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More business groups back economic managers call to weigh cost of federalism

Several business groups joined the call of Philippine economic managers for fiscal prudence, more dialogues and a well-considered approach in the proposed shift to federalism......»»

Category: financeSource: philstar philstarAug 15th, 2018

Business groups urge lawmakers to weigh costs of shifting to federalism

Local business groups are worried about the consequences of shifting to a federal form of government, echoing the woes earlier raised by some of the country's economic managers. Seven business groups, including the country's largest business group the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), are urging lawmakers to weigh carefully the costs, risks and uncertainty of the shift. In a statement on Sunday afternoon, the local business chambers called for "full, open, and dispassionate dialogues" about federalism, a move that would have far reaching effects in the country and its future. The call for dispassionate talks came after a member of the consultative committee urg...Keep on reading: Business groups urge lawmakers to weigh costs of shifting to federalism.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsAug 12th, 2018

More groups back economic managers on federalism apprehensions

Nineteen more groups have expressed their support for the economic managers and joined the call to Congress to carefully consider the costs of moving to a federal system of government......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsAug 14th, 2018

Business groups: Weigh costs, risks of federalism

In support of concerns raised by economic managers, seven of the country’s biggest business groups yesterday called on legislators to weigh the costs and risks of the proposed shift to a federal system of government......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsAug 12th, 2018

Cost of federalism, Sara Duterte, Trump on Harley-Davidson | Evening wRap

Today on Rappler: Seven business groups urged lawmakers to carefully weigh the costs and risks associated with the proposed shift to a federal system of government. President Rodrigo Duterte fired top officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Medical Center. Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), the Davao regional party of Sara Duterte Carpio, ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsAug 13th, 2018

Business groups support economic managers over federalism risks - Rappler

Business groups support economic managers over federalism risks - Rappler.....»»

Category: newsSource:  googlenewsRelated NewsAug 13th, 2018

Tale of 2 cities: Olympics sponsors in Pyeongchang and Tokyo

em>By Youkyung Lee and Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press /em> SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The Winter Olympics coming to South Korea in February offer an example of the Olympian efforts often required to meet corporate sponsorship goals. Tokyo tells a different story: The coffers are already overflowing for the 2020 Summer Games. It's a tale of two cities and two Olympics — winter and summer. Pyeongchang is a little-known destination in one of South Korea's poorest provinces. It is the 'little town that could,' bidding twice unsuccessfully for the Winter Olympics before winning on its third try. A final push enabled it to reach its sponsorship target of 940 billion won ($830 million) in September, with just five months to go. Tokyo is an established global capital, and the Summer Games usually generate more excitement — and more money. Organizers have raised 300 billion yen ($2.7 billion) in sponsorship, twice any previous Olympics. International Olympic Committee Vice President John Coates describes it as a remarkable achievement. The divergent experiences of two Asian host cities illustrate the challenges that smaller bidders face, as well as South Korea's dependence on the big family-owned companies that dominate its economy. Not that Tokyo is home-free. The cost of the 2020 Games has nearly doubled from initial projections. As with most Olympics, taxpayers will have to foot a good part of the bill. ___ strong>WHERE 'CHAEBOLS' RULE /strong> Starting with the 1988 Seoul Olympics, South Korea has used mega-events such as the soccer World Cup to raise the profile of the country and its manufacturing exporters. Pyeongchang is different. The project was initiated by local politicians in an area long alienated politically and economically in South Korea's rise to prosperity. Some feared people would confuse the city's name with Pyongyang, the North Korean capital. They couldn't count on the automatic support of the huge family-run conglomerates, known as 'chaebol,' such as Samsung, Hyundai and LG. 'When such mega-events were the nation-state's key project, the chaebol were called on and were expected to become the leading participants,' said Joo Yu-min, a professor at the National University of Singapore who co-authored a book on South Korea's use of mega-events. In the end, the national government brought the conglomerates in, first in the bid process, and then for sponsorship. That underscores both the outsized role they play in the economy and their close ties with government. They owe a debt to special treatment from the government, which in turn used them to industrialize the country after the devastating 1950-53 Korean War. After Pyeongchang's bid was rejected a second time, the government called on Samsung and others to help. The president even pardoned Lee Kun-hee, the patriarch of the Samsung founding family who had been an IOC member but voluntarily suspended his membership after being indicted for tax evasion. The IOC reinstated Lee in 2010 with a reprimand and some restrictions, allowing him to lobby heavily for what became Pyeongchang's winning bid in 2011. It took three years for the organizing committee to sign its first domestic sponsor, KT Corp., the country's second-largest mobile carrier. Again, the national government asked the conglomerates for help. All the major ones signed on, after the office of then-President Park Geun-hye made a special request and multichannel pressures for financial assistance, Joo said. Elsewhere, companies may weigh sponsorship decisions based more on the marketing benefits. 'In South Korea, companies make donations out of a sense of duty that they are being part of the national event,' said Park Dong Min, the executive director overseeing membership at the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Sponsors who signed up late weren't willing to give as much, because there was less time to enjoy the marketing benefits. A bank that signed on less than a year before the Games significantly reduced its sponsorship. To top it off, a massive sports-related political corruption scandal rocked South Korea in 2016, just when Pyeongchang was making last-ditch efforts to raise sponsorship. 'Companies showed some reluctance' to sponsor the Olympics, said Eom Chanwang, director of the Pyeongchang organizing committee marketing team. 'Nevertheless, they still joined.' The scandal brought down Park, the president. Lee Jae-yong, the heir to the Samsung group, received a five-year sentence for bribery. Lee, who has appealed, had become de facto chief of the Samsung group after his father Lee Kun-hee, the IOC member pardoned in late 2009, fell ill. It was the younger Lee who signed an agreement with IOC President Thomas Bach to extend Samsung Electronics' sponsorship of the Olympics globally through 2020. Samsung declined interviews for this story. With the scandal still fresh in people's minds, major companies have held back from launching full-fledged marketing to promote the Games. 'Samsung traditionally has done consumer marketing through the Olympics, but because its chief is in jail, it cannot do as much these days,' said Kim Do-kyun, a sports professor at Kyung Hee University Graduate School of Physical Education. The Pyeongchang Games were the biggest victim of the scandal, he said. ___ strong>SUMMER OF '64 /strong> The president of Japan's biggest toilet manufacturer was seven years old when the Olympics first came to Japan. TOTO Ltd. made news in 1964 for its prefabricated toilet-and-bath units that helped speed the construction of a luxury hotel, the New Otani, in time for the Games. The company, now known for high-tech toilets that baffle some foreign visitors, is back as a sponsor of Tokyo 2020. 'I feel our company and the Olympics have been bonded by fate,' TOTO president Madoka Kitamura said at a sponsorship signing ceremony at the same hotel last year. The $2.7 billion in sponsorship for Tokyo 2020 is more than three times the original estimate. By comparison, sponsorship revenue was $848 million in Rio de Janeiro last year, and about $1.2 billion for both London 2012 and Beijing 2008. The Winter Olympics typically attract less, though Sochi, Russia, raised $1.2 billion in 2014. Analysts attribute Tokyo's success to both patriotism and a sense of nostalgia for the 1964 Summer Games. They were much more than a sports contest for Japan. They were a moment of pride, marking the country's return as an industrial power after the devastation of World War II and a seven-year U.S. occupation. 'All of Japan still recognizes the unique role that the 1964 Olympics played in Japan's stepping out onto the world stage,' said Michael Payne, a former IOC marketing director who now works as a consultant. 'Many of the CEOs of top Japanese companies would have been young kids back in '64 and are very aware of the role those Games played for the psychological recovery from the Second World War.' They grew up with the high-speed 'Shinkansen' bullet train, inaugurated in 1964; modern expressways and western-style toilets, all symbols of Japan's postwar economic growth. 'Now they have become business leaders, they want to contribute and leave something behind that can be remembered for the next 50 years,' said Masahiko Sakamaki, executive director of marketing for the Tokyo organizing committee. He said that memories of the recovery may have boosted interest in sponsorship, as Japan was still reeling from a deadly 2011 earthquake and tsunami when Tokyo won the bid in 2013. Sakamaki said the organizing committee started receiving sponsorship inquiries as soon as it was established in 2014, before the official start of sponsorship contracts in 2015. There is so much interest that the IOC is allowing Tokyo to have multiple sponsors in some categories, instead of the usual one, including in aviation, newspaper publishing, electronics and banking. TOTO officials won't say how much they are contributing, but media reports say companies in its sponsorship category give between 6 billion and 15 billion yen ($53 million to $133.5 million). Tokyo 2020 wouldn't comment on those reports. 'We believe our presence as part of an all-Japan effort toward a successful Olympics will enhance our favorable brand image,' said Mariko Shibasaki, the company's senior planner for sports communication. Thanks in part to robust sponsorship revenue, the organizing committee has increased its contribution to the cost of the games from 500 billion to 600 billion yen ($5.3 billion). The sponsorship revenue makes up half of the income in the privately-run organizing committee's operating budget. Other revenue comes from the International Olympic Committee, marketing and ticket sales. The overall cost of the Tokyo Olympics is estimated at 1.4 trillion yen (12.4 billion) with the Tokyo government shouldering 600 billion yen ($5.3 billion) and the remaining 200 billion yen (1.8 billion) paid by the national government and local governments hosting events. ___ em>Yamaguchi reported from Tokyo. Associated Press writer Stephen Wade in Rio de Janeiro contributed to this story. /em> .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 12th, 2017

NHL adds Seattle as league s 32nd team, play begins in 2021

By Stephen Whyno, Associated Press SEA ISLAND, Ga. (AP) — Seattle is getting a National Hockey League team. It will just have to wait a little bit longer to drop the puck. The NHL Board of Governors unanimously approved adding Seattle as the league's 32nd franchise on Tuesday, with play set to begin in 2021 instead of 2020 to allow enough time for arena renovations. The as-yet unnamed franchise will be the Emerald City's first major winter sports team since the NBA's SuperSonics left town in 2008. "Today is a day for celebration in a great city that adores and avidly supports its sports teams and for our 101-year-old sports league," Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "Expanding to Seattle makes the National Hockey League more balanced, even more whole and even more vibrant. A team in Seattle evens the number of teams in our two conferences, brings our geographic footprint into greater equilibrium and creates instant new rivalries out west, particularly between Seattle and Vancouver." The announcement came a few moments after Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan let the news slip at a watch party in Seattle, prompting cheers: "I got a call from a mole in the room and it was a unanimous vote. We're getting hockey." The decision was widely expected after the Seattle Hockey Partners group impressed the board's executive committee in October with a plan that had all the ingredients the NHL was looking for. Strong ownership led by billionaire David Bonderman and producer Jerry Bruckheimer, a downtown arena in a sports-crazed city and a season-ticket drive that drummed up 10,000 orders in 12 minutes all cleared the way for the NHL to add another team less than three years after approving a franchise in Las Vegas. Seattle Hockey President and CEO Tod Leiweke joked that he'd have to throw out some Seattle 2020 business cards because of the pushed-back timing. But all sides agreed 2021 was the best time to start. "They've always felt that we should have a little more time to build the arena right," Bruckheimer said. "We wanted to bring it to 2020-21 because we want to get going right away, but it's not fair to the fans or to the players to not have a 100 percent finished arena when we start." The owners will pay a $650 million expansion fee, up from the $500 million the Vegas Golden Knights paid to join the league just two years ago. Leiweke said arena renovations will cost $800 million and the addition of a state-of-the-art practice facility makes it a total investment of over $1.5 billion. "(That's) a few bits of change which aren't around anymore," Bonderman said of the spending. "Seattle is one of my favorite cities and it's a pleasure to be here. If it was someplace else, I wouldn't have done it." The NHL will also realign its two divisions in the West for the 2021-22 season: Seattle will play the Pacific, home to its closest geographic rivals like Vancouver, Calgary and San Jose, and the Arizona Coyotes will move to the Central Division. "It was at the end of the day the simplest, most logical and least disruptive option we had available to us and I think it'll work well for the Coyotes," Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said. The remarkable debut by Vegas in 2017, which included a run to the Stanley Cup Final, gave the league more confidence about moving forward so quickly. Seattle will benefit from the same expansion draft rules Vegas had. Its front office is expected to be led by Dave Tippett, a former coach who would lead the search for the club's first general manager and staff. Tippett signed on to the project because of a connection to Leiweke, a major force in delivering an NHL team to Seattle. Leiweke got his start in hockey with the Minnesota Wild. He also worked in Vancouver and most recently helped build Tampa Bay into a powerhouse in the Eastern Conference. Leiweke left the Lightning in 2015 to become the COO of the NFL and didn't have any interest in leaving the league office until the project in Seattle began to gain traction. Leiweke's job will be to capitalize on a market whose demographics have changed significantly since he left the NFL's Seahawks in 2010 after being largely responsible for the team hiring coach Pete Carroll. Seattle is the largest market in the country without a winter pro sports franchise and has seen an influx of wealth in recent years. Even when he was running the Seahawks, Leiweke believed Seattle was ripe for the NHL and the response to the season-ticket drive only strengthened that belief. "I woke up today thinking about the fans," Leiweke said. "What did they feel on March 1 when they put down deposits without knowing anything? No team name, an ownership group they didn't know very well, a building plan that was back then somewhat defined but fairly vague. Today is a great day for the fans and we owe them so much. That's why today happened." The NHL's launch in Seattle will show how starved fans are for another team. Basketball is embedded in the DNA of the region thanks to 41 years of the SuperSonics and a lengthy history of producing NBA talent. When the rain of the fall and winter drive young athletes inside, they grab a basketball and head for the nearest gym to play pickup games. Basketball courts and coffee shops seem to be on every corner, but ice rinks are scarce. A lot about Seattle is different from 2008, when the Sonics moved to Oklahoma City. The skyline is filled with construction cranes. Amazon has taken over an entire section of the city, joined nearby by satellite offices of Google and Facebook. The amount of wealth now in the Seattle market is part of the reason Tim Leiweke, Tod's older brother and the CEO of event facilities giant Oak View Group, has regularly calls the city one of the most enticing expansion opportunities in pro sports history. Seattle has become a city of transplants due to the booming local economy. A hockey franchise would provide those newcomers a team to rally around, much like what happened when the Sounders of Major League Soccer arrived in 2009 — the last team added to the city's sport landscape. The Sonics were the first, joining the NBA in 1967, followed by the arrival of the Seahawks in 1976 and Mariners in 1977 after construction of the Kingdome. There have been several attempts at solving Seattle's arena issues and landing either an NHL or NBA team in the years since the Sonics left, but none had the support of the city or the private money attached until now. Asked Tuesday about possibly adding an NBA team, Bonderman responded: "One miracle at a time." While Seattle basks in the news, it's not clear the NHL will be satisfied at 32 teams even with the new team providing balance between the conferences and a natural, cross-border rival for the Vancouver Canucks. Daly said recently that there's no magic number, even though no major North American sports league has ever grown beyond 32 teams. Houston, Quebec City and Toronto have all been touted as possible new homes someday, but they'll also have to wait. "We're not looking right now and I think for the foreseeable future at any further expansion," Bettman said. ___ AP Sports Writer Tim Booth in Seattle contributed......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 5th, 2018

Economic team sets meet on federalism

Amid concerns that the fiscal provisions of the draft federal Constitution were unclear, the Duterte administration's economic team will meet this week to come up with unified assumptions on the cost of shifting to a federal form of government. Undersecretary Rosemarie G. Edillon of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) told reporters that the meeting on Aug. 29 would be attended by the economic managers. Cost of federalism While the Neda already had its own report containing assumptions on the cost of federalism, Edillon said that "we defer to the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) as the final authority on the numbers." "What we can do is inform [the...Keep on reading: Economic team sets meet on federalism.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsAug 26th, 2018

[ANALYSIS] Why Duterte’s federalism endangers government’s finances

  More and more groups are opposing President Rodrigo Duterte’s push for federalism via charter change, otherwise known as Bayanihan Federalism. Rather surprisingly, a lot of the pushback is coming from Duterte’s own cadre of economic managers. Last week Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez said he would “ absolutely ” vote ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsAug 15th, 2018

DU30 welcomes public inputs on Federalism shift

President Rodrigo Duterte “welcomes” inputs from all members of society including the business community, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said yesterday amid concerns of the economic impact of the shift to Federalism. Business groups on Sunday raised concerns on “ambiguous provisions” in the division of revenues and expenditures between the federal….....»»

Category: newsSource:  journalRelated NewsAug 13th, 2018

Business groups: Weigh costs, risks of federalism - Philippine Star

Business groups: Weigh costs, risks of federalism - Philippine Star.....»»

Category: newsSource:  googlenewsRelated NewsAug 12th, 2018

Recto defends Duterte economic team on federalism

MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto defended President Rodrigo Duterte's economic managers in the face of a call  to dismiss them for opposing federalism. "You don't shut them out of the discussions. You bring them in because the cost of federalism is front and center of the issue," Recto ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsAug 12th, 2018

Show data to support BBL’s ‘awesome’ fiscal powers—Recto

Saying that the “law is in the details,” Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto yesterday pressed the government to submit “the economic fine print” that will underpin the proposed Bangsamoro government’s fiscal autonomy.In a request coursed through Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, Recto sought “facts and figures that will bolster the financial feasibility” of the Bangsamoro self-ruled homeland.Recto said the submission of these will clarify ambiguities in the provisions in Bangsamoro Basic Law bill, and “hasten its passage in the Senate.””Like any bill, if you scratch the surface of a provision of the BBL, you will find the price tag underneath,” Recto said.Among the data Recto has requested are “national revenue collections in ARMM since its creation to the present, as well as budget utilization of ARMM, including relevant financial statements, from the time it was created.”Included in the request are “budget allocations and subsidies lodged in different national government agencies, earmarked and off-budget revenue sources.”“The purpose is to find out if past allocations to ARMM were at levels sufficient to meet the imperatives of growth, because if these are historically lacking, then we are properly informed not to commit the same mistakes with the future Bangasamoro government,” Recto said. In his letter to Zubiri, Recto also sought additional data on the formula used in computing and allocating the proposed Annual Block Grants, “funds which are to be automatically appropriated and released by the national government.” For 2019, the Block Grant is pegged at P72 billion. “What then is the revenue basis used in setting this amount?” Recto said.Recto likewise requested “elaboration” on the nature of the Special Development Fund, or SDF, which has been pegged at P100 billion for 20 years, P10 billion of which shall be given by the national government the year following the ratification of the BBL.“What is the basis for the SDF? What are examples of projects to be funded by this?” Recto said.He also asked for the “negative list of projects or programs” which cannot be funded by the block grant or by the SDF.Recto also requested for social and economic indicators at all levels of the present ARMM, and “programs that will result in better socio-economic numbers.”He said that BBL proponents in the executive branch should also submit a comparative matrix between Republic Act 6734 (ARMM Organic Act), Republic Act 9054 (Amended ARMM Organic Act), and the BBL.“A side-by-side tale of tapes, comparing past, current models, and the future one would help us create the best BBL which will encapsulate all our dreams and visions for a peaceful, progressive South,” Recto said.The senator reiterated his support “for a constitutionally-compliant, fiscally-responsible, grassroots-accepted organic law for the autonomous region.”Speaker: PDP to campaign vs poll bets against federalismSpeaker Pantaleon Alvarez yesterday said the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino (PDP) will actively campaign against candidates for senator and other elective positions in the 2019 elections who are opposed to a federal system of government.Speaking before over 3,000 new members of the PDP at the Datu Lipus Makapandong Cultural Center, Alvarez urged the people in the province to support the advocacy of President Duterte and the PDP for a shift to a federal system of government, which he said would open up the development potential of the provinces and the regions.“I have one request, please don’t vote for candidates, particularly for senator, who are opposing federalism,” Alvarez told the new PDP members composed practically of the entire local officials of the province led by Agusan Del Sur Gov. Edward Adolph Plaza, 2nd District rep. Evelyn Mellana and 1st District Rep. Maria Valentina Plaza.With the mass oath-taking, the province of Agusan del Sur became the newest addition to the PDP country.In interview with the local media after the event, Alvarez explained his call against anti-federalism candidates.Alvarez said the ruling party was pushing for federalism to ensure inclusive development, particularly of the poor and neglected areas of the country.Alvarez said it was also time to elevate the political maturity of the nation by focusing the campaign on issues instead of the old practice of politics based solely on popularity or personality.He dared the senatorial hopefuls for the 2019 elections to make a clear stand on the issue of federalism.Alvarez said that if a candidate was opposed to federalism then he was clearly against the interest of provinces and regions.Accompanying Alvarez in the event were Davao City 1st District Rep. Karlo Nograles and Oriental Mindoro 2nd District Rep. Reynaldo Umali, whom the Speaker said would be included in the senatorial slate of the administration party for the 2019 senatorial contest.Earlier, Alvarez said that among the benefits of federalism was that the regions or states would retain the lion’s share of the taxes, instead of having to make do with the meager share the central government was currently sending back to the provinces.He said it was crucial to achieve a shift to a federal system of government within the term of President Duterte, who was the only presidential candidate in the 2016 elections who pushed for a federal system of government.Kimberly Otaza, 26, municipal councilor of Loreto, Agusan Del Sur, who was among the new PDP members, said she fully embraces the idea of federalism.Another new PDP member, 45-year old Duric Gavino, a barangay kagawad of Brgy. Poblacion, Prosperidad town of the province, also expressed support for a shift to a new form of government.Gavino added that he was thankful that President Duterte and the PDP are pushing for a shift to a federal form of government.“So, we thank the President. We support federalism.” he stressed.  .....»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsJun 7th, 2018

Biz groups: Con-con for federalism shift

MANILA, Philippines — Three of the country’s top business groups support the lifting of economic restrictions in the Constitution through a constitue nt asse.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 21st, 2018

Business groups weigh in on charter change

By Minde Nyl R. dela Cruz THE SENATE is looking to invite business groups Makati Business Club (MBC), Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), and the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX) in its next hearing on charter change following a joint statement recommending a focus on amending the economic provisions of the 1987 […] The post Business groups weigh in on charter change appeared first on BusinessWorld......»»

Category: financeSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsJan 21st, 2018

Trump’s transgender military ban ‘not worked out yet’ – BBC News

The White House has not yet decided how it will implement the president's ban on transgender people serving in the US military. Mr Trump's surprise Twitter announcement on Wednesday has been met with criticism from rights groups. Spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the administration would work alongside the Pentagon to decide how to proceed. It is not yet clear how the announcement will affect current transgender service personnel. &'8220;The United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the US military,&'8221; Donald Trump tweeted. &'8220;Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.&'8221; Asked at a press briefing if troops on battlefields would be immediately sent back, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the policy had yet to be worked out. &'8220;The decision is based on a military decision. It's not meant to be anything more than that,&'8221; she said. However, some US media outlets questioned the spending justification. The Washington Post drew attention to an analysis that the US military spends almost $42m (£32m) a year on the erectile dysfunction medication Viagra &'' several times the total estimated cost of transgender medical support. Meanwhile, Politico reports that the move was prompted by threats from Republican hardliners over a spending bill which would provide funding for Mr Trump's promised military spending and border wall plans. One Republican lawmaker had already tabled an amendment to the spending bill to prevent the military paying for transgender surgical procedures. The timing of this transgender ban is almost as interesting as the move itself. Why now? With the Trump administration being buffeted by the Jeff Sessions political death watch, the ongoing multi-prong investigation into the Trump campaign, the healthcare drama in the Senate and the impending Russian sanctions bill, perhaps the administration decided this was a good time to change the subject and rally conservative forces to his side. Republicans have long used cultural issues as a wedge to divide Democrats and energise evangelicals. As one White House insider acknowledged, this is straight out of that playbook. While Mr Trump campaigned as sympathetic to LGBT rights, he needs the traditional religious conservatives to stay loyal to him now, more than ever. The president's action will create a furore among liberals and the media commentators whose disdain for the current administration is not a new development. This is a fight the White House will welcome. The decision to allow transgender people to serve openly in the military was made by the Obama administration last year, with a one-year review period allowed for its implementation. The policy included a provision for the military to provide medical help for service members wanting to change gender. But in June, Defence Secretary James Mattis agreed to a further six-month delay. In 2016, the independent Rand Corporation estimated that about 4,000 US active-duty and reserve service members are transgender, although some campaigners put the figure higher than 10,000. Rand also predicted that the inclusion of transgender people in the military would cause a 0.13% increase in healthcare spending (approximately $8.4m). Kristin Beck, a retired elite Navy SEAL, issued a challenge to President Trump in an interview with Business Insider: &'8220;Let's meet face to face and you tell me I'm not worthy.&'8221; She said that during her decorated military career, she had been &'8220;defending individual liberty&'8221;. &'8220;Being transgender doesn't affect anyone else,&'8221; she said. &'8220;We are liberty's light. If you can't defend that for everyone that's an American citizen, that's not right.&'8221; Army reservist Rudy Akbarian, in Los Angeles, said: &'8220;My heart dropped a little bit, you know. It hurt.&'8221; &'8220;Not everyone responded well after learning I was transitioning,&'8221; he said. &'8220;But after spending time on missions and realising we all share the same love for the country, we worked together and got the job done. &'8220;The discrimination I'm facing now is from those outside the military &'' not the people who work with me.&'8221; Mr Trump said his decision was based on consultation with his generals, but there has been a mixed reaction. Former Defence Secretary Ash Carter, who lifted the ban last year under President Obama, said: &'8220;To choose service members on other grounds than military qualifications is social policy and has no place in our military.&'8221; Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Republican John McCain, said major policy announcements should not be made via Twitter. &'8220;Any American who meets current medical and readiness standards should be allowed to continue serving,&'8221; he added. Several British military generals also condemned Mr Trump's decision, including the commander of the UK Maritime Forces, Rear Admiral Alex Burton, who said &'8220;I am so glad we are not going this way.&'8221; &'8220;Each dollar needs to be spent to address threats facing our nation,&'8221; Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, a long-time opponent of the Obama administration's position, said in a statement. &'8220;The costs incurred by funding transgender surgeries and the required additional care it demands should not be the focus of our military resources,&'8221; she said. Trump supporter and political commentator Scott Presler is among those who disagree with the military carrying the cost of such interventions. While disagreeing with the ban, he added that &'8220;generals know more about war than I do.&'8221; &'8220;I don't think this is an attack on the LGBT community &' I'm mixed, but I have confidence in the guidance that President [&'].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsJul 27th, 2017

Duterte urged to continue peace talks with rebels

DAVAO CITY – Farmers fighting for genuine land reform have appealed on Sunday to President Rodrigo Duterte to continue the peace talks with communist rebels after he scrapped the negotiations following the spate of deadly attacks by insurgents in southern Philippines. Duterte’s decision to abandon the negotiations with communist leaders came on Saturday barely a day after he terminated the government’s unilateral ceasefire with New People’s Army rebels who also ended earlier its own truce. Since then, at least 4 soldiers had been killed by rebels in separate attacks and three more are being held prisoners in the troubled region. The rebels demanded the release of some 400 political prisoners &'' mostly NPA fighters and their leaders – languishing in jails across the country, but Duterte flatly rejected the demand, saying, a peace accord must be signed first before he could grant amnesty to political prisoners, although he had ordered the release from prison at least 21 senior rebel leaders to join the peace talks. Duterte said he cannot free all political prisoners and claimed that such action may trigger unrest in the police and military. Peace talks and land reform  But Joseph Canlas, chairman of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, one of the biggest farmers’ organizations in the country, said the continuation of peace negotiations is in the best interest of farmers, who are pressing for genuine land reform, land distribution and real change under the Duterte administration. “Farmers want the peace negotiations to continue. We want the peace talks to help address the problem of land monopoly, landlessness of farmers, unemployment and to realize the equitable distribution of social wealth,” Canlas said. “The peace negotiation is a separate and distinct track of struggle to press for significant pro-people reforms. While the New People’s Army and President Duterte announced the termination of the unilateral interim ceasefires, it should not hinder the continuation of the talks that is gaining relevant developments with regard to discussions on the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms, particularly agrarian reform and rural development,” he added. Canlas said based on the reported outcome of third round of the peace talks in Rome recently, the government, in principle, acquiesced to free land distribution to farmers and farm workers and that alone is a milestone with regard to pushing for socio-economic reforms and enough grounds to continue the talks. Pedro Arnado, leader of the farmers’ group in southern Mindanao, also urged Duterte not to abandon the peace talks, saying, the resumption of war with rebels may spark a series of illegal arrest and human rights violations, and even extrajudicial killings of civilians by government soldiers. “We call for the continuation of the peace talks and compliance to the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Law to avoid rights violations of civilians,” said Arnado, who noted that at least 20 farmers and national minorities were killed during the ceasefire period. “For us farmers, a just peace means food for our families, education for our children and recognition of our right to the land we till.” Arnado said while the ultimate goal of the peace talks is to resolve the armed conflict and achieve cessation of hostilities, that wouldn’t be possible at this period when there are conflicting social classes and interests. “Big land estates, haciendas and landholdings remain intact and under the control of a few landlord families. That is in contrast with the situation of millions of tillers,” Arnado said, adding, Duterte should realize that people in the countryside are supporting and even joining the armed revolution because of the systemic and chronic crisis that is worsened by the government’s failure to address the most basic problems in rural areas. “Historically, it is the peasant masses that have made the ultimate sacrifices to achieve peace. Buhay na ang ibinuwis ng mga magsasaka para sa lupa at kapayapaan. The cost of peace is too expensive, farmers have paid it with their lives,” Arnado said. Cancel passport of communist negotiators Duterte also threatened to cancel the passports of the representatives National Democratic Front of the Philippines &'' the political wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the NPA &'' who make up the peace panel negotiating with the government, saying, “they are in the wanted list, so I will alert the International Police to arrest them where they are because they are in wanted list. I'll cancel their passports.” “They can return, all of them. For those released by the government, they should, on their own volition, return here and go back to prison. Or else I will be forced to, I am alerting all the intelligence community to keep track of where they are now,” Duterte said. “Iyon na-release temporarily to talk with us in Oslo, they should come back and submit themselves to the jurisdiction of the government because they are still in prison. Walang pardon, walang amnesty, wala lahat.” Blame Duterte, AFP The NPA blamed Duterte for the breakdown of the talks and accused the military of sabotaging the peace negotiations, saying, security forces encroached and attacked rebel territories in Mindanao, and murdered innocent civilians suspected of supporting the communist group. “To conceal their own ceasefire violation, the spin doctors of the Armed Forces of the Philippines concocted yet another storyline of an anti-criminality operation to assist the Philippine National Police in going after lawless elements such as their botched combat operations in Makilala and Matalam [&'].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsFeb 5th, 2017

Jordan s weight reaches farther than court in NC

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com CHARLOTTE -- Unlike Mark Cuban and James Dolan, the host of the 2019 NBA All-Star Game was voted in 14 times to participate and played in 13. Quite different from Micky Arison and Glen Taylor, the team owner whose arena and city will be the center of All-Star 2019 averaged 20.2 points in those 13 All-Star appearances, was named MVP three times and posted the first triple-double in the game’s history (1997). And not at all like Steve Ballmer and Joe Lacob, the guy most often credited with making Charlotte All-Star worthy this weekend ignited the annual Slam Dunk Contest with his takeoff from the foul line in 1988. He also regularly irritated former NBA commissioner David Stern into a series of fines for golfing when he should have been sitting through mandatory Friday media sessions. With a level of celebrity as arguably the game’s greatest player ever, morphed now into an off-radar role as owner of the Charlotte Hornets, Michael Jordan remains as famous, as popular and as successful as any or all the active All-Star participants who’ll cavort at the Spectrum Center in the city’s Uptown business district. Ain’t no other NBA owner who can say that. “You think about all these wealthy, successful owners in our league,” said Hornets president Fred Whitfield, “no one knew who any of them were, really, until they bought their team. Everybody in the world knew who Michael Jordan was before he bought his team.” Jordan’s place in the All-Star galaxy in the coming days is reflective of his unique position among those who oversee the NBA’s 29 other franchises. His impact on the team, on its fans, on their city and on the state in returning to his native North Carolina -- he grew up in coastal Wilmington before attending college in Chapel Hill -- to anchor and lend stability to the Hornets will be on full display, even if he’s hard to spot this weekend. It’s all a reminder, too, of the old movie line from a remarkably blessed character, wondering “What do you do when your real life exceeds your dreams?” Most don’t dare to imagine playing in an All-Star Game, never mind hosting one as the owner of the local team. “No,” Jordan told some Charlotte reporters Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), coming forward for one of his few appearances of the week. “As a kid growing up here in North Carolina, the first thing [was] playing basketball. And then things evolved from there -- from the University of North Carolina to Chicago. Obviously you know the history from that. “[The] opportunity to represent North Carolina in an All-Star Game from a different seat is truly amazing. It tells the path that I have taken. It gives me great pleasure to give that back to the community. It’s been a long-traveled road.” The celebration of the league’s brightest stars, and the ubiquitous banners and signage devoted to it will make it even harder than usual to visibly spot signs of Jordan’s ownership of the Hornets. For a typical regular season game, you might spy a flag emblazoned with his well-known “Jumpman” logo. Occasionally he’ll watch part of the game, rarely all, from seats at the end of his team’s bench, though he’s as likely to retreat to his suite atop the arena’s lower bowl. An in-game, timeout scoreboard video meant to stoke the crowd includes shots of GM Mitch Kupchak (“Architect of Champions”) and coach James Borrego (“Elite Pedigree”) but ends right about the time you expect some dramatic silhouette of His Airness to appear. It’s as if Jordan is as protective of his brand in running the Hornets as he is in maintaining its exclusivity in the marketplace. Doesn’t matter, though. His fingerprints are all over the franchise, as a basketball team, as a business enterprise and as a member of the community. On court, Jordan trusts his team Jordan’s greatest notoriety as an owner in a basketball setting may have come in December, when he was courtside for a tense game against Detroit. Guard Jeremy Lamb drained a 22-foot jumper with 0.3 seconds left, sending reserves Malik Monk and Bismack Biyombo onto the floor in celebration of what would be a 108-107 home victory. Trouble was, that sliver of time on the clock. Too many men. The Hornets were whistled for a one-shot technical foul and Jordan impulsively smacked Monk lightly, twice, on the back of the head. Any other owner does that, the player’s agent might file a grievance with the players union. Jordan does it and, thanks to his in-the-trenches, in-the-fraternity credibility, it comes across as a goof. “A tap of endearment,” Jordan called it later in a statement. “It was like a big brother and little brother tap. No negative intent. Only love!" Said Monk: “Big, big, big brother. But it was nothing. He was just playing.” The arc of Jordan’s career and his reputation as a stone-cold competitor make it OK if he wants to vent -- or swipe -- when things don’t go the Hornets’ way. Doesn’t matter that Jordan, who will turn 56 on All-Star Sunday, is old enough to be any of his players' dad. He still carries himself like an athlete, and their frame of reference remains, “That’s Mike.” “I’ve seen kids come up through camps,” said Buzz Peterson, Charlotte’s assistant general manager under Kupchak. “You could say Julius Erving, you could say Larry Johnson, Karl Malone, whatever, and the kids’ eyes are like, ‘Who?’ But you say Michael Jordan, they’re gonna know. That’s the separation there.” Peterson is among Jordan’s closest friends -- he beat him out as North Carolina’s prep player of the year in 1981, won an NCAA title with him as a Tar Heels teammate and is described by those who know both as someone who can disagree with the boss while staying comfortably in the inner circle. For Borrego, Charlotte’s first-year coach, interviewing to run Jordan’s team could have been intimidating. “We’re all human beings -- there’s a presence that comes with ‘Michael Jordan’ when he’s around,” Borrego told NBA.com in January. “But it’s healthy. He comes with a competitive spirit that you feel. “Michael was straight with me from Day 1. When I interviewed, he said, ‘I’m going to give you space to do your job. Whatever you need, you come to me. I’ll give you the resources you need.’ He has not tried to interfere one time. I feel his full support. … We’re starting to speak each other’s language, which is pretty healthy for us now.” Jordan keeps the coach apprised of his interactions with players, Borrego said. Other coaches should have such a resource at the ready. Hornets guard and 2019 All-Star starter Kemba Walker probably has benefited most from Jordan’s counsel. They text frequently, a pinch-me arrangement to this day for Walker. “I grew up wearing Jordans, grew up wanting to be like Jordan,” Walker said recently. “So for me to get this opportunity to be on his team means the world to me. He’s the one who believed in me -- I had no idea where I was going to go on draft night and he traded up for me. I’ve always heard the story, he was the one who actually drafted me. So it’s unbelievable. “He’s such a good dude. He understands what it is to be good. His delivery is always good. Only in a positive way, honestly.” Said rookie wing Miles Bridges: “You think there’ll be a lot of pressure having MJ as an owner. I’d seen how he got on his teammates when he played. So I was nervous, thinking if I had a bad game, he’d go at me like, ‘What’re you doing?’ But after meeting him and bonding with him, I feel like he’s the coolest owner out there. I don’t feel any pressure, I feel like he wants the best for us.” Big man Frank Kaminsky typically sits at the end of the bench, which puts him cheek to cheek with Jordan when he’s courtside. “He’s talking about what he’s seeing out on the court. Talking to the refs,” Kaminsky said. “Things other players don’t necessarily see. He still thinks the game. “You see things on the court that he sees. One game, the roll, pocket-pass, skip to the corner was open. He was saying that. We made an adjustment in a timeout, but he saw it a couple plays before that. At the end of that game, we had a big play that was a roll, pocket-pass, into the corner that put the game away. It worked the way he’d seen it.” The Hornets’ struggles during Jordan’s tenure as owner wouldn’t suggest it -- the last time this organization won a playoff series (2002), Jordan still was a player -- but there is a prestige to playing for his team. It’s not unlike being welcomed onto the list of elite athletes who endorse Jordan Brand. “I’m one of the lucky ones who’s in both,” Kaminsky said. “You’re talking about the most iconic player in sports history -- I might be biased because I grew up in Chicago -- but when you have his approval, it means a lot. You have it in the back of your mind that he wants you here.” Head smack or no head smack. Jordan grows as owner, businessman Basketball is a zero-sum game and the NBA is full of stars, even if none shines quite as brightly as Jordan. But business has room for negotiation and compromise, and deals get struck daily that leave both sides happy. There, Jordan has been beyond clutch. Funnel down everything he’s accomplished -- six NBA championships, the league’s highest career scoring average (30.1), five MVP awards, six Finals MVP, 10 scoring titles, nine All-Defensive team nods -- and it invariably ends with clammy hands. The “wow” factor is real and the Hornets are extremely careful about leveraging it. “It gives our organization a certain cachet,” said Whitfield, another longtime friend who goes back more than 35 years with Jordan. “For him to be majority owner, for him to do it in his home state as a local hometown hero, and to be able to come back and not just lead the team and the rebranding from the Bobcats to the Hornets, but his commitment to the community in giving back, it’s something that’s so special.” That’s a lot to unpack. When Jordan initially signed on with the Hornets, he did so as head of its basketball operations in 2006, purchasing a small minority stake in the team. The team was bad, the business was worse and trending down. “Back in ’08-09, the economy was in the tank and I was mandated to ‘displace’ 42 of our executives here on the business side,” Whitfield said. “When Michael bought the team, we were losing $30 million a year.’ Brought back into the league in 2004 two years after the original Hornets (1988-2002) were moved to New Orleans by reviled owner George Shinn, the Charlotte expansion team was owned -- and nicknamed -- by Bob Johnson, a co-founder of the BET television network. The Bobcats excelled only at losing and were 122 games under .500 in their first five seasons. The front office was understaffed, Spectrum Center (then known as Time Warner Cable Arena) needed renovations almost from its inception and there was a real sense that, if a buyer with deep pockets and a commitment to the area weren’t found, the franchise could be moved. In March 2010, Jordan ponied up the cash to become majority owner. But it says something that the deal stands as one of the few, if ever, instances of an NBA franchise being sold at a discount. Johnson paid $300 million for the team; Jordan purchased it for $275 million. Forbes.com recently had Charlotte worth $1.25 billion -- which ranks 28th. And Jordan reportedly has one of the biggest stakes of all NBA owners, with his share estimated at upwards of 90 percent, possibly as high as 98 percent. That’s a lot of success in nine years, despite the basketball team’s mostly middling performance. “With MJ being with the team, you got instant credibility in the marketplace,” said Pete Guelli, the chief operating officer who started on the job about 10 months before Jordan took ownership. “There had been a lot of uncertainty previously, but with his brand and his resources and his commitment, that just dissipated immediately. It was much, much easier to walk in the door and tell people about our vision for this franchise.” Rebranding the team as “Hornets” gave the franchise an existential boost -- it suddenly had a history again, complete with records, archives and true alumni. The arena got a makeover and, per Guelli, is credited for events there that generate an alleged $1 billion in revenues for local businesses. “Fortunately, we’ve been profitable pretty much since [Jordan took over],” Whitfield said. “That’s huge, especially since we haven’t gotten where we want to be on the basketball side.” Closing a new kind of game now It’s hard to overstate Jordan’s added value, not so much as some corporate or financial whiz but as a presence who brought instant motivation and energy to the staff. He imported executives with whom he had developed relationships at Nike or in other ventures and, after taking early criticism for an uncertain level of involvement, has been more diligent in recent years. “I love seeing him sitting at the end of the bench encouraging his players when he attends a game” said Charles F. Bowman, Bank of America’s market president for Charlotte and North Carolina. “And as a business person what impresses me is that he has empowered his management team to focus not only on the court but also on building bridges with the community. “He had a vision for where he was taking the team and a clear plan to get there. He has hired good people, gives them latitude to make decisions and he expects them to perform. Michael is unique -- the best player ever who is determined to keep getting better year over year as an owner.” The NBA has gotten a taste of Jordan’s growth and transition at some pivotal times. This is the legendary voice of the players who, during rancorous negotiations in the 1998 lockout, countered Washington owner Abe Pollin’s gripes about losing money by telling Pollin to sell his team. By the lockout of 2011, Jordan had moved to the other side of the table. But several members of the National Basketball Players Association’s executive committee saw him not as an opponent or turncoat but as a role model: someone who had transformed himself from employee to employer at the game’s highest level. “The players understood, he had been in their shoes,” Whitfield said. “He’s not forgetting what it meant to be a player. He was in the process of learning what it meant to be an owner.” When the current collective bargaining agreement was negotiated with commissioner Adam Silver and union director Michele Roberts leading the talks, Jordan was an active, powerful voice. He is an influential member of the NBA’s labor relations and competition committees. One Charlotte insider spoke to Jordan’s clout with his fellow owners in getting this weekend’s showcase -- jeopardized by a political squabble in 2017 -- back onto the league’s short list. “There’s no All-Star Game here in Charlotte if it’s not for MJ,” the person said. Last summer in Las Vegas, Silver lauded Jordan for his ability to straddle the basketball and business worlds. “He brings unique credibility to the table when we're having discussions [with the players],” he said, “and even just among the owners, he's able to represent a player point of view… Michael can say, 'Well, look, this is how I looked at it when I was a player, and these are the kind of issues we need to address if we're going to convince players that something is in everyone's interest.’ ” Jordan’s powers of persuasion apparently have been even more impressive in Charlotte and North Carolina. The executives are careful about relying on him too often -- Jordan’s most precious commodity, now that his net worth is estimated to be upwards of $1.7 billion -- is his time. But when they need Mariano Rivera to walk in from the bullpen, he is lights out. “We’ve had corporate sponsors at a golf outing, and he’s been there, maybe stayed at one hole to tell off with everybody,” Whitfield said. Or they’ll invite certain corporate sponsors to one of a few games each season in which “Club 23” is up and running at the Spectrum Center, a private club built for such purposes. They get a chance to visit, talk with and pick Jordan’s brain on the Hornets and much more. “We’ve closed all those deals,” Whitfield said. Then there was the time a local CEO wanted to finalize a sizeable sponsorship deal with the team, and had his No. 2 invite Jordan over to their headquarters for the meetings. Whitfield told the tale: “This guy says, 'You have to come to our office. Our CEO is the man in our business.' But we’re like, 'Nah, typically, CEOs come and meet in Michael’s office or in ‘Club 23’ over here.' He said no, that wasn’t going to work for them. “So Pete Guelli said, 'Let’s make a deal: We’ll take your CEO and drop him off in Beijing. And we’ll drop off Michael in Beijing. Then we’ll see who more people gravitate to. Whoever gets the least people, he has to come to the other guy’s office.'” Point made. Point taken. Said Whitfield: “The guy says, ‘You know what, I got it. We’ll be over 10 o’clock Friday morning.’” A community he calls home The Michael Jordan who once seemed determined to float above cultural and political frays as the most prudent way to serve commerce has not held back in recent years from making his presence felt. He has been more philanthropist than activist and, let’s face it, in times of the most dire need, cash beats talk every time. Charity and investing in the community can be good for business, sure. Making that a priority after Guelli’s arrival and Jordan’s purchase helped the Hornets build bridges with fans and merchants that Shinn and the original franchise’s departure had torched. More than that, though, giving back for Jordan and his team at this point in his life was the right thing to do. And do, and do, and do. The list of charitable and civic efforts Jordan and the Hornets have undertaken is long, with few outside the region or state aware of most of it. Among the highlights: - Donating $2 million to relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Florence, particularly meaningful because of the damage it did in Jordan’s hometown of Wilmington. - Dedicated $7 million in partnership with Novant Health to fund two Michael Jordan Family Clinics, set to open in Charlotte in 2020. - Serving as Make-A-Wish’s Chief Wish Ambassador since 2008, while donating more than $5 million to the organization. His relationship with Make-A-Wish began more than 30 years ago. - Contributing $5 million as a founding donor of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. - Addressing the issue of police shootings and community policing in 2016 by donating $1 million each to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. After the hurricane in September devastated so many homes and businesses in and near Jordan’s roots, he wanted to do more than to stroke a fat check. In a meeting covered by The Associated Press, he met with Stephanie Parker and her family, including four young children, after they lost their apartment in two feet of flooding. A call from the director of the Cape Fear chapter of the Red Cross brought them together. The meeting took place at a Lowe’s home improvement store. “I look around the corner, and it’s Michael Jordan. ‘Oh my God!’" Parker said. “I look at my kids, ‘It’s Michael Jordan!’ I’m not going to lie, some tears came in my eyes, because the first thing that went through my mind was when I was younger, his last game when he was on the Chicago Bulls team, and that flashback just came right in my mind.” Afterward, Jordan was coaxed by the Charlotte Observer to talk about why that disaster resonated so deeply for him. “You gotta take care of home,” he said. “Wilmington truly is my home. Kept thinking about all those places I grew up going to … You don’t want to see any of that anywhere, but when it’s home, that’s tough to swallow.” There’s basketball, there’s business and then there’s real life, which sometimes intrudes in the most desperate ways. “We didn’t know how many people in our community were hungry,” Whitfield said. “There are people in dire need, and it’s special to have that hometown hero have in his heart that ‘This is where I can help.’ “It gives not only him as a person but our organization a platform to really speak out. That commitment is what has made him a special owner, and why he’s even more beloved in our community.” Winning title No. 7 drives Jordan now To date, Jordan’s greatest achievements have come elsewhere, at least since his baseline shot as a freshman propelled North Carolina to the 1982 NCAA championship. Those Bulls championships, the “Dream Team” magnificence, his partnership with that sneaker company in Beaverton, Ore., his Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction, shooting “Space Jam,” all of it -- his legacy has been crafted with others, for others, mostly far from home. (For the record, Jordan, his wife Yvette and their two daughters own a mansion outside Charlotte and an estate in south Florida). “Look, this has always been home for him,” Whitfield said. “Even though he was drafted by Chicago, WGN became a very popular station. And he just continued to elevate, so people in this state were proud to say, even though he’s a Bull, we love him. When the Bulls would come here and play at the old Coliseum, these fans who were avid Hornets fans were all pulling for Michael Jordan. “He’d score, they’d cheer loudly. The Hornets would score, they’d cheer loudly. North Carolina always felt like he was their native son who went off and achieved greatness.” Coming back first to head the franchise’s basketball operations and then as owner, Jordan’s role -- in light of the modest results on the court -- has been custodial. Yes, the club’s improved financial stability is important. But for this driven winner and NBA owner unlike all others, custodial isn’t going to cut it for long. “He did an interview with Cigar Aficionado magazine a while back,” Peterson said, “and the question was asked, ‘What would you like to do?’ And he said, ‘Win a seventh championship. Win as an owner.’ So for me, every day, I’m thinking, here’s a close friend and you want to make your friends happy, right? So each day I think, do the best you can to reach this goal for him.” Said Hornets wing Nicolas Batum: “I understand. He wants to win. He wants to compete since he was born.” It hasn’t been for lack of trying, although Jordan has made sure to keep fiscal responsibility high on every agenda. The team’s payroll for 2018-19 is approximately $122.3 million, which ranks near the middle of the NBA pack. “That Michael Jordan is one cheap dude,” said an impassioned cab driver on a recent airport run. “He’s only going to spend so much and the players they get shows it.” The Hornets never have spent into the league’s luxury-tax, and if Walker is retained when he hits free agency this summer, he’ll likely become the first Charlotte player to sign a full maximum-salary contract (though the five-year, $120 million deal Batum landed in 2016 came awfully close). Injuries and dubious moves have taken a toll, a situation that Kupchak, Borrego and their staffs have been tasked with fixing. Jordan, by all accounts, is engaged yet patient, with a playoff berth and potentially a record above .500 within reach. “I’m sure he feels like,” Whitfield said, “if he were still 30 years old and could lace ‘em up and get out there, he’d help us get over the hump. I think he would cherish it as much or more than the first six. Because I think he realizes how hard it is to get it done. “But it doesn’t bother us if the fans see his frustration sitting next to our bench. It’s important to us that they see he’s not only invested, he’s vested in what our team is trying to do. They can relate to him because they’re feeling that same frustration.” Jordan is theirs again and that’s what matters. For basketball, for business, for community and in time, just maybe, in championship. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 16th, 2019

Economic cluster calls for greater focus on agri

Economic managers are calling on the Department of Agriculture (DA) to boost the farm sector's performance as the administration continued to work on tempering inflation, noting that the industry "needs greater attention now more than ever" if the government wants to boost economic growth. The call was made in a statement released by the government's economic cluster after the report on the January inflation rate came out. Inflation on the first month of the year hit 4.4 percent, the slowest in 10 months, thanks to slower rise in the prices of food and nonalcoholic beverages and the continued improvement in the supply of food, particularly rice, corn and fish. Despite these develop...Keep on reading: Economic cluster calls for greater focus on agri.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsFeb 6th, 2019

With trade talks heating up, young Lakers want answers

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com If it was LeBron James’ intention to change the mood in the Lakers’ locker room here in his first season in L.A., consider it a resounding success. The morale for a team that went 35-47 last season and missed the playoffs is indeed different. It’s more somber. After speaking with a number of players, their agents and other sources, the general consensus paint a picture of little joy, plenty of confusion and uncertainty, along with some anger and sense of betrayal. It’s all caused by the Lakers’ obvious and public pursuit of Anthony Davis and the players who unquestionably will be shipped out to New Orleans in exchange for the All-NBA forward if a trade happens before Thursday’s (early Friday, PHL time) deadline. None will speak on the record but it’s obvious the Davis issue is sensitive and weighing on most of the roster, especially the young core of Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Kyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball. They wonder if their days in L.A. are numbered and also wonder what, if any, role LeBron has in determining who goes and who stays. Various reports have the Lakers offering up virtually everyone on the roster for Davis, along with multiple No. 1 picks. Clearly, the pace has changed for the Lakers. After saying last summer the Lakers are intent on building a team that will be a contender for years and not just in the short term, team president Magic Johnson’s timeline has accelerated if the proposed packages for Davis are true. And how can they not be? New Orleans wants a combination of young players and picks for a game-changing player such as Davis. The Lakers own no other assets. In the meantime, the Lakers, currently on a road trip, are dealing with turbulence and not necessarily while thousands of feet in the air. Michael Beasley and JaVale McGee had a verbal post-game exchange with coach Luke Walton two nights ago in Oakland after a loss to the Warriors, and although it wasn’t sparked by the Davis issue directly, the trade rumors are causing stress and perhaps pushing tempers as well. In the center of it all is LeBron. Davis has been represented since last fall by Klutch Sports, the agency created by LeBron and run by his business partner and close friend, Rich Paul. The LeBron link to a player agency has caused a degree of concern among other NBA general managers, who wonder if there’s a conflict of interest and if it’s a good look for the league. It also has rival agents suspecting that LeBron is involved in talks for Davis and at the very least serving as a sounding board for Magic and Laker executive Rob Pelinka. It wouldn’t be unreasonable for the Lakers to get LeBron’s hot take on this or any major decision involving personnel; that’s a perk enjoyed by a number of star players throughout the NBA, and has been for years. But: Following the Lakers’ victory over the Clippers last week when LeBron made his return after missing 17 games with a groin injury, he repeatedly expressed how thrilled he was to be back on the floor with "my guys” and that didn’t sit well with some of his teammates, according to their agents. Essentially, they’re not sure where they stand with LeBron in the Davis situation. And the young players appear too intimidated to confront LeBron and get clarity. There’s another issue at play here: Are the Lakers planning to surrender too much for Davis by gutting the team? If the Lakers are willing to part with their young core and at least two veterans to make the salaries match, who’s left to make them competitive with Davis and LeBron? The Pelicans, according to league sources, are insisting that any team wanting Davis must also take guard E’Twaun Moore and his contract in return. This will allow the Pelicans to get young players, multiple picks and salary cap flexibility in a single transaction. In a sense, Davis is indeed a franchise player — trading him might allow the Pelicans to remake their entire franchise. Davis reportedly gave the Pelicans other teams on a wish-list, yet those teams’ options appear limited. One is the Bucks, who lack promising young players, and given that Milwaukee is leading the East, their first-round pick won’t be attractive. Another is the Knicks, who won’t have defined assets until after the draft lottery in May when their place in the June draft will be revealed. If the Pelicans decide to wait until summer, that means they believe there’s a better deal waiting after the draft and free agency. That places urgency on the Lakers to get something done before Thursday. One way or another, whether he comes to the Lakers or stays in New Orleans at least for the next five months, Davis will bring some relief and help clear the air to a Lakers team that desperately needs it. Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 5th, 2019