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US states consider using powerful fentanyl to execute inmates

Fentanyl, a potent drug playing a major role in the US opioid crisis described by Donald Trump as a "plague," is now under consideration for use in lethal cocktails to execute inmates. The states of Nevada and Nebraska are planning to supply prison executioners with the opioid painkiller -- which killed more than 20,000 people in the United States in 2016 -- drawing criticism from doctors and activists who call the move a dangerous human experiment. They warn of serious risks posed to death row prisoners, who effectively become guinea pigs against their will. Fentanyl, which also acts as an anesthetic, is 50 times more powerful than heroin and up to 100 times stronger than m...Keep on reading: US states consider using powerful fentanyl to execute inmates.....»»

Category: newsSource: inquirer inquirerDec 14th, 2017

Death penalty

WASHINGTON -- Fentanyl, a potent drug playing a major role in the US opioid crisis described by Donald Trump as a “plague,” is now under consideration for use in lethal cocktails to execute inmates. The states of Nevada and Nebraska are planning to supply prison executioners with the opioid painkiller….....»»

Category: newsSource:  journalRelated NewsDec 14th, 2017

US health official reveals fentanyl almost killed his son

NEW YORK, United States --- The head of the nation's top public health agency says the opioid epidemic will be one of his priorities, and he revealed a personal reason for it: His son almost died from taking cocaine contaminated with the powerful painkiller fentanyl. "For me, it's personal. I almost lost one of my children from it," Dr. Robert Redfield Jr. told the annual conference of the National Association of County and City Health Officials. The AP viewed a video of his speech, which he delivered Thursday in New Orleans. Redfield declined to speak about it Monday, except to say in a statement: "It's important for society to embrace and support families who are fighting to ...Keep on reading: US health official reveals fentanyl almost killed his son.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJul 17th, 2018

New wildfires sweep through California, burning homes

LOS ANGELES, United States --- Firefighters toiled in stifling heat Saturday on the lines of destructive wildfires across the U.S. West, making progress against some blazes while struggling to tame others that have forced evacuations of hundreds of homes. In heat-stricken Southern California, powerful winds that sent an overnight inferno hopscotching through the Santa Barbara County community of Goleta vanished in the morning, allowing firefighters to extinguish smoldering ruins of an estimated 20 structures, including homes. Authorities announced that mandatory evacuation orders were being greatly reduced and many of the 2,500 people who fled Friday night would be able to retu...Keep on reading: New wildfires sweep through California, burning homes.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJul 8th, 2018

Israel pulls out of race for a seat on UN Security Council

      UNITED NATIONS --- Facing an uphill struggle in an election next month, Israel announced Friday it was pulling out of a race for a seat on the U.N. Security Council. Israel was in a three-way contest with Germany and Belgium for two seats representing the Western-democratic group of nations on the U.N.'s most powerful body starting in January. The Security Council has five permanent members --- the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France --- and 10 members elected by the 193-member General Assembly for two-year terms. Israel's U.N. Mission said in a statement Friday that "after consulting with our partners, including our good friends, the S...Keep on reading: Israel pulls out of race for a seat on UN Security Council.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMay 5th, 2018

Prosecutor: Prince thought he was taking common painkiller

MINNEAPOLIS --- Prince thought he was taking a common painkiller but instead ingested a counterfeit pill containing the dangerously powerful drug fentanyl, a Minnesota prosecutor said on Thursday as he announced that no charges would be filed in the musician's death. Carver County Attorney Mark Metz said Prince had suffered from pain for years and was addicted to pain medication. While some of the superstar's associates might have enabled his drug habit and tried to protect his privacy, authorities found "no direct evidence that a specific person provided the fentanyl." "In all likelihood, Prince had no idea that he was taking a counterfeit pill that could kill him," Metz said....Keep on reading: Prosecutor: Prince thought he was taking common painkiller.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsApr 20th, 2018

France s poor defending exposed again as Colombia wins 3-2

By Jerome Pugmire, Associated Press SAINT-DENIS, France (AP) — France's casual defending was exposed again as ruthless Colombia rallied from 2-0 down to win 3-2 in a World Cup warmup on Friday. European Championship runner-up France scored twice inside 26 minutes through striker Olivier Giroud and wide midfielder Thomas Lemar. But poor concentration from goalkeeper Hugo Lloris let Colombia back in two minutes later, when Luis Muriel's cross eluded him and went in. Roared on by huge swathes of yellow-shirted fans at Stade de France, Colombia leveled in the 62nd when striker Radamel Falcao swept in James Rodriguez's perfect cross from the right for his 29th international goal. A clumsy foul just inside the penalty area from Samuel Umtiti gifted Colombia a chance to win, and substitute Juan Quintero slammed the spot-kick past Lloris in the 85th. "Colombia really showed the character of a World Cup side. Not only did we turn the match around, we won it," Colombia coach Jose Pekerman said through a translator. "The players really understood what they needed to do. They switched positions on the pitch and things changed." Colombia's fans, seemingly filling half the stadium, celebrated wildly at the final whistle. France coach Didier Deschamps, meanwhile, has plenty of thinking to do prior to Tuesday's game away to World Cup host Russia in St. Petersburg. It must have felt like deja vu for Deschamps. His side twice led away to World Cup winner Germany in November, only to draw 2-2. Against a spirited and tough-tackling Colombia, France often gave the ball away too easily, particularly in midfield. Colombia caused panic with every attack, particularly down the flanks. "Our first half hour was of the highest quality. It seemed easy at 2-0 but it never is," Deschamps said. "Colombia knows how to hurt you. We made a few mistakes and they really taught us a lesson, we'll have to learn from it." Deschamps further underlined his players' shortcomings. "There's a lot of quality in this team but it's not enough. The highest level requires much more determination," he said. "We had the same amount of possession in the first and second half without the same result. It's happened before, when we've alternated between good and less good, and the second half really wasn't good." Giroud's 30th international goal moved him level with Jean-Pierre Papin and France great Just Fontaine, who holds the single-tournament scoring record for a World Cup with 13 goals in 1958. It has been a frustrating season for Giroud, who became No. 3 striker at Arsenal following the arrival of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund. He moved to Chelsea in January, but he has managed only one goal so far for the Blues. But back with France, Giroud shook off his club woes. He swiveled and slammed a shot into the roof of the net in the 11th minute after a handling error from goalkeeper David Ospina — his former Arsenal teammate — from left back Lucas Digne's cross. France's second goal owed nothing to luck. Antoine Griezmann's backheel found Kylian Mbappe, who dummied a defender and passed left to Lemar. He steadied himself before smacking a powerful shot past Ospina and into the right corner. Ospina denied the lively Griezmann shortly before the break, but for all of its flair France leaves holes at the back. Muriel volleyed wide in the 50th and, shortly after, Lloris saved his angled shot. France also has friendlies against Ireland, Italy and the United States before its World Cup opener against Australia on June 16. Les Bleus then face Peru and Denmark in the group stage......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 24th, 2018

Data scandal threatens Zuckerberg vision for Facebook

  WASHINGTON, United States — First it was “move fast and break things.” Then it was “connecting the world” and “building a global community.” Mark Zuckerberg’s ambitious vision for Facebook spawned one of the world’s most powerful companies, but he now faces a moment of reckoning as it becomes clear the social network has been… link: Data scandal threatens Zuckerberg vision for Facebook.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilainformerRelated NewsMar 21st, 2018

I LOVE YOU, THIS GAME: The MBA vs. the PBA

What is it about sports leagues and why can't two actually exist at the same time in the same territory? The National Basketball Association has no real competition in the United States. The National Football League? Powerhouse. And while the World Wrestling Entertainment is not exactly as sports league, it's main competition is on the other side of the world. You can argue that the New Japan Pro Wrestling is not even competing with WWE. In the Philippines, there's the PBA. We can't really count the Asean Basketball League as a rival to the PBA can we? The PBA stands alone. 20 years ago though, that wasn't the case. With the Metropolitan Basketball Association, the  old and mighty PBA finally had a worthy rival. That's what it seemed like and that's what many people thought. But is it that actually true?   THE GREAT MISUNDERSTANDING While it's understandable, due to a lot of reasons, that people thought that the MBA was going after the PBA, that was never the case. The people behind the MBA never thought about competing in the PBA. In fact, they wanted to help them. Oh yes. "We did not want to rival the PBA," Ramon Tuason, CEO of MetroBall, Inc., the mother company of the MBA, told ABS-CBN Sports. "As a matter of fact, before we even started, I went to June Bernardino, who was [PBA] Commissioner, and I asked him and I said I have a system and it will reduce your salaries by over 50 percent in the first three years," he added. Wait, what?   THE LITTLE BROTHER With the MBA taking on a regional format, Tuason thought that his league could serve as the PBA's developmental territory. The MBA will scoop up players from the farthest of areas, let them hone their skills in the MBA, and when they're ready, allow them to move on to the PBA. "So in other words we would be like the draft, they would have to come to us, play for two years and can only then move to the PBA. So we would be getting regional players, develop them into our type of play, which is more rough, faster, stronger, and they would be then ripe for the picking of PBA teams through a draft," Tuason said. "It's going to be like in the States, they had the ABA before, which merged with the NBA, but it was the lower league, developing players for the NBA," he added. The idea seemed so simple and good-natured. However, the PBA didn't bite it. And so the supposed little brother decided to come after the big bro. For real this time. "They were very confused with what we wanted to do, they thought we were going after them. So when they declined us, we decided let's go full blast and turn professional," Tuason said. "Because our first thing was amateur muna, we would be developing the players and then moving them up as professionals. That's how the PBA would be able to save money," he added. "[The MBA] was not created to compete directly with the PBA."   IN THE SERVICE OF THE FILIPINO PEOPLE While ABS-CBN failed to strike a deal with the PBA, the MBA was never intended to be the vehicle that The Company would use for revenge. People can think otherwise but PBA vs. MBA was never the case. "We did not," Peter Musngi said when asked if ABS-CBN saw the MBA as a possible competitor for the PBA. "The superstar players were with the PBA so what we wanted to have then was a second-tier league that can be a developmental league but at the same time, be able to avail of the services of the new college graduates, the stars of college basketball, and at the same time discover the talents in the far-flung areas who otherwise would not even be visible to the PBA." "It’s grassroots, but at the same time it’s also giving more opportunities for the college kids, the new graduates, to further their career in basketball. We were very excited with the idea and since ABS-CBN was practically present in all the regions in the country, it was a natural decision to say yeah, in the service of the Filipino, here’s something to cheer about, here’s something to entertain you," he added.   LONG-TERM POWER The MBA was never intended to be a rival to the PBA. However, in time, the MBA could have definitely challenged the PBA. Ramon Fernandez, the four-time PBA MVP who became the first MBA Commissioner, certainly thinks that way. He saw that the MBA could one day give the PBA a worthy fight. "Definitely," Fernandez said with hesitation when asked in he saw the MBA as a potential rival to the PBA. "That's why I said we should look at this league in the long term. Look at this league 10-15 years from now, wag this year lang. There should have been a longer vision, dahan-dahan. Because nakaka-motivate sa kabataan na maglaro ng basketball para makasama sa liga na to. Meron nang choice, hindi lang puro PBA. There was another league growing," he added. Unfortunately Fernandez only lasted for about two seasons as a Commissioner and the MBA didn't last 10-15 years. Not even close. What is it about sports leagues and why can't two actually exist at the same time in the same territory? After directly competing with one another, the American Football Leaue and the National Football League merged, retaining the NFL name. At one point, WCW was beating the WWE in the Monday Night Wars. The WWE ended up purchasing WCW. The American Basketball Association, which was a lot like the MBA in many ways, ended up merging with the NBA, allowing the NBA to rise as the most powerful basketball league in the world. In the Philippines, no such merger happened. The PBA is still good on its own after 43 seasons and the MBA died a slow death. A slow death that could have been prevented... (to be continued)   *I Love You, This Game is a series celebrating the Metropolitan Basketball Association's 20th anniversary. Stay tuned for more! READ PART 1: I LOVE YOU, THIS GAME: The logo that started a basketball revolution READ PART 2: I LOVE YOU, THIS GAME: The Passion of the Nation READ PART 3: I LOVE YOU, THIS GAME: Trouble from Lakerland READ PART 4: I LOVE YOU, THIS GAME: Death threats and 5-peso coins, the MBA was crazy   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 13th, 2018

I LOVE YOU, THIS GAME: Trouble from Lakerland

The essentials for the Metropolitan Basketball Association to function were in place. ABS-CBN was ready to give it a shot and Ramon "El Presidente" Fernandez believed in the idea and was on board as the MBA's first-ever Commissioner. But for the MBA to start as an actual league, it needed teams. And picking teams is not as easy as it sounds. NORTH VS. SOUTH With the way how things work in the Philippines, it made sense for the MBA to go for the North vs. South route. This pattern was still heavily-influenced by the American leagues as MetroBall CEO Ramon Tuason had a first-hand experience of the home-and-away format when he was living in the States at the height of Martial Law. "I did [North vs. South] because I grew up in the States, we were used to the football, baseball, and basketball leagues always having the regions come in, and then Finals it was always North vs. South or East vs. West," Tuason told ABS-CBN Sports in an exclusive one-on-one interview about the origins of the MBA. "We thought in the Philippines it would be perfect, North vs. South no?" he added. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER While the idea of North vs. South was fun and intriguing, Tuason still had to make an informed decision which cities or provinces he wanted to hit for the MBA. So he read some books because with books, you gain knowledge. And knowledge is power. "I thought at that time, after reading books about franchising and all that, we had to choose the most popular and more populated cities also," Tuason said when discussing the reasoning behind the original 12 teams that formed the MBA. "Of course in the North, we chose all the way from Pangasinan down. Pangasinan, Tarlac, Pampanga, then down to Manila. And then further south, Batangas, Laguna, that thing right? Tarlac was not able to come in but we were able to get the six teams from here that included Pasig. Pasig came to our doorstep, na-tsambahan namin yung Pasig but we lost Tarlac. In the south, almost all the teams we wanted," he added. The first 12 teams that competed in the MBA's first season were Pangasinan, Manila, Batangas, Pampanga, Laguna, Pasig-Rizal, Cebu, Negros, Socsargen, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, and Iloilo. Pampanga ended up being the inaugural champions of the Metropolitan Basketball League. FINDING THE OWNERS While the cities and provinces were already located, the next step for the MBA was to find people to finance these teams. For some, like Cebu, it was easy to find a team owner. "What's interesting is we got team owners to match those teams. Like Cebu, we thought of who could we approach in Cebu and there's two or three names actually. And most of them are sports backers already. Lhuillier picked it up immediately," Tuason said. For other teams, Tuason approached with a different strategy. It varied depending on the place and the people he was dealing with. "With Davao with Anthony Del Rosario, he wanted to get into politics and it was a venue for him be well known and they could afford it. So each city had one or two families that we wanted to approach and we got them most," he added. "In Batangas we were looking for a family, we were looking at the Recto family but at that time it was a bit controversial. The Araneta family came to us and deciced, 'let's do Batangas.' I said okay, no problem. In other words we didn't need the family to have a big business or a footing in the city but we wanted the family to at least have something in the city. A residence, people that work there, or a branch and we got that through LBC. Something like that," Tuason added. WHAT'S IN A NAME? So the team locations, along with matching owners, were finally identified. Now the fun part comes. Naming the teams. Of the original 12 MBA teams, Tuason says that he recommended a monicker for about eigth of them, which were to be approved by the team owners. "As a matter of fact, out of the first 12 teams, I recommended eight names," Tuason said. For some of the teams, it was just clever ideas that made sense. For others, the team had to have that name. "Lhuillier got into Cebu right? And they were into the jewelry business so obviously Gems," Tuason said of the Cebu Gems. "Iloilo, Robert Puckett was in solar (energy) so I said why don't you put Volts? He said 'oh I love it.' Batangas has to be Blades, so things like that. The owner had the final choice but we gave recommendations and they picked it up. Davao of course, had to be the Eagles," he added. TROUBLE FROM LAKERLAND Not all MBA teams faced smooth transition with regards to naming their respective squads. It wasn't because the home fans rejected them though, it was more than that. Laguna in particular, who went by the name of the Lakers, got the attention of the NBA. Oh yes it's true. "The NBA, [Commissioner] David Stern, sued the MBA here because we were using Laguna Lakers," Tuason said, recounting that one time the MBA, barely into the start of its operations, already got in trouble with the most powerful professional basketball league on Earth. "I went over to Bert Lina, the owner of the Laguna Lakers. He said 'Ramon don't worry about that,' but I said 'sir we're gonna get sued,' he answered 'where are they gonna sue us? They have to sue us in our courts and we're gonna have it moved to Laguna. Who do you think is gonna go against us in Laguna?'" Tuason added. The NBA stopped bothering the MBA after one letter. And so the MBA was ready to rock. It was fun and it was crazy. Speaking of crazy... (to be continued)   *I Love You, This Game is a series celebrating the Metropolitan Basketball Association's 20th anniversary. Stay tuned for more!   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 9th, 2018

Duterte lauds Trump’s proposal to execute drug dealers

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte praised United States President Donald Trump’s desire to execute drug dealers to address America’s opioid cri.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMar 2nd, 2018

ONE Championship: Aung La N Sang stops Alexandre Machado to become two-divison champion

23 February 2018 – Yangon, Myanmar: The largest global sports media property in Asian history, ONE Championship™ (ONE), had another memorable and historic evening in Yangon as the capacity crowd at the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium witnessed an amazing display of heart-pounding martial arts action. ONE: QUEST FOR GOLD featured a series of compelling bouts, punctuated by an unforgettable championship clash that left fans on the edge of their seats. In the main event, hometown hero “The Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang scored a quick knockout victory over Alexandre Machado to win the vacant ONE Light Heavyweight World Championship and the GoDaddy Knockout of the Night. In the main event of ONE: QUEST FOR GOLD, “The Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang added yet another accolade to his glowing repertoire of awards as a global martial arts superstar, copping the vacant ONE Light Heavyweight World Championship with a knockout victory over Brazil’s Alexandre Machado. Aung La N Sang got the job done in just 56 seconds, knocking out Machado with a thunderous high kick. With his remarkable conquest of Machado, Aung La N Sang now has both the ONE Middleweight World Championship and ONE Light Heavyweight World Championship titles in his possession. Aung La N Sang, newly-minted ONE Light Heavyweight Champion, stated: “Life is short, we have to make it count. One thing is for sure Myanmar, when we’re united, nothing can stop us. That head kick is what we’ve been working on. I want to thank everyone that helped me out to get here. I’m in here by myself, but this is a team sport. If we’re united and we’re together, we can do anything. I want to be the best and I want to defend these two belts. I’m not just going to hold them and leave.” In the co-main event of the evening, former world title challenger Ev “E.T.” Ting turned in an outstanding performance by routing Costa Rican martial artist Ariel Sexton, solidifying his position once again as a top contender in ONE Championship’s stacked lightweight division. Opening up the three-round contest by taking the action right to Sexton, Ting connected on a series of fast and powerful strikes, pushing his opponent back up against the cage. In the second round, Ting continued to blast Sexton with serious firepower, featuring his best striking combinations. Sexton tried to change the complexion of the bout in the third round, fishing for a finish with a flying knee and a submission attempt. Ting did just enough to pull away slightly in the third after a gruelling match, and came out victorious via split decision. Local martial arts superstar Phoe “Bushido” Thaw turned in a spectacular performance, stopping Cambodian opponent Sor Sey with an emphatic push kick to the face in the very first round. Thaw, a lethwei practitioner, traded explosive strikes with Sor, a khun khmer specialist, right at the center of the cage. When a left hand staggered Sor along the fence, Thaw capitalized on the opening and abruptly ended matters with his next kick. The official finish came at 1:53 minutes of round one, sending the packed Yangon crowd at the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium into a frenzy. In a much-awaited encounter of ONE Championship’s highly-skilled knockout artists, Timofey Nastyukhin emerged triumphant, claiming a unanimous decision victory over Singaporean Muay Thai champion Amir Khan. Nastyukhin exhibited stellar form from the get-go, bombarding Khan with strong overhand rights while looking for the opening to deliver his lethal left hook. Leaning on his heavy hands to overwhelm Khan’s precision striking, Nastykuhin gallantly pushed forward as he threatened to end matters with a flying knee and stifled his opponent with harrowing punches. Nastyukhin punctuated the marquee match-up by outstriking Khan in the third frame, earning an undivided nod from all three judges at cageside. The highly-anticipated bantamweight contest between Japan’s Daichi Takenaka and South Korea’s Dae Hwan Kim ended in a disqualification. After Takenaka took Kim’s back in a standing body triangle, securing a rear naked choke, Kim reacted by spiking Takenaka on his head, which is a prohibited maneuver. The match resulted in a victory for Takenaka, who wins by disqualification. In an intense striking showcase, Myanmar’s Ye Thway Ne and Saw Min Min, two former lethwei practitioners, battled each other in a tremendous three-round war to the delight of a raucous crowd enjoying all the action. The two traded their best offense at the center of the ONE Championship cage for 15 minutes in one of the most exciting striking battles of the evening. In the end, it was two-time Gold Belt Champion Ye Thway Ne who scored the hard-earned victory, winning by split decision by keeping Saw Min Min on the defensive for the majority of the contest. Chinese martial arts ace Li Kai Wen placed himself back on the winning track in emphatic fashion, submitting promotional newcomer Roel Rosauro of the Philippines in just 43 seconds. In an impressive display of ferociousness, Li tagged Rosauro repeatedly with thudding strikes, which eventually sent Rosauro crashing to the canvas. As Rosauro struggled to return to his feet, Li quickly secured dominant top position to wrench his Filipino foe’s neck with a guillotine choke, snaring his first submission victory inside the ONE Championship cage. Indonesian wushu champion Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol impressed the crowd with a modified armbar submission of Krisna Limbaga in a female atomweight contest. After taking Limbaga down to the ground and keeping her opponent ineffective on the mat, Lumban Gaol used her legs to execute a straight armbar that forced the tap with less than a minute to go in the first round. Kicking off ONE: QUEST FOR GOLD were female atomweights from Myanmar. Former two-time Myanmar National Boxing Champion Bozhena Antoniyar made quick work of opponent Shwe Sin in a great performance to start her ONE Championship career. At the opening bell, Antoniyar wasted no time in bringing Sin down to the mat swiftly and finished things off with ground-and-pound to score the fastest knockout in ONE women’s atomweight history. Official results for ONE: QUEST FOR GOLD ONE Light Heavyweight World Championship bout: Aung La N Sang defeats Alexandre Machado by Knockout (KO) at 0:56 minutes of round 1 Lightweight bout: Ev Ting defeats Ariel Sexton by Split Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Featherweight bout: Phoe Thaw defeats Sor Sey by TKO (Strikes) at 1:53 minutes of round 1 Lightweight bout: Timofey Nastyukhin defeats Amir Khan by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Bantamweight bout: Daichi Takenaka defeats Dae Hwan Kim by Disqualification (DQ) Flyweight bout: Ye Thway Ne defeats Saw Min Min by Split Decision (SD) after 3 rounds Featherweight bout: Li Kai Wen defeats Roel Rosauro by Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 0:43 minutes of round 1 Women’s atomweight bout: Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol defeats Krisna Limbaga by Submission (Armbar) at 4:05 minutes of round 1 Women’s atomweight bout: Bozhena Antoniyar defeats Shwe Sin by TKO (Strikes) at 0:24 minutes of round 1.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 23rd, 2018

World’s biggest rocket soars toward Mars in maiden flight

CAPE CANAVERAL, UNITED STATES — The world’s most powerful rocket, SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, blasted off Tuesday on its highly anticipated maiden test flight, carrying CEO Elon Musk’s cherry red Tesla Roadster toward an orbit near Mars. Screams and cheers erupted at mission control in Cape Canaveral, Florida as the massive rocket fired its 27 engines […] The post World’s biggest rocket soars toward Mars in maiden flight appeared first on BusinessWorld......»»

Category: newsSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsFeb 7th, 2018

Rescuers search for victims in deadly California mudslides

MONTECITO, United States -- Rescuers used dogs and helicopters to search for victims on Wednesday of powerful mudslides which left at least 17 people dead in a southern California community that is also home to major celebrities including Oprah Winfrey. Heavy rains on Tuesday sent rivers of waist-high mud and….....»»

Category: newsSource:  journalRelated NewsJan 12th, 2018

Seoul: North Korea to send delegation to Olympics in South

By Hyung-Jin Kim, Associated Press SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea agreed Tuesday to send a delegation to next month's Winter Olympics in South Korea, Seoul officials said, as the bitter rivals sat for rare talks at the border to discuss how to cooperate in the Olympics and improve their long-strained ties. The Koreas' first talks in two years were arranged after North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un recently made an abrupt push for improved ties with South Korea after a year of elevated tensions with the outside world over his expanding nuclear and missile programs. Critics say Kim may be trying to divide Seoul and Washington in a bid to weaken international pressure and sanctions on the North. During the talks, the North Korean delegation said it would send an Olympic delegation, which includes officials, athletes, cheerleaders, journalists and others, South Korea's Vice Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung told reporters, according to media footage from the border village of Panmunjom, the venue for the talks. The South Korean delegation, for its part, proposed North Korea send a big delegation and conduct a joint march during the Feb. 9-25 Game's opening and closing ceremonies, Chun, one of the five South Korean negotiators, said. He said South Korea also suggested resuming temporary reunions of families separated by war and offering military talks designed to reduce animosities in frontline areas. South Korea also stressed the need to achieve denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, Chun said. North Korea responded by saying the two Koreas must try to promote peace and reconciliation through dialogue, he said. The two sides were to continue their negotiations later Tuesday at Panmunjom, the only place on the tense border where North and South Korean soldiers are just feet away from each other. A North Korean soldier late last year defected to the South across Panmunjom amid a hail of bullets fired by his comrades. He was hit five times but survived. The meeting began with an amicable atmosphere Tuesday morning, with chief North Korean delegate Ri Son Gwon saying he hopes the talks would give "a New Year's first gift — precious results (of the talks) to the Korean nation." Ri's South Korean counterpart, Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, said he also hopes they would come up with a "good gift" for people in both Koreas. The overall prospect for the negotiations was still unclear. The two Koreas have a long history of ending key talks without any agreement and failing to follow through with rapprochement accords. An agreement on the North's Olympic participation had been widely expected before the talks began, but the Koreas remain sharply at odds over how to improve their overall ties. North Korea is expected to demand rewards in return for South Korea's offer for family reunions and military talks, like Seoul halting propaganda broadcasts and scaling back or halting military drills with the U.S., observers say. Suspension of the military drills would be unacceptable for Seoul because that would seriously undermine the alliance with its chief ally the United States, which wants to put more pressures on Pyongyang. The North views the drills as a rehearsal for a northward invasion. President Donald Trump on Saturday expressed hope for some progress from the talks and said he was open to talking with Kim himself. But U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley later said the U.S. administration isn't changing its conditions regarding talks with North Korea, saying Kim would first need to stop weapons testing for a "significant amount of time." In his New Year's Day address, Kim said there is an urgent need to improve inter-Korean ties and that he is willing to send a delegation to the Pyeongchang Games. He urged Seoul to halt the military drills with the U.S. and said he has a "nuclear button" to launch missiles at any target in the United States. South Korean liberal President Moon Jae-in, who favors dialogue as a way to defuse the North Korean nuclear standoff, welcomed Kim's outreach and proposed talks at Panmunjom. Kim quickly accepted. "As President Moon has said, the improvement of relations between North and South Korea cannot advance separately from resolving North Korea's nuclear program," Brian Hook, a chief adviser to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, told reporters in a conference call late Monday Washington time. "And so, we remain focused on our global pressure campaign. That campaign is designed to bring Kim Jong Un to the table for meaningful negations." The Trump administration agreed last week to delay springtime military drills with South Korea until after the Games. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis insisted the delay was a practical necessity to accommodate the Olympics, not a political gesture. Trump and Kim traded bellicose warlike rhetoric and even crude insults last year, as the North conducted it sixth and most powerful nuclear detonation and three tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles. The International Olympic Committee said Monday it has "kept the door open" for North Korea to take part in the Games. IOC spokesman Mark Adams said the registration deadline has been extended and that the Switzerland-based committee supports North Korean athletes in the qualification process, while respecting U.N. sanctions against North Korea......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2018

Falcons show playoff poise in 26-13 win over upstart LA Rams

By Greg Beacham, Associated Press LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons jumped to an early 13-point lead before the Rams mounted two swift scoring drives. Los Angeles went to the Coliseum locker room at halftime with just a three-point deficit amid raucous cheers from a home crowd thirsty for playoff success. And then Matt Ryan and the tough, tested Falcons showed the upstart Rams what postseason poise is all about. Ryan passed for 218 yards and hit Julio Jones for an 8-yard touchdown with 5:48 to play, and the defending NFC champion Falcons advanced from the wild-card round with a 26-13 victory over the Rams on Saturday night. Devonta Freeman rushed for an early score and Matt Bryant kicked four field goals for the Falcons (11-6), who spoiled the Rams' first playoff game in 13 years with a methodical performance derived from hard-earned experience. Atlanta's journey to the Super Bowl last season ended infamously with that blown 28-3 lead against New England. In their first playoff game since, the Falcons allowed no surprises from the NFC West champion Rams (11-6). "We knew it was a situation we've been through before," Atlanta defensive tackle Dontari Poe said. "We just had to keep playing and use what we've learned." Jones caught nine passes for 94 yards for Atlanta, which never trailed while winning playoff games in consecutive seasons for the first time in franchise history. Against an opponent that had just six players on its roster with prior postseason appearances, the Falcons' experience showed through. "I think having gone through these situations, understanding what it's like, the atmosphere, those kinds of things, knowing that it's going to be tough, all those things kind of carry forward," Ryan said. "But at the end of the day, experience or no experience, you've got to execute." The Falcons advanced to face the top-seeded Eagles on Jan. 13 in Philadelphia. "Doesn't matter where we're going, we're going," Ryan said. "And that's the most exciting part." A raucous crowd of 74,300 packed the Coliseum on a crisp evening for the first NFL playoff game in the nation's second-largest city since early 1994. Los Angeles went 21 years without pro football before the Rams returned last season, and the franchise emphatically ended a 13-year streak of non-winning seasons this fall with an inspiring run to the Rams' first division title since 2003. But the Falcons have been here before, and they showed it. The Falcons jumped to their early lead by capitalizing on two mistakes by Pharoh Cooper, the Rams' Pro Bowl kick returner. Atlanta's offense then chewed up the clock and field position, with the first drive after halftime consuming 8:15. "To end with a time of possession over 37 minutes, that's hard to do in our league," Atlanta coach Dan Quinn said. "There was a nine-minute drive to start the second half, and I thought that really set the tone." The Falcons' defense did more than enough to slow down the NFL's highest-scoring offense, harassing Jared Goff into a 24-for-45 performance in his playoff debut. "They did a real nice job there moving the ball up the field and keeping us on the sideline," Goff said. "That can sure get you out of your rhythm." Robert Woods caught nine passes for 142 yards for the Rams, but rookie Cooper Kupp scored their only touchdown late in the first half. Atlanta held MVP candidate Todd Gurley to 101 yards rushing — just 43 in the first three quarters — and four receptions for a mere 10 yards. The Falcons ruined a celebratory night for the Rams, who rebounded from a rough homecoming season in 2016 with an outstanding debut year under 31-year-old Sean McVay, the youngest head coach to reach the playoffs in NFL history. "You see why the Falcons are the defending NFC champs," McVay said. "Certainly this is a humbling game. ... This is an experience that we can learn from. But I don't think this game was too big for our guys." The Rams' offense finally figured it out late in the first half: Goff made several sharp throws on a 79-yard drive ending in Kupp's TD catch, and Sam Ficken's first field goal trimmed the halftime deficit to 13-10. But the Rams' defense simply couldn't get off the field in the third quarter, whether due to missed tackles or clever play-calling by the Falcons. Los Angeles trimmed the lead to 19-13 with 10:49 to play, but the Falcons made another drive highlighted by a beautiful 52-yard screen pass from a blitz-avoiding Bryant to Mohamed Sanu. Jones then caught the sixth playoff TD pass of his career. Goff drove the Rams deep into Falcons territory, but LA turned it over on down at the Atlanta 5 with 2:05 to play. The Falcons stopped the Rams again on downs at midfield with 1:08 left. SARK'S RETURN Although the Falcons' offense took a step back in production this season, Atlanta chipped away at the Rams' defense throughout the Coliseum return of offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, who coached USC here until 2015. Ryan was methodical under relentless pressure from All-Pro lineman Aaron Donald, repeatedly avoiding trouble and making big throws. Freeman rushed for 66 yards, and Sanu had that key 52-yard gain on a screen pass. "Great call by Sark," Ryan said. COOPER'S MISTAKES Cooper is headed to the Pro Bowl after his outstanding regular season as a kick returner, but the second-year pro's misadventures in his playoff debut cost the Rams dearly. He muffed a punt that bounced off teammate Blake Countess in the first quarter, and Bryant subsequently hit the Falcons' first field goal. After Bryant's second field goal later in the quarter, Cooper got stripped by Damontae Kazee during a kickoff return at the Rams 32, and the Falcons drove for Freeman's short TD run. UP NEXT After the Falcons' defensive performance against Goff, they look like a potential problem for the powerful Eagles without quarterback Carson Wentz in the early Saturday divisional playoff game......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 7th, 2018

Popovich s odd alliance with red state fans

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com SAN ANTONIO -- About 400 people gathered at the Oak Hills Country Club in June 2016 and paid $500 to $250,000 to sip iced tea and nibble hors d’oeuvres next to a golf course designed by noted architect AW Tillinghast, who built many. One is owned by the man who was feted at this political fundraiser, Donald J. Trump. The presidential campaign was in full blast and saltier than the crackers on the cheese plate being passed around. Fresh off the plane, Trump thanked the Republicans for the big ‘ole Texas welcome, witnesses say, before launching a blistering attack on the usual targets: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, illegal immigration. Then, near the end of his 30-minute lunchtime appearance, in an effort to connect with the locals, he pivoted and mentioned perhaps the most famous man in town: Gregg Popovich. Witnesses say Trump called Popovich “a great coach” and said “he does a good job” and then there was some fidgeting in the room when the soon-to-be polarizing leader of the free world said this: “I don’t know if the coach is on my side.” Confirmation came emphatically, right after Trump won a divisive election that November. The coach of the Spurs lit into the President over the next several months with a handful of rants that had the stealth of Kawhi Leonard ambushing a timid ball-handler. In no particular order, here were Pop’s Greatest Hits, all issued through the media and without prompting or provocation: “The disgusting tenure and tone and all the comments … have been xenophobic, homophobic, racist, misogynistic. I live in a country where half the people ignored that to elect someone.” And: “He is in charge of our country. That’s disgusting.” And: “The man in the Oval Office is a soulless coward who thinks he can only become large by belittling others.” And: “We have a pathological liar in the White House ... You can’t believe anything that comes out of his mouth.” Popovich didn’t stop there with a President whose sensitivity and intelligence he questioned and accused of being guilty of “gratuitous fear-mongering.” When he took Trump to task for criticizing NFL players who knelt during the National Anthem and defended their rights to do so, Popovich also suspected a measure of the public outrage was racially motivated. “Our country is an embarrassment to the world,” he said. A 68-year-old wealthy white man, therefore, became a sports voice with weight in the political and social justice arena, where the NBA league office has greenlighted players and coaches to speak up. Popovich has done so with clarity and insight to gain national applause in certain corners. He wasn’t the first or the last in sports to verbally spank the president or tackle right-leaning sensitivities, yet he’s certainly the most unique in one respect. As a graduate of the Air Force Academy who works in a military town, and a five-time NBA champion coach who might symbolize the city more than The Alamo, Popovich has long been elevated to icon status, perhaps permanently so, in San Antonio, where folks are mad about the Spurs. Still, this is mostly conservative Texas, one of the most Republican of states based on the state legislature and the congressional delegation, a state that voted Republican in 10 straight presidential elections and saw 52.6 percent of voters punch for Trump. While voters in San Antonio-proper lean liberal, the surrounding areas swing solidly the opposite. Julianna Holt, the Spurs CEO and Popovich’s boss since March after assuming the position held for 20 years by her husband Peter, supported various Republican presidential candidates before eventually donating $5,400 to Trump’s campaign and $250,000 to the Trump Victory Fund, according to Federal Election Commission records. Popovich is therefore a blue blood in a red state and the contrast makes for strange if not uncomfortable alliance between a beloved coach and a group of conflicted Spurs worshippers. His views have in fact shattered the sacrilege by generating hostility from a segment of the basketball flock, something no coach with his credentials would ever feel. The constant winning and acts of charity do not insulate him from those who would prefer Popovich stuff a sweat sock in his bullhorn. Party lines not Popovich's focus “While we all believe Gregg Popovich has the right to his opinions, where was Popovich when Hillary called half of us a 'basket of deplorables?’Many were Spurs fans who are now tired of being insulted ... many of us will never pay to see a Spurs game again.” -- Donna Howington  “The money I will save this year not attending Spurs games should buy me a nice set of golf clubs. Thanks Pop!” -- Jake Ingorgia  “I will never watch them again until Popovich is gone. He is just like all the other leftist celebrities.” -- Lee Harbach, Bulverde They arrive on cue, most from the dusty towns that orbit around San Antonio, some from the city itself. Popovich has unloaded three times this year on Trump, once after the election, once at the start of training camp and most recently by cold-calling Dave Zirin, a friend and liberal writer from The Nation, a progressive magazine. And each time, the letters land in the office of Ricardo Pimentel, the editor who coordinates the comments section of the Express-News, San Antonio’s newspaper of record. “It’s a cycle,” says Pimental, with a sigh. “He speaks out. People who disagree with him send us letters to the editor, then people who object to their disagreement write us letters to the editor defending Pop. Then they respond to one another.” The initial reaction, he said, is always stacked against Popovich and many identify themselves as Spurs fans ripping up their tickets or promising to never attend or watch games again. Even if those who made threats actually carried them out, the change in the Spurs’ home attendance is a blip, from 99.2 percent capacity last season to 98.6 so far this season. Popovich, of course, has been big for business since his first full season as coach in 1997-98. Besides the titles, the Spurs have reached the playoffs every season and won 50 games every season (except for the lockout-shortened 50-game 1998-99 campaign, when they won 37). In short, Popovich's Spurs have a track record beyond reproach in the NBA. If the 2017-18 Spurs stay on pace, it’ll be 20 straight winning seasons for Popovich, one more than Phil Jackson for the all-time NBA record. He hasn’t been this politically vocal until lately, due to Trump, yet was always politically aware, say those who know him. Well-versed through his readings and observations, Popovich welcomes discussion with acquaintences about classism, leadership, government and preferably over a bottle of wine. His two-decades exposure to young black men from humble beginnings raised his awareness and sensitivities about race and bias. Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr once played for the Spurs and lately has echoed many of the same thoughts as Popovich. But Kerr coaches in the Bay Area, where folks nod their heads in agreement. Kerr said he can only imagine the flak Popovich catches in Texas. “Here’s this iconic coach who stands for everything that’s right and for honor and integrity, he served in the military, you see him stand at attention for the American flag — man, Pop loves his country,” Kerr said. “And in the middle of Texas for him to be questioning the Republican President, some of the people down there are probably confused. Like, 'I don’t get it, we love this guy but he’s on the other side from us.' “What I love about Pop is that it’s not about party, not about politics. It’s about integrity and character and that’s what people need to pay attention to. It’s not about some policy, not about how much we pay in taxes. If we can just get back to the point where character matters, then we’ll be in better shape. The problem is, it’s clear character has gone down the tubes in many leadership positions in our country. That’s what Pop is calling out.” True enough, Popovich never publicly attached himself to a political party; to suggest he is against Republicans might be as misleading as believing Colin Kaepernick is against the military. When he played for Popovich, Kerr couldn’t recall a time when the coach was this annoyed by the country’s leadership. “The country was in a better place in terms of a relatively peaceful time back then,” Kerr said. “Yes, 9-11 happened and the whole world changed. But we didn’t have quite the same partisan nature, not only in politics but the national conversation. And so people could just admire Pop for who he was and people might not have been aware of his political leanings because they didn’t ask. When we won and went to the White House, Pop and the team went when Bush was in office. We went in ’99 when President Clinton was there. Republican, Democrat, didn’t matter. The times are so different now.” Kerr laughed quickly when asked about the semi-serious groundswell of social media support for a Kerr-Popovich ticket in 2020. Kerr said he hopes to be on his fifth NBA title as a coach then, but turned semi-serious about Popovich. “Our country needs somebody like Pop who can actually lead and unite from a position of authority and credibility,” Kerr said. “This guy served in the military, grew up in a melting pot, understands leadership. More than anything, he’ll cut through all the [expletive].” Since going nuclear on Trump, Popovich declined invites from the national political shows (and wouldn’t comment for this story). That proves what friends have maintained all along: Popovich doesn’t want to be anyone’s political hero or pundit. He’d rather speak when the moment calls for it, then be left alone. That last part is tricky, though. Empathy often marks Popovich's way “Can you imagine being Republican on the Spurs? Would you feel welcome? He’s like Berkeley -- for free speech unless you disagree with him. Shut up and coach, Gregg.” -- Shannon Deason  “When it comes to coaching basketball or drinking wine, Popovich has experience. When it comes to our country, his opinion is no better than anyone else’s." -- Harold Siemens, Seguin  “Open letter to the NBA referee who ejected Pop from the Warriors-Spurs game: Don’t feel bad about what Gregg Popovich called you. He called the POTUS worse and got away with it.” -- Larry Peabody Once the wheels touched down, the pilot jokingly announced over the loudspeaker: “Welcome to Gregg Popovich International Airport,” and one particular passenger noticed that nobody on the plane thought it was strange. Sean Elliott always knew how deeply rooted Popovich is with San Antonio. Aside from the famous Spanish missions and the River Walk, the city is known for the only professional sports team in town. And while George Gervin, David Robinson and Tim Duncan have come and gone, the one lingering reminder is a sometimes gruff and scruffy coach, maybe the NBA’s best ever. “He’s one of the pillars of the community,” said Elliott, twice an All-Star with the Spurs. “He’s looked at with great admiration. He is as respected as anyone who has ever lived in or been part of the city. It’s not just because he’s a basketball coach. Pop has been a big part of the community, huge contributor to charitable functions, good leader.” Elliott was a Spurs rookie in 1989 when their relationship began and he saw the start of Popovich’s reach in the region. Popovich then was an assistant coach under Larry Brown and just planting his feet in the NBA. That summer, Elliott and Popovich piled into a van with the team's "Coyote" mascot and conducted basketball clinics in San Marcos, Corpus Christi, Laredo and similar places. They were signing autographs in malls and running kids through drills in 100 degree heat, never hearing a complaint from the coach. Elliott said folks in those small conservative towns loved him. “If you sit and hear him talk about something, you tend to agree with him,” Elliott said. “He’ll put it in a logical way and he’s very thoughtful, well read and super intelligent, maybe the most intelligent person I’ve ever known.” The owner of the Spurs then was Red McCombs, a homespun Texan who made his fortune in car dealerships and media companies. McCombs didn’t give Popovich the coaching job after firing Brown, telling Popovich “you’ve got a chance to be a great coach” if he got more experience, which he did, going to the Warriors to work for Don Nelson. Popovich returned to San Antonio two years later as general manager, then became coach and the rest is history. Now 90, McCombs said: “Popovich has become the distinguished part of the franchise. He wears it well. Can’t say enough about what kind of man he is and what he’s meant to San Antonio. God has blessed us with Gregg Popovich.” McCombs loves to tell how Popovich, by chance, learned that a local family needed a car. The coach wrote a check, gave it to the father and walked away. McCombs said it was “typical Popovich” who has empathy for those with less. McCombs, curiously, has traditionally been one of the biggest Republican bankrollers in the state, who gave to the Trump campaign and is fully aware of what Popovich thinks of his choice for President. And so one of the most powerful men in Central Texas, who leans politically to the color of his nickname, had a strong reaction to that. “He’s earned the right to give his comments about citizenship or Trump or anything else,” said McCombs, voice rising. “Yes, he made some statements that others might disagree with. But I’ll tell you this: Popovich would be elected to anything he wants to in San Antonio.” Remaining silent never an option “Our country is not an embarrassment to the world. I will tell you what an embarrassment is. It is an American citizen who got a free education from the great Air Force Academy ... and then has the audacity to say that the greatest nation in the world is an embarrassment because the President rightly demands that Americans stand for the anthem. Popovich should be ashamed of himself.” -- Nick DeLouis, Fair Oaks Ranch  “Nowhere on God’s green Earth do they have the right to disrespect our flag and the men and women who died to keep us free. I’m appalled that you stooped so low to join in that disrespect. Shame on you!” -- Fred Martin, Fair Oaks Ranch  “Coach Pop has squashed my love and enthusiasm for the team. A national treasure, he is not. Coach Pop has a voice, but not my voice." -- Jo Ivan A few years ago Popovich was in New York with his daughter to catch a Broadway play when the coach had a last minute change in strategy. He learned that John Carlos was giving a lecture at New York University that night. So Popovich told his daughter to take one of her friends instead; said he was going to see “Dr. Carlos” speak. “When he came in I was surprised and delighted,” Carlos said recently. “Quite naturally, everyone knew who he was but he just wanted to sit and listen.” A year later, in 2015, Popovich flew Carlos to San Antonio to address the team and Carlos admitted to being star struck around Tim Duncan and others. Yet Carlos was most curious about Popovich and why the coach took a strong interest in an Olympic sprinter who raised a fist on the victory stand in 1968, which is frozen as an iconic civil rights moment. “Being with the Spurs gave me an opportunity to check his character out,” Carlos said. “I knew he was a whiz at putting players together to bring out their best ability. But through my conversations with him it became apparent that he was a social activist himself at one point in his life. He was teaching his players about activism and to be concerned about their fellow man and what was going on around their lives, not just basketball. “I was impressed. He just wanted them to know they had a larger role than just playing basketball in the society in which they live.” Carlos, therefore, was not surprised to see Popovich defend the rights of kneeling black football players who came under attack from Trump. On the first day of training camp in September, Popovich said: “Obviously race is the elephant in the room and we all understand that. Unless it is talked about constantly it is not going to get better.” What followed was another swirl of exchanges between Popovich critics and supporters in San Antonio, and Popovich acknowledged receiving mail from both sides. The anti-Pop mail, though, was jarring to Carlos, given the coach’s work in town. “When people write and lambast him for taking leaders to task for what they’re doing to society, that’s like water rolling off a duck’s back, man,” Carlos said. “When they write negative things about him, it encourages him to keep doing what he’s doing. Those people are the problem. Go ahead and throw stones and it just motivates him to do his job. “Look, I’m a black man who spoke out. Imagine what they think of him as a white man who speaks just as strong, to try and get people to see things in a better light? They throw stones at him even more, like, 'Hey you’re white, you have a great life. Keep your mouth shut.’ Well, God points people in certain directions. We know who we are. We do what we do.” And what Popovich does is enlist the help of giants in the social justice world and bring them into his world. He did that with Cornel West, the Harvard professor and civil rights activist, last fall. Popovich invited West to San Antonio to speak at an East Side community center with a few hundred mostly black and Latino students and their parents. Done without TV cameras or media invitation, the discussion was about the importance of education, the imperfect world, self respect and how to help communities. This was an audience that, presumably and unanimously, connected with a white man who didn’t live among them, but was with them. They were the people Popovich had in mind when he attacked present leadership. This was not the audience that writes to the Spurs and the Express-News asking him to take a vow of silence, though he is aware of them, too. “Some responses make you wonder what country you live in,” Popovich said, “and other responses make you very hopeful … overall, it renews my feeling that something must be done because there is enough people willing to listen.” 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 NewsJan 5th, 2018

S. Korea offers to talk with North on Olympic cooperation

HYUNG-JIN KIM, Associated Press SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea on Tuesday offered high-level talks with rival North Korea to find ways to cooperate on next month's Winter Olympics in the South. Seoul's quick proposal following a rare rapprochement overture from the North a day earlier offers the possibility of better ties after a year that saw a nuclear standoff increase fear of war on the Korean Peninsula. In a closely watched New Year's address, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said Monday that he was willing to send a delegation to the Olympics, though he also repeated fiery nuclear threats against the United States. Analysts say Kim may be trying to drive a wedge between Seoul and its ally Washington in a bid to reduce international isolation and sanctions against North Korea. Kim's overture was welcome news for a South Korean government led by liberal President Moon Jae-in, who favors dialogue to ease the North's nuclear threats and wants to use the Olympics as a chance to improve inter-Korean ties. Moon's unification minister, Cho Myoung-gyon, proposed in a nationally televised news conference that the two Koreas meet Jan. 9 at the shared border village of Panmunjom to discuss Olympic cooperation and how to improve overall ties. Earlier Tuesday, Moon spoke of what he described as Kim's positive response to his earlier dialogue overtures and ordered officials to study how to restore talks with North Korea and get the North to participate in the Olympics. North Korea did not immediately react. But if there are talks, they would be the first formal dialogue between the Koreas since December 2015. Relations between the Koreas have plunged as North Korea has expanded its weapons programs amid a hard-line stance by Moon's conservative predecessors. Last year, North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test and test-launched three intercontinental ballistic missiles as part of its push to possess a nuclear missile capable of reaching anywhere in the United States. The North was subsequently hit with toughened U.N. sanctions, and Kim and President Donald Trump exchanged warlike rhetoric and crude personal insults against each other. Kim said in his speech Monday that North Korea last year achieved the historic feat of "completing" its nuclear forces. Outside experts say that it's only a matter of time before the North acquires the ability to hurl nuclear weapons at the mainland U.S., but that the country still has a few technologies to master, such as a warhead's ability to survive atmospheric re-entry. Talks could provide a temporary thaw in strained inter-Korean ties, but conservative critics worry that they may only earn the North time to perfect its nuclear weapons. After the Olympics, inter-Korean ties could become frosty again because the North has made it clear it has no intention of accepting international calls for nuclear disarmament and instead wants to bolster its weapons arsenal in the face of what it considers increasing U.S. threats. "Kim Jong Un's strategy remains the same. He's developing nukes while trying to weaken international pressure and the South Korea-U.S. military alliance and get international sanctions lifted," said Shin Beomchul of the Seoul-based Korea National Diplomatic Academy. He said the North might also be using its potential Olympic participation as a chance to show its nuclear program is not intended to pose a threat to regional peace. In his address Monday, Kim said the United States should be aware that his country's nuclear forces are now a reality, not a threat. He said he has a "nuclear button" on his office desk, warning that "the whole territory of the U.S. is within the range of our nuclear strike." He called for improved ties and a relaxation of military tensions with South Korea, saying the Winter Olympics could showcase the status of the Korean nation. But Kim also repeated that South Korea must stop annual military exercises with the United States, which he calls an invasion rehearsal against the North. About 28,500 American troops are stationed in South Korea to help deter potential aggression from the North, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 2nd, 2018

North Korea says won’t give up nukes if US keeps up ‘blackmail’

SEOUL, South Korea --- North Korea said Saturday that it will never give up its nuclear weapons as long as the United States and its allies continue their "blackmail and war drills" at its doorstep. The North's official Korean Central News Agency took the oft-repeated stance as it reviewed the country's major nuclear weapons and missile tests this year. North Korea conducted its most powerful nuclear test to date in September and launched three intercontinental ballistic missiles into the sea in July and November, indicating that it is closer than ever to gaining a nuclear arsenal that could viably target the mainland United States. The aggressive tests have led to more in...Keep on reading: North Korea says won’t give up nukes if US keeps up ‘blackmail’.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 30th, 2017

Meet 2017 s ten most powerful people in sports in Asia

In Asia, sports equals passion, and these ten big names in the sporting world today have led their respective organizations to amazing heights this year. Let’s take a look at 2017’s Top 10 People Behind the Biggest Sports Media Properties in Asia.   #1 Gianni Infantino, President of the FIFA World Cup Gianni Infantino is a football administrator and the current President of the FIFA World Cup. The FIFA World Cup is an international football association and tournament held every four years. Men’s football is arguably the most popular sport in the entire world and the same is true for Asia. The sport retains large numbers in viewership and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Countries like Singapore, Korea and Australia all follow football religiously.   #2 Aleksander Ceferin, President of UEFA Champions League Aleksander Ceferin heads the UEFA Champions League, an annual football competition, unlike FIFA which is only held every four years. The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) is one of the most prestigious football tournaments in the world and is participated by top-division European football clubs. Although it does not consist of Asian teams, UEFA remains popular among the Asian people due to the popularity of football as a sport.   #3 Chatri Sityodtong, Chairman and CEO of ONE Championship When billionaire Chatri Sityodtong conjured up the idea for ONE Championship, he envisioned the entire Asia united under a single sport. ONE Championship has achieved tremendous success since its establishment in 2011. Martial arts is considered a Pan-Asian sport and for the first time in Asian history, it is a sport that has transcended regional and cultural boundaries. Currently the largest global sports media property in Asian history. Today, ONE Championship is broadcast to over one billion viewers in over 128 countries across the globe.   #4 Horacio Muratore, President of FIBA Having been president of FIBA since 2014, Horacio Muratore has continued to develop the sport of basketball, not just in Asia, but in the entire world. The FIBA Basketball World Cup was established in 1950 and is an international basketball competition held every four years since its inaugural year. It also has popular variations in the FIBA Asia Championships and FIBA EuroBasket. The next tournament is scheduled for Beijing, China in 2019. Basketball’s popularity in Asia remains concentrated in the Philippines, Taiwan and China where the sport enjoys a very strong and faithful following.   #5 John Malone, Owner of Formula One Although Bernie Ecclestone, Formula One’s colorful chief executive remains at the helm of business operations, new owner American billionaire John Malone purchased the company in early 2017 and has since continued to deliver fans heart-pumping auto-racing action. Formula One, also known as Formula 1 or simply as F1, is the highest class of single-seater international auto-racing tournament in the world. Held in different variations depending on the region, the races are held regularly on an annual basis on purpose-built F1 circuits or public roads. The most popular variation in Asia is the Singapore Grand Prix which normally takes place on the Marina Bay Street Circuit. The Singapore Grand Prix was first held in 1966. It is the first of its kind in Asia.   #6 Rob Manfred, Commissioner of Major League Baseball Rob Manfred was named the 10th Commissioner in the history of Major League Baseball a wildly popular sport not just in the United States, but also in Japan, Taiwan, and China. Major League Baseball or the MLB is the most recognizable professional baseball organization in the world. It is immensely popular especially in Japan where baseball is almost considered a national sport. Since 1986, an all-star team from the MLB is sent to a biennial end-of-season tour of Japan. It is called MLB Japan All-Star Series wherein exhibition games are held in a best-of format against all-stars from the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) league. Aside from MLB Japan Serie, there also exists an MLB China Series and an MLB Taiwan Series.   #7 Hemang Amin, Chief Operating Officer of Vivo Indian Premier League Heman Amin has been a part of the BCCI, which governs the Vivo Indian Premier League, for the past seven years. The IPL is a professional Twenty20 cricket league established in India which is held every April and May of every year. Cricket is by far the most popular sport in India. Although a relatively new organization, having been established as recently as 2008, the IPL is one of the fastest growing sports media properties in Asia. It is currently valued at US$1.6 billion which is a monumental achievement for such a young property.   #8 Chito Narvasa, Former Commissioner of the Philippine Basketball Association Former basketball player and coach, Chito Narvasa is the ninth Commissioner of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA). Basketball is a wildly popular sport in the Philippines, and perhaps the most widely played in the entire country. The premiere proving ground of men’s professional basketball in the Philippines is the PBA, which owns the distinction of being the first professional basketball league in Asia, and the second-oldest continuously existing league in the world apart from the National Basketball Association (NBA). The PBA played its first game in 1975, and today fuels a hoop-crazy nation that loves its basketball.   #9 Cai Zhenhua, President of the Chinese Football Association China has a burgeoning football obsession, with support from Chinese President Xi Jinping himself who is helping to develop the sport. Cai Zhenhua is the current President of the Chinese Football Association, which governs the sport in China.China’s passion for football is manifest in the Chinese Super League (CSL), which is the highest tier of professional football in the country. With a season that starts in March and ends mid-November, the CSL features 16 football clubs in its current season. The league, the largest in China, now operates under the management of the Chinese Football Association. The current champions are the Guangzhou Evergrande.   #10 Mitsuri Murai, Chairman of Japan Professional Football League Inaugurated in 2014, Mitsuri Murai is the Chairman of the Japan Professional Football League, or more popularly known as the J.League. Japanese professional football league, J.League is one of the most successful football leagues in all of Asia. It is the top level of Japan’s professional football scene, which is one of the most popular sports in all the region. With an annual revenue of over $560-million, the J.League features three football levels: J1, J2, and J3. The league is also governed by FIFA on the global level......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 19th, 2017

NKorean missile frustrates SKorean Olympic preparations

By Kim Tong-Hyung, Associated Press SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Just when South Korea thought it was finally creating a buzz for February's Winter Olympics, North Korea fired its most powerful missile yet and re-ignited safety worries about the small mountain town that will host the games not far from the rivals' anxious border. The Pyeongchang Olympics probably aren't in jeopardy because of Wednesday's launch for a number of reasons, including that the North is unlikely to attack the more powerful, U.S.-backed South. Despite its belligerent neighbor, South Korea is also one of the safest places in the world with a wealth of experience hosting international sporting events. Still, the launch, which followed a 10-week lull, was a frustrating development for Pyeongchang's organizers, who have only recently got on track after facing construction delays, controversies over cost overruns and wary sponsors. They can also do little to calm international fears created by North Korea's accelerating nuclear weapons and missile tests. Shortly after North Korea fired the Hwasong-15 into the sea Wednesday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in convened a national security meeting where he ordered government officials to closely review whether the launch could hurt South Korea's efforts to successfully host the Olympics, which begin on Feb. 9. South Korea wants more than a million spectators for the Olympics, which will be held just 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the border, and expects 30 percent of them to be foreign visitors. Organizers have struggled for months to spark enthusiasm for the games locally, where the national conversation over the past year have been dominated by a massive a massive corruption scandal that toppled and jailed the last president and North Korea's flurry of weapons tests. Sung Baikyou, an official from Pyeongchang's organizing committee, on Thursday downplayed worries that North Korea would scare away athletes and visitors to Pyeongchang. Organizers and government officials have held briefings and site inspections for Olympics officials, members and sponsors to reassure them of South Korea's security readiness. The 92 nations that have so far registered to participate in the Pyeongchang Games represent the largest ever Winter Olympics field. And after a slow start, organizers had managed to sell more than half of the available tickets by the end of November. Sung said there hasn't been any talk with the International Olympic Committee about moving or canceling the games. "It wouldn't make sense for anyone to cancel tickets to Pyeongchang because of fears about North Korea," Sung said. "There's no war; bombs aren't being dropped on Pyeongchang." Hyun Jae-gyung, an official from Gangwon province, which governs Pyeongchang and nearby Gangneung, a coastal city that will host the skating and hockey events during the Olympics, said cancelations at hotels and other accommodation facilities in the areas have been few and sporadic and unlikely linked to security concerns. But there's nothing organizers can do if North Korea raises fears even higher with more tests. North Korea has conducted 20 ballistic missile launches just this year, and the tests are becoming increasingly aggressive; some in the South fear that Washington might consider a pre-emptive strike on the North as the intercontinental ballistic missile tested Wednesday may be able to reach anywhere in the continental United States. Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert at Seoul's Dongguk University and a security adviser to South Korea's presidential office, thinks it's highly unlikely that the North will do any significant weapons tests or other aggressive acts that would disrupt the Olympics. After Hwasong-15's successful flight test, delighted North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared that the country has "realized the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force." Many experts, including Koh, believe that this suggests the country could soon consider its nuclear program as "enough" and shift the focus to its dismal economy. It would do nothing for heavily-sanctioned Pyongyang to worsen its awful reputation by creating trouble during the Olympics, Koh said. In recent government statements, including the one announced after Wednesday's missile test, North Korea has repeatedly claimed itself as a "responsible" and "peace-loving" nation, something it has been emphasizing since the United States relisted the country as a state terror sponsor, Koh said. "Even if they do conduct a missile or nuclear test during the Olympics, the games will go on as tests don't start wars. But I think there's almost no possibility that they will," said Koh. "If anything, they might have pushed hard to get their tests done before the start of the Olympics." It would help ease worries if North Korea participates in the Pyeongchang Games. While a North Korean figure skating pair qualified for the Olympics in September, it's unclear whether the North will let them compete in the South. North Korea boycotted the 1988 Summer Olympics in South Korea's capital Seoul and has ignored the South's proposals for dialogue in recent months. Securing North Korea's commitment to attend the Pyeongchang Games will be a critical topic at the IOC's next executive board meeting in December, which will be the last one before the start of the Olympics. The IOC has already offered to pay the costs should North Korea decide to participate, and Pyeongchang officials have been talking about granting special entries for North Korean athletes in some ice sports. Kim Kyung-hyup, a lawmaker for South Korea's ruling party, said Thursday that Seoul should consider sending a special envoy to the North to persuade it to participate in the Pyeongchang Games. Other than hoping that North Korea accepts the invitation, organizers are stuck. "If there's any other solution, tell me," Sung said. "It's not like we can jump up and catch North Korean missiles with a net.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 1st, 2017