Kolkata: Calcutta High Court dismissed two Public Interest Litigations (PILs) on Thursday, seeking an investigation by the Central agencies into the controversial “Biswa Bangla” trademark.The division bench, headed by Chief Justice TBN Radhakrishnan dismissed the Public Interest Litigations and gave clean chit to Abhishek Banerjee, TMC MP and the national president of the All India Trinamool Youth Congress, who submitted an affidavit on the directive of the court. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaThe petitioners had alleged wrongful usage of Biswa Bangla trademark and that Abhishek had incurred unlawful gains. It was further alleged that the unlawful usage had amounted to draining of the public exchequer. The issue came before the high court after Mukul Roy kicked up a controversy over the Biswa Bangla trademark at a rally held in Kolkata on November 10, 2017, by alleging that the Chief Minister’s nephew was the real owner of the most identifiable mark of the state government.
HAPPY VALLEY-GOOSE BAY, N.L. – Police in Labrador say residents of a small community surrounded by water are being evacuated as an ice jam causes a river to swell and flood the area.RCMP Cpl. Rick Mills says the air lifts from Mud Lake began at about 5 a.m. local time today as the Churchill River continued to rise and threaten residents of the largely seasonal community.He says the ice is blocked up at the mouth of the river going into Lake Melville, causing water to back up to most people’s houses.Local provincial legislature member Perry Trimper says homes have been lost, and the Churchill River is as it has never been before but some people are choosing to stay in Mud Lake.Military aircraft are being used to transport people to nearby Happy Valley-Goose Bay, but it wasn’t clear how many residents had been removed or lived in Mud Lake.Mills says it was the highest he had seen water levels, adding that Mud Lake residents often have to be flown out during the spring ice breakups.(The Canadian Press, VOCM)
VANCOUVER, B.C. – The Provincial Government has introduced a new system where British Columbians can receive direct information for air quality in their communities.According to the Government, residents are now able to sign up for public health notifications advising people of potential or existing poor air quality in their communities via email.People can enter their email on the Province’s air quality website to automatically receive air quality advisories and smoky skies bulletins. Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, George Heyman, says all British Columbians need and deserve clean air, adding that he urges people with pre-existing health conditions to sign up for the notifications.“All British Columbians need and deserve clean air, and we also deserve to know right away when there are pollutants in the air that may affect our health or well-being. I urge people, especially those with pre-existing health conditions or who are more vulnerable, to sign up for these notifications so they can stay healthy and take preventative measures if needed.”Currently, there are 76 community-specific sites that provide hourly data to a central database where they are processed, stored and posted online.To receive air quality notifications and for information, you can visit the Province’s website.
With Togo yesterday confirming the election results that have sparked the recent unrest in the country, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said more than 20,000 Togolese are now in exile, having fled the post-election turmoil.”Refugees are continuing to cross the border and we are still hearing reports from some refugees that they have been roughed up by security forces,” said UNHCR’s head of West Africa operations, Michel Gaudé.As of Wednesday, 9,979 refugees had been registered in Ghana, on Togo’s western border, and 10,658 in Benin to the east. In both countries, refugees were crossing over at the major official border points and there were no reports of unofficial crossings being used. UNHCR is continuing to monitor the borders for new arrivals.UNHCR is also sending a second three-person emergency team to Benin before the weekend, to back up a similar team sent four days ago. A senior emergency and security staff member is currently in Ghana reviewing the situation and is scheduled to travel to Benin in the coming days.Most of the refugees in Benin are living with family and friends, with UNHCR providing transport for new arrivals who wish to stay with relatives. UN agencies in Benin have decided to join efforts to provide such refugee-hosting families with humanitarian assistance and to reinforce social infrastructure such as schools and health facilities to help them cope with the new arrivals.Meanwhile, a 10-truck convoy carrying relief materials for refugees reached Benin today. The supplies include tents, blankets, jerry cans, plastic sheeting and kitchen sets for 5,000 refugees, supplementing relief items already pre-positioned for 2,500 refugees.In Ghana, the flow of refugees remains steady, although there was a small but sudden surge in arrivals reported at Aflao border point adjacent to the capital Lomé on Tuesday, as a result of neighbourhood searches by security forces, refugees said.
Governments must do more to address the human rights violations and lack of opportunities that force women and girls, who make up half the world’s 95 million migrants, to leave their homes, while countries need to work together to make migration safer and in particular stamp out human trafficking, according to new reports issued today by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).This year’s State of World Population report, A Passage to Hope: Women and International Migration, was accompanied for the first time by a companion volume entitled Moving Young, which highlights the social, economic and demographic aspects of youth migration, the agency said in a press release.“There is an urgent need for stronger cooperation between countries to make migration more safe and fair. And there is a dire need for greater action to address the lack of opportunities and human rights violations that lead many women to migrate in the first place,” said Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, UNFPA Executive Director.“Although awareness and action against trafficking is growing, there is an urgent need to do more to end this terrible crime and the impunity that goes with it. The report calls for greater cooperation between and within countries to bring traffickers to justice and to provide services and human rights protection for trafficking victims.”Human trafficking is the third largest illicit trade after drugs and gun smuggling, UNFPA said, warning that it remains an ongoing source of “revenue” to be exploited over and over again until those being trafficked are too ill or too worn out to continue. Many die as a result of their servitude—either as a direct result of violence or from contracting the many diseases, including HIV, to which they are susceptible. Another manifestation of female migration is the massive outflow of nurses from the developing world to industrialized countries such that the yearly exodus of 20,000 highly qualified nurses and doctors from Africa is worsening an already grave situation for a region ravaged by HIV/AIDS, malaria and high numbers of maternal and child deaths.“Now is the time for vision and leadership on behalf of women migrants,” said Ms. Obaid. “Labour, human rights protections and sound immigration policies can ensure that migration for women is a passage to hope as the title of this year’s State of World Population report suggests.”The Moving Young report offers a glimpse into the lives of young migrants and the reasons that compel them to leave their homes and countries, through profiles of young men and women from 10 countries whose stories are very similar to those of millions of others who cross borders every day.Many are searching for jobs and better opportunities, while others are forced to escape conflict or persecution. An increasing number of students are seeking education abroad, while many young people move to be reunited with parents or other relatives who have already settled abroad. Many leave their homes to marry, including young women forced to do so against their will. Many go willingly, lured away by false promises, while others are coerced into sex slavery. “Young people are characterized by innovation, by creativity, by perseverance and hard work, and by wanting to try something new. If well-guided and directed, that spirit is the kind that will bring well-being to any society,” said Ms. Obaid. The launch of the two reports comes a week before the UN holds a High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development in New York from 14 to 15 September. That event will be the first of its kind to bring together the world’s governments to discuss the many challenges and benefits of migration.
Things That Caught My EyeOne game moreThe 0-15 Cleveland Browns play the 12-3 Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday, and a loss will make them the second 0-16 team in NFL history. Browns Coach Hue Jackson has promised to make good on a vow he made to swim in Lake Erie if the Browns went 1-15 yet again. Overall, Cleveland is 1-30 under Jackson. Elo suggests that the Steelers have a 95 percent chance of winning on Sunday, and their bye week position in the playoffs is already locked up. [ESPN, FiveThirtyEight]Okay, so this one settles it.Surprise: Clemson and Alabama will play in the College Football Playoff again, their third such meeting in three years. That pair of games was a dead heat: each took a national championship, and the aggregate scoring was 76-75, Alabama. Stakes are high, but these aren’t the same exact teams we’ve seen in the playoff before: Alabama’s once ironclad defense has been deemphasized, but it has a stronger offense to compensate. [FiveThirtyEight]The case for Gurley as MVP comes down to how many voters played Fantasy FootballTodd Gurley, the Rams star running back, has been making a highly persuasive case for why he should be the NFL MVP over other contenders, like water pitchman Tom Brady. One component of the pro-Gurley argument is his incredible December performance, in which he has scored eight touchdowns in three games. This comes as no surprise to anyone playing Fantasy Football, where Gurley’s 107.1 fantasy points gave him the best postseason ever. [ESPN]Georgia D vs. Oklahoma OOklahoma has the best offense in the college football playoff, and on New Year’s Day they’ll play Georgia’s remarkable defense in the Rose Bowl. The winner goes on to face one of the two most recent national champions. Oklahoma’s quarterback, Baker Mayfield, has a completion rate of 53 percent when under pressure compared to 71 percent overall. [ESPN]Try out our fun new interactive, Which World Cup Team Should You Root For?Manziel Desired By Football TeamThe Canadian Football League approved Johnny Manziel — former Heisman Trophy winner, Cleveland Browns quarterback and cautionary tale — for a 2018 contract. His CFL rights are owned by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who will now be able to sign him or trade his rights. [ESPN]Sisters on opposite sides of the OlympicsMarissa Brandt and Hannah Brandt, two sisters from Minnesota, will be playing ice hockey in the Olympics, but not on the same squad. Marissa will be playing for South Korea, the country of her birth, while Hannah made Team USA. [NBC Sports]Make sure to try your hand at our fun NFL game: Can you beat the FiveThirtyEight predictions?Big Number61 percent chanceThere are six teams competing for three remaining spots in the NFL playoffs, but none of them are playing each other so it’s going to be a very weird Week 17: a bunch of teams with lots on the line are playing a bunch of teams with not a lot on the line. In the AFC, the contenders are the Ravens (94 percent chance of making the playoffs), Titans (58 percent), Chargers (31 percent) and Bills (17 percent), all playing squads with nothing on the line. In the NFC, it’s the Falcons (70 percent) and Seahawks (30 percent) fighting for the last spot. At least Atlanta is playing Carolina, a playoff-bound team still fighting for seeding. Atlanta has a 61 percent chance of winning that game. [FiveThirtyEight]Leaks from Slack: cwick:This 0-13 Basketball Team Is A Favorite To Make The NCAA Tournamentloved this, and wondered if there’s a ranking for us of the small-conference teams that most lean-in to their underdog nature. would help us see if texas southern is really the harshestchris.herring:What a cool idea.neil:Yeah this is kind of amazing, they’re easily #1 in average opponent Elo so far this year(non-conf only)Predictions NFL See more NBA predictions All newsletters College Football See more NFL predictions Oh, and don’t forgetSome hockey team had a weiner dog race on ice. We’re launching a sports newsletter. 🏆 Join the squad. Subscribe See more college football predictions NBA
Year 3 class at Mayflower Primary School, Tower HamletsCredit:PA McQueen said: “There have been a lot of legal hurdles we had to clear.” Maria Balshaw, director of Tate, has said it “may well be the most ambitious art work we have ever shown at Tate Britain”, calling it a “collective portrait of London’s future”.Year 3, which children start at the age of seven, was chosen as a “milestone year in a child’s development and sense of identity, when they become more conscious of the world beyond their immediate family”.It is intended to capture the “moment of excitement, anxiety and hope” in the children, as well as showcasing the diversity of a new London generation. After consulting legal teams and external partners who specialise in staging arts events in schools, a Tate team laid out a “complex plan” beginning with 120 “champion schools” who have taken part in a trial and will now spread the word to neighbouring primaries.Every parent will have to give written approval for their child to take part, before one of six specially-trained photographers, several of whom have worked as professional class photographers before, visit their school. Every London primary school is now invited to register at tateyear3project.org.uk to choose a date and time for a Tate photographer, briefed by McQueen, to visit their school and take the class photo.Children who cannot take part for safeguarding reasons will still be included, with classroom learning resources to help them explore the themes of “belonging, identity and citizenship”. Artangel will also create an outdoor exhibition of class photographs across each of London’s 33 boroughs and Tate Modern will stage a major survey exhibition of McQueen’s work to coincide with the project, open from February to May 2020.It will be one of the most ambitious projects to date for McQueen, who has directed films Hunger, Shame, 12 Years A Slave and his latest film Widows, and who won the Turner Prize in 1999. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. The artist Steve McQueen at Tate BritainCredit:Rex The finished pictures, which will see children and their teachers grouped for the classic classroom photograph, will be installed at Tate Britain from November 2019 to May 2020, and free to visit.The photograph which inspired the project, of McQueen’s own Year 3 class at Little Ealing Primary School in 1976, has been published ahead of the show after being dug out from his mother’s loft.A “crack team of researchers” were tasked with performing due diligence to try to track down each of his now-adult classmates to ask their permission for it to be shown. Unveiling the project at Tate Britain, McQueen said: “I think that often people think they are insignificant [but] you’re important and I want to take a photograph of you. Alex Farquharson, director of Tate Britain, said that putting on such an exhibition in 2018 “is very complex, with safeguarding in place, with consent needed from every parents, with the data protection act”.He added: “Through advocacy, through publicising the idea, through coming up with the right partnership and team structure, we’ve come up with the infrastructure and plan to make it happen.” A Year 3 class at Little Ealing Primary School today Credit:PA The Tate directorial team in the Duveen Galleries: Frances Morris (Tate Modern), Alex Farquharson (Tate Britain), Maria Balshaw (Tate Director) and Francesco Manacorda (Liverpool) and Anne Barlow (St Ives)Credit:Heathcliff O’Malley “I want to take a photograph of you with your class colleagues. It’s important and interesting and you’re interesting, it’s putting them in the context of the world.”He added: “The idea of having a photograph exhibited here, for a child, it will be amazing.”I remember when I was five years old and I had a painting of mine exhibited in my local library and the fact that other people see what you do, or that you can visit yourself and say I’m at the Tate Britain, it’s going to make an amazing impression on them.” When Steve McQueen, the Oscar and Turner Prize-winning artist, conceived of a landmark project to photograph every seven-year-old in London for a Tate Britain installation, the gallery hoped it would help a whole new generation feel part of the art world.Being 2018, of course, arranging it was not quite as simple as it seemed.Under the project, which could include 115,000 children across London’s 2,410 primary schools, gallery staff have gone to extraordinary lengths to make sure children can take part, in an exhibition which will eventually let them search for their own faces in the prestigious Duveen Galleries.It has already required two years of careful planning, as curators navigate the complex world of safeguarding, data protection and parental permissions required to show the faces of Year 3.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––The children’s names will not be recorded after it was thought, in the words of McQueen, “not really appropriate”.
Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Related A teenage miner was on Wednesday evening stabbed to death during an argument with another man at Frenchman Backdam, Mabura, Region 10 (Upper Demerara- Berbice).Dead is Alex Daniels, 19, of Swan Village, Soesdyke/Linden Highway. The suspect, a 24-year-old man also of Swan Village Soesdyke/Linden Highway was taken into Police custody and is assisting with investigations.Based on reports received, the now dead teen and the suspect were imbibing at a shop with others after which they left for their mining camp. It is alleged that while on their way, the suspect threw away the deceased slippers which resulted in an argument.Other employees intervened but the argument escalated. However, upon reaching the mining camp, the suspect reportedly armed himself with a knife and dealt the deceased two stab wounds. The teenager reportedly died on the spot.The suspect was arrested and handed over to the Police at the Mabura Police Station. The alleged murder weapon was also lodged. Investigations are ongoing.
Hungarian handballIvan VetesiLaszlo Sinka President of Hungarian handball Federation, Laszlo Sinka decided to resign from this position at the next General Meeting, which will be held at 24th of June. Former Secretary General of national handball organisation, spent 16 years on this position, after he became President in 2009.Hungary organised Women’s EHF EURO in 2004 and got the new Women’s competition in cooperation with Croatia – EURO 2014.For his successor, Sinka recomended Vetesi Ivan.FotÃ³: CzagÃ¡ny BalÃ¡zsBlikk.hu ← Previous Story Robert Gunnarsson stays in Rhein Neckar Lowen Next Story → Lasse Boesen goes home to KIF Kolding
German handballhandball transfersMagdeburgmarko bezjakmarko onetorobert weberSC Magdeburg SC Magdeburg struggling to find a way back to the TOP of German handball. Legendary team, twice a Champions Cup and EHF CL winner (2002) still is far away from the “TOP 5” of DKB Bundesliga. “Gladiators” are currently on 7th position, far away from the battle for EHF Cl place, but still there are some players who showed that can play on the highest possible level.SCM Management has extended the contracts with Slovenian playmaker Marko Bezjak (ex player of Gorenje) and Austrian right wing, Robert Weber until 2017.Chilean line-player Marco Oneto will leave the team at the end of the season. Ex-Barca member came to Germany after season in Hungarian MVM MKB Veszprem. ← Previous Story Danish Cup F4 in Aarhus: KIF Kolding look for a trophy Next Story → TOP 10 stories on Handball-Planet.com in February!
Hatice Demir, daughter of the late Turkish war veteran, Adil Sahin recently revealed to the ABC that her father’s survival during the Gallipoli campaign was thanks to a Greek soldier.Following the end of the campaign, Mr Sahin went on to serve in Saudi Arabia where he was captured by English soldiers. “One of the soldiers, he was from this village [Eceabat], he was Greek and he remembered them, and helped three of them to escape,” Mrs Demir recalls from her father’s stories. One of the three last surviving war veterans, Mr Sahin appeared in Chris Masters and Harvey Broadbent’s iconic Four Corners documentary The Fatal Shore. At 95, Mrs Demir still speaks of her father fondly, recalling how he was revered both by the family and the Eceabat community.“If someone asked him, he always was happy to talk about the war but he never did at home,” Mrs Demir recalls. In his documentary appearance, Mr Sahin explains the war in simple terms, clarifying that as a soldier, he did not feel any hatred towards his opponents.“Their duty was to come invade, ours was to defend,” said Mr Sahin. “So they came and we fought, then they went. No, I never hated them. Never.”Source: ABC Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram
Panasonic et NHK ont conçu un écran plasma 8K de 145 pouces !Les fabricants Panasonic et NHK ont fabriqué un écran plasma d’une diagonale de 145 pouces, dotés de la technologie de visionnage en Super Hi-Vision.Panasonic et la NHK ont dévoilé au Japon un prototype d’écran plasma de 145 pouces de diagonale ! Mais ce n’est pas son seul atout, car ce téléviseur montre une définition d’image en 8K Super Hi-Vision, c’est-à-dire en 7680 x 4320 pixels ! Ce qui est tout bonnement stupéfiant, surtout pour un écran avec de telles mensurations !À lire aussiMaladie de Charcot : symptômes, causes, traitement, où en est on ?Ce prototype est donc allé bien plus loin que l’écran 85 pouces Super Hi-Vision en résolution 4K présenté par NHK lors du dernier CES, il n’y a pourtant pas si longtemps… Panasonic et NHK ont donc contourné bien des obstacles pour mettre au point cet écran en si peu de temps. Ce prototype sera montré au grand public lors de journées portes ouvertes au mois de mai prochain.En sachant que certaines épreuves des Jeux Olympiques de Londres 2012 seront retransmises en Super Hi-Vision, nous sommes curieux de voir le résultat proposé par cet immense écran plasma !Le 27 avril 2012 à 12:00 • Maxime Lambert
The areas expected to get snowfall; Kenai, Soldotna, Nikiski, Sterling, Ninilchik, Anchor Point, Homer, Cooper Landing, Whittier, Seward, Girdwood, and Moose Pass. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享A mix of rain and snowfall is expected on the Kenai Peninsula this weekend with possible slippery road conditions. A brief wintry mix of drizzle and snow showers could cause slick spots Friday night and early Saturday morning. Joe Wegman with the National Weather Service in Anchorage: “We’re looking at a chance of scattered snow showers tonight into Saturday morning and another chance on Saturday evening.” According to Wegman a total accumulations of 1/2 an inch is expected.
Recep Tayyip ErdoganAngela Merkel’s chief of staff on Monday joined the growing chorus of criticism of Arsenal’s German midfielder Mesut Ozil for reportedly inviting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to his wedding this summer as his witness.The 30-year-old Ozil, who has Turkish family roots, sparked controversy last May when he was photographed with Erdogan, raising questions about the footballer’s loyalty to Germany on the eve of their disastrous World Cup campaign.After 92 appearances for Germany, including a key role in the 2014 World Cup victory, Ozil suddenly quit the national squad last July, accusing German football officials of racism.On Sunday, Germany’s top-selling tabloid Bild reported that Ozil, 30, and his model fiancee Amine Gulse, 25, a former Miss Turkey, personally presented Erdogan in Istanbul with an invitation to their wedding this summer, asking the Turkish leader to appear as the footballer’s witness.The invite immediately drew sharp criticism in Germany, whose government has been sharply at odds with Ankara over a range of human rights questions in recent years.Helge Braun, a CDU politician and chief of staff to German Chancellor Merkel, told Bild it “makes one sad” that Ozil would make a such a move despite having already been sharply criticised by the German public over his first meeting with Erdogan.”The fact that this has continued will have disappointed a lot of football fans – me too!” said Braun.The politician accepted Ozil’s was “a private decison” which one must respect, but appealed to the footballer as a role model, especially for young Turks in Germany.”Footballers are symbolic figures in our society, with whom people identify with much more than ministers,” added Braun.”And so the question is raised: how much does someone wearing the German national jersey stand for Germany?”- ‘It’s a pity’ -Braun’s comments come after German politician Cem Ozdemir, whose parents are Turkish, said on Sunday that he found it “inappropriate” for Ozil to invite the Turkish leader.Ozil — one of the world’s most popular footballers on social media with 31 million followers on his official Facebook account, 19.1 million on Instagram account and 23.9 million on Twitter — has an obligation as a role model, added Ozdemir.Another lawmaker, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, was equally unimpressed by his invitation to Erdogan.”The wedding is the private matter of Mesut Ozil, but he is a world star, who people look up to, so of course it’s a pity from a political point of view,” Lambsdorff told newspaper Welt.Ozil has dated Gulse since 2017 and the couple announced their engagement in June 2018.The Arsenal midfielder, a third-generation German, whipped up a political storm when he was pictured alongside Erdogan last May.Criticism intensified after the red-faced defending champions crashed out of the first round of the World Cup in Russia.In the wake of the World Cup fiasco, Ozil announced his resignation from the national squad, saying: “I am German when we win, an immigrant when we lose”.
Last month, developer Klei opened up the ability to allow user-made mods in survival-em-up Don’t Starve. For those of you that haven’t played it, it’s not just your typical Minecraft clone, even though hearing someone describe it aloud would make it seem as such.The interesting bit about modding Don’t Starve is that the game’s aesthetics are uniquely stylized, so it’s tough to accurately match. Compared to modding games like Skyrim or GTA IV — with art that wouldn’t be described as stylized — Don’t Starve is tough to mod unless you’re a talented artist. This is why it’s so great that someone modded Octodad into the game as a playable character, and it doesn’t look too out of place.If you’re unfamiliar with Octodad, the game is about an octopus stuffed into human clothing, pretending to be a human — complete with a human wife and kids. Obviously, it’s a comedy game, and a brilliant one at that. The gameplay is a little meta, in that the challenge in the game is the controls, but that’s the intent rather than a problem — it’s difficult to perform tasks as a creature without bones in an environment not suited to that creature. Luckily, Octodad doesn’t need to worry about bones in Don’t Starve.The mod simply adds a new character to Don’t Starve, and only brings the new look and Octodad’s stats. He moves more slowly than other characters, but is tough to scare (and thus lose sanity). I guess when you’re an octopus married to a human and have two human kids, you’ve seen some stuff, and the shadows and hounds in Don’t Starve aren’t too scary anymore.You can grab the mod here, and it’s also available on Steam Workshop. If you haven’t played either Don’t Starve or Octodad, both are great games that couldn’t be more different.
Related posts:With Obama visit, Cubans hope for home run in baseball diplomacy Normalized relations between Cuba and US could have ‘drastic’ impact on MLB Costa Rica’s major league concern Rawlings lays off 200 employees at its Costa Rica apparel operation HAVANA, Cuba – Cuban MLB baseball stars José Abreu and Yasiel Puigreturned home Tuesday for the first time since defecting to join the American big leagues, part of an unprecedented Major League Baseball tour made possible by the thaw in U.S.-Cuban relations.Baseball is a shared passion in the United States and Cuba, but also a source of acrimony in their decades-long estrangement.To play under the bright lights of an MLB stadium, Cuban stars have to abandon their homeland, as did Chicago White Sox first baseman Abreu in 2013 and LA Dodgers outfielder Puig in 2012.Both returned home for the first time since then, with an MLB delegation hosting workshops and meeting with Cuban baseball officials on a four-day tour of the communist island. Jose Abreu and Bryan Peña at the same press conference in Havana. pic.twitter.com/Uc8H56QdpJ— Pedro Gomez (@pedrogomezESPN) December 15, 2015 Long estrangementThe delegation is scheduled to give a press conference at 4 p.m.Abreu, who signed a $68-million, six-year contract with the White Sox in 2013, has a 5-year-old son in Cuba he has not seen since defecting.Puig fled by boat via the Bay of Pigs with the help of people-smugglers.The Cuban government has reportedly agreed to allow them to visit with family members at their hotel. The trip comes as Washington and Havana mark the first anniversary of the historic rapprochement announced by presidents Barack Obama and Raúl Castro on Dec. 17, 2014.Since then, the two countries have restored diplomatic ties, reopened embassies in each other’s capitals and taken other steps to patch up their relationship after decades of Cold War animosity.See: PHOTOS: Cuba, US reopen embassies to end 54-year estrangementBut Cuban ballplayers still cannot play in the United States without fleeing, which the Cuban government classifies as illegal.MLB has organized events in Cuba in the past, including a 1999 exhibition game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Cuban national team.But this is the first time that players who defected have been allowed to return.The delegation also includes Cuban-born player Alexei Ramírez, a free agent who left Cuba legally by marrying a Dominican in 2007.Some 20 Cuban-born players are currently active in the Major Leagues.Several non-Cuban stars are also along for the trip, including Miguel Cabrera of Venezuela, Nelson Cruz of the Dominican Republic and American Clayton Kershaw.The delegation is led by Hall of Famers Joe Torre, the MLB’s chief baseball officer, and Dave Winfield, of the MLB Players’ Association.“Major League Baseball is very fortunate to have an opportunity to play a constructive role in the improvement of our country’s relations with Cuba,” MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred said in a statement.“Baseball represents a pivotal common bond in our cultures, and the impact that Cuban ballplayers have made on our game is undeniable. I am hopeful that this tour will represent the beginning of a longstanding relationship.”MLB has said it hopes to organize pre-season games in Cuba next year, as it used to do until 1960, the year after the Cuban Revolution. The journey begins for @79JoseAbreu, who is joining other @MLB players on a goodwill tour of Cuba. pic.twitter.com/vaIS2sY5RM— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) December 15, 2015 Alexei Ramirez signs a No. 10 jersey worn by White Sox fan Rauol Gomez of Havana, who watches games on TV. pic.twitter.com/giKGeeUdG8— David Haugh (@DavidHaugh) December 15, 2015 The homecoming will be almost as sweet for Cuban fans, who watched these players develop as young talents but have never seen them in their prime.“To be able to see these stars again who came up in our country and are now shining at the highest level of baseball in the world, like Abreu and Puig, will be magnificent,” local fan Pedro David told AFP.Cuba’s national baseball commissioner, Heriberto Suárez, has said the game is being “lacerated” on the island by defections and attempted defections. More than 100 players have defected this year or found a way to leave legally, like Ramírez.Castro’s government began allowing athletes to sign with foreign teams in 2013, for the first time since 1961. About a dozen baseball players have signed with teams in Mexico, Japan, Canada and Colombia.But the trade and financial embargo the U.S. has imposed on Cuba since 1962 still means Cubans cannot play in the United States without fleeing. Facebook Comments
American Enterprise Institute First-Time Buyers Homebuyers Purchase Mortgages 2016-01-19 Staff Writer in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News, Origination Share First-time homebuyers have been touch-and-go in the housing market since the crisis, but that here today, gone tomorrow trend could be changing for the better.The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) International Center on Housing Risk found that the share and volume of first-time homebuyers increased year-over-year in December.According to AEI’s First-Time Buyer Mortgage Share Index (FBMSI) released Tuesday, first-time buyers accounted for 56.7 percent of primary owner-occupied home purchase mortgages with a government guarantee in December 2015. This number is 1 percent above the December 2014 share of 55.5 percent.AEI credits “improvements in the labor market, riskier mortgage lending, and continuing low mortgage rates” for the spike in first-time buyers.“On a year-over-year basis, first-time buyer demand increased in December, continuing the trend of the last 14 months,” said Edward Pinto, Codirector of AEI’s International Center on Housing Risk. “Strong demand, in combination with shortness of supply, is driving home prices up faster than incomes and inflation.”The share of first-time buyers within the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) was just over 80 percent, while Freddie Mac’s share was approximately 40 percent, the data showed. Fannie Mae’s share of first-time buyers has consistently been near 43.5 percent in December.According to the report, the combined FBMSI totaled about 51.2 percent in December 2015, the same as the previous month and up from 50.2 percent a year earlier.Purchase mortgages going to first-time buyers in December totaled an estimated 124,000, up 10 percent from the level in December 2014. The increase in first-time buyers loan count surpassed the 7 percent rise in total agency purchase loan volume over the same period. “Both growth rates may have been held down by the implementation of the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule,”AEI stated.”The rising first-time buyer share and the strong increase in first-time buyer sales volume help explain the tight inventory conditions in the long-running seller’s market,” the report said. “In November, the unsold inventory of existing single-family homes stood at 5.2 months of sales, while the unsold inventory of new single-family homes represented 5.7 months of sales; both are below the threshold for a tight market.”Click here to view the full report. Are First-time Homebuyers Back? January 19, 2016 700 Views