expensive SAT tutors and consultants who help develop the perfect college essay, while poorer students must fend for themselves. Image A student works on a paper during Northfield Mount Hermon’s summer session. With increasing competition to get into top colleges, students are using summer breaks to get ahead. Credit Ilana Panich-Linsman for The New York Times Kimberly Quick, a policy associate for the Century Foundation , a think tank based in New York City said students who could not afford to spend their summers taking extra classes were being left further behind in what she called “the college access game.” “Lower-income students are much more likely to have to work in the summer, often full time, or take care of other family members,” Ms. Quick said. Those students, she noted, are the ones who might benefit the most from the advantages, like strong career networks and higher graduation rates, that top colleges can impart. Higher-income students often already have greater options. There are no hard statistics available on how many students are taking these classes, but education advisers say the numbers are on the rise, particularly in New York City and its suburbs, as well as places where college admissions can seem like a competitive sport, including Raleigh, N.C., and Silicon Valley. Many of the classes are offered at private schools, and they report a growing number of attendees. At the Hun School of Princeton, N.J., a 102-year-old boarding school, 187 students enrolled in its five-week summer school, up about 16 percent from 161 in 2014. Ten years ago, the nearby Lawrenceville School did not offer for-credit summer classes. Instead, it hosted mostly sports and recreation-related programs from outside organizations. This year, more than 40 students enrolled in the school’s accelerated math courses, as part of a rigorous, four-hour-a-day program that covers a full year’s curriculum in six weeks. It is one of several academic programs offered at the school during the summer. Image Greg Leeds, who runs Northfield Mount Hermon’s summer session, said the classes gave students something tangible: either credit or a better shot at an A if they take the class again during the school year. Credit Ilana Panich-Linsman for The New York Times At the Horace Mann School in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, 154 students enrolled in the academic summer session. Forty-four of them were in a six-week physics class that covered a year’s worth of material at a rapid clip, one of several for-credit science and math classes offered at the school’s summer session. “It’s so popular, we run it as a lottery,” said Caroline Bartels, the summer school director at Horace Mann. Some high schoolers take classes through online programs like Indiana University High School , Stanford Online High School or the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth . The online classes often cost less and allow for more flexibility than those that are in person. The Mountain View Los Altos High School District in California runs a summer school for students who need to catch up or bolster their skills, but the district directs high school students who want to accelerate their studies to two local community colleges. And high schoolers in North Carolina are encouraged to take accelerated, for-credit classes through a statewide virtual school . The demand is driven, at least in part, by students’ belief that they need to accumulate Advanced Placement classes to impress top colleges. According to the College Board , which oversees the A.P. program and designs the exams, more than 90 percent of the about 2.5 million test takers in 2015 sat for three or fewer of the exams. But the percentage of students who took 10 exams, while very small, more than doubled over the decade between 2005 and 2015, to 0.7 percent, or 16,580 students over a four-year administration range. Brian Taylor, the director of Ivy Coach , a college advising firm on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, said the belief was that college admission boards rewarded quantity when it came to A.P. exams. “When you have a kid who has taken 10 A.P.s and a kid who has taken three, all things equal, they’re going to take the kid with 10,” he said. Image The campus of Northfield Mount Hermon. The school’s summer session enrolled 286 students this year, including 113 in the college-prep program. Credit Ilana Panich-Linsman for The New York Times But Trevor Packer, a senior vice president at the College Board, said it did not support “a race towards more, more and more.” “We want there to be balance,” Mr. Packer said. He added that the College Board had worked hard to increase the number of students — particularly low-income ones — taking A.P. classes, but a recent report by the federal Government Accountability Office found a significant gap in participation across racial and economic lines. At schools that were high poverty and where 90 percent or more of students were black or Hispanic, only 12 percent took one or more A.P. classes. At wealthy schools that were predominantly white and Asian, 24 percent did. Jill Tipograph , a summer educational consultant and career coach from Manhattan, said summer academics could “help maximize the student’s profile” and be part of the “pre-college plan.” The programs are rigorous, with long days and hours of homework. And they can be lucrative for schools: Northfield Mount Hermon’s program costs $8,200 for summer boarders. The Horace Mann summer physics class costs $4,175. The schools offer scholarships for some students. Greg Leeds, who runs Northfield Mount Hermon’s summer session, which enrolled 286 students this year — 113 in the college prep program — said these programs gave parents “more bang for their buck” than enrichment classes that were not directly related to work being done during the school year, because students got something tangible in the end: credit or a shot at an A grade in the fall in a class they had previewed. That was the case for Sarah Harte Taylor, 17, who previewed an Algebra 2 class last year at Wolfeboro: The Summer Boarding School — a summer-only school in eastern New Hampshire. Her mother, Lisa Harte, from Midtown Manhattan, said that when Sarah returned to her high school, she aced the class. Image Hunter Walker, 17, studied American history at Northfield Mount Hermon this summer in hopes of being able to skip the class this fall and take Advanced Placement computer science instead. “It was a very efficient way of doing things, very constructive,” he said. Credit Ilana Panich-Linsman for The New York Times Hunter Walker, 17, from the Upper West Side, who was studying American history at Northfield Mount Hermon, agreed that the programs could help improve a high school transcript. He was looking for credit so that he could skip the class in the fall and take A.P. computer science instead. Hunter, a rising senior at the boarding school, said the class was intense and sometimes stressful. “But it’s worth it,” he said. “It was a very efficient way of doing things, very constructive.” Not everyone thinks it is good for the students. Psychologists like Madeline Levine, who has written extensively about the demands of adolescence, said focusing students too intensely on academic pursuits came at a cost. “Growing up has a whole bunch of developmental tasks, only one of which is getting into your first-choice school,” she said. Even some of the educators offering the classes have their doubts. At Lawrenceville, administrators have debated the merits of its accelerated math program. This is largely because some faculty members, like Hardy Gieske, a math teacher who serves as director of students for summer school, think that many students should avoid accelerating the learning process when it comes to math. “They have to soak in it for a long enough time for it to take root,” he said. Still, the school keeps the program open because there is a demand and it “helps the bottom line,” Mr. Gieske said. And at Horace Mann, Ms. Bartels said she believed many students were better off getting a break from school. She said she told many of them: “If there is anything else you can do this summer, do it.”
[ "Summer school", "College", "K-12 Education", "School Admissions", "Income Inequality", "NYC" ]
[ "P", "P", "M", "R", "M", "U" ]
[ "nyregion" ]
Alcoa Plans to Close Plants and Trim Work Force
Alcoa , one of the world’s largest aluminum makers, described plans on Tuesday to close plants and slash its work force in an effort to contend with the continued economic downturn. The 120-year-old company, which announced several cost-cutting moves last fall, said it now planned to reduce output by 18 percent this year. It also plans to cut its head count by 13,500 employees, or 13 percent, and expects to eliminate another 1,700 contractor positions. Like many other material producers, Alcoa has struggled to cope with the steep decline in demand for fabricated goods during this economic malaise. Aluminum prices, which rose sharply last summer, have since collapsed as aluminum consumption in crucial areas like automotive and consumer sectors has dropped sharply. Calling the moves “aggressive, but prudent,” Klaus Kleinfeld, the president and chief executive of Alcoa, said the moves were necessary for the firm to try to conserve cash and reduce costs. “These are extraordinary times, requiring speed and decisiveness to address the current economic downturn, and flexibility and foresight to be prepared for future uncertainties in our markets,” Mr. Kleinfeld said. Alcoa said it also planned to sell several unprofitable business lines and was stopping all “noncritical” capital investment programs to try to conserve cash. It is freezing all hiring and salaries through 2009, the firm said. While the company said its cost-cutting programs could save it about $450 million a year before taxes, total charges for the fourth quarter of last year are likely to be $900 million to $950 million, or $1.13 to $1.19 a share. Some Wall Street analysts, however, questioned whether the moves would be enough. “I would have liked to see a little bit bigger cut in smelter output and a little bit bigger cut in capital spending, and I’m not sure they can sell the assets they want to sell,” said Charles Bradford, an analyst with Bradford Research. “People just don’t have a lot of money to buy those assets these days. I’m not so sure how much of this is going to get done.” After ending the day up 26 cents at $12.12, Alcoa’s stock was trading down 42 cents, at $11.70, in after-hours trading. Many of the world’s largest aluminum makers — including the Aluminum Corporation of China — have announced plans to reduce capacity. The hope is that if output is sharply reduced, the price of aluminum will rise above current levels. But many Wall Street analysts say despite the fact that falling energy and freight prices are helping aluminum makers, it is tough for Alcoa and its competitors to make money with aluminum prices at such low levels. It has been a challenging time for Mr. Kleinfeld, who took over the reins of Alcoa last spring from its longtime chief executive, Alain J. P. Belda. Before joining Alcoa as its president, Mr. Kleinfeld headed up the electronics and industrial conglomerate Siemens. In a conference call with analysts last October, Mr. Kleinfeld estimated at that time that one-third of the world’s aluminum capacity was “under water.” As prices continued to fall and inventories rose, analysts at Credit Suisse in December estimated that one-half of the aluminum industry was “losing money at current prices.”
[ "Aluminum", "Alcoa Incorporated", "Layoffs and Job Reductions" ]
[ "P", "M", "M" ]
[ "business" ]
Houston, We Have an Opportunity (to Attract More Tourists)
A campaign to attract visitors to Houston has undergone a makeover, shifting from celebrities to people who are celebrated locally for achievement in the arts and cuisine. The campaign, which got under way in February, comes on the heels of a campaign with the theme “My Houston,” which has run for the last five years. The “My Houston” campaign features famous sons and daughters of the city, among them George Foreman, Beyoncé Knowles, Carl Lewis, Lyle Lovett, Jim Parsons, the rock bank ZZ Top and Chandra Wilson. The new campaign, which carries the theme “Houston is ...,” presents groups of chefs, restaurateurs, artists, singers, dancers, museum curators, musicians, actors and designers. Each group appears in print and online ads with these headlines: “Houston is tasty,” “Houston is hip” and “Houston is inspired.” The new effort, like its predecessor, is being created internally at the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. And also like its predecessor, the new campaign is meant to sell the merits of visiting Houston to individual travelers as well as to planners of conventions and conferences. The budget for the “Houston is ...” campaign, which is to continue through May, is estimated at $440,000. The campaign is also being promoted in social media like Facebook and Twitter . The new tack was prompted by the results of a research study, says Holly Clapham, vice president for marketing at the bureau, which is undertaken each year to help determine the effectiveness of the bureau’s initiatives. The study, conducted by the research organization TNS, found that people visit Houston for two primary reasons: its culinary offerings and its arts and culture scene. Leisure visitors are primarily women, Ms. Clapham says, and the bureau has created a profile of a prototypical visitor, Lisa, who is 46 years old and has an average annual household income of $86,000 to $120,000. “She’s very active,” Ms. Clapham says of Lisa, and “likes ‘girlfriend getaways.’ ” And she will “pay more for quality,” Ms. Clapham says, but also “likes to see value” in what she buys. With all that in mind, the bureau decided that the next iteration of its image campaign — or, as Ms. Clapham puts it, “ ‘My Houston’ 2.0” — ought to celebrate the Houstonians who are the driving forces behind the restaurants, museums, galleries and other attractions that Lisa comes to visit rather than the stars who call, or once called, Houston home. “It’s not about who everyone knows,” Ms. Clapham says. “It’s about who’s working to move Houston forward.” Image An ad from the new Houston campaign. And using the actual Houstonians who run or perform at the attractions provides the campaign with “that realness factor” that is so important to potential visitors, she adds. “We had a lot of contenders” for the ads, Ms. Clapham says, and worked with organizations like the Houston Arts Alliance and the Houston Museum District Association to select people who would “represent the ethnic diversity of the city” as well as promote its more interesting attractions. There are five ads in the campaign: two with the headline “Houston is tasty,” two with the headline “Houston is inspired” and one with the headline “Houston is hip.” The “tasty” ads feature 15 chefs — eight in one ad, seven in the other — and urge would-be visitors to “sample cutting-edge menus inspired by our city’s ethnic flavors” and “experience the fresh ideas and local pride that unite our culinary community.” The “tasty” ads, which replace the “y” at the end of “tasty” with a fork, were photographed at a bar named Mongoose Versus Cobra and at Eleanor Tinsley Park in downtown Houston. The people whose endeavors are deemed “tasty” include Irma Galvan of Irma’s, Greg Gatlin of Gatlin’s BBQ, Rebecca Masson of the Fluff Bake Bar, Paul Petronella of Paulie’s, Monica Pope of Sparrow Bar and Cookshop and Seth Siegel-Gardner of the Pass and Provisions. Both “tasty” ads refer readers to a section of the bureau’s Web site, , where there is information about the chefs and where they cook. The “inspired” ads also present 15 people — eight in one ad, seven in the other — and ask potential visitors to “experience a city where the arts take center stage” and “explore vibrant museums and galleries in a city where creativity has no limits.” The ads were photographed onstage at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts and outside a museum named the Menil Collection. Both “inspired” ads refer readers to another section of the bureau’s Web site, , where they can learn more about the people pictured in the ads, among them Tamarie Cooper, associate director of the Catastrophic Theater; Barbara Davis of the Barbara Davis Gallery; Frank Huang, concertmaster at the Houston Symphony; Nao Kusuzaki, a soloist with the Houston Ballet; Rick Lowe, founder of the Project Row Houses; and Joel Orr, a puppeteer at the Bobbindoctrin Puppet Theater. Finally, the “hip” ad features nine Houstonians and declares, “Discover why anything is possible in a city where culture and style collide.” The ad, photographed at the Last Concert Café, provides an eclectic mix of “trendsetters,” including Bun B, a rapper; Connor Barwin, a linebacker with the Houston Texans football team; Chloe Dao, a fashion designer and boutique owner; Tally Hall, a goalkeeper for the Houston Dynamo soccer team; Asli Omar, a singer; and Mickey Rosmarin, founder of a boutique, Tootsies. This ad, too, refers readers to a section of the bureau’s Web site,, to find out more about those featured in the ad. The ads are running nationally in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal and regionally in five magazines: Bloomberg Businessweek, Cooking Light, Forbes, Fortune and Texas Monthly. *** If you like In Advertising, be sure to read the Advertising column that runs Monday through Friday in the Business Day section of The New York Times print edition and on And read coverage anytime of advertising, marketing, television, print, movies and new media on the Media Decoder blog at
[ "Houston", "advertising,marketing" ]
[ "P", "P" ]
[ "business", "media" ]
Kevin O’Connell, Third-String Quarterback, Aids Jets on Sideline
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez cannot throw a touchdown pass or an interception, visit a nightclub, pose for a magazine or even snack on a hot dog without seeming to stir the passion of New Yorkers. But there is a quiet, unassuming and behind-the-scenes presence supporting Sanchez almost every step of the way from an on-field perspective: Kevin O’Connell, the Jets’ third-string quarterback. Even a die-hard Jets fan could be forgiven for not knowing about O’Connell . He has not dressed for a game this season, and his daily responsibility includes serving as the scout-team quarterback, helping to prepare the defense to face the likes of Rex Grossman and the Washington Redskins, who host the Jets on Sunday. O’Connell, however, is much more than a bit player. Coaches and players describe him as a quasi coach, sticking close to Sanchez during games and consulting with Coach Rex Ryan ’s assistants. O’Connell has an uncanny knack for reading a game, recognizing defensive coverages and contributing insights like helping to explain how cornerbacks defended receivers. “He’s a coach with a lot of football talent,” said the rookie quarterback Greg McElroy, who is on injured reserve. “That’s really what it is. He has a great mind for it, a great eye for it. He has a tremendous feel on game days. He can see the entire field from the sideline. He can see the game vertically, as if watching film, from the sidelines.” O’Connell has played in only two regular-season games, both with the New England Patriots in 2008, when he served as the backup to Matt Cassel during the year Tom Brady sustained a season-ending knee injury in the first game. O’Connell’s N.F.L. statistics are limited to a minuscule sample size: 4 for 6, 23 yards passing. He has not thrown a touchdown pass or an interception. He was sacked once. He has a 73.6 passer rating. And that is pretty much it. But O’Connell’s contribution this season manifests itself in Sanchez’s production, even if it does not affect his own numbers. “We’re talking constantly about what you’re seeing,” Sanchez said of O’Connell. “ ‘Talk to me about this.’ ‘How did you know that?’ He’s been in three, four different offenses, and he understands not just necessarily what we’re trying to do, but football in general.” O’Connell arrived in the N.F.L. after an accomplished career at San Diego State, where he was a four-year captain. As a senior, he threw for 3,063 yards and 15 touchdowns, completing 58.5 percent of his passes. He also rushed for 408 yards and 11 touchdowns. In 2008, the Patriots drafted the 6-foot-5 O’Connell in the third round. His career in New England was limited: the Patriots surprisingly released him a year later while trimming their preseason roster. O’Connell had been a candidate to back up Brady. O’Connell, 26, spent the past two years with the Jets, though he was placed on injured reserve last season after tearing the labrum in his throwing shoulder during a preseason game. The Jets released him July 29, and the Miami Dolphins signed him Aug. 5. The Dolphins released him Sept. 3, and the Jets reacquired him Sept. 4. “He’s a young guy,” said Matt Cavanaugh, the Jets’ quarterbacks coach. “He hasn’t had a chance to go on the field, make some mistakes and learn from them and keep playing.” But O’Connell seems to have found a niche with the Jets. That he has spent some time around the league, and made stops in New England and Miami, is a benefit to the Jets’ defensive preparation. He points out how the defense might attack protection schemes. But O’Connell may be most valuable for what he brings as a sort of consultant for the Jets’ offense. The offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said that he and the Jets’ players referred to O’Connell as “Coach O’Connell.” “He’s great on game day,” Schottenheimer said. “He has a clipboard. He’s charting coverages and things like that. He really gets the game. He really gets the game and I think, obviously, when he’s done playing, he’ll be a great coach.” O’Connell honed his football intelligence through intensive film study. In college, he kept a journal that logged each game, recording plays that confused him, coverages that tested him and his handling of situations. This season, O’Connell estimated, he has already compiled four notebooks’ worth of information from studying game film. Like the other quarterbacks, he is at the Jets’ facility every day, and for 12 hours on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. During the week, the other quarterbacks aid Sanchez. McElroy charts the game film. O’Connell is responsible for breaking down situational tape: third downs, red-zone situations, two-minute drills. On Sundays, even though he is not in uniform, O’Connell tries to affect the game by helping Sanchez. In other words, he functions as a coach. But the prospect of formally making such a transition is not on O’Connell’s mind, at least not at this point. “If I start thinking about that too soon, that transition might come a lot sooner than I hoped,” O’Connell said. “If I was lucky enough to have that chance, I’d work hard as hard as I could to do a lot of the same things I do now: to help Mark on Sundays.”
[ "Football", "New York Jets", "Sanchez Mark", "O'Connell Kevin", "Ryan Rex", "National Football League" ]
[ "P", "M", "R", "M", "R", "M" ]
[ "sports", "football" ]
Economic Challenge Is Also a Balancing Act
WASHINGTON — In a State of the Union speech that sought above all to reassure Americans fretful about job losses and deficits, one short sentence captured the seeming contradiction that has frustrated President Obama ’s yearlong effort to shape an economic message: “Let’s invest in our people without leaving them a mountain of debt.” That has become the defining challenge of Mr. Obama’s presidency: to balance the short-term economic and political demands to spend money and cut taxes now, to stimulate the economy, against the imperative to show a way to reduce the debt over the long term to assure prosperity for future generations. Mr. Obama called for new spending and tax cuts that mostly build on the original $787 billion stimulus package he signed nearly a year ago, and that would easily push the cost of all stimulus measures since he took office to over $1 trillion. But as even Mr. Obama acknowledged, the additional job-creating steps he proposed would not be nearly enough to erase the 10 percent unemployment rate that bedevils him. “Now if we had taken office in ordinary times, I would have liked nothing more than to start bringing down the deficit,” he said. “But we took office amid a crisis, and our efforts to prevent a second depression have added another $1 trillion to our national debt.” So the president called for several steps to reduce deficits in the near term and over time. He proposed a three-year freeze on spending on part of the domestic budget, excluding Medicare and Social Security . That will contribute toward $20 billion in savings for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, Mr. Obama said. Details on the programs to be cut or killed will be in the budget he releases on Monday. Mr. Obama urged Congress to pass a pending “pay as you go” measure, to require that new tax cuts or spending increases for benefit programs like Medicare be offset with tax increases or spending cuts to avoid adding to the deficit. And on the heels of the Senate’s rejection this week of a bill to create a debt-reduction commission, Mr. Obama confirmed that he would establish one by executive order, to report recommendations to Congress by December — after the midterm elections. “This can’t be one of those Washington gimmicks that lets us pretend we’ve solved a problem,” he said. But it remains unclear whether Congressional Republican leaders will participate; they argue that a commission would be a stalking horse for raising taxes. Mr. Obama’s latest stimulus proposals included a long-promised tax credit to employers for new hires and tax cuts to encourage both small businesses and corporations to invest. “I want a jobs bill on my desk without delay,” he told the assembled members of Congress. That note of urgency was surely intended as a spur. The Democrats’ effort to pass a jobs bill, which was on a fast track in December as the unemployment rate passed 10 percent, has stalled in the Senate. In the wake of the Democrats’ loss of the Massachusetts Senate seat, fiscal conservatives are reluctant to add much to deficits that have come to symbolize runaway spending to many independent voters. So while the House last month passed a jobs bill priced at $154 billion for small-business tax cuts and money for public works, Senate Democrats are considering a package about half that size. Mr. Obama also proposed to use $30 billion from the financial bailout fund to create a new lending facility, from which banks could draw money to lend to small businesses. The president outlined tax breaks to help middle-class families with their child care and tuition costs and retirement savings. He called for an unspecified amount of additional spending for public works and infrastructure projections, including high-speed rail . And without elaboration he set a goal of doubling exports over the next five years to create two million jobs. After laying out his plans for both bigger deficits and deficit reduction, Mr. Obama sought to reconcile the two. “I know that some in my own party will argue that we cannot address the deficit or freeze government spending when so many are still hurting,” he said. “I agree, which is why this freeze won’t take effect until next year, when the economy is stronger. “But understand: if we don’t take meaningful steps to rein in our debt, it could damage our markets, increase the cost of borrowing and jeopardize our recovery — all of which could have an even worse effect on our job growth and family incomes.”
[ "Obama Barack", "State of the Union Message (US)", "National Debt (US)", "United States Economy" ]
[ "M", "M", "M", "M" ]
[ "us", "politics" ]
Jury Awards $956 Million to Liberty Media
A federal jury on Monday awarded $956 million to Liberty Media after concluding that the French entertainment group Vivendi deceived it in a decade-old deal involving the USA Networks. The jury in United States District Court in Manhattan issued the award after hearing evidence related to a stock swap involving the network. Liberty Media had accused Vivendi of deceiving it with rosy statements about its finances when executives inside the company were aware of a liquidity crisis. The verdict stemmed from a lawsuit Liberty Media brought in 2003, accusing Vivendi of waiting until its transaction with USA Networks and Liberty Media officially closed before reacting publicly to a downgrade of its debt rating and addressing concerns about liquidity. After the verdict was announced, Vivendi said in a statement that it would appeal the verdict, using “all available paths of action to overturn the verdict or reduce the damages award.” It added that it believed “strongly that it did nothing wrong and will continue to vigorously defend itself.” Liberty Media, in a statement of its own, said it planned to seek interest payments on the verdict amount. During closing arguments, Liberty Media’s lawyer, Michael Calhoon, urged jurors to “look at these internal memos, inside the company, talking about what was really going on inside the company when the company was saying to the public and to Liberty something totally different.” Referring to the stock swap in the transaction, he said: “We took the risk of the price falling. We didn’t take the risk of fraud.” Repeatedly in the trial, jurors heard about an e-mail in which Vivendi’s chief financial officer wrote: “I feel like I’m in the death seat of a car. I hope it doesn’t end in shame.” Jim Quinn, a lawyer for Vivendi, said the company had its own reasons for closing the deal and did not rely on misleading statements. “I think we proved that in spades,” he said. He added that “despite warnings, despite the red flags, Liberty Media did nothing to investigate the problems at Vivendi.” In the end, the jurors were left to decide whether Vivendi had made false statements in its contract with Liberty. The jury found it had and assessed damages. Mr. Calhoon had told jurors Vivendi should “pay for their fraud.” “They shouldn’t get some kind of blizzard of confusion discount,” he said.
[ "Vivendi", "Liberty Media Corp", "Decisions and Verdicts", "Jury System", "Frauds and Swindling" ]
[ "P", "M", "M", "M", "M" ]
[ "business", "media" ]
Beverly Hills Is Fined for Using Too Much Water in Drought
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — This famously wealthy city was founded by businessmen who were seeking oil but found something more precious — water — and decided to stay. Now, Beverly Hills has become one of the first places in California to be slapped with fines for using too much water during the state’s devastating drought. On Friday, California water officials announced that they had issued their first fines in history for failing to meet state-mandated conservation orders, assessing penalties to this city and three other water districts. Over all, Californians cut water use by 26.1 percent in September compared with September 2013, the fourth consecutive month they have surpassed the governor’s goal of a 25 percent reduction. But some districts had not done nearly enough to cut back , officials said Friday. Along with Beverly Hills, the Indio Water Authority, the Coachella Valley Water District and the City of Redlands were fined $61,000 — or $500 a day since the start of June, when the restrictions went into effect. All of them have missed their state-mandated conservation targets — which range up to 36 percent compared with 2013 — by more than 8 percentage points since June 1. Cris Carrigan, director of enforcement for the State Water Resources Control Board , said the four districts had either taken action too late to make a difference in their water use or had not stressed the need to cut back enough to their customers. “We could have saved even more water if some residents, businesses and institutions in these communities had stepped up,” Mr. Carrigan said. “These penalties send a signal that there are consequences.” All four of the districts will be able to appeal the fines. If they do not get their water use down to the mandated levels, the state could issue cease-and-desist orders, which come with fines of up to $10,000 per day. Beverly Hills, the only one of the districts in an urban, coastal area, has fallen nearly 12 percentage points short of its 32 percent conservation standard. Mr. Carrigan said the district did little until October. “The city has not demonstrated improved conservation,” he said. “Per capita consumption is not decreasing.” In an email, Cheryl Friedling, a deputy city manager for Beverly Hills, outlined new measures the city was taking, including “penalty surcharges, hiring additional staff to address water violations and developing individualized conservation programs that will help us achieve reductions we need.” But Mr. Carrigan warned that these “very well might not be the last of the fines.” The districts that were fined this week are hardly the only ones that have failed to meet their conservation standards. More than 50 suppliers were at least 5 percent short of meeting their conservation targets in September. And state officials acknowledged that meeting conservation goals could become more difficult in the winter: Most water use is traditionally during the summer, so there was more room to save in July and August. Felicia Marcus, chairwoman of the state water board, expressed optimism that the state could remain above the 25 percent threshold, even if conservation sagged in the coming months. “The fact that we’re up and over is good,” Ms. Marcus said. “Would I like a bigger cushion? Yeah, definitely. But I think we’re still in the ballpark.” Also on Friday, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency over a bark beetle infestation that has killed tens of millions of trees during the drought. He is seeking federal resources to assist with the removal of dead trees. “California is facing the worst epidemic of tree mortality in its modern history,” Mr. Brown said in a letter to Tom Vilsack, the federal agriculture secretary. “A crisis of this magnitude demands action on all fronts.”
[ "Beverly Hills", "Fines", "Water", "Drought", "California", "Coachella Valley", "Conservation of Resources", "Rationing" ]
[ "P", "P", "P", "P", "P", "P", "R", "U" ]
[ "us" ]
McCain Signs Up a Bush Fund-Raising Organizer
WASHINGTON — Senator John McCain began tapping into President Bush’s prized political donor base on Tuesday as his campaign announced that Mercer Reynolds, who helped Mr. Bush raise a record $273 million for the 2004 re-election campaign, would be the national finance co-chairman for Mr. McCain. The development was a major sign that the Republican financial establishment was coalescing around Mr. McCain, who has often been at odds with his own party, particularly conservatives. It also signaled that Mr. Bush’s political apparatus was moving into action for Mr. McCain, a onetime insurgent and competitor to Mr. Bush in 2000 who has had a difficult relationship with the president. Mr. McCain’s advisers said that Mr. Reynolds, a wealthy Cincinnati executive and a former ambassador to Switzerland, would be of enormous help in reaching out to the president’s most valued contributors — the Bush campaign called them Rangers and Pioneers — on behalf of Mr. McCain. “He knows them all, and hopefully we’ll get them on board,” said Charles Black, a senior adviser to Mr. McCain. Advisers to both men said on Tuesday that the once-strained relationship between the president and Mr. McCain had improved and that Mr. Bush, who vouched for Mr. McCain as a “true conservative” in a television interview last weekend, would do whatever he was asked by his party’s nominee. Mr. McCain is now the presumptive nominee, although he still faces a Republican competitor, Mike Huckabee, who continues to accumulate delegates despite Mr. McCain’s daunting lead. Mr. Reynolds, who declined to be interviewed for this article, is of critical importance to the McCain campaign not simply because of his wealth but also for his layers of contacts with other wealthy donors. Under campaign finance rules in large part created by Mr. McCain himself under the McCain-Feingold bill, individual contributions are limited to $2,300 each for the nominating contests and the general election every election cycle. The result is that highly connected, prosperous people like Mr. Reynolds are of huge value to a campaign because they can call on many other highly connected, prosperous people to write checks, which is particularly vital to Republicans in a year when Democrats have far outpaced them in fund-raising. In 2004, contributors to Mr. Bush who collected $100,000 in checks, otherwise known as bundlers, were called Pioneers. Those who collected $200,000 were called Rangers, after the Texas baseball team once partly owned by Mr. Bush. Mr. McCain’s advisers said that the senator’s campaign would also be bestowing titles on its most prolific fund-raisers under an “incentive system,” with privileges for those who raised the most money. Mr. McCain’s advisers said that the candidate, despite his signature legislative efforts to restrict the money spent on political campaigns, would not accept public financing and spending limits for this year’s general campaign. But in 2007, Mr. McCain did agree to a nonaggression pact with Senator Barack Obama to accept public financing, about $85 million each for the general election, if the Democratic nominee did the same. Mr. McCain’s advisers insisted that the senator was not turning his back on a campaign finance system, which bans large “soft-money” donations to the political parties, that he helped put in place. “The senator’s always been an advocate of contributions from individual Americans,” said Wayne Berman, a major McCain fund-raiser. “It’s those contributions that are supporting his presidential campaign.” Mr. Berman was one of numerous Bush supporters who signed up to raise money for Mr. McCain early last year, when the senator was in his first incarnation as the Republican front-runner. But the campaign fell far short of its $100 million fund-raising target and by last summer had nearly collapsed in debt and recriminations. In November Mr. McCain took out a $3 million loan to keep the race alive through New Hampshire. His primary victory there on Jan. 8 opened wallets all over the country. Since then he has held 20 fund-raisers and collected more than $12 million. Other major fund-raisers for Mr. McCain include Henry R. Kravis, the financier; A. Gerald Perenchio, the former chairman and chief executive of Univision Communications, the nation’s largest Spanish-language broadcaster; and Lewis M. Eisenberg, the former finance chairman of the Republican National Committee and the former chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. This week and next Mr. McCain’s advisers are planning strategy meetings to set new money targets, set a fund-raising schedule and discuss how they might use Mr. Bush at fund-raising events. They are also working on hiring staff members and setting up “McCain for president” offices around the country. “We have to talk about the short term and the long term,” Mr. Black said. “Basically you’re changing from a primary campaign that runs on fumes and volunteers to a national campaign.”
[ "Finances", "McCain John", "Bush George W", "Presidential Election of 2008", "Republican Party", "Reynolds Mercer" ]
[ "P", "R", "M", "M", "R", "R" ]
[ "us", "politics" ]
Roger Y. Tsien, Nobel Winner for Use of Glowing Proteins, Dies at 64
Roger Y. Tsien, who won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for creating a rainbow of fluorescent proteins that could light up the dance of molecules within cells, died on Aug. 24 in Eugene, Ore. He was 64. His death was announced by the University of California, San Diego , where he was a professor of chemistry and biochemistry. A university spokesman said that he did not have information about the cause, but that Dr. Tsien, who was visiting Eugene, had suffered a “medical event” while bicycling. While other scientists made the initial discoveries of a green fluorescent protein from jellyfish, Dr. Tsien (pronounced chen) was the one who transformed it into the ubiquitous tool used by biologists today. After another scientist, Douglas C. Prasher, provided a copy of the gene that encodes the fluorescent protein, Dr. Tsien set out to make a better version. “Roger, in his brilliant ingenuity, figured it should be possible to play with it,” Charles S. Zuker , a former colleague who is now at Columbia, said in an interview. “He would do the simplest, most clever experiments to get at some of the most fundamental questions in contemporary biology.” The original protein glowed green when ultraviolet or blue light was shined on it. Dr. Tsien and the other members of his laboratory mutated the gene so that the proteins glowed brighter under blue light, which made them easier for biologists to use. (Ultraviolet light damages living cells.) When biologists seek to track the comings and goings of a particular protein in a cell, they first identify the gene that produces it. They then splice the genetic instructions for the green fluorescent protein into the gene. The result is that the protein they want to track is tagged with a fluorescent snippet, a beacon easily visible under a microscope — as when a car’s headlights are turned on at night. Dr. Tsien’s laboratory then created a version that glowed blue instead of green. Other colors followed. That enabled the tracking of multiple molecules inside living cells. “It created a new universe of biology,” Dr. Zuker said. In 2008, Dr. Tsien shared the chemistry Nobel with Osamu Shimomura of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass., and Boston University School of Medicine, who discovered the jellyfish protein, and Martin Chalfie , a professor of biological sciences at Columbia, the first to insert the green fluorescent protein gene into another organism. Dr. Tsien wondered why he had been honored and not Dr. Prasher, who had shared the gene with both Dr. Chalfie and Dr. Tsien. “I think it must have been an agonizing decision for the Nobel committee, and they could easily have given the prize to Doug instead of me,” Dr. Tsien told Chemistry World magazine. Dr. Prasher had by then dropped out of science and was driving a courtesy van for a Toyota dealership in Huntsville, Ala., after budget cuts cost him his job for a NASA subcontractor. But Dr. Chalfie and Dr. Tsien invited him to attend the Nobel ceremony in Stockholm and paid for his trip. In 2012, Dr. Tsien hired Dr. Prasher to work in his laboratory. Dr. Prasher left last year. Roger Yonchien Tsien was born on Feb. 1, 1952, in New York City, the third of three sons to Hsue Chu Tsien, a mechanical engineer, and Yi Ying, who was trained as a nurse. In an autobiographical essay on the Nobel Prize website, Dr. Tsien recalled that his parents bought him a chemistry set when he was in elementary school, but that he “didn’t find it very interesting because the experiments seemed so tame.” When he was 15, he worked at a summer research program at Ohio University. That turned into a project that won the top prize in the Westinghouse Science Talent Search competition. He entered Harvard at 16 and graduated with a degree in chemistry and physics in 1972. He earned a doctorate in physiology from the University of Cambridge in England in 1977. After positions as a postdoctoral researcher at Cambridge and a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, Dr. Tsien moved to the University of California, San Diego, in 1989. Building on research from his doctorate, he had developed a way to measure levels of calcium in cells, which was a marker for the level of activity in neurons. The markers changed shape in the presence of calcium ions and then would change color. “It’s typical of Roger,” said Stephen Adams, a scientist who worked in Dr. Tsien’s lab. “He took something that was well known in another field and applied it to neurobiology with a few chemical modifications.” Dr. Adams recalled that Dr. Tsien wanted to track other biological markers as well. Dr. Tsien and his collaborators extracted the proteins they wanted to track, attached dye molecules and injected them back into cells. It worked, but it was laborious. Dr. Tsien heard about the green fluorescent protein and found Dr. Prasher’s paper on the gene. Dr. Tsien and Dr. Chalfie independently contacted Dr. Prasher at about the same time. “He made it a much more powerful molecule for people to do their experiments with,” Dr. Chalfie said of Dr. Tsien’s work. Dr. Tsien, with Dr. Zuker, founded two companies in the 1990s. The Aurora Biosciences Corporation commercialized drug discovery tools using fluorescent markers, and Senomyx looked for ways to modulate taste receptors to reduce the amount of sugar in foods without affecting taste. Dr. Tsien is survived by his wife, Wendy; two brothers, Richard and Louis; and a stepson, Max Rink. After winning the Nobel, Dr. Tsien shifted his research again, although his work continued to be colorful. One project was a fluorescent molecule that would light up in neon green only in cancer tumors, telling surgeons exactly what to cut out and what to leave untouched. Another stains nerve cells, again to help surgeons avoid cutting them by mistake. The tumor indicators are in initial clinical trials; the nerve stain is being tested in animals. “We hope the combination of these molecules will significantly improve patient outcome,” said Dr. Quyen T. Nguyen , a professor of head and neck surgery at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, who was collaborating with Dr. Tsien.
[ "Nobel Prize", "Chemistry", "University of California", "San Diego", "Research", "Obituary", "Roger Y Tsien", "Biology and Biochemistry", "Genetics and Heredity" ]
[ "P", "P", "P", "P", "P", "U", "M", "R", "M" ]
[ "science" ]
Bike Share Program Is Taking Customers
New York City’s long-awaited bike share program is open for business, if not quite ready for riders. Registration for the program — which will allow members to use one of 6,000 bikes from 330 stations in Midtown, Lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn, then return it to a different station — began on Monday, weeks before the expected opening sometime next month. Officials said hundreds had registered on Monday morning, many jockeying for the blue “founding member” keys distributed to the first 5,000 to sign up. (Later members will receive darker blue keys.) Janette Sadik-Khan, the transportation commissioner, said she “wouldn’t be surprised” if the city surpassed 5,000 memberships this week, an estimate that may prove conservative: by 3 p.m. on Monday, more than 2,500 people had signed up. Annual memberships, at a pretax cost of $95, allow riders to use bikes for as long as 45 minutes without an additional charge. Ms. Sadik-Khan noted, as the city often has, that the yearly cost is less than the cost of a single 30-day unlimited-ride MetroCard. Image Bikes for the program at Old Fulton Street and Elizabeth Place in Brooklyn. Registration began Monday, with more than 2,500 people signed up by 3 p.m.; the program is to start next month. Credit Ángel Franco/The New York Times The program, which was originally scheduled to begin last summer, has seen a series of delays — first because of software problems , then because of flooding sustained by much of the system infrastructure at the Brooklyn Navy Yard during Hurricane Sandy. The initial number of stations will be more than was first expected after the flooding, Ms. Sadik-Khan said, though fewer than the 420 stations that the city had planned for its scheduled 2012 opening. The network is expected to expand to 10,000 bikes and 600 stations, including the Upper East and Upper West Sides and Long Island City, Queens. Howard Wolfson, a deputy mayor under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and an avid cyclist, said New Yorkers would care little about the delays once the program began, predicting that it would become “a huge part of this mayor’s legacy.” “Nobody’s going to say, ‘Oh, I wish it had been a year earlier’ or ‘Why wasn’t it in March?’ ” he said. “They will be happy to have it; they will be using it. It will be an enormously successful program.” After a news conference on Monday in Dumbo, Brooklyn, Ms. Sadik-Khan and Mr. Wolfson took a short ride on the bikes, taking care to stop at a traffic light with many reporters in view. The program is being operated by New York City Bicycle Share, a division of Alta Bicycle Share. Alison Cohen, the company’s president during the system’s early hiccups, is no longer with the company, officials said. Ms. Cohen did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.
[ "Biking", "Alta Bicycle Share", "NYC" ]
[ "P", "P", "U" ]
[ "nyregion" ]
Iran Lashes Out at West Over Protests
Iran continued to arrest opposition members on Tuesday in what seemed to be an effort to curb further protests after Sunday’s defiant demonstrations against the government, according to opposition Web sites. The authorities arrested dozens of journalists, students and activists on Monday and Tuesday, the Web sites said. Among those arrested was the sister of the Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi, who has been critical of the government. The crackdown appears to be the largest since June, when antigovernment protests exploded after the country’s widely disputed presidential election. Sunday’s protests were the bloodiest since the summer, and on Tuesday an opposition Web site, Jaras , said the death toll was likely to be significantly higher than previously thought. The site quoted what it said was a leaked confidential report by the official news agency IRNA, saying that 37 people had been killed. The security forces had earlier said that eight people had been killed in Tehran, and Jaras itself had earlier reported that 13 people were killed in Tehran and elsewhere. IRNA sometimes issues reports only to a limited number of subscribers, but it was impossible to immediately verify either the existence of the report or its contents. Opposition figures had said earlier that they expected the number of dead to rise because government forces had shot into crowds, and videos have surfaced on the Web in recent days that are said to show protesters being run over by cars. Ali Moussavi, a nephew of the opposition leader Mir Hussein Moussavi, was one of those run over by a vehicle, according to a family friend who said earlier this week that the assault was an assassination that took place outside the nephew’s home. Because foreign reporters were barred from the demonstration, it was impossible to confirm the breadth of the violence on Sunday. The authorities have claimed that the West has been behind the protests and that the killings were carried out by “suspicious elements.” The semiofficial Fars news agency reported Tuesday that the British ambassador, Simon Gass, was summoned to the Foreign Ministry over Britain’s “interference into Iran’s internal affairs.” The British government said its envoy would respond “robustly” to any criticism, Reuters reported. After the election in June, Iran sought to cast Britain as a major instigator of the unrest that followed. Also on Tuesday, the speaker of Parliament, Ali Larijani, who had voiced more moderate views in the past, called for the “arrest of offenders of the religion and the harshest punishment for antirevolutionary figures,” ISNA, a semiofficial news agency, reported. He refrained from naming those he wanted punished, but other government officials have called for Mr. Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi, another leader of the opposition, to be held accountable for the continuing defiance of the government. Meanwhile, some Iranians living abroad — many of whom fled the country after the Islamic Revolution — appeared to be making a more concerted effort to discredit the government. A group called United4Iran, a network of Iranians around the world who came together after the June protests, posted a postcard on its Web site titled “Wanted,” with the pictures of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei; President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the winner of the disputed election; and the leader of the Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Ali Jafari. “The diaspora wants to play a role in bringing the violence to an end,” said Hadi Ghaemi, one the organizers for United4Iran. “We are highlighting the human rights situation in Iran and the three figures that are behind it.” United4Iran also posted a statement from Ms. Ebadi, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, saying that her sister, who had been arrested, was not a political person. Ms. Ebadi, who left Iran right before the election, said the authorities have been threatening to arrest her sister unless she handed over what they hoped would be damaging information about Ms. Ebadi. “I initially did not take this seriously,” Ms. Ebadi wrote, “but I am sad and upset to see that this was not an empty threat.”
[ "Iran", "Demonstrations and Riots" ]
[ "P", "M" ]
[ "world", "middleeast" ]
No End to Questions in Cheney Hunting Accident
WASHINGTON, Feb. 13 - The White House sought with little success on Monday to quell an uproar over why it took the better part of a day to disclose that Vice President Dick Cheney had accidentally wounded a fellow hunter in Texas on Saturday and why even President Bush initially got an incomplete report on the shooting. The victim, Harry Whittington, a 78-year-old lawyer, was transferred from the intensive care unit to a private room in a Corpus Christi hospital on Monday. He was listed as stable, with wounds to his face, neck, chest and rib cage from the pellets sprayed at him from 30 yards away by Mr. Cheney's shotgun. Calls to Mr. Whittington's room were routed to the hospital's marketing department, which said it was taking messages for him, but he did not return a call. Texas officials said on Monday night that Mr. Cheney would be issued a warning citation for hunting without a proper game stamp on his license. The local sheriff said an investigation had concluded that the episode was "no more than an accident." At the White House, Mr. Cheney made no statement on Monday and remained out of public view. At the beginning of a meeting with Secretary General Kofi Annan of the United Nations, Mr. Bush laughingly told Mr. Cheney that reporters would later enter the room; the vice president left before the journalists arrived. Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary, was battered at his daily news briefing by journalists demanding answers to why Mr. Cheney had not been faster to make public what happened and why he had chosen a local newspaper in Texas as his vehicle for doing so. The pressure came in part from questions about whether Mr. Cheney -- who is already known for his inclination to keep his business, professional and political dealings behind closed doors -- might have been trying to play down the incident, a suggestion rejected by those who were with Mr. Cheney over the weekend. Among the people with him at the Armstrong Ranch in South Texas was his host Katharine Armstrong, a lobbyist and longtime friend of Mr. Cheney. Her lobbying clients include several that do business with the federal government, though Ms. Armstrong said she did not believe that she had ever lobbied Mr. Cheney. In an interview, Ms. Armstrong said that it did not occur to anyone in the hunting party to make news of the shooting public immediately, but that no one, including Mr. Cheney, had called for holding it back. She said Mr. Cheney participated in discussions on Sunday morning about disclosing the incident, agreeing that it should be made public but deferring to the Armstrong family on how to do so. On Sunday morning, Ms. Armstrong tipped off her local newspaper, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, to the story. It was later picked up by national wire services and confirmed by Mr. Cheney's office. The incident provided a wealth of material for Democrats, gun control activists and critics of the Bush administration, not to mention late-night comedians. Mr. McClellan struggled at times to explain even the most basic details in the case, including when and how Mr. Bush was informed about it. In the end, White House officials said Mr. Bush learned about the shooting accident at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time, about an hour after it happened, in a call from Andrew H. Card Jr., his chief of staff. But Mr. Bush did not find out that Mr. Cheney fired the shot until about half an hour later in a subsequent call from Karl Rove, his senior adviser and deputy chief of staff, who had called Ms. Armstrong to ask about the incident. The local sheriff, Ramon Salinas III of Kenedy County, said the Secret Service called him shortly after the shooting occurred. Sheriff Salinas said he sent his chief deputy, Gilbert Sanmiguel, to the Armstrong Ranch that night. He said Mr. Sanmiguel interviewed Mr. Cheney and reported that the shooting was an accident. The sheriff said Sunday that they had yet to speak to "the victim." "But you could say it's closed," Mr. Salinas said of the case. On Monday, a news release from the sheriff's office said that "Mr. Whittington's interview collaborated Vice President Cheney's statement" and that the department was "fully satisfied that this was no more than a hunting accident." There is no requirement to report nonfatal hunting accidents in Texas, said Lydia Saldana, the communications director for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. In a statement on Monday night, Mr. Cheney's office said a member of his staff had asked the Parks and Wildlife Department for all of the necessary permits for the vice president to go quail hunting in Texas and had paid $140. But, the statement said, the staff member was not informed of the need for an additional stamp, costing $7, to allow hunting of upland game birds. It said Mr. Cheney has now sent a $7 check to the department. Mr. Cheney has often gone hunting as vice president, sometimes with other prominent officials, including Justice Antonin Scalia. During the 2004 presidential campaign, Mr. Cheney mocked Senator John Kerry, the Democratic nominee, for having worn camouflage on a duck-hunting trip, saying Mr. Kerry's "new camo jacket is an October disguise, an effort he's making to hide the fact that he votes against gun-owner rights at every turn." This past weekend brought Mr. Cheney together with a group of old friends, friends of friends and political supporters in the kind of private setting he relishes. The guests included Pamela Pitzer Willeford, a Texan who was appointed ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein in 2003. She was with Mr. Cheney at the time of the shooting, as was Ms. Armstrong, whose mother, Anne, is a prominent Republican supporter and whose family ranch is a familiar destination for Republican politicians. According to Texans for Public Justice, a watchdog organization, Ms. Armstrong first registered as a lobbyist in 2003. She registered in 2004 as a lobbyist for Parsons, an engineering and construction firm that has done extensive work in Iraq, and listed the contract size at more than $100,000, according to lobbying records from the Texas Ethics Commission provided by Texans for Public Justice. Ms. Armstrong's business partner, Karen Johnson, spent several years lobbying for Parsons, including procuring contracts with the State Department, the Department of Transportation and the United States Agency for International Development, according to PoliticalMoneyLine, which tracks federal lobbying. Ms. Johnson also lobbies for major corporations, including Lockheed Martin, and has been one of Mr. Bush's leading fund-raisers. Ms. Armstrong has a relatively limited list of lobbying clients in Texas and in Washington. Public records show that she has worked for Baker Botts, the law firm; Prionics AG, a biotechnology company; Trajen, a firm that performs aviation technical support for the United States military; and the King Ranch, the property next to her family's ranch. Records in Texas indicate that she has lobbied at the state level for three companies: Avex Group, the Dannenbaum Engineering Corporation and Ecocreto USA. Ms. Armstrong played down her role as a lobbyist and suggested that she had not brought up business during Mr. Cheney's visit. She was appointed to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission in 1999 by Mr. Bush, who was then the Texas governor. "You need to understand that the Cheneys are our friends maybe for a couple of decades, maybe 30 years," Ms. Armstrong said, adding that she did not personally represent Parsons. "I represent a couple of Texas companies, not a large lobbying practice," she said. Ms. Armstrong said she did more public relations and consulting work than lobbying, but she declined to disclose her clients. She said none were involved in Iraq "that I know of." Asked if she was concerned that Mr. Cheney's visit could create the appearance of impropriety during the lobbying investigation involving Jack Abramoff, which has brought to light the often close personal and professional ties between lobbyists and public officials, Ms. Armstrong said: "Oh my God, he's a friend. I don't believe I've ever lobbied the vice president, nor would I be comfortable doing so." Ms. Armstrong and Ms. Willeford said the accident was largely the fault of Mr. Whittington, who had reappeared alongside two of his hunting companions without giving proper warning. Mr. Cheney, who was carrying a 28-gauge shotgun, had already begun to fire and sprayed Mr. Whittington. "He got peppered pretty good," Ms. Armstrong said. "He fell with his head toward me." She said she ran over to Mr. Whittington, who had fallen, but stayed out of the way while Secret Service agents tended to him. "There was some bleeding, but it wasn't horrible," she said. "He was more bruised." Ms. Willeford, whose husband was also at the ranch, said in an interview after visiting the victim at the hospital that Mr. Whittington accepted responsibility for the accident. "He understands that he could have handled it better," Ms. Willeford said. "Harry should have let us know he was back there."
[ "R", "M" ]
[ "politics" ]
Stride Gum Campaign Satirizes Apple Publicity Machine
ON Aug. 1, a billboard appeared in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan displaying only a date, “08.13.12,” and clues seemed to point to Apple. Consistent with the style of Apple advertising and packaging, the billboard was black type on a white background and its typeface was a version of Myriad , which Apple uses nearly exclusively. Also noteworthy was the billboard’s location: the intersection of Broome and Thompson streets, 450 yards from the Apple Store on Prince Street. A SoHo resident, Colin Mackenzie, wrote on Twitter on Aug. 5 that a “big billboard just got put up by my apt with ‘08.13.12’ in what looked like Apple font ... iPhone5 maybe?” On Aug. 6 on MacRumors, the popular Web site for Apple enthusiasts, “Bendrix” posted a photograph of the billboard and wrote: “What is the meaning of this? Is it Apple related?” What they were chewing over turns out, appropriately enough, to be gum. On Monday, the billboard will be replaced by a new one featuring Shaun White, the gold medalist snowboarder, holding a pack of Stride Mintacular, a new flavor that features his likeness on the package. “Stride Mintacular,” reads the copy, the type treatment again mimicking Apple’s. “Chewing redefined. Again.” An online video by Stride introducing the Mintacular flavor is shot in the same documentary style as Apple’s product debut videos. Apple introductory videos, including one for the new MacBook Pro from June that has more than 760,000 views on YouTube, feature designers seated before a white background speaking with awe and wonder about new products. Unlike the Apple videos, Stride uses actors to depict its executives. “From the moment you pick it up, you instinctively know how to use it,” says an actor in the Stride sendup, as a piece of the gum is shown. “There are no rules at all when it comes to holding it. I don’t need to change who I am to fit the product. It fits me.” • The video and billboards are by the London office of Wieden & Kennedy. The video will be featured in ads on the Web site for The Onion, the satirical publication, on the Stride Facebook page, which has three million followers, and on YouTube. “A lot of product launches treat each successive variation of their products as if they’re groundbreaking and will change people’s lives,” said Sam Heath, a creative director at Wieden & Kennedy. “They talk about them in this very grand, revelatory, almost religious way, and we thought that it would be fun to take the same approach and make a big hoo-ha over what is essentially a minor thing: a new gum flavor.” The Stride video is “a great parody and hilarious,” said David Vinjamuri, author of “Accidental Branding” and an adjunct professor of marketing at New York University. “Apple is one of those companies that’s been brilliant for so long that they probably take themselves too seriously, and have this sort of pretentious self-assurance.” But Mr. Vinjamuri said that while viral efforts like “ Tea Partay ,” a 2006 rap video in which preppies glorify Smirnoff Raw, a malt beverage, “got the brand attributes in there,” he questioned whether the new Stride video did so. “The test for branded entertainment is, ‘Does it create a strong affiliation with the brand?’ and ‘Does it reinforce the underlying brand message?’ ” he said. With the Stride video, he continued, “it’s unique humor, but I’m not sure how it relates back to the brand.” In September 2011, Stride introduced the first flavor attached to Mr. White, Whitemint , featuring his name and likeness prominently on the package. Whitemint now ranks second behind spearmint in sales among more than a dozen Stride flavors, according to Steve Siegal, the senior brand manager for Stride. The brand, which is owned by Kraft, is aimed primarily to those 18 to 24, and along with being “the most iconic figure in action sports,” Mr. White is “a personality fit for the brand because he’s genuine, authentic and exudes a lot of confidence,” Mr. Siegal said. On Aug. 21, Mr. White will appear at an event at a 7-Eleven on East 14th Street in Manhattan. The store will be stocked only with packs of Mintacular and Whitemint, and a batch of Mintacular-flavored Slurpees will be served. • Gum sales were down 2.6 percent overall and sugarless gum was down 3 percent in the year that ended July 8, according to SymphonyIRI Group, a market research firms whose data does not include Walmart. Stride revenue is down 11.6 percent from a year ago, and the brand has a 6.2 percent share of the sugarless gum category, down from a 9.1 share in August 2010. It spent $22.7 million on advertising in 2011, according to Kantar Media, a unit of WPP. From its introduction in 2006 through 2011, Stride marketed itself as “the ridiculously long-lasting gum.” Commercials from JWT, New York, part of WPP, featured misguided Stride marketers who, frustrated that they cannot sell more gum because each piece lasts so long, force consumers to spit theirs out. As the new agency for the brand, Wieden & Kennedy has replaced the slogan with “A little bit epic.” In a commercial introduced in May, a young man at a loss for how to comport himself when he sees a former girlfriend in a coffee shop pops in a piece of Stride and settles on gallantly holding the door for her as she leaves. It has 708,000 views on YouTube. In advertising parlance, the new campaign signals a shift from emphasizing a functional benefit, persistent flavor, to an emotional one, the feeling of ease and confidence from fresh breath. “Gum is not going to change your world or get you to win the Olympics,” said Mr. Heath, of Wieden & Kennedy. “But it might just give you a little nudge to be relaxed in a social situation.”
[ "Advertising and Marketing", "Chewing Gum", "Manhattan (NYC)", "Kraft Foods Inc" ]
[ "R", "R", "M", "M" ]
[ "business", "media" ]
Purdue, Citing Research Misconduct, Punishes Scientist
An appeals committee at Purdue University has upheld findings of misconduct on the part of a professor who claims to have created energy-generating fusion in a tabletop experiment, the university announced on Wednesday. With the findings, William R. Woodson, the university’s provost, has imposed punishment on the professor, Rusi P. Taleyarkhan. Dr. Taleyarkhan remains on the Purdue faculty, but his distinction as a “named professor” has been removed, along with an annual allotment of $25,000 that accompanied it. In addition, he is prohibited from serving as a thesis adviser to graduate students for at least the next three years. John Lewis, a lawyer for him, said Dr. Taleyarkhan was considering his options, among them challenging the sanctions in court. Beginning with a paper published in the journal Science in 2002, Dr. Taleyarkhan, who then worked at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has claimed that the force of sound waves can collapse bubbles in a liquid violently enough to generate conditions that fuse together hydrogen atoms, releasing energy. Scientists working in other laboratories have not been able to reproduce the experiments. In July, an investigatory committee at Purdue, though coming to no conclusions about that finding itself, determined that Dr. Taleyarkhan had later falsely claimed independent confirmation of the work. Actually, the committee said, he had been involved in supervising the follow-up experiment, which was conducted by a postdoctoral researcher in his laboratory, and in writing the resulting scientific papers. The committee also found that a graduate student in his laboratory whom Dr. Taleyarkhan added as an author to those follow-up papers had made no substantial contributions. Dr. Taleyarkhan appealed the decision. The rejection of that appeal, by a three-member panel appointed by Dr. Woodson, the provost, was unanimous. Responding to a request for comment, Dr. Taleyarkhan referred in an e-mail message to the investigatory committee’s dismissal of 10 other accusations of misconduct, including improper presentation of data. “The immense three-year-long investigation,” he wrote, “has thrown out all allegations related to fraud and fabrication and therefore represents a success for the science.”
[ "Purdue University", "Taleyarkhan Rusi P", "Science and Technology" ]
[ "P", "M", "M" ]
[ "science" ]
Dead Coral Found Near Site of Gulf Oil Spill
A survey of the seafloor near BP’s blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico has turned up dead and dying coral reefs that were probably damaged by the oil spill , scientists said Friday. The coral sites lie seven miles southwest of the well, at a depth of about 4,500 feet, in an area where large plumes of dispersed oil were discovered drifting through the deep ocean last spring in the weeks after the spill. The large areas of darkened coral and other damaged marine organisms were almost certainly dying from exposure to toxic substances, scientists said. The corals were discovered on Tuesday by scientists aboard a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research vessel using a submersible robot equipped with cameras and sampling tools. The documented presence of oil plumes in the area, the proximity to BP’s well and the recent nature of the die-off make it highly likely that the spill was responsible, said Charles Fisher, a marine biologist from Pennsylvania State University who is the chief scientist on the gulf expedition, which was financed by the federal government. “I think that we have a smoking gun,” Dr. Fisher said. “The circumstantial evidence is very strong that it’s linked to the spill.” The discovery of the dead corals offers the strongest evidence so far that oil from the BP well may have harmed marine life in the deep ocean, a concern raised by many biologists soon after the April 20 blowout that caused the spill. At an estimated nearly five million barrels, it was the largest offshore oil spill in the nation’s history. A brownish substance covered many of the dead or dying reefs but was probably dead tissue and sediment, not oil, Dr. Fisher said. Oil seeps naturally from the seafloor throughout the Gulf of Mexico, but that was unlikely to have caused such a severe coral die-off, he added. “We have never seen anything like this at any of the deep coral sites that we’ve been to,” Dr. Fisher said. “And we’ve been to quite a lot of them.” Further study is needed to conclusively link the coral die-off to the spill, scientists said, and the survey team took a number of samples from the site to test for the presence of hydrocarbons and dispersant. Whether these samples will yield direct evidence leading back to the spill is unclear. “No one yet knows if the signature of whatever toxin killed these corals can be found in their skeletons after the tissue sloughs off,” Dr. Fisher said. Jane Lubchenco, the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, called the findings significant. “Given the toxic nature of oil and the unprecedented amount of oil spilled, it would be surprising if we did not find damage,” she said in a statement. “This is precisely why we continue to actively monitor and evaluate the impact of the spill in the gulf.” “We are determined to hold the responsible parties accountable for the damage done to the environment,” she added. The ocean floor near the site of the well is still largely unexplored and is probably home to many other deep-water coral communities that scientists are eager to study. The scientists will return to the same region on an expedition in December for more research, using a Navy vehicle that can accommodate two scientists and a pilot to depths of up to nearly 15,000 feet. Work on deep-water corals is typically conducted using advanced submersibles or remotely operated underwater vehicles. Coral sites in shallower waters farther from the well have not suffered visible damage, scientists say, but they are still studying these reefs for signs of less acute long-term effects. “There’s a lot of work to be done to see if there’s been some sublethal effect on these corals,” said Erik Cordes, a marine biologist from Temple University who has been studying reefs in the gulf in the aftermath of the spill.
[ "Coral", "Gulf of Mexico", "Reefs", "BP Plc", "Oil (Petroleum) and Gasoline", "Fish and Other Marine Life", "Accidents and Safety", "Offshore Drilling and Exploration", "Water Pollution" ]
[ "P", "P", "P", "M", "M", "M", "M", "M", "M" ]
[ "science", "earth" ]
19 Police Officers in the Bronx Are Charged With Downgrading Crimes
Nineteen New York City police officers assigned to a station house in the Bronx face disciplinary action after being charged on Friday by department lawyers with wrongdoing, including incorrectly classifying crimes and downgrading criminal complaints, the police said. The administrative charges against the officers, from the 40th Precinct, follow an internal audit that uncovered 55 crime reports that were improperly processed during a four-month period last year, the police said. As a result, the complaints appeared less serious than when victims first made them, and the precinct appeared more successful at fighting crime than it actually was. In a statement accompanying the announcement of the charges, Police Commissioner William J. Bratton described them as “strict but fair.” “The purposeful misrepresentation of crime data is rare but nevertheless unacceptable, and it will be dealt with accordingly,” Mr. Bratton said. Those charged include a lieutenant, eight sergeants, nine police officers and a detective, the police said. While none have been placed on modified duty or suspended without pay, the precinct’s commanding officer, Deputy Inspector Lorenzo Johnson, has been temporarily assigned to a non-patrol services command pending further review, Stephen P. Davis, the department’s chief spokesman, said. Inspector Johnson has not been charged with wrongdoing, Mr. Davis said, but “is being held accountable because he is the commanding officer.” Auditors are now reviewing crime data for the 49th Precinct, where Inspector Johnson served until moving to the 40th Precinct in April 2014, the police said. The issue of incorrectly classified data has bedeviled the Police Department since it began to rely on the computerized tracking of crime with the system known as CompStat , which Mr. Bratton introduced when he last was the commissioner in New York, in the early 1990s. Critics have questioned the extent to which CompStat could be undermined by departmental incentives to keep crime low, as reflected in statistics. Patrick J. Lynch , president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, raised that specter again on Friday while saying the union would “vigorously defend” the accused officers. “It’s an artificial way of keeping felonies down with fewer officers on the street, a problem that we still experience today,” he said. In one high-profile 2010 episode involving allegations of data being doctored, a police commander, Deputy Inspector Steven Mauriello , and four officers faced internal charges based on another officer’s claims that crime complaints in the 81st Precinct in Brooklyn had been manipulated. Inspector Mauriello specifically was charged with failing to record a grand larceny complaint and with impeding the department’s investigation, officials said at the time. The current inquiry into the 40th Precinct crime data grew out of an anonymous tip to the Internal Affairs Bureau about a “mischaracterization of crime reporting going on,” Lawrence Byrne, the deputy commissioner of legal matters, said. In conducting the audit, the department’s Quality Assurance Division reviewed 1,558 crime complaint reports filed from May to August 2014 — the first four months of Inspector Johnson’s tenure — and examined 911 calls and so-called radio runs during that time to assess officers’ responses, the police said. Forty-four complaints prompted immediate concern, including six in which the narrative in police reports did not match the crime alleged. In fewer than 10 cases, officers simply did not record a complaint that was made. Most of the improperly classified complaints involved five low-level offenses — petit larceny, lost property, misdemeanor assault, criminal mischief and criminal trespass — that should have been recorded as more serious crimes. The police said they did not believe any of the reports at issue led to an arrest. Mr. Davis said the auditors believed they had captured the extent of the wrongdoing. “They think they wrapped it up for the audit period,” he said, adding, “It’s disturbing, the scope of this.” Once the reports were corrected, data showed that major crime in the precinct fell 11.4 percent over all in 2014, compared to 14 percent, as originally reported. The police commissioner is the department’s ultimate arbiter of punishment — from the loss of vacation days to termination — in such cases, which can drag on for years. Inspector Mauriello, for instance, remains on active duty in the department’s Transit Bureau in the Bronx and has yet to resolve the charges against him nearly five years after they were filed.
[ "Bronx", "Crime", "NYPD", "Police Brutality,Police Misconduct,Police Shootings", "William J Bratton" ]
[ "P", "P", "U", "M", "M" ]
[ "nyregion" ]
Cancellara Wins Flanders; Armstrong Fades to 27th
Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland shook off Tom Boonen of Belgium on the toughest climb of the Tour of Flanders and raced away to a victory by 1 minute 14 seconds Sunday in Meerbeke, Belgium. Cancellara broke away on the Wall of Geraardsbergen with 12 miles to go. He finished the 163 miles in 6 hours 25 minutes 56 seconds. Lance Armstrong finished 27th as the leading Team RadioShack rider. He used the race, with its long stretches of cobblestones, as preparation for the third stage of the Tour de France , which will include seven cobblestone sections for eight miles. “I felt better than I felt all year,” said Armstrong, who was near the head of the pack with 18 miles to go and finished more than two minutes behind Cancellara.
[ "Bicycles and Bicycling", "Cancellara Fabian", "Boonen Tom", "Flanders (Belgium)", "Armstrong Lance" ]
[ "M", "R", "R", "M", "R" ]
[ "sports", "cycling" ]
Texas Republican Personifies Challenge for Immigration Bill
GONZALES, Tex. — The questions about immigration at Representative Blake Farenthold’s town meeting were urgent and to the point. So were the answers. Mr. Farenthold, a Republican, told an audience here on Tuesday that the overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws that recently passed the Senate “doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell in the House of Representatives.” The 70 or so constituents — largely older, largely white — who filled the small, warm room in the Gonzales Municipal Building were more curious than combative, more earnest than angry. They wanted to know, for instance, why Mr. Farenthold thought that Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, had supported the Senate’s immigration bill, which includes a path to citizenship for 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the country. “I think he wants to be president,” Mr. Farenthold said with a laugh. Mr. Farenthold embodies the challenge for advocates of major immigration changes as they press the issue in the House. Even though he represents a district with a significant population of Hispanics, he has strong reservations about providing a path to full citizenship for unauthorized immigrants, a provision that backers of the Senate measure consider a condition of their support. Mr. Farenthold instead favors what he calls “earned legalization” — a process in which immigrants would have to meet a series of conditions for remaining in the United States. Immigration advocates say that approach would create a second class of people who could never become citizens. “My deal is you start as far to the right as you can get, and go to the conference committee with the Senate, and hopefully end up with something you can live with,” Mr. Farenthold said in an interview after his event. “Getting to citizenship is going to be tough, but never say never.” Mr. Farenthold is among the House Republicans who have expressed some openness to an immigration overhaul. Elected in 2010 on the Tea Party wave, he defeated a longtime Democratic incumbent by 800 votes. His district at the time stretched from Corpus Christi down to Brownsville, on the border with Mexico, with Hispanics making up more than 70 percent of the population. After a politically favorable redrawing of his district after the 2010 census, Mr. Farenthold now holds what is considered a safe Republican seat, with a decreased, but still significant, share of Hispanics — 49.5 percent, according to the census. For many other House Republicans, however, the redistricting changes were starker, creating little political incentive to support an immigration overhaul. Only 24 Republicans sit in districts that are more than 25 percent Latino, and last year Mitt Romney won 17 of those districts by more than 10 points. That leaves, said David Wasserman, the House editor for The Cook Political Report, only a handful of districts that are “substantially Latino and remotely competitive.” Redistricting, Mr. Wasserman added, “makes the Republican majority in the House almost impenetrable,” but it also makes the job of Speaker John A. Boehner “almost unmanageable.” Representative Steve Israel, Democrat of New York and the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, described the Republican predicament similarly. “Redistricting puts them in a very difficult position when they’re contemplating voting for immigration reform,” he said. “They know in their hearts it’s the right thing to do, but their political brain is blaring warning signals that they’re exposing themselves to a primary from the Tea Party and extreme right-wing base.” In person, Mr. Farenthold can come off as slightly goofy. He is fleshy, with a gap between his top front teeth, and he kicked off his hourlong question-and-answer session by joking, “We can now play stump the congressman with questions.” After the event, he turned to his district director and said good-naturedly: “You never got me a Dr Pepper, Bob. That’s a hashtag fail.” Moments later, the soda appeared. He also threw out bits of red meat intended to appeal to his conservative base. On guns: “I’m a Texan — my idea of gun control is hitting what you aim at and nothing else,” he said. And on potential budget cuts: “I think there are several departments we could completely get rid of, and we wouldn’t miss it,” he said, as the crowd murmured its assent. But his tone turned more moderate when he talked about immigration changes, a reflection of the cross forces in his redrawn district: a voting base that disapproves of anything that smacks of amnesty, but also a population that is about half Hispanic, and a business community that believes that undocumented workers are critical to the economy. The consistent message that he hears from constituents, he said, is “no to the Senate bill and no amnesty.” He added, almost wearily, “Where the lines of amnesty are have not been sorted out in the American psyche.” Mr. Farenthold told the crowd that he favored the piecemeal approach being taken by the House Judiciary Committee, on which he sits, “where you’re able to say yes or no on whatever issue, rather than having to vote up or down on a big comprehensive bill.” Later, in the interview, he said that some of those pieces could include a path to legalization for the “innocent victims” brought to the country illegally as young children, he said, or “for folks who served honorably in the military.” Referring to the 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the country, he added: “It could be a pathway to legalization. It could be way back in the line, after everyone else.” If nothing else, Mr. Farenthold hopes to use his background as a talk radio host to help his fellow Republicans “talk to constituents in a way that isn’t offensive, and that shows compassion and that is reasonable.” He recalled recently doing a radio interview with another Republican legislator, who three times referred to immigrants as “those people.” “I’ve been in radio since I was 15 years old — you might as well have used a racial slur,” he said. “ ‘Those people’ is a bad word.” Some pro-immigration groups are taking Mr. Farenthold at his word. Jeremy Robbins, the director of the Partnership for a New American Economy, said that Mr. Farenthold was on his organization’s list of lawmakers it was hoping to persuade to vote for an immigration compromise. “He’s from Texas, he’s on Judiciary, and he’s thought about immigration,” Mr. Robbins said. And Fernando Garcia, the executive director of the Border Network for Human Rights, which recently helped organize an immigration overhaul tour throughout the state, said he believed that Mr. Farenthold was “on the fence.” “If Farenthold doesn’t see the future of his district, and if he doesn’t see the future of the party as a whole, then he is betting on the wrong side,” Mr. Garcia said. “He needs to make a decision within the next few months, because votes are going to happen soon.”
[ "Texas", "Immigration", "House of Representatives", "R Blake Farenthold", "US Politics", "Tea Party movement", "Illegal Immigration", "Redistricting and Reapportionment", "gerrymandering", "Congress" ]
[ "P", "P", "P", "M", "M", "M", "R", "M", "U", "U" ]
[ "us", "politics" ]
In Westchester, Many Seem Able to Wait Out the Storm
THE real estate troubles that have been plaguing the rest of the nation are now hitting hard in Westchester, with markedly fewer sales, according to a report released last month by the Westchester-Putnam Multiple Listing Service. In Westchester, there was a 31 percent drop in the number of sales during the first quarter of this year, to 1,340 from 1,927 during the same period last year. That is the largest year-over-year decrease since the listing service began keeping records in 1980. Still, the median price of a single-family house in Westchester remained fairly steady — down 2 percent, to $622,500, for the first quarter of this year, compared with $635,000 a year ago. The comparisons with the first quarter of last year were in contrast with the national trend. In the first quarter of this year, the median price of existing single-family homes nationwide was down 7.7 percent from the first quarter of 2007, the National Association of Realtors reported. The relative stability of prices in Westchester may be linked to a decrease in inventory, which, at 5,903 houses on March 31, was 14 percent below 2007’s first-quarter level, the Multiple Listing Service said. The reason, said P. Gilbert Mercurio, the chief executive of the Westchester County Board of Realtors and writer of the report, is that unlike many areas, Westchester has “an above-average number of homeowners with considerable control over whether and when to list their properties for sale.” Many homeowners — among them, empty nesters — appear able to wait out the downturn, he said. Also, foreclosure on homes has not resulted in a flood of new inventory, even though the foreclosure rate in the county has more than doubled in the past year. But the report cautions that the foreclosure problem has not played itself out and could spread. There were 759 foreclosure filings in Westchester in the first quarter of 2008, compared with 530 for the first quarter of 2007, 378 during the first quarter of 2006 and 244 for the same period in 2005, according to the county clerk’s office. But not all filings result in foreclosure actions. Some prospective foreclosures are resolved through refinancing or other means, like short sales — when an owner and lender agree to sell a house for a reduced price to satisfy the mortgage. In other cases, investors buy properties before they reach the open market. Much of the foreclosure activity has been focused in less-affluent areas of the county in cities including Mount Vernon, Yonkers and New Rochelle. By comparison, the high end of the market appears to be holding its own, said Harding Mason, president of the County Board of Realtors and an associate broker in Houlihan Lawrence’s Katonah office. The average price of a single-family house (as opposed to the median, which represents the middle of the price spectrum) rose about 4 percent, to $935,556, in the first quarter, an indication that some high-priced transactions were in the mix, he said. Houses selling for $1 million or more accounted for 31 percent of first-quarter sales compared with 21 percent in 2007. Other sectors of the housing market also experienced downturns. Sales of condominiums were down by almost 35 percent, to 209 from 319 in the first quarter last year. The first-quarter median sale price for condos was $380,000, or 3 percent below last year’s level. Sales of co-ops declined 18.9 percent, to 343, from 423 in the previous year’s first quarter. The price of co-ops also declined, with a drop of about 5 percent for the median since last year, to $176,000 from $185,000. Mr. Mason said that despite the numbers, he was optimistic about the housing market, noting that it seemed stronger in April. “Some buyers,” he said, “will see this as a good opportunity to make an investment.” At Ginsburg Development Companies in Valhalla, Michael J. Bartolone, the chief operating officer, said the start of three new construction projects in Westchester — in Hastings-on-Hudson, Ossining and Peekskill — had been delayed because of the slow market. But at two of the company’s communities already under construction — Christie Place, a luxury condominium project in Scarsdale for people 55 and over, and Riverwatch, a conversion of an apartment complex to condos — sales, which had been slow in 2007, started to pick up in recent months, Mr. Bartolone said. Rather than cutting prices, the company is offering buyer incentives. For example, if a buyer opts for $25,000 in extras, it will match that by providing another $25,000 in extras at no additional cost. In Bedford, Douglas Smolev, one of a group of developers building 17 homes priced at $4.25 million and up at Stone Manors on Twin Lakes, said he was aiming for what he called “the recession-proof end of the market” — customers who were buying even if the rest of the market was not. But Mr. Smolev said that since the market started its slowdown, the developers were not building any of those homes on speculation.
[ "Sales", "Housing", "Foreclosures", "Westchester County (NY)" ]
[ "P", "P", "P", "M" ]
[ "nyregion", "nyregionspecial2" ]
As Housing in Florida Plummets, the Top Tier of the Market Just Dips
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Oct. 20 — Despite a record number of foreclosures and a raft of public auctions of unwanted houses, the upper tier of the real estate market in Florida remains relatively immune to the spreading disaster. Houses and condominiums with price tags of $1 million or more are still changing hands robustly in some of the most exclusive areas, though at a pace less brisk than a year ago. The glistening waterfront glass towers on Miami Beach, the sprawling estates set in manicured gardens in Palm Beach and the clustered mansions in Naples are attracting buyers, both domestic and foreign. As in other once-booming regions, in Florida the housing market seems to be not one market, but two. The lower end is littered with vacant houses and unfinished developments, and homeowners are struggling to meet their monthly payments as rates adjust upward. The luxury end has its unsold new condos and mansions lingering on the market, too, but as in New York, where the demand in pricey Manhattan is still strong, sales have fallen less. And Miami and other parts of Florida are continuing to attract interest among the wealthy. Both markets have been buoyed by foreign buyers attracted to the United States because the weak dollar makes American homes comparative bargains. Florida has the added demand from affluent retirees across the country and second-home buyers, particularly from the Northeast. “The very, very high end of the markets in communities such as the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Manhattan and Miami and to a lesser degree Chicago, Seattle and Washington that have global appeal have held up much better than the rest of the housing market,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s . “A recession would certainly not help the high end, but it would not undermine it. And much of their buying is done with cash and not affected by the global financial turmoil and its impact on the availability of mortgages.” Take the greater Miami area. Over all, home prices have fallen 7.3 percent from their peak in December 2006, according to the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index that tracks repeat sales of specific homes. But because of a shift upward in the value of the homes that have traded hands, the median price for condos sold so far this year for over $1 million is holding steady at $1.5 million, according to the Realtor Association of Greater Miami and the Beaches . The median price for single-family homes sold is even reported to be up slightly, to $1.51 million from $1.46 million in the 2006 period. In Miami Beach, two brokers, Kevin Tomlinson and Dora Puig, recently represented a buyer from the Midwest who paid $7 million for a beachfront triplex. The sellers, a group of wealthy Mexicans, had bought the apartment for $6.13 million in April 2005, near the height of the market. They put it up for sale in early 2006 for $9.5 million and finally sold it for a 14 percent gain. “When people are realistic about prices, they can sell,” said Mr. Tomlinson, a broker with EWM Realty, an affiliate of Christie’s. Based on the number of sales, the Florida real estate market as a whole has taken a huge hit this year. Unit sales of homes and condominiums worth less than $1 million in Miami-Dade County, for example, fell 37.2 percent through Oct. 23 compared with the period a year earlier. So far in 2007, 7,078 homes have been sold. But even the high end is cooling off. In the greater Miami area, the number of condos and single-family homes that sold for more than $1 million through Oct. 23 fell 18 percent, to 958 units from 1,166 units in the comparable period a year earlier. At the very high end of the market in Naples on Florida’s west coast, there have been about 40 sales so far this year, compared with 46 sales for all of 2006, according to Thomas L. Campbell Jr., sales associate at Premier Properties. In Palm Beach, the number of units sold has fallen 15 percent, to 223 properties. “There is more inventory in all price ranges,” said Deborah Boza Valledor, the chief operating officer of the Realtor Association of Greater Miami and the Beaches. But even as more homes linger on the market, some areas remain particularly popular with potential buyers. “They are waterfront properties that are exclusive,” she said, “and people are willing to pay the price.” Indeed, more than 78,000 homes were for sale in the Miami area in August, up from 51,000 a year before, according to ZipRealty, the real estate brokerage firm. The overhang of unsold homes helps explain why reported selling prices do not tell the whole story. Sellers “are making concessions,” Ms. Boza Valledor said. “They will offer a year’s worth of paid maintenance fees to the buyer, or they will pay for the parking space or they will throw in country club fees that might be part of the expense of buying a home in a gated community.” Just a year ago, when buyers were bidding against one another for properties, such deals would have been unusual. And in another sign that the feeding frenzy has ended, the highest price paid for a Miami-area condo this year was $13.9 million, down from the top price of $16.9 million last year. Mr. Tomlinson, the Christie’s broker, suggests that sellers are starting to be more realistic. “They are coming off their 2005 prices and are more in today’s market,” he said. “Two years ago, if you sold something at $3.5 million, the next listing in that building came at $4.2 million. Now it is more reasonable.” Across the state through the end of September, the real estate company Coldwell Banker has sold 1,222 condos worth a million dollars or more, said Clark W. Toole, who runs the company’s operations in Florida. The average sale price is down less than half a percent from last year. To the degree that the market has held up, it has been helped by eager foreigners, checkbooks in hand, who are still showing up and often paying cash. A survey last year by the National Association of Realtors found that the number of foreign buyers in Florida had dropped significantly from 2005. But of those who bought, 29 percent paid cash. Only 8 percent of domestic purchasers did. More than 10 percent of the foreigners bought homes for over $1 million. The pattern of sales remains uneven, with evidence that some of the most exclusive places are having a harder time. On Fisher Island, the private island just off Miami Beach that has its own golf course, tennis courts and spa, business has slowed sharply, said Lars Ekdahl, who has worked as a real estate agent on the island for 13 years. Right now, the island, which boasts Andre Agassi as a frequent visitor and where Oprah Winfrey once owned a home, has 96 of its 700 housing units for sale. At one point, the number offered was just 39. “I didn’t think it would affect us so much at Fisher Island,” Mr. Ekdahl said, “with the dollar so weak and the euro so strong.” Only about half the island’s residents are Americans. The cost of living on the island has risen because of dues and other expenses, and in a market in which buyers have more choice, they may be pickier. Perhaps the starkest sign of a two-tier housing market is in Palm Beach. The island of Palm Beach itself has about 8,000 housing units. Leslie Evans, a local real estate lawyer, said that about 80 percent of sales there are cash deals and that most buyers are American. But just across the bridge in West Palm Beach, “there are buildings with 200 units and 80 of them are for sale, and others where the building is nearing completion and sales will never close.”
[ "Housing", "Florida", "Sales", "Prices (Fares Fees and Rates)" ]
[ "P", "P", "P", "M" ]
[ "business" ]
Nominee for South Korean Premier Exits Over Colonization Remarks
SEOUL, South Korea — President Park Geun-hye, whose approval ratings have fallen since an April ferry disaster that left hundreds dead, suffered a new political blow on Tuesday as her second consecutive nominee for prime minister stepped aside, amid an uproar over his suggestion that Korea’s colonization by Japan had been “God’s will.” “Since I was appointed as prime minister, this country has plunged even deeper into severe confrontation and divide,” the nominee, Moon Chang-keuk, said at a news conference. “I have decided that I should help President Park by stepping down of my own will.” Mr. Moon, once a well-known conservative newspaper columnist, was Ms. Park’s second nominee for prime minister to withdraw before his confirmation hearings in the National Assembly could even begin. The first, Ahn Dae-hee, a former Supreme Court justice, stepped aside last month because of a controversy over his post-retirement earnings. Each had been nominated to replace Prime Minister Chung Hong-won, who resigned over the government’s handling of the April 16 ferry sinking, in which more than 300 people were killed, most of them students. The post of prime minister is a largely ceremonial one in South Korea. But the botched appointments cast doubt on Ms. Park’s ability to choose a candidate who could pass the test of public opinion in a country deeply divided over her administration. Mr. Moon’s trouble began when a national television network, KBS, broadcast footage from a 2011 lecture he had given at his Presbyterian church in Seoul. Image Moon Chang-keuk, recently nominated for prime minister, bowed during a news conference announcing his resignation in Seoul. Credit Ahn Young-Joon/Associated Press “We may protest, ‘Why did God make this nation a colony of Japan?’ ” Mr. Moon, an elder at his church, said from the pulpit, according to the video , which circulated widely online. “But as I said earlier, there is God’s will in it.” Mr. Moon also said that the Korean elite had been hopelessly corrupt and inefficient before colonization began in 1910. “Laziness, lack of independence and a tendency to depend on others were in our national DNA,” he said in the speech. God’s message, he said, was that the Koreans “needed hardship,” in the form of colonization. Mr. Moon also said that “in retrospect, it was also God’s will” for Korea to be divided into a Communist North and a pro-American South after Japan’s rule ended with its defeat in World War II. Noting that there were many Communists among Korea’s elite at the time, Mr. Moon said, “Given the way we were then, had Korea been liberated as a whole, it would have been Communized.” Critics interpreted the remarks as a prime-minister-to-be’s justifying his own country’s colonization. They argued that nationalist politicians in Japan, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, would use his remarks to strengthen the case that colonial rule was not as bad as many Koreans have made it out to be. Relations between Japan and South Korea have chilled in recent years, with historical and territorial issues at the root of many disputes. Mr. Moon expressed regret over what he called a “misunderstanding” arising from “a little gap between what can be said inside a church and sentiments of ordinary people.” But he said that political opponents had distorted comments he had made to a private audience. The uproar led to Mr. Moon’s being labeled “pro-Japanese,” a toxic political epithet in South Korea. Even some prominent members of Ms. Park’s party joined the opposition in demanding that Mr. Moon step down. Historical issues involving Japan’s rule over Korea have been problematic for Ms. Park. Her father, the former dictator Park Chung-hee, was once an officer in Japan’s Imperial Army. During Ms. Park’s presidential campaign in 2012, her most outspoken critics cited that part of her family history to argue that she could not be trusted.
[ "South Korea", "Park Geun-hye", "Japan", "Moon Chang-keuk", "World War II", "Shinzo Abe" ]
[ "P", "P", "P", "P", "P", "P" ]
[ "world", "asia" ]
Staten Island: Woman Found Dead After Fire
A 38-year-old Staten Island woman was found dead yesterday afternoon after a fire destroyed her apartment and killed a large number of her pets, the police said. It was not immediately clear whether the woman, who neighbors said had heart problems, had died in the fire or before it, officials said. The police said that the fire, which began about 2 p.m. at 382 Bradford Avenue, had not been deemed suspicious but that the cause was still under investigation. The fire began in the second-floor apartment where the woman lived with a number of animals, including cats and birds. The landlord said that of the 15 cats that lived with the woman, only about 5 survived.
[ "Fires and Firefighters", "Deaths (Obituaries)", "Staten Island (NYC)" ]
[ "M", "U", "M" ]
[ "nyregion" ]
Bread Stays on Menu for Carp at Pennsylvania Lake
PITTSBURGH — The carp in Pymatuning Lake will not be denied their daily bread, the Pennsylvania Bureau of State Parks has decided. After being berated for two months by visitors, business owners and elected officials, the state has temporarily called off a plan to force people to stop feeding bread to carp in the lake near Linesville, Pa., and to feed them fish pellets instead. Every year, an estimated 500,000 people trek to the lake in northwestern Pennsylvania to see a veritable carpet of carp in the water. The impromptu roadside attraction is known in part for the sight of ducks walking over the backs of the carp to get at some of the bread themselves. This has spurred Linesville to call itself “Where the Ducks Walk on the Fishes.” In July, the state said it wanted to end the 70-year tradition because it was generating litter and attracting geese that were defecating on local beaches and campgrounds. A community uproar led to a three-hour public meeting on Sept. 8 that attracted nearly 400 people, who nearly unanimously opposed the move. Many worried that the change would deter visitors, who spend money in local restaurants and other businesses. “Hey, with that many people, numbers speak,” Pete Houghton, manager of Pymatuning State Park, said Thursday. That led to a private meeting on Wednesday in Harrisburg, the state capital, between three administrators and local state legislators before a decision was reached. The state will monitor the litter and geese population over the next year and see if it can be managed without an end to the bread-feeding.
[ "Pennsylvania", "Carp (Fish)", "Pymatuning Lake (Pa)" ]
[ "P", "M", "M" ]
[ "us" ]
On the Road With the Two Jon Corzines
TRENTON FORGET Bon Jovi’s “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” or Bruce’s “Born to Run.” For Gov. Jon S. Corzine , the most apt anthem for his budget-cutting road show these days is Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” First, you had several thousand teachers, firefighters and state employees blaring the song from the State House steps in December 2006 to protest a suggested change to pension and health benefits. Then, you had hundreds of angry devotees of the talk radio station WKXW-FM (101.5), who used the same song earlier this month, on the same steps, to protest Mr. Corzine’s toll road plan and blame public workers for the state’s fiscal mess. Small wonder, then, that Mr. Corzine seems to be struggling with how to balance the interests of pro- and anti-union forces as he promotes his plan to reduce state debt and finance transportation projects with sharply higher tolls. One moment, he defiantly dismisses suggestions that the state tear up years of contracts it has made with state workers and other civil servants. Teachers, firefighters, police officers and other municipal employees in New Jersey are generally covered by the state’s pension and retirement rules and benefits. If the state were simply to ignore those contracts, he says, no one — not Wall Street, not the federal government — would ever trust New Jersey’s word again. “We are a country of laws,” Mr. Corzine said last month at a town hall meeting in Middle Township. The next moment, however, he sounds like the kind of bottom-line, anti-union chief executive officer he presumably clashed with regularly on Wall Street. He reminds people that he increased the retirement age in 2007 and forced state workers to chip in for health insurance for the first time. “I’m the first governor in 25 years who has actually taken anything away from anybody,” he told an audience at East Brunswick High School two weeks ago. Now, as he prepares to unveil a budget on Tuesday that will very likely include deep cuts totaling $2.5 billion, Mr. Corzine is training his red pen on state workers again. He is weighing a reduction in the state work force by 3,000 jobs, probably through early retirement, as well as the elimination of the Department of Personnel and other agencies. But whether these cuts will be substantive or merely symbolic is anyone’s guess. And it’s part of the reason that labor experts remain uncertain as to which Mr. Corzine will show up: The one who has long been labor’s staunch ally? Or the one who has been stung by the raw anti-public worker sentiment voiced at the 13 town hall meetings he has held so far? “I think right now he is trying to find a center that he can turn to that will support him,” said Joseph A. Golowski, a retired state auditor who is now a labor consultant. “If he says it just to keep people happy, that’s one thing. If he actually means to worm away their benefits — eat away at the benefits — then that’s another.” Mr. Corzine clearly has his work cut out for him. A Quinnipiac University poll on Wednesday showed his ratings at 37 percent approving of his performance, and, in an all-time high, 52 percent disapproving. But in his town hall meetings, public employees — not Mr. Corzine — are the audience’s No. 1 scapegoat for all of New Jersey’s ills. At a meeting in Cranford last month, for instance, Joy Atkin, a retired teacher from Union Township, was booed when she expressed concern she would not receive the full benefits to which she thought she was entitled. “Pay for it!” someone shouted. Meanwhile, at a meeting in Voorhees, Mr. Corzine received robust applause when he talked about how he had pushed the retirement age for new public workers to 60, from 55. Indeed, he said he hoped to push it even higher in the next contract in 2011. “In the next contract, we’ll probably push it out to match up with the private sector,” the governor said. Yet at times Mr. Corzine has been just as vigorous in defending the state’s public workers. For instance, he said teachers were crucial to the success of New Jersey’s students, sometimes mentioning that his mother was a teacher. He has also aggressively wooed labor leaders, and has managed to persuade a few key groups to endorse his toll plan. Those involved in the building trades — construction workers, ironworkers and others — have been especially supportive, because they think it will create more jobs. Some ironworkers even showed up en masse at the governor’s Mays Landing forum and often drowned out critics of Mr. Corzine’s, including Steven M. Lonegan, a former (and possibly future) Republican candidate for governor. The ironworkers were joined by a vocal band of casino workers, led by Robert McDevitt, president of Unite-Here Local 54. Unions may not actually be buying into the plan yet, but they would like to give Mr. Corzine a little leeway — at least until Tuesday. “It’s a symbolic beating up of labor, so I would be surprised if people were really upset with him,” said Adrienne E. Eaton, a professor of labor studies and employment relations at Rutgers. “I think that he’s sending a real signal that they need to support his budget plan and toll plan — or else.” Or else...Twisted Sister, anyone?
[ "New Jersey", "Corzine Jon S", "Politics and Government" ]
[ "P", "M", "M" ]
[ "nyregion", "nyregionspecial2" ]
Some Biologists Find an Urge in Human Nature to Help
What is the essence of human nature? Flawed, say many theologians. Vicious and addicted to warfare, wrote Hobbes. Selfish and in need of considerable improvement, think many parents. But biologists are beginning to form a generally sunnier view of humankind. Their conclusions are derived in part from testing very young children, and partly from comparing human children with those of chimpanzees, hoping that the differences will point to what is distinctively human. The somewhat surprising answer at which some biologists have arrived is that babies are innately sociable and helpful to others. Of course every animal must to some extent be selfish to survive. But the biologists also see in humans a natural willingness to help. When infants 18 months old see an unrelated adult whose hands are full and who needs assistance opening a door or picking up a dropped clothespin, they will immediately help, Michael Tomasello writes in “ Why We Cooperate ,” a book published in October. Dr. Tomasello, a developmental psychologist, is co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig , Germany . The helping behavior seems to be innate because it appears so early and before many parents start teaching children the rules of polite behavior. “It’s probably safe to assume that they haven’t been explicitly and directly taught to do this,” said Elizabeth Spelke, a developmental psychologist at Harvard. “On the other hand, they’ve had lots of opportunities to experience acts of helping by others. I think the jury is out on the innateness question.” But Dr. Tomasello finds the helping is not enhanced by rewards, suggesting that it is not influenced by training. It seems to occur across cultures that have different timetables for teaching social rules. And helping behavior can even be seen in infant chimpanzees under the right experimental conditions. For all these reasons, Dr. Tomasello concludes that helping is a natural inclination, not something imposed by parents or culture. Infants will help with information, as well as in practical ways. From the age of 12 months they will point at objects that an adult pretends to have lost. Chimpanzees, by contrast, never point at things for each other, and when they point for people, it seems to be as a command to go fetch something rather than to share information. For parents who may think their children somehow skipped the cooperative phase, Dr. Tomasello offers the reassuring advice that children are often more cooperative outside the home, which is why parents may be surprised to hear from a teacher or coach how nice their child is. “In families, the competitive element is in ascendancy,” he said. As children grow older, they become more selective in their helpfulness. Starting around age 3, they will share more generously with a child who was previously nice to them. Another behavior that emerges at the same age is a sense of social norms. “Most social norms are about being nice to other people,” Dr. Tomasello said in an interview, “so children learn social norms because they want to be part of the group.” Children not only feel they should obey these rules themselves, but also that they should make others in the group do the same. Even 3-year-olds are willing to enforce social norms. If they are shown how to play a game, and a puppet then joins in with its own idea of the rules, the children will object, some of them vociferously. Where do they get this idea of group rules, the sense of “we who do it this way”? Dr. Tomasello believes children develop what he calls “shared intentionality,” a notion of what others expect to happen and hence a sense of a group “we.” It is from this shared intentionality that children derive their sense of norms and of expecting others to obey them. Shared intentionality, in Dr. Tomasello’s view, is close to the essence of what distinguishes people from chimpanzees. A group of human children will use all kinds of words and gestures to form goals and coordinate activities, but young chimps seem to have little interest in what may be their companions’ minds. If children are naturally helpful and sociable, what system of child-rearing best takes advantage of this surprising propensity? Dr. Tomasello says that the approach known as inductive parenting works best because it reinforces the child’s natural propensity to cooperate with others. Inductive parenting is simply communicating with children about the effect of their actions on others and emphasizing the logic of social cooperation. “Children are altruistic by nature,” he writes, and though they are also naturally selfish, all parents need do is try to tip the balance toward social behavior. The shared intentionality lies at the basis of human society, Dr. Tomasello argues. From it flow ideas of norms, of punishing those who violate the norms and of shame and guilt for punishing oneself. Shared intentionality evolved very early in the human lineage, he believes, and its probable purpose was for cooperation in gathering food. Anthropologists report that when men cooperate in hunting, they can take down large game, which single hunters generally cannot do. Chimpanzees gather to hunt colobus monkeys, but Dr. Tomasello argues this is far less of a cooperative endeavor because the participants act on an ad hoc basis and do not really share their catch. An interesting bodily reflection of humans’ shared intentionality is the sclera, or whites, of the eyes. All 200 or so species of primates have dark eyes and a barely visible sclera. All, that is, except humans, whose sclera is three times as large, a feature that makes it much easier to follow the direction of someone else’s gaze. Chimps will follow a person’s gaze, but by looking at his head, even if his eyes are closed. Babies follow a person’s eyes, even if the experimenter keeps his head still. Advertising what one is looking at could be a risk. Dr. Tomasello argues that the behavior evolved “in cooperative social groups in which monitoring one another’s focus was to everyone’s benefit in completing joint tasks.” This could have happened at some point early in human evolution, when in order to survive, people were forced to cooperate in hunting game or gathering fruit. The path to obligatory cooperation — one that other primates did not take — led to social rules and their enforcement, to human altruism and to language. “Humans putting their heads together in shared cooperative activities are thus the originators of human culture,” Dr. Tomasello writes. A similar conclusion has been reached independently by Hillard S. Kaplan, an anthropologist at the University of New Mexico . Modern humans have lived for most of their existence as hunter gatherers, so much of human nature has presumably been shaped for survival in such conditions. From study of existing hunter gatherer peoples, Dr. Kaplan has found evidence of cooperation woven into many levels of human activity. The division of labor between men and women — men gather 68 percent of the calories in foraging societies — requires cooperation between the sexes. Young people in these societies consume more than they produce until age 20, which in turn requires cooperation between the generations. This long period of dependency was needed to develop the special skills required for the hunter gatherer way of life. The structure of early human societies, including their “high levels of cooperation between kin and nonkin,” was thus an adaptation to the “specialized foraging niche” of food resources that were too difficult for other primates to capture, Dr. Kaplan and colleagues wrote recently in The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. We evolved to be nice to each other, in other words, because there was no alternative. Much the same conclusion is reached by Frans de Waal in another book published in October, “The Age of Empathy.” Dr. de Waal, a primatologist, has long studied the cooperative side of primate behavior and believes that aggression, which he has also studied, is often overrated as a human motivation. “We’re preprogrammed to reach out,” Dr. de Waal writes. “Empathy is an automated response over which we have limited control.” The only people emotionally immune to another’s situation, he notes, are psychopaths. Indeed, it is in our biological nature, not our political institutions, that we should put our trust, in his view. Our empathy is innate and cannot be changed or long suppressed. “In fact,” Dr. de Waal writes, “I’d argue that biology constitutes our greatest hope. One can only shudder at the thought that the humaneness of our societies would depend on the whims of politics, culture or religion.” The basic sociability of human nature does not mean, of course, that people are nice to each other all the time. Social structure requires that things be done to maintain it, some of which involve negative attitudes toward others. The instinct for enforcing norms is powerful, as is the instinct for fairness. Experiments have shown that people will reject unfair distributions of money even it means they receive nothing. “Humans clearly evolved the ability to detect inequities, control immediate desires, foresee the virtues of norm following and gain the personal, emotional rewards that come from seeing another punished,” write three Harvard biologists, Marc Hauser, Katherine McAuliffe and Peter R. Blake, in reviewing their experiments with tamarin monkeys and young children. If people do bad things to others in their group, they can behave even worse to those outside it. Indeed the human capacity for cooperation “seems to have evolved mainly for interactions within the local group,” Dr. Tomasello writes. Sociality, the binding together of members of a group, is the first requirement of defense, since without it people will not put the group’s interests ahead of their own or be willing to sacrifice their lives in battle. Lawrence H. Keeley, an anthropologist who has traced aggression among early peoples, writes in his book “War Before Civilization” that, “Warfare is ultimately not a denial of the human capacity for cooperation, but merely the most destructive expression of it.” The roots of human cooperation may lie in human aggression. We are selfish by nature, yet also follow rules requiring us to be nice to others. “That’s why we have moral dilemmas,” Dr. Tomasello said, “because we are both selfish and altruistic at the same time.”
[ "Psychology", "null", "Sociology", "Science and Technology" ]
[ "U", "U", "U", "M" ]
[ "science" ]
U.S. Lugers See Medals With Tunnel Vision
SAN DIEGO — Mark Grimmette’s duty for the day was more appropriate for a mannequin than an Olympian. In a chamber that looked like a set from a science fiction movie, Grimmette lay on a sled while winds between 65 and 80 miles an hour blew over him. From an adjacent room, three engineers recorded their path over his body. Grimmette , who will make his fifth trip to the Olympics in the sport of luge, journeyed last week from a World Cup race in Italy to the San Diego Air & Space Technology Center to perform tests that could have significant ramifications at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. In the center’s Low Speed Wind Tunnel , a 63-year-old laboratory that has helped in the development of fighter jets and missiles, Grimmette tested the wind’s drag on four different suits. In luge, the time differential between gold and silver can be heartbreakingly narrow. It is the only Winter Olympic sport that measures finishes to the thousandth of a second. A fraction of time shaved here or there can be crucial, which was why Grimmette played part fashion model, part corpse for the day, while his suits were analyzed . “We don’t use a model dummy because it’s too hard to put a suit onto that,” Grimmette said. “But it turns out I’m not a bad dummy.” After trying out one suit , Grimmette changed into another. Details as subtle as where a sponsor’s decal is painted can add or subtract fractions of a second. While Grimmette changed suits, Gordy Sheer, USA Luge ’s director for marketing and sponsorship and a 1998 silver medalist in luge, asked David Sanford, the facility’s aerotest engineering manager, if the cold in Canada could alter the results here. “It would change the density,” Sanford said. “So it would make the drag a little heavier, but all the relativity stays the same.” Grimmette grunted as he tried to shimmy into a suit. “Can you breathe?” Sheer asked. The three sliding sports in the Olympics — luge, bobsled and skeleton — share a narrow relationship between technology and athleticism. Purists do not want to tip the line too much toward technology. Still, each country looks for any advantage, no matter how tiny. The Canadian sliding teams created an intricate camera system to study every angle during their trial runs at the Whistler Sliding Centre. And the United States bobsled team has maintained a close relationship with the racecar driver Geoff Bodine to develop sleds using Nascar technology. Four years between Olympics mean four years to study and improve performance. When Grimmette, who has won silver and bronze medals with his luge partner, Brian Martin, once wore a suit deemed fast by competitors, he noticed them touching the fabric as they congratulated him. “There’s definitely a philosophy out there,” Grimmette said. “Some sports tend to want to go more in the technology direction, some sports want to go in the athletic direction. Our sport is still very much based in the athletic parts, and I like that. But I am interested in the science and the physics of the sport. It’s a nice blend of both.” The tunnel itself is a blend of two eras. Several monitors show the testing chamber in an adjacent room. The control panel, including the knob that adjusts the wind speed, is the original equipment from six decades ago. The computer data server spits out green numbers that look as if they are from “ The Matrix .” The other computers are of more recent vintage. A fan in another room — six wooden blades 20 feet in diameter — spun at up to 800 rotations a minute. The wind, gaining speed, circulated around Grimmette through a narrow space. Construction on the Low Speed Wind Tunnel began in 1944 with the idea that it would help manufacture defense products for World War II. “But the war ended before the facility was finished,” said the tunnel’s general manager, Donna Simon. It was once scheduled for closure, but it has remained in operation, benefiting most notably the aerospace and commercial airline industries. The tunnel has conducted tests for Boeing, Cessna and Northrop Grumman. It has performed scale-model examinations of city blocks, skyscrapers, Jack Murphy Stadium (now Qualcomm) in San Diego and the Astrodome in Houston. The tunnel, one of the few in the country, simulates wind speeds up to 270 miles per hour. More recently, the tunnel has been put to use by athletes. Many top cyclists, including Lance Armstrong, have done aerodynamic testing inside it. Sheer learned of the tunnel from the cyclist John Hay and thought it could also help his luge team. Nearly every member has come here, as have some members of the skeleton team. With Grimmette on the sled, itself on a circular platform that measures drag coefficient, Sheer made sure his head was in the exact position as in the other tests. They traced Grimmette’s outline on a monitor to make sure he maintained the position, so that the only variable was his suit. After Sheer left the chamber, the tunnel’s operations manager, Dave Noon, compiled data as the wind speeds increased five miles an hour at 15-second intervals. A data systems engineer filmed and monitored the information in case there were subtle differences among the test runs. The drag was measured in grams. The lower the drag, the faster Grimmette would go. “That was the fastest,” Sanford said as Grimmette exited. “Thirty grams faster than the first. Fifty grams better than the second. Not a lot, but still better.” It was Grimmette’s eighth trip to the tunnel. He said he sometimes felt claustrophobic in the chamber and had to remind himself to calm down. Other times, his muscles have cramped in the cold wind. “It’s not the most glamorous job out there,” Grimmette said. Suits of different breathability and textures of smoothness are tested. Each costs around $500. Grimmette tried on one more — a suit that the luger Tony Benshoof has sworn is the fastest. The test results showed that it was not. Grimmette and Sheer selected the one with the lowest drag time, the model that the team would wear in Vancouver. The suit is manufactured by Karbon, a Canadian sports apparel company. But it did not matter that the fabric was made outside the United States. Grimmette had already proved that he was willing to think outside the box, or at least inside the chamber, in order to contend.
[ "Luge Racing", "Olympic Games (2010)" ]
[ "R", "M" ]
[ "sports", "olympics" ]
New Rocket Has Problem With Vibration
WASHINGTON (AP) — NASA is working to solve a potentially dangerous vibration problem in its next generation of launching vehicles. Engineers are concerned that a new rocket, the Ares I, which will replace the space shuttle and send astronauts on their way to the moon, could shake violently during the first minutes of flight. The problem is common to solid rocket boosters. If not corrected, the shaking, which arises from the powerful first stage of the rocket, could “shake apart the whole structure,” said Paul Fischbeck, an engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon University. “They know it’s a real problem,” said Professor Fischbeck, who has consulted on risk issues with NASA. The concern is not the shaking of the first stage, but how it affects everything that sits on top: the Orion crew capsule, instrument unit and a booster. NASA officials said they hoped to have a plan for fixing the design as early as March and did not expect the problem to delay the goal of returning astronauts to the moon by 2020. “I hope no one was so ill-informed as to believe that we would be able to develop a system to replace the shuttle without facing any challenges in doing so,” the NASA administrator, Michael D. Griffin, said in a statement to The Associated Press. “NASA has an excellent track record of resolving technical challenges,” Dr. Griffin said. “We’re confident we’ll solve this one as well.” Professor Jorge Arenas of the Institute of Acoustics in Valdivia, Chile, said that the problem was serious but added that “NASA has developed one of the safest and risk-controlled space programs in engineering history.” Since 2005, the space agency has been working on a plan to return to the moon, at a cost of more than $100 billion. Two rockets are planned, the Ares I, which would carry the astronauts into space, and the Ares V, an unmanned heavy cargo ship. That rocket’s first stage is composed of five segments derived from the solid boosters that NASA uses to launch the shuttle. The shaking problem involves pulses of added acceleration caused by gas vortexes similar to the wake that develops behind a fast-moving boat, said Professor Arenas, who has researched vibration and space launching issues. The Ares I vortexes match the natural vibrating frequencies of the rocket’s combustion chamber, and the combination causes the shaking. Senior managers were told of the findings last fall, but NASA did not talk about them publicly until The Associated Press filed a Freedom of Information Act request this month and the watchdog Web site submitted detailed engineering-oriented questions. The first launching of astronauts aboard Ares I and Orion is scheduled for March 2015.
[ "Space Shuttle", "National Aeronautics and Space Administration" ]
[ "P", "M" ]
[ "science", "space" ]
Eight Advance in Europa League
Tottenham, Fiorentina and Red Bull Salzburg made it four group wins in four games in the Europa League to qualify for the knockout phase with two games to spare. Erik Lamela scored his first Tottenham goal in a 2-1 home victory over Sheriff Tiraspol of Moldova. Fiorentina won by the same score at Pandurii Targu Jiu in Romania. Salzburg won, 3-1, at Standard Liège. Also clinching a berth in the last 32 were Esbjerg, Valencia, Rubin Kazan, Dnipro and Ludogorets.
[ "Fiorentina", "Soccer", "Tottenham Hotspur Soccer Team" ]
[ "P", "U", "M" ]
[ "sports", "soccer" ]
U.S. Fears Hezbollah Operative Held in Iraq May Go Free
WASHINGTON — A senior Iraqi official has told the Obama administration that Iraq no longer has a legal basis to hold a Lebanese Hezbollah operative who has been accused of helping to kill American troops in Iraq, and United States officials are concerned that he may soon be released, American officials said Sunday. American officials said that the United States ambassador in Baghdad, Robert S. Beecroft, had been instructed to seek a meeting with Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq to urge that the Hezbollah operative, Ali Musa Daqduq, be kept in detention. At the same time, however, American officials are worried that their efforts may fall short, and they quietly informed Congressional leaders last week that there was a risk that Mr. Daqduq may soon go free. Mr. Daqduq, who was captured by British forces in Basra in March 2007, was the last detainee to be handed over to the Iraqis by the United States as American troops withdrew in December 2011. American military officials have accused Mr. Daqduq of working with the Quds Force — an Iranian paramilitary unit that supports militant movements abroad — to train Shiite militias in Iraq during the war. One of the most serious allegations stems from his suspected role in helping to organize a January 2007 raid in Karbala that led to the deaths of five American soldiers. The case is politically delicate for the White House not just because of the allegations against Mr. Daqduq but also because of the timing. Some Iraqi officials have previously suggested that they would seek to mollify the Obama administration by putting off releasing Mr. Daqduq until the presidential campaign was over, but American officials repeatedly insisted that they did not want him released at all. “The United States continues to believe that Daqduq should be held accountable for his crimes,” said a State Department official, who asked not be identified because he was discussing a delicate diplomatic issue. A spokeswoman for the National Security Council declined to comment. Mr. Daqduq, a member of Hezbollah since 1983, once supervised the security detail for Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s supreme leader. He worked in the group’s external operations unit, and has repeatedly visited the Tehran headquarters of the Quds Force. Mr. Daqduq was captured during a raid in Basra on March 20, 2007, that also netted Laith Khazali and his brother Qais, the leaders of a Shiite group known as Asaib Ahl al-Haq. A hard drive recovered at the site contained documents about the planning of the Karbala raid and even scanned copies of the contents of the wallet of one of the Americans killed in the attack. When he was captured, Mr. Daqduq at first pretended to be deaf and unable to speak, a pose that American officials believe was intended to keep his accent from betraying his Lebanese origins. Later, though, he began to talk while in American custody, officials said. After Mr. Daqduq was transferred to Iraqi custody, an Iraqi court ruled that there was not enough evidence to hold him. The United States sought his extradition for trial by an American military tribunal , but that request was turned down. The charge sheet prepared by American military prosecutors accused him of murder, terrorism and espionage, among other crimes. President Obama urged Mr. Maliki not to release Mr. Daqduq when the Iraqi prime minister visited the United States in December 2011. Iran, meanwhile, is believed to have been pressing for his release, making his fate something of a test case for Iraq’s relations with the United States. Mr. Daqduq is believed to be living under house arrest in the Green Zone area of Baghdad. “It is a symbolic test for Maliki,” said Ramzy Mardini, an adjunct fellow at the Iraq Institute for Strategic Studies, based in Beirut. “Is he more concerned about his relationship with Tehran or his relationship with Washington?” Relations between Iraq and the United States are under strain from other issues like continued flights by aircraft from Iran to Syria that are believed to carry military supplies for government forces. Under American pressure, Baghdad ordered two flights to land in Iraq for inspection, but no military supplies were found. Last spring, an internal American government assessment observed that Iraq appeared to be calculating that it could keep Mr. Daqduq detained long enough to appease the Americans but not so long as to offend Iran and Hezbollah. The possibility that Mr. Daqduq might be released soon was raised in a discussion last week between a senior adviser to Mr. Maliki and a senior Obama administration official, American officials said. “We continue to work closely with the Iraqi government to explore any possible legal options that may remain in this case,” the State Department official said. “We appreciate the steps the Iraqi government has taken so far in seeking to hold Daqduq accountable.”
[ "Hezbollah", "Iraq", "Detainees", "Terrorism", "Daqduq Ali Musa", "United States International Relations" ]
[ "P", "P", "P", "P", "R", "R" ]
[ "world", "middleeast" ]
Down Quarter Ends a Difficult Year for 3 Airlines
Three big airlines — Continental, JetBlue and US Airways — each reported deeper fourth-quarter losses on Thursday amid pessimism over the near-term outlook for air travel. The results essentially completed a dismal set of fourth-quarter reports for the industry, which has suffered whiplash in the last year, first from record fuel prices that peaked during the summer, then from the sour economy. Airlines began cutting flights, routes and aircraft in the fourth quarter, in reaction to jet fuel prices that at one point in 2008 were nearly double what they paid in 2007. Carriers thought the retrenchment, which is expected to continue this year, would allow them to charge higher ticket prices. But passengers balked at paying more, and companies pulled back on business travel in the wake of the economic slump. Now, lots of carriers are instituting fare sales in hopes of winning back travelers. “You have an operating backdrop that rivals any we’ve seen in our industry for the past few years,” Lawrence W. Kellner, the chief executive of Continental Airlines , told analysts during a conference call. Continental lost $266 million, or $2.33 a share, compared with $32 million, or 33 cents a share, in the 2007 quarter. The 2008 result included a one-time charge of $169 million to pay for retirement costs for pilots, and to reflect losses on fuel hedging contracts, an issue that also has affected other airlines. Many carriers lock in the price of fuel in advance, a strategy that can protect them when prices rise. But when the cost of jet fuel drops, airlines have to take charges to account for the difference between the hedge price and the going rate. Revenue at Continental was $3.5 billion, down 1.5 percent. Continental noted a significant shift in its international flights from first-class to coach travel. Several companies have banned first-class business travel as a cost-cutting move. “Our international business is pretty solid,” Mr. Kellner said. “It’s just not as profitable as it used to be.” Continental shares dropped 10.6 percent, to $14.51. US Airways, which was in the news earlier this month when one of its planes made an emergency landing in the Hudson River, said it lost $541 million, or $4.74 a share, compared with a $79 million loss, or 87 cents a share in the 2007 quarter. Revenue at US Airways was $2.76 billion, essentially flat with 2007. The airline took a special charge of $234 million that included its impact from fuel hedging contracts. US Airways shares fell 11.37 percent, to $6.47. JetBlue Airways said it lost $49 million, before taxes, in the fourth quarter compared with a pretax loss of $3 million in 2007. The 2008 results included a one-time charge of $53 million to revalue auction-rate securities. JetBlue said its results were preliminary and would be completed after it determined the tax implications of its special charge. Its revenue was $811 million, up nearly 10 percent. It shares fell 2.74 percent, or 18 cents, to $6.38. JetBlue, which has grown rapidly since it began flying in 2000, said it expected to reduce its flights by 2 percent in 2009. But the airline announced plans to start service from Kennedy International Airport to Los Angeles International Airport, and said it would add service to Jamaica. David Barger, the chief executive of JetBlue, told analysts that voting among its pilots would end Tuesday on whether they would join a new union, the JetBlue Pilots Association . The group is independent of the nation’s biggest pilots’ union, the Air Line Pilots Association.
[ "US Airways", "JetBlue Airways", "Airlines and Airplanes", "Company Reports", "Continental Airlines Inc" ]
[ "P", "P", "M", "R", "M" ]
[ "business" ]
Hollywood DeaIs Are Stirring but Still Not Hopping
A DEGREE of financial fizz has returned to Hollywood, but the industry is showing uncharacteristic restraint in its celebration. On Aug. 17, Steven Spielberg secured $325 million in additional movie financing. Two weeks later, the Walt Disney Company plunked down $4 billion for Marvel Entertainment. Universal is refinancing $1 billion in theme park debt. Now $525 million in financing to equip thousands of movie theaters with 3-D equipment is finally moving forward. “Is this a loosening of capital markets, especially where entertainment is involved?” asked Jeffrey Katzenberg, chief executive of DreamWorks Animation and a 3-D proponent. “The answer to that is yes.” Even so, Mr. Katzenberg and other industry veterans say Rockette kicks about a broader show-business recovery are premature. After more than a year of almost no activity, these deals do suggest that Hollywood is regaining its footing in a sharply changed entertainment sector. DVD sales, for instance, may never be as strong as they once were, but they will continue, and broadband video-on-demand is right around the corner and can probably pick up some of the slack. And the overall economy has started to improve. Some media executives, including Rupert Murdoch, have said advertising is starting to rebound. The Federal Reserve chairman has speculated that the recession has ended. Last week, there were five initial public offerings of stock, the most in a five-day period since 2007, and one of them was in entertainment, for Shanda Games Limited. (The I.P.O. raised $1.04 billion, though the share price soon dropped. ) But the current surge of deal-making cannot be easily extrapolated as evidence that a full recovery is blooming. Consider the Marvel deal. “The acquisition may indicate an improving merger-and-acquisition environment with robust pricing and demand for content assets,” Michael C. Morris, a UBS analyst, wrote in a research note on Sept. 1. But some longtime Hollywood watchers see it more as an anomaly: Few media conglomerates have Disney’s buying power, and Marvel, with its 5,000-strong stable of comic book heroes, is not your average content company. And these two mates, with their focus on merchandising, were a distinctive fit. Sometimes a deal is just a deal. The 3-D financing, organized by JPMorgan on behalf of three multiplex chains, will greatly increase the ability of studios to exploit the genre. But it isn’t particularly indicative of a broader recovery, either, Mr. Katzenberg said. “It’s a utility: how many 3-D screens are you going to have available and over how many years?” he asked. “It’s not a bet on a creative project like a film that hasn’t been made yet.” Despite Mr. Spielberg’s ability to raise cash — he’s also an anomaly in his power to deliver megahits — film financing remains frozen on all but the smallest levels. Most studios, like 20th Century Fox and Sony, don’t have to worry yet because they made long-term financing deals before the downturn. But studios like Universal could be in a bind as their film financing deals mature. And others are encountering difficulties going it alone. A few weeks ago, Paramount, which does not have a large pool of outside financing to help bankroll its movies, pushed back the release of Martin Scorsese’s next picture, “Shutter Island,” until February, citing difficulty swallowing the marketing expense in 2009 amid the DVD downturn. The independent film market still has a long way to go, despite glimmers of improvement. IndieVest, a company that finances, produces and distributes films with budgets of up to $12 million, contends it has had a “dramatic increase” in investor interest in recent weeks. But the recent Toronto International Film Festival , a barometer of the art house sector, was essentially a commercial washout. “The market is still severely challenged,” said John Sloss, a top sales agent for independent films. So where does that leave Hollywood? Mark Patricof, managing partner of Mesa, a New York investment bank focused on media and technology, says deal-making will return in force to entertainment in the coming months, in part because of the industry’s me-too mentality. Mesa has been behind a smattering of recent activity, including the $25 million sale of NowPublic, a Web site for citizen-generated media. “You’re going to see a lot of deals start to happen before the end of the year,” Mr. Patricof said. Others contend that media companies like Time Warner that do have cash are under pressure to pull the trigger on something big. Stephen Prough, managing director of Salem Partners, a Los Angeles investment bank specializing in entertainment and technology, says companies are starting to hunt for near-term acquisitions that “have scale in the context of their overall business.” What kinds of deals might be percolating? Executives at General Electric have said they expect that Vivendi may soon exercise its right to sell its 20 percent stake in NBC Universal, a move that could make the company an attractive takeover target. Vivendi has been silent on the matter. (G.E. owns the other 80 percent.) People are said to be kicking the tires on DreamWorks Animation, which is increasing production from two to three movies a year. Mr. Katzenberg declined to comment on the M & A chatter around his company. And will Disney’s boutique film unit, Miramax, be in play? A Disney spokeswoman said that Miramax is not for sale. But Disney was moving to jettison it before the downturn, and housecleaning at Walt Disney Studios — the chairman Dick Cook resigned under pressure on Sept. 18 — has renewed speculation about Miramax’s future. Veterans, meanwhile, are preaching the virtues of slow and steady. Amir Malin, a partner at Qualia Capital, a media-focused investment firm, and the former chief of Artisan Entertainment, said, “If you have cash and invest poorly, then we’re simply going to see a repeat of yesteryear where people invested heavily in toxic deals.”
[ "Movies", "Hollywood (Calif)", "Economic Conditions and Trends", "Advertising and Marketing" ]
[ "P", "M", "M", "R" ]
[ "business", "media" ]
Man Who Filmed Execution Is Arrested, Saudi Outlets Say
BEIRUT, Lebanon — In a recent video from Saudi Arabia, three uniformed security officers and a professional swordsman in a white gown struggled to placate a woman cloaked in black and sitting in the street. A Saudi court had convicted her of murder, but she was proclaiming her innocence. Then the officers stepped back, the swordsman took aim and the woman shrieked and fell silent as he struck her neck with his blade, three times in total. Medics wearing white gloves tended to the body, and the swordsman wiped his blade with a cloth. The video was distributed by human rights activists and posted online after the execution in the city of Mecca on Jan. 12, shedding light on the way Saudi Arabia applies the death penalty. On Sunday, Saudi news outlets reported that the authorities had arrested the man who had shot the video and planned to prosecute him. Although the reports did not specify what charges he faced, an Interior Ministry spokesman said such matters fell under the country’s law against cybercrimes. Saudi Arabia, a hereditary monarchy governed by a strict interpretation of Shariah , the legal code of Islam based on the Quran, is an economic and military ally of the United States. But some of its practices have come under greater scrutiny with the rise of the Islamic State extremist group in Iraq and Syria, which also claims to rule according to Shariah law and has shocked the world with videos of its fighters beheading captives. The kingdom recently delayed the second round of the public caning of a writer sentenced to 1,000 blows for running a liberal website after his sentence was criticized by the State Department and the United Nations . That followed an uproar caused by a video of the first round of the punishment that was posted online. Many Saudis object to their country’s being compared to the Islamic State, saying that Saudi Arabia executes only those convicted of grave crimes, while the fighters of the Islamic State indiscriminately kill those who do not share their Sunni Muslim faith. International human rights organizations have criticized the Saudi justice system, and two United Nations human rights experts called for a moratorium on beheadings in Saudi Arabia last year, labeling them “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.” Although Saudi Arabia criminalizes any words or acts that insult the Prophet Muhammad, it condemned the deadly attack this month on the newspaper Charlie Hebdo in France and has joined the American-led air campaign against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. Still, some Saudis worry about how domestic practices affect their image abroad. “You reach a stage where you can’t defend the country,” said Khaled Almaeena, a social and media analyst who lives in Jidda. “I can’t go on a platform in Europe and say that everything is hunky dory when someone is being lashed every Friday.” Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and commentator, said that while some Saudis saw the damage such practices caused abroad, the government faced little opposition domestically, partly because of the belief that Islamic punishments should be carried out in public. “It is the Saudi Foreign Ministry that will face the heat, but locally we don’t have a problem with that,” he said of public executions. Saudi Arabia, a country of 27 million, executed 87 people last year for crimes like rape, murder, armed robbery and drug trafficking, according to a count compiled by Human Rights Watch. It has executed 11 people so far this year. While most executions are believed to be beheadings, the government does not usually disclose the method used. The United States, by contrast, executed 35 people last year, according to the Death Penalty Information Center , using methods that are not always flawless . According to the state-run Saudi Press Agency, the executed woman was a citizen of Myanmar who had been convicted of severely beating her husband’s 7-year-old daughter, also from Myanmar, and violating her with a broomstick “without mercy or pity, which led to her death.” In the video, which appeared to have been filmed with a mobile phone, the women repeatedly yelled, “I didn’t kill! I didn’t kill!” and “This is oppression!” in Arabic while the men positioned her for the blows of the sword. The Saudi newspaper Okaz reported on Sunday that the police in Mecca had arrested a security officer who had filmed the beheading and that he would face both military and civilian justice. Another Saudi newspaper, Al-Riyadh, cited Lt. Col. Atta al-Quraishi, a spokesman for the Mecca police, as saying that the man would be turned over to the “relevant authorities.” The Interior Ministry spokesman, Maj. Gen. Mansour Turki, said in a text message that he had no information about the reported arrest but that such cases were handled according to the country’s cybercrime law.
[ "Saudi Arabia", "Human Rights", "Video Recordings", "Downloads and Streaming", "Sharia", "Capital punishment", "ISIS,ISIL,Islamic State" ]
[ "P", "P", "M", "M", "U", "M", "R" ]
[ "world", "middleeast" ]
Another Academic Group Considers Israel Censure
CHICAGO — A movement to pressure and isolate Israel gained further ground among American academics on Saturday, when the Modern Language Association took a step toward approving a resolution calling on the State Department to contest what it characterized as Israel’s discriminatory “denials of entry” to American scholars seeking to visit the West Bank to work at Palestinian universities. After nearly three hours of fractious debate and procedural maneuvering, the group’s delegate assembly voted 60 to 53 to adopt the resolution, which will be submitted to the group’s nearly 28,000 members after review by its executive council. If it is approved, the Modern Language Association would be the fourth, and by far the largest, such group to endorse a measure critical of Israel in the past year. The travel resolution did not call for a boycott like the one announced last month by the American Studies Association , which has prompted a backlash , including statements from more than 100 university presidents criticizing boycotts as a threat to academic freedom. The group’s delegate assembly also voted against considering a second resolution, introduced by its Radical Caucus, to condemn the “attacks on the A.S.A.” and defend the right of individual scholars and groups to “take positions in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle against racism.” But among partisans on both sides, the debate on the resolution was seen as an important skirmish in the larger battle over the international boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement , known as B.D.S. “The main goal of the process is raising awareness of egregious and decades-long complicity of Israeli institutions in the regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid,” Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian founder of B.D.S., said on Thursday after participating in a round-table discussion of academic boycotts. Before the group’s four-day annual meeting began, the debate seemed to bring as much attention to the policies of the M.L.A., starting with the approval last spring of the round table on boycotts. Two pro-Israel groups, Hillel International and the Israel on Campus Coalition, issued a statement criticizing the group for accepting a lineup with only scholars who were broadly supportive of the B.D.S. movement. They also organized a counterpanel at a nearby hotel featuring prominent M.L.A. members who are opposed to boycotts. Some of them defended the group’s right to approve such a gathering, saying that many scholarly panels are devoted to exploring one point of view. But at the panel, and in leaflets distributed during the meeting, they questioned the documentary evidence provided by supporters of the travel resolution, as well as its singular focus on Israel. “I would strongly support a resolution looking into refusal of visas for all countries,” Cary Nelson, a former president of the American Association of University Professors, said during the debate on Saturday. He added: “This is a biased resolution.” Full passage is by no means assured. Some of the scholars chatting in the halls between panels on topics like “Middle English Keywords” or “African American Voices From the Civil War” said they were unconcerned about the measure, or even unaware of it. Others expressed dismay at what they saw as a conversation that slid too quickly on both sides from issues of academic freedom to partisan claims. “It arrived partisan, and it never had a chance to become nonpartisan,” said Derrick Miller, an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington and a member of the delegate assembly. “I hear echoes of cable news debates rather than something academic.” Discussion grew even more heated at the assembly. Mr. Nelson suggested that removing the word “arbitrary” from the resolution’s description of Israel’s denials of entry had made the resolution meaningless, while supporters criticized a last-minute effort to introduce a substitute resolution applying to all governments as “procedural obstruction.” After the vote, Mr. Nelson and other opponents predicted it would damage the association and its broader mission of promoting the beleaguered humanities. But Bruce Robbins, a professor at Columbia and one of the resolution’s sponsors, defended the measure. “I don’t think it’s a dangerous politicization to defend the rights of academics,” he said. “That’s what we did.”
[ "Israel", "West Bank", "Palestinians", "Boycott", "Modern Language Assn", "College", "Discrimination" ]
[ "P", "P", "P", "P", "M", "U", "U" ]
[ "us" ]
No. 16 Virginia Rallies to Top No. 5 Tennessee
Monica Wright scored 35 points and Britnee Milner made a free throw with 6.4 seconds left to help No. 16 Virginia upset No. 5 Tennessee, 83-82, on Monday night in Knoxville. Trailing by 80-75 with 1 minute 44 seconds left, Virginia (2-0) rallied. Wright made a 3-pointer and Whitny Edwards converted a steal to tie the game, 80-80. Alex Fuller gave Tennessee an 82-80 lead with a pair of free throws with 49 seconds left before Wright tied it with a jumper. Shekinna Stricklen had a chance to give the Lady Vols the lead, but she missed a jumper with nine seconds left and then fouled Miller, who made one of two free throws for the win. Briana Bass and Glory Johnson each scored 13 points to lead Tennessee (1-1). U.N.C. 102, KENNESAW ST. 68 Jessica Breland scored 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as No. 4 North Carolina (3-0) won at home. LOUISVILLE 72, AUSTIN PEAY 42 Angel McCoughtry scored 15 points and had 7 rebounds as No. 9 Louisville won at home. The Cardinals (2-0) are ranked in the top 10 for the first time even if they are not exactly playing like it. Louisville turned the ball over 30 times and committed 24 fouls. TEXAS 78, OLD DOMINION 44 Brittainey Raven scored Texas’ first 12 points and finished with 20 and the No. 14 Longhorns (3-0) defeated No. 25 Old Dominion (2-1) to win the World Vision Classic in Austin, Tex. Men CONNECTICUT 99, HARTFORD 56 Craig Austrie and the freshman Kemba Walker each scored 21 points and No. 2 Connecticut won at home, its 63rd consecutive win against an instate opponent. Jerome Dyson added 18 points, and Jeff Adrien had 12 points and 15 rebounds. Morgan Sabia, who fouled out with seven minutes left, had 15 points for Hartford (0-2), which went on a 10-2 run to trail by 43-42. UConn went on a 33-5 run and scored 54 of the game’s final 66 points. PITTSBURGH 82, MIAMI (OHIO) 53 Jermaine Dixon scored 9 points and made two 3-pointers during a 16-2 run to start the second half as No. 6 Pittsburgh won at home. Levance Fields had 12 points and a career-high 12 assists, and Sam Young and Dixon scored 14 points each for Pittsburgh (2-0). G’TOWN 71, JACKSONVILLE 62 Greg Monroe had 14 points and 7 rebounds in his college debut for No. 22 Georgetown in a win at home. Jacksonville missed its first eight shots and shot only 35 percent for the game. VILLANOVA 107, FORDHAM 68 Dante Cunningham scored a career-high 31 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Corey Stokes and Corey Fisher each scored 17 points at home for No. 23 Villanova. Brenton Butler led Fordham (0-2) with 17 points. PRESEASON N.I.T. Blake Griffin overcame a sluggish start to finish with 20 points, 19 rebounds and 6 steals and No. 12 Oklahoma beat Mississippi Valley State, 94-53, in Norman, Okla. The Sooners advanced to play No. 21 Davidson, which rode Stephen Curry’s 33 points to defeat James Madison, 99-64. ... In Boston, Anthony Mason Jr. scored 24 points, including a clutch fast-break layup in the final minute, and St. John’s defeated Cornell, 86-75. IN OTHER GAMES Travis Taylor had 13 points and 5 rebounds as Monmouth (2-0) lost at Florida International, 80-61. ... The New Jersey Institute of Technology’s losing streak extended to 35 games after a 74-47 loss at Penn State. ... Ryan Schneider had 16 points and 8 rebounds for Marist (0-2), which lost by 77-54 to St. Bonaventure in the home debut of the first-year coach Chuck Martin. ... Kenny Hasbrouck scored 20 points as host Siena defeated Boise State, 82-52, in its season opener.
[ "Basketball", "College Athletics" ]
[ "U", "M" ]
[ "sports", "ncaabasketball" ]
For Women’s World Cup Final, a Fairer Broadcast
It has been a dozen years since ABC’s broadcast of the United States team’s victory in the 1999 Women’s World Cup final was a jingoistic embarrassment. China’s players, who lost to the Americans on penalty kicks, were faceless automatons to the network and its announcers, J. P. Dellacamera and Wendy Gebauer. But on Sunday, when the United States lost the final to Japan, ESPN did a better job of humanizing the players. Maybe it was a belated recognition that fairness produces a better broadcast. Or an acknowledgment of the suffering of Japan since the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear catastrophe in March. Whatever the reason, it was refreshing to hear the announcers Ian Darke and Julie Foudy play it nearly down the middle, offering praise for the Japanese players and providing personal tidbits about them, as if they were, well, American. Of course, balanced coverage or not, a game’s excitement is the reason people watch. Japan’s victory was watched by an average of 13.5 million viewers, the most ever for a women’s or men’s soccer game on ESPN. But the record for a United States game is still 17.9 million viewers for the victory by Team U.S.A. in 1999. That makes you wonder: what if Sunday’s game had been on ABC, the broadcast serf to Mother ESPN? But that’s old thinking, I guess. Still, people without cable could not watch the game live at home (although a broadband option existed on ). Although there were moments when one could sense Darke and Foudy were rooting for the United States, they were not openly rooting (although Foudy could have dropped her references to her rising blood pressure during the team’s games). Darke’s voice was as enthusiastic for Japanese goals, and their shots on goal, as he was for the Americans’. (Readers: I do not own a decibel meter; to my ears, he was fair.) “Sawa does it!” he shouted when Japan scored its second goal. “Homare Sawa, the darling of Japan!” And the two announcers repeatedly chastised the United States team for its multiple failures to convert scoring opportunities, especially during the first half. Foudy did not resort to contorted alibis for the misses. “How important will these moments be later on?” Darke asked in the 13th minute. And not long after Darke predicted that Japan has “players who can pick the locks of any defense,” Kozue Ando slipped through for her country’s first significant scoring opportunity. Darke is a highly literate, quirky and emotional announcer. You won’t hear American announcers call an “obdurate defense,” a terrific pass a “rapier thrust” or a tying goal the “equalizer.” (Or is it “equaliser”?) But while it was easy to grasp the focus on the Japanese team’s short stature against the taller United States squad’s, Darke was condescending, evoking stereotypes, when he called one player “the tricky little Maruyama.” And one must question the logic of a comment like Foudy’s after Abby Wambach kicked a ball off the post. “She hit it as good as she can,” Foudy said, showing perhaps too much reflexive admiration for the star of the team. But if Wambach had struck the ball as well as she could, it would have gone into the net. As any announcer knows, if you speak long enough, you might say things you wish you could take back. Not words you shouldn’t say but statements of certitude that action can soon subvert. So right after Darke and Foudy praised the Americans for “not losing their gung-ho spirit” (Darke) and demonstrating a “wonderful balance of sophistication and grit,” Japan tied the score at 1-1 on the United States’ bumbling. Later, with the United States ahead, 2-1, with six minutes left in the overtime, Foudy was wondering if Japan’s patience was “working against them” as an aggressive pass to Yukari Kinga nearly led to a goal. Foudy’s faith in goalkeeper Hope Solo, who injured her knee late in the game, led her to say before the penalty kicks, “I would take an ailing Hope Solo in my net anytime.” But Solo was faked out on the first kick, and the third one deflected into the goal off her hand. And Darke’s objectivity seem to flee when, after Solo saved the second Japanese penalty kick, he boldly declared, “Hope Solo — hero again!” Premature. And wrong.
[ "ESPN", "Soccer", "Women's World Cup (Soccer)", "Television", "Foudy Julie", "Drake Ian" ]
[ "P", "P", "M", "U", "R", "M" ]
[ "sports", "soccer" ]
New Rule on False Starts
The N.C.A.A. ’s playing rules oversight panel has approved the no-recall false start, which has been used at international, national and high school meets. The new rule means that unless there is a blatant false start, the event would continue and the swimmer charged with the false start would be disqualified at the end of the race.
[ "Swimming", "National Collegiate Athletic Assn" ]
[ "U", "M" ]
[ "sports" ]
Belgium’s Interior Minister Visits New York Police to Discuss Terror Threats
Belgium’s interior minister, who nearly resigned after the Brussels bombings by Islamic State militants more than two months ago, met with New York police officials and counterterrorism specialists on Thursday in what he described as a useful visit. The minister, Jan Jambon, who is also a deputy prime minister and overseer of Belgium’s police forces, expressed admiration for the New York Police Department’s intelligence-gathering, its technology and the bomb-sniffing dogs in its counterterrorism unit. Mr. Jambon and John J. Miller, the deputy police commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism, said at a news conference that the minister’s visit was part of a growing collaboration. “In difficult times, one knows their friends,” Mr. Jambon said, drawing parallels between the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, in the United States and the March 22 bombings at the Brussels airport and subway. The Brussels attacks left 35 people dead, including three assailants, and traumatized a city that for many represents the heart of Europe. The bombs used in the assault had been assembled in Brussels. Mr. Jambon and other senior Belgian officials have been criticized for intelligence lapses that preceded the bombings, which have reinforced their country’s reputation as an incubator for Islamic State militant recruitment and attack plots in Europe. Some of the suspects in the Brussels bombings have been linked to the Paris attacks last November. Mr. Jambon and Belgium’s justice minister, Koen Geens, offered to resign after the Brussels bombings, but Prime Minister Charles Michel asked them to stay. Mr. Jambon told reporters on Thursday that improvements in intelligence-gathering and police information-sharing in Belgium, which had been in the works before the attacks, were accelerated afterward. “The attacks came too early,” he said. Mr. Jambon added, “I think we have made a lot of progress.” Belgium remains on a high level of alert for further attacks, Mr. Jambon said, but he had no specific information about any particular plots. He also said that 200 people from Belgium were believed to be fighting with the Islamic State militant group in Syria and that about 130 had returned. While many of the returnees have expressed disillusionment with the Islamic State, Mr. Jambon said, “others come back with a mission.” After the news conference, Mr. Miller escorted Mr. Jambon outside to inspect some of the department’s counterterrorism police vehicles. The minister took special interest in the 50-pound bulletproof vests worn by officers. He was also intrigued by one of the bomb-sniffing dogs, a two-year-old black Labrador retriever named Kevin. Mr. Miller said Kevin was capable of detecting vapors emitted by TATP, an explosive believed to have been used in the Brussels and Paris attacks. Vapor Wake Labradors , as the dogs are known, can detect and track traces of explosives — their “vapor wake” — up to 10 minutes after the explosives have been moved from an area. Mr. Miller said, “We deploy these dogs at all major events.”
[ "Belgium", "Terrorism", "Jan Jambon", "Brussels Attacks", "NYPD", "ISIS,ISIL,Islamic State", "John J Miller", "Spying and Intelligence Agencies", "NYC" ]
[ "P", "P", "P", "P", "U", "M", "M", "M", "U" ]
[ "world", "europe" ]
Israel Plans to Build Syrian Border Fence
JERUSALEM — Israel announced Sunday that it was constructing a border fence along the length of its armistice line with Syria in the Golan Heights and that it was coordinating its intelligence with the United States in light of the deteriorating security situation in Syria. In remarks at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the Syrian Army had moved away from the frontier and that jihadist forces had moved in. “Therefore, we will defend this border against both infiltration and terrorism,” Mr. Netanyahu said, adding, “I also submit to the cabinet the fact that the Syrian regime is very unstable, that the question of chemical weapons here worries us.” He said that Israel was coordinating with the United States and others “so that we might be prepared for any scenario and possibility that could arise.” Mr. Netanyahu’s announcement came as he sought to reinforce his security credentials as a strong leader ahead of national elections on Jan. 22, and as he appealed to his traditional supporters to cast their ballots for the conservative Likud-Beiteinu ticket he is leading and not be lulled by polls showing that he is favored to win. “Whoever wants me as a strong prime minister cannot have a strong prime minister while weakening me,” Mr. Netanyahu told Israel Radio in an interview broadcast Sunday. “I think there is only one way to guarantee that the right continues to govern Israel, and that is to vote for me.” Image Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on Sunday in Jerusalem, said his nation would defend the border against jihadist forces. Credit Pool photo by Uriel Sinai Political polls in recent weeks have consistently shown that Likud-Beiteinu is bleeding votes to the Jewish Home, a far-right party led by Naftalie Bennett , a dynamic newcomer to national politics who is a former Netanyahu aide, settler leader and technology entrepreneur. Mr. Netanyahu also warned of possible efforts by centrist and leftist parties to create a united bloc aimed at thwarting his chances of forming the next coalition government. Last week, in a pre-election move intended to highlight one of his government’s achievements, the prime minister toured the new security fence that runs almost the entire length of Israel’s border with Egypt. Accompanied by a group of Israeli journalists, Mr. Netanyahu noted that the barrier had sharply stemmed the flow of African migrants into Israel and had provided more protection against militant groups operating in the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. Mr. Netanyahu has pledged to erect a similar barrier along the Syrian frontier, with changes to suit the topography. A section of an old and rickety border fence near the Golan Druse village of Majdal Shams has already been fortified with a steel barrier after protesters, most of them Palestinians , breached the frontier in 2011, drawing deadly fire from Israeli soldiers. Israel seized a large portion of the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau that overlooks northern Israel, from Syria in the 1967 war and later annexed it in a move that has not been internationally recognized. The cease-fire line was established in the aftermath of the 1973 conflict, and though Israel and Syria are still technically at war, it has remained mostly quiet for decades. Israel has largely stayed out of the fighting in Syria, but in recent months a number of stray Syrian mortar shells crashed into the Israeli-controlled territory as Syrian government forces battled rebels across the line. As a result, Israel fired warning shots into Syria and in one instance aimed tank fire at a Syrian artillery position. Apprehension has been mounting, with Israeli experts warning that Syria is becoming a haven for Islamic extremists. Israel says that thousands of Islamic militants have entered Syria to fight against forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, and Israeli leaders have expressed particular concern that chemical weapons and advanced weaponry like ground-to-air missiles amassed by the Assad government could fall into the hands of radical groups. As a result, Israel has been changing its military infrastructure along the frontier with Syria, planning a continuous fence and the installation of electro-optical devices and radar, and deploying some of its most highly trained troops there for the first time in more than 30 years.
[ "Israel", "Syria", "Fence", "Benjamin Netanyahu", "Military", "Arab Spring" ]
[ "P", "P", "P", "P", "P", "U" ]
[ "world", "middleeast" ]
Murder Cases Put Questionable Evidence to Test
Undigested bits of mushrooms and tomatoes from Christine Morton’s last meal — a celebratory birthday dinner she had with her husband — were still in her stomach when the medical examiner performed his autopsy in 1986. Those remnants, the prosecutor told the jury during Michael Morton’s trial, “scientifically proved” that Mr. Morton had beaten his wife to death. Twenty-five years later, DNA science revealed that someone else had actually killed Mrs. Morton and that her husband’s murder conviction and more than two decades in prison were a tragic mistake. His exoneration based on DNA evidence is the 45th in Texas. Before he dismissed the wrongful murder charges against Mr. Morton last week, Judge Sid Harle recounted the faults the case exposed in the Texas justice system. Among them: the use of so-called junk science in the courtroom. “The courts and the sitting judges need to be ever mindful about their role as gatekeeper in regard to the admission of science,” Mr. Harle said. “Your case illustrates the best and the worst of what can happen.” Despite scientific advancements like DNA testing, the use of unreliable scientific techniques in the criminal justice system persists. While some judges say they work to ensure only reliable scientific evidence is presented to juries, criminal justice advocates say that more must be done to root out an array of pseudoscientific practices that can have life-or-death consequences. “What passes for science in courtrooms is not always, in fact, science,” said Kathryn Kase, interim executive director of the Texas Defender Service, which represents death row inmates. In recent weeks, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has agreed to review cases that indicate it may also see a need to address the types of evidence that meet scientific standards. In November, the state’s highest criminal court agreed to review the case of Megan Winfrey, who is serving a life sentence for murder. She was convicted largely on the testimony of a sheriff’s deputy who said his bloodhounds “alerted” to her scent on the murder victim’s clothing. The court has previously ruled that dog-scent evidence, used to convict Ms. Winfrey’s father for the same murder, was insufficient without corroborating evidence. The court acquitted her father on appeal. This month, the court also agreed to review the cases of two men awaiting execution. Both men, convicted of murder, were sentenced to death after a psychologist who was an expert witness in several death penalty cases told jurors that they were mentally competent to face execution. Lawyers for the men — Steven Butler and John Matamoros — argue they are mentally handicapped and therefore ineligible for the death penalty. In April, the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists reprimanded the psychologist, Dr. George Denkowski, and he agreed to never again conduct evaluations in criminal cases. Though Ms. Kase said the court’s willingness to review the cases is a hopeful sign, she and other criminal justice advocates said other relatively simple changes could help prevent the use of such evidence. Judges, who ultimately decide what is allowed in court, should approve adequate money for indigent defendants to hire experts to refute scientific experts whom prosecutors present at trial, she said. It can cost thousands of dollars to hire experts, and Patrick McCann, a Houston defense lawyer, said judges worry that voters would not take kindly to such expenses. “They act as if funding each defendant’s efforts to have a fair trial comes out of their own children’s pockets somehow,” Mr. McCann said. In recent years, Jeff Blackburn, chief counsel at the Innocence Project of Texas, has pushed to ban evidence that does not conform to national scientific standards. He will try again in 2013 when lawmakers reconvene. “These are problems that can be fairly easily solved,” he said. Senator Rodney Ellis, Democrat of Houston, said another key solution already exists: the Texas Forensic Science Commission. For more than two years, the commission was bogged down in a national political controversy over its investigation of arson science used to convict and execute Cameron Todd Willingham for a 1991 fire that killed his three daughters. That issue was resolved this year with a plan to review past arson cases to see whether similar faulty evidence led to questionable convictions. Now, Mr. Ellis said, he hopes the commission will address other questions of courtroom science. “To have a justice system we can have faith convicts the guilty and protects the innocent, we need scientific evidence that’s based on real science,” Mr. Ellis said, “not some guy saying he has magic dogs that can solve crimes.”
[ "Texas", "Forensic Science", "Morton Michael", "Decisions and Verdicts", "Sentences (Criminal)", "Murders and Attempted Murders" ]
[ "P", "P", "R", "M", "M", "M" ]
[ "us" ]
Mubarak’s Fall Prompts Double Takes - The TV Watch
It took 18 days to shake the world, but this time the revolution was shown live. People around the globe watched Egyptians rise up in an unarmed insurrection. They looked on, gobsmacked, as the Mubarak dictatorship crumbled on camera. Even the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 didn’t quite have the same hypnotic pull and roller-coaster suspense — this was a long vigil that carried a constant threat of mass violence in high definition. And when the end came on Friday, it was peaceful and so abrupt that American television put on its own kind of five-second delay. All the cable news channels were focused on Cairo from early morning; broadcast networks interrupted their regular programming to go live to Cairo when the news hit. But it wasn’t until the crowds on the streets of the city went berserk that viewers could be sure that they had heard right. CNN’s instantaneous translator was so stunned as he took in Vice President Omar Suleiman’s words that he faltered and repeated President Hosni Mubarak’s name three times . Some anchors seemed uncertain about what had just happened. A puzzled Richard Lui of MSNBC turned to the correspondent Richard Engel in Cairo and asked him what he could “glean” from Mr. Suleiman’s brief statement. Mr. Engel paused and grinned as a wave of joy rose up from Tahrir Square below him. There was no hesitation on the English-language service of Al Jazeera, which covered the uprising 24 hours a day and provided an up-close, almost personal experience of populist revolt. At times, the coverage looked less like a front-row seat to history than a video game — World of Warcraft: Anti-Mubarak Edition. Calling Mr. Suleiman’s statement “short but sweet,” the anchor Adrian Finighan said simply, “ Hosni Mubarak is gone.” Reporters and anchors on other news programs rushed in over the commotion to describe the scene and begin speculating on what would happen next. Mr. Finighan stopped talking and let the outpouring of car horns, flags and tears tell the story. It was Al Jazeera’s victory as well, of course, and that struggle was also fought live on television over the last 18 days, though more subliminally. The Mubarak government, which repeatedly tried to block the Arabic-language channel, treated Al Jazeera as an enemy that incited the protesters. Al Jazeera English seemed intent on using the upheaval in Egypt to assume the kind of authoritative role that CNN had during the 1991 Persian Gulf war. The network fought back — with impassive resistance. Throughout the crisis, its correspondents covering the protests tried to hold themselves to a strict neutrality that even CNN reporters didn’t feign. Most viewers in the United States can’t watch Al Jazeera English on television — though Link TV recently began simulcasting live programming for 12 hours a day. But lots of people are frustrated with the short attention span and distractions of American news programs. (On Thursday, when Mr. Mubarak was supposed to resign and didn’t, cable news programs were underscored with crawls about Kelsey Grammer’s divorce and Jennifer Hudson’s weight.) As they did at the height of the Iraq war, many Americans chose to watch foreign newscasts, in particular streams of BBC World News and Al Jazeera English. Sometimes, it paid off. On Thursday, when the world expected Mr. Mubarak to step down, MSNBC was so convinced of it that it kept the words “Egyptian President to Step Down” on the screen several minutes into Mr. Mubarak’s speech announcing he wasn’t leaving. Hours earlier, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Cairo, Ayman Mohyeldin, was asked whether he thought Mr. Mubarak would indeed depart. The correspondent said he thought it was unlikely that the Egyptian dictator would relinquish power so easily. And when he turned out to be right, Mr. Mohyeldin remained poker-faced and soft-spoken as he covered the protesters’ enraged reaction. He was far less indignant than Anderson Cooper of CNN, who told Wolf Blitzer: “This is a slap in the face. This is stepping on the grave, on the blood of Egyptian people that has been spilled for more than two weeks in that square we’re looking at, Wolf.” On Friday, Mr. Finighan asked Mr. Mohyeldin, who is Egyptian-born but educated in the United States, to “stop being impartial for a moment” and share his personal feelings about the turn of events. (Mr. Mohyeldin was one of the reporters for Al Jazeera who were detained by the security forces during the protests.) He didn’t allow himself to express joy . Instead he noted that all Egyptians couldn’t help but feel some pride in what had taken place on the streets of Cairo. The closest he got to a personal expression of feeling was this: “I never thought that I would actually live to see a day like this.” It was the understatement of the day, and it said a lot.
[ "Egypt", "Television", "News and News Media", "Mubarak Hosni" ]
[ "P", "P", "M", "R" ]
[ "world", "middleeast" ]
Lonnie Thompson, Climate Scientist, Battles Time and Mortality
COLUMBUS, Ohio — One day in 1991, high in the thin, crystalline air of the Peruvian Andes, Lonnie G. Thompson saw that the world’s largest tropical ice cap was starting to melt. It was the moment he realized that his life’s work had suddenly become a race. The discovery meant other ice caps were likely to melt, too, and the tales of past climate that they contained could disappear before scientists had a chance to learn from them. Driven by a new sense of urgency over the ensuing 20 years, he pulled off a string of achievements with few parallels in modern science. He led teams to some of the highest, most remote reaches of the earth to retrieve samples of the endangered ice. Then last October, the race against the clock became much more personal. Dr. Thompson woke up in a Columbus hospital room, a strange dream rattling in his brain. He looked down. “Wires were coming out of my chest,” he said. Machinery had been implanted to keep him alive. Longer term, doctors told him, only a heart transplant would restore him to full health. Dr. Thompson, 64, is one of the most prominent of the generation of scientists who, in the latter decades of the 20th century, essentially discovered the problem of global warming . Now those scientists are beginning to age out of the field. Many of them say they grapple with the question of how hard to keep pushing themselves. Could one more finding or one more expedition help turn the tide of public awareness? Some have continued working into their 70s and 80s. One of the most vocal about the need for action, Stephen H. Schneider of Stanford University , fought off a rare form of cancer several years ago, only to die of a blood clot in 2010 after speaking in Europe about climate change. He was 65. Of this pioneering group, few were hardier than Dr. Thompson, who has taught earth sciences at Ohio State University since the 1970s. Though he routinely spent up to two months a year camped in dangerous conditions atop mountains, he despised derring-do. His enterprise was driven by a lust for hard data. Hauling six tons of equipment to South America , Africa , Asia and Europe, he and his small team raced to recover long cylinders of ice from glaciers that had built up over thousands of years. The layers in those cylinders contained dust, volcanic ash, subtle variations in water chemistry, even the occasional frozen insect — a record of climatic and geologic changes that could be retrieved, preserved and interpreted like a series of tree rings. Dr. Thompson became one of the first scientists to witness and record a broad global melting of land ice. And his ice cores proved that this sudden, coordinated melting had no parallel, at least not in the last several thousand years. To some climate scientists, the Thompson ice core record became the most convincing piece of evidence that the rapid planetary warming now going on was a result of a rise in greenhouse gases caused by human activity. “The reason Lonnie’s stuff is so powerful is that it’s so simple,” said Daniel P. Schrag, a geochemist at Harvard and director of its Center for the Environment. “His evidence dismisses the idea that this is some sort of 300-year or 500-year cycle, which is what the skeptics and the deniers want to say. You say: ‘No, because Lonnie’s ice didn’t melt then. It’s melting now, but it didn’t melt then.’ ” Colleagues say Dr. Thompson neglected his own health in pursuit of his science. Now, largely confined to his office and home in Columbus, he said he has begun to appreciate the clarity afforded him by his circumstance. “I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but it’s not all bad,” he said. “It really forces you to sit down and think about what it is you’re doing and why you’re doing it, and how you are using your time.” Drawn to the Tropics Raised on a farm near Gassaway, W.Va., Lonnie Gene Thompson arrived at Ohio State with the idea of becoming a coal geologist, but ice soon seduced him. As a graduate student pursuing a doctorate in geology, he was put to work analyzing dust in ice cores retrieved from Antarctica , and he learned how minute chemical and physical features could be used to deduce past climate. He had recently married a fellow student, Ellen Mosley, who was drawn into Antarctic field work and became a leading Ohio State researcher in her own right. Collaborating with John Mercer, an earth scientist at the university known for his studies of glacial geology in Latin America, Lonnie Thompson was drawn to tropical ice. The very idea of ice in the warmest part of the world seems to defy common sense. But it is cold atop high mountains everywhere, and major ice caps exist on towering mountain plateaus far from the earth’s poles. Even in the mid-20th century, some of them had never been explored. The Ohio State team decided to focus on the mighty Quelccaya ice cap in the Andes of Peru , the largest tropical ice cap on the planet, suspecting it might yield a climate record. But the idea of drilling there met a chilly reception from some of the most eminent climate scientists of the day. The prevailing notion in the 1970s was that the tropics were climatologically boring and that most of the big oscillations in the earth’s climate had happened nearer the poles. Besides, in the tropics, “nobody thought there would be ice that would be very old,” recalled Wallace S. Broecker of Columbia University , then and now the leading American paleoclimatologist (At 80, Dr. Broecker is among the climate scientists still working long past retirement age). In 1974, with $7,000 from the National Science Foundation , Dr. Mercer and Dr. Thompson led a scouting party to Quelccaya, on a volcanic plain 18,000 feet above sea level. They confirmed that annual layering caused partly by seasonal dust could be seen in the ice. After a series of frustrated attempts to drill through the ice, including one involving a helicopter, Dr. Thompson resorted to mules, horses and donkeys to mount a 1983 expedition that drilled through 537 feet of ice with a solar-powered drill. At the time, he could not find a way to get the ice home frozen, so the layers were teased apart on the mountain and melted into thousands of plastic bottles that were hauled back to Columbus for chemical analysis. The results were startling. The ice record stretched back 1,500 years, and it recorded huge oscillations in the climate of the region — intense dry spells alternating with wet spells. Vast lakes had come and gone in the valleys, the dust from their dried-up beds leaving chemical imprints in the ice. The record also showed changes in water chemistry similar to those seen at the poles, leading Dr. Thompson to infer major temperature swings in the tropics. In the next few years, Dr. Thompson drilled at other sites in South America, recovering ice as old as 25,000 years and confirming the patterns seen at Quelccaya. His results, along with records other scientists were gathering from the sea floor, roiled the field of paleoclimatology. A realization began to dawn that the tropics were important to global climates of the past. It had been clear since the 1970s that the ice ages were caused by wobbles in Earth ’s orbit around the Sun, but the ice sheets mainly grew in the Northern Hemisphere, which has most of the world’s land. Scientists had evidence that the ice sheets influenced climate all over the planet, but they had had trouble figuring out how. Dr. Thompson’s results became part of a growing body of science suggesting that signals were being transmitted from the North Pole to the South Pole via the tropics, through huge shifts in winds, rain patterns and other variables. The work had implications in other fields, too. Some archaeologists had begun to think climate swings were responsible for the rise and fall of cultures in the Andes and along the Peruvian coastal plain. And Dr. Thompson’s ice cores gave them evidence that climate had indeed changed drastically enough to send entire civilizations into collapse. A Series of Challenges By the late 1980s, concern about global warming was rising, and some scientists believed the ice caps and glaciers of the tropics would be among the first to show the effects. On a return trip to Quelccaya in 1991, Dr. Thompson noticed substantial melting at the edges of the ice cap, and some on top. Laboratory tests confirmed that the annual climate signals recorded in the chemistry of the ice were being blurred. He picked up the pace with his team, who were among the first Western scientists allowed onto the ice caps of highland China , retrieving ice that may be as old as 750,000 years. He drilled several other times on the Tibetan plateau, in the Russian Arctic , in Alaska , atop Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania , in New Guinea, in the Alps. In his book about Dr. Thompson, “ Thin Ice ,” published in 2005, Mark Bowen described an incident on a peak called Huascarán in Peru. Dr. Thompson’s tent collapsed and started blowing off the mountain with him inside; he managed to stop it only by driving an ice ax through the floor, and then waited out the night. In his travels, he forded flooding rivers on horseback and coped with altitude sickness , coughing fits and blinding headaches. His West Virginia farm upbringing came in handy as he challenged Mongol porters to contests shooting wild game. Other times, he went hungry. Once, in China, dinner was a bowl of stewed camel paws. Somehow he and his team got the ice they were after and found ways to haul tons of the frozen cylinders back to Columbus, where roughly four miles of ice cores are kept at 30 degrees below zero and protected by backup generators. Dr. Thompson’s career has not been entirely free of controversy. During an expedition to Tibet in 1997, a graduate student working with him, Shawn Wight , was forced off the mountain by altitude sickness, got an infection while hospitalized and died. A judge found Ohio State not liable, but the case led universities across the country to re-examine their policies on field expeditions. Some scientists have challenged Dr. Thompson’s analysis of the signals in his ice cores, saying that the chemical changes he interprets as temperature swings probably reflect a more complicated mix of changes in temperature, precipitation and atmospheric circulation patterns. Mathias Vuille, an atmospheric scientist at the State University at Albany , who admires Dr. Thompson’s achievements, said that his analysis on this point “is hard to reconcile with other evidence.” And an especially intense controversy has erupted about Dr. Thompson’s interpretation of ice he recovered atop Mount Kilimanjaro. Though Dr. Thompson sees the rapid disappearance of ice there as a reflection of climate change, his critics cite more regional than global factors, like precipitation. While Dr. Thompson has defended his interpretations on these points, he does have some regrets. One is that those years of frenzied drilling led him to fall behind in publishing his data, so some of the evidence he has gathered is not yet available to the broader scientific community. Still, it is clear that Dr. Thompson managed to retrieve ice cores from a half-dozen places in the world where they can no longer be found in pristine form today. Some of the ice he drilled on Kilimanjaro, for instance, has since disappeared entirely. Ellen Mosley-Thompson does most of her fieldwork in Antarctica, but she has played a major role in interpreting the ice her husband recovered. Both are convinced that their own analysis is merely a start, and they have put money they have won from scientific prizes into an endowment to preserve the ice cores for future generations. ‘It’s Not Your Time ’ As a young man, Dr. Thompson stayed in shape by training for and running marathons. He now realizes his health began a slow decline sometime in his 40s. Dr. Bowen, a physicist and mountain climber, accompanied Dr. Thompson on several expeditions to write the definitive book about him. He said that atop Mount Kilimanjaro, “my heart went out to Lonnie as I lay in my tent at 20,000 feet and listened to him just hack away, coughing his lungs out. It happened almost every night for four weeks, yet we were all amazed when he got up during the day and was still as productive as four normal people.” Fifteen years ago, Dr. Thompson was treated for asthma , but he now suspects that the diagnosis was incomplete. He learned in 2009 that he had congestive heart failure , but kept to a schedule of expeditions to New Guinea and the Alps. For a time, “he was in complete denial,” his wife said. His doctors cannot say for certain that his work contributed to his health problems. Dr. Thompson notes that he has a family history of heart disease. Last fall, he reached a point where he could barely walk. He wound up in the hospital, drifting in and out of consciousness for days as his failing heart struggled to keep him alive. More than once, his wife and their daughter, Regina, were told he might not survive the night. It was deep in one of his comatose periods, he figures, that he had the dream. He described jumping through space and landing in a beautiful spot filled with flowers and streams. There, he said, a figure in white spoke to him. “It’s not your time,”’ the figure told him. “You have another purpose.” Dr. Thompson is not a particularly religious man, and he does not try to explain the dream, but his memory of it is vivid. The battery-powered equipment doctors implanted in his chest helped him get better and leave the hospital as he waited on the organ list. By the spring, he had resumed a limited work schedule, cranking out papers with colleagues around the world. He was at his desk on May 1 when the phone rang. He walked next door to his wife’s office. “My heart is here,” he told her. He underwent the transplant that evening. The donor’s family most likely does not know that the decision they made saved the life of a world-famous scientist. He is writing a letter in hopes of thanking them some day. Back in his office in early June, after the transplant, his face glowed a healthy pink. “I feel better than I have in 20 years,” he said. Dr. Thompson knows he needs to go slowly, but he has already started eyeing an unexplored ice cap in China. One of the greatest achievements of modern climate science was the recovery of ice cores in Antarctica that allowed a detailed reconstruction of the earth’s climate for the past 800,000 years. Dr. Thompson suspects an even longer record could be recovered by drilling at the right spot in Tibet. Last year, he pulled strings in Russia and asked for an astronaut on the International Space Station to photograph a certain ice cap. A Chinese scouting party has already checked it out, and drilling a core seems possible, if he regains his strength. Other people could probably do it without him, but that is not a thought he cares to entertain. “I’m going back,” he said with a wide grin. “I’m looking for the oldest ice on the planet.”
[ "Ice", "Ohio State", "Antarctica", "Research", "null", "Climate Change Global Warming", "Ellen Mosley Thompson" ]
[ "P", "P", "P", "P", "U", "R", "R" ]
[ "science", "earth" ]
Late Night on the Christmas Tree Corner
Each December, corners of New York City become fragrant with fir and festivity, greenery bursting in a concrete jungle, as Christmas tree vendors sell their holiday wares deep into the night. Stalls, trailers and cars become semi-permanent residences for the tree sellers in the weeks preceding Christmas. Some vendors cross state lines — and even national borders — for a monthlong adventure away from home. Others are simply continuing a family tradition, selling Fraser and Douglas firs and other natural holiday decorations. It’s a solitary profession. Warmth and bathroom breaks become a luxury, with music and the radio often offering the only companionship. But no matter the location or circumstance, many tree sellers display a quiet dedication to their holiday vocation, approaching it with patience through rush-hour throngs or the lull of night.
[ "Christmas tree", "NYC" ]
[ "P", "U" ]
[ "nyregion" ]
Nets’ Brooklyn Lineup Is Full of Uncertainty
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Four players and Coach Avery Johnson gave their parting words as members of the New Jersey Nets on Friday afternoon. Although the team will continue to practice a stone’s throw from the Meadowlands in the near future, they will be doing so as the Brooklyn Nets. It remains to be seen if Deron Williams, Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace and Brook Lopez will be Brooklyn Nets when next season begins. “I don’t want to think about playing our first game in Brooklyn without Deron or without Gerald Green or Gerald Wallace or any of those guys,” Johnson said. Of the four, only Lopez, who spent much of the season injured and hearing trade rumors, explicitly pledged his desire to stay with the team. “I love being a Net,” he said. “It’s the only thing I know.” But there were moments when Williams, the team’s star player, provided Nets fans a modicum of hope. “It would be great to be a part of that first game, that first team there, kind of start our own legacy in Brooklyn,” said Williams, who is an unrestricted free agent. “So that’s definitely enticing. That’s definitely something I think about on a regular basis.” Williams said it would be hard to make any concrete decision before the beginning of free agency on July 1. He said that he had sold his house in San Diego, and that New York City would be his home until he made a final decision. He also echoed something he has said before: that he and his family like living in the city. “I’m waiting to see what they do, too,” Williams said of his teammates and fellow free agents in flux. “LeBron, D-Wade and Chris Bosh, they signed on the same day, I think.” Williams said that he wanted to sign before the Olympics in London to avoid the risk of playing there without a guaranteed contract. He will try out for the team beginning July 6 in Las Vegas. Wallace said he would make a decision in the next week on whether to opt out of the final year on his contract. “I don’t want to play on a one-year deal,” Wallace said, saying he was hoping for a four- or five-year contract. Coming off a one-year contract, Humphries expressed interest in a multiyear deal. He has nearly tripled his scoring and rebounding numbers since his arrival in New Jersey in January 2010. “There’s not many guys who hang around the league at this point in their career and they kind of get that opportunity,” he said. Both players drew laughs discussing their relationship to New York City. “I’ve been to the city twice,” Wallace said. “And both of those were doctor’s appointments.” Humphries recounted an experience getting lost en route to a dinner in the East Village and ending up stuck in traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge. “I was like, ‘Oh, man, I’m going to Brooklyn right now,’” he said. Wallace experienced the birth of the Charlotte Bobcats and, using that as a frame of reference, said he believed the Nets would have an exciting beginning in Brooklyn. “Just the buzz and the atmosphere from the community around that was amazing,” he said of the Bobcats’ inaugural season. “And they had already had a team. Brooklyn has never had a team. I can just imagine.” This week Nets General Manager Billy King persuaded Williams and Jordan Farmar to take a tour of the team’s future home, the Barclays Center, as it nears completion.
[ "New Jersey Nets", "Williams Deron", "Lopez Brook", "Wallace Gerald", "Humphries Kris", "Basketball" ]
[ "P", "R", "R", "R", "R", "U" ]
[ "sports", "basketball" ]
Mays Landing: Arrest Made in Stabbing
A North Wildwood man has been arrested in the fatal stabbing of a Welsh tourist on Aug. 12 in Margate, the Atlantic County prosecutor, Ted Housel, said yesterday. The authorities said the arrested man, Robert Davies, 46, was fighting with another person when Lavern P. Ritch, above, of Penarth, Wales, tried to intervene and was stabbed once in the chest. Mr. Davies has been charged with aggravated manslaughter, possession of a knife for an unlawful purpose and tampering with physical evidence. The authorities said Mr. Davies fled and disposed of the knife. Mr. Davies turned himself in to the authorities yesterday, Mr. Housel said. Mr. Housel released few details about how the investigation led to Mr. Davies, except to say that the authorities learned last week that he was prepared to surrender.
[ "Wales", "Murders and Attempted Murders", "New Jersey" ]
[ "P", "M", "U" ]
[ "nyregion" ]
UConn Wins Women’s N.C.A.A. Title
NASHVILLE — His record ninth N.C.A.A. title secured, Geno Auriemma climbed a ladder Tuesday night, snipped the final strands of the net and pumped it in his fist, literally standing above everyone in women’s basketball. As Connecticut routed Notre Dame, 79-58, Auriemma and the Huskies (40-0) completed their fifth undefeated season. He now has one title more than his former nemesis, Pat Summitt of Tennessee, and only one fewer than John Wooden, whose pyramid of success brought 10 national titles to the men’s team at U.C.L.A. A school whose early mission was agriculture, UConn has come to regularly harvest basketball championships. The women’s team again shares a national title with the men, as it did in 2004. Since 1999, the Huskies men and women have made a combined 17 appearances at the Final Four. Duke is next with eight. For a night, at least, no one worried that the Huskies needed a more substantive football league than the fledgling American Athletic Conference to continue to succeed in basketball. “We’re in a league of our own,” Auriemma said earlier in the tournament. In the first matchup between undefeated teams in the women’s title game, UConn pitilessly exploited the absence of Notre Dame’s 6-foot-3-inch post player, Natalie Achonwa, who tore a knee ligament in a regional final. The Irish (37-1) had no answer for the height and interior skill of UConn’s 6-4 Breanna Stewart, the national player of the year, or 6-5 center Stefanie Dolson. Stewart finished with 21 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists, while Dolson contributed 17 points, 16 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 blocks. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis added 18 points and 7 rebounds. UConn took an early 22-8 lead with a 16-0 run, every point coming inside. Eventually, the Huskies scored 52 points in the lane to 22 for the Irish. “We knew we had a size advantage and could get really get the ball in the paint,” Dolson said. And while Auriemma did not say anything effusive about his ninth title, Dolson said, “It definitely means a lot to him, to have something no one else can say they have.” While Auriemma can be blunt and polarizing — a columnist at The Tennessean newspaper suggested he was at times the “arrogant, egomaniacal, unbeatable coach everybody in women’s basketball hates” — his teams are built on selfless discipline. Image UConn’s Moriah Jefferson and Notre Dame’s Kayla McBride battling for a loose ball in the first final featuring unbeaten teams. Credit John Bazemore/Associated Press The Huskies won Tuesday as they have since their first title in 1995. With an attacking offense built on movement, screens and crisp passing. And a defense that never loses its intent to hound and confuse and disrupt. Most impressively, the Huskies bewilder opponents while seldom committing fouls. Notre Dame, the nation’s No. 1 shooting team, hit only 22 of 62 attempts (35.5 percent) against relentless UConn. If repeat victory for UConn — this was a second consecutive title — has stirred both appreciation and resentment from others, so be it, Dolson said. “We know no one wants to see us win, so we’re going to win anyway,” she said. Jeff Judkins, the women’s coach at Brigham Young, and a former men’s assistant at Utah, noted that he had coached against Bobby Knight, Rick Pitino and John Calipari and that Auriemma deserved the comparison. The truest association might be to Mike Krzyzewski of Duke, who like Auriemma, has ornamented his college abundance with Olympic gold. “Geno, in my book, is one of the best coaches ever, when you dominate a sport like he has,” Judkins said. Repeatedly, Auriemma, 60, has been asked why he never left to coach a men’s team. For starters, he makes about $2 million a year at UConn. And he is able to recruit many of the country’s best players to an isolated campus. “It’s like we were going for a race and you’re driving a Porsche and I’m driving a truck,” Judkins said. “You’ve got a better chance of winning.” Women stay in school for four years instead of departing after one, like many men’s players. And after overseeing his son’s A.A.U. team, Auriemma decided that women were more coachable than men. “A lot of things have happened to make me think I’ve got a pretty good job where I am,” he said. Many celebrate UConn’s 2002 championship team of Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi and Swin Cash as the greatest in women’s basketball. Others prefer Maya Moore’s teams that built a 90-game winning streak to the current Huskies team, which lacked depth. But Gary Blair, who coached Texas A&M to the 2011 national title, considers this to be Auriemma’s best starting five. His reasons: Stewart is the most versatile player in the country. Dolson is as resourceful as Tina Charles was. Point guard Moriah Jefferson willingly restricts her focus to assists and steals. Shooting guard Bria Hartley has a flair for the timely basket. Image Center Stefanie Dolson had 17 points, 16 rebounds and 7 assists for UConn, which took an early 22-8 lead and outscored Notre Dame, 52-22, in the lane. Credit Ben Solomon for The New York Times Of the feathery 3-pointers of Mosqueda-Lewis, Blair said, “Who’s a better shooter that they’ve ever had? If you want to play a game of H-O-R-S-E, I’m taking Lewis over any of his great ones.” When Mosqueda-Lewis missed eight games during the season with an elbow injury and mononucleosis, Auriemma told her, “Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Nobody else is going to feel sorry for you.” This directness can be traced, in part, to two sources. First, Auriemma grew up outside Philadelphia, where what is pronounced as “attytude” is a fine and necessary art. Second, Auriemma said, his parents, who immigrated from Italy when he was 7, trusted coddling less than they trusted banks. He described the family approach as “I’m not worried about your feelings. I’m just going to tell you the truth. What are you going to do, run away from home?” In demanding greatness, he views himself as a kind of personal trainer, pushing his players beyond the limits they set for themselves. It was disrespectful, Auriemma said, to treat his team as female basketball players instead of simply as basketball players. Nora Lynn Finch, the associate commissioner for women’s basketball in the Atlantic Coast Conference, said, “I think there are not enough coaches who set the standard and will not lower the bar.” Summitt set the same uncompromising standard at Tennessee. And while she and Auriemma feuded, and she eventually stopped scheduling UConn over concerns about the recruiting of Moore, Summitt also kept her sense of humor. When two goldfish in her office fish tank tried to devour each other, she named them Pat and Geno. Now that Summitt’s career has been ended by early-onset Alzheimer’s, respect and belated friendship have superseded bickering. Auriemma said he would take no added pleasure in winning a ninth championship in the state where Summitt built her dynasty. “At some point,” he said, “you just stop and go, O.K., what’s the point?” Similarly, he demurred when asked about title comparisons to Wooden. He laughed and said there were no men’s coaches telling anyone, “If I win 8 or 9, I’ll catch Geno Auriemma.” What he was most proud of, said Auriemma, who came to UConn in 1985, was the sustained excellence of his teams. “Every coach,” he said, “wants their legacy to be, I was really good at what I did for a really long time.”
[ "NCAA Women's Basketball", "College basketball", "University of Connecticut", "University of Notre Dame" ]
[ "M", "R", "M", "M" ]
[ "sports", "ncaabasketball" ]
Virginia Begins Title Defense With Victory Against Princeton
Colin Briggs and Chris Bocklet scored two goals each, and host Virginia (12-3), last year’s champion, won by 6-5 against Princeton (11-5) in the first round of the N.C.A.A. men’s tournament. ¶ Hannah Schmitt scored with 3.8 seconds left in overtime to give sixth-seeded Loyola (Md.) a 10-9 victory over visiting Penn in the opening round of the N.C.A.A. women’s tournament. In other first-round play, the senior midfielder Sarah Holden and the sophomore attacker Alyssa Murray each scored four goals to lead host Syracuse past Dartmouth, 15-5.
[ "NCAA Lacrosse Championships", "College Athletics", "Lacrosse", "Loyola University Maryland", "University of Pennsylvania", "Princeton University", "University of Virginia" ]
[ "U", "U", "U", "M", "M", "M", "M" ]
[ "sports" ]
Miles Can Meet With Michigan
BATON ROUGE, La., Nov. 28 (AP) — Michigan athletics officials have asked for and received permission from Louisiana State to meet with Les Miles about the Wolverines’ head football coaching vacancy. Skip Bertman, the L.S.U. athletic director, granted the request on condition that Michigan representatives wait until after Saturday’s Southeastern Conference championship game in Atlanta before starting negotiations, according to Herb Vincent, an L.S.U. spokesman. Vincent said Bertman and the L.S.U. chancellor, Sean O’Keefe, also planned to meet with Miles next week to discuss his contract. “We’re trying to get the S.E.C. championship game behind us; that’s why we’re scheduling these things for next week,” Vincent said. Miles, in his third season as L.S.U.’s coach, went 11-2 in each of his first two years. Calls and e-mail messages seeking comment were left with Bill Martin, the Michigan athletic director, on Wednesday.
[ "University of Michigan", "Miles Les", "College Athletics" ]
[ "M", "R", "M" ]
[ "sports", "ncaafootball" ]
Greenburgh Students in a Finance Class Talk of Money Changes at Home
GREENBURGH FOR the most part, they are shielded, their parents seldom letting on what is really going on. But trouble has an insidious way of making itself known, and 11- and 12-year-olds in the Town of Greenburgh seem to have slowly come to realize that the American economy is dreadfully sick. Jasmine Bradwell, 11, whose exuberance is crowned by a ready laugh, knew something was wrong when she visited Costco two weeks before Halloween . “They had plenty of candy,” she said. “Last year they were out.” Her assessment that people are not buying as much candy may be less than authoritative because she was in Costco before the season’s peak, but Jasmine has also seen how many stores are seductively trumpeting sales and she worries that people have become gun-shy about shopping. Christmas and her birthday are coming up, and perhaps she won’t get as generous presents as in the past. Lordess Turner, 11, was recently selling chocolates to raise money for her school and, she recalled, “People said they couldn’t pay for it.” “The stock market is going down, and they don’t get as much pay as they used to,” she said. Jasmine and Lordess were among a dozen children, most of them sixth and seventh graders in Greenburgh’s schools, who sat around a table at the Theodore D. Young Community Center chatting about the economy. They are part of an after-school practical-business program that Greenburgh is running under a $335,000 contract with a nonprofit firm, the Xposure Foundation. The students will learn the mechanics of applying for jobs and good etiquette and habits at work. They will also receive $12 a week to save or invest as they see fit. Some money may wind up in partial shares in the stock market, so the students could soon learn about the maddening capriciousness of that beast. The students, for the most part, don’t watch news programs or read The Wall Street Journal regularly, but the bad news is out there in the ether — in remarks dropped at the dinner table, in stray comments from relatives, in sudden moves friends make because a house has been foreclosed on. Some end up worrying and wondering, even if their parents try to cheer them up. Giovanni Sanchez, 12, learned that an uncle had been fired. Keyonah Bratton, 11, learned the same about a cousin of hers. Awa Nyambi, 11, a slight, bright-eyed young man, has a mother who works at a hard-hit travel company in White Plains. “Mom was talking about the stock dropping and how they may have to let go of some people, people who work on her team,” he said. “They don’t have all the money to afford to keep them on the team.” Adriana Bailey’s father works for the New York Stock Exchange, though, like many other 12-year-olds, she doesn’t know precisely what her father does. “Lots of people at his job are getting fired, and he’s afraid he’ll be in the next round,” she said. Her eyes glimmered, and she looked palpably upset and a little confused. “He used to buy a lot of stuff, jewelry and laptops,” she said. “He has to stop buying it.” For one thing, these children are clearly sensing the desperate maneuvers of high finance and the United States Treasury. “Popular banks like Chase are taking over little banks,” Jasmine said. “People are losing their bank accounts. My mom changed to Chase. Before she had her money in HSBC.” In many ways, they know their parents’ days of wine and roses are over — at least for a while. Ciarra Williams, 12, has a friend who had to move back with her father after her mother lost her home. “A lot of people are losing their houses because of the high mortgage, and it’s causing poverty,” she said. “My mom’s friend, their house is about to go into foreclosure because she couldn’t pay,” Jasmine chimed in. “It was a nice house too.” Teara Williams, 12, Ciarra’s twin sister, noticed how her school was trying fund-raising gimmicks like talent shows so it could afford to maintain the school and buy supplies. And the students are mad at the way grown-ups have frittered away money, even as our new Gilded Age has been turning to dross. Jasmine wondered what was the need of a new Yankee Stadium when the old one did the job perfectly well. “I could see if something was wrong with the building, but who needs a new stadium?” she said. That sparked an echo of outrage from Ciarra. “They’re going through a depression and they think about a stadium?” she asked. “It makes no difference whether it’s old or new.” Their sense of the nation’s financial meltdown is already influencing their plans for what they will do with the money they earn. They’re thinking of investing in stocks that rely on what people always do, good times and bad. People have to eat even if a depression hits. So McDonald’s was a stock the students touted. “I’m going to invest in Apple,” Jasmine said. “They make a lot of money — iPods, iPhones, computers. People like that stuff.” That brought a chuckle from Raymond L. Thomas Jr., Xposure’s executive director. “It’s always the kids who know when the next big thing is,” he said. But Jasmine quickly confessed to some second thoughts about her money. “I’ll put it in savings,” she decided. “Because the way the stocks are going. I’m going to lose.”
[ "Finances", "Stocks and Bonds", "White Plains (NY)", "Children and Youth" ]
[ "P", "M", "M", "M" ]
[ "nyregion", "westchester" ]
Hunter Mahan Struggles to Find Balance and a Missing Swing
DUBLIN, Ohio — Hunter Mahan had two shafts at his feet for alignment. His coach was at his side for one shot, stood behind him on the next, and then crouched to block the glare of the hot sun to study the video. At one point, Mahan dropped his club after an errant shot, and Sean Foley, the coach, moved in for more instruction. These are the unhappy signs of a player in search of his game. “There is no joy in playing bad,” Mahan said. Mahan, reflective and honest, said last week that he was thankful for a life he described as incredible because he has rarely experienced stress on or off the golf course. He is approaching $30 million in career earnings despite having had to return to qualifying school once early in his P.G.A. Tour career. Each year he got a little better. He has played in every major since the 2007 United States Open at Oakmont. All that has changed. Once as high as No. 4 in the world, Mahan checked in last week at No. 143. “I haven’t had many struggles in my life,” Mahan said. “This is foreign territory to me.” Mahan is not currently eligible for any more majors. And he was not aware that the top players had been invited to be fitted for Ryder Cup uniforms on Tuesday at Muirfield Village, though for a man who has played on seven United States teams, the Ryder Cup was the least of his concerns. “The hard part is showing up every day with a good attitude, because the bad stuff is with you,” he said. “When you’re playing good, the bad stuff goes away. It’s like you’re waterproof. And when you’re playing bad, it feels like you’re a sponge.” Do not get the idea that Mahan, 34, was sulking. He said life off the course had never been better. In some respects, life off the course is part of why he is struggling, though Mahan would not change that. His first child, Zoe, was born in 2013 during the Canadian Open, where Mahan held a two-shot lead but withdrew and raced home to Dallas to be with his wife, Kandi, in time for the birth. His second child, Miller, was born about 18 months later. “We wanted them close together. We had two and it was like, ‘Holy moly, two is a lot.’ And then she was pregnant,” Mahan said with a smile. His third child is due next month. “I was kind of looking forward to a year without anything new, which hasn’t happened. Everything in my life is really good. I’m just not shooting the scores I should.” Soon, the couple will have three children under the age of 3. “We have a lot going on,” Mahan said. “Mentally, you’d like to deal with one thing at a time. I think it overwhelmed me, and I lost track of my swing a little bit. It feels like an avalanche, but it’s just a snow flurry.” Mahan has felt the pull to be at home with two toddlers and a pregnant wife, and that is where he has felt his energy should be. And so it has been difficult for him to devote his previous intensity his game, which had been so reliable that he was the only player to have never missed a FedEx Cup playoff event since its inception in 2007 — until he failed to reach the Tour Championship last year. Mahan said he was not sure what would be harder to find: his swing or the right balance in life. “I’m a father and a husband, and I have to be there first,” he said. “It’s hard to be there mentally in both places.” It shows. This year, he has missed the cut seven times in 13 starts. His best finish was a tie for 43rd at Torrey Pines, his first event of the year. He did not break 70 until the second round of the Players Championship, a stretch of 34 straight rounds at 70 or higher. Mahan was confident that his work and his game were going in the right direction. As far away as he appears on paper, he said he did not feel the gap was too large. “I’m not trying to get back to where I’m a top-50 player,” he said. “I’m trying to get back to where I’m a top-five or top-10 player. “I’m making headway. I’m doing the right things. It’s just going to take time, and time moves slow,” he continued. “It moves fast when you’re playing good. When you’re playing bad, every hole takes forever, and every round takes forever. You think a 65 will fix everything, and it won’t.”
[ "Hunter Mahan", "Golf" ]
[ "P", "P" ]
[ "sports", "golf" ]
Château Latour Breaks With a Bordeaux Tradition
PAUILLAC, France — As they have every April for decades, wine merchants from around the world donned their tweed jackets, tucked in their pocket squares and descended on Bordeaux this week to assess the latest vintage. In visits to revered chateaus in localities like Pomerol, Margaux and Saint-Estèphe, they swirled, sniffed, spat and scored the 2012 Bordeaux. But this year one of the biggest names, Château Latour, will not be available when the other 2012 wines go on sale in the coming weeks. Anyone who wants the 2012 Latour will have to wait years, thanks to a decision by the chateau’s owner, the French billionaire François Pinault, to withhold the wine from the annual sale of Bordeaux futures . The move reflects broader trends that are shaking up the clubby wine industry of Bordeaux, the largest producer of high-quality wines in the world, and stirring tensions between the people who produce the wine and those who sell it to affluent clients across the globe. Each side accuses the other of greed; hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake. “If you do anything that goes against what’s been traditionally done in Bordeaux, it’s controversial,” said Stephen Browett, chairman of Farr Vintners, a wine merchant in Britain that specializes in Bordeaux. “When it’s one of the richest men in France that is thinking outside the box, it’s doubly controversial.” Mr. Pinault is used to getting his way. For more than two years he battled his main rival in the French luxury goods business — Bernard Arnault, the chief executive of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton — for control of the fashion house Gucci, eventually prevailing in 2001. Other holdings, via companies his family controls, include Yves Saint Laurent, the auction house Christie’s and the Palazzo Grassi in Venice. Mr. Pinault has owned Château Latour for two decades. But that still makes him a relative newcomer to Bordeaux, where the old money frowns on the ostentatious tastes of men like Mr. Pinault and his son, François-Henri, who now runs the family holding company, Artemis, and who is married to the actress Salma Hayek. For as long as anyone here can remember — at least three centuries, some say — the high-end wines of the region have been sold via local intermediaries, called négociants, rather than directly by the chateaus. The négociants sell the wine to merchants, distributors and importers in the spring after the harvest, while the wine is still in barrels, through a futures market called en primeur. Elsewhere, wine producers generally sell directly to distributors, importers or private clients, without the added layer of négociants. Many chateau owners and négociants say the system benefits both sides. Chateaus get the upfront revenue they need to invest in the production of the next vintage. The négociants whip up interest in the new vintage, and their marketing prowess has helped Bordeaux beat its rivals into new markets like China, now the biggest importer of the region’s wines. Image The quaint French village of Saint-Emilion. Credit Nicolas Tucat/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images In return, the middlemen get up to 15 percent of the wholesale price of the wine — not bad when a bottle of Château Latour sells for around 300 euros (nearly $400) in a mediocre vintage, much more in a great one. “The négociant system has survived the Revolution, two world wars, the Great Depression and phylloxera,” said Patrick Bernard, who runs one of the biggest firms, Millésima, referring to the insect pest that ravaged the vineyards of Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. “The economy of Bordeaux is based on en primeur. If you break this, you break the Bordeaux wine economy.” But chateau owners complain that they have not been getting their fair share of the gains from a recent surge in global demand for high-end Bordeaux. In vintages like 2005 and 2008, the price of many wines doubled or tripled after the initial sales, and much of the profit went to wine merchants and other customers, not the chateaus. More and more chateaus have been sold by longtime family owners to corporations or to tycoons like Mr. Pinault, whose family has an estimated worth of $15 billion, according to Forbes magazine. Mr. Arnault, for example, has snapped up two other famed Bordeaux properties, Cheval Blanc and d’Yquem. Proprietors with such deep pockets do not need to worry about how to pay for the corks, bottles and labels for the next year’s wine, so they can do without the revenue from the early sales. While a few chateaus had previously pulled out of the traditional system, the move by Château Latour, announced last year but effective with the current vintage, was the most direct attack yet. Latour, one of the five so-called first growths of Bordeaux — the top wines in an official classification that dates back to 1855 — is coveted like few other wines. Château Latour said that instead of selling early, it would keep vintages until it deemed them ready to drink, and price them accordingly. Over the winter, it followed up by announcing that instead of providing the 2012 vintage for sale this spring, it would offer remaining bottles of the 1995 Latour. Frédéric Engerer, the director of Château Latour, says his complaint is not about the intermediaries — the ‘95 Latour is being sold through them — or about money. The problem, he says, is that the system encourages people to drink Latour, which benefits from a decade or two of aging, too early. After buying in the futures market, customers take delivery of the wines as soon as they are bottled, usually about a year and a half later, making it tempting to pop a cork or two before the wine is ready. Furthermore, many bottles of Latour have been changing hands often as speculators seek to make a quick profit, so the wine may not be stored in optimal conditions. In some other wine regions, like Champagne, Mr. Engerer noted, producers keep the wine in their cellars until it is mature — so why not Bordeaux? Image Winemakers open their 2012 bottles for tasting by 6,000 wine merchants who gather at this time each year. Credit Jean-Pierre Muller/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images “We want to provide our wines to our customers at the best moment and with best possible quality,” he said in an e-mail. “This makes all the more sense for Latour, which is one of the longest-aging wines of Bordeaux.” His argument, however, did not go down well with Mr. Bernard of Millésima. Last month, as the tasting season approached, Millésima announced that it would no longer sell Château Latour, leaving a void in his portfolio alongside the other first growths — Margaux, Haut-Brion, Lafite Rothschild and Mouton-Rothschild. Several other négociants followed suit, though most have tried to keep their heads down. Mr. Bernard says the real problem is that chateau owners have become unrealistic in their pricing expectations since the 2009 vintage, widely hailed as one of the best ever. The 2009s sold well, even though some chateaus tripled or quadrupled their prices. But subsequent vintages have drawn less interest. Now Mr. Bernard — and he is not alone — is urging chateau owners to cut prices sharply for the 2012 wines. In 2011, the first growths were released at an average wholesale price of 350 euros a bottle during early sales — down from 500 euros for 2010 and 450 euros for 2009, but still up sharply from 100 euros for the 2008. Even the Chinese, eager buyers of the 2009 vintage, mostly said no thanks. Mr. Bernard says a price of less than 200 euros would be appropriate for the 2012 wines, given the uneven quality of the vintage and the uncertainties in the global economy. His view was seconded by Robert Parker, the prominent American wine critic, who wrote on Twitter: “Prices need to fall dramatically to reignite some market interest.” For chateaus, pricing Bordeaux is always a complicated game with many variables: négociants, consumers, the quality of the vintage and the economy. The ordinary laws of supply and demand do not always hold sway. Many chateau owners say the traditional system still makes sense, but all are watching closely to see how Latour fares. “People have been saying for 30 years that en primeur is dead,” said one chateau owner, speaking on condition of anonymity to protect business relationships. “It’s true that nothing you learned in business school applies here. But en primeur keeps going.”
[ "Bordeaux", "France", "Wine", "Francois Pinault", "Chateau Latour" ]
[ "P", "P", "P", "M", "R" ]
[ "business", "global" ]
Diabetes Drug Gains Approval for Treatment of Obesity
The Food and Drug Administration approved a Novo Nordisk diabetes drug as a treatment for obesity, the first injectable drug approved for weight loss. The drug, liraglutide, will be marketed under the brand name Saxenda for obese adults and for overweight adults who have weight-related health problems like Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol. The F.D.A. approved liraglutide in 2010 as a treatment for Type 2 diabetes. Novo Nordisk sells it under the name Victoza as a treatment for that condition. Liraglutide is intended to spur the pancreas to create extra insulin after meals.
[ "Diabetes", "Obesity", "Novo Nordisk", "Pharmaceuticals", "FDA" ]
[ "P", "P", "P", "U", "U" ]
[ "business" ]
Yemen: Rockets Kill at Least 18 Civilians
Rockets fired by Shiite rebels killed at least 18 civilians and 13 anti-rebel fighters in the southern city of Aden, where fierce fighting has been raging for months, the director of Aden’s health services said Wednesday. The United Nations declared its highest level of humanitarian emergency in Yemen, where 80 percent of the population needs assistance. United Nations officials have said the country is one step away from famine. The United Nations deputy spokesman, Farhan Haq, said United Nations agencies had agreed to declare a Level 3 humanitarian emergency in Yemen on Wednesday. The fighting in Yemen pits the Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, and allied troops loyal to a former president against southern separatists, local and tribal militias, Sunni Islamic militants and loyalists of the exiled current president. The rebels seized the capital in September, and a coalition led by Saudi Arabia began airstrikes against them in March.
[ "Yemen", "Shiite", "Houthis", "Islam", "Saudi Arabia", "UN", "Terrorism", "International relations", "Civilian casualties" ]
[ "P", "P", "P", "P", "P", "U", "U", "U", "M" ]
[ "world", "middleeast" ]
The Taint of Scandal in Taiwan's Pro League
TAIPEI — The latest baseball scandal to hit Taiwan has many gloomy about the future of a sport that has given the island an identity. On Monday, prosecutors opened an investigation into whether players in Taiwan’s Chinese Professional Baseball League deliberately lost games in exchange for payoffs. Former players and alleged gambling ringleaders have been detained. On Wednesday, the police questioned nine more players, eight were named as suspects, according to local media. The allegations include the play of the Brother Elephants, the island’s most popular team, as it lost the Taiwan Series to the Uni-President 7-11 Lions. The Lions won the seventh, and final, game Sunday. Taiwan’s 20-year old professional baseball league has been plagued by such corruption scandals. Gangsters have in the past intimidated players, but this time, a spokesman said, prosecutors have ruled out the possibility that players were threatened or intimidated. But league officials had been upbeat recently, saying game attendance had bounced back this season, that the government was doing more to promote the game and that the tiny league — numbering only four teams after others folded amid scandal or financial losses — was retrenching. For many Taiwanese, the stakes are far higher than a mere sport’s survival. Baseball is one of the few arenas in which Taiwan has won recognition on the world stage. “In the past, we used baseball to raise our morale and reinforce our national identity,” said Yu Jun-wei, author of a recent book on the history of baseball in Taiwan and a professor at National Taiwan Sport University in Taichung. “It still serves a political purpose. China always says we’re part of their territory. But we can use baseball to prove to ourselves and others that we still exist in international society.” Yu said the scandal was especially damaging because it involved the Brother Elephants and one of its top stars — the pitcher Tsao Chin-hui, the first Taiwanese to have played in U.S. major league baseball, for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Colorado Rockies. Tsao was one reason attendance rose this season, his first in Taiwan’s professional league, reaching an average of 4,000 per game, double last year’s dismal showing, according to the league. Tsao maintains his innocence but said prosecutors had searched his home. Richard Wang, director of international affairs for the league, said prosecutors had searched the Brother Elephants’ dormitory Monday, seized three cellphones and detained two former baseball players. He said on Tuesday that the league had been “hurt badly” by the latest allegations. “It’s devastating, for sure,” Wang said. “If what the media said is true — that players were voluntarily cooperating with bookies — that’s really bad news.” “In the past, players were throwing games under pressure and threats from the mafia. If this time there were no threats or pressure, and it was just the players’ greed, that’s really sad.” The Japanese brought baseball to Taiwan after they colonized the island in 1895. Taiwan’s string of Little League titles in the 1970s confirmed that the game was a rare arena for the island to shine internationally. The victories were a sorely needed morale booster in a decade in which the United States broke diplomatic ties with Taipei in favor of Beijing as the legitimate government of China and Taiwan lost representation in the United Nations. Many Little League heroes went on to play in Taiwan’s first professional league, established with high hopes in 1990. Since the peak of “baseball fever” in the early 1990s, though, the game’s fortunes have waned. Attendance has plummeted, as has television viewership, especially after satellite channels brought U.S. Major League Baseball and basketball into Taiwan homes. Last year, Taiwan’s league had shrunk to four teams, down from 11 in two leagues in the late 1990s, after the dMedia T-Rex team was kicked out amid game-fixing allegations and the Chinatrust Whales folded. Worse, though, was Taiwan’s loss to China’s team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Not only is China an obvious political rival, it also had virtually no history of baseball until very recently, compared with Taiwan’s century of play. “It was a humiliation, because we always thought our standard was much higher than China’s,” said Professor Yu. “Baseball is one of the few sports we can beat them at.” The loss sparked a round of soul-searching and government commitments to shore up the game. A second loss to China at the World Baseball Classic in March prompted the island’s then-prime minister to declare the Taiwan team’s performance “unacceptable.” According to Lance Lan, an official at the cabinet-level Sports Affairs Council who was previously involved in baseball promotion, the government has adopted a four-year, 1 billion Taiwan dollar, or $31 million, plan to help turn the sport around. “It’s to help upgrade our country’s baseball, especially at the grass roots,” he said. If the game-fixing allegations prove true, the grass roots may be the only thing left. Chris Day, a spokesman for the Chinese Taipei Baseball Association, said the Brother Elephants’ coach had publicly vowed last year to disband the team if its players were found to be involved in throwing games. “The Brother Elephants are a major team — they’re like the New York Yankees of Taiwan,” said Day. “If they close down, it’s going to be very hard for the league to sustain itself.” “This isn’t four guys sitting down and cheating at mah-jongg, it’s a matter of lying to the whole public and baseball-loving population here,” Day said. Richard Lin, secretary-general of the Chinese Taipei Baseball Association, said that better compensation and free-agent rights could also help keep players honest. He said players’ salaries averaged just 100,000 Taiwan dollars a month but should be triple that. Regardless of the scandals, though, baseball will remain Taiwan’s national pastime, Lin said, because Taiwanese baseball heroes, like the New York Yankees pitcher Wang Chien-ming, continue to inspire younger generations. Basketball may be all the rage, but few Taiwanese are physically able to compete on the level of the National Basketball Association or in international team competitions. “Taiwanese like baseball because they know we have a chance to get a championship, or at least second or third place,” Lin said. “But in basketball? Impossible.”
[ "Taiwan", "Baseball", "Gambling" ]
[ "P", "P", "P" ]
[ "sports", "baseball" ]
End of preview (truncated to 100 rows)

KPTimes Benchmark Dataset for Keyphrase Generation


KPTimes is a dataset for benchmarking keyphrase extraction and generation models. The dataset is composed of 290K news articles in English collected from the New York Times and the Japan Times. Keyphrases were annotated by editors in a semi-automated manner (that is, editors revise a set of keyphrases proposed by an algorithm and provide additional keyphrases). Details about the dataset can be found in the original paper (Gallina et al., 2019).

Reference (indexer-assigned) keyphrases are also categorized under the PRMU (Present-Reordered-Mixed-Unseen) scheme as proposed in (Boudin and Gallina, 2021).

Text pre-processing (tokenization) is carried out using spacy (en_core_web_sm model) with a special rule to avoid splitting words with hyphens (e.g. graph-based is kept as one token). Stemming (Porter's stemmer implementation provided in nltk) is applied before reference keyphrases are matched against the source text. Details about the process can be found in Present keyphrases are ordered according to their first occurrence position in the text.

Content and statistics

The dataset contains the following test split:

Split # documents #words # keyphrases % Present % Reordered % Mixed % Unseen
Train 259,923 921 5.03 45.61 15.57 29.63 9.19
Validation 10,000 921 5.02 45.22 15.78 29.60 9.41
Test 20,000 648 5.03 60.64 8.90 18.95 11.51

The following data fields are available :

  • id: unique identifier of the document.
  • title: title of the document.
  • abstract: abstract of the document.
  • keyphrases: list of reference keyphrases.
  • prmu: list of Present-Reordered-Mixed-Unseen categories for reference keyphrases.
  • date: publishing date (YYYY/MM/DD)
  • categories: categories of the article (1 or 2 categories)


Edit dataset card