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Trump s Mideast team to push peace plan in region

WASHINGTON — The White House says President Donald Trump's Mideast negotiating team will visit the region next week as it finalizes its as-yet unveiled Israeli-Palestinian peace plan and will hold talks on deteriorating conditions in the Gaza Strip. The trip comes as officials say the Trump administration is near completion of the plan with an eye on a possible release this summer......»»

Category: newsSource: philstar philstarJun 14th, 2018

As Saudis wilt on field, kingdom pursues soccer power grab

By Rob Harris, Associated Press MOSCOW (AP) — The Saudis have ambitions to seize control over parts of international soccer. Losing 5-0 by Russia in the World Cup opener shows they might have bigger problems at home. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had to endure the humiliation in the stadium on Thursday, with Saudi Arabia's mauling in Moscow coming at the hands of a side just below the Saudis in the FIFA rankings. Coach Juan Antonio Pizzi studiously sidestepped a question about whether his federation had been distracted lately. But it has. Just when the Saudis had a first World Cup appearance in 12 years to prepare for, the federation has been mounting a power grab of soccer far beyond the kingdom. What appears the creation of just another bureaucratic institution within the sport could actually have wider ramifications. On its face, the establishment of the South West Asian Football Federation by the Saudis, including the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan, to help to develop the game appears a benevolent undertaking, especially when the existing regional governing body is so vast. "Football is about growth and if you don't grow economically, socially, technically, you will not be moving," Saudi federation president Adel Ezzat told The Associated Press. "It's not enough for us to be in the World Cup. "We have a vision that an Asian country will win the World Cup one day, but there must be a start for that. Football is underdeveloped in many areas in Asia." Is the Asian Football Confederation to blame? "Ambitions have to be higher than winning the Asian Cup," Ezzat said. Confederation president Sheikh Salman, a Bahraini, said he "had no objection to the creation of SWAFF as long as it remains as a football body outside of the AFC's zonal structure." Scratch deeper below the surface and the true objectives of the new body seem a little cloudy. It is unclear why SWAFF is required when there are already regional offshoots of the AFC, including the West Asian Football Federation, which is led by Jordan's Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein who resisted an attempt by the Saudis to seize power of his organization before the new regional force emerged. "It will help Asia and it will help FIFA," Ezzat told The Associated Press. "We don't see anything wrong creating that connection between the south and the west. Football needs to grow." Ezzat maintained that SWAFF had followed the right legal steps to avoid breaching the rules of world football's governing body. Ezzat said FIFA governance committee head Mukul Mudgal had been dispatched by FIFA President Gianni Infantino to the SWAFF meeting on May 31 in Jeddah. The Indian judge denied he was in attendance. SWAFF said the founding members also include Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Maldives, Yemen, Oman and Kuwait. Oman Football Association General Secretary Said Othman Al Bulushi told the AP his nation was waiting to assess the statutes and legality of the body within FIFA before confirming its membership. The entire Gulf is not in SWAFF. Take a look at the map and three countries in particular are missing: Iran, Qatar and Yemen. "It's not about the geographic map," Saudi federation president Adel Ezzat said. "It's about zones." Could it also be about politics? For three years, a Saudi-led coalition has been trying to drive out Iranian-aligned Shiite rebels known as Houthis from Yemen to break the civil war in the Arab world's poorest nation and restore the exiled government. Across the Gulf, the Saudis are part of a quartet, including the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain, which has spent the last year putting the squeeze on Qatar. Diplomatic ties with the energy-rich country have been severed amid allegations that Qatar supports extremist groups in the region, which Doha denies. The Qataris, though, have plowed ahead with preparations to host an event that will put them at the center of the world's attention: the next World Cup in 2022. Ezzat won't discuss Qatar, or the 2022 World Cup. Turki Al-Sheikh, head of Saudi Arabia's General Sports Authority, has been less circumspect, demanding earlier this year that Qatar be stripped of the hosting rights if corruption around its bid was proven. For now, in Saudi sights is Qatar's flagship sports network, which owns exclusive Middle East and North African rights to the World Cup. The BeIN Sports coverage of the Russia World Cup opener was watched across Saudi Arabia — but on a pirate channel. The beoutQ signal is transmitted by a Riyadh-based satellite provider, whose largest shareholder is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Still, the BeIN coverage was seized on by Al-Sheikh to threaten legal action against the network for "wrongdoings against KSA, its sports and officials, and for exploiting sports to achieve political goals." In a tweet, Al-Sheikh added Friday that this "proves Saudi authorities' true stance when banning this network from airing on its soil." Soccer's world body, though, is finally intervening. FIFA said it is "exploring all options to stop the infringement of its rights, including in relation to action against legitimate organizations that are seen to support such illegal activities." What FIFA would not say is whether Infantino raised Qatar's concerns when he watched the opener in the Luzhniki Stadium alongside the Saudi crown prince. Infantino has been a keen visitor to Saudi Arabia over the last year, including meeting King Salman, as intrigue has swirled about the country's role in a consortium's plans to underwrite $25 billion to launch a vastly expanded Club World Cup and an international Nations League. "He knows for a fact the importance of Saudi Arabia in the region," Ezzat said. "That's why I believe he is paying a lot of attention to Saudi Arabia. ... That's a very important sign. (FIFA) know this country can play a very important role in the development of football." Infantino, though, said he believed the backing for the new competitions was "not part of a wider Saudi sports grab." The proposals have stalled because of opposition within the council to Infantino's secrecy over the financial backers. Growing football is part of a sweeping "Vision 2030" plan to wean Saudi Arabia off its near-total dependence on oil money. Prince Mohammed is trying to push Saudi Arabia to become a more cosmopolitan nation that appeals to international investors. Ezzat wants to create new soccer competitions under the auspices of SWAFF and invite countries to participate from beyond the region — particularly Europe. "The country is going through an important change," Ezzat said. "Football can be a catalyst for change. The FIFA president I'm sure knows this very well. ... My country can play an important role in football." Just not the Saudi national team at the moment......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 16th, 2018

Goodbye BBL, Hello Federalism

COTABATO CITY – For the third time around, majority Christian lawmakers in the House of Representatives are expected to reject the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law or BBL being pushed by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which signed an interim peace deal with Manila in 2014. Instead of BBL, lawmakers are now pushing for a federal form of government and President Rodrigo Duterte is also strongly advocating the shift to federalism, an advocacy he made even before when he was the mayor of Davao City. Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque also said Duterte’s priority now is to change the form of current government and this can only be achieved through amendments in the Constitution which lawmakers are currently working on. There was also a proposal to hold a plebiscite next year in time for the mid-term elections for Filipinos to decide whether to accept or reject federalism. But there are also many lawmakers who wanted to cling to power and extend their term of office until 2022 when voters would have to choose their leaders in national elections. BBL Duterte has previously backed the BBL and expressed optimism that the draft law will pass the scrutiny of Congress that previously opposed it – during Arroyo and Aquino’s presidency. But Duterte himself has been campaigning for BBL and federalism even before he won the presidency in 2016. And his political allies in Congress are supporting the proposed shift from the current presidential system to federalism, and not the BBL. The MILF, whose ageing leaders, called for the passage of BBL may be overridden by Duterte’s plans to grant regions autonomy through federalism. It said the administration of Duterte should immediately work for the passage of the BBL where the Aquino government left off. It stressed that the negotiation is completed following the signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) between the MILF and government peace panels. Politicians questioning the BBL said the provisions in the draft law remain the same.  Zamboanga City Representative Celso Lobregat, who was one of those who opposed the BBL during the Aquino administration citing unconstitutional provisions in the draft law, is again raising the same issue. Unconstitutional In a previous statement, Lobregat made it clear, he will be vigilant and consistent with his stand with regards to the BBL. “I am for peace, I am not anti-peace, but we need a Bangsamoro Basic Law that is just, that is fair, that is acceptable, feasible and more importantly, it should not be contrary to the Constitution and existing laws,” he said. He said the BBL which the Bangsamoro Transition Commission submitted to Duterte still contains the same and even more contentious and questionable provisions. “Among the contentious provisions in the present version of the BBL is that there will be six plebiscites – one for ratification of the law, and second the periodic plebiscite every 5 years for a period of 25 years in the cities, municipalities and other geographic areas outside the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao which did not join the Bangsamoro after the ratification of the BBL,” Lobregat said. Lobregat, who was also former mayor of Zamboanga City, said Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) was the predecessor of the old BBL filed during the previous 16th Congress. The MOA-AD was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2008 describing the process that led to its crafting as “whimsical, capricious, oppressive, arbitrary and despotic.” He said the MOA-AD and the BBL have similar provisions, with some unconstitutional and controversial provisions. “Instead of promoting peace, there will be a constant tug of war on the political boundaries that will promote instability. The Bangsamoro will try to expand its area of jurisdiction and in turn, the local government adjacent, surrounding or neighboring the Bangsamoro will also fight tooth and nail in order to retain their territory,” Lobregat said. Lobregat said he will again be active and vigilant in the committee deliberations, plenary debates and caucuses to ensure that the interest of Zamboanga City and the rest of Mindanao are protected. Davao del Norte Representative and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Duterte’s ally in the lower chamber, said the country’s push for federalism has almost the same concept of the BBL. “The BBL will be absorbed by the federal form of government, because that’s the same. The concept of BBL is the same in federal form of government,” he said, suggesting an amendment in the Constitution. “How can you implement the provisions of the BBL without amending the Constitution? You cannot do it because there are provisions in the BBL that run contrary to the provisions of the Constitution,” said Alvarez. MILF’s rival group, the Moro National Liberation Front under Nur Misuari, has strongly opposed the government peace talks with the MILF, citing a 1996 peace accord with Manila. And Misuari, who eventually became government of the Muslim autonomous region, is now facing rebellion charges for deadly attacks in Sulu’s Jolo town and in Zamboanga City in 2001; and another raid in 2013 in retaliation to government’s failure to fully comply with the peace agreement. Under the accord, Manila would have provided a mini-marshal plan in the restive region and livelihood and housing facilities for thousands of MNLF rebels. Misuari, a close friend and political ally of Duterte, also wanted to become a perpetual regional governor. He is also […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsJan 27th, 2018

Trump flouts world’s warnings, to name Jerusalem a ‘capital’

Published: 10:50 a.m., Dec. 6, 2017 | Updated: 1:18 a.m.. Dec. 7, 2017 WASHINGTON --- Defying dire, worldwide warnings, President Donald Trump prepared Wednesday to declare Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a move upending decades of US policy and carrying unclear consequences for Mideast peace efforts. Although officials said Trump would again delay action on his oft-repeated campaign promise to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital risks infuriating the Muslim world, and potentially sparking protests that could fray American alliances in the world's most volatile region. Trump administration officials...Keep on reading: Trump flouts world’s warnings, to name Jerusalem a ‘capital’.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 6th, 2017

North Korea ‘fires’ missile over Japan – Al Jazeera

North Korea has fired a ballistic missile that flew over Japan before plunging into the northern Pacific Ocean, in a step termed by the Japanese prime minister as a &'8220;grave threat&'8221;. The launch appeared to be the first to cross over Japan since 2009, and comes amid ongoing annual military drill being carried out between the US and its close ally in the region, South Korea. The  South's joint chiefs of staff said the missile travelled abouit 2,700km and reached a maximum height of 550km as it flew over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido and landed in the sea. The projectile was launched from the Sunan region near the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, just before 6am local time on Tuesday (21:00 GMT on Monday), the South Korean military said. Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported that the missile flew over the northernmost main island of Hokkaido and broke into three pieces and fell into the waters 1,180km east of Cape Erimo. The test appeared to have been of a recently developed intermediate-range Hwasong-12 missile, experts said. It is the same sort of missile that North Korean threatened to fire on the US territory of Guam. The Japanese government's J-Alert warning system advised people in northern Japan to take precautions, but NHK said there was no sign of damage. Japan's military did not attempt to shoot down the missile, which passed over Japanese territory at about 6:06am local time (21:06 GMT). There was no immediate comment from North Korea. Shinzo Abe, Japan's prime minister, said the missile launch over its territory was an &'8220;unprecedented, serious and grave threat&'8221;. &'8220;Their outrageous act of firing a missile over our country is an unprecedented, serious and grave threat and greatly damages the regional peace and security,&'8221; he said. In a 40-minute telephone call with US President Donald Trump, he said, the two allies had agreed to &'8220;further strengthen pressure against North Korea&'8221;. Abe said he would also call for an urgent meeting in the UN to discuss further action, strongly demanding stepped up pressures against the reclusive neighbour. Al Jazeera's Wayne Hay, reporting from Seoul, said that although there have been several recent missile launches by North Korea, and there are often launches this time of year due to military exercises between the US and its allies in the region, a missile passing over the Japanese mainland will be seen as a bigger provocation. &'8220;So this will certainly be viewed by Japan, the United States and South Korea as an uptick in the seriousness of the missile launches coming from North Korea,&'8221; he said. North Korea typically reacts with anger to US-South Korean military drills, which are happening now, often staging weapons tests and issuing threats to the two countries via its state-controlled media. But animosity is higher than usual following threats by Trump to unleash &'8220;fire and fury&'8221; on the North, and North Korea's stated plan to consider firing some of its missiles toward Guam. &'160; 183&'160;total views, 183&'160;views today.....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsAug 29th, 2017

Trump budget plan shows how he would reshape nation – CNN News

An early glimpse at President Donald Trump's first budget proposal offers the clearest blueprint yet of how he plans to remake the nation. The plan envisages a 10% hike in military spending to be paid for by sharp cuts in other government departments, with the State Department and the Environmental Protection Agency each bracing for a particularly painful hit. If enacted, the plan would involve a radical domestic reshaping of the federal government paired with a shift in the posture of American diplomacy around the world. It is an approach that flows directly from the rhetoric and positions adopted by Trump on the campaign trail playing to his grass-roots supporters' deep distrust of Washington and his &'8220;America First&'8221; political creed. &'8220;This is a landmark event, a message to the world, in these dangerous times, of American strength, security and resolve,&'8221; Trump said Monday. The budget plan comes at a time when the administration is making strenuous efforts to flesh out the ideological and political foundations on which the new GOP White House is built. Top officials, including the President, previewed a strident change of political direction at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last week, and Trump will intensify the effort with his first address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night &'8212; a crucial moment for the new administration. But the controversial nature of Trump's emerging budget &'8212; always a magnet for partisan opposition &'8212; guarantees a fight that will test the White House's capacity to corral lawmakers and shape public opinion. It also demonstrates a desire to boost military might and de-emphasize diplomatic reductions that will reverberate in foreign capitals of friends and foes alike. Already, a cadre of retired generals and admirals has warned that cutting State Department funding on diplomacy and development would make America less safe. Democrats say they will use every tool at their disposal, which includes the power of the filibuster in the Senate, to block Trump's plans. The President could also face resistance from Republican budget hawks in Congress. Defense hawks, meanwhile, are arguing that the $54 billion dollar hike in defense spending is not enough after years of budget sequestration that capped military funding. It is not yet clear exactly where the cuts will come from. Monday's announcement involved top-line numbers from the 2018 budget sent to government agencies that must now work out how to adjust their spending. Any budget issued by the White House is merely an opening bid, and many soon become worthless documents once Congress, with its competing demands on the public purse, gets to work. Democrats, who could try to frustrate Trump by refusing to lift caps on defense spending by wielding the Senate filibuster, sensed a political opportunity to undercut Trump's appeal to working-class voters as they try to rebuild their party's support ahead of midterm elections next year. &'8220;The budget proposal is a reflection of where the President is at and who he is (and) what today's hard-right Republican party &'8212; which has done this budget through its Cabinet &'8212; believes in,&'8221; said Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. &'8220;Which is relieve the burdens on the wealthy and special interests, whether they be coal companies or financiers, and put the burden on the middle class.&'8221; But Trump styles himself as a shrewd negotiator steeped in the give-and-take of real estate transactions and is known for making the kinds of bold opening gambits that the budget announcement on Monday represents. The proposals were also formulated directly from the fiery speeches of the President's campaign, which underpinned his belief that he has a mandate for radical change and might make any compromise harder. &'8220;When you see these reductions, you'll be able to tie it back to a speech the President gave, or something the President had said previously,&'8221; Trump's budget director, Mick Mulvaney, told reporters on Monday. &'8220;We are taking his words and turning them into policies and dollars.&'8221; The goals are consistent with the theory of Trumpism laid out by the President's political adviser, Steve Bannon, at CPAC last week, which included a push to &'8220;deconstruct the administrative state.&'8221; Indeed, the budget would remold the federal government by paring back programs introduced by the Obama administration &'8212; for example, EPA regulations on the fossil fuels industry &'8212; and other agency reductions. In practice, according to Mulvaney, that involves a sweeping reset of political priorities. &'8220;It is a true 'America first' budget,&'8221; said Mulvaney. &'8220;It will show the President is keeping his promises and doing exactly what he said he was going to do when he ran for office. It prioritized rebuilding the military, including restoring our nuclear capabilities, protecting the nation and securing the border, enforcing the laws currently on the books, taking care of vets and increasing school choice.&'8221; Still, with Trump vowing not to touch popular non-discretionary spending targets like Medicare and Social Security, his budget team faces a tortuous task in wringing out savings at agencies while preserving room for Trump's promised big tax cuts. Every dollar that is cut from discretionary spending could affect other popular and vital programs, including transportation, conservation, agriculture and commerce &'8212; all of which have powerful lobbies ready to go into battle for their funding. And Trump does not want to tighten the national belt everywhere. For instance, he is proposing spending billions of dollars on his pet project of a southern border wall, though he has promised [&'].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsFeb 28th, 2017

8ID Intensifies the Bayanihan Team Activity

8ID intensifies its Internal Peace Security Plan “Bayanihan” that encourages all the Government Agencies and Non-Government Organizations in working together to end up the socio-economic problems of this region......»»

Category: newsSource:  samarnewsRelated NewsJan 29th, 2017

Koreas extend conciliatory steps to Asian Games

By Kim Tong-Hyung, Associated Press SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — With the Koreas, there's no separating their sports from their politics. The war-separated rivals will take their reconciliation steps to the Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia, where they will jointly march in the opening ceremony and field combined teams in basketball, rowing and canoeing. "Sports have played the role of peacemaker between the Koreas," said Kim Seong-jo, vice chairman of South Korea's Olympic committee and the country's chef de mission at the Asian Games. "If the combined teams put out good performances and win medals, that would be putting the cherry on the top." North and South Korea have used sports diplomacy this year in a bid to decrease animosity and initiate a new round of global diplomatic efforts to resolve the nuclear standoff with Pyongyang. South Korea leaders consider goodwill gestures as crucial to keep the positive atmosphere alive for what could become a long and difficult attempt to persuade the North to give up its nuclear and missile programs. There's not much Seoul can do beyond such gestures, though, as joint economic projects are out of the question when lifting sanctions against North Korea is far beyond the South's control. The more substantial discussions on the North's denuclearization — including what, when and how it would occur— are always going to be between Washington and Pyongyang. Here's a look at what the Koreas are planning for the Asian Games and their ebbs and flows in sports diplomacy: ___ BLUE FLAGS AND COMBINED TEAMS In the opening ceremony in Jakarta, athletes from North and South Korea will parade together under the flag featuring a blue map that symbolized a unified Korean Peninsula. It will be virtual repeat of the joint march during February's Winter Olympics in the South Korean ski resort of Pyeongchang, minus the gloves, parkas and fur hats. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sent hundreds of athletes, artists and government officials to the Pyeongchang Olympics. The Koreas also fielded their first combined Olympic team in women's ice hockey, which drew passionate support from crowds despite losing all five of its games with a combined score of 28-2. At the Asian Games, the Koreas will be expected to deliver more than just feel-good stories. There's pressure for the investment to yield gold. A group of 34 North Korean athletes, coaches and officials have been in South Korea since last month for combined teams in women's basketball and the men's and women's events in rowing and canoeing. Coach Lee Moon-kyu, who has retained a core of South Korean players who won gold at the 2014 Asian Games at home in Incheon, got a first-hand look at North Korean players during exhibitions in Pyongyang in early July. Lee later picked three North Korean players for the Asian Games squad, including center Ro Suk Yong. Lee will also have a North Korean assistant coach on his bench. The Koreans will face Taiwan, Indonesia, Kazakhstan and India in their preliminary group. South Korean forward Lim Yung-hui said the chemistry between the players has been improving. "The Northern players share the same goal of the gold medal and we talk a lot about how we should be putting out a good performance there," Lim said. "We weren't given much time, but we are practicing hard in a positive atmosphere." The Koreas will field combined teams in dragon boat events in canoeing and the lightweight men's four, lightweight men's eight and lightweight women's double sculls in rowing. If a combined team wins gold, athletes on the podium will hear the traditional folk song of "Arirang,"used in both Koreas as an unofficial anthem for peace, instead of their respective national anthems. The Korean athletes are likely to become an attraction at the Asian Games, where the international media will follow closely. At the Pyeongchang Olympics, South Korean figure skater Kam Alex Kang-chan created a media frenzy by taking a selfie with North Korea's Kim Ju Sik and posting it on Instagram. The photo recalled a famous 2016 selfie taken by two North and South Korean gymnasts at the Rio Olympics which International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach described as a "great gesture." ___ THEY DON'T ALWAYS PLAY NICE The Koreas have a history of using sports to foster diplomacy since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. The 1991 world table tennis championships in Japan were the first time the Koreas fielded a combined team at a major international event. The atmosphere wasn't always friendly, though. During the height of their Cold War rivalry and recurring periods of animosity since, sports often became an alternate political battlefield. North Korean athletes and coaches would reject handshakes with their South Korean competitors and berate South Korean reporters during news conferences. The sports detente of 1991 evaporated when a North Korean athlete who competed at the world judo championships in Barcelona defected and arrived in South Korea amid heavy media coverage. North Korea boycotted the 1986 Asian Games and the '88 Summer Olympics in Seoul, and relations dramatically worsened on the eve of the Seoul Olympics with the bombing of a South Korean passenger jet that killed all 115 aboard in December 1987. The inter-Korean warmth heading into this year's Asian Games contrasts with the awkwardness between the rivals surrounding the 2014 Asiad held in South Korea. Seoul's then-conservative government invited North Korean athletes to compete, but made it clear it had no interest in joint marches or combined teams. North Korean subsequently withdrew an offer to send its all-female cheering squad to Incheon after squabbling with the hosts over costs. North Korean leader Kim did send a senior government delegation to the closing ceremony, but they returned home without meeting then-South Korean President Park Geun-hye. The North was still seething over the Asian Game treatment years later as it gleefully observed Park's presidency crashing over a corruption scandal. "The Park Geun-hye group's mad confrontational racket is to blame for why (the North Korean) visit to Incheon did not result in improved relations," the North said in a statement in April last year. ___ WILL THE GOOD TIMES LAST? Kim has found a willing counterpart in Moon, a liberal who won the presidential by-elections to replace Park last year. Since the Pyeongchang Olympics, Kim has met Moon twice and leveraged the summits to get to U.S. President Donald Trump. After their June summit in Singapore, Kim and Trump issued a vague aspirational goal for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula without describing specific plans. Sports exchanges and other goodwill gestures are important policy tools for Moon, who wants Seoul to be in the "driver's seat" in international efforts to deal with Pyongyang. The Koreas have also agreed to resume temporary reunions between relatives separated by the war and are holding military talks to reduce tensions across their heavily armed border. "Hopefully, (the Asian Games) will provide an opportunity to use sports to facilitate diplomacy and cooperation," Moon said while meeting Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi in Seoul last month. Seoul's presidential office hasn't announced yet whether Moon would attend the opening ceremony in Jakarta on Aug. 18. Whatever happens in Indonesia or with nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang, the Koreas will always have those heartening selfies posted by athletes. "Sports can be used to build momentum and trust, but they don't solve fundamental problems," said Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert at Seoul's Dongguk University and a policy adviser to Moon. "There's not much South Korea can currently do, but at least it's trying to actively do the things it can to keep the positive atmosphere alive. ".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 10th, 2018

ONE: Kevin Belingon s world title win is the product of team effort from Team Lakay

Friday night at the Mall of Asia Arena, Team Lakay’s Kevin Belingon became the latest member of Team Lakay to capture a world championship by defeating two-division titleholder Martin Nguyen in the main event of ONE: Reign of Kings to win the ONE Championship Interim Bantamweight World Champion. And while it was Belingon who did the work inside the cage, the win wasn’t just his, rather it was all of the Philippines’ and of course, Team Lakay's. As former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard Folayang explained, Belingon’s win was the result of team effort. “Masayang-masaya ako kasi na-predict ko na yan noon pa eh, talagang mananalo si Kevin,” Folayang said during the post-fight press conference. “Of course, because you can see that we worked very hard and of course, smart on our preparation, talagang we helped each other.” Nguyen is, of course, a familiar opponent for Team Lakay, with Folayang having faced the Viet-Aussie star back in 2017. “Kung ano yung pwede naming ibigay na advice or time na maibibigay sa kasama namin, preparing for a fight, we give it.” Folayang continued. With Belingon’s interim title win, he becomes the fourth member of Team Lakay to hold ONE World Championship gold, joining Folayang, former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio Banario, and reigning ONE Championship Flyweight World Champion Geje Eustaquio. Add reigning ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon Vera to that list, and you have all five world champions representing the Philippines, making it the country with the most world title wins in ONE Championship's seven-year history.  The way Folayang sees it, there’s more on the way. “I think this is one of the memorable moments of our team, because, hindi ko alam, malapit na yata namin kunin lahat [ng championships].” the former lightweight king said playfully. And while what Folayang said was in jest, it isn’t wrong by any means. Friday night’s ONE card had two other winnner from the famed Benguet-based MMA stable, as Folayang decisioned Russian newcomer Aziz Pahrudinov, while former strawweight title contender Joshua Pacio steamrolled through Thailand’s Pongsiri Mitsatit in just one round. Both Folayang and Pacio are riding winning streaks, and both are inching their way closer to title contention. “If ONE Championship or sir Chatri [Sityodtong] will give me the opportunity to face Yoshitaka Naito, why not.” Pacio said at the presser. Should it push through, it would be Pacio’s second go-around with Naito after losing to the reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion back in 2016. If everything goes according to plan for Team Lakay, they could have two, even three more world championships coming back home to La Trinidad pretty soon......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 30th, 2018

Few good options on anthem protests for NFL owners

By Jimmy Golen, Associated Press The controversy over NFL players protesting during the national anthem isn't going away, despite — or perhaps because of — team owners' efforts to stop players from using the forum to speak out on political causes. The league's attempt to turn responsibility for disciplining protesters over to individual teams backfired on Thursday when the Miami Dolphins tried to categorize raising a fist or kneeling during the anthem as "conduct detrimental to the club." That gave them the right to punish a player with a fine or up to a four-game suspension — one game more than Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston got when he was accused of groping an Uber driver. Hours after The Associated Press reported on Miami's rules, the NFL and the players union issued a joint statement saying they were putting any anthem conduct policy on hold to see if they could come up with a compromise. But the owners aren't left with many good options to diffuse the controversy, especially with President Donald Trump eager to fan the flames. Here's a look at some of them: LEAVE IT TO THE TEAMS The Plan: The league's solution, which the NFL Players Association challenged, was to allow each team to determine whether to punish its own players for protesting during the anthem. The policy adopted in May by team owners subjected clubs to fines and required players to stand if they are on the field during "The Star-Spangled Banner," though it allowed players to stay in the locker room if they wished. This would have given hard-line owners in conservative regions a chance to clamp down while allowing teams in more liberal areas to let their players have their say. As it turned out, all it did was punt the ball down the road. The Winners: None. With players punished in some cities and protesting freely in others, there would always be plenty to complain about for those inclined to do so. And everyone seems inclined to do so these days. The Losers: NFL owners. Any punishment is destined to divide the locker room and the fandom; should a team actually suspend a significant contributor, it would only be hurting itself. And the guarantee of unequal treatment between and within teams would surely keep the issue in the news for yet another season. GO BACK TO THE OLD WAY The Plan: Ask players to stand at attention during the national anthem, and hope that they do. The Winners: Players, who would retain the ability to call attention to causes they believe in, namely racial inequality and police brutality . And President Trump, who gets applause any time he attacks the protesting players as he stumps for Republicans in the November midterm elections. The Losers: NFL owners, or at least those like Houston's Bob McNair who have chafed at the notion of the "inmates running the prison." They lose control and remain a subject of Trump's ridicule. KEEP PLAYERS IN THE LOCKER ROOM DURING THE ANTHEM The Plan: Players can't protest during the anthem if they aren't on the field during the anthem. Or so the theory goes. But the demonstrations were never about the anthem itself; it started as a way for 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to protest racial inequality and expanded into a league-wide us-vs.-them after Trump's hollered at one rally: "Get that son of a bitch off the field." The Winners: Fans who were triggered by the sight of players kneeling during the song. And players, who could surely find another forum for their protests. The Losers: NFL owners. The president has already said this isn't patriotic enough for him, so there's little hope of him easing up on his criticism. And it would cost them the connection to the flag and country they have worked hard to cultivate. COMPROMISE The Plan: Other sports worked with their players so that they didn't have to protest to be heard. Maybe the owners make a donation to the players' pet projects, play a video on the scoreboard, or otherwise give them a forum for their concerns. The Winners: Players. It's not about the protest, it's about the cause. The Losers: NFL owners. Even if they could stomach the loss of control, the political intrusion on the sport is bound to alienate some fans. STOP PLAYING THE ANTHEM BEFORE GAMES The Plan: Join almost every other country in the world and skip the forced display of patriotism that demands players stand at attention while fans check their phones, finish their hot dogs or take the opportunity to visit the bathroom. If teams want to honor the military or local first-responders, let them do so free from marketing deals. The Winners: Fans who don't consider the anthem an integral part of the sports experience, giving them another 90 seconds in to spend in game day traffic without missing anything. The Losers. NFL owners. Concessionaires. And a whole generation of American Idol also-rans......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 21st, 2018

SUPER 8: Digregorio continues to believe in Blackwater

MACAU --- Late last season in the PBA, Blackwater was seen as a team on the rise. Blackwater was knocking on the door of the semifinals, as the then no. 8-seed Elite pushed no. 1 Meralco to the brink in the quarterfinals. The future looked bright for Blackwater. This current season, the Elite, with a top-5 All-Filipino player in JP Erram, missed the Philippine Cup playoffss due to bad quotient. Still respectable. But things fell apart in the Commissioner's Cup as a plethora of things, including a coaching change, doomed Blackwater. The Elite finished the tournament with a woeful 1-10 mark. They won their only game thanks to a last-second dunk by import Henry Walker. After that terrible stint, the Elite are busy preparing for the Governors' Cup, part of that buildup is the Summer Super 8 tournament here. In two games, Blackwater split its games with teams from South Korea and China. The Elite have the chance to advance against a team from Japan Thursday. The team is confident. "I'm confident. As long as the rims are 10 feet high and the ball still bounces, we're confident," guard Mike Digregorio said. "We have all the confidence in the world to win," he added. The rebuild has been a long process for Blackwater. But the team has more than enough talent to make it work. Digregorio has nothing but overwhelming belief on his team and previous close calls suggest that the Elite are on the verge of a breakthrough. The process just needs a little more push. "Every day is a work in progress. We had a coaching change and the Commissioner' Cup wasn't the conference that we wanted but I believe in this team, I really do," Digregorio said. "Last Governors' Cup we were knocking on the semis, last Philippine Cup we played really well. We're building towards coach Bong's system and adjusting to him. Every day is a learning process but we're getting better and we're working towards success," he added. There's success to be found in Macau and the Elite are one win away from advancing to the next round. They plan on doing so, obviously. "We plan on winning. We didn't come here to not advance. We're gonna come and win. We're building towards the Governors' Cup so I think we have the team to make noise in the Governors' Cup and also advance [here]," Digregorio added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 19th, 2018

Trump adviser Kushner criticizes Abbas, says US peace plan near

Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser, said Washington would announce its Middle East peace plan soon, and press on with or without Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. Source link link: Trump adviser Kushner criticizes Abbas, says US peace plan near.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilainformerRelated NewsJun 24th, 2018

US Republicans risking conservative backlash over immigration

NEW YORK --- The push toward immigration votes in the House is intensifying the divide among Republicans on one of the party's most animating issues and fueling concerns that a voter backlash could cost the GOP control of the House in November. To many conservatives, the compromise immigration proposal released this past week by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is little more than "amnesty." One tea party group described the Republican plan as "the final betrayal." Fox Business host Lou Dobbs, who is close to President Donald Trump, tweeted Friday that Ryan is "trying to open our borders even more and give illegal immigrants the biggest amnesty in American history." Passage ...Keep on reading: US Republicans risking conservative backlash over immigration.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJun 17th, 2018

Trump approves plan to impose tough China tariffs

President Donald Trump has approved a plan to impose punishing tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of Chinese goods as early as Friday, a move that could put his trade policies on a collision course with his push to rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJun 15th, 2018

Trump approves plan to impose tough China tariffs

President Donald Trump has approved a plan to impose punishing tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of Chinese goods as early as Friday, a move that could put his trade policies on a collision course with his push to rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJun 15th, 2018

Trump approves plan to impose tough China tariffs

  WASHINGTON --- President Donald Trump has approved a plan to impose punishing tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of Chinese goods as early as Friday, a move that could put his trade policies on a collision course with his push to rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons.   Trump has long vowed to fulfill his campaign pledge to clamp down on what he considers unfair Chinese trading practices. But his calls for billions in tariffs could complicate his efforts to maintain China's support in his negotiations with North Korea.   Trump met with several Cabinet members and trade advisers on Thursday, and was expected to impose tariffs of at least $35 b...Keep on reading: Trump approves plan to impose tough China tariffs.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJun 15th, 2018

FIBA WC Qualifiers: Slimmed down Andray Blatche out for revenge in 3rd window

Preparing for the third window of the FIBA World Cup, a visibly slimmer Gilas star center Andray Blatche is getting himself ready for a better performance against Chinese Taipei and beefed up Australia. The 6'11 center was interviewed by reporters after watching the Magnolia-TNT game at the Mall of Asia Arena, sitting near PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial at front row. Shortly before the game ended, the former Brooklyn Nets big man talked about facing the Australian national team in front of what should be a boisterous Gilas crowd at the Philippine Arena on July 2. However, things will be much different as the Boomers will be parading Milwaukee Bucks duo Thon Maker and Matthew Dellavedova, two months removed from their seven-game series loss against Eastern Conference finalists Boston Celtics. For Blatche, the game plan will be simple, and he hopes it will be enough against one of the top teams of the FIBA-Asia region. "I mean, Australia's already a tough team. They added two great talents, Thon Maker and Dellavedova. I mean, at the end of the day, we still have to come out and compete. Hit our shots and play tough defense. So, it's going to be up to us to control the games here at home and to hype up the crowd." Clutching his back and complaining about the pain, Blatche said that he had prepared for weeks and is starting to find his shooting stroke. " I mean, I decided to play again. Last month, I played again. I hadn't played in months. To play a lot, to practice a lot, to get thay rhythm again. I found my shots." After a sorry six-point performance at the hands of Chinese Taipei in a 90-83 win at the Big Dome last November, he has a message against naturalized center Quincy Davis III, who dominated the shaded lane with a 20-point and nine-rebound performance before fouling out. "Yeah, I got something at (Quincy) Davis."   __   Follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 13th, 2018

FX system, bond mart overhaul part of financial market reform, says DOF chief

The central bank's plan to overhaul the foreign exchange system and fiscal authorities' push to accelerate the development of the fixed income bourse are linked to an overarching strategy on market reform, according to the head of the Duterte administration's economic team. In particular, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the two parallel moves on the monetary and fiscal tracks were meant to improve liquidity, price discovery and stability, and the infrastructure of the country's currency, bond and stock markets. "Our reforms are geared toward enhancing the overall efficiency of the Philippine capital markets by focusing on their core elements," he said in an e-mail to th...Keep on reading: FX system, bond mart overhaul part of financial market reform, says DOF chief.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJun 12th, 2018

LeBron s free agency decision could swing NBA s balance of power

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com CLEVELAND -- These combo coronation-funerals can be tricky. Imagine the crowning of a new monarch where the royal subjects couldn’t stop chattering about the freshly deposed or deceased predecessor. Where the traditional cry of continuity and succession, “The king is dead! Long live the king!” got flipped, with what was overshadowing what is. That’s pretty much how it went Friday night (Saturday, PHL time) at Quicken Loans Arena, with the Golden State Warriors’ latest NBA championship having to share the stage with speculation, instantly revved up, about LeBron James and the choice he’ll soon make about his next employer. The Warriors are the kings, claiming pro basketball’s throne yet again by completing a sweep of James’ Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2018 Finals. But of course, James is the King, and as so many of us learned in sophomore English – thanks, CliffsNotes! – “Uneasy lies the head (of those who fret and obsess about the future whereabouts of the NBA superstar) that wears a crown.” Long live the kings! The King is ... gone? There was so much energy before, during and after Game 4 Friday (Saturday, PHL time) poured into the last game/next game conjecture about James, the Cavaliers and seismic shifts in the league’s 2018-19 landscape that even the player’s surprise reveal near the end of the night – a bruised and bandaged right hand – couldn’t derail it. Turns out, as James ‘fessed up, the sore shooting paw was an injury he had been playing with ever since Game 1 in Oakland eight days earlier. He had “self-inflicted” it in a fit of pique when he smacked a whiteboard in the visitors’ dressing room at Oracle Arena after Cleveland’s overtime loss in the series-setter, an outcome driven at least in part by some teammates’ mistakes and an arcane wrinkle in the NBA’s replay rules regarding block/charge fouls. Despite the hordes of media people chronicling every waking detail of the Finals, James had kept the injury on the down-low (along with the possibility that J.R. Smith’s nickname amongst his Cavs teammates might be “whiteboard”). The cameras zoomed in and clicked in a paparazzi frenzy of motor drives every time James raised the hand, wrapped in black tape, above the table during his postgame podium remarks. Whether a legit Page-2-the-rest-of-the-story factor in the championship series or a too-late alibi, the contused hand wound up as a sidebar to where James plans to be using it when training camps open in a few months. As of Friday (Saturday, PHL time), it had been 95 months since “The Decision,” the 2010 announcement that James made in a tone-deaf vanity TV production that he was taking his talents from Cleveland to South Beach. Nearly 47 months had passed since he broke the news of his return in a Sports Illustrated ghost-written essay, envisioning much of what actually has unfolded in the four years since. Now savvy insiders and casual observers alike presume James will be on the move again, pushed to leave the franchise he has defined in an urgent search for more and better talent with which he can compete. As in, y’know, some horses, some horses, his kingdom for some horses. James’ free-agency process next month (he can opt out of a $35.6 million deal in the final season of his current contract) is expected to dictate the market of player movement this summer like an oversized domino. It easily could swing the balance of power, if not quite at Golden State’s lofty level then immediately below it. The monster he helped create Dr. Frankenstein eventually was done in by his macabre creation, and it can similarly be argued that James has no one but himself to blame for the predicament in which he again finds himself. He set in motion the machinery of the super team, after all, when he chose to join forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami eight years ago. Oh sure, the Boston Celtics in 2007-08 got there first by luring Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to join Paul Pierce, but that was about knitting together three stars, all age 30 or older, for what would be their last best chance to win in an extremely limited run. That group won one title, went to two Finals in three seasons and was done, Allen leaving to join James & Co. with the Heat while Garnett and Pierce morphed into trade chips for Boston POBO Danny Ainge. When James, Wade and Bosh teamed up, they were in their basketball primes and their initial giddy boasts of “not four, not five, not six” championships turned off fans league-wide as much for its portent as its pretension. That crew went 4-for-4 in Finals, winning two rings before James, nudged by staleness and chafing as well as his grand plan for northeast Ohio, went home. From there, a line can be drawn through the ill-conceived 2012-13 L.A. Lakers of Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol all the way to this season’s Houston Rockets of James Harden and Chris Paul and the talent-gorged Golden State roster. James was the centerpiece as Cleveland replicated the Big Three concept around him with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, two younger, playoff-stymied All-Stars. The new-look Cavaliers went to the Finals in their first season together and clambered atop the basketball world to win the franchise’s first NBA title by the end of the second, becoming the first team in league history to do so after digging a 1-3 hole in the best-of-seven series. In that moment, regardless of the two Finals trips that followed, James’ bill was stamped: Paid In Full. Misguided fans might burn his jersey if he leaves again, but James burned the mortgage after that Game 7 in Oakland in 2016 as far as any remaining obligation to fulfill. “I came back because I felt like I had some unfinished business,” he said after elimination Friday (Saturday, PHL time). “To be able to be a part of a championship team two years ago with the team that we had and in the fashion that we had is something I will always remember. Honestly, I think we'll all remember that. It ended a drought for Cleveland of 50-plus years, so I think we'll all remember that in sports history.” James added: “When you have a goal and you're able to accomplish that goal, it actually – for me personally – made me even more hungry to continue to try to win championships. And I still want to be in championship mode. I think I've shown this year why I will still continue to be in championship mode.” In other words, James intends to sustain his high level of performance. He expects to win. And he presumably will do whatever – and go wherever – is necessary to achieve that. There’s no perfect fit So what does that mean for the NBA’s best player (never mind what the annual MVP balloting says in any given season)? It means this: compromise. There is no ideal situation, certainly no easy answer to the guesswork surrounding James’ looming free agency. He could transform any of the 30 teams, but not without some trade-offs for him, for them or for both. Most of them won’t be in play. Teams in markets such as Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Portland, Sacramento, the Twin Cities and so on can’t scratch James’ itches for either championship-worthy depth chart or spotlight. New York and Chicago, among the biggies, are out of synch with his timeline. Toronto? No way James is resettling his brand north of the border, and given his stated desire for teammates who have not just sufficient basketball skills but also mental toughness, well, the Raptors teams he and the Cavs have dominated do not qualify. The Boston club that stretched Cleveland to seven games in the Eastern Conference finals is built for the long haul and would have to surrender much of that to adjust to James’ career calendar. There’s a little Kyrie problem lurking there and, truth be told, the Celtics look to be on their way and are doing just fine without the 33-year-old heading, one of these years, toward decline. At some point in each of the 2018 Finals’ final three days, James spoke admiringly of the Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs title teams that blocked his path whether in Miami or Cleveland. He was at it again even as the Warriors were dousing the opponent’s locker room at The Q with Moet champagne. “I made the move in 2010 to be able to play with talented players, cerebral players that you could see things that happen before they happened on the floor,” James said. “When you feel like you're really good at your craft, I think it's always great to be able to be around other great minds as well and other great ballplayers. “That's never changed. Even when I came here in '14, I wanted to try to surround myself and surround this franchise with great minds and guys that actually think outside the box of the game and not just go out and play it.” Where might James find that now or recruit that swiftly? Hard to say. There are asterisks and “buts” everywhere: * If he were to sign with the Houston Rockets, James would be hitching his star to Chris Paul, a buddy with an injury history that’s about the mirror opposite of his own. He would be teaming up with an elite coach in Mike D’Antoni, something he’s never had (though Miami’s Erik Spoelstra was just young and unproven, on his way to big things). But it also would require another big ask of James Harden, who had to adapt last summer to Paul’s arrival and need for the ball. * If James chooses the Lakers, he has the chance to hit reset with the league’s glitziest franchise, in a market that can meet his every off-court wish and where he and his family already own one or more ultra-comfortable homes. The Lakers have young talent to help James transition into a lower-usage veteran’s role, favored status as a destination team for other top free agents and the salary-cap space to get it done this summer with the likes of Paul George or his pal Paul. But that roster might not be capable of insta-contending, which could burn a season or two when James’ clock most definitely is clicking. * If it’s San Antonio, James could link up with the elite coach in Gregg Popovich, where the winning culture is in the DNA rather than some acquired taste. The Spurs have talent, particularly if Kawhi Leonard finds happiness again there. But they might not have enough to rattle the Warriors’ cage. And for all their professed admiration, James and Popovich might both fare better by keeping their relationship long-distance vs. the 82-game grind. * If it’s Golden State? Perish the thought. The NBA might have to board up itself if competitive balance were capsized to that extent. And as Draymond Green shrewdly noted on Thursday (Friday, PHL time), if James climbed aboard, it likely would require him and several other Golden State teammates to be dispatched to parts unknown. * If James prefers to stay East, where the winning comes easier, he could pick Philadelphia. The Sixers have two foundational young stars at positions that matter most, center Joel Embiid and point guard Ben Simmons. But Simmons is a non-shooter at the moment, the antithesis of what makes a great complementary LeBron teammate. As for Embiid, James never has had to play off of and service a top center. And Philly might feel like a basketball-only move, with the hungriest and most demanding of any new fan base he would embrace. * If it’s Miami – wait, could it be Miami? Could he go second-home again? The Heat always strive to be competitive and offer a talent base deep enough for the East and lots of familiarity. But they also have players such as Hassan Whiteside and Dion Waiters whose mental approaches don’t seem to fit the model James was cooing about in Golden State and with the Tim Duncan-era Spurs. * That brings us to Cleveland, where it’s possible James might choose to remain. Staying with the Cavaliers, after leading them to four Finals and that heady 2016 title, would be the easiest choice as far as pressure to win. He owes these fans nothing anymore – in fact, had the bargain been offered to them in 2010 (“LeBron will leave and win elsewhere for four years, but will come back and deliver a championship and four Finals trips”), most would have grabbed it. Here, James and the fans who have watched him even through the interruption develop from ridiculously touted high schooler to one of the world’s most famous athletes could grow older together. Then he could partner up and buy the team from owner Dan Gilbert for a long-term future. Certainly, staying has a certain place in his and the rest of the James clan’s hearts. “The one thing that I've always done is considered, obviously, my family,” he said at series end Friday (Saturday, PHL time). “Understanding especially where my boys are at this point in their age. They were a lot younger the last time I made a decision like this four years ago. I've got a teenage boy, a pre-teen and a little girl that wasn't around as well. So sitting down and considering everything, my family is a huge part of whatever I'll decide to do in my career, and it will continue to be that.” It’s worth noting that as James contemplates his options as a modern pursuer of championship excellence, the prospect of him moving again qualifies at some level as a failure. Not just by the support system in Cleveland, where he and Gilbert have their friction and James gets snidely mentioned as the team’s unofficial GM and head coach, but by him too. He’s the one who went off to seek his “college education” in south Florida in what it takes to win, whether on the court, in the front office or in and around the seams 365 days a year, straight out of the Pat Riley handbook. The teams about which James talks so glowingly in Oakland now and in San Antonio then have cultures he covets, stability up and down the flowchart he craves. In Cleveland, for a variety of reasons, his team has been incapable of establishing and maintaining that to a lasting degree. He is part of that missed opportunity and he has to own it, no matter if he goes or stays. James is inseparable from the dynamic of the Cavaliers’ ever-changing and often melodramatic roster maneuvers. Spending big, swapping out draft picks to import current stars and supporting players, and overvaluing secondary guys like Smith and Tristan Thompson are risks the Warriors and the Spurs largely avoided thanks to shrew drafting and laudable continuity. The Cavs’ scrap heap, by contrast, is high with traded picks, scuttled plans, panic deals, short-term patches and folks such as former coach David Blatt and former GM David Griffin. And maybe James could have nurtured a little better relationship with All-Star point guard and 2016 title sidekick Kyrie Irving, enough to have kept Irving from bailing on them all with his trade demand last summer. Now he’s on the verge of casting about again, prioritizing what matters most for however long he continues to play. James is more at peace with it than he was before, particularly in 2010, and surely can enjoy the leverage he wields and the riches it delivers. But there is a burden there as well, one that could be seen as completing a circle. So many of the NBA’s greatest stars have been stuck playing and living in the Age of LeBron, right? Their paths to the Finals blocked, on one whole side of the league, by him and his? Well, LeBron James is stuck now in the Era of the Warriors, freshly swept and anxious to close the gap. What goes around comes around, though the key more pressing of the big W’s now is, where? 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 NewsJun 11th, 2018

Israel in uproar over Argentina pre-World Cup friendly snub

By Aron Heller, Associated Press JERUSALEM (AP) — The sports-crazed nation of Israel was in uproar Wednesday over Argentina's abrupt cancellation of a World Cup warmup match following pro-Palestinian protests, with some of the country's leaders accusing Lionel Messi and his teammates of caving to terrorism. Israel was eagerly awaiting the sold-out international friendly scheduled for Saturday night at Jerusalem's Teddy Kollek Stadium and the arrival of some of the world's best players. Argentina is one of the most popular national teams among Israelis and fans had been scrambling to get a chance to see Messi in person. But after a fierce Palestinian campaign, which included images of Argentina's white and sky-blue striped jersey stained with red paint resembling blood and threats to burn Messi posters, Argentina's football federation announced it was skipping the event. Claudio Tapia, president of the Argentine Football Association, apologized for cancelling the match but said the safety of the players was at stake. "What has happened in the last 72 hours, the actions, the threats that have occurred have led us to take the decision not to travel," he said during a news conference in Barcelona, where the Argentine team is training prior to the start of the World Cup next week. "(We) apologize to the Israeli community. It's nothing against the Israeli community, the Jewish community and I would like everyone to take this decision as a contribution to world peace," he said. "In the end, they've done the right thing, and this is behind us," Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain told ESPN. "Health and common sense come first. We felt that it wasn't right to go." Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Argentine President Mauricio Macri and urged him to intervene, to no avail. Later Wednesday, Israel's Sports Ministry said a "negotiation" about the match was underway, perhaps in hopes of salvaging it, but gave no further details. "It's unfortunate the soccer knights of Argentina did not withstand the pressure of the Israeli-hating inciters, whose only goal is to harm our basic right to self-defense and bring about the destruction of Israel," said Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. "We will not yield before a pack of anti-Semitic terrorist supporters." The head of the Palestinian football association, Jibril Rajoub, had called on Arab soccer fans to burn Messi posters and T-shirts if he participated. He has long tried to get soccer's world governing body, FIFA, and the International Olympic Committee to impose sanctions against Israel. Rajoub believes Israel should be punished for restricting movement of Palestinian players, and for forming teams in West Bank settlements. Rajoub had also objected to holding the match in Jerusalem, whose eastern sector the Palestinians claim as their capital. Although the Kollek stadium is in west Jerusalem, it is located in a neighborhood built where a Palestinian village once stood before it was destroyed in the war surrounding Israel's independence in 1948. Following the move, he held a press conference in Ramallah featuring a picture of him with Messi and a sign reading: "From Palestine, thank you Messi." Rajoub had accused Israel of playing politics with the game, by moving it from its original location in Haifa to Jerusalem, and by trying to link it to celebrations surrounding Israel's 70th anniversary. He called it a victory for "ethics and values" of sports. "They tried to use sport as a tool for political ends, and for this I think, they failed," Rajoub said. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said it was a sad morning for Israeli sports fans, including his own grandchildren. "But there are values that are greater than even Messi. The politicization of the Argentinean move worries me greatly," he said. Opposition figures, however, accused Israel's headline-seeking sports minister Miri Regev of bringing on the politicization of the sporting event by insisting on moving the game from Haifa to contested Jerusalem and by trying to orchestrate a politicized photo-op with Messi. Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war and annexed the area in a move that is not internationally recognized. Israel considers the entire city to be its capital, while the Palestinians seek east Jerusalem as the capital of a future state. Regev rejected the backlash at a press conference Wednesday evening saying "there is no bigger lie" than claims her decision to hold the match in Jerusalem aided in its cancellation. She said the Argentinians had not objected and that Messi himself had wanted to visit sacred Christian and Jewish sites in the holy city. Regev said the match was canceled following "threats by terror elements sent to Messi and his family and to other players." Opposition leader Isaac Herzog called the snub a "spectacular own goal" by Regev that delivered victory to boycotters of the Jewish State. Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay called for a police investigation into Regev's "corrupt conduct." "We just absorbed a shot in the face. This is not just sports," he tweeted. "This, unfortunately, could start an international tsunami." Regev claimed that "terrorist" groups had made threats against Argentina's players and their families, sending them images of dead children, though she gave no further evidence. She accused members of the Israeli parliament, or Knesset, of backing the boycott advocates. "Unfortunately, we have Trojan Horses in the Knesset who give headwind to terrorism," she said. The Palestinian militant Islamic group Hamas praised Argentina for canceling the game. Spokesman Husam Badran said Hamas "applauds" the move and reiterated its position that rejects "all forms of normalization" with the Jewish state. A senior official at the Argentine Football Federation said the national team decided to call off the match with Israel after receiving threats from Hamas. The official, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity due to safety concerns, did not provide evidence or details of the alleged threats. A Hamas official mocked reports that the group had threatened the players, calling them unrealistic, and saying they don't deserve a comment. The Hamas official was not authorized to comment in the issue and also spoke on condition of anonymity. Hamas is sworn to Israel's destruction and has ruled Gaza with an iron fist since it took over the territory in 2007. Israel and the United States consider it a terror organization for its bombings, shooting and rocket attacks targeting civilians. Israel has largely fended off the boycott campaign with only a small number of artists and organizations shunning the country. Argentina's snubbing would appear to be the boycott movement's greatest achievement thus far. The grassroots movement advocates boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel in what supporters say is a way to promote Palestinian rights through nonviolent means. Israel says the campaign goes beyond Israeli occupation of lands claimed by the Palestinians and masks a deeper aim of delegitimizing or even destroying the country. It has formed a government ministry whose primary mission is to combat the boycott movement. The Argentinean move, which featured on the front pages of all the major Israeli dailies, raised fears that it could serve as a template for future boycotts of Jerusalem, most notably next year's scheduled hosting of the popular Eurovision song contest. The Palestinians celebrated the cancellation as a major triumph. Israeli organizers said an offer had been floated to have the game played in Barcelona instead, but it was highly unlikely. "I think sports should never be involved with politics," said Shahaf Ashraga, a fan in Jerusalem. "It just makes me sad to think that the game has to be canceled because of the Palestinian pressure." Argentina opens its Group D campaign in Russia against Iceland on June 16. It then plays Croatia on June 21 and Nigeria on June 26. It is unclear whether Argentina will play another warmup, or if it will arrive in Moscow ahead of schedule. ___ Associated Press writers Debora Rey and Victor Caivano in Buenos Aires, Argentina, contributed......»»

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