EVIDENCE AGAINST 9/11 PLOTTERS REVEALED - PG. 2 NATIONAL NEWSPAPER PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION
THE NATION’S ONLY BLACK DAILY 35 Cents
CIVIL WAR ANNIVERSARY One hundred fifty years ago today, the nation plunged into a bloody civil war that would determine the role Black people would play in its future.Photo top left: An African American soldier sits next to a stretcher holding the remains of his comrades who were killed in the battles of Gaines’ Mill and Cold Harbor in Hanover County, Va. Photo bottom left: A former slave, center, serving as a soldier in uniform and receiving regular army
pay, stands with other Federal soldiers at the Army of the Potomac winter headquarters near Fredericksburg, Va. Photo above: The destruction of Charleston, S.C., during the Civil War in April 1865, is visible through the porch of the Circular Church (150 Meeting Street). A group of four young African American boys are sitting at the base of a column.
SEE PAGE 3.
DAILY CHALLENGE TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2011
N EW S BR I EF S NY OFFICIALS PROPOSE NATIONAL WIRELESS EMERGENCY NETWORK Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand are pushing for a nationwide police radio network to link first responders. The proposed wireless broadband network would allow emergency responders on the local, state and federal level to share information in the event of a terrorist attack or other crisis with far-reaching implications. Gillibrand and Kelly revealed the bill yesterday in the hopes of passing it before the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks this year. “This is the kind of bill I think we will pass. It’s common sense bill. It’s not a Democratic of Republican idea, it’s just a good idea,” Gillibrand said. “The lack of a common radio spectrum prevents us from having a seamless system across the nation,” said Kelly. “The fact is that a 16year-old with a smartphone has more advanced communications capability than a police officer with one of these radios.” Gillibrand says the national system, which was recommended in the September 11th Commission’s 2004 report, would pay for itself through the auctioning off of unused airwaves. NEW YORKERS MAY HAVE MILLIONS IN UNCLAIMED TAX REFUNDS New Yorkers may be short tens of millions of dollars in unclaimed tax refunds. The Internal Revenue Service estimates the federal government owes 26,000 city residents more than $33 million in unclaimed refunds from 2007. In addition, there are $418 million in unclaimed 2009 college tuition tax credits, according to the U.S. Treasury and State Education Department. If the money is not claimed when filed, it goes to the government. The deadline to file federal taxes is April 18. MAYOR SIGNS BILL RENAMING QUEENSBORO BRIDGE Mayor Michael Bloomberg approved the “Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge” renaming yesterday during a bill signing at City Hall. The City Council voted in favor of the plan last month. During his three terms, former Mayor Ed Koch spearheaded projects for many city bridges, including the Queensboro. The bridge was also part of Koch’s district when he served in Congress. Bloomberg proposed renaming the bridge to celebrate Koch’s 80th birthday. A recent Quinnipiac University poll found 64 percent of city voters are opposed to renaming the bridge, and 70 percent of Queens residents want the bridge to keep its current name. Several city lawmakers have also
Evidence against 9/11 plotters revealed By LUCILE MALANDAIN WASHINGTON — U.S. prosecutors compiled lots of evidence against the five men accused of having organized the September 11 attacks on the United States, but not until this week have details been fully revealed. The indictment charging self-professed mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others was unsealed when U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (right) referred the case to the Defense Department for military trials instead of trials at a U.S. federal court in New York. Holder said Sheikh Mohammed, Walid bin Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali and Mustapha Ahmed al-Hawsawi could have been prosecuted in federal court and blamed Congress for imposing measures blocking civilian trials of Guantanamo Bay inmates. They will be tried in military courts at the U.S. naval base in southeastern Cuba. The now-public details show that the United States, nearly 10 years after hijackers flew planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, reconstructed step by step the logistics of the five accused men. They compiled bank transactions, flight records, visa applications, and dozens of telephone conversations to create the most comprehensive account of the chain of events before the attacks. Implementation of the plan began in 1999, when Sheikh Mohammed (referred to as “KSM” by U.S. officials) proposed to Osama bin Laden to use commercial airliners as missiles against U.S. targets. Until the last minute, according to the indictment, Sheikh Mohammed controlled the entire operation. “From in or about December 1999, through in or about June 2000, AlQaeda selected operatives to pilot the airplanes to be hijacked and dispatched the operatives to the United States to obtain flight training and otherwise carry out the plot,” the indictment said. Walid bin Attash, born in Saudi Arabia in 1979, traveled in first-class between Bangkok and Hong Kong, with a knife in his pocket “and approached the cockpit to test security measures.” He then took several other international flights, each time with his penknife undetected. Meanwhile, Ramzi Binalshibh in Hamburg became friends with future
hijacker Mohamed Atta. Binalshibh, a 38-year-old Yemeni, applied four times for a visa to the United States in 2000 but was denied each time. So, at the request of KSM, Binalshibh became and intermediary between KSM and the future hijackers. At the same time, from Dubai, KSM nephew Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, of Pakistan, provided flight simulation software to the hijackers and began transferring money to U.S. accounts. Between January and June 2000, U.S. investigators pinpointed 35 telephone calls between him and the hijackers. Mustapha Ahmed al-Hawsawi, a 42-year-old from Saudi Arabia, was accused of being the principal financier of the attacks. Bank transfers were made in small amounts so as not to arouse suspicion and different names were used each time. Tens of thousands of dollars arrived in U.S. accounts, including for Zacarias Moussaoui, who was involved in the plot but was arrested a month before the attacks. In the United Arab Emirates, alHawsawi monitored the operations and discusses them with KSM. Between July 9-16, 2001, Ramzi Binalshibh met with Mohamed Atta in Spain. The two men “discussed, among other aspects of the plot, potential targets for the hijacking attacks.” On July 23, KSM filed a visa application for the United States which was refused. At the end of August, he told bin Laden of the date for the attacks. Between September 4-10, the men made their way from the UAE to Pak-
istan. Walid bin Attash was with bin Laden on September 11, after which the Al-Qaeda leader ordered him to Tora Bora in Afghanistan to prepare for an offensive. The five men, all of whom were arrested in Pakistan, could face the death penalty if convicted. One year after the attacks, Pakistani police arrested Binalshibh at a home in a chic Karachi suburb. He was alone and didn’t put up a fight. In March 2003, al-Hawsawi and Sheikh Mohammed were picked up by Pakistani special forces in a raid in Rawalpindi. The indictment said the two men were “at a safe house where they possessed false identification and materials related to Al-Qaeda and the planning and execution of the September 11, 2001, attacks.” Bin Attash and al-Aziz Ali were arrested by Pakistani police in April 2003. All five men disappeared into secret prisons until September 2006, when they reappeared at Guantanamo. Sheikh Mohammed is known to have been “waterboarded” or subjected to simulated drowning 183 times during his years in U.S. custody, a method widely recognized as torture. After his arrest in 2003 he was handed over to American agents who held him in secret prisons before sending him to Guantanamo. Sheikh Mohammed also claims to have personally beheaded U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002 with his “blessed right hand” and to have helped in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing that killed six people.
Poll: Lobbyists have too much power PRINCETON, N.J. — Americans think lobbyists wield too much power and the military either has just enough or too little power, a Gallup poll released yesterday indicated. A survey on the perceived power of key U.S. entities indicated Americans think lobbyists, major corporations, banks and the federal government all have too much power. By contrast, the public largely believes state and local governments, the legal system, organized religion and
the military have the right amount of power or may be deficient. Labor unions drew a mixed response. Seventy-one percent of Americans said they believed lobbyists have too much power, followed by major corporations and financial institutions tied at 67 percent and the federal government at 58 percent. Among entities Americans considered having the “right” amount of power are state governments and the legal system, 49 percent; organized religion, 46 percent; and local
government and the military, both 53 percent, the Princeton, N.J., polling company said. Twenty-eight percent said they thought the military didn’t have enough power and 24 percent said they didn’t think organized religion or labor unions had enough power, results indicated. Results are based on nationwide telephone interviews conducted with 1,027 adults March 25-27. The margin of error is 4 percentage points.
DAILY CHALLENGE TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2011
150 anniversary of the civil war
A copy of an actual halftone photo, or ink print from a lead plate, made in 1863 during the Civil War at the time of the siege of Port Hudson in Louisiana.
By CAUSEWELL VAUGHAN One hundred fifty years ago today, the nation plunged into a bloody civil war that would determine the role Black people would play in its future. Southern artillery was fired on the Union-held Fort Sumter, S.C., on April 12, 1861, three months after the state seceded from the United States of America. The move was in reaction to the election of a known opponent to slavery, President Abraham Lincoln. A month before the shelling, Lincoln used his inauguration address to express hope the slavery conflict would be resolved without going to war. That wasn’t to be. Instead, the Union and the Confederacy collided in a war that would last four years, and like all wars before, Blacks played key roles in the conflict. Black heroes and heroines emerged, like Frederick Douglas, who advised President Lincoln even as his two sons fought for the North; Harriet Tubman, who operated the Underground Rail-
road, and Sojourner Truth, an activist for abolition and women’s rights who also recruited Black soldiers for the Union. And there were valiant Black soldiers and sailors with 16 Medal of Honor winners among them. It wasn’t until July 1862 that Blacks were officially allowed to join the military. By the end of the war, an estimated 180,000 Black soldiers had served in the Union army and another 19,000 in the Navy while 65,000 Black soldiers fought for the Confederacy. Ironically, Black soldiers in the South fought alongside whites, many of whom were their masters, while Blacks in the North were in segregated units. The most famous Black unit was the 54th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers, the first Black regiment recruited in the North. The unit’s exploits were made into the 1989 movie “Glory,” which starred Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman. The unit lost half its troops and two-thirds of its officers in the July 1863 charge on Fort Wagner, S.C. New York ranked fifth among the states in the number of Black
An engraving published in 1861 depicts William Tillman (left), a Black cook serving with the Union navy, about to attack Confederate sailors who had captured his ship. Tillman was able gain control of the vessel and sail it into New York Harbor. soldiers. The state had two recognized units, the 20th and 26th U.S. Colored Troop. Both trained for battle on Rikers Island in February 1864 under less-than-ideal conditions. A report at the time said, “The condition of the camp at Riker’s Island were also terrible: For a considerable time the quarters provided for the colored men were insufficient and improper. “Tents were furnished by the Government, but... the men were greatly crowded; they were also without floors or means of warming, causing great suffering from cold. Disease began to appear…” The men were also paid less than half of what white soldiers received. While the names of Grant and Lee and Sherman dominate accounts of the war, the names of Black heroes
are seldom mentioned. But one Black hero who truly got acclaim also happened to be the first acknowledged Black hero. William Tillman’s daring action in July 1861 was written up at the time in the popular Harper’s Weekly magazine and the New York Tribune. Both publications recounted how Tillman, a cook on a captured Union ship, killed members of the Confederate crew, took control of the ship and sailed it into New York Harbor. “To this colored man was the nation indebted for the first vindication of its honor on the sea,” the Tribune wrote. In the years that followed the war, both the North and the South erected monuments that specifically commemorate the contributions of Black soldiers.
Americans say Mideast democratic reform good for U.S. By DAVID ALEXANDER WASHINGTON — Most Americans believe democratic reforms in the Middle East would be positive for the United States but are divided over whether unrest sweeping the region will lead to greater democracy, according to a survey released yesterday. The poll, by researchers at the University of Maryland, found that most Americans believe U.S.-Muslim relations are among the top five issues facing the United States. They also would favor greater democracy even if it meant a country would be more likely to oppose U.S. policies. “While some observers are worried about the potential effects of greater democratization for U.S. interests in the Middle East, most Americans are cheering the move toward more democracy, even if this might pose some challenges for the U.S.,” said
Steven Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland. The survey follows three months of unrest in the Middle East that has swept the leaders of Egypt and Tunisia from power, sparked a violent revolt in Libya and led to protests demanding reform from Syria and Jordan to Yemen and Bahrain. Sixty-five percent of those surveyed said a move toward democracy in the Middle East would be positive for the United States in the short run, while nearly a third thought it would be negative. In the longer run, 76 percent thought greater democracy in the Middle East would be positive for the United States, while only 19 percent thought it would be negative. Fifty-seven percent supported greater democracy even if it meant greater resistance to the United States and 40 percent were opposed.
While expressing support for greater democracy in the Arab world, participants were divided over whether the unrest would ultimately lead to democratic reform. Fifty-one percent said they thought it was likely the upheaval would lead to more democracy but 47 percent thought it was not likely to bring democratic change. “What we’re seeing here is basically Americans becoming more comfortable with what’s happening over there,” Kull told a news conference. “It’s not that they’re sure that this is going to result in democracy. But there has been some movement toward optimism.” A large minority — 39 percent — said watching the unrest in the Middle East had made them more sympathetic to the Arab people, while 54 percent reported no change. “There is evidence that the Arab uprisings have contributed to improving views of Arab countries
and quite positive views of the Arab people, especially Egyptians,” said Shibley Telhami, the Anwar Sadat Chair at the University of Maryland, who conducted the study with Kull. The survey found 70 percent had a favorable view of Egyptians, 57 percent had a favorable view of Saudi Arabians and 56 percent had a favorable view of Arab people in general. Despite a more favorable view of Arab people, the survey found 59 percent of Americans believe Arab culture produces more violent extremists than other cultures, while 35 percent said the level was about the same as in other cultures. The survey of 805 people was carried out April 1-5 and has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points. It was released before this week’s Eighth Annual U.S.-Islamic World Forum in Washington, which aims to promote engagement between the United States and Muslim communities around the world.
DAILY CHALLENGE TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2011
Curt Flood and baseball today By BILL FLETCHER, JR. THOMAS H. WATKINS
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With the beginning of the baseball season I am always drawn back to the memory of African American St. Louis Cardinals player Curt Flood. Flood defied the baseball ruling establishment and led a court challenge to the “reserve clause,” a mechanism that held most players in perpetual bondage to their teams. Though Flood lost the lawsuit at the Supreme Court, with the support of the Major League Baseball Players Association he set in motion the steps that would eventually result in the end of the reserve clause and the creation, of “free agency.” Having led such an important attack on an unjust system, what remains amazing is that he has been all but forgotten by most contemporary sports enthusiasts and even athletes. At his funeral, in 1997, contemporary players were absent, according to Brad Snyder, author of the must-read A Well-Paid Slave which details Flood’s struggle against the reserve clause and the system. Today’s Major League baseball players seem to have little knowledge of Flood’s contribu-
tions, a problem that I would lay at the doorstep of the Player’s Association for not having a new member education program that highlights the significance of this struggle for today’s baseball player. Yet, it is not just baseball. None of the major sports has given Flood his due and instead players are allowed to think that the fantastic salaries that they are able to earn are the result of their athletic prowess rather than a struggle led by one outstanding centerfielder and a union called the Major League Baseball Players Association (led at the time by Marvin Miller). Forgetting Flood means forgetting that the owners of Major League baseball were never generous individuals looking out for the well-being of the players. For the most part, they were shrewd and greedy businesspeople who were and are looking for the big dollar. The reserve clause, like any form of indentured servitude, provided the owners with the power to hold onto their best players and eliminate the chance that the player could get a better deal with a separate team. The result? Simply that the owners, for years, kept mak-
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— Bill Fletcher, Jr. is a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies, the immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum, the coauthor of “Solidarity Divided,” and a devoted fan of Curt Flood and Major League Baseball. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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ing more and more and the players were stuck. This changed when Flood and the Player’s Association were both prepared to take an immense risk and challenge the system. Flood’s failure in court ultimately led to his leaving his great love, baseball. Yet only a few years later the Player’s Association was able to utilize the terrible publicity that the owners received in the midst of the Flood court case in order to crack the wall of the reserve clause. As I have been saying every year around this time, “…so, when will Curt Flood and Marvin Miller go into the Baseball Hall of Fame for their contributions to baseball?” Unless the fans raise a ruckus, neither of these men nor their union, will ever receive the recognition to which they are entitled.
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DAILY CHALLENGE TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2011
Let’s talk about those TV ratings By CHERYL PEARSON-MCNEIL As much as I try to remind you that The Nielsen Company is a global information and measurement company that measures so many things beyond television (like how you spend your time online and on your mobile devices and what you buy at the grocery store) the fact of the matter is we’re still very much in the business of rating television viewing. So, I’m eager to share with you a hot new study on TV viewing. Nielsen’s most recent State of the Media Report is a snapshot of TV viewing and usage trends pulled from an analysis of live stream data from people aged 18-49 during November 2010. Some naysayers will point out, “hmph, you didn’t contact me, bet ya’ll don’t even count Black people.” To which I say, “WRONG!” Although we can’t measure every household in America we take a representative sample of the population (when you feel sick, a sample of your blood is adequate to indicate what’s going on, the doctor doesn’t have to drain your whole body right?). So while we may not have contacted you directly that doesn’t mean we didn’t include your neighbor, Mrs. Williams from the
church’s usher board, your personal trainer or even your college roommate in Atlanta. Clients count on us to provide them with an accurate ethnic representation that looks like America. So, let’s not get it twisted: Nielsen’s television measurement sample is representative of the U.S.’s diverse population. Another thing you should know: we don’t care how much or how little TV you watch or even if Cousin Pookie installed your cable box. As long as you have at least one television set in your home your household has an equal chance of being randomly selected. Seriously. And, only after you have voluntarily accepted our invitation is your household included in the sample – so there’s no big brother spying going on. But, I do need to clarify: only households that have agreed to be a part of our sample directly impact the ratings. Ok, wanted to make a few of those points. Now, back to the State of The Media Report. First thing to know: African Americans as a group still watch more TV than other demographic group. We turn on our TVs an average of 7 hours 12 minutes each day, compared to the U.S. average of 5 hours 11 minutes. As a group, we also use DVD players and video game consoles more, and more than one-
third (38%) of our homes had a DVR. White households have more DVRs than average (40%) and have the highest usage. And, what have we been watching? It’s no secret that we Americans love our football, across the board. (I am apparently in the minority — paying attention only when a player is involved in some juicy scandal. Hey, at least I’m honest.) NFL football is an event that unifies the nation, cutting across all ethnic groups. Network broadcasts of regular season games took the top 10 spots for African Americans and half of the top 10 for Whites and Asians. For cable, ESPN’s NFL Regular Season grabbed the top spot among African Americans, Whites and Asians; and ranked second place with Hispanics. Nielsen has divided the country into 210 geographic markets, we call designated market areas. (DMA). A DMA does not just include the large metropolitan counties, but surrounding collar counties too. (Chicago’s DMA for example includes 16 counties). Why? Because people in the suburbs and rural America watch TV too ya’ll! So while the top three TV DMA’s for the total U.S. are New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, if we rank the top DMA’s based on highest African American population, things would shake out a little differently:
African Union Acts for Libya and Northern Africa By DR. BENJAMIN F. CHAVIS, JR. Africa is important to the future of the entire world community. Black Americans, in particular, should be more aware and conscious of the progressive role of the African Union to intervene in a “non-destructive” manner in Northern Africa. First it was in the Sudan, then in Tunisia and in Egypt. Now it is in Libya. The cries and struggles for change are spreading all over this important and strategic region of the African continent. This is not in the Middle East, this is in Africa. African Americans cannot and should not be silent on these issues. I am opposed to the bombing of Africa by the United States and now by NATO. You cannot bring about freedom in Africa through the bombs and cruise missiles from the U.S. and NATO. While I have the utmost respect for President Barack Obama’s humanitarian objectives in Libya, I disagree with the President’s tactics in this conflict. Of course, we should always seek to protect all people from repressive violence and oppression. There are real problems in Africa that need real solutions. Africans, however, should have the right to self-determination to solve their problems and disputes without the violent intervention of former
imperialist powers under the questionable guise of promoting a “suffering, outside-controlled democracy.” I wonder if the current crisis in Libya has anything to with the presence of high quality oil. This is why we welcome the news now that the African Union is taking on a proactive leadership role in not only attempting to help establish a lasting cease-fire in Libya, but also to promote a nonviolent path to the political and economic transformation of Libya. South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma is one of the leading members of the African Union delegation that is on the peace mission to Libya. Other members of the delegation were President Amado Touniami Toure, of Mali, and President Mohamed Abdel Aziz, of Mauritania. After meeting in Tripoli with Libyan government officials including Moammar Gadhafi, news wire services reported that Gadhafi accepted the terms of the cease-fire proposed by the African Union. President Zuma stated, “We have completed our mission with the brother leader, and the brother leader’s delegation has accepted the road map as presented by us…..We will be proceeding tomorrow to meet the other party to talk to everybody and present a political solution.” President Zuma also called on NATO to end its air strikes on Libya to “give the ceasefire a chance.”
Although, the African Union has condemned attacks on all civilians, the current leader of the African Union is Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, who has been resolute in stating the opposition of the African Union to the NATO, American, French, and British foreign military intervention in Libya’s two-month-old rebellion. We also condemned the attacks on all civilians and whoever is guilty of war crimes should be held accountable. Let’s give peace, freedom, and reconciliation a chance in Libya and throughout Africa. The African Union’s peace and transformation proposals with respect to Libya are worthy of our support. For hundreds of millions of African people throughout Africa and the global Diaspora of African people, including Black Americans, the contemporary struggles for freedom, justice, equality, democracy, and economic empowerment are critical, crucial and of a paramount concern. While the 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries were five hundred years of European and
1. Atlanta (27.6%) 2. Raleigh-Durham (26.8%) 3. Washington, DC (23.9%) Detroit (20.1%) 4. 5. Philadelphia (18.3%) 6. Houston (17.4%) 7. Chicago (16.8%) 8. New York (16.7%) Dallas-Ft. Worth (14.2%) 9. 10. Los Angeles (8.4%) Regardless as to whether you live in the city or a rural area your views matter, so if you are ever asked to be a Nielsen home, please say yes! (And check with Mrs. Williams from the usher board, you might be surprised to discover how many people like her have actually been Nielsen homes at one time or another). Cheryl Pearson-McNeil is the senior vice president of Public Affairs and Government Relations for The Nielsen Company. For more information and studies go to www.nielsenwire.com About The Nielsen Company The Nielsen Company (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence, mobile measurement, trade shows and related assets. The company has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA. For more information on The Nielsen Company, visit www.nielsen.com. Western economic and geopolitical dominance in the world, the 21st Century is the century of Africa and Asia where the developing world is rapidly expanding economic markets and irreversibly changing the self-determination status of African, Latino, and Asian peoples. We have studied and witnessed moving from the long devastating periods of slavery, imperialism and colonialism to neo-colonialism and apartheid and, from post-neo-colonialism and post-apartheid to civil rights, human rights, and participatory democracy for millions of people of color. Today, people of color are crossing the threshold on every continent to have a more expressed consciousness and determination to change the world in the interests of universal freedom and justice. The African Union should be saluted and supported in their efforts to lead Africa in a more constructive path. African American solidarity and unity should be with the African Union.
— Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. is Senior Advisor to the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) and President of Education Online Services Corporation.
DAILY CHALLENGE TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2011
Survey: Gallon of gas jumps to $3.76 By JONATHAN STEMPEL The average price for a gallon of gasoline in the United States has moved closer to $4, jumping more than 19 cents since mid-March to a level less than 10 percent below its all-time high, a widely followed survey said on Sunday. The Lundberg Survey said the national average price of self-serve, regular unleaded gas was $3.765 on Friday, up from $3.573 on March 18, and up 91.3 cents from $2.852 a year ago. Prices in several western U.S. cities are already above $4 per gallon, led by San Francisco at $4.13. Chicago was close behind at $4.11 a gallon, the survey said. The national average
would have been higher had refiners and retailers not resisted passing on rising crude oil prices as customers grow less willing to pay what it takes to fill their gas tanks,
analyst Trilby Lundberg said in an interview. “Demand has been falling at these prices,” she said. The record high average pump price is $4.112 set on
July 11, 2008. Lundberg tracks roughly 2,500 gas stations. Crude oil prices are higher amid unrest in Libya and elsewhere in the Middle East, as well as a weaker U.S. dollar, which on Friday fell to a 15-month low against the euro. A falling dollar often lifts dollar-denominated commodities such as oil. This is because some investors use commodities as an inflation hedge, and consumers who use other currencies may view the commodities as cheap and buy more, driving up prices. U.S. crude settled Friday at $112.79 per barrel, after earlier reaching its highest intraday price since September 2008. ICE Brent crude settled at $126.65 per barrel,
the highest settlement since July 2008. Even if crude prices do not change, Lundberg said pump prices could rise another dime per gallon as earlier increases work their way into the retail market. “One gets a little bit depressed talking about it, but we are getting closer” to a $4 per gallon average, though “there is no telling” when or whether it will occur, Lundberg said. The average price for diesel fuel did top $4 per gallon for the first time since 2008, rising to $4.09 from $3.978 three weeks earlier, and $3.056 a year ago, according to the Lundberg survey, which is done in Camarillo, California. The lowest average price for a gallon of unleaded gas in the 48 contiguous states was in Tucson, Arizona, at $3.41, Lundberg said. San Francisco had the highest price.
Georgia residents tell riveting tales of unemployment By KALIN THOMAS Special to the NNPA from The Atlanta Voice ATLANTA — Thirty-seven year-old Tonya Pinkston was raised by her parents to get a good education, a good job, and to contribute to society. But, something happened while she was climbing that ladder to success – she was laid off three times. “I have a college degree, but I never dreamed I’d be faced with no job security and wondering how I’m going to feed my family,” said the single mother of an eight-year-old daughter. Pinkston was just one of several panelists who testified at the Speak Out for Jobs event held recently to provide a forum for Atlanta’s unemployed and underemployed. Community activist and WAOK-AM personality Derrick Boazman said the forum – held at Trinity United Methodist Church – was an eye-opener for some observers. “When you’re used to eating three meals a day, you sometimes forget about those who can’t,” Bozeman said. “But now there are people who had big cars, big houses, and 401-ks who now find themselves in line at Hosea Williams Feed the Hungry,” he said. “So, we’re all in this together.” Metro Atlanta lost more than 12,000 jobs in 2010, statistics show, and its
unemployment rate was 10.4 percent for the first quarter of 2011. That’s why the 9 to 5 National Association of Working Women and Atlanta Jobs with Justice decided to sponsor the Speak Out event. “This event is about unity. If we unite, we can make some changes and help create jobs,” said Atlanta Jobs with Justice Coordinator Tony Romano. “We believe everyone deserves a job with dignity.” To get the crowd started, he yelled, “Don’t bite your tongues – call a spade a spade. Now, let the Speak Out begin!” Participants formed long lines at two microphones to give their testimonies. One man said he was unemployed and living in a shelter, but when he goes to fill out a job application, they won’t accept it because he can’t use the shelter as an address. Another participant, Dracy Blackwell, tugged at the audience’s heartstrings when she told of how four years of unemployment has devastated her husband. “It’s been really hard on him. Sometimes he’s suicidal,” she said. “I want to see him feel like a man again.” Some observers offered solutions and hope. One woman talked about becoming an entrepreneur by selling Avon. And, a former homeless man said he now is working for the Homeless Task Force. “Don’t give up hope!” he shouted. One 17-year old girl noted
she’d been looking for work to help her mother, who is a single parent. “Just the other day all of our electricity was cut off,” she lamented. To help relieve the pain, state Sen. Nan Orrock told the audience she’s fighting to make Georgia sign President Obama’s bill for extended unemployment benefits. Romano added, “Our next step is to try to defeat the anti-immigration bill, which also affects jobs, and to keep holding events like this so we can videotape testimonies and put them on You Tube. We’re hoping this will help us find solutions.” Georgia state Sen. Vincent Ford advised attendees to boycott the lottery. “Lottery ticket money comes from the
working poor community,” he said, “but you don’t benefit from it.” After the program, organizers provided free lunch and free services, including: legal aid, resume help, food stamps, Medicaid applications, career counseling, child care, housing, health screenings, and even free massages and haircuts. One participant, Alvin McCordy, said he was happy to get a haircut for an upcoming job interview. “The barbers treat people like me with compassion,” he said. “I’m going to feel better and look better.” One barber, Siegfried White, said he doesn’t mind offering free cuts on a Saturday – the day that barbers
usually make the most money. “Someone did this for me when I was going through my transition and I wanted to give back,” he said. Another barber, Gene Grisby, said participating in the program has become like a ministry for him. “I used to be homeless too,” he said, “so I try to give these brothers some hope to let them know if I can make it, they can make it, too.” For her part, Pinkston said despite her dilemma, she remains encouraged and is considering starting her own business. She won’t give up, she said, and read a poem that ended with the inspiring phrase: “Faith is everything.”
Social Security not headed for bankruptcy ST. LOUIS — Critics say Social Security is headed for bankruptcy as baby boomers retire, but a U.S. professor says this incorrect analysis is based on the 1950s worker. Merton C. Bernstein, the Walter D. Coles Professor Emeritus at Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, says in 1950, 15 people were at work for each Social Security recipient and that the ratio will decline to 2.2 people per recipient. “This analysis mistakenly assumes that the 1950 worker was as productive as his or her successors,” Bernstein
says in a statement. “Each successive wave of working people uses more advanced technology. Therefore they will produce more, earn more and generate more Federal Insurance Contributions Act per capita than individuals in 1950.” Bernstein says Social Security is on course to provide full benefits to its expected beneficiaries through 2036 due to its multitrillion dollar trust fund. “Raising or removing the cap on earnings subject to FICA could ease or erase the projected longer-term funding shortfall, depending on how it is constructed,” Bern-
stein says. “Such a measure has widespread support, including from the co-chairs of the Commission on Fiscal Responsibility.” Social Security — designed to be part of a retirement savings plan that also included a pension and personal savings — has become more important than ever as private pensions have been replaced with 401(K)s and individual retirement accounts. On average, one-quarter of the value of 401(k)s and IRAs were lost during the four years starting in 2008, Bernstein says.
DAILY D CHALLENGE TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2011
Ivory Coast’s Gbagbo’s captured By MARCO CHOWN OVED & SOPHIE TETREL ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast - After a week of heavy fighting, forces backing Ivory Coast’s internationally recognized leader yesterday strongman arrested Laurent Gbagbo who had refused to leave the presidency despite losing elections more than four months earlier. The dispute over the presidency had pushed the world’s largest cocoa producer to the brink of a renewed civil war, with hundreds of civilians slain in postelection violence. An eyewitness at the Golf Hotel where election winner Alassane Ouattara had been trying to run the presidency said he saw Gbagbo, his wife and son enter the hotel around midday yesterday. The witness spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. The long-awaited development came after French military forces in this former French colony deployed tanks yesterday for the first time near a bunker at the presidential residence where Gbagbo had reportedly been holed up with his family. Speaking on Ouattara’s private television station, Prime Minister Guillaume Soro said Gbagbo gave up when troops loyal to Ouattara entered
Soldiers allied with Alassane Ouattara rest along the roadside in the Youpougon neighborhood of Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Photo/Rebecca Blackwell Gbagbo’s compound. The station broadcast images of a serene Gbagbo sitting on his bed. It was not immediately clear if the images were made immediately after his capture. A senior adviser to Ouattara said it was Ivorian forces who arrested Gbagbo and that French forces were on the perimeter. Cmdr. Frederic Daguillon, the French forces spokesman in Abidjan, said “there wasn’t one single French soldier at the residence of Laurent Gbagbo.” Ouattara’s radio station confirmed Gbagbo’s arrest. Official word first came from the French Embassy in Abidjan. “It’s a victory ... considering all the evil that Laurent Gbagbo inflicted on Ivory Coast,”
Ouattara’s ambassador to France, Ali Coulibaly, said on France-Info radio. He emphasizing that the man in power for a decade would be “treated with humanity.” “We must not in any way make a royal gift to Laurent Gbagbo in making him a martyr,” Coulibaly said. “He must be alive and he must answer for the crimes against humanity that he committed.” Gbagbo, who won 46 percent of the vote in November’s election, had held power for a decade - five years beyond his mandate. For years he had postponed holding a presidential election. When the country’s election commission and international observers declared he lost the election after it was finally held, he
refused to step down. The former history professor defied nearuniversal pressure to cede power to Ouattara. The two set up parallel administrations that vied for control of the West African economic powerhouse. Ouattara drew his support from the U.N. and world powers. Gbagbo maintained his hold over the country’s military and security forces who terrorized his opponents. He wrapped himself in the country’s flag as he took the oath of office. “No one has the right to call on foreign armies to invade his country,” Gbagbo, still taking a nationalistic stance, declared in a televised address on New Year’s Eve. “Our greatest duty to our country is to defend it from foreign
attack.” Other African nations considered military intervention to remove Gbagbo, but it never materialized and sanctions imposed on Gbagbo and his inner circle by the U.S. and European Union failed to dislodge him. Human rights groups accused his security forces of abducting and killing hundreds of political opponents as the deadlock dragged on. While the United Nations passed resolutions allowing its peacekeepers to intervene to protect civilians, antiGbagbo neighborhoods in Abidjan continued to be pummeled with mortars. So many people were killed that the local morgue began stacking corpses on the floor because they had run out of space in the
refrigerated vaults. Some critics had accused Gbagbo of clinging to power to avoid prosecution by the International Criminal Court. ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo has begun preliminary examination of possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ivory Coast, including accusations leveled against forces seeking to install Ouattara. Ouattara attempted to assert his authority from the Golf Hotel, protected by U.N. peacekeepers, while the would-be president tried to financially strangle Gbagbo by imposing an embargo on cocoa exports. In a desperate move, Gbagbo seized control of foreign banks in Abidjan - prompting their flight and a liquidity crunch.
Syrian forces seal off Banias, tension mounts By KHALED YACOUB OWEIS AMMAN - Syrian security forces sealed off the coastal city of Banias overnight following pro-democracy protests and killings by irregulars loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, witnesses said yesterday. Violence in Banias, home to one of Syria’s two oil refineries, erupted on Sunday when irregulars from the ruling Alawite minority, known as
“shabbiha,” fired at residents with automatic rifles from speeding cars, the witnesses said. Four people were killed in the mostly Sunni Muslim city on the Mediterranean coast, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Authorities said an armed group had ambushed a patrol near Banias, killing nine soldiers. Activists and protesters said roads to Banias were blocked.
“Electricity has been cut since yesterday. People are very afraid,” Anas al-Shughri, one of the protest leaders, told Reuters from Banias. “The army has deployed in Banias with infantry and they have set up checkpoints in and around the city.” Facing an unprecedented challenge to his authoritarian rule, Assad has said the protests are part of a foreign conspiracy to sow sectarian strife. His father, the late
President Hafez al-Assad, used similar language when he crushed leftist and Islamist challenges to his rule in the 1980s, killing thousands. Civic leaders and opposition figures reject the allegation and issued a declaration last month denouncing sectarianism, committing to nonviolent democratic change and stating that Syria’s people “as a whole are under repression.” ALAWITES PROTEST The ruling family, Bashar’s
brother Maher is the second most powerful person in Syria, belong to the Alawite minority, an offshoot of Shi’ite Islam, which comprises around 10 percent of the country’s 20 million population. “The Alawites, like other minorities living under tyrannical systems, fear the unknown if the regime falls. But this does not mean that they support the violence it is committing,” an Alawite human rights lawyer said.
DAILY CHALLENGE TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2011
Gaddafi forces shell town after he accepts peace plan By MICHAEL GEORGY BENGHAZI, Libya - Forces loyal Muammar to Gaddafi shelled the besieged town of Misrata yesterday after the African Union said he had accepted a plan to end Libya’s civil war. Al Jazeera television a rebel quoted spokesman as saying five people died and 20 were wounded in Misrata, a lone rebel bastion in western Libya, which has been under siege for more than six weeks. Rebels in Misrata told Reuters Gaddafi’s forces fired Russianmade Grad rockets into the city, where conditions for civilians are said to be desperate. The insurgents said they would accept no plan that allowed Gaddafi to stay in power and prepared to advance on the eastern front after repelling a major government assault on Sunday against their town of Ajdabiyah. Prospects for a ceasefire looked remote. South African President Jacob Zuma, head of an AU peace mission, said early yesterday that Gaddafi had accepted a peace “road map”, including a ceasefire, after talks in Tripoli.
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi gestures, as he is surrounded by members of the media, after a meeting with a delegation of five African leaders at his Bab al-Aziziyah compound in Tripoli Sunday. Photo/Zohra Bensemra A spokesman in the rebel capital of Benghazi said the opposition would look at the plan but Gaddafi must end his 41-year rule. “The Libyan people have made it very clear that Gaddafi must step down, but we will consider the proposal once we have more details, and respond,” spokesman Mustafa Gheriani told Reuters. Libyan officials have repeatedly said that Gaddafi, who holds no official state position, will not quit. The AU delegation went to Benghazi to confer with rebel leaders yesterday and was met by more than 2,000 demonstrators holding banners reading:
“African Union take Gaddafi with you” and “Gaddafi has committed genocide”. NO LET-UP IN NATO ATTACKS Officials from NATO, which is bombing Libyan government armour under a United Nations mandate to protect civilians, said they took note of the AU proposal but the alliance would continue operations while civilians were at risk. “It does not appear that this indication of a peace deal has any substance at this point,” said one NATO official in reference to the shelling of Misrata. The African Union does not have a good track record in broker-
ing peace deals, having failed recently to end conflict or disputes in Somalia, Madagascar and Ivory Coast. “The issue of Gaddafi stepping down from any political position is a closed issue ... Muammar Gaddafi does not hold a position of power,” Abdel Monem al-Lamoushi, a government spokesman, told Al Arabiya television. “No one has the right to send Muammar Gaddafi into exile out of the land of his forefathers. This man will not leave Libya.” At the front outside the eastern rebel town of Ajdabiyah, rebels buried the charred bodies of Gaddafi troops killed in air strikes and
said they had been ordered to wait until noon to advance because new NATO bombing was expected. Gheriani expressed surprise that Zuma did not travel to Benghazi with the four other African heads of state. Zuma said he had urgent business elsewhere. NATO, which has denounced attacks by Libya’s forces on civilian areas, said only that it took note of the AU proposal. The alliance stepped up attacks on Gaddafi’s armour over the weekend, destroying 25 tanks around Misrata and Ajdabiyah. NO DISCUSSION ON GADDAFI An African Union statement after the Tripoli talks made no mention of Gaddafi’s future. Asked if the issue of him stepping aside was discussed, Ramtane Lamamra, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, told reporters: “There was some discussion.” However he added: “I cannot report on confidential discussions because first of all I was not part of them.” The AU proposal included an immediate cessation of hostilities, effective monitoring of the ceasefire, the delivery of humanitarian aid and the protection of foreigners. Asked if he feared rebels might reject the plan, Lamamra said:
“We believe what we have proposed is broad enough to launch negotiations ... What we need is for them to accept that we are people of good will.” The rebels have previously rejected a negotiated outcome to what has become the bloodiest in a series of prorevolts democracy across the Arab world that have ousted the autocratic leaders of Tunisia and Egypt. NATO said it had increased the tempo of its air operations over the weekend, after rebels accused it of responding too slowly to government attacks. The NATO attacks outside Ajdabiyah on Sunday helped break the biggest assault by Gaddafi’s forces on the eastern front for at least a week. The town is the gateway to the rebel stronghold of Benghazi 150 km (90 miles) north up the Mediterranean coast. Yesterday rebels were putting burned and mangled bodies into blankets by blackened government vehicles outside Ajdabiyah and dragging them into the desert for burial. “We have been able to advance because of the air strikes,” said rebel Belgassim El-Awami. It was not clear how far west the rebels had moved along a front which has swung back and forth for more than a week in a fight for the oil port of Brega.
Pr es sur e mounts for Mubarak trial By CHRISTOPHE DE ROQUEFEUIL CAIRO - Two months after he was ousted, president Hosni Mubarak was facing yesterday increasing pressure to be brought to justice over alleged corruption and violence against protesters. On Sunday, the public prosecutor said Mubarak and his two
sons would be questioned, after the broadcast of an audio tape in which the former president defended his reputation, breaking a twomonth silence. Interior Minister Mansur Essawy said “all measures would be taken to ensure the safety of Mubarak and his sons” Alaa and Gamal when they go in for questioning, but warned they could be arrested if they fail to show up. “If the former president and his two sons refuse to appear before the prosecution at the date to be set, the public
prosecutor will be notified and legal measures will be taken,” Essawy told the official MENA news agency late on Sunday. Mubarak and his sons will be questioned about allegations and legal complaints that they were “connected to the crimes of assault against protesters, leading to deaths and injuries,” MENA said. The ousted president would also be quizzed on allegations of graft, it added. An estimated 800 people were killed in clashes with police and
the former president’s supporters during the protests that erupted on January 25. In an audio message aired on pan-Arab television network AlArabiya, the 82-year-old Mubarak complained he was the victim of a smear campaign. He pledged his assistance in a probe of his family’s foreign assets, but his defiance in threatening lawsuits against the media angered Egyptians who have been pressing for his trial. After he resigned, Mubarak and his family
moved to a residence in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, and although he has been slapped with a travel ban, his relative freedom has remained a thorn in the side of the military rulers. “There is enormous pressure on the army, it will have a hard time ignoring a trial indefinitely,” said Rabab alMahdi, professor of political science at the American University in Cairo. She said Mubarak’s speech on Sunday actually turned people against him.
“People got the feeling he was trying to buy time,” she said. Weekly protests demanding Mubarak’s trial have attracted tens of thousands and eventually led to a deadly clash with soldiers trying to clear an overnight demonstration in Cairo’s Tahrir Square early Saturday. Defiant protesters, who accused army commanders of complicity with the former president, remained in the square, although the military had pledged to disperse them, raising fears of further clashes.
D CHALLENGE TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2011 DAILY
Egypt blogger gets 3 years for criticising military
By JAILAN ZAYAN CAIRO - An Egyptian military court yesterday jailed a blogger for three years for criticising the armed forces, the country’s rulers since president Hosni Mubarak’ resigned in February, his lawyer told AFP. “Regrettably, the Nasr City military court sentenced Maikel Nabil to three years in prison,” Gamal Eid said. “The lawyers were not present, the verdict was handed out almost in secret.” The verdict had initially been set for Wednesday and was postponed to Sunday. The lawyers went on Sunday but were told to leave because there would be no verdict, Eid said. “We were then very suprised to hear that he (Maikel Nabil) was sentenced to three years,” said Eid, who heads the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI). The verdict is likely to cause concern to Egypt’s large network of bloggers who had hoped the overthrow of Mubarak in a popular uprising would usher in a new era of freedom of expression. Last week, Human Rights Watch called for the charges to be dropped. It said Egypt’s armed forces “should drop all charges against (Nabil) for his Internet posts critical of the military.” “This trial sets a dangerous precedent at a time when Egypt is trying to transition away from the abuses of the Mubarak era,”
f Uganda arrests opposition member on protest walk
Egyptian anti-government bloggers work on their laptops from Cairo's Tahrir Square in February. An Egyptian military court yesterday jailed a blogger for three years for criticising the armed forces, the country's rulers since president Hosni Mubarak' resigned in February, his lawyer says. Photo/Patrick Baz said HRW’s Middle East and tenced another blogger to six North Africa director Sarah Leah months in prison for publishing Whitson. “military secrets” after he posted This is the first trial of a blog- instructions on Facebook on how ger by a military court since the to enlist in the armed forces, his Supreme Council of the Armed lawyers said at the time. Forces assumed control after Another blogger was acquitted Mubarak resigned on February after he published a post on 11 following 18 straight days of alleged patronage in a military anti-regime protests. academy. Military police arrested Nabil, a The military, which has campaigner against conscription, pledged to hand power to a civilon March 28 after he wrote blogs ian government once parliamencriticising the military, HRW tary and presidential elections are said. held, has tried and sentenced His posts and comments on dozens of people in recent weeks social networking website for crimes such as robbery and Facebook were used as evidence assault. against him in the trial, HRW The trials are speedy and can quoted his lawyers as saying. result in harsh sentences, rights Last year, a military court sen- groups say.
Three men to hang for rape CAIRO An Egyptian military court in the Suez Canal city of Ismailiya has ordered the execution of three men convicted of kidnapping and raping a woman last month, the state-owned press said yesterday. Mohammed Gamal Attiya, Mohammed Misbah Abdel Haq and Ibrahim Mohammed alShennawi are to be hanged, in the first ruling by a military court since Egypt passed tougher laws on sexual offences, the
Egyptian soldiers stand guard in Cairo, February 2011. An Egyptian military court in the Suez Canal city of Ismailiya has ordered the execution of three men convicted of kidnapping and raping a woman last month. Photo/Pedro Ugarte mass circulation AlAhram newspaper reported. The victim, 24, and a
male relative were driving on a motorway on March 20 on their way to the northern city of
Damietta when the three men forced them to stop the vehicle at gun point.
KAMPALA, Uganda - Police have arrested Uganda’s leading opposition figure and several members of parliament during a march to protest high fuel and food prices. Tear gas was fired on their supporters. Police spokeswoman Judith Nabakooba said yesterday that Kizza Besigye was arrested for obstructing traffic after sitting on a roadway for 30 minutes. Besigye supporter Felix Mugasa says the opposition politician was stopped by police while walking to work. Besigye then sat down in protest. Besigye and others were walking to protest rising prices. Police chief Kale Kayihura said the demonstration was unlawful. Besigye took second place in Uganda’s February presidential election to President Yoweri Museveni.
Zimbabwe rhino conservationist wins top award HARARE, Zimbabwe - The endangered African rhinoceros isn’t like a prehistoric dinosaur on the verge of extinction. It is robust in its natural habitat, it is disease resistant and breeds well when protected from poachers, says veteran Zimbabwean conservationist Raoul du Toit. “If you can keep the poachers away, rhinos can look after themselves extremely well,” he said. Du Toit was named yesterday among six recipients of this year’s Goldman Environmental Prize, the most prestigious international award for environmental activists, citing them as “fearless emerging leaders working against all odds to protect the environment and their communities.” Du Toit heads a rhino conservation project in southern Zimbabwe that has helped rebuild and maintain the highest population of rhino in the southern African nation. Years of political and economic turmoil and a breakdown in law and order has seen a surge in poaching not only of rhino but of all species of Zimbabwe’s wildlife. But in the massive southern district where du Toit’s Lowveldt Rhino Trust operates, headway is being made - 21 rhinos were killed for their horn there last year, compared to 71 in 2009. The powdered rhino horn is used in centuriesold healing remedies in China and elsewhere in Asia. The new worry, du Toit told the Associated Press, is rapidly increasing demand in Vietnam where it is now believed to be a cure for cancer. “This has to be addressed. In Western medicine, tests have been done to show it has no medicinal properties,” he said. The horn is of the same compacted fibers found in human fingernails. In Vietnam it can fetch up to $40,000 a kilogram (2.2 pounds). Like fingernails, rhino horn re-grows but dehorning programs and sales of horns taken from animals dying from natural causes have further fueled demand and spurred poaching. - ANGUS SHAW
CARIBBEAN NEWS DAILY CHALLENGE TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2011
Skin bleaching a growing problem in Jamaica slums By DAVID McFADDEN KINGSTON, Jamaica - Mikeisha Simpson covers her body in greasy white cream and bundles up in a track suit to avoid the fierce sun of her native Jamaica, but she’s not worried about skin cancer. The 23-year-old resident of a Kingston ghetto hopes to transform her dark complexion to a cafe-au-laitcolor common among Jamaica’s elite and favored by many men in her neighborhood. She believes a fairer skin could be her ticket to a better life. So she spends her meager savings on cheap blackmarket concoctions that promise to lighten her pigment. Simpson and her friends ultimately shrug off public health campaigns and reggae hits blasting the reckless practice. “I hear the people that say bleaching is bad, but I’ll still do it. I won’t stop ‘cause I like it and I know how to do it safe,” said Simpson, her young daughter bouncing on her hip. People around the world often try to alter their skin color, using tanning salons or dyes to darken it or other chemicals to lighten it. In the gritty slums of Jamaica, doctors say the skin lightening phenomenon has reached dangerous proportions.
In this file photo, Mikeisha Simpson poses for a portrait in Kingston, Jamaica. Simpson, 23, hopes to transform her dark complexion to a cafeau-lait-color common among Jamaica's elite and favored by many men in her neighborhood. She believes a fairer skin could be her ticket to a better life, so she spends her savings on black-market concoctions that promise to lighten her pigment. Photo/Caterina Werner “I know of one marks across some board boxes stacked along sidewalks in marwoman who started to Jamaicans’ faces. In Japan, the ket districts. bleach her baby. She “Many of the tubes got very annoyed with European Union, and hydro- are unlabeled as to their me when I told her to Australia, ingredients,” has been actual stop immediately, and quinone Dr. Richard she left my office. I removed from over-the- said often wonder what counter skin products Desnoes, president of Dermatology became of that baby,” and substituted with the said Neil Persadsingh, other chemicals due to Association of Jamaica. Hardcore bleachers a leading Jamaican der- concerns about health risks. In the U.S., over- use illegal ointments matologist. Most Jamaican the-counter creams con- smuggled into the bleachers use over-the- taining up to 2 percent Caribbean country that counter creams, many hydroquinone are rec- contain toxins like merof them knockoffs ognized as safe and cury, a metal that imported from West effective by the U.S. blocks production of and Drug melanin, which give Africa. Long-term use Food of one of the ingredi- Administration. A pro- skin its color, but can ents, hydroquinone, posed ban by the FDA also be toxic. Some impoverished has long been linked to in 2006 fizzled. Lightening creams people resort to homea disfiguring condition called ochronosis that are not effectively regu- made mixtures of toothcauses a splotchy dark- lated in Jamaica, where paste or curry powder, ening of the skin. even roadside vendors which can stain skin Doctors say abuse of sell tubes and plastic with a yellowish tint. The Jamaican bleaching lotions has bags of powders and also left a web of stretch ointments from card- Ministry of Health does
not have data on damage caused by skinagents, bleaching though dermatologists and other health officials say they have been seeing more cases. Eva Lewis-Fuller, the ministry’s director of health promotion and protection, is redoubling education proto combat grams bleaching in this predominantly black island of 2.8 million people, where images of fair-skinned people predominate in commercials for high-end products and in the social pages of newspapers. “Bleaching has gotten far worse and widespread in recent years,” she said. “(Bleachers) want to be accepted within their circle of society. They want to be attractive to the opposite sex. They want career opportunities. But we are saying there are side effects and risks. It can disfigure your face.” Health officials are running warnings on local radio stations, putting up posters in schools, holding talks and handing out literature about the dangers. But a similar antibleaching campaign in 2007 called “Don’t Kill the Skin” did nothing to slow the craze. The bleaching trend is sparking a growing public debate. Even dancehall reggae hits celebrate the practice, or condemn it. The most public proponent of bleaching is singing star Vybz Kartel, whose own complexion has dramatical-
ly lightened in recent years. His ‘Look Pon Me’ contains the lines: “Di girl dem love off mi brown cute face, di girl dem love off mi bleachout face.” Kartel, whose real name is Adijah Palmer, insists that skin bleaching is simply a personal choice like tattooing. A.D. Christopher Charles, an assistant professor at Monroe College in New York City who has studied the psychology of bleaching, said many young Jamaicans perceive it “as a modern thing, like Botox, to fashion their own body in a unique way.” Others, however, say it raises awkward questions about identity and race. “If we really want to control the spread of the skin-bleaching virus, we first have to admit that there’s an epidemic of color prejudice in our society,” said Carolyn Cooper, a professor of literary and cultural studies at the University of the West Indies, writing in The Jamaica Gleaner newspaper. Felicia James, a 20year-old resident of the Matthews Lane slum, said skin bleaching just makes her feel special, like she’s walking around in a spotlight. She was taught to bleach by her older sister and her friends. “It’s just the fashionable thing to do. After I bleach, I’m cris,” she said, using a Jamaican term for cool. “Plus, a lot of the boys are doing it now, too.”
No guns for emotionally unstable cops in Jamaica Turks and Caicos corruption arrests confirmed K I N G S T O N , Jamaica — Jamaican police officers who show signs of emotional instability are to be disarmed of their service and personal firearms, Police Commissioner Owen Ellington instructed his commanding officers over the weekend. The Jamaica Observer reported that the instructions from the police chief come a day after Corporal Wayne Llewellyn who
was reportedly struggling with marital problems, shot and injured his wife, killed his stepdaughter, mother in law, father in law and brother in law before taking his own life. Ellington is apparently hoping that members of the constabulary suffering from stress will be identified early, disarmed and given counselling to avoid a repeat of last Thursday’s tragedy. “This procedure
should be applied in instances where the member has a history or strong suspicion of mental instability, alcoholism, substance abuse, intemperate habits, tendency to be quarrelsome and/or abusive,” the Commissioner said. The new directive, according to Ellington, is intended to protect families, colleagues and members of the public from tragic occurrences.
PROVIDENCIALES , Turks and Caicos Islands — The team looking into alleged corruption in the last internal government of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) led by the Progressive National Party (PNP) has now confirmed the arrest of both a developer and the brother of a former minister. The special investigation and prosecution team (SIPT) has now
acknowledged that earlier stories regarding the arrests were accurate. In the case of the developer it was revealed the 73-yearold man was arrested on suspicion of bribery and other offences and was released on bail. The exact charges in the case of the other man have not been confirmed but they are suspected to be in connection with a land
“flip” where the individual was used as a facilitator between the minister and the proceeds of the flip. The wide ranging and in depth investigation producing these arrests did not get underway until the middle of last year after the government in Britain changed hands and subsequently agreed to fund the large team of forensic investigators.
CARIBBEAN NEWS DAILY CHALLENGE TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2011
New entrepreneurs in Cuba get mixed results APBy PAUL HAVEN HAVANA - There was no colorful bunting to mark the grand opening, and no way to advertise in the local press. There was not even money to hand out fliers in this decaying Havana neighborhood of potholed streets and crumbling one-story homes. So when the freshlypainted front window of the tiny pizzeria swung open on the most important afternoon in Julio Cesar Hidalgo’s life, nobody noticed at first. Hidalgo and his girlfriend Gisselle de la Noval waited for half an hour, then another, and another. Finally, 92year-old Estrella Soto shuffled up to the takeout counter and ordered a medium pizza with onion toppings. “I love it,” she declared, and Hidalgo and de la Noval have barely sat down since. They sold seven more pizzas in the next 15 minutes, and a total of 30 on their March 8 opening day. The following Saturday they had their best afternoon yet, churning out 60 pies from a used gas oven that looks too narrow even for a small
family’s needs. It has been six months since President Raul Castro opened this tightly-controlled communist country to a smattering of free-market capitalism, in the significant most change to its economy in decades. By March 8, entrepreneurs had taken out more than 171,000 business licenses, according to state-run media, more than twothirds of the 250,000 goal for all of 2011. As Cuba’s new business class journeys cautiously forth, some, are enjoying the first fruits of success. Others say the terrain has been rockier than anticipated. Some have already closed the door on their entrepreneurial dreams. The Associated Press began following the fortunes of a group of would-be small business owners in December. Four months later, their experiences seem to reflect the sweep of Cuba’s grand fiscal experiment, as well as the sometimes cruel vicissitudes of the free market. There is Javier Acosta, who is struggling to get customers into his upscale Havana restaurant. And Yusdany Simpson, a
young single mother making a modest income selling coffee and sandwiches from her front yard, a humble venture that resembles a child’s lemonade stand. Then there is Danilo Perez, a 21-year-old bookkeeper who got a license to sell pirated DVDs, only to give up bitterly after authorities suddenly quadrupled his taxes. “Cubans are entrepreneurial people and to the extent they are allowed to work and make some money, they will,” said Lorenzo Perez, a former IMF economist and member of the Association of the Study of the Cuban Economy, a nonpartisan Washington, D.C.based think tank. But he added the new enterprises face stiff challenges in a country where few have business acumen, raw materials are hard to find, tax rates can be exorbitant and myriad government regulations still restrict basic activities. “All over the world, the percentage of small businesses that succeed is very small, even in the United States,” said Perez. “In Cuba, the difficulties are enormous, because the environment is not very con-
ducive yet to business ... but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.” Dozens of restaurants have opened, some of them remarkably chic for an island of 11 million people where it can be hard to find such basics as matching tables and chairs, and an explosion of private apartments have been put on the rental market. Those who have sought out licenses say the process is fast and straightforward. Fears that government inspectors - some looking for kickbacks would undo the free market drive have not materialized, perhaps because there are not yet enough to check in regularly on the unexpectedly large number of new businesses. Meanwhile, the government has pushed back indefinitely plans to lay off 500,000 state workers, acknowledging the move was extremely difficult and had to be handled with the utmost delicacy. More details are likely to be announced at a key Communist Party Congress slated to begin April 16, But it has not all been smooth sailing for the entrepreneurs. Perez, the DVD seller, threw in the towel
two weeks ago. He said when he went to get a license in December, officials told him he needed to pay $2.50 a month to operate a streetside kiosk. But when he went back in March, they told him the rates had gone up to $10.50 a month, with an extra month’s taxes in advance. “There were many people protesting some even crying because they didn’t have the money to pay,” said Perez, who is unemployed and getting help from his parents to make ends meet. Javier Acosta, the owner of a new restaurant in the Playa neighborhood, said he did not make enough in his first month to even cover the monthly tax of $458, and so had to dip into his savings to pay the government and his employees. The next month Acosta did cover his costs, barely, and he is hoping nervously the trend continues. “There are days when nobody has come, absolutely nobody,” Acosta said. “Sometimes I’ve had one table, or two, but I know how this works .. one must go slowly, little by little, and build a reputation through word of mouth.”
Simpson, the single mother, has had more success, albeit with far more modest goals. Before she opened her in Havana’s kiosk Vedado neighborhood, she was unemployed and dependent on remittances sent from abroad to raise her 2year-old son. Now, she makes about $25 a month selling coffee, soft drinks and mayonnaise sandwiches for pennies apiece, a little more than the average Cuban monthly salary. “This isn’t going to make me rich, but I make enough to get by,” she said. Back at Hidalgo’s pizza parlor, the strains of business ownership were evident. Hidalgo has spent more than $1,000 to get the pizzeria off the ground, much of it a gift from a cousin in the United States. Now that it is open, he spends hours standing up each day next to the hot oven, and hours more each week lugging sacks of flour and large cans of tomato sauce back on his bicycle. He has been able to find all the ingredients he needs in official shops, a sign, he says, that the government is making good on promises to increase access to raw materials.
US company in Haiti blames Cuba for loss of barge By TRENTON DANIEL PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - A U.S. housing company is blaming Cuba for the loss of a barge loaded with supplies to build shelters for displaced earthquake survivors in Haiti. Executives with Harbor Homes LLC said late Saturday that the Cuban government denied the U.S. Coast Guard permission to enter its waters to reclaim a drifting barge carrying $2 million worth of humanitarian supplies bound for the quake-devastated Caribbean country. As a result, the barge
carrying cargo to build 1,000 homes in Haiti sank in December as the Cuban military attempted to tow it ashore. A tow line snapped and the barge ran aground, scattering building supplies, three tractors, and a bulldozer into the Atlantic, company officials said. “At the end of the day the Cuban government is directly and solely responsible for the sinking of this vessel,” said Matt Williams, a spokesman for Harbor Homes and its subsidiary PermaShelter. “A lot of homes aren’t being built because of the Cuban government.” Cuban government officials could not be
reached for comment. U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Cdr. Matt Moorlag said he was looking into the matter but was unavailable to share specifics Sunday. Executives with Harbor Homes, a Georgia-based company that provides temporary shelters to disasteraffected areas, did not go public until now because they hoped their insurance company, Lloyd’s of London, would be able to pay for their loss. They say the company declined to pay out their claim because of the tugboat’s age. The loss of the humanitarian supplies comes as relief workers and the Haitian govern-
ment struggle to house more than 600,000 Haitians displaced after the January 2010 quake. According to interviews and email correspondence with Harbor Homes and partner World Vision, a Christian relief group, a tugboat towing the barge left Jacksonville, Florida, on Nov. 17. The tugboat captain refueled in the Bahamas, but officials said the gas was contaminated with water. The vessel’s engine eventually died about 13 miles from Cuba’s easternmost coast. The barge’s GPS tracker then showed something strange.
“The barge took an unnatural turn on Dec. 1,” Williams said. A printout of a map shows the vessel taking a hard right turn south, just north of the Cuban shoreline. Williams contacted the U.S. Coast Guard and it dispatched a cutter and a helicopter to try and pull the boats to safety until they could find a vessel to take the boats to Haiti or bring fresh fuel. The Coast Guard contacted the Cuban authorities for permission to enter their waters but was denied access. Matthew Batson, vice president of Harbor Homes, and Col. Felix
Vargas, a retired U.S. Foreign Service officer who worked as a consultant for the company, traveled to Santiago de Cuba in December in an effort to reclaim the barge and cargo. They said Cuban officials showed them an eight-minute video of the wreckage site. “I could clearly see that the vast majority of the cargo had spilled into the ocean,” Batson wrote in an email to World Vision. The pair tried to visit the barge but Cuban port officials wouldn’t let them. Cuban officials told them they couldn’t because they had tourist visas and the visit was business related.
DAILY CHALLENGE TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2011
One Thought - One Humanity
‘Braxton Family Values’: Five strong women, but only one spotlight
For the conclusions of these stories check out the April 7th - April 13th, 2011 issue of The New American, which hits newsstands every Thursday Finally, it is revealed when Beyonce is dropping her next studio album: the moment we’ve all been impatiently waiting for! Rumors surrounding Beyonce’s album situation have been circulating the industry since last year, and it seems that we’ve finally gotten some answers. The multi-platinum selling singer/performer and wife of Jay-Z reportedly unveiled six new tracks last week at a private listening session to her label exes who called them “groundbreaking”. According to MTV.com, these tracks along with the rest of her album will be released this June! *breathes a sigh of relief* Denis Handlin of Sony Music told the Daily Telegraph: “It was just amazing. These songs, the best description I can give is groundbreaking”. The new album has not been titled yet. R&B legend and icon R. Kelly is ready to expose himself, his life, his innermost thoughts and secrets in an upcoming memoir, “Soulacoaster.” “I’m writing this book as Robert, not R. Kelly,” he said. Kels has endured so much throughout his career to scandals, cases, divorce, and even beef. But he has continued to live life and make music the best he knows how. “I’m tired of being misunderstood. I will show you the tears, fears, and sweat. I will open my heart and reveal the good in my life as well as all the drama. I want to tell it like it is.” Cowritten with David Ritz, “Soulacoaster” has been described as “part memoir, part keepsake, promising his fans an intimate and unforgettable ride.” Janet Jackson is booked to attend the
annual AIDS charity event Life Ball, to be held May 21 in Vienna — 30 years after the disease was first discovered, organizers announced. Jackson will be present in her capacity as representative of the Foundation for AIDS Research (amFAR). “HIV/AIDS is a pandemic which requires our immediate and continued attention,” the singer says in a statement. “Combination therapy has made HIV a maintainable disease, but sadly, there is still no cure and it continues to spread at alarming rates. HIV/AIDS is a continuing hazard, both in the Unites States and abroad.” The Life Ball is held annually by AIDS LIFE, an independent non-profit organization that raises funds for people living with HIV. 50 Cent reportedly took back a blue Lambo that he gave Ciara. TMZ is reporting that Nicki Minaj is in talks with Britney Spears’ camp to become the opening act on her upcoming tour. The rapper would replace Enrique Iglesias, who bailed at the last minute – reportedly because he had second thoughts about serving as Britney’s opening act. Nicki’s current tour with Lil Wayne and company ends on April 28, which would give her just short of two months to rest up before Britney’s trek begins on June 17 in Sacramento. TMZ says, “We’re told it’s looking very good that Nicki and Britney will reach an agreement in the next day or so.” DJ Khaled’s albums are known for being star-studded affairs - a trend that will continue with his latest LP, We the Best Forever. “My album is the most amazing thing ever,”
said Khaled in an interview with XXLMag.com. Though the album will feature the artists that Khaled describes as “the usual suspects” - Rick Ross, Young Jeezy, Jadakiss, Fat Joe and Birdman, the Terror Squad deejay revealed that Nas and Kanye West would be joining the fray. The album will have a bit of a smoother flavor to it as well, as Chris Brown, Keyshia Cole and Mary J. Blige will be featured, though Khaled cautions that it won’t be soft. “My Chris Brown record is – it’s called ‘Legendary.’ It ain’t R&B, that sh*t hard but everybody can relate to it.” Rihanna is about follow in Beyonce’s footsteps and dump her manager Jay-Z. Word on the street is that Rihanna is getting ready to dump her manager Jay-Z. Sources are saying that Rihanna has a lot to be worried about now that Beyonce is part of Jay’s Roc Nation. The two divas will have to battle it out when it comes to endorsement deals, etc. and Rihanna’s people are concerned that there may be a conflict of interest for Jay, who will have to decide between his wife and Rihanna. I have to say I agree with RiRi on this one….I’m sure Jay will want to keep the money in the family (can’t say that I blame him!) Tinie Tempah has already started working on his second album and hopes to have it released by October. The ‘Written in the Stars’ hitmaker is already working on the follow up to his debut ‘Dis-covery’ released October 2010 and while he is experimenting with new sounds, doesn’t want to stray too far from his previously successful formula.
What do you get when you mix a song after hit song and too many quintet of opinionated women with accolades to count; Traci has an celebrity, money and a television unexpected pregnancy; Towanda camera? You get WE tv’s new 10 decides to pursue acting; Trina episode one-hour original series, becomes back-up for Toni and a “Braxton Family Values,” premier- “wedding singer;” and Tamar ing Tuesday April 12 at 9pm ET/PT. strikes out on her own to chase her Join Toni – “The Superstar”, Traci rising star. Mom Evelyn also expe– “The Underdog,” Towanda – “Mrs. rienced change when she divorced Congeniality,” Trina – “The Wild- the love of her life, the girls’ father, card,” Tamar – “Baby” and their for his chronic philandering. With headstrong mother Evelyn – “The their worlds turned upside-down, Force,” as they yell, cry and harmo- and the meteoric rise of Toni’s fame, nize their way across the Braxton the family had to dramatically family stage. adjust to life after stardom. These tight-knit sisters are not Toni Braxton is now fighting her afraid to reveal the intricacies of way back to the top. After battling their sisterhood as they battle it out debilitating illnesses that left her for the spotlight with sibling rival- out of the spotlight, she’s looking to ry, man drama, bankruptcy, a DUI regain her status in the industry. and much more. See if their sisterly She enlists the help of her sisters, bond can withstand the trials and but the drama they bring proves to tribulations of life in the fab lane. be too much at times. As Traci Like their famous sister Toni dreams of rejoining her famous sisBraxton, Traci, Towanda, Trina and ter on stage as a background singer, Tamar were all blessed with the gift Tamar wants nothing to do with the of song and shared that gift as a background. She wants to be front group called “The Braxtons,” man- and center and isn’t afraid to let aged by their mom Evelyn. everyone know that “doo-whoppin” Fast forward a few years, and for Toni is not what she needs. Toni Braxton is a mega-star with hit - Full Story In This Week’s New American Newspaper -
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DAILY CHALLENGE TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2011
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DAILY CHALLENGE TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2011
‘The Dance Scene’ shows ‘music still matters,’ Laurieann Gibson says By JOCELYN VENA Laurieann Gibson debuted her new E! reality show, “The Dance Scene,” on Sunday night, and the premiere was an inside look at what it’s like to be one of the most sought-after choreographers in the game. Gibson — who is also Lady Gaga’s creative director — is seen working with A-listers Katy Perry and Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles as they prepare for VH1’s “Divas Live” in the first episode.
Before her E! show, Gibson had made appearances on reality shows like “So You Think You Can Dance,” MTV’s “Making the Band” and “Skating With the Stars.” When MTV News caught up with her, Gibson said she was drawn to the idea of having her own reality show because she wanted fans to see that there’s still real artistry in pop music. “I think it’s the only reason why I did the show, was because after being in the music industry for so long and loving music and wanti-
ng real artists and real talent to take the forefront as opposed to a premeditated idea of what an artist is based on — a corporate mind-set or a person — that a piece of music or a piece of dance is birthed out of your belly,” she explained. “I want the music to get back into the hands of the people. I wanted them to know that if they watch the show and they see me doubt or fear or fight through adversity or some dreamslayer and they can watch and be inspired that they can
make it,” Gibson added. “The music still matters, that the dance still matters, that the gift still matters.” The show goes deep into Gibson’s life and follows her crew of dancers and choreographers, all of whom work from her Boom Kack studios. The dance maven is known for her tough approach, and she thinks the show, which is executiveproduced by Ryan Seacrest, will show another side of Gaga’s trusted right-hand lady. “I think they’re gonna be
Cartoon birds, bunnies rule world box office LOS ANGELES — “Rio,” the 3D animated misadventure of a Brazilian macaw, soared at the international box office, earning about $55 million in its opening weekend, its distributor said on Sunday. Ahead of its Friday debut in North America, the 20th Century Fox release got an early start in 72 countries, opening at No. 1 in nearly all of them. Top markets included Russia ($10.4 million) and, naturally, Brazil ($8.3 million), where it ranked as the biggest opening ever for an animated cartoon. The cartoon revolves around Blu, a rare blue macaw (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg of “The Social Network”), who returns to his native Brazil after a coddled existence as a smuggled pet in America. It was directed by Carlos Saldanha, the Rio de Janeiroborn director of the “Ice Age” trilogy. Both those films and “Rio” were produced by Blue Sky Studios, and distributed by News Corp-owned Fox. Animation also ruled in the United States and Canada, where the Easter-themed romp “Hop” was No. 1 for a second weekend, overcoming a challenge from a middling band of newcomers. The live-action/computeranimated hybrid earned $21.7 million during the three days beginning Friday, taking its 10-day total to $68.2 million. Brash English comedian Russell Brand voices the teenage son of the
Easter Bunny who dreams of becoming a rock’n’roll drummer in Hollywood. The family picture was produced by Illumination Entertainment, the animation firm behind last year’s hit “Despicable Me,” and distributed by Universal Pictures, a unit of Comcast Corp’s NBC Universal. Brand also claimed the No. 2 spot in North America with the costly new remake of “Arthur,” which opened with a disappointing $12.6 million. But at least it did better than newly minted Oscar winner Natalie Portman’s medieval stoner comedy, “Your Highness,” which opened at No. 6 with just $9.5 million.
Also new were two films with young heroines. “Hanna,” an action movie starring 16-year-old Saoirse Ronan as an assassin, was No. 3 with $12.3 million. “Soul Surfer,” the true-life story of a teen who lost her arm to a shark, was No. 4 with $11.1 million. Both were in far fewer theaters than “Arthur.” Stepping in for Dudley Moore, the star of the 1981 original, Brand plays a childish playboy. Helen Mirren fills in for John Gielgud as his quick-witted nanny. The film’s distributor, Warner Bros. Pictures, said it had hoped for an opening in the mid-teen millions. The film cost in the mid-$60 million range to make.
The Time Warner Inc. unit said older audiences rushed out to see it — almost twothirds of viewers were aged 25 and over — but those under 25 gave it a better rating in exit polls. The studio said it will tweak its marketing to focus on younger moviegoers during the spring break school holiday. “Hanna” drew a younger audience, with almost twothirds of viewers aged under 35, said distributor Focus Features. The studio also noted a strong support from Latino and Black moviegoers. Focus is also part of NBC Universal. “Soul Surfer,” an inspirational tale targeted in part at religious audiences, exceeded expectations and received a
surprised to know the truth to how I’ve gotten where I’ve gotten and what I’ve been through,” Gibson told us. “Because I seem so tough and I am so tough [but] they’re going to see another side of me. I’m still a little girl.” rare “A-plus” rating in exit surveys conducted by tracking firm CinemaScore, said Sony Corp-owned distributor TriStar Pictures. AnnaSophia Robb stars in the $18 million picture as Bethany Hamilton, a surfer who overcame the odds to become a champion again after losing her arm. Women accounted for 80 percent of the audience, and 56 percent of viewers were aged under 25. “Your Highness,” on the other hand, cost about $50 million to make and received an ominous “C-plus” CinemaScore rating. The spoof follows two royal brothers, played by Danny McBride and James Franco, on a quest to rescue the former’s bride. Portman plays a mysterious warrior. Universal Pictures said it was disappointed that its “bold idea” fell flat.
Lil Wayne hasn’t applied for visa, rep says By ALVIN BLANCO Reports that Lil Wayne is banned from touring Europe due to his inability to obtain a travel visa because of his criminal record are false, MTV News has learned. While the eight months Weezy spent in prison will surely be considered when he seeks to enter the United Kingdom to perform, a representative told us the Young Money CEO has not yet applied for a visa. “No visa was ever filed, nor were there any tour dates announced or tickets sold,” a rep from Weezy’s
tour told MTV News. “Lil Wayne is currently headlining his I Am Still Music Tour across the U.S. and Canada with plans to extend the tour through North America this summer. We hope to bring
the I Am Still Music Tour to the U.K. in the later half of the year.” For now, the domestic leg of the tour is set to end May 1 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. News of Wayne’s
intent to extend the tour might affect the talks his current opening act, Nicki Minaj, is having with the Britney Spears camp about joining her Femme Fatale Tour in June. When Wayne does apply for a visa, history might not be on his side. In 2007, Snoop Dogg was denied an entry visa and was forced to cancel British dates of his European One Love Peace Tour. Snoop’s unfriendly treatment stemmed from an altercation in Heathrow Airport the previous year. However, an immigration judge overturned Snoop’s ban the next year.
DAILY CHALLENGE TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2011
Blaze leaves mom, son homeless in Hamilton By MATT FAIR HAMILTON — A raging house fire left a mother and son on Fetter Avenue homeless early yesterday morning. The fire was called in by the residents, who managed to evacuate themselves from the house prior to firefighters’ arrival shortly before 6:30 a.m. Arriving on the scene to find flames blooming from the front and side windows of the single-family house, firefighters set about making sure the blaze didn’t spread to the adjacent struc-
tures. “The amount of fire they had when they pulled up, they could’ve lost three houses this morning,” said Chief Louis Crammer with DeCou Hose Company, adding that the flames melted the siding of one of the adjacent dwelling and cracked the windows of a second. Crews set to work wetting down the neighboring houses while also putting water on the original fire building. “Once they knocked the fire down a little bit, then they were able to go inside and finish the job,” Crammer said. The fire was brought
under control after about an hour. “The crews did an excellent job. I compliment my guys here and the rest of the guys who came to the fire,” he said. DeCou was assisted at the scene by the Whitehorse, Rusling Hose, Groveville, Colonial, Hamilton, Nottingham and Robbinsville fire companies. He said the fire appears to have started in the son’s rear bedroom, but the cause of the blaze remains under investigation. Due to the amount of damage the fire caused, the arson unit with the Hamilton Township Police Department and
the Mercer County Office Prosecutor’s were called to the scene to assist in the investigation, but Crammer said nothing immediately seemed suspicious about the blaze. The mother was taken to Capital Health Medical Regional Center for treatment of minor smoke inhalation. Crammer said the family would be staying with relatives until the house could be repaired. “It’s a total loss,” he said. “They’re going to have to gut the whole house and redo it. There was a lot of fire damage in there.”
Poll: Majority of New Jerseyans support sharing services to cut costs By MEGAN DEMARCO TRENTON - A majority of New Jerseyans on both sides of the aisle say sharing services is a good idea, according
idea. to a poll released idea. Towns have increasAmong Republicans, yesterday. According to the Farleigh Dickinson PublicMind poll, 71 percent consider sharing police, fire and school administration a good idea, while just 19 percent say sharing is a bad
ingly been turning to shared services as a costcutting measure during a tough budget climate. Though no counties have actually regionalized their police forces, several are in the process of studying the
City teen charged in shooting death TRENTON — A city man was charged late Saturday night in the shooting death of Craig Fitzgerald, 24, who was gunned down near the corner of Calhoun and Bernard streets earlier that afternoon. Aljava Gaither, 19, was taken into custody shortly after the 1:10 p.m. shooting and charged late Saturday night with murder and weapons offenses. Fitzgerald was shot at least once in the torso and was pronounced dead at about 1:45 p.m. after being rushed to Capital Health Regional Medical Center by paramedics. Lt. Stephen Varn with the Trenton Police Department provided few details yesterday as to a motive for the shooting, but suggested the incident stemmed from a
personal dispute between the two men. “There was an altercation between the victim and the suspect which ended with the victim being shot,” he said. He couldn’t say conclusively whether the incident was linked to several other shootings and violent deeds that have plagued the city’s West Ward in the past few weeks. “Obviously, we’re looking for any connections that we can find to solve some of the other things that are going on out there,” he said. There were three shootings in the West Ward last week, two in the area of Hoffman Avenue, with one man wounded when a bullet grazed his neck, and one shooting on Spring Street, where a 19-year-old man was struck in the back. - Matt Fair
76 percent say sharing services is a good idea, while 67 percent of Democrats agree. New Jerseyans are slightly more hesitant when it comes to sharing police services, though, with 29 percent objecting and 64 percent in favor. Men are more agreeable to the idea than women, with 71 percent of men saying sharing police is a good idea, and 58 percent of women. “Given every town’s problems with tight budgets, high property taxes, and pension contributions, perhaps sharing services is an idea whose time has finally come,” said Peter Woolley, director of the poll. “It used to be that shared services were a good idea for someone else’s town. Now voters are suggesting it’s a good idea for their town, too.” The poll asked 711 registered voters.
Carl Lewis to launch political career
TRENTON, N.J. — Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis is planning to run for the New Jersey Senate. A state Democratic Party official says Lewis will announce his candidacy yesterday. Lewis has called a 2 p.m. news conference in Burlington County to announce his “political plans.” His advisory, issued Sunday night, contained no specific details. However, a party official speaking on condition of anonymity so as not to upstage the 49year-old Lewis, says the civic activist and fourtime medalist plans to run in the 8th legislative district. The seat is now held by Republican Dawn Addiego. Yesterday was the filing deadline for anyone who wants to run for the New Jersey Legislature. All 120 seats of the Senate and Assembly will be on November’s ballot.
High-tech inventions pitched at forum By LAUREN ZUMBACH Christian Theriault had just three minutes to explain how his adaptive optics technology could find migrating cancer cells, quickly scan an airport for security threats, and speed up laser manufacturing by an order of magnitude, using lenses that respond to sound waves. It was all the time he needed to persuade judges at Princeton University’s Keller Center for Engineering Innovation Forum last Thursday that TAG Optics, which Theriault co-founded with professor Craig Arnold, could be the next transformative technology. “The Innovation Forum showcases great technologies, and it was wonderful to be awarded the first prize among such innovations,” said Theriault, a Princeton alum who began working on the project with Arnold while a graduate student. “We’re thrilled to see our hard work paying off,” Theriault said.
DAILY CHALLENGE TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2011
Very high caffeine intake linked to leaky bladder By AMY NORTON Women who down a lot of caffeinated drinks each day may have a slightly increased risk of developing urinary incontinence, a new study suggests. The results add to conflicting evidence on whether caffeine worsens a common condition. Researchers found that of more than 65,000 U.S. women, those with the highest caffeine intake — roughly equivalent to four or more cups of coffee per day or 10 cans of soda — were more likely than the less-caffeinated to develop urinary incontinence over 4 years. Compared with women who got the least caffeine, those with the highest intake were 19 percent more likely to develop frequent problems with bladder control (at least once a week). The study found no increased risk among women consuming 299 milligrams of caffeine - the equivalent of about three cups of coffee - or less per day. In the most highly caffeinated group that downed 450 mg or more per day, however, caffeine was partic-
ularly related to urge incontinence, or urgency, a type of incontinence where leakage happens after a sudden, strong urge to urinate. The findings, reported in the Journal of Urology, do not prove that caffeine caused the women’s bladdercontrol problems. And if caffeine is to blame, it may only be at very high amounts. “We only observed an increased risk of urinary incontinence among women with the highest intakes of caffeine — that is, women who consumed about four or more cups of coffee per day,” Dr. Mary K. Townsend, one of the researchers on the work, told Reuters Health in an email. “We found no increase in risk among women with lower caffeine intakes,” said Townsend, of Harvard Medical School in Boston. She said it is too early to give women specific advice on caffeine intake. More studies are needed to confirm the current results. Another study published in March looked at 14,000 Swedish women and found no increased risk of incontinence among coffee drinkers when age was taken into
account (see Reuters Health story of April 6, 2011). That analysis did not factor in the amounts of caffeine individual women consumed, however. Women who already have urinary incontinence are commonly told to limit their caffeine intake, Townsend noted. “Our study suggests that avoiding higher caffeine intake might also be useful advice for women who do not have urinary incontinence, but are concerned about developing (it),” she said. The findings are based on data from two large longterm studies of U.S. nurses who were between the ages of 37 and 79 at the outset. Of 65,176 women who were initially incontinence-free, half fell into the lowest caffeine intake group — less than 150 mg of caffeine a day. That’s roughly equivalent to less than a cup of coffee per day. Another 9 percent reported downing more than 450 mg of caffeine or more per day. That equates to about four or more cups of coffee each day, or 10 cups of tea or cans of caffeinated soda. Of the women in that high-caffeine group, 2.7 per-
cent developed frequent urinary incontinence each year over the next 4 years. That compared with 1.9 percent in the lowest-intake group. The researchers then factored in a number of other variables — like women’s age, weight and smoking habits. They found that a very high caffeine intake, itself, was tied to a 19 percent increase in the risk of frequent incontinence. According to Townsend, caffeine might promote incontinence because it is a diuretic - it promotes flushing of water from the body — and people who already have an overactive bladder may be
more susceptible to those effects. There’s also evidence, she said, that even low doses of caffeine can speed muscle contractions in the bladder. Urinary incontinence is about twice as common in women than men, and its likelihood rises with age. One large U.S. study found that almost one-quarter of women in their 60s and 70s said they had urine leakage at least once a month; the rate rose to one-third among women in their 80s. Risk factors for urinary incontinence include obesity and past pregnancies with vaginal births.
Not all warning signs point to kids’ immune diseases By GENEVRA PITTMAN TV, radio and print advertisements that warn parents about the signs of rare but dangerous immune diseases in children may be misdirected, researchers say. Their analysis, published today in Pediatrics, found that only a few of the ten “warning signs” for so-called primary immunodeficiency diseases that are promoted by patient advocacy groups, such as the Jeffrey Modell Foundation, actually predict the disorders. And information about those signs is probably more helpful in the hands of hospital specialists than given to the general public, the researchers say. “It’s really important that certain groups are targeted in terms of awareness in relation to these diseases,” Dr. Peter Arkwright, one of the study’s authors from Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital in the UK, told Reuters Health. However, Arkwright said,
“focusing on the general public may be using lots of money possibly in a direction where it might be better used for hospital specialists plus families” with a history of immune disorders. The diseases targeted by the campaigns involve deficiencies in blood cells, such as the B- and T-cells that help fight off infection, or other critical elements of the immune system. The disorders are rare they only occur in about 1 in 10,000 people, Arkwright said - but they can cause death if not diagnosed early. For many immune disorders, symptoms start showing up in the first year or two of life. People with immune deficiencies have a weakened defense system for fighting off germs and are very susceptible to infection. Treatment involves strengthening the immune system and preventing infection. The Jeffrey Modell Foundation and other education and advocacy organizations tell parents to be on the lookout for kids who have trouble fighting off common infec-
tions or who get recurring infections that aren’t easily cured with antibiotics. The ten warning signs can be seen in detail on the foundation’s website (http://bit.ly/hbALaP). To see how effective those warning signs are at predicting immune disorders, Arkwright and his colleagues reviewed the medical records of more than 500 kids who had visited centers dedicated to immunodeficiency diseases in England. About three-quarters of those kids were ultimately diagnosed with a primary immunodeficiency disorder. Using the medical records, researchers were able to determine which of the warning signs each kid with or without a primary immunodeficiency disease had shown before doctors diagnosed or ruled out the diseases. As it turned out, only three of the warning signs were more common in kids diagnosed with immune diseases. Those signs were a family history of immune disorders, the need for intravenous antibiotics to cure
infections, and slow growth and weight gain. Arkwright and his colleagues calculated that using only these three signs, 9 in 10 immune disorders could have been predicted. Other warning signs on the list - such as recurrent ear or sinus infections or multiple cases of pneumonia - did not predict kids who were diagnosed with a primary immunodeficiency disease. Almost all kids in the study had been referred to the immune centers from hospital doctors. That signaled to the authors that these specialists are the most important group to target with information about signs and symptoms of immune disorders. “Patients are likely to only be symptomatic when they come across an infection, and at that point they’re going to be seen usually by a hospital specialist,” Arkwright explained. He added that families who have had a child with an immune disorder should be aware that their other chil-
dren are also at risk. In the study, a family history of primary immunodeficiency disease was 18 times more common in kids with the diseases than those without them. Fred Modell, co-founder of the Jeffrey Modell Foundation - named after his son who died of a primary immunodeficiency disease said that because the study did not look at every kind of immune disorder, it’s still possible that certain disorders might have other specific warning signs. There are over 150 different kinds of primary immunodeficiency diseases. Modell said the 10 warning signs are meant as a screening tool, not to diagnose kids with an immune disorder. In that sense, he said, the list is quite effective. “Any child with chronic, recurring, unexplained, particularly upper respiratory illnesses ... in which there isn’t a clear diagnosis (who) has two or three or four of these warning signs, should be worked up” and tested for an immune disorder, Modell told Reuters Health.
DAILY CHALLENGE TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2011
Scientists find way to map brain’s complexity LONDON — Scientists say they have moved a step closer to developing a computer model of the brain after finding a way to map both the connections and functions of nerve cells in the brain together for the first time. In a study in the journal Nature on Sunday, researchers from Britain’s University College London (UCL) described a technique developed in mice which enabled them to combine information about the function of neurons with details of their connections. The study is part of an emerging area of neuroscience research known as ‘connectomics’. A little like genomics, which maps our genetic make-up, connectomics aims to map the brain’s connections, known as synapses. By untangling and being able to map these connections — and deciphering how information flows through the brain’s circuits — scien-
tists hope to understand how thoughts and perceptions are generated in the brain and how these functions go wrong in diseases such as Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia and stroke. “We are beginning to untangle the complexity of the brain,” said Tom MrsicFlogel, who led the study. “Once we understand the function and connectivity of
nerve cells spanning different layers of the brain, we can begin to develop a computer simulation of how this remarkable organ works.” But he said would take many years of work among scientists and huge computer processing power before that could be done. In a report of his research, Mrsic-Flogel explained how mapping the brain’s connec-
tions is no small feat: There are an estimated one hundred billion nerve cells, or neurons, in the brain, each connected to thousands of other nerve cells, he said, making an estimated 150 trillion synapses. “How do we figure out how the brain’s neural circuitry works? We first need to understand the function of each neuron and find out to which other brain cells it connects,” he said. In this study, Mrsic-Flogel’s team focused on vision and looked into the visual cortex of the mouse brain, which contains thousands of neurons and millions of different connections. Using high resolution imaging, they were able to detect which of these neurons responded to a particular stimulus. Taking a slice of the same tissue, the scientists then applied small currents to subsets of neurons to see which other neurons
responded and which of them were synaptically connected. By repeating this technique many times, they were able to trace the function and connectivity of hundreds of nerve cells in visual cortex. Using this method, the team hopes to begin generating a wiring diagram of a brain area with a particular function, such as the visual cortex. The technique should also help them map the wiring of regions that underpin touch, hearing and movement. John Williams, head of neuroscience and mental health at the Wellcome Trust medical charity, which helped fund the study, said understanding the brain’s inner workings was one of science’s “ultimate goals.” “This important study presents neuroscientists with one of the key tools that will help them begin to navigate and survey the landscape of the brain,” he said.
‘Organic’ label seems to Unemployment plays role in make food taste better early deaths, research shows An “organic” label on foods is enough to make people believe the food items are healthier and tastier, new research suggests. The study included 144 volunteers who were asked to compare what they believed were conventionally and organically produced chocolate sandwich cookies, plain yogurt and potato chips. All of the products were actually organic, but they were labeled as either “regular” or “organic.” The participants used a scale of 1 to 9 to rate each of the products on 10 attributes, such as overall taste and perception of fat content. They were also asked to estimate the number of calories in each food item and how much they would be willing to pay for each product. The investigators found that participants preferred almost all of the taste characteristics of the foods labeled as “organic,” even though they were identical to those labeled as “regular.” The food items with “organic” labels were also perceived as being lower in fat, higher in fiber, significantly lower in calories and worth more money, according to study author Jenny
Wan-chen Lee, a graduate student in Cornell University’s Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. In addition, chips and cookies labeled “organic” were judged to be more nutritious than those believed to be non-organic. Lee conducted the study to test the theory that people are influenced by what is described as “the halo effect,” according to background information in a news release from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. In this case, the researchers set out to see if the “health halo” — the perception that an item that is labeled “organic” is therefore nutritious — would lead people to believe that the “organic” foods tasted better. The study was slated for presentation Sunday at the Experimental Biology annual meeting, in Washington, D.C., of the American Society for Nutrition. Because this research was presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Unemployment can be deadly, especially for men, researchers have found. In the new study, investigators analyzed 40 years of data from 20 million people in 15 countries and found that being unemployed increases a person’s risk of premature death by 63 percent. The quality of a nation’s health-care system did not affect this level of risk, the study authors noted. They also found that unemployment boosts men’s risk of premature death much more than it does women’s risk (78 percent vs. 37 percent) and that the risk of death is particularly high for people younger than 50. “We suspect that even today, not having a job is more stressful for men than for women,” Eran Shor, a sociology professor at McGill University in Montreal, said in a university news release. “When a man loses his job, it still often means that the family will become poorer and suffer in various ways, which in turn can have a huge impact on a man’s health by leading to both increased smoking,
drinking or eating, and by reducing the availability of healthy nutrition and health-care services,” he explained. Shor and colleagues said their finding of a causal relationship between unemployment and increased risk of death is groundbreaking. “Until now, one of the big questions in the literature has been about whether preexisting health conditions, such as diabetes or heart problems, or behaviors such as smoking, drinking or drug use, lead to both unemployment and a greater risk of death,” Shor said.
“What’s interesting about our work is that we found that pre-existing health conditions had no effect, suggesting that the unemployment-mortality relationship is quite likely a causal one. This probably has to do with unemployment causing stress and negatively affecting one’s socioeconomic status, which in turn leads to poorer health and higher mortality rates,” he stated. The findings, published in the March issue of the journal Social Science & Medicine, suggest the need for public health initiatives that target unemployed people.
DAILY CHALLENGE TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2011
Apple to stay ahead in tablet boom By TARMO VIRKI and MIYOUNG KIM HELSINKI/SEOUL — Apple’s iPad will continue to dominate the surging media tablet market for years, with Google playing catchup, research firm Gartner said on Monday. Gartner said it expects 70 million media tablets to be sold this year and 108 million in 2012, compared with just 17.6 million in 2010. Apple’s share of the market will gradually
decline to 47 percent in 2015 from 69 percent this year, while Google’s share will rise to 39 percent from 20 percent now. Google’s Android has stormed the smartphone market, where it will become the No 1 platform this year, and it has emerged as the only viable solution for tablet-makers who do not own their own operating system. Research In Motion’s QNX platform, used in its soon-to-be-launched PlayBook tablet, will take the No.3 position on the market this year,
with a 5.6 percent share. Gartner sees that rising to 10 percent in 2015. “It will take time and significant effort for RIM to attract developers and deliver a compelling ecosystem of applications and services around QNX to position it as a viable alternative to Apple or Android,” Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi said. “It will be mainly organizations that will be interested in RIM’s tablets because they either already have RIM’s infrastructure
deployed or have stringent security requirements,” she said in a statement. Apple is estimated to have sold about 1 million iPad 2’s in the first weekend of its U.S. launch early last month. By comparison, its closest rival in hardware, Samsung Electronics may have sold a similar number of Galaxy Tabs in the past three months and sales growth is expected to remain weak. Slow sales of Tab, coupled with aggressive pricing plans of iPad2,
is pressuring profit growth at Samsung. Samsung, the most aggressive contender to Apple with three different sizes of tablets, is still playing catch-up and analysts expect the firm, which uses Google’s Android in its tablets, to increase marketing expenses to boost sales. “Their biggest challenge is user interface, how they are going to make their devices any different from those of Motorola or HTC,” said Milanesi. Samsung is widely known as one of the fastest followers in the fickle electronics industry. To better compete with Apple, Samsung redesigned its new
10.1-inch tablet, first introduced in February, in just weeks to make it the thinnest in the category after Apple set the trend with the slimmer iPad 2. Samsung’s follow-up models will be on the market in June at the earliest, three months after iPad 2’s rollout. “Expectations for tablets have driven Samsung shares since November, but it has so far failed to live up to that expectation. Whether Samsung’s share can rise again will largely depend on how strongly its followup tablet models do in the market,” said Lee Seung-woo, an analyst at Shinyoung Securities.
Accounting chief wants higher bank capital ratios By GILBERT KREIJGER AMSTERDAM — New bank capital rules should be about 30 percent higher than agreed, to prevent a repeat of the last financial crisis, the incoming head of the world’s biggest accounting standard setter said on Sunday. The Basel III bank capital rules will force banks to more than triple the amount of top quality capital they must hold to 7 percent by 2018 to withstand shocks without resorting to state aid. But Hans Hoogervorst, who takes over on July 1 as chair of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), told Dutch TV
program Buitenhof that still wasn’t high enough, implying the actual requirement should be as much as about 9 percent. “In countries which have been hit hard, such as Switzerland and Britain, the supervisors are saying ‘We don’t want to run into that trap again’,” Hoogervorst said. “I think it will (need to) be a factor of 30 percent higher than what the international agreement is. I cannot make precise statements but I think it can be a notch higher.” IASB has no direct say about bank capital rules, which are set by the Basel Committee, an international body of central bankers. Hoogervorst, who currently heads the
Dutch financial market regulator AFM, said he was also worried about so-called “too-big-tofail” banks — as those banks whose collapse would threaten the financial system are often described. “I am still very worried about this. Banks have become bigger rather than smaller. The “too big to fail” problem has become bigger,” Hoogervorst said. “We have to acknowledge this. In countries such as France and Germany as well as the Netherlands we should not try to just meet the capital requirements but surpass them greatly.” Hoogervorst said he expected a new European stress test for banks, which looks at
how well banks can cope with economic and financial shocks, to lead to new capital raisings, as also predicted by analysts. “Some banks will be forced to raise capital. That is a good thing.” Germany’s Commerzbank AG and Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo this week already unveiled plans to raise capital. In February, Hoogervorst criticized last year’s bank stress tests because they failed to reflect the decline in prices for euro zone peripheral sovereign debt. He said that the new bank stress test was an improvement, because of the higher capital requirement, but there still was not a scenario for writing down
Global military spending hits high but growth slows STOCKHOLM – Worldwide military spending edged up in 2010 to a record $1.6 trillion, a leading thinktank said. Global spending rose 1.3 percent in real terms, a slowdown from 5.9 percent the year before as the economic downturn caused by the 2008 financial crisis hit military spending, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said. “In many cases, the falls or slower increases represent a delayed
reaction to the global financial and economic crisis that broke in 2008,” it said in a statement, adding that there were regional differences. Spending in Europe shrank 2.8 percent to $382 billion as governments started to rein in soaring budget deficits. The biggest cuts were in small economies in central and eastern Europe, and in crisisstruck southern European countries such as Greece. “Further cuts are
expected in most of Europe in 2011 and subsequent years, although these are likely to remain relatively modest in the major spending countries,” SIPRI, which conducts independent research on international security, armaments and disarmament, said in a statement. The Unites States, with costly military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, increased spending by 2.8 percent to $698 billion — about six times
as much as China, the second-biggest spender ahead of Britain, France and Russia. In 2009, U.S. spending grew 7.7 percent. “The United States has increased its military spending by 81 percent since 2001,” SIPRI said. “At 4.8 percent of gross domestic product, U.S. military spending in 2010 represents the largest economic burden outside the Middle East,” said SIPRI Military Expenditure Project chief Sam Perlo-Freeman.
peripheral euro zone sovereign debt. “What they do want to do is detail the exposure of banks to these kind of countries. Then market participants can do the maths themselves.” The IASB has emerged as a powerful, global lawmaking body. Its standards are used in over 100 countries — they are manda-
tory for the 8,000 listed companies in the European Union but are not used in the United States. Hoogervorst said he hoped to reach an agreement with the United States whereby it would adopt IASB accounting rules and create a global standard, as called for by the Group of 20 leading countries.
Outlook for industrialized nations improving: OECD PARIS — The growth outlook for major industrialized economies is improving with Germany and the United States leading the recovery, the OECD’s leading indicator for February showed. The Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said its composite leading indicator (CLI) for member countries rose to 103.2 points in February from 103.0 in January, well above a long-term average of 100. The United States and Germany in particular were showing signs of “robust expansion” while France and Canada were possibly regaining momentum, the OECD said. The indicator for
countries belonging to the Group of Seven wealthy countries rose to 103.5 in February from 103.2 in January. For the euro zone, the indicator nudged up to 103.5 from 103.4. The CLI for Britain pointed to a “slow but stable pace of expansion,” while for Italy it indicated a loss of momentum in economic activity. No figures were given for Japan because of the uncertain outlook for the country’s economy after the earthquake and tsunami last month. Among countries not belonging to the OECD but tracked by it, the indicator suggested that China was headed for a “possible moderation in economic activity,” the OECD said.
DAILY CHALLENGE TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2011
Nasdaq says its offer is superior after NYSE snubs bid By JONATHAN SPICER and JONATHAN STEMPEL Nasdaq OMX Group and IntercontinentalExchange responded late Sunday to NYSE Euronext’s rejection of their joint proposed bid, reaffirming that their cash and stock offer is superior to the offer submitted by rival Deutsche Boerse AG. “The feedback we have received from NYSE Euronext stockholders is very positive, and we would expect NYSE Euronext would, at the very least, meet with us and our advisors to discuss the merits of the proposed combination,” Robert Greifeld, Chief Executive Officer of Nasdaq, said in the statement. NYSE on Sunday said it was sticking with its deal with Deutsche Boerse, calling the rival offer from Nasdaq OMX Group too risky and counter to the Big Board’s vision. The NYSE board’s decision smacks the ball back in the court of Nasdaq, which with partner IntercontinentalExchange Inc will
have to decide whether to appeal directly to NYSE shareholders, raise the $11.3 billion bid, or walk away. Perhaps setting the tone for what could be a drawn-out bidding process, NYSE Euronext Chief Executive Duncan Niederauer criticized Nasdaq’s unsolicited bid as hollow and undefined, saying it would unacceptably carve up his transatlantic exchange operator. “It’s hard to call it an offer because it’s a loosely worded proposal that was, in our minds, an empty vessel,” he said in an interview. “We had a strategy. The combination with Deutsche Boerse is consistent with that strategy. A dismantling of the company is not. End of story,” added Niederauer, who would take the reins of a combined Deutsche BoerseNYSE Euronext. The formal rejection comes nine days after Nasdaq and ICE unveiled their plan, arguing it would strengthen the United States’ hand as the world’s bourses scramble to band together to fend off smaller rivals and find new profits. On Sunday, Nasdaq
said “there are significant execution and integration risks to stockholders with the proposed NYSE Euronext/Deutsche Boerse transaction,” citing among other factors that the transaction faces European competition hurdles. But NYSE Euronext’s directors, which oversee the Big Board and a handful of European exchanges, found the bid from Nasdaq and ICE “strategically unattractive, with unacceptable execution risk” — a reference to the antitrust concerns that could come between NYSE and Nasdaq, the top two U.S. exchanges. The friendly, $10.2 billion deal with Germany’s Deutsche Boerse was in shareholders’ long-term interest, and “significantly more likely” to be completed, the board said. That merger, announced in February, would create the world’s biggest exchange operator. The counteroffer would give Nasdaq stock exchanges in New York, Amsterdam, Brussels, Lisbon and Paris, as well as U.S. options platforms and technology, while Atlanta-based ICE
would get NYSE Euronext’s Londonbased Liffe platform and other derivative businesses. “Breaking up NYSE Euronext, burdening the pieces with high levels of debt, and destroying its invaluable human capital, would be a strategic mistake in terms of where the global markets are going, and is clearly not in the best interests of our shareholders,” NYSE Euronext Chairman Jan-Michiel Hessels said in a statement. ICE did not immediately comment. The battle for the parent of the venerable New York Stock Exchange has boosted its shares more than 15 percent. Now, shareholders could face more weeks of uncertainty as the exchanges reposition themselves. Though linking with Deutsche Boerse may be a better longterm plan, Nasdaq and ICE may be able to convince NYSE shareholders that their proposition is better in the short term, said Brendan Caldwell, president of Toronto-based Caldwell Investment Management Ltd, which holds NYSE shares.
“With the increasing uncertainty in the marketplace, the short term becomes more important,” he said. Niederauer, a fierce rival of Nasdaq counterpart Robert Greifeld, tamped down speculation that a bidding war could ensue, arguing Deutsche Boerse did not technically bid for NYSE Euronext. “It’s not clear to me that it will escalate because I don’t know what would escalate from here,” he said. NYSE Euronext directors were concerned that Nasdaq and ICE had failed to line up committed bank financing for their bid, and that a takeover could saddle the combined entities with too much debt, a person familiar with the board’s thinking said. Directors also worried that a NasdaqNYSE merger could cost too many jobs in New York City, the person added. The person requested anonymity because of a lack of authority to speak for NYSE Euronext. In announcing their cash-and-stock bid on April 1, Nasdaq and ICE had valued NYSE Euronext at $42.50 per share, 12 percent above Deutsche Boerse’s
Sharp suspends two TV panel plants as demand tumbles By ISABEL REYNOLDS TOKYO — Sharp Corp has suspended production at two Japanese liquid crystal display (LCD) panel plants until early May as it confronts slumping domestic demand for televisions and shortages of a gas used in panel production, the company said yesterday. For Sharp, whose television sales are focused on the domestic market, the steep fall-off in consumption following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami will be particularly painful in a year that was already expected to bring a slide in TV sales. “Following the disas-
ter, demand for flatpanel televisions was not as strong as we had anticipated,” said Sharp spokeswoman Miyuki Nakayama. “We have a month’s inventory on hand.” Sharp CEO Mikio Katayama had said days before the quake that he expected the company to beat its LCD TV sales forecast of 15 million units for the year to the end of March 2011. But research firm BCN said Japan’s total March sales of flat-panel TVs came to two-thirds of the previous year’s figure, after showing some signs of recovery after government incentives were slashed in December. Domestic television sales had been expected to slide again after July,
when Japan completes a switch to digital terrestrial broadcasting, but BCN analyst Eiji Mori said there could be a boost later in the year as northern Japan starts to recover. Production was halted earlier this month at Sharp’s Kameyama plant in Mie Prefecture and its state-of-the-art 10th generation Sakai plant in Osaka, which make large LCD panels for TVs. Analyst Yuji Fujimori of Barclays Capital retained his “underweight” rating on Sharp’s shares and revised down the target price to 700 yen from 780 yen. He now estimates the company will post a loss of 7 billion yen ($82.6 million) in the April-June period,
compared with his previous estimate of an 11 billion yen profit. But Fujimori said markets would welcome the decision to bring surplus inventories back to normal. Shares of Sharp ended down 0.8 percent, compared with a 0.5 percent fall in the broader Nikkei index. Sharp aims to maintain steady production of smaller LCD panels for smartphones and other devices. “Currently we are seeing more demand for small and midsized panels than for large ones, so we are focusing on using the gases we procure for production in that segment,” Nakayama said. Sharp expects to resume operations at
the two large panel plants after the string of Golden Week holidays at the end of April and early May, Nakayama added. Production at the Taki and Tenri factories in Nara prefecture, which produce smaller LCD panels, will continue. Sharp declined to specify which gases were running short, but research firm DisplaySearch and Barclays said nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) was used in the production of LCD panels. One major maker of the gas, Kanto Denka Kogyo, has been unable to manufacture it as normal due to the effects of the quake and subsequent power shortages.
offer. In a separate statement, Deutsche Boerse said the merger remains “on track” to close by the end of the year. Niederauer said Deutsche Boerse’s CEO Reto Francioni, who would be chairman of the combined entity, is set to visit New York this week, and that the companies would attempt to outline more clearly the benefits of their tie-up plan. Both proposed deals are certain to attract antitrust scrutiny, which has also emerged as a hurdle for other potential exchange mergers. On Friday, Singapore Exchange Ltd ended a takeover bid for exchange operator ASX Ltd after Australia’s government rejected that offer. An NYSE Euronext merger with Deutsche Boerse would likely draw regulatory scrutiny over the combined companies’ expected dominance in European derivatives trading and clearing. Similarly, merging Nasdaq with the NYSE could prompt U.S. antitrust issues, given that the largest U.S. stock exchanges would have a virtual monopoly on listings and dominance in trading U.S. cash equities and options. Greifeld, Nasdaq’s CEO, has called any potential antitrust issues “manageable.”
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DAILY CHALLENGE TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2011
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DAILY CHALLENGE TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2011
Tiger Woods makes both his fans and haters smile By JAY BUSBEE Yes, this is another Tiger Woods story. Yes, you may be outraged or sick of Tiger or ready to declare HE’S BACK AND HE’S GONNA CARVE THROUGH YOU HATERS LIKE A NINJA, whatever. But you’re going to read it, and you’re going to have a reaction. Why? Because like it or not, Tiger Woods is the biggest story in golf. Tiger Woods is always the biggest story in golf. Put aside the hard numbers, the simple facts like the increase in purses since Tiger’s arrival and the 50 percent decreases in ratings when he doesn’t play. Just admit it. For a minute on Sunday, perhaps when he went birdie-birdie-eagle on 6, 7 and 8, you thought to yourself that Tiger Woods could win this thing. Perhaps you thought Tiger Woods would win this thing. Whether that thought filled you with joy or anticipation or nausea or rage is irrelevant;
what matters is that you felt something that you don’t feel when any other golfer makes that kind of run. Yes, Charl Schwartzel won, and yes, Adam Scott and Jason Day were right there behind him, and yes, everyone who knows golf should be happy for them all. That Schwartzel won a green jacket is a story, but it’s not the story. The story is the same as it’s been since 1997: the most dominant sporting figure in a generation first mashing the game of golf into paste, and now trying to figure how to put the pieces of his life and career back together while the world watches. Love Woods or hate him, that’s a far more compelling story over the long haul than a golfer rising up out of nowhere, winning a major, and then returning to the masses of the field. Don’t believe me? Name the current four major holders and the guys they beat to win their trophy. Go. People love to com-
plain that there isn’t enough focus on other golfers when Tiger isn’t in the field, as if those poor little other golfers are delicate flowers withering in the shade. That’s absurd. For instance, in just the last two days, we wrote about Luke Donald here, Charl Schwartzel here and here, Phil Mickelson here and here, Rory McIlroy here and here, Y.E. Yang here, Adam Scott here and here ... you get the idea. And the common thread between all those? None of them attract the heat of a Woods article, and almost all of them eventually devolve into a discussion of why Tiger rules/sucks. Now, I know blog commenters aren’t exactly representative of a national mindset — don’t be offended, dear commenter, I’m not talking about you; I’m talking about the other people who rant here — but numbers do mean something. Only four players are guaranteed to get comments in the golf world: Tiger Woods, Phil
Mickelson, John Daly and Michelle Wie. Everyone else? Eh, you can take ‘em or leave ‘em. Why? Because each of those four is a story unto him- or herself, a story where you can take sides, a story where you have a rooting interest. Because of who they are and what they have (or haven’t) done, they resonate better with the public. And so, yes, it is interesting to the mass of people that Tiger came in 16th in a given tournament, and that does warrant placing his name in the story along with the winner.
St. John’s Kennedy Has ACL Surgically Repaired, Begins Physical Therapy QUEENS, N.Y. - St. John’s senior swingman D.J. Kennedy had his right knee surgically repaired on Wednesday, April 6, and began physical therapy on Friday, April 8, according to the St. John’s Sports Medicine staff. Kennedy suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee during the Red Storm’s BIG EAST Quarterfinal loss to Syracuse on March 10, and was out of action for STJ’s NCAA Second Round matchup with Gonzaga. “I am happy that I was able to have a successful surgery, and to be able to finally start therapy to work toward getting back on the
court,” said Kennedy, a traditionally fast healer whose projected recovery time is six to eight months. “I am looking forward to the hard work I’m going to have to put in to come back stronger and better than before.” Kennedy drew contact with a Syracuse player and injured the knee five minutes and 35 seconds into St. John’s 79-73 setback to the Orange in the BIG EAST Tournament at Madison Square Garden. An examination by BIG EAST and MSG medical personnel, and the St. John’s medical staff led by 30-year Assistant Athletics Director for Sports Medicine Ron
Linfonte, A.T.C., called for x-rays and a MRI. He was examined and officially diagnosed later by team physician and orthopedist Answorth Allen, M.D., at the Hospital for Special Surgery. Allen performed the surgery on Wednesday. Kennedy paced the Red Storm in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals, free throw percentage, 3-point field goal percentage and minutes played in 200910, and was listed second among St. John’s leaders in blocked shots. Kennedy - who was a six-time BIG EAST Honor Roll member as a junior and is a two-time first team All-Met selec-
tion from the Metropolitan Basketball Writers’ Association (2008-09, 2009-10) - finished his career 12th on STJ’s all-time scoring list with 1,504 career points, 11th on the alltime rebounding list with 781 boards, tied for fifth among sharpshooters with 122 3-point field goals and sixth on the all-time steals list with 183 thefts. Those totals make him one of only three players in St. John’s history to total 1,450 points, 750 rebounds and 150 steals, joining legends Malik Sealy (2,402 points, 880 rebounds, 238 steals) and George Johnson (1,763 points, 1,240 rebounds, 153 steals).
SPORTS BRIEFS Deron Williams has wrist surgery
New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams underwent surgery to remove three bone fragments and scar tissue from his right wrist, the team announced yesterday morning. The surgery was performed by noted hand specialist Dr. Andrew Weiland and Nets team orthopedist Dr. Riley Williams III at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. It was Weiland who suggested Williams undergo a “fine-cut” MRI last Wednesday, which revealed that Williams would need surgery. Williams injury had previously been categorized as a strained right wrist. Doctors had initially told him he’d need 3-6 weeks for his injured wrist to fully heal and that he would not require surgery. “The bony fragments and scar tissue taken from Deron’s wrist today were interfering with this ability to flex his wrist,” Dr. Williams said. “We expect a full recovery and a return to basketball-related activities in approximately 6-8 weeks.” According to a team press release, Williams’ wrist “will be encased in a soft splint for two weeks, after which time he will begin rehabilitation. He is expected to be ready and healthy for the start of training camp.” Williams initially suffered the injury on Jan. 26 as a member of the Utah Jazz. Williams ended up playing 12 games with the Nets this season, averaging 15 points and 12.8 assists. - Mike Mazzeo
2 Florida hoops players suspended after arrest GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Florida basketball coach Billy Donovan has suspended forwards Erik Murphy and Cody Larson after they were arrested and charged with breaking into a car. Donovan says he is “very disappointed with the news” and the players have been suspended from “basketball-related activities.” Donovan says he will not comment further until he gets more information and meets with the players. Police say witnesses spotted Murphy and Larson breaking into a car outside a restaurant/bar. The car owner reported nothing missing. Murphy and Larson were charged with one felony count of third-degree burglary. They were booked at the St. Johns County Jail about 4 a.m. Sunday and later released on $5,000 bond.
Villanova delays Big East decision VILLANOVA, Pa. - Villanova University will not take a vote scheduled for this week that would decide if the football program would move to the Big East Conference. The university released a statement yesterday that says the Big East needs more time to do its due diligence regarding Villanova’s potential football membership. Villanova is working with the Big East to provide additional information. The board of trustees was scheduled to vote today. Instead, Villanova now hopes to vote in the “near future.” The Wildcats would have all of their varsity sports programs under the Big East banner if they accept an invitation to join the conference. If they make the move, there were would be a phase-in period for the Wildcats and a mandatory two-year provisional period, leaving 2014 or 2015 as a possible rookie year.
DAILY CHALLENGE TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2011
Bonds’ jury hears personal shopper’s testimony SAN FRANCISCO - A transcript of the testimony from Barry Bonds’ personal shopper was being read back to the jury at the slugger’s perjury trial yesterday morning. Jurors returned to the courtroom in San
Francisco before 9 a.m. local time to hear a clerk read back all of Hoskins’ testimony, which took about an hour and a half when it happened live. On Friday, the eight woman and four man panel deliberated all day, and asked for Hoskins’ testimony to be read back to them late in the day. They
then broke for the weekend. Hoskins testified that she witnessed Bonds’ personal trainer, Greg Anderson, inject the player in the navel before a road trip during the 2002 season. She is the only person with eyewitness testimony to an injection. One of the four Bonds is counts
charged with alleges he lied to the grand jury when he said no one but his doctor ever injected him with anything. Some jurors took notes while the transcript was read. Bonds looked at the jurors, apparently trying to get a read on which way they are leaning.
CITI TO KICK-OFF NEW SEASON OF WOMEN’S PROFESSIONAL SOCCER WITH “GET ACTIVE WITH CITI SOCCER KIDS” COMMUNITY PROGRAM FOR AREA YOUTH IN HARLEM NEW YORK, NY – As part of its partnership with Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS), Citi today announced a new season of Get Active with Citi Soccer Kids, a program that connects current stars from the league with future stars from its communities and promotes a healthy lifestyle for kids. The initiative launched again this year in league markets and include access to WPS players and coaches, tickets to games, gift bags and memorable ingame experiences for kids associated with America SCORES, an after-school program that empowers students in urban communities. Last Thursday two days before the WPS season-opener, Citi hosted the first Get Active
with Citi Soccer Kids clinic in Harlem for 60 boys and girls ages 8-12 from the local America SCORES chapter in New York City. It was led by two members of the Sky Blue FC: midfielder Allie Long and defender-midfielder Kendall Fletcher. The clinic gave the children the opportunity to hone their skills with two of the best women’s players in the WPS. Not only did they fine-tune their soccer ability, but they did also learn about the importance of sportsmanship, work ethic and the responsibility that goes along with being a good teammate. “We are thrilled to be involved with the WPS for yet another exciting and competitive season full of great soccer,” said Bill Brown, New York City Region
Executive, Citibank. “This partnership affords us the wonderful opportunity to support women’s athletics, share the experience of professional soccer with local communities and promote healthy living through our Get Active with Citi Soccer Kids program. We look forward to building on the success of last year by reaching even more kids this year to continue to raise awareness of this league, the great action it has to offer, as well as expound on the virtues of a fit and active lifestyle.” “The Get Active with Citi Soccer Kids program is a wonderful way to strengthen our relationships with the communities in which our teams play,” said Kristina Hentschel, Corporate Development
Officer and CFO of WPS. “We are proud to have Citi return for a second season as a founding partner of WPS and this upcoming clinic illustrates the positive impact we can make by working together.” America SCORES is an after-school program for 6,000 participants nationwide that empowers students in urban communities through soccer, writing, creative expression, and servicelearning. With teamwork as the unifying value, the organization inspires youth to lead healthy lifestyles, be engaged students, and become agents of change in their communities. Citi and WPS plan to host additional Get Active with Citi Soccer Kids clinics in other team markets later this
season. This initiative is part of the WPS leaguewide platform to promote and support First
Lady Michelle Obama’s nationwide campaign against childhood obesity.
Lawyers for NFL, players talk mediation with judge By DAVE CAMPBELL ST. PAUL, Minn. The locked-out NFL players don’t want to go back to collective bargaining with the league. They have now made a move to allow their former union boss to be present if court-supervised talks take place between the two sides. Attorneys for the NFL
and the players held a conference call Friday to discuss mediation with U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson, who is currently deciding whether to lift the lockout. League spokesman Greg Aiello confirmed the call took place and said Nelson wanted details to remain private. Jeffrey Kessler, a lawyer for the players, declined
to comment. The most notable development Friday was the formal addition of DeMaurice Smith as an attorney for the players. Smith is the executive director of the NFL Players Association, which is now officially a trade association and not a union. Lawyers who practice in a different state must file for approval through the
court. NFLPA spokesman Carl Francis confirmed that the move allows Smith to participate in any mediation sessions that might take place under Nelson’s supervision. After a hearing Wednesday on the players’ request for an injunction to stop the lockout, Nelson urged both sides to resume
talks toward a new labor pact. Negotiations broke down last month. Both sides expressed a willingness to talk again after the hearing, but the NFL wants to resume negotiations before a federal mediator in Washington while the players prefer to remain in Nelson’s court. Lawyers from each side sent letters to each other and to Nelson out-
lining their stances. “The purpose of the mediation would be to negotiate a settlement not only of the issues raised in the complaints, but also the many other issues that must be resolved to permit the upcoming season to be played and for the league to operate effectively,” wrote David Boies, an attorney for the NFL.
DAILY CHALLENGE TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2011
Perkins talks, plays tough against Lakers By JOHNNY LUDDEN LOS ANGELES From Kevin Durant to coach Scott Brooks to general manager Sam Presti, the Oklahoma City Thunder all had one request of Kendrick Perkins: Be yourself. They’d plucked him off the Boston Celtics’ roster in the middle of another championship chase, separated him from the only NBA team he’d ever known. And in those first few days when Perkins wasn’t sure what to make of everything, the Thunder gave him the best assurance they could. We don’t want you for what you can become, they said. We want you for what you already are: big and bold, tough as granite, edges rough and sharp. And so when someone stuck a microphone in front of Perk a few weeks ago and asked what he thought of the Los Angeles Lakers, he answered not as the Thunder would, but as only a born-and-bred Celtic could. The Lakers are “yesterday’s news,” he said. Phil Jackson’s arrogant. Pau Gasol’s soft. “That was my opinion from the past battles that we had in the playoffs,” Perkins said. “It wasn’t nothing I said that was out of character or too crazy. I just spoke my mind. “The thing is ... you just got to back it up.” Perkins did that, too. He was speaking in his slow East Texas drawl late Sunday, sitting in front of his locker after helping deliver a 120106 victory over the
The Thunder signed Kendrick Perkins to a four-year, $35 million contract extension before he'd played a single game for them. Lakers. He’d gone toe- series. Perkins is far league last season after to-toe with Kobe less inclined to let that pushing the Lakers to six games in the first Bryant, wrapping him happen again. “We have kind of a round of the playoffs. up in a screen then shoving him away after different swagger about Durant led the NBA in scoring. Russell Bryant jawed at him. ourselves,” he said. quickly The Lakers have Westbrook He’d pushed Andrew Bynum then stood his slowed their own strut developed into one of losing five the best young point ground after Bynum after Oklahoma threw the ball into his straight games for the guards. chest. He’d nearly first time in four years. City’s stars were humcaught Ron Artest with Unlike their previous ble and likeable, a team a flailing elbow after four games, they played that even rival fans Artest had almost done hard on this night, could appreciate. The future belonged which is why Sunday the same to him. This was new territo- revealed more about to the Thunder, at least ry for the Thunder. how far the Thunder as soon as the Lakers Their last victory over have come than how far loosened their grip on champs have the present. the Lakers at Staples the The addition of Center came more than dropped. The Lakers and Nazr five years ago, back could lose to the San Perkins when the franchise still Antonio Spurs and Mohammed in a pair of trades resided in Seattle and Sacramento Kings this deadline-day Kevin Durant was play- week, slip to the now has the potential to ing out his senior sea- Western Conference’s accelerate Oklahoma son in high school. fourth seed, enter the City’s growth. Perkins They lost all three playoffs on a stagger- has given the Thunder games in L.A. in last ing seven-game slide ... the interior defensive season’s first-round and you’d still have a presence they lacked. series with the Lakers, hard time finding a The trade also organincluding a haunting scout who wouldn’t ized their roster. With Game 6 that came when pick them as favorites Jeff Green moving to Gasol put back Kobe’s to return to the Finals. Boston, dynamic young forward Serge Ibaka missed shot with a half- The Thunder? They’re still young inherited Green’s startsecond left after the Thunder failed to box and full of energy. ing job and minutes. him out. Gasol and They’re just not as cute James Harden also saw his playing time and Bynum overwhelmed and cuddly as before. The Thunder won shots increase with Oklahoma City’s frontline for much of that admirers across the Green’s departure. Not
only has the Thunder’s defense noticeably improved since the trade, so has their 3point shooting. The Thunder still take too many bad shots and sometimes play too fast for too long. Their youthful exuberance could ultimately lead to their undoing in the playoffs. But they also have an edge to them that wasn’t there a year ago, and Perkins deserves credit for that. “He brings toughness, he brings physical play and he doesn’t like his opponent,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “It’s old-school basketball. He doesn’t like who he plays against, and I like that mentality.” In just 15 games with Oklahoma City, Perkins has already picked up seven technicals, including one he received against the Lakers. He twice scuffled with Denver Nuggets center Nene in a pair of recent games, and his imprint on the Thunder’s victory over the Lakers was noticeable in spite of his modest stat line: two points, five rebounds, two assists, one block. Perkins sets the screens to free Oklahoma City’s shooters. Defensively, he’s almost always in the right place. And when his teammates aren’t, he’s barking at them. Like Thabo Sefolosha, Nick Collison and Mohammed, Perkins can impact a game without needing the ball in his hands - an invaluable resource for a team that already has two All-Star scorers. “I’ve always said he’s the best low-post defender in the league,”
Bryant said. The Celtics thought the same. They lost Perkins to a devastating knee injury early in Game 6 of last season’s Finals and have insisted ever since they would have beaten the Lakers for the championship had he not been hurt. Now they may forever regret trading him. Perkins’ absence isn’t the only problem troubling the Celtics as they careen toward the playoffs, but it’s clear they miss the defense and toughness he provided just as much as the Thunder have welcomed it. Durant began the season believing the Thunder could contend. Perkins, he said, “just adds another level.” That was evident for one night, at least. In the game’s final minutes, it was the Lakers who looked too young, too inexperienced, surrendering turnover after turnover. As they lined up along the lane for a free throw in the closing seconds, Kobe glared at Perkins and sniffed, “You happy with this?” Perkins stared back. Yes, he told Bryant. We’re happy. We’re happy with every win, he said. Why shouldn’t we be happy? “Kobe being Kobe,” Perkins said some 30 minutes after the game. He still wore a scowl as he sat in front of his locker. Maybe it’s the old Celtic in him, but there’s something about these Lakers he doesn’t like. Be yourself, the Thunder said. Perk doesn’t know any other way.
NFLPA: Cam Newton to participate in ‘Rookie Debut’ NEW YORK Heisman Trophy winners Cam Newton and Mark Ingram are among 20 college foot-
ball players the NFL Players Association says plan to participate in its events on the same three days as the NFL
draft. The “NFLPA Rookie Debut” from April 28-30 is slated to involve more than 20 current or for-
mer NFL players, including Rams quarterback Sam Bradford, Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew,
Dolphins receiver Brandon Marshall, and Hall of Famers Marshall Faulk, Eric Dickerson and Warren Moon.
A dinner in York on April 28 4-6 p.m., ends hours before the begins.
New from two draft
S SP PO OR RT TS S TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2011
B O N D S ’ J U RY H E A R S P E R SO N A L SH OP P ER ’ S TE S TI M O N Y SEE PAGE 22
WOMENS’ SOCCER “GETS ACTIVE” IN THE COMMUNITY
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