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HOTEL MAID IN STRAUSS-KAHN CASE SPEAKS OUT - PG. 2 NATIONAL NEWSPAPER PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION

THE NATION’S ONLY BLACK DAILY 35 Cents

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W IL L UN E M P L O Y M EN T AFFECT RE -ELE CTION BI D?

Recent U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) statistics Politic365.com, it is unclear how Blacks will vote in show that Blacks are still the group hardest hit by 2012 and if Black joblessness will affect President the economic recession — showing a 16.2 percent Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. unemployment rate in June. According to SEE PAGE 3.

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DAILY CHALLENGE MONDAY, JULY 25, 2011

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N EW S BR IE F S NYPL GRANTS AMNESTY FOR YOUNG READERS OWING FINES Tens of thousands of children and young adults in Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island who were banned from borrowing books because they owed heavy fines will be granted amnesty by the New York Public Library. Under a program called “Read Down Your Fines,” for every 15 minutes children with heavy fines read, the library will take a dollar off their balance. Library officials say it is more important that young people continue reading. “There are actually a lot of people in New York City who owe the library money. We’re looking at about 140,000 people in New York City with blocked library cards, which is about 30 percent of our cardholders, so this is going to affect a lot of people,” said New York Public Library official Jack Martin. “And we’re hoping a lot of people take advantage of it.” For more information about the program, which runs through September 9, visit summerreading.org. CLOSE CONTACT WITH CITY WATERWAYS STILL DISCOURAGED Officials are still asking New Yorkers to avoid many local waterways, as the city continues to clean up sewage that spilled into the Hudson River following last Wednesday’s fire at a Harlem water treatment plant. The Health Department is recommending people not swim at South Beach, Cedar Grove and Midland Beach on Staten Island, and Sea Gate Beach in Brooklyn. Officials are also discouraging people from having contact with all waterways north of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. MUNI-METER RATE HIKE TAKES EFFECT IN THE BRONX The city is phasing in higher rates at muni-meters in the Bronx. A quarter gets five fewer minutes, as the new price is 25 cents for every 15 minutes, or a dollar an hour. The Department of Transportation says rate changes will continue throughout the year and happen in waves, so some streets may see higher rates before others. DOT officials advise everyone to check labels on the muni-meters before paying. Rate changes began last week in uptown Manhattan, Queens and on Staten Island. Meters will be switched to the higher rates in Brooklyn beginning next month.

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Hotel maid in Strauss-Kahn case speaks out By NOELEEN WALDER The New York hotel maid who accused former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of attempting to rape her said in an interview published on Newsweek’s website on Sunday that he appeared as a “crazy man” and attacked her when she entered his room. Nafissatou Diallo also gave the newsmagazine and ABC News permission to identify her by name. The magazine interview marks the first time the 32-year-old Guinean immigrant to the United States has publicly spoken to the media since she shocked the world with allegations that Strauss-Kahn emerged naked from the bathroom of his luxury suite on May 14 and forced her to perform oral sex. Until now, Reuters had kept to the practice in the United States of protecting the identity of alleged rape victims. “I want justice. I want him to go to jail,” she said in excerpts from the television interview released on Sunday. “I want him to know that there is some places you cannot use your money, you cannot use your power when you do something like this,” Diallo said. One of Diallo’s attorneys, Douglas Wigdor, told Reuters she has come forward to let the world know she is not a “shakedown artist or a prostitute.” “She’s being attacked ... and she thought it was important to put a name and face to her account,” Wigdor said. She also plans to file a civil lawsuit soon, which means her name would become public, he added. ABC reported Diallo also acknowledged “mistakes” but said that should not stop prosecutors from going forward. “I never want to be in public but I have no choice,” she told ABC News, adding “Now, I have to be in public. I have to, for myself. I have to tell the truth.” Diallo, who Newsweek said had agreed to be photographed for next week’s edition, said she saw StraussKahn appear naked in front of her when she opened the door to his suite. He was like “a crazy man to me,” she said.

Robin Roberts, right, talks to Nafissatou Diallo, the alleged victim in the Dominique Strauss-Kahn assault case. “You’re beautiful,” she reported Strauss-Kahn as saying, and said he attacked her despite her protestations. Strauss-Kahn, 62, has repeatedly denied all the charges against him. In a statement on Sunday, his lawyers called the interview a lastditch effort by the maid and her lawyers to extract money from the former managing director of the International Monetary Fund. She is “the first accuser in history to conduct a media campaign to persuade a prosecutor to pursue charges against a person from whom she wants money,” lawyers Benjamin Brafman and William Taylor said. “Her lawyers and public relations consultants have orchestrated an unprecedented number of media events and rallies to bring pressure on the prosecutors in this case after she had to admit her extraordinary efforts to mislead them.” Her credibility was thrown into question when Manhattan prosecutors revealed Diallo told authorities numerous lies, including fabricating a story about being gang-raped in Guinea in order to gain U.S. asylum. She also changed details of her story about what happened following the purported assault. Wigdor said Diallo has worried that prosecutors would drop the charges. “That has been a concern, but we’re all hopeful that the district

attorney’s going to do the right thing,” he said. A spokesman for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance had no comment on the interviews, saying: “We will not discuss the facts or evidence in what remains an ongoing investigation.” After arriving from Guinea in 2003, Diallo, who is illiterate, told Newsweek she spent years braiding hair before working at a bodega in New York City’s Bronx borough. As a maid at the Sofitel hotel, she received $25 an hour plus tips. Diallo said her husband in Guinea died of an illness but did not provide further details. Roughly two years after being raped by two soldiers in Conakry, the Guinean capital, she fled with her daughter, now 15, to the United States, where she said she has few close friends. Following the alleged attack, Diallo spent weeks in protective custody, holed up in a hotel with her daughter. “She’s been in seclusion for over two months. She hasn’t been able to take a walk in the park,” her lawyer said. French newspaper France Soir reported in a front page headline that David Koubbi, the lawyer for French writer Tristane Banon, who has accused Strauss-Kahn of a 2003 sexual assault, had met with Diallo. It added only that he “was impressed by her courage.”

Mom could face jail after son dies jaywalking By DERON DALTON A Georgia mother could face up to three years in prison after someone else killed her 4-year-old son because she was jaywalking with her children. Neighbors recall the incident that happened last spring. “Itself just a real horrible situation,” neighbor Mike Johnson said. “I’m just hope that she will pull through it and make the best out of it.” Raquel Nelson and her three children stepped off a bus in Marietta, Georgia where there was no crosswalk. The family tried to make it across four lanes where their home

was on the other side. But a van struck them in the street. Reportedly, witnesses said the family didn’t stand a chance. “A tan suv or a van turned on his light bright lights and just sped up the street,” witness Ashley Jones said. “And he hit the little boy and the little boy flew up in the air.” A.J. died, his mother and one of his sister had minor injuries. His 6year-old sister was left unharmed. The driver fled the scene of the crime — hitting the family and then, running. Reportedly, the driver, Jerry Guy, was under the influence of alcohol, prescription drugs and is partially blind in one eye. Police

tracked him down, and he pleaded guilty to one charge of hit and run. Guy was convicted and served six months in prison — being released last year. He is currently on probation. This is not Guy’s first hit and run. He was convicted twice before for hit and run. A.J.’s mom faces charges herself of second degree vehicular homicide, reckless conduct and failure to use a crosswalk. “It is her fault and it is his fault,” Johnson said. “But at the same time she suffered such a great loss so I just don’t see what putting her in prison is going to do.”


DAILY CHALLENGE MONDAY, JULY 25, 2011

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Will Black unemployment rates affect Obama re-election bid? Special to the NNPA from the AFRO-American newspapers Recent U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) statistics show that Blacks are still the group hardest hit by the economic recession — showing a 16.2 percent unemployment rate in June. According to Politic365.com, it is unclear how Blacks will vote in 2012 and if Black joblessness will affect President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign. Out of 14.1 million unemployed people, Hispanics are the second hardest hit with an 11.6 percent rate. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said that if whites had the highest unemployment percentages, Congress would be outraged. “Can you imagine a situation with any other group of workers… if 34 percent of white women were out there looking for work and couldn’t find it?” he said. “You would see congressional hearings and community gatherings. There would be rallies and protest marches. There is no way that this would be allowed to stand.” The question remains whether unemployment rates will affect the Black presidential vote. According to Politic365, Black voting patterns will remain the same. “…African Americans have

remained loyal to the Democrat party, whether they’re economically prosperous or impoverished,” the website stated. David Bositis, a senior researcher at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, agreed. He said Blacks understand Obama is struggling to get initiatives, such as health care reform, implemented because of the Congress divide. “He’s not God. There’s a limit to

what he can do while Republicans are in control,” Bositis said. “I doubt it’s going to have much effect on the election.” But New York Times writer and statistician Nate Silver called the prediction of another Black vote sweep by Obama “quite fuzzy.” In an article titled, “On the Maddeningly Inexact Relationship Between Unemployment and ReElection” published June 2 in the

Times, he wrote: “Historically, the relationship between the unemployment rate and a president’s performance on Election Day is complicated and tenuous.” Silver’s analysis of presidential election results and unemployment rates show a correlation between voting and job rates. “Unemployment increased by 1.9 percentage points over the course of Richard M. Nixon’s first term, but he won re-election easily,” he wrote. “The unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent from 5.3 percent, meanwhile, in Bill Clinton’s second term—but his vice president, Al Gore, could not beat Mr. Bush in the Electoral College.” “…historically, the correlation between the unemployment rate and a president’s electoral performance has been essentially zero,” he said. He also mentioned that presidents Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush senior faced high unemployment rates when they lost their re-elections. In the DOL report, unemployment rates have increased from March to June, with 545,000 being added to the jobless pool. At 9.2 percent, men had the highest unemployment rate over women, who were at an 8.1 percent rate.

Muslims prepare for summertime Ramadan fasting By RASHA MADKOUR MIAMI — The Muslim holy month of Ramadan falls during the long, hot days of August this year, and Muslim Americans are getting ready to accommodate the daylight fasts required during Ramadan with adjustments in their schedules and eating habits. It can be even tougher for Muslims in America than for their counterparts in majority-Muslim countries, where business slows down during Ramadan and people take it easier during the day, says Dr. Elizabeth Rourke, an internist at Boston Medical Center. “In the U.S., everyone is required to do what they would do ordinarily, the entire month,” Rourke says, “so it makes the fast much more demanding for American Muslims.” Mubarakah Ibrahim, a personal trainer, hopes to cram all her clients in the morning when she has the most energy. She’ll serve vegetables as the first course when her family breaks their fast in the evenings to make sure they get their nutrients for the day. And she’ll buy her four kids — ranging in age from 10 to17 — shiny new water bottles as a reminder to hydrate during the hours they’re not fasting. “We know spirituality can get you through anything,” says Ibrahim, who lives in New Haven, Conn. “But the choice really is, you can suffer through it and still do it, or you can do it and do it efficiently without making your health suffer.” Ramadan requires daily fasts of food and water during daytime hours. Typically observers eat a meal before dawn and break their

fast at sunset. The fast-breaking meal — which varies by ethnic group but traditionally starts with a handful of sweet dates — is seen by many Muslims as an opportunity to gather with family and friends. This year Ramadan begins Aug. 1, when the period from dawn to sunset in the continental U.S. can range from around 14 to around 16 hours, depending where you live. The Islamic calendar follows the lunar cycle, which is shorter than the sun-based Gregorian calendar, so Ramadan creeps up 11 days every year. Ramadan can last 29 or 30 days, again depending on the lunar cycle. Fasting during Ramadan is one of the most important duties in Islam, one that even the not-so-religious typically observe. Children are not required to fast until they hit puberty, though many start building up to it when they’re younger with halfday fasts. Also exempt are the elderly, women who are pregnant or nursing, and people with chronic medical conditions. But even for healthy Muslims, the daily fast from dawn until sunset can be grueling. Rourke teaches medical residents about Ramadan and its implications for patients — how to adjust medication regimens to fit the daytime fast when possible, how to advise patients on avoiding dehydration, how to enlist help from a local religious leader if someone who shouldn’t be fasting expresses the intention to do so. “Even for a totally healthy person to sustain that fast for a long period of time during a time where it can be very hot, it’s a very demanding thing to ask of your body,” Rourke

says. Sheikh Ali, a college student from Boca Raton, Fla., tries to ease his body into Ramadan mode by fasting intermittently the prior month, a practice of the Prophet Muhammad that some people emulate. The premed chemistry major also extols the benefits of eating a highfiber breakfast, like whole grain cereal, especially in the pre-dawn meal before fasting to help keep him feeling full. Still, many Muslims say they won’t do much differently this year and they’re not too worried about the summer Ramadan. “Once you’ve done it for this long,” says Natasha Chida, a medical resident at the University of Miami who’s been fasting since she was in middle school, “it’s not really

something that’s physically difficult, it’s just about continuing to learn self-restraint.” Beyond abstaining from food and drink, Muslims try to avoid negative words, thoughts and actions while fasting. Ramadan is seen as an opportunity to improve oneself, spiritually and personally. Rizwan Jaka, a technology manager in Washington, D.C., puts the fast in perspective by reflecting on and empathizing with those in need, one of the main purposes of fasting. “In the end, we have to realize that people go without food and water on a regular basis,” Jaka says. Whatever hardships people feel during their fast, he adds, “we’ve got it easy compared to people who don’t have access to food and running water.”

Report finds U.S. funds reaching Taliban WASHINGTON — U.S. taxpayer money indirectly reached the Taliban through a $2.16 billion contract that helped promote Afghan businesses, a military-led inquiry indicated. The investigation provided evidence of corruption that put U.S. transportation money into the Taliban’s hands, a finding consistent with previous investigations by Congress, federal agencies and the U.S. military, The Washington Post reported Sunday In one instance, intelligence officials traced $3.3 million that was transferred to insurgents in the form of weapons, explosives and cash, the Post reported.

A summary of the investigation results, compiled in May and reviewed by The Washington Post, indicated the military found “documented, credible evidence … of involvement in a criminal enterprise or support for the enemy” by four of the eight main trucking contractors. Investigators also cited cases of profiteering, money laundering and kickbacks. Despite concerns, U.S. and Afghan efforts to address the problem have been slow and ineffective, and all eight of the trucking firms under scrutiny still are on U.S. payroll, the Post said. In March, the Pentagon extended the contract for six months.


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DAILY CHALLENGE MONDAY, JULY 25, 2011

FORUM

PrEPing for the end of the HIV/AIDS epidemic THOMAS H. WATKINS

By PHILL WILSON

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Now 30 years after the first AIDS case was diagnosed in America, evidence is quickly mounting that we are turning the corner and the tools that could end the HIV pandemic lay in our hands. Recently the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the results of two clinical trials involving heterosexual men and women that demonstrated for the very first time that antiretroviral (ARV) medications taken daily can dramatically reduce their risk of becoming infected with HIV. This strategy of providing daily ARVs to uninfected people to reduce their chances of infection is called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). The two trials, conducted in three African nations, provide evidence that ARVs, originally developed to save lives, also offer a powerful strategy for preventing new HIV infections acquired through heterosexual contact— the epidemic’s primary method of transmission across the world

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average of 62 percent lower chance of becoming infected. The Partners PrEP findings were so definitive that it was stopped early because it would be unethical to continue providing participants placebos. These study results come on the heels of promising clinicaltrial findings showing that vaginal microbicides can prevent HIV-infection in women and that PrEP can prevent infection among gay and bisexual men. And only two months ago, breakthrough research showed that when participants started taking ARVs almost immediately after being diagnosed with HIV rather than waiting until the disease had progressed, they were much less likely to infect others, a strategy known as “treatment as prevention.” We have reached a deciding moment. HIV is 100 percent preventable, including among some of our most at-risk populations: women, gay and bisexual men and young adults. HIV is also 100 percent diagnosable and in many cases treatable. Our preContinued on page 5

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and a disproportionate factor in Black America. The smaller of the two studies, known as TDF2, involved just over 1,200 sexually active, HIV-negative young adults, ages 18-39. Researchers found that participants who took a daily pill of Truvada—a mix of tenofovir and emtricitabine—reduced their risk of becoming infected with HIV by 63 percent. This study was conducted in Botswana and managed by the CDC and the Botswana Ministry of Health. The second study, known as Partners PrEP, was conducted in Kenya and Uganda by researchers from the University of Washington and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The study recruited 4,758 sero-discordant couples— that is, couples in which one partner has HIV and the other does not. The uninfected partners were randomly assigned to take Truvada, Viread—an ARV containing only tenofovir—or a placebo. Those taking Truvada saw their infection risk drop by 73 percent. The HIV-negative partners taking Viread had an

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5

DAILY CHALLENGE MONDAY, JULY 25, 2011

The need for the Congressional Black Caucus is as critical today as it was 40 years ago By WILLIAM L. CLAY, SR. UNITED STATES CONGRESS, RETIRED Who would have thought that 40 years ago l3 black members holding no committee chairmanships, with limited staff and little insider input, would grow to 42 in number and meaningful influence to impact most issues, possess legislative expertise equal to the best, and wield considerable power in shaping the final forms of laws. There was a dire need for organizing the CBC because the basic interests of millions of blacks were badly neglected by a substantial number of both Democrats and Republicans who conspired to deny full citizenship to them. The original 13 Black members came from 8 states and the District of Columbia. Not one was from the

south where 51 percent or 12 million Blacks lived and were denied the right to vote because of physical intimidation, lynchings, and economic threats. Those elected from 10 southern states and their co-conspirators in northern districts shamefully prevented the extension of their human and civil rights. The elections of Shirley Chisholm, Louis Stokes and myself, followed two years later with the addition of Charles Rangel, Parren Mitchell, George Collins, Ralph Metcalf, Walter Fauntroy and Ronald Dellums, ushered in a new era, a new direction for Black influence in congressional deliberations. Black Americans witnessed the greatest advancement of their political rights in history. They proudly watched 13 of their own successfully end the ability of southern chairmen block assignment of Blacks to important committees; supported their demand that President Nixon address the problems of our people, when he refused,

End of the HIV/AIDS epidemic Continued from page 4 vention toolbox is now exploding with options. We now have the all of the tools needed to end the AIDS epidemic! The promising new PrEP results arrive at a critical time. Wednesday marked the one-year anniversary of the launch of the historic National HIV/AIDS Strategy, the nation’s first comprehensive roadmap for fighting the epidemic, and one that places the wellbeing of Black people front and center. We also have health-insurance reform to provide care to the least among us. But the anniversary and this remarkable string of study results come during an economic downturn that has seen many people lose jobs and others slip through the proverbial “safety net”—losing health insurance, unemployment, and other benefits. It also comes at the same time many states are cutting funding for HIV/AIDS-prevention programs and the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). So while we have the toolkit to end the epidemic, the question remains whether we have the political will to invest in using the tools strategically, effectively and compassionately. It’s time to call on Congress, the Obama Administration, and federal and state agencies to do three things: 1. Invest in expanded access to testing and linkages to care. People need to know their HIV status, and those who are HIV positive need to be linked to appropriate care immediately. 2. Increase access to care for vul-

nerable communities including the ADAP waiting lists. Nationally over 8500 people remain on ADAP waiting lists. Fourteen states have reduced the number and types of drugs they will pay for. A number of states have stiffened financial eligibility requirements, capped enrollment or removed some people who were already enrolled. Other states are considering doing the same. This approach is outrageous. Not only are such cuts immoral and financially shortsighted, as these recent data prove, starving ADAP programs creates a public health threat. 3. Raise HIV science and treatment literacy in vulnerable communities. HIV health disparities are growing in the U.S., and Black people are disproportionately impacted. Black Americans become infected at a younger age and at higher rates, are diagnosed at a later point in their disease and die faster than any other racial ethnic group. Our lack of scientific understanding about how the virus behaves in the body and what options exist to treat it is one of the biggest barriers to efforts to confront HIV in our communities. Lacking this knowledge too many of us in the Black community become distracted by myths and misinformation. When we don’t understand the science of HIV/AIDS, we are unable to protect ourselves, we put off getting tested, delay starting treatment, fail to adhere to the treatment regimens and are reluctant to own the disease and/or our responsibility for ending it. If we don’t raise HIV-related science literacy, capacity and infrastructure

they cheered the CBC boycott of his State of the Union address; and were jubilant as the Caucus pushed through legislation that enacted setasides in government contracts for minority business. The CBC consistently attacking every policy and practice that conferred privilege, advantage and preferential treatment on the elite class was a source of inspiration to a deprived class of people. Forming the Congressional Black Caucus rocked some boats and ruffled many feathers, including those of longtime friends and “fair weather” allies: liberals were offended that a group of Blacks would plan a course of action without consulting or seeking their advice; labor leaders feared they would no longer set the political and economic agenda for Blacks to follow without questioning or changing; civil rights leaders were apprehensive that the CBC would usurp their perceived right to exclusively decide what racial issues

were priority and how fast to pursue them. Despite their fears and concerns, the time had arrived for Blacks to speak for themselves. Middlemen were unnecessary; especially in the wake of massive street demonstrations that prompted enactment of civil rights. The need for the CBC was as critical then as it is today. The ideological assault waged to reverse racial and sexual gains, to eliminate the middle class and to exploit workers by eliminating collective bargaining must be denounced and resisted. The voices of 42 strong CBC members, chanting in solidarity, in unity must provide the leadership in reversing the sadistic, insane politics permeating the county. The CBC has the respect, the mandate, the obligation to protect, to preserve the historical advances established in the last 40 years for women, workers, minorities, the sick and the handicap.

in Black communities, Black people will continue to be left behind, and we won’t succeed in ending the disparities, despite the biomedical advances we’re making. PrEP offers tremendous promise, but it is not a magic bullet. We still need to use condoms, offer comprehensive sexual education, provide prevention counseling, and choose fewer partners and know our status and our partner’s stratus. Policy makers need to step up and leaders need to lead.

But PrEP has the potential to become a powerful weapon in the war against HIV/AIDS. It’s time to get serious about PrEPing to end this epidemic.

— Phill Wilson is the President and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute, the only National HIV/AIDS think tank in the United States focused exclusively on Black people. He can be reached at PhillWilson@BlackAIDS.org.

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6

DAILY CHALLENGE MONDAY, JULY 25, 2011

Obama says he still supports DREAM Act WASHINGTON — U.S. President Barack Obama says he supports the socalled DREAM Act and promises to redouble his efforts to get the immigration legislation passed. “We are pursuing it right now. We were pursuing it last year,” he told Univision Radio ahead of a luncheon address before the National Council of La Raza annual conference in Washington yesterday. “We should be welcoming [the undocumented students] and so I’ve consistently said that I am a strong supporter of the DREAM Act,” he said. The measure, whose acronym stands for Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, provides a

six-year path to permanent residency for some children of illegal immigrants. Under the act, the specifically defined group of people would be able to attain full

U.S. citizenship if they keep their criminal record clean, graduate from high school, and attend college or join the U.S. military. The measure was side-

lined by a Senate filibuster in September, but Obama, along with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Education Secretary Arne Duncan, joined Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill., in supporting the bill. “We’ve had problems with Republican members of Congress, some of whom previously supported ... the DREAM Act, but for some reason, because of politics, have pulled their support from it,” Obama told Univision. “And so we need to rebuild that support and put pressure for members of Congress to do the right thing on this issue.” Earlier supporting GOP Sens. John Cornyn of Texas, Jon Kyl of Arizona, John

McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina withheld their support when the bill was reintroduced May 11 because they said they wanted stronger laws against illegal immigrants working in the United States. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he would consider adding a workplace-enforcement measure to the act requiring all employers to use the government’s online E-Verify workeligibility verification system. In July 2008, when Obama ran for president, he promised the National Conference of La Raza he would make immigration reform a priority during the first year of his presidency.

U.S. military’s ban on gays Grizzly bear attacks to end on September 20 seven teens in Alaska By PHIL STEWART and LAURA MACINNIS WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama announced the U.S. military’s ban on gays will end on September 20, in a major victory for rights advocates who overcame concerns about enacting the change during wartime. Obama, along with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Admiral Mike Mullen, the top U.S. military officer, certified that military readiness will not suffer by repealing the nearly 18year-old “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law. The long-awaited move triggers a 60-day waiting period before repeal of the divisive policy, which over the years has led to the expulsion of more than 13,000 gays and lesbians who failed to keep their sexual orientation secret. “Today, we have taken the final major step toward ending the discriminatory ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy,” Obama said. “‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ will end, once and for all, in 60 days.” Abolishing the ban fulfills one of Obama’s campaign promises and answers a call by gay rights advocates, who had been successfully pursu-

ing a parallel battle in court to strike down the policy on constitutional grounds. Although the flurry of reaction in Washington was overwhelmingly positive, not everyone was cheering the news. Representative Howard McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, accused the president of failing to properly address the concerns expressed by military service chiefs about the impact on troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. “They worry that the combat readiness of our force could be placed at risk, particularly those serving on the front lines,” McKeon said. Critics of repeal, including within the Pentagon, had long argued it was too risky to pursue at a time when the military was stretched by nearly a decade of war. But a Pentagon study unveiled last year predicted that scrapping the policy would have little impact. Major General Steven Hummer, the head of the repeal implementation team, told reporters training so far had laid the groundwork for “a smooth and orderly transition.” Mullen, who had been a forceful advocate of repeal, said that more training was needed, adding “certification

does not mark the end of our work.” With repeal, U.S. service members can for the first time openly discuss their sexual orientation without fear of dismissal on September 20. While some are expected to make their sexual orientation known, others may opt to keep the matter private. Pentagon officials say gay and lesbian servicemembers would be treated like anyone else in the military — including deployments to countries, even those where homosexuality might be frowned upon or outlawed. There would not be separate bathrooms or living quarters for gays and lesbians, they said. Still, repeal will not give partners of gays and lesbians in the military all the same benefits as heterosexual spouses, such as medical care, travel and housing allowances. Pentagon officials pointed to U.S. laws constricting their ability to treat samesex and heterosexual couples equally. The American Civil Liberties Union praised the move but warned it would seek justice for service members discharged in the past, who only get half the separation pay given to “honorably” discharged members of the military.

By YERETH ROSEN ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A grizzly bear attacked seven teenagers in Alaska, injuring four of them, Alaska State Troopers said on Sunday. The teens were hiking in the Talkeetna Mountains east of Denali National Park and were trying to cross a river when the grizzly attacked Saturday night, the troopers said. The two 17-year-old students in the lead, Joshua Berg of New York and Samuel Gottsegen of Denver, bore the brunt of the attack, the troopers said. Other members were able to activate an emergency beacon and the group was rescued on Sunday morning by the Alaska Air National Guard, the troopers said. While Berg and Gottsegen were the most severely mauled, two other students, 16-year-old Noah Allaire of Albuquerque and 18-year-old Victor Martin of Richmond, California, also were hospitalized with injuries. Martin was released late Sunday but the other three remained hospitalized. Their conditions were not available. The three other teens received minor injuries or

suffered from exposurerelated ailments, the troopers said. The students were on the 24th day of a 30-day backpacking trek through the Alaska wilderness as part of the National Outdoor Leadership School. The bear was a sow that appeared to be guarding a cub, said Don Ford, the outdoor school’s Alaska director. “They believe there was a cub,” Ford said. “They didn’t actually see the cub, but they saw some rustling in the brush.” The seven students were part of a larger group that included three instructors, the school said in a statement. Ford said the entire expedition was terminated and the remaining students and instructors were being flown back to the school’s Alaska headquarters. The school has never before had a bear maul any of its Alaska expedition members, Ford said. “This is our 40th year of operation in Alaska. We have not had a bear attack in all of that 40 years,” he said. The National Outdoor Leadership School, based in Lander, Wyoming, is a nonprofit educational organization that conducts expeditions and instructional courses around the world.


DAILY D CHALLENGE MONDAY, JULY 25, 2011

INTERNATIONAL

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China sacks 3 senior officials after train crash By ROYSTON CHAN & MAXIM DUNCAN WENZHOU, China China sacked three senior railway officials Sunday after a collision between two high-speed trains killed at least 35 people and raised new questions about the safety of the fast-growing rail network. A bullet train Saturday night hit another express which lost power following a lightning strike, state media said, in the country’s deadliest rail disaster since 2008. The power failure knocked out an electronic safety system designed to alert trains about stalled locomotives on the line. As rescue teams and firefighters with excavators searched for survivors, state television said two young boys had been pulled alive from the wreckage.

There were 1,630 passengers on both trains, which collided on a bridge near the city of Wenzhou in Zhejiang province, some 860 miles south of Beijing. “The task for us now is to clear the debris and also to check for survivors in those areas that we have not gone to,” said 35-year-old rescue worker Wang Jun. “Also, we are trying to get the railway line to be operational again.” Authorities moved quickly to respond to public anger by sacking the head of the Shanghai railway bureau, his deputy and the bureau’s Communist Party chief, the Railways Ministry said in a statement on its website (www.chinamor.gov.cn). The three will “also be subject to investigation,” the statement added. “As leaders ... they should take ultimate responsibility for the main cause of the accident,” Railways Ministry spokesman Wang Yongping told a

packed news conference in Wenzhou. “There will be many people who think that this is a safety problem caused by high-speed rail itself,” he added. “I should still say to people that China’s highspeed rail technology is up to date and up to standard, and we still have faith in it.” Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang, visiting the disaster scene, “pledged that the investigators will find out the cause of the accident and those responsible will be seriously punished according to the law,” the official Xinhua news agency reported. Rescuers found eight more bodies on Sunday afternoon, bringing the death toll to 43, Xinhua said, though Railways Ministry spokesman Wang said the figure was actually 35. He did not explain the discrepancy. Wang also said no foreigners had died, denying an earlier report from the semiofficial China News Service which said two foreigners were among the dead.

Rail is the most popular method of long-distance transport in China and trains are usually crowded with as many as 1,000 passengers. The reliability of China’s rail network was called into question recently when the flagship Beijing-Shanghai high-speed line suffered a series of power outages soon after opening to great fanfare a month ago. China’s rail network has also been hit by a series of scandals. Three railway officials have been investigated for corruption this year, according to local media reports. In February, Liu Zhijun was sacked as railways minister for “serious disciplinary violations.” He led the rail sector’s investment drive over the past decade. Chinese Internet users took to popular microblogging site Weibo to vent their anger about the accident, with some calling for Railways Minister Sheng Guangzu to resign, posting his pic-

U.N. envoy to meet Libya rebels over peace plan By RANIA EL GAMAL BENGHAZI - The U.N. envoy to Libya will discuss with rebel leaders informal plans for a negotiated end to the war as Western powers ramp up diplomatic and military pressure on Muammar Gaddafi to step down. Abdul Elah al-Khatib arrived in the eastern rebel stronghold of Benghazi yesterday, rebels said, as a diplomatic push to end the conflict gathers steam. In an apparent further sign of moves toward a political solution, a senior rebel leader was quoted as saying that Gaddafi and his family could remain in Libya provided they gave up power. Gaddafi is clinging to power despite a four-month-old NATO air campaign and five months of fighting with rebels who have seized large swathes of the North African country. NATO has continued to hammer Gaddafi’s forces around Libya, striking twice in central Tripoli yesterday, and Britain

has said there would be no let up during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in August. But hopes have grown for a negotiated end to a war that has dragged on longer than many initially expected. A European diplomat said last week that Khatib would try to persuade warring parties in Libya to accept an informal plan that envisages a ceasefire followed by the creation of an interim power-sharing government, but with no role for Gaddafi. Khatib, a senior Jordanian politician, told Reuters in Amman last week that he hoped both sides would accept his ideas. “The U.N. is exerting very serious efforts to create a political process that has two pillars; one is an agreement on a ceasefire and simultaneously an agreement on setting up a mechanism to manage the transitional period,” he said. He did not go into the details of that mechanism. Khatib’s visit comes a day after Gaddafi’s foreign minister, Abdelati Obeidi, ended a threeday round of talks in Cairo to seek a negotiated end to the war.

Libya’s government has said is representatives are ready to hold more talks with the United States and the rebels, but that Gaddafi himself will not negotiate and will not quit. Spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said Friday that senior Libyan officials had a “productive dialogue” with U.S. counterparts earlier this month in a rare meeting that followed U.S. recognition of the rebel government. Complicating Gaddafi’s situation is the fact that the world court in The Hague is seeking his arrest for crimes against humanity allegedly committed by his forces. This makes it difficult for him to find refuge outside the country. Hopes for a negotiated settlement have grown, however, since France said for the first time last week that Gaddafi could stay in Libya as long as he gives up power. In what appeared to be a significant reverse of policy, opposition leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil said Gaddafi and his family can stay in Libya as part of a political deal to end the war provided they give up power.

ture online with a large red cross through it. “The Railways Ministry should realize that passengers are not just little white mice,” wrote Yang Chunxiao. “Do you think officials are really trying to help? It’s all for show,” added A Cige. “FLYING INTO THE AIR” One train was heading from Beijing to the coastal city of Fuzhou, and the other was running from Hangzhou to Fuzhou. Both trains were made by China South Locomotive and Rolling Stock Corp Ltd (CSR). The force of the collision sent “the head of the train flying into the air,” said Cai Qi, a 30year-old villager who saw the accident and rescued five children, four women and one man. “Some of them

had their hands or legs broken. Some were crushed inside debris and we pushed and carried them out.” “Suddenly, there was a loud bang,” said 32year-old survivor Yin Caohui. “After that, the train broke. It was all dark and we could not see anything.” A 31-year-old survivor, who gave his last name as Yu, said the train stopped suddenly and the lights immediately went off but the passengers “didn’t think it was so serious.” “Only when we got down, we saw so many train carriages falling down,” Yu said. In 2008, an express train traveling from Beijing to the eastern coastal city of Qingdao derailed and collided with another train, killing 72 and injuring 416 people.

Last Serb war crimes suspect appears at U.N. court By AARON GRAY-BLOCK THE HAGUE - Serbia’s last major war crimes suspect refused to enter a plea on charges over the 1991-1995 Croatian war when he made a brief first appearance at the U.N.’s Yugoslavia tribunal yesterday. The arrest of Goran Hadzic, 52, and his transfer to The Hague last week were a symbolic moment for both Serbia and the Balkans region, ending an 18-year manhunt to detain all 161 suspects indicted by the Yugoslavia war crimes court. The European Union has insisted that Serbia arrest all wanted war criminals before it grants candidate status for membership. It is due to issue a progress report in October. “Mr Hadzic is not going to enter a plea today. He is going to avail himself of the rights granted to him,” Hadzic’s duty counsel Vladimir Petrovic told the court. Hadzic is charged with 14 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. These include the extermination, torture, murder and willful killing of hundreds of Croat and other non-Serb civilians — in particular, 264 hospital patients who were killed in Vukovar in 1991. In the hearing that lasted just under 15 minutes, Judge O-Gon Kwon said that a second arraignment hearing would be scheduled within 30 days as Hadzic had not entered a plea. Suspects at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia have the right to delay entering a plea for up to 30 days. But if they then still refuse to enter one, the court may enter a plea of not guilty on their behalf. Flanked by four guards, Hadzic looked tired as he appeared in court with a graying mustache and facial hair, but shorn of the long black beard he sported during the Balkan wars.


AFRICAN SCENE

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DAILY CHALLENGE MONDAY, JULY 25, 2011

AFRICAN SCENE

Sudan launches new currency KHARTOUM - Sudan launched a new currency on Sunday, six days after the newly independent south did so amid fears of a currency war, but the central bank said it was ready to negotiate with Juba on the old money.

f Uganda: More than 100 refugees flee Congo violence KAMPALA, Uganda - Police say more than 100 people have fled into Uganda after a military operation in volatile eastern Congo. Kisoro district commander Rauben Wansiima says 119 people have been counted in the border region yesterday. He says Congolese and Rwandan troops are participating in a joint operation to rout rebels from eastern Congo. He says 70 of the refugees are children and that those who have fled will be taken to designated camps. Eastern Congo has long been wracked by violence from a myriad of rebel groups, including some that are based in neighboring Rwanda and Uganda.

Ex-Egypt PM quizzed by military prosecutors Egypt’s former prime minister Ahmed Nazif is being questioned by military prosecutors on charges of corruption, a military source told AFP yesterday. Nazif is accused of seizing state-owned land and squandering public money. It is the first time a member of ousted president Hosni Mubarak’s regime faces military investigators.

Celebs urge action for Horn of Africa famine funds Bob Geldof, Stephen Fry and Eddie Izzard joined other celebrities and activists yesterday in urging world leaders to step up their response to the Horn of Africa crisis ahead of emergency talks in Rome. “As we write, more than 11 million people are suffering the great agony of the worst famine in Africa for many years,” they said in a joint letter released by One, a poverty campaign group founded by singer and activist Bono. “It is incomprehensible that in 2011 anyone should die of starvation. 600 million dollars is needed now for our fellow humans. Not a great sum for the world, even in a time of great economic difficulty for some,” the letter read. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) was hosting emergency talks in Rome yesterday as aid groups scramble to raise money for an estimated 12 million people on the brink of starvation in the drought-stricken region. Tens of thousands of people have been killed by the worst drought in 60 years, which has wreaked havoc in war-torn Somalia but has also hit more widely in parts of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda, the UN says. “All can and should use this meeting to make their pledges and find this money without reservation, prevarication or equivocation,” said the campaigners including actress Kristin Scott Thomas and director Richard Curtis. An online petition by One which calls urgently on world leaders not only to provide the necessary funds now but to keep

“Today we have launched the new currency in the capital and all the states, and we are ready to issue any amount of the currency through the banks and the ATMs,” said the bank’s governor, Mohammed Kheir alZubair. Speaking to reporters in Khartoum, he declined to specify how long the old currency would remain in circulation, only saying the transition would be completed “as quickly as possible.” The new Sudanese pound has a redrawn map of the country and certain symbols are absent on the differently coloured notes, following the secession of the south on July 9. It replaces the old Sudanese pound, which has plunged in value this year, mainly because of the surge in food prices and weak state finances. One dollar can now buy up to 3.5 Sudanese pounds on the black market, compared with the official exchange rate of 2.67 Sudanese pounds. The South Sudan pound, launched last Monday in Juba, threatens to further devalue the Sudanese pound and has raised concerns about either country

A Sudanese man shows freshly-minted notes of the new Sudanese pound in Khartoum on July 24, 2011 as the country issues new currency following the South's secession from the north being flooded with old notes. beginning of the second repubThere are about 11 billion old lic,” echoing the words of Sudanese pounds in the north, Sudan’s President Omar aland the south’s central bank Bashir, on July 12, in his first governor, Elijah Malok, urged speech to parliament after the the new country’s 10 states to south’s declaration of independensure the swiftest possible cir- ence. culation of their new currency, Bashir called for understandsaying otherwise “a lot of money ing and patience at the start of will pour in and destroy our the new era, as he outlined a economy.” package of austerity measures But Zubair sought to calm designed to bolster an ailing fears about any such move. economy and accommodate the “We are ready to negotiate sharp fall in oil revenues. with the government of South The issue of currencies was Sudan about the old money that one of a number of key outthey have,” he said. standing topics that the north Zubair hailed the launch of and south failed to agree on the new Sudanese pound as “the prior to the country’s partition.

Kerosene out of reach for oil-rich Nigeria’s poor By YINKA IBUKUN LAGOS, Nigeria It’s been five months since Toyin Felix last cooked dinner for her family in her kitchen. The price of kerosene is so high this mother of four now builds a fire outdoors with wood instead. “My son helps me to blow when the firewood won’t catch fire,” she says. Gas stations in this oil-rich country advertise kerosene for 30 cents a liter, but it actually sells for about three times that. When asked to sell kerosene to a customer, one gas station atten-

dant compared it to royalty: “You are asking for the king,” he said. “The king is not around.” The status of kerosene, long considered gas’ poor cousin, only recently rose to become one of the most sought-after fuel products in the resourcerich West African nation. Many are taking advantage of the situation. Because of government subsidies, kerosene is supposed to only cost 30 cents a liter. But middlemen are reselling it so many times among themselves that it reaches the end-users at highly inflated prices. It turns into an expensive - and timeconsuming - odyssey

just to stay in business for many. “You waste a lot of time buying kerosene and they tell you to pay money before they even sell anything to you,” said Anthony Anyi, a 27-year-old kitchen assistant who feeds some 300 people a day at his roadside restaurant from a stove made out of a recycled car rim. Levi Ajuonoma, a spokesman for Nigeria’s state-run oil company, said the government is trying to rein in profiteering middlemen by delivering 30-cent-a-liter kerosene directly to households in a few neighborhoods. “It’s a pilot project for now ... but middlemen will see that if they do

not sell as we tell them to, they will have to drink their kerosene,” he said. But kerosene is also becoming hard to find for cooking because it also can be sold as jet fuel. “As a marketer I’m faced with the option of selling my dual purpose kerosene as household kerosene or as jet fuel,” explains Agusto & Co Oil & Gas analyst Dolapo Oni. “Most settle for jet fuel and inadvertently create the scarcity that leads to household kerosene being sold at about the same price.” In the commercial capital of Lagos, heavy rains have reduced the combustibility of cheaper alternatives such as firewood and charcoal.


D CHALLENGE MONDAY, JULY 25, 2011 DAILY

AFRICAN SCENE

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Famine in Somalia is ‘immoral’: UN aid coordinator By DARIO THUBURN With the world scrambling to rescue 12 million people on the brink of starvation in the Horn of Africa, UN emergency official Cristina Amaral said the fact that children are dying of hunger is “immoral”. As head of emergency operations in Africa for the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Amaral has been warning about the crisis facing the drought-stricken region since November, after the rainy season failed. Now she says it’s not enough for donor countries to stump up some cash for immediate food aid — there needs to be long-term investment to help farmers resist droughts and international mediation to bring peace to war-torn Somalia. “When we have a declaration of famine in the 21st century, we should consider this immoral,” Amaral told AFP in an interview as she prepared for emergency talks at FAO in Rome yesterday aimed at coordinating the aid effort. Ministers, aid chiefs

A child plays with a toy car made from a plastic drinking bottle on the outskirts of Dagahaley refugee camp in Kenya's Dadaab refugee complex. With the world scrambling to rescue 12 million people on the brink of starvation in the Horn of Africa, UN emergency official Cristina Amaral said the fact that children are dying of hunger is "immoral". and charities are meet- inspired Shebab group Amaral said the ing to discuss ways of has banned humanitari- international communistepping up food sup- an aid agencies like the ty is now seeing the plies and delivering World Food Programme results of years of them to the epicentre of from working in the under-investment in the famine in southern region, although FAO solutions to the chronic Somalia, much of which has been able to operate drought problems of the is under the control of several small pro- region. Islamist militants. grammes to help farmProjects to improve “Without access to ers through local part- the management of passouth Somalia, we’re ners. tures by herders, to only seeing the tip of “We hope that the improve animal health the iceberg — those political negotiation will and to introduce more refugees arriving in evolve and that the resilient crops would go Kenya and Ethiopia,” humanitarian situation a long way, she said. Amaral said. “There are prevailing will make “We know what to do many more — we esti- the clans in Somalia but the funding only mate 3.7 million — that negotiate in a way that works when you have need emergency assis- will free the access to the media attention and tance,” she added. people in need,” she that’s the problem,” she The Al Qaeda- said. said. “War has become a

normality there. You only hear about Somalia when there are pirates,” she added. “We need to look at this protracted crisis with a different kind of solution. Somalia has had a lot of humanitarian aid but not much long-term investment,” she said, blaming misperceptions that any efforts are hopeless. “People don’t get out of the drought cycle in one or two years. Usually it takes five or six years. In this case we had a drought in 2008 and we’re having another one in 2011. People have not yet recovered from the first one.” She said FAO needs $135 million dollars (94 million euros) for its projects. Amaral’s work has taken her to some of the most deprived countries and worst humanitarian crises in the world, with some of her most recent efforts concentrated in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti and Zimbabwe. She said that, bad as the current crisis is, it still does not compare with previous humanitarian disasters in Ethiopia and Somalia in the 1980s and 1990s. “Overall we have

more capacity to respond today,” she said. But she added: “We’re afraid that things will get worse in the coming months if nothing is done now.” UN agencies say tens of thousands of people have died due to the drought and warn half a million children are at risk of dying. One aggravating factor in the drought crisis has been the sharp spike in food and fuel prices in countries like Djibouti and Somalia that are net importers of food — a point expected to be raised at the FAO talks yesterday. Whatever the aid strategy hashed out in the near future for the region will be, Amaral warned that the worstaffected country — Somalia — will never see an end to the cycle of drought and starvation without peace. “The solution in the long-term for the crisis in Somalia lies with Somalis, with the peace process and the dialogue among the different political forces inside Somalia to try to find the path to democracy again. “Without democracy and peace it will not be possible to end hunger.”

Malawi riots a warning to government: analysts By FELIX MPONDA The deadly anti-government riots against President Bingu wa Mutharika in Malawi are a signal that public anger will not be silenced in this impoverished southern African nation, analysts say. The usually calm country exploded into two-day riots that killed 19 people after police tried to block anti-government protests accusing Mutharika of economic mismanagement and stifling human rights. “What we are seeing now has been bottled up but people expected is to see the state changing, said Malawi

Human Rights Commission chair John Kapito. “Now there is a revolt.” “There is a message ringing out there that the people are not happy and Malawi is changing.” Malawi has been independent for 47 years and the unrest is the worst since 1994 which saw the advent of democracy and an end to the three decade dictatorship of Kamuzu Banda. “The behaviour of the current leader is similar to that of the late Kamuzu Banda and I think he is reminding Malawians what we went through ... That’s why I think we are standing up,” said Kapito. Mutharika has faced

growing anger over chronic fuel and foreign exchange shortages, refusing to listen to critics and reining in freedoms, prompting former colonial ruler Britain to cut aid days before the protest. One newspaper Saturday urged his government to “wake up from its slumber” as the country took stock of the week’s bloodshed. “Malawians spoke with a loud and united voice last Wednesday and government would be fooling itself if it does not heed the issues raised,” wrote The Nation, calling for genuine dialogue. “After the emotional protests, the bloodshed and regrettable 18 deaths this week, one expects government to

wake up from its slumber and acknowledge that the country is in serious problems.” The upheaval follows other recent unrest in Africa such as deadly Uganda protests against fuel and food prices, pro-democracy protests in Africa’s last monarchy Swaziland, and Senegalese riots over electoral reforms seen as a successionplan for the president’s son. Diminishing freedoms by Mutharika were symptomatic of a turnaround by some of the continent’s leaders to non-democratic practices, said Olmo von Meigenfeldt of African democracy think-tank IDASA. However Von Meigenfeldt said he

A protester throws back a teargas canister fired by police during an anti government demonstration in Lilongwe. hoped that African government in the leaders would note that wake of the bloodshed “citizens will not toler- from the United ate repressive and dicto- Nations and a review of rial leadership forever. a $350 million grant “I’m not saying that from the United States. Malawi is repressive Kapito said and dictorial per se but Malawians had sent a indeed there has been strong signal to leaders an infringement of free- who believed that they doms, clearly, and peo- could only be removed ple are responding to by the ballot box and that.” trampled on peoples’ There has been pres- rights without being sure on the Malawian held accountable.


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CARIBBEAN NEWS DAILY CHALLENGE MONDAY, JULY 25, 2011

Ecuador president visits Chavez and Castro in Cuba HAVANA, Cuba — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who is currently undergoing chemotherapy in Cuba, was visited last week by president Ecuador´s Rafael Correa. The meeting was also attended by Cuban President Raul Castro and former president Fidel Castro. Chavez made the announcement on his account Twitter @chavezcandanga as he wrote: “What a nice meeting we had this afternoon with Fidel, Raul and Rafael Correa, who wanted to come and visit...” Ecuador’s ambassador to Cuba Edgar Ponce, who announced the visit earlier, told Radio Nacional de Venezuela that Chavez and Correa would address different issues of bilateral interest for their two countries, as well as regional events. Chavez is currently undergoing a second stage of a cancer treatment following the successful removal last

June 20 of a tumour from his pelvic region. The Venezuelan president attends to his presidential duties from Cuba, although he delegated some administrative functions to his vice president and finance minister before he left Venezuela on July 16, following authorization by his country’s Parliament. According to the country’s constitution, the president can be out of the country up to five days without any authorization, while a longer absence is only authorized by the parliament, which can grant a 90-day period that can be extended up to another 90 days. However, before leaving his country for Havana, Chavez said that following a joint evaluation of the medical process with his doctors, he considered that he could return home sooner than expected. Chavez said on Friday that he successfully con-

cluded the first chemotherapy session as part of his cancer treatment and announced that he is getting ready for a second session. “The chemotherapy cycle concluded with success (...). I have regained my weight, ideal weight. I am now getting ready in a successful manner for the second stage of this battle to eliminate any cell in my body, which will turn 57 years old, God willing, and with the support of all of you,” Chavez said during a phone conversation with participants at a meeting to transfer resources to communal councils in Barquisimeto, western Venezuela. This is the first public statement by Chavez after he returned to Cuba to continue with the treatment. He said that in the current medical stage “I am taking exercises, I am eating well and I go to bed at 11 pm the latest.” The president said

(L-R) Ecuador´s President Rafael Correa; former Cuban president Fidel Castro; Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez; and Cuban President Raul Castro. that he will recover sat- approved in Havana a of 1.5 billion Bolivares isfactorily although strategic document to for the country´s peo“some are saying that I boost oil production. He ple´s power and commuwill only live four recalled that the nal organizations. months. It is up to them Organization of Oil The head of state said with their bad wishes, I Exporting Countries that he has allocated $5 will live and overcome.” admitted in its annual million to help cushion Chavez said that “this report that the South the food crisis affecting battle for life will contin- American country has the Horn of Africa due ue, God willing. As my the largest oil reserves to what he called “wild mother says, I will in the world. capitalism.” always have the protec“We have 20 percent “There is famine in tion of the Virgen del of the crude of the world Africa, in Somalia and Carmen (patron saint of and this is important for this is painful, while the eastern Venezuela).” us,” he stressed and least we can do is sendMeanwhile, the went on to verbally ing them these five milVenezuelan president approve the contribution lion dollars.”

Dominica developing strategic programme for climate change resilience By TARNIA GREEN ROSEAU, Dominica (GIS) — With Dominica having been identified as one of the most vulnerable countries in the world as it relates to climate change, the world bank has come on board to assist the island in putting together a pilot strategic program for climate resilience (PPCR). Last Wednesday, environmental stakeholders met with officials from the World Bank to map out such a strategy. The activity was

spearheaded by the Environmental Coordinating Unit of which Lloyd Pascal is the Director. “Because of our vulnerability, our weakness in terms of environmental issues, natural disasters, because of our weaknesses in economics, size of population and so on, we are considered among the vulnerable countries of the world. But that does not keep us back. We try our best to develop ourselves and our people and in that effort of development, the World Bank and the World Bank team have decided to include Dominica as

one of the pilot countries. In the Caribbean pilot, we have six countries which are Jamaica, Haiti, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada,” Pascal said. The session provided an opportunity for the World Bank officials to present an overview of the PPCR. US$2.6 miilion has been allocated by the World Bank for the overall program in the Caribbean. That money will be split between the pilot countries for the preparation of the strategic programmes. “The Caribbean regional plan has two

tracks. This includes the country based strategic plans and investments of the six countries that I mentioned earlier, that is, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines. We also have another track, the regional track for region-wide activities to focus on climate monitoring, institutional strengthening, capacity building and knowledge sharing. “Two types of investments can be supported under the PPCR. There are first, funding for technical assistance to enable developing coun-

tries build upon existing national work to integrate climate resilience into national and sectoral development plans. “On the other hand, there is also funding for public and private sector investments identified in these plans and strategies. One of the key aspects of the PPCR that we have to keep in mind is that the programmes and projects implemented under the PPCR are countryled and build upon relevant country size and strategies complimenting on-going activities with the emphasis on country-led pro-

grammes,” Pascal said. Dominica’s phase one proposal was approved in April this year. Funding approved totalled $307,000, which will be used to finance phase one activities. The key tasks under phase one include joint missions, planning, capacity building, consultations with stakeholders, review of policies and strategies for climate resilience. These phase one activities will all lead to the formulation of a strategic program for climate resilience and a related investment plan.

St Lucia PM addr esses oil exploration contr oversy CASTRIES, St Lucia — In a public statement last week, the prime minister of Saint Lucia, Stephenson King, addressed the controversial oil exploration agreement

signed by the previous government and what has become known as the Grynberg Affair. King opened by saying that it had been his earnest hope that others closely associated with

the details would have seen the need to volunteer such information in a united, bipartisan, national effort, at undoing whatever harm that may already have been done to the country’s good name regionally and elsewhere.

“Sadly, my hopes were recently dashed when, instead of the volunteered information I anticipated, an injunction was sought, that if allowed by the courts will serve only to further conceal the truth, possibly at great cost to our

island nation,” he said. News of a contractual arrangement between the previous prime minister and a Jack Grynberg, the CEO of RSM Production Corporation, was first brought to public attention during the 2009

Budget presentation. “Little did any of us realize at the time that what we had accidentally discovered about the Denver, Colorado, company’s relationship with Saint Lucia was only the tip of the iceberg,” King said.


DAILY CHALLENGE MONDAY, JULY 25, 2011

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DAILY CHALLENGE MONDAY, JULY 25, 2011

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Kelly Rowland gets sexual on ‘Here I Am’

Despite their recent divorce announcement, ending their sevenyear marriage, Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony is still set to produce the Latin reality show, Q’Viva! Q’Viva, which is produced by Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment, will continue as planned, reports Access Hollywood. A spokesperson for the former couple announced that Lopez and Anthony are “committed” to the show and added, “The show goes on!” Q’Viva! chronicles Anthony and Lopez’s search for new talent across 21 Latin American countries. The show is set to begin shooting later this year. According to social media statistics site Famecount.com, Rihanna passed Lady Gaga on July 14 at the number of Facebook like each have. As of press time, Rihanna has reached 40.6 million fans, while Gaga sat at 40.5 million. While Riri tops Lady Gaga on Facebook, Twitter is a different story. She currently 11.6 million followers and counting, while Rihanna has just 6.1 million. 50 Cent is planning on putting his good fortunes to work, with a new goal of feeding starving people in Africa. 50, who performed in Casablanca, Spain this week is made the announcement on histwitter page. “I want to impact people’s lives more,” 50 Cent tweeted. “I created a new goal for myself, I want to feed 1 billion people in Africa over the next 5 years.” 50 said he decided to target Africa’s due to the severe level of poverty on the continent. Mariah Carey’s twin babies arrived back in April and according to her husband Nick Can-

non, there aren’t any more kids coming. The daughter-son duo has proven to be enough for the couple. In a recent interview, he said: “I want some (more), but I think my wife’s done. I tried to say, ‘Yo, let’s go for another round!’ and she’s like, ‘I’ll kill you!’” Ne-Yo is all about providing opportunities for young people in foster care and group homes through his nonprofit, The Compound Foundation. This weekend, the organization will host the annual Future CEO Academy, where 50 teens from the Georgia foster care system will participate in a threeday entrepreneurship boot camp. Students will learn business basics, business plan development, intellectual property law, and participate in an elevator pitch contest sponsored by 100 Urban Entrepreneurs. The academy will be hosted on the campus of Clark Atlanta University. Beyonce bought hundreds of her fans pizza as they waited on line outside of a London studio. The fans were anticipating the start of a taping session for an upcoming Beyonce special. Knowing that the fans had been waiting for hours, likely without leaving the line to eat, she ordered 200 pizzas and bottles of water before the doors opened. Dame Dash reportedly owes the IRS about $3 million in unpaid taxes. Times are hard. Hopefully things get better for Dame. After a few set backs, former Danity Kane member D. Woods takes her destiny in her own hands by releasing ‘The Grey Area’ on her record label WoodGrane Entertainment. Woods

explained the album title as “The Grey Area is the area I have been existing...everybody is in limbo...you might find yourself unemployed or in between professions or you graduate from school and don’t know what to do. Or you are an artist like me who had to make a transition from label to independent situation.” Woods keeps the guest features to a minimum on the seven track EP. One on the few guest appearances is her sister Shanell (of Young Money) on the “Foolish Dreamer” record Talib Kweli took to Twitter to announce that his sixth solo album, Prisoner of Conscious, will be released in November. It will feature collaborations with Black Star partner Mos Def, Nelly, Curren$y and Jean Grae. The production responsibilities will be split amongst frequent partner Hi-Tek, as other heavyweights, including Madlib and E. Jones. He also took a moment to heckle the hecklers, tweeting: “I can’t wait til these “purists” hear some of these verses on POC so they can eat they words! I’ll take checks over apologies! Lol” Jill Scott’s former record label will release “Hidden Beach Presents: The Original Jill Scott From The Vault Vol. 1,” a collection of older recordings from the R&B songstress. Scott was the first artist signed to Steve McKeever’s Hidden Beach Recordings label, where she released her first three albums and earned a Grammy Award in 2005. The unreleased work is a collection of songs Scott recorded before the release of ‘The Light of the Sun.’

Kelly Rowland’s upcoming album Here I Am (released on July 26) is without question her crowning getit-girl moment. Sure, the singer found fame with Destiny’s Child and kept her name out there via hits with Nelly but she’s finally hitting her stride as a solo artist now—and stepping out from the shadows of you-know-who at the same time. While she’s been buzzing in Europe for the past couple years thanks to songs with international stars like David Guetta (“When Love Takes Over”; “Commander”) and Tiziano Ferro (“Breathe Gentle”), Kelly’s solo career was birthed here in America with her biggest single to date, “Motivation” and its remix featuring Lil Wayne: As she writhes around in the video (which has over 26 million YouTube views) in a bodysuit and knee-high boots, it’s clear Kelly, 30, is not only embracing her sexuality more than ever, she’s reveling in it. For her first solo attempt Simply Deep in 2002, the music’s alternative/rock slant (not to mention her hippie-like outfits) was an obviously imposed direction to separate her sound from Beyoncé’s as much as possible. Ms. Kelly followed in 2007, with lackluster cuts like “Ghetto” featuring Snoop Dogg. Now with songs like “Motivation” and the excitement surrounding Here I Am, Kelly’s presenting herself as a viable star; a seasoned artist with a presence not only in the somewhat easier overseas market but her own home, too. With Here I Am’s promo machine now in high gear, Rowland is busying herself as a judge on the UK’s high-rating X-Factor and doing fun (and revealing) interviews on shows like Cee-Lo Green’s Talking To Strangers talk show and Big Boi’s Neighborhood radio program. Earlier this year, Rowland told MTV News that she knew she want-

ed to try a little bit of everything on the record; she didn’t want to be defined by any one musical genre. “The album is amazing. I’m so excited about the album. I’m so excited for everyone to hear the rest of the album,” she said. “For a long time, I thought about, ‘Should it be dance or should it be urban or should it be this or should it be that?’ And I was like, ‘Why am I allowing people to make me think like that?’ “It’s just about artistry, it’s just about freedom,” she continued. “It’s just about music. It’s about being alive and being happy and living life and being a woman, just feeling amazing.”

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DAILY CHALLENGE MONDAY, JULY 25, 2011

13

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DAILY CHALLENGE MONDAY, JULY 25, 2011

14

U.S. minorities no strangers to health ills By DENNIS THOMPSON Though minorities in the United States face an array of challenges, chief among them may be personal health and well-being. African Americans, Hispanic Americans and other minority groups are more likely than whites to develop a number of chronic and deadly diseases, according to mounting evidence. Infant mortality, obesity, diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and communicable diseases are among the wide range of health issues for which minorities find themselves at greater risk than whites, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The evidence of health disparities would be easy to ignore were they not so well-

documented,” said Stephen B. Thomas, director of the Center for Health Equity and a professor of health services administration in the School of Public Health at the University of Maryland. “Members of racial minority groups live sicker and die younger than their white counterparts.” Researchers have identified a number of factors that help create the various health disparities, among them location, socioeconomic status and access to health insurance and quality health care, said Garth Graham, deputy assistant secretary for minority health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “There are some common factors,” Graham said. “There is no one common cause, but there are common factors.” The federal government has swung into action on the

Many doctors ignore cancer genetic testing guidelines Many doctors are not following guidelines on genetic counseling and testing for women at average and high risk for breast and ovarian cancer, according to a new study. This lack of compliance could result in women missing out on treatments that could reduce their chances of developing these diseases, the researchers pointed out in a report published in the July 25 online edition of the journal Cancer. “Despite the existence of evidence-based guidelines on referral for genetic counseling and testing for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, many physicians report practices contrary to these recommendations,” Katrina Trivers, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a journal news release. Women with mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene or family histories of these mutations are at significantly greater risk for breast and ovarian cancer. Genetic counseling and testing are recommended for high-risk women because there are treatments that could significantly lower their risk for the diseases. These services are not recommended, however, for women who are not considered high-risk,

because the harms of treatment outweigh the benefits, the study authors explained. For the study, 1,878 U.S. family physicians, general internists and obstetriciangynecologists responded to a survey about the services they provide to women during annual exams. More specifically, the researchers asked the doctors how frequently they refer women to genetic counseling or offer BRCA1/BRCA2 testing. The investigators also sought to determine if the doctors’ answers would vary based on their female patients’ age, race, insurance status or ovarian cancer risk. The study found that only 41 percent of physicians said they would refer highrisk women for genetic counseling or testing. Meanwhile, contrary to guidelines, 29 percent of doctors said they would sometimes or always refer average-risk women. Trivers and colleagues concluded that more efforts are needed to ensure that only high-risk women receive these services. They also noted that doctors said they are more likely to follow current recommendations when they can accurately assess their patients’ risks of cancer.

issue, creating a new institute within the National Institutes of Health to focus on minority health disparities. The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, which came into being last September as part of the government’s larger health-care reform effort, has been charged with researching differences in incidence and prevalence of disease among America’s population groups. According to the CDC, health disparities that have been identified include: Infant mortality. The infant death rate among African Americans and American Indians is more than double that of whites. Obesity. African Americans and Mexican Americans are more likely than whites in the United States to be obese, a condition that increases the chances of developing a number of other health problems. Diabetes. Hispanics in the United States are nearly twice as likely to die from diabetes as are whites. American Indians have a diabetes rate equal to that of whites. Cardiovascular disease. Death rates from heart disease are more than 40 percent higher for African Americans than for whites. Cancer. The death rate for all cancers is 30 percent higher for African Ameri-

cans than it is for whites. African American women have a higher death rate from breast cancer, even though they are screened for breast cancer at nearly the same rate as white women. “More white women develop breast cancer, but more black women die from breast cancer,” Thomas said. Why is this happening? Some health problems have been linked to genetic predisposition. For example, African Americans are more likely to have sickle cell anemia than other racial groups, Graham said. But research has found that the problem of health disparities in America also involves a number of societal factors and problems. Minorities, on average, occupy a lower rung on the socioeconomic ladder, which makes it difficult for them to get quality health care, Graham and Thomas said. “You have more people who are working in jobs where they are not offered insurance or are offered inadequate insurance,” Graham said. Location also plays a role. Minority groups tend to reside in places that do not lend themselves to healthy living. “If you end up living in a neighborhood with no sidewalks, that makes it hard to walk for exercise,” Thomas

said. “If you live in a neighborhood rife with crime and violence, it’s very difficult to feel safe to allow your children out to play.” Such places also are often “food deserts,” where fast food is readily available but healthy options such as fresh fruit and vegetables are hard to come by, Graham said. These areas are less likely to have many doctors’ offices or health clinics, Graham added, further reducing people’s access to health care. Thomas also cites research that shows racism plays a role in creating health disparities. “It can be as blatant as minority neighborhoods that do not have doctors’ offices in them, and it can be as subtle as not being able to speak the language of your Latino patients,” Thomas said. Overcoming these issues will be key in truly reforming America’s health-care system and reducing health costs for everyone, he said. Programs are afoot to encourage doctors to take up shop in lower socioeconomic areas and to promote healthier lifestyle choices among minority groups. “We cannot afford to have these populations suffer in a whirlpool of preventable illness and death,” Thomas said. “This can no longer be, ‘That’s their problem.’ It’s all of our problem.”

Sharp drop in chickenpox deaths with vaccine Deaths from chickenpox, although rare, have dipped steeply after the U.S. began vaccinating against the virus in 1995, a new government report concludes. Since the early 1990s, the bug has gone from killing 105 a year to causing fewer than 20 annual deaths between 2003 and 2007. Writing in the journal Pediatrics, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) call the r e s u l t s “impressive” and say they show the benefit from the vaccine program is larger than expected. Chickenpox is caused by the varicella zoster virus and produces fever and an itchy rash. In rare cases, it can be complicated by bacterial infections, swelling of the brain or pneumonia.

Before vaccination became mandated, a few million Americans caught the infection every year. Although most cases are mild, thousands of people landed in the hospital due to the disease. Now, the number of people who get infected has been cut dramatically. The CDC’s new report, which updates an earlier analysis from 1995 to 2001, shows deaths have dropped by as much as 88 percent over the first 12 years since the varicella vaccine was introduced. That’s a decline from 0.41 to 0.05 annual deaths per one million Americans between the early 1990s to the mid-2000s. The varicella vaccine is mandated in all states, and in 2006 the dose was upped from one to two shots, which researchers say give better

protection. About a fifth of infants get some swelling and soreness around the injection site, and 10 percent also experience passing fever. Fewer than one in 1,000 of those who get the shot also develop a seizure from the fever, although experts say it’s usually harmless. Varivax, a varicella vaccine developed by Merck, costs about $84 per dose, but the new report says the vaccination program has exceeded expectations in terms of cost-effectiveness. “Our analysis documents the impressive impact on varicella mortality of the U.S. vaccination program, largely during a period when only 1 dose was administered,” the researchers conclude. “With the current 2-dose program, there is potential that these most severe outcomes of a vaccine-preventable disease could be eliminated.”


DAILY D CHALLENGE MONDAY, JULY 25, 2011

NEW JERSEY

15

Annual getaway brings Newark youths to Jersey Shore By ABRAM BROWN S E A S I D E HEIGHTS - Clad in t-shirts, jeans and sneakers, the Newark boys watched the waves crash against the Seaside Heights sand this afternoon. “Take your shoes off,” said Tony Edwards, the boys’ chaperone for this beach excursion. “You ain’t in the hood anymore. Haven’t you ever been to the beach before?” The boys, Nassan Davis and Hassan Fair, both 14, stripped off their socks and tossed their t-shirts on the sand. They pulled on swimming trunks and jogged into the water. As each wave washed over them, they jumped into the air, chest bumping each other -

Nearly 150 Newark kids escaped some of the state's toughest neighborhoods for an afternoon at Seaside Heights as part of an annual trip. the long, hot summer Newark children who 2007, but with 150 kids in Newark forgotten for Edwards, Earl Best and in three coach buses, a while. others brought to the this was the largest Nassan and Hassan, seaside for a getaway. group ever, he said. who make it to the Best, known as “The Best started organizbeach about once a Street Doctor,” has run ing the trip about two year, were among 150 this trip annually since weeks ago. He arranged

for donations: free buses, free lunches, free beach badges. The children needed to forget about the city for a while, he said. This summer has been a violent one, Best said. From Jan. 1 to July 10, there has been a 40 percent increase in gun violence compared to the same period in 2010, according to police statistics obtained by The StarLedger. “Hell yeah, there is a increase. Hell yeah,” Best said. “I’ve been to three funerals in the past week, and one of those was a family member.” Edwards, 46, has joined Best since he started the trips in 2007. Edwards became interested in community activism after leaving prison, and wishes excursions like these had existed when he was growing up. “These are all the things that we didn’t

have when we were young,” he said. “In those days, the drug dealers took us places. The pimps and the hustlers took us places. And that didn’t help us not to go down the wrong road.” One of the youngest on the trip was Carlos Jenkins, 6. After playing in the surf, Carlos fell to the ground and began to make mounds with the wet sand. “I love the water, and the sand, and the sandcastles,” Jenkins said. “You can always build more.” Each time a fresh wave washed over his castle, Jenkins moved up the beach to start a new one. Eventually, he moved out of the water’s reach. His grandmother, Donna Jackson, of Newark, watched his efforts. “It’s good for them to get away,” she said. “And see how the other side does.”

Lyme Disease cases surge in Burlington and Hunterdon Counties By ERIN DUFFY In its nymph stage, the black-legged tick, or deer tick, is no bigger than a poppy seed. By adulthood, that little black dot increases only to the size of a sesame seed. It may be tiny, but this miniscule arachnid can pack a punch, infecting everyone from children to senior citizens, with Lyme disease. Active especially in

spring and summer, the specter of this tiny disease vector frequently haunts parents, rural dwellers, gardeners anyone, really, who spends time outdoors in the tick’s natural habitat. “They’re afraid of it,” said Barbara Bromley, the Mercer County horticulturist. “It’s like bedbugs. Everybody’s afraid of it, and you may have no idea what they look like or what the symptoms are, but everybody’s afraid of

it.” Spread by the bite of an infected blacklegged tick, Lyme disease can range from minor in scope to debilitating. Relatively common symptoms including fevers, headaches and joint pain can progress to neurological or heart problems if the disease goes untreated. And in New Jersey, the number of cases is on the rise. According to the Lyme Disease

Jersey City man beaten with pipes by three men By SUMMER DAWN HORTILLOSA A 22-year-old man was beaten by three men with pipes during a robbery in the Jersey City Heights early

Saturday morning, police reports said. The victim, who was treated for several nonlife threatening injuries to his head and body at Christ Hospital, told police he was sitting with a friend on a bench in front of a pub-

lic laundry at Laidlaw and Baldwin avenues at around 1:30 a.m. when the men approached, reports said. The three men just started clubbing him and his friend with the pipes he said, according to reports.

Association, a Jacksonbased national nonprofit organization, New Jersey ranked fourth in the country for Lyme disease cases in 2009. “I do feel there is a big increase in awareness, but people are like, ‘Oh, Lyme disease, that’s really bad in Connecticut, or New York or Pennsylvania,’” said Pat Smith, president of the Lyme Disease Association. “Maybe in New Jersey they’re not aware we consistently

rank in the Top 4 in the country for Lyme disease case numbers. It’s huge numbers,” she said. Nearly 5,000 cases were diagnosed in the state in 2009, the latest figures available. That’s up from 3,214 in 2008. Experts estimate the real incidence of Lyme disease may be up to 10 times higher than reported. In Mercer County, 253 cases were confirmed in 2009, actually down from the 358 tal-

lied in 2008. According to a report compiled by the Hopewell Township Health Department, at least 200 cases originated in the Hopewell Valley Hopewell Township, Hopewell Borough and Pennington Borough in 2009. Neighboring counties including Monmouth, Burlington and Hunterdon are among the hardest-hit in the state, with 444 infections in rural Hunterdon alone.

Would-be Jersey City carjackers foiled by malfunctioning sports car By CHARLES HACK Armed carjackers got foiled early Saturday when the sports car they were trying to steal in Jersey City couldn’t get in gear, reports said. Two out-of-towners in their 20s told police that the 2010 Ford Mustang

they were driving broke down at 1:24 a.m., reports said. As they were peering under the hood at the Hess gas station on Route 440 near Clendenny Avenue trying to figure out why the car wouldn’t get in gear, two gun-wielding men came up on them,

reports said. The carjackers threatened to shoot them if they didn’t hand over the car keys, reports said. The victims handed over the keys, but when one of the gunmen sat behind the wheel, he couldn’t get the car in gear, reports said.


DAILY CHALLENGE MONDAY, JULY 25, 2011

16

‘Captain America’ shoots down ‘Harry Potter’ By LISA RICHWINE

Derek Luke as ‘Gabe Jones’ in “Captain America: The First Avenger.”

LOS ANGELES — Superhero movie “Captain America: The First Avenger” triumphed at the U.S. and Canadian box offices with $65.8 million in weekend ticket sales as the magic faded from the final “Harry Potter” film’s record-breaking debut. The strong opening for “Captain America” topped expectations in its battle against the hugely successful “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2,” which saw its massive opening-weekend audience from last week shrink by 72 percent. The final installment in the popular “Potter” series took in $48.1 million over its second weekend in domestic (U.S. and Canadian) theaters, plus $121.3 million internationally, distributor Warner Bros. said on Sunday. Romantic comedy “Friends with Benefits” starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis, took the No. 3 spot

over three days with $18.5 million domestically, a solid start for a film that cost about $34 million to produce, according to Sony Pictures studio. “Captain America” drew a 64 percent male audience to the film set in the 1940s, about a scrawny, bullied orphan transformed into a muscular superhero thanks to a serum developed by the government. He is the latest Marvel comic book character to hit the big screen before the superheroes join forces in next year’s film “The Avengers.” The success against the “Harry Potter” finale “was well beyond what anybody was expecting,” said Don Harris, executive vice president of distribution for Paramount Pictures, which released “Captain America.” The film drew positive reviews and “had a retro look to it” that appealed to moviegoers even after a summer filled with superhero flicks, he said. For the eighth and final “Harry Potter” movie in the series about a British boy wizard battling against

evil, sales dropped sharply, as expected, after avid fans had rushed to see the movie when it debuted. The film broke records around the world including best opening weekend ever in the domestic and international markets. The film’s total ticket sales now stand at $274.2 million in domestic theaters and $560.4 million internationally, for a combined total of $834.6 million. Other top films for the weekend were big-budget Hollywood film “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” at No. 4 with $12 million, and adult-oriented comedy “Horrible Bosses” at No. 5 with $11.7 million. “Captain America” and “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” were released by Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc. Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc, distributed “Deathly Hallows - Part 2” and “Horrible Bosses.” “Friends with Benefits” is from Screen Gems, a unit of Sony Corp.

Man charged with stalking MSNBC’s Tamron Hall A Florida man was arrested a second time for allegedly stalking MSNBC cable-news anchor Tamron Hall in Manhattan, according to reports. Kevin Lee Miller, 55, of Delray Beach, first allegedly approached the 40-year-old host of MSNBC’s “NewsNation with Tamron Hall” outside her Murray Hill building last Monday at 7 p.m. “I see you are being incognito. Do you live around here? Do you like New York better than Chicago?” asked Miller, who lived in the Windy City during seven of the 10 years Hall worked there for Fox affiliate WFLD. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Miller — who has a 2009 bust in Florida for soliciting a hooker — then allegedly followed Hall along East 34th Street to Second Avenue. Building employees later told the Texas-born anchor — whose sister, Renate, was murdered in 2004 — that Miller had been lurking outside her

apartment for three hours until super Robert Andrzejewski ran him off. Miller showed up again at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, cops said, and hung out for hours until Andrzejewski spotted him and notified Hall, who called 911. Cops arrested Miller at 6:44 p.m. and charged him with stalking. “I noticed the guy hanging around on Monday,” said Andrzejewski, 40. “Then I saw him again Wednesday. I said, ‘What? This guy’s back?’ “She was a little freaked out. I just did my job, protecting the residents of my building.” At his arraignment yesterday in Manhattan Criminal Court, Judge Diana Boyar ordered Miller held in lieu of $1,000 bail and told him to have no contact with Hall, who could not be reached. Asked if he understood, Miller, in a T-shirt and shorts, meekly whispered, “Yes,” his leg twitching as he spoke, according to reports.

A prosecutor said Miller told cops he was in New York with his girlfriend looking for a job and denied stalking Hall. It was a bad case of deja vu for the eye-catching TV talker, who was also stalked in 2003 and 2004, while working at WFLD. Tonny Horne, then 32, was busted twice for haunting Hall online, over the phone and in person. He sent her sexually explicit messages and bizarre marriage proposals — and finally showed up outside WFLD’s studio. He was sent to prison for three years. Hall once wrote about her sister’s harrowing death, which inspired her to work to promote awareness of domestic violence. “Renate . . . was found face down in her backyard pool. Her hair had been pulled from the back of her head. Her nails were broken on every finger,” she wrote, adding that no one was ever arrested, although her abusive boyfriend was a prime suspect.

Judge rejects dismissal of copyright claim against Rihanna’s ‘S&M’ Either Rihanna may be going to court soon or she may be shelling out some cash to settle a lawsuit. A U.S. District Court in New York City, has refused to dismiss David LaChapelle’s copyright claim against the R&B/Pop singer over her “S&M” music video, which allegedly has several scenes copied from the photographers images. On the heels of the “S&M” video release back in February (2011), LaChapelle filed suit, claiming some scenes from the controversial clip ripped-off sadomasochistic images he

has created and published over the years. According to LaChapelle’s claim, Rihanna asked various directors to create a “LaChapelle-esque video” for “S&M,” and provided a storyboard for the video, including prints of some of LaChapelle’s photographs. According to the pre-trial judge, LaChapelle made a plausible claim for infringement because the video appeared to copy protectable elements of his images. Judge Scheindlin dismissed Rihanna’s fair use defense, saying it was so misguided and “unavailing” that the

pop singer failed to raise a fair use defense at all. A pre-trial conference has been scheduled for August 10, which should dictate whether Rihanna will fight the case in court or settle. In related news, Vogue Italia has named Rihanna 2011 “Woman of the Year.” The magazine said the 23 year old’s ability to overcome personal obstacles, citing her father’s drug addiction and abuse at the hands of Chris Brown, to become of the world’s most successful performers, as the reason why she was chosen.


DAILY CHALLENGE MONDAY, JULY 25, 2011

17

Comic-Con gets look at ‘Charlie’s Angels’ re-reboot By R.T. WATSON SAN DIEGO - Making a re-reboot of the iconic girl-power franchise “Charlie’s Angels” that initially caught fire on TV in the 1970s and morphed into two movies in the 2000s takes a certain degree of creative moxie. But having courage, utilizing skill and being aggressive — all characteristics of muscled-up moxie — seems appropriate for the upcoming “Charlie’s Angels” that is being pitched as an action-adventure show for a new generation of TV audiences. The first TV show starred Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith as three, sexy private investigators working for a man named Charlie, who would send them on dangerous missions to catch crooks. Trendsetting in its time, today it seems quaint. Next came Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu and Cameron Diaz in the “Angel” roles, but the two movies featuring trio — “Charlie’s Angels” and “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle” — had a decidedly campy, comic edge to the action.

This third time around in a TV show set to debut this fall on the ABC network, new ‘Angels’ Minka Kelly, Annie Ilonzeh and Rachael Taylor are serious-minded detectives with the muscles to match in a crime show filled with action. “I’ve never been able to play a girl with a set of balls,” Minka Kelly told Reuters of her new “Angel,” Eve French. Kelly, who is mostly known for her role as the ever yearning Lyla Garrity in TV series “Friday Night Lights,” was decidedly happy about taking on the new, powerful role. The Angels turned up at the giant Comic-Con International convention in San Diego late Saturday to show off footage from their TV pilot episode and take questions from fans curious for a glimpse of the newest incarnation. Barrymore, who spearheaded the movies, is a key producer on the new TV show, and she was able to wield what the program’s creators called “Jedi mind tricks” in order to bring the three new “Angels” onto the program. Shouldering much of the responsibility for getting the program in good shape are executive producers

Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, known for their success with TV’s “Smallville.” “We were hesitant, but then our wives, who both loved the show when they were girls said ‘well you two shouldn’t do it,’ so that meant absolutely we’re going to do it” said Gough. Gough and Millar said they initially were troubled by the same question anyone might pose: how do you remain faithful to the tenets that made the “Angels” memorable while making the new show fresh and interesting enough to be engaging? “This is more like a cine-real version of the show, it’s much more grounded, credible” said Millar. The show’s makers said the campy humor in the movies, which subtly pokes some fun at, not just the sex appeal of the original, but also the idea of three beautiful women pulling of action sequences normally reserved for men, is mostly erased from this new version. “We’re not going there,” said Ilonzeh. But “Angel” Taylor added that just because the show will offer fans a tougher edge, doesn’t mean the women won’t be having some fun on-

Annie Ilonzeh screen. Put it this way: “If Jack Bauer (action-packed “24”) and Carrie Bradshaw (comedy “Sex and the City”) had a love child, then it would be this series,” said Taylor.

Jay-Z, Kanye West announce Kelly Rowland tapped for new ‘Watch The Throne’ release date ‘Bag of Bones’ mini-series By ROB MARKMAN Throne watchers now have another date to focus on, this time an official one. It has finally been confirmed that on August 8 Jay-Z and Kanye West will release their highly anticipated joint LP, Watch the Throne, digitally on iTunes. Compact disc lovers will be able to purchase physical copies a few days later on August 12. But when searching for the CD at local retail spots, fans shouldn’t look under ‘J’ for Jay or ‘W’ for West, but rather ‘T,’ as the duo has officially christened their group the Throne. Multiplatinum hip-hop supergroups cannot live by album sales alone, so on August 8 tickets for the Watch the Throne tour will also go on sale to the general public. The 24date Live Nation-produced run will begin in Detroit on September 22 and wrap up on November 3 in Boston. Performing songs from the Throne album, as well as solo cuts from their respective catalogs, the duo will stop for two dates in Kanye’s hometown of Chicago, but none in Jay’s native New York. Instead the tour will hit the nearby East Rutherford, New Jersey, Izod Center on September 27 and 28. Starting July 28, fans who visit the Live Nation website will have

access to pre-sale tickets; the next day, July 29, Citi Card members will get their chance to snatch up early seats. A press release sent out by Hov’s camp also confirms an official 12song track list, with four bonus tracks slated for the LP’s deluxe version. RZA, the Neptunes and Kanye himself all contribute to the production side of things, while Beyoncé, Frank Ocean and Mr Hudson make guest appearances. There is a sampled posthumous performance from 1960s soul singer Otis Redding on the aptly titled “Otis.” The previously released “H.A.M.” doesn’t appear on the album proper but instead is earmarked as a Watch the Throne bonus on the deluxe version.

Things just keep getting better for Kelly Rowland. According to reports, the “Motivation” hitmaker has been tapped to star in author Stephen King’s “Bag of Bones,” for a Sony Pictures Television, two-part, 4-hour mini-series along with actors Pierce Brosnan and Annabeth Gish. Production for the mini-series will kick off in August in Nova Scotia and will be directed by Mick Garris. The show will premiere later this year on A&E. “Bag of Bones” is the story of grief and lost love’s enduring bonds, an innocent child caught in a terrible crossfire and a new love haunted by past secrets. Bestselling novelist Mike Noonan, played by Pierce Bros-

nan, is unable to stop grieving after the sudden death of his wife Jo. A dream inspires him to return to the couple’s lakeside retreat in western Maine where he becomes involved in a custody battle between the daughter of an attractive young widow and the child’s enormously wealthy grandfather, the mysterious ghostly visitations, the ever-escalating nightmares and the realization that his late wife still has something to tell him. Over the last six months, Rowland has been enduring a huge career boost, attributing to her No. 1 single “Motivation,” and being a UK X-Factor judge. Her third studio album, Here I Am, is in stores now.


DAILY CHALLENGE MONDAY, JULY 25, 2011

18

Automakers wary as economy stuck in slow gear By CLARE BALDWIN DETROIT — Each month, a dozen executives of General Motors Co. gather on the 39th floor of their Detroit headquarters to survey the auto industry, the U.S. economy and how they will meet demand from customers. Recently, the view has not been impressive. With the economy struggling to still regain momentum after the financial crisis of 2007-09 and 14 million Americans out of work, the planners at GM and a host of corporations across America are in no rush to make big new investments to ramp up output and hiring. The world’s secondbiggest automaker has not reopened its idled plants or built new ones as Americans rein in spending. Like many U.S. manufacturers, it is squeezing more from existing factories and using time-honored efficiency boosts such as adding to

overtime and eliminating plant bottlenecks. “Our manufacturing folks have been tremendous at squeaking out extra units through improving line rates, adding on extra shifts,” GM’s U.S. sales chief Don Johnson said. The caution among many top U.S. corporations echoes that of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and other policymakers, who are scaling back their expectations of economic growth. With unemployment stuck above 9 percent and surveys of manufacturers showing, at best, modest optimism for the months ahead, Bernanke has sounded less sure about when the expected pickup in the pace of recovery will kick in. Reflecting the downturn, heavy machinery maker Caterpillar Inc. on Friday announced results that fell short of expectations. Much of the higher demand it expects in the rest of 2011 is likely to come from outside the United

States. The largest U.S. conglomerate, General Electric Co., said its core U.S. revenues fell 2 percent in the second quarter of 2011, and Ingersoll Rand Plc said this week that U.S. consumers bought fewer home air conditioners and locks. With a deadline looming to avoid a default, questions about whether Congress can raise the country’s debt ceiling also are fueling concerns. For automakers and dealers, high gasoline prices are also a constant factor. “People are so sensitive to the price of fuel, if it spikes like it did earlier this year, it can have quite an effect on either keeping people out of the market or causing them shift their preferences on product,” said John McEleney, a Clinton, Iowa, GM and Toyota dealer. Concern about the U.S. economic outlook is a big factor for Hyundai Motor Co., which has resisted committing to building a second U.S.

plant for its Hyundai brand despite running up against capacity concerns at its current factory. “There’s no big, simple silver-bullet solution. We’re not going to pull the trigger on a big capacity increase, so it’s got to be just a continued number of small, incremental improvements,” Hyundai Motor America Chief Executive John Krafcik said earlier this month. “Jobs are still an issue, housing is still a big issue and I don’t think that’s talked about enough in the context of our industry,” he told reporters at Hyundai’s technical center outside Detroit. “When people don’t have home equity, it’s often very difficult for them to pull that trigger and buy a new car.” Having survived an industry decline that drove GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy and Ford to mortgage most of its assets, automakers are loath to race too far ahead. Auto sales in May

and June fell short of expectations of economists and producers — below an annual rate of 12 million vehicles in both months and lagging the 13-13.5 million sales GM and Ford have predicted for the year. They were also far short of the 17.4 million at the peak of the industry in 2000. The pace of sales in June was the lowest in a year, hurt in part by the knock-on effect of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami disasters in March, which hit supply chains. Ford Motor Co’s global marketing and sales chief Jim Farley said Ford was not making big bets on production even though it sees a pick-up in the second half of the year. “The business replenishment is pretty encouraging to us because that implies that although it may not be jobs yet, the hard assets are being replaced if it makes sense (and) if you offer them better fuel economy,” he said.

For now, bets on growth are being placed elsewhere. Jeff Stafeil, chief executive of auto parts maker Dura Automotive Systems, said his company’s immediate growth opportunities lie in developing economies. The firm recently opened a factory in India to meet local demand. Nonetheless, U.S. automakers believe demand will return eventually to more normal growth levels. Auto industry officials say pent-up demand from businesses and people with aging vehicles will keep the industry going until the recovery strengthens. “There’s probably enough pent-up demand to keep us going at this rate for at least another 12 months, by which time we would fully expect the underlying fundamentals of the economy to really start kicking into gear and having those fundamentals drive the industry further,” GM’s Johnson said.

Food inflation in focus amid lofty crop price outlook By KARL PLUME CHICAGO — Grain prices will likely remain elevated at the end of this year, a Reuters poll showed, providing little relief to food prices while continuing to challenge policymakers battling to tamp down inflation. Many analysts say the era of cheap food may well be over as rising crop production struggles to keep pace with soaring global demand, particularly from the mushrooming middle-class populations of developing nations such as China and India. But experts do not expect a repeat of the late-year grain market rallies of 2010 which ignited record food inflation that stirred popular unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, toppling governments in Egypt and Tunisia. The UN Food and

Agriculture Organization’s index of food prices hit a record peak in February, creating fears of a repeat of the 2007/08 global food crisis that prompted food riots and forced millions into hunger. Governments have progressively taken steps to rein in soaring costs for staples that disproportionately impact the world’s poor, including the systemic releases of state grain stocks in China and the construction of grain silos in India. Much will hinge on weather in the U.S. Farm Belt this summer as near-perfect crop conditions are needed in the world’s top grain exporter to soothe markets on edge over shrinking stockpiles of corn and soybeans and rapidly rising demand for food. Debt problems in Europe and the United States will also play a role. If left unresolved,

Ripened ears of wheat are seen in the field near the village of Znamenka, some 30 km (19 miles) northeast of Minsk. they could tip the world into another recession like the one that eroded grain prices beginning in late 2008. Prices of corn — a cornerstone of the food chain that impacts the cost of meat, milk, and eggs — are forecast to end 2011 at $6.89 per bushel, about 10 percent higher than a year earlier but short of June’s alltime high of nearly $8. At midmorning on Monday, spot corn futures on the Chicago Board of Trade were down about 2 percent at $6.75 a bushel. Strong demand from livestock and ethanol

producers and concern over crop yields in the United States, the world’s largest producer and exporter, would lead to the third consecutive annual increase in corn prices. “I generally look for relatively high prices come year’s end with no major harvest correction,” said PFG Best analyst Tim Hannagan, referring to corn. “All end-users of grain such as ethanol producers, feeders, food processors and exporters will be aggressive buyers at harvest time to ensure they have their share of inventory

as insurance for expected tight stocks and strong demand in 2012,” Hannagan said. Soybeans, which are crushed to produce soymeal, also a livestock feed, and soyoil used for cooking and to make biodiesel fuel, were seen at $13.92 a bushel at the end of the year, near 2010’s lofty close of $13.94. Soyoil prices themselves were seen rising about 3 percent year-onyear at 59.73 cents per lb, according to the average analyst forecast. Spot CBOT soybeans fell at midmorning on Monday to $13.55 a bushel while soyoil slid to 55.45 cents per lb, both down nearly 2 percent. The wild card for corn and soy prices may be China, the world’s top soybean importer and an emerging importer of corn, as policymakers there walk the line between red-hot economic growth and soaring

inflation. “Both corn and soybeans have potential to go substantially higher if Chinese growth stays on track to provide firm demand. However, it may take time for that demand to develop, especially because China has shown the ability to be patient and buy only at lower price levels,” said Bryce Knorr, senior editor of Farm Futures Magazine. Wheat, a food staple grown in nearly every country around the world, was forecast to ease to $7.53 a bushel, down about 5 percent from the prior year as global stocks rebound following a severe drought last year in key exporter Russia and neighboring countries. But experts warned that wheat’s downside may be limited as cattle, hog and poultry producers around the world increasingly use it as an alternative feed grain instead of costly corn.


DAILY CHALLENGE MONDAY, JULY 25, 2011

19

Amazon’s next billion-dollar business eyed By ALISTAIR BARR SAN FRANCISCO — Amazon.com Inc’s cloud computing unit may be its next billiondollar business and analysts will be watching for clues on how fast this secretive unit is growing when the Internet retailer reports results next week. Amazon Web Services started small in 2006 by selling computing power and data storage to emerging technology companies, blogs and websites. Now the unit, known as AWS, counts NASA, the U.S. Department of State, Siemens, Pfizer and Nasdaq as customers. “AWS has the potential to be very large,” RJ Hottovy, an equity analyst at Morningstar told Reuters on Thursday. “Any indication that growth rates are progressing will be well received by the market.” Amazon doesn’t disclose AWS results. However, a spokeswoman said the busi-

ness has hundreds of thousands of customers in more than 190 countries. Analysts and investors get a sense of how fast AWS is growing by looking at how many pieces of data, or objects, are stored by the unit’s S3 service, which sells storage on off-site servers, which is known as the cloud. At the end of the second quarter, S3 held more than 449 billion objects, up 71 percent from the end of last year, according to the official AWS blog. Amazon EC2 is the other main part of AWS which supplies computing power from the cloud. This service was used by 3,674 of the top 500,000 websites in January, up almost 50 percent year over year, according to a survey by cloud computing expert Guy Rosen. That put Amazon just ahead of Rackspace Hosting as the largest cloud provider, he noted. “I’m amazed by how fast it’s growing and it’s clearly accelerating,” said Bernard Golden, chief executive of cloud

consulting firm HyperStratus. “Companies are building whole businesses around AWS.” Despite such growth, AWS remains a small part of Amazon. On Tuesday, the world’s largest retailer is expected to report second-quarter earnings of 35 cents per share on revenue of $9.373 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. AWS generated about $500 million in revenue for last year, according to estimates by Morningstar’s Hottovy and analysts at J.P. Morgan, UBS and Citigroup. Citigroup Internet analysts, led by Mark Mahaney, attended an AWS conference in San Francisco in June, where Amazon’s Chief Technology Officer Werner Vogels spoke and customers including Adobe, Autodesk and NASA turned up. “While still very small for Amazon (likely about $750 million revenue run rate), given the size of the market opportunity and Amazon’s strong

competitive positioning, we believe that this could soon be a $1 billion revenue segment,” Mahaney wrote in a note to investors this week. Doug Anmuth, an analyst at J.P. Morgan, believes AWS revenue will reach $2.6 billion by 2015 as companies outsource more of their data center needs. AWS can win more customers because it charges fees based on how much its services are used, so there are no upfront costs to deter adoption, Anmuth also said this month. “Most competitors want to sell white-glove treatment and lock you in for long contracts,” said Brian Fitzgerald, an analyst at UBS. “Amazon was unique in that they came to the market and made it very easy to dial up or down the computing power based on customer need,” he said on Thursday. He expects AWS by next year to become Amazon’s next billion dollar business. Amazon has been spending a lot of money

to improve AWS’s ability to offer more computing power and data storage. Analysts see the business as a microcosm of Amazon as a whole. In the first quarter of 2011, Amazon’s revenue surged, but profits missed Wall Street estimates. That was partly because of heavy spending on fulfillment centers to support Amazon’s main online retail business. But a lot of the spending was also on servers and datacenters to support AWS expansion. Analysts expect a similar pattern in the second quarter. “We expect top-line momentum to continue,

but the second quarter could be the low point for profit margins,” Morningstar’s Hottovy said. Amazon’s operating margin was 4.1 percent last year, but Hottovy expects that to fall close to 3 percent for 2011 as a whole. Still, Hottovy says AWS profit margins could rise in coming years as more customers are added. Citigroup’s Mahaney said AWS gross margins may be up to four times higher than Amazon’s overall margins. “We’ll be listening on the earnings call for any details on new traction for this segment,” the analyst wrote in a recent note to investors.

Google ‘Places’ drops outside customer reviews

RIM to cut 11 percent of workforce TORONTO — BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd plans to cut about 11 percent of its workforce to slash costs as it struggles to compete against Apple Inc and Google Inc. The announcement of 2,000 job cuts on Monday came a month after the Canadian company revealed that it would reduce headcount for the first time in a decade. One analyst said the job cuts were slightly deeper than expected but were key to RIM’s recovery from a slump triggered by product delays and intense competition from Apple’s iPad and iPhone as well as devices powered by Google’s Android software. RIM’s U.S.-listed stock, already near multi-year lows, was down as much as 2 percent before the market

opened. It was trading down 1.8 percent at $27.40 on the Nasdaq just before the open. “This is not totally unexpected. I think the size of (the cuts) is a little bit bigger than what they were intimating before,” said Jefferies & Co analyst Peter Misek. “I think this is obviously realigning the cost structure to a new growth, or sales, reality.” RIM said one-time charges from the job cuts were not included in its outlook for the second quarter or for the full year, and it would explain the financial impact of the cuts when it reports second quarter results on September 15. RIM said the job cuts are “a prudent and necessary step” for its long-term success. “Cost-cutting is unlikely to change the

competitive position for the company” or accelerate RIM’s revenue growth, BGC Partners analyst Colin Gillis said. Job cuts would help if the company were moving downstream toward entry and midmarket phones, but in such a case even 11 percent job cuts wouldn’t be enough, he said. If RIM was still chasing the high-end market for smartphones, it shouldn’t be focused on trimming expenses, but on executing more effectively, Gillis said. The BlackBerry maker also announced a string of changes to executive responsibilities and, in the latest departure, said Chief Operating Officer Don Morrison would retire. Morrison, currently on temporary medical leave, was departing after more than 10

years at the company. A stream of senior RIM executives have defected lately, including two who left for rival Samsung Electronics in a month. RIM said when it reported fiscal firstquarter results last month that it would cut jobs to stay competitive, but it gave no details at the time. The job cuts bring RIM’s headcount to about 17,000 people. Misek, who has an ‘underperform’ rating on RIM’s stock, said one to watch was when RIM would adopt its new QNX operating system on its smartphones. “I think the key here, more than ever, is when do their products launch and what kind of reception will they have and most importantly, when will QNX come in. We don’t think those answers are here yet,” he said.

CHICAGO — Google Inc. has removed excerpts of customer reviews from sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor from Google Places, its competing online service aimed at helping consumers search for local businesses. The move, announced in Google’s official blog, follows the disclosure of a U.S. antitrust investigation last month. The federal probe concerns whether Google, which dominates U.S. and global markets for search engine advertising, abuses its market power by favoring its own services over those of rivals in online searches and through other practices. The blog post made no mention of the investigation. “Based on careful

thought about the future direction of Place pages, and feedback we’ve heard over the past few months, review snippets from other web sources have now been removed from Place pages,” Avni Shah, Google’s director of product management, said in the blog post. Google said it added a function for Google users to write their own reviews at the top of its Place web pages. It said the search pages’ rating and review counts would only include reviews written by Google users, although the company would continue to list links to other review sites. Google’s “Places” offerings of local ratings and reviews, originally called Hotpot, were introduced last fall.


20

DAILY CHALLENGE MONDAY, JULY 25, 2011 # &

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DAILY CHALLENGE MONDAY, JULY 25, 2011

DAILY CHALLENGE

SPORTS

21

Ex-NBA player Wright’s death remains a mystery By ADRIAN SAINZ MEMPHIS, Tenn. - In the year since Lorenzen Wright’s decomposing body was found in a secluded field in southeast Memphis, his mother has kept pressing authorities to find whoever killed the former NBA player. Deborah Marion has repeatedly visited and called the Memphis Police Department for answers about her son’s shooting death, though authorities have very few. “We are a long way from solving

this crime,” Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong said last week. Marion said: “I will never lose hope until I’m dead and buried.” But mistakes have hurt the case, which remains unsolved since Wright, 34, was found dead July 28, 2010. Wright’s relatives and friends have complained a missing person’s report wasn’t taken seriously. It was 10 days before his body was found, complicating the investigation because evidence was left to deteriorate in a swampy field at the

height of summer. A 911 call made from Wright’s cell phone soon after he was last seen by his family was botched by dispatchers. A small reward of $6,000 - less than the $8,000 offered by a family and animal rights groups for a missing pit bull named Kapone has yielded just 28 Crime Stoppers tips. Armstrong acknowledged the reward and the number of tips were low for such a highprofile case. Marion filed a $2 million lawsuit last Wednesday, accusing suburban authorities in Germantown and

Collierville of messing up the emergency call and the missing person’s report. Officials in both municipalities have declined comment. Marion said the police departments involved did not take enough responsibility. “It’s like they were just passing the ball from court to court,” Marion said of the agencies. The slender, athletic Wright played for the Memphis Grizzlies and four other NBA teams as a forward and center over 13 seasons before retiring in 2009. He also played high school and college ball in

Memphis, where he was a fan favorite thanks to his charity work with youth and his father’s involvement as a coach in summer leagues. His death was immediately met with grief and calls for justice. Hundreds went to the crime scene off a back road that he often drove. A memorial service and vigil were held in the FedEx Forum arena, attended by NBA players and politicians. Since then, public interest has waned. More than a dozen homicide detectives were once entrenched on the

case, Armstrong said at a news conference on the oneyear anniversary of Wright’s disappearance. Now the case has moved into the hands of a new lead who detective Armstrong hopes can bring “fresh eyes” to the case. Armstrong, who took over as police chief in April, also said he plans to ask city officials to increase the reward. Wright, a father of six, was last seen on July 18, 2011, as he left the home of his ex-wife, Sherra Wright. According to an affidavit, Sherra Wright told police she saw him leave her home car-

rying money and a box of drugs. Before he left, Sherra Wright said she overheard her ex-husband on the telephone telling someone that he was going to “flip something for $110,000,” the document said. Sherra Wright Lorenzen said Wright left her home in a car with a person she could not identify. The affidavit said Sherra Wright gave the statements to police in the Memphis suburb of Collierville, where she lives, on July 27 - nine days after he left her house for the last time.

Alomar, Blyleven and Gillick enter Baseball HOF By JOHN KEKIS COOPERSTOWN , N.Y. - Roberto Alomar stared at the adoring crowd and was nearly rendered speechless, the tawdry episode of his stellar career long since forgotten. Bert Blyleven was more composed but moved nonetheless as he stared at his 85-year-old mother and reminisced about his late father. Both men were inducted on Sunday into the Baseball Hall of Fame along with frontoffice guru Pat Gillick. Speaking first in his native Spanish, Alomar, the third Puerto Rican player to be enshrined, along with Orlando Cepeda and Roberto Clemente, said he felt proud to be a Puerto Rican. “I always played for my island,” Alomar said, dozens of Puerto Rican flags blowing in a gentle breeze on a sunny afternoon. “It is a

true blessing to be able to share this moment with all of you. I have you in my heart. I am standing here today because of the fan support. “To my family, to my fans, to all the Puerto Rican people ... and the game of baseball, you are and will always be my life and my love.” The switch-hitting Alomar won a record 10 Gold Gloves at second base, was a 12-time AllStar and a career .300 hitter. Full of baseball smarts and grace, he’s also linked with one of the game’s most forgettable moments - he spit on umpire John Hirschbeck during an argument in 1996. The two have long since moved past that, and Hirschbeck was invited to come on Sunday. He had to decline because he’s working a game in St. Louis. Alomar, a member of the Toronto Blue Jays’ World Series championship teams in 1992 and 1993, is the first player to enter the Hall of Fame wearing a Blue Jays cap and just the 20th second baseman to

be inducted. “I did not know how nervous I would be,” said Alomar, who was bypassed in his first year of eligibility and on his second try was named on 90 percent of ballots cast, becoming the 26th player to garner at least 90 percent in any election. “Suddenly, I feel speechless.” Alomar also thanked his mom, his dad, Sandy Alomar Sr., who forged a 15-year major league career as an infielder, and his big brother, Sandy Jr., a catcher who played in the majors for two decades but was hampered by injuries. “My mom is the most wonderful person in my life,” Alomar said as he looked down at his mother, her teary face buried in a handkerchief. “She gave me love. She took me to the ballpark, even though I was a little boy running around, hanging around. Mom, thank you for everything that you have done for me. If I’m standing here today, it’s because of you. “And to my parents, thank you for teaching me how to be a humble

person. That’s what counts.” The governor of Puerto Rico, Luis Fortuno, took a moment to congratulate Alomar, saying that his induction “is an honor for all Puerto Ricans.” He thanked Alomar for representing his Caribbean homeland well in the big leagues. Blyleven, the first Dutch-born player to be enshrined, thanked his parents for the drive and determination he needed to succeed. Drafted by Minnesota in the third round of the 1969 amateur draft, he became the youngest pitcher in the majors when the Twins called him up June 2, 1970, after just 21 minor league starts. Blyleven, whose amazing curveball frustrated batters in his 22year career, finished with 287 wins, 3,701 strikeouts, 60 shutouts and a pair of World Series rings - in 1979 with the Pittsburgh Pirates and 1987 in his second stint with the Twins. Still, his path toward the Hall was a slow, steep one - he drew the

backing of only 14.1 percent one year - but on his 14th try became the first pure starting pitcher to get selected by the BBWAA since Nolan Ryan in 1999. Blyleven’s father, Joe, who died of Parkinson’s in 2004, fell in love with baseball and the Dodgers after the family moved to Southern California in the late 1950s and built a mound in the backyard, the genesis of his son’s Hall of Fame career. “I wish he was here,” said Blyleven, who in the past had regretted not being selected for the Hall while his father was still alive. “But you know, mom, I know he’s up there looking down right now. Mommy, I love you.” Baseball has lost several giants of the game in recent years, and Blyleven remembered the ones that helped him along the way. “I know in my heart that Harmon Killebrew, Willie Stargell, Bob Feller, Chuck Tanner and Kirby Puckett are looking down at all of us right now,” Blyleven said, adding a special thought for Hall of

Famer Gary Carter, who’s battling brain cancer. “Gary, keep battling the way that you always have.” Gillick, a left-handed pitcher in college, said he knew he had to find another way to stay in the game after five years in the minor leagues. He found it in the front offices of four major league teams, winning 1992 and 1993 titles with Toronto and a 2008 title with Philadelphia. Gillick’s teams posted winning records in 20 of his 27 seasons as a general manager and advanced to the postseason 11 times. “It was pretty clear my arm wasn’t going to get me to the majors,” Gillick said. “Then I guess luck took over.” Gillick began his front-office career in 1963 as assistant farm director with the Houston Astros, moved to the New York Yankees system in 1974 as coordinator of player development, and in 1976 moved to the expansion Blue Jays, becoming vice president of player personnel and later vice president of baseball operations.


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DAILY CHALLENGE MONDAY, JULY 25, 2011

DAILY CHALLENGE

SPORTS

Franchise upends Queensbridge in the Nike Pro League

The Franchise’s Andre Barrett goes for a layup for two of his 32 points

The Franchise’s Omar points Things were looking bleak for Franchise in the waning moments of their game against Queensbridge. With only .8 of a second remaining the perpetual streeball power the Franchisewas down 2. Then as if John “Franchise” Strickland was watching over them, the team named after the streetball legend managed to pull victory from the

Queensbridge’s Corie Underwood Going for a layup for two of his 13 points

The Franchise’s Cory Fisher finishes on a layup

Queensbridge’s Ron Artest raising up for a jumper for two of his 19 points

The Franchise’s Justin Burell puts up a layup for two of his 14 points.

Cook finished with 9 jaws of defeat. Lead by Andre Barrett’s 32 points and a jumpshot to beat the buzzer to force overtime, the Franchise beat a strong Queensbridge team lead by Ron Artest (newly named Metta World Peace) 123 -121 at Baruch College.

- Photos by Lem Peterkin


DAILY CHALLENGE MONDAY, JULY 25, 2011

Terrelle Pryor to miss NFL shot in 2011? Terrelle Pryor’s pending application for a supplemental draft remains under review by the NFL and the primary determination likely will be made on whether the NCAA certifies he would not have been eligible for 2011 Ohio State games because of rules violations, sources have told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen. But Pryor does have a unique case that should give him serious consideration for the supplemental draft because, according to his attorney, Larry James, Ohio State officials have agreed a completed investigation that occurred past the Jan. 15 underclassmen deadline determined he would not have been eligible for any games for the 2011 season. Pryor’s signing with an agent, Drew Rosenhaus, after the Jan. 15 NFL deadline for underclassmen to declare for the April draft is not considered a factor relating to his NCAA eligibility status under normal NFL protocol. Originally, Pryor signed an agreement with the university and coach Jim Tressel that stated he would return for the 2011 season but would be required to miss the Buckeyes’ first five games. That agreement reportedly allowed Pryor to play in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 4 against Arkansas. Legally, it was a nonbinding document so Pryor could have declared for the April draft before the Jan. 15 NFL deadline.

The confusion that ensued and further findings that questioned Pryor’s eligibility for the entire 2011 Ohio State season likely will be clarified by the NCAA, allowing the NFL to make a decision in the near future. If the NCAA presents a case that Pryor could have remained eligible for any portion of the season, his application could be denied by the NFL. According to scenarios based a strict league policy laid out by NFL spokesman Greg Aiello in an email to FoxSports.com, Pryor doesn’t qualify. In citing examples of players who were eligible for a supplemental draft, Aiello presented examples that, according to FoxSports.com, included “unforeseen” changes such as being banned from their college programs, made ineligible academically or players who had graduated before deciding to leave school. “If there are no players eligible for a supplemental draft, there is no supplemental draft,” Aiello said in the email. “It is for players whose circumstances have changed in an unforeseen way after the regular (college) draft. It is not a mechanism for simply bypassing the regular (draft).” Because the NFL’s supplemental draft is normally held 10 days before the start of training camps, it’s uncertain how the lockout will affect the process.

The league’s owners and players have agreed on the major points for a new collective-bargaining agreement, sources have told ESPN, and training camps could begin as early as tomorrow. Forty players have been selected in the NFL supplemental draft since its inception in 1977. Teams submit picks to the league and if their bid is the highest, they receive the player but lose the corresponding draft pick in the next draft. Former Georgia tailback Caleb King said earlier this month, soon after being declared academically ineligible for the 2011 season, that he would also like to enter the supplemental draft. In a news conference in June to announce he was leaving, Pryor apologized to the Buckeyes, to his former teammates and to the now-departed Tressel for his role in the pay-formemorabilia scandal that led to the former coach’s exit. Pryor had already been suspended by Ohio State and the NCAA for the first five games of what would have been his senior season this fall for accepting improper benefits, such as cash and discounted tattoos. The scandal led to Tressel’s forced resignation. Tressel acknowledged knowing his players were taking improper benefits but covered it up for more than nine months before Ohio State officials discovered his knowledge.

Complaint reveals gruesome details of fan beating By THOMAS WATKINS LOS ANGELES - A criminal complaint against two new suspects describes in graphic detail the injuries suffered by a San Francisco Giants fan who was beaten nearly to death outside Dodger Stadium including cuts to the victim’s face and tongue. The charges filed Friday against Louie Sanchez, 29, and Marvin Norwood, 30, were announced by Police Chief Charlie Beck as he exonerated a man ini-

tially named as the prime suspect. Sanchez and Norwood were charged with one count each of mayhem, assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury, and battery with serious bodily injury, all felonies, in the attack on Bryan Stow. Both were being held on $500,000 bail after being arrested Thursday. Stow, a 42-year-old paramedic, remains hospitalized in serious condition from the attack after the GiantsDodgers game on opening day, March 31.

Stow’s family said in a blog post Friday that he appeared to mouth his last name and might have tried to give a thumbs-up. The complaint alleged both men personally inflicted great bodily injury on Stow, “causing him to become comatose due to brain injury and to suffer paralysis.” The mayhem count alleged that they “did cut and disable the tongue, and put out an eye and slit (Stow’s) nose, ear and lip.” Dorene Sanchez, believed to be the sister of Louie Sanchez, had

been arrested on suspicion of being an accessory after the fact then released. She was not charged. A message left at a number for the parents of Sanchez was not returned, and contact details for Norwood’s family could not be found. The arrests came two months after an emotional Beck trumpeted the arrest of the initial suspect Giovanni Ramirez, who was never charged. Despite his exoneration, Ramirez remains jailed on a parole violation.

DAILY CHALLENGE

23

SPORTS

SPORTS BRIEFS Jets paying lockout lost wages

With the NFL lockout on the verge of ending, New York Jets owner Woody Johnson assembled the entire organization Monday morning in the team’s auditorium and told about 150 employees that all lost wages from the lockout would be returned to them by the time they returned to their desks, according to a person familiar with the meeting. Coach Rex Ryan and general manager Mike Tannenbaum also spoke at the assembly, the person said, with Ryan delivering a fiery, training camp-style pep talk to the coaches and staffers in the room. Basically, his message was, “The Jets are ready to get down to business.” In the early March, at the start of the lockout, the Jets slashed salaries of all employees in the football operation by 25 percent, with the provision that they would recoup the money if no games were lost due to the lockout. Ryan and Tannenbaum were included in the cuts. Non-contract employees were ordered to take unpaid furloughs. Johnson delivered on his promise. In fact, one employee said his lost salary was already direct deposited into his account by the time he returned to his desk. A 25 percent cut, across the span of four months, can add up to a considerable amount of money. For a coach making $500,000, that’s roughly $40,000. Meanwhile, the Miami Dolphins also have decided to restore employee pay that was reduced because of the labor dispute, The Associated Press reported.

Alonzo Mourning cited for leaving scene MIAMI — Former NBA star Alonzo Mourning will be cited by police for leaving the scene of a traffic crash in Miami Beach last week. The Florida Highway Patrol issued a report Monday saying Mourning is being issued a notice to appear in court for the second-degree misdemeanor of leaving the scene of an accident with property damage. Mourning was also issued a citation for failure to leave information at the scene. Mourning and his wife were heading home early July 17 when they came upon a wreck that had just occurred. Police say Mourning was unable to avoid hitting one of the cars. Mourning then left the scene but returned about 40 minutes later. The driver of one of the cars last week filed a lawsuit seeking unspecified damages from Mourning.

UConn reviewing athletic department STORRS, Conn. — The University of Connecticut’s new president confirms she has initiated an evaluation of the school’s athletic department, amid a report that she’s trying to buy out the contract of athletic director Jeff Hathaway. Susan Herbst, who became UConn’s president in June, did not address a story by The Day of New London, which reported school and athletic department sources said she’s working on a deal that would have Hathaway leave UConn in the next several weeks. Herbst said the school is evaluating issues including academic performance, NCAA compliance and fundraising.


DAILY CHALLENGE

S SP PO OR RT TS S TUESDAY, JULY 26, 2011

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?

NFL LOCKOUT ENDS WASHINGTON - NFL owners and players agreed early yesterday to the terms of a deal to end the lockout, and players were expected to begin their voting process later in the day, two people familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the process was supposed to remain secret and no formal announcement had been made. Members of the NFL Players Association’s executive committee met at the group’s headquarters in Washington and were presented with the finalized agreement. NFLPA president Kevin Mawae arrived shortly after 9:30 a.m., and a conference call

for player leadership began at about 11 a.m. Owners overwhelmingly approved a proposal last week, but some unresolved issues still needed to be reviewed to satisfy players; the owners do not need to vote again. The sides worked through the weekend and wrapped up the details yesterday morning on a final pact that is for 10 years, without an optout clause, one of the people told the AP. Owners decided in 2008 to opt out of the league’s old labor contract, which expired this March. That’s when the owners locked out the players, creating the NFL’s first work

stoppage since 1987. “We have every reason to believe it’s going to be a good day,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello wrote in an email to the AP yesterday. If players sign off on the agreement, a tentative timeline would allow NFL clubs to start signing 2011 draft picks and rookie free agents on Tuesday. Conversations with veteran free agents also could start today, and signings could begin Friday. Under that schedule, training camps would open for 10 of the 32 teams on Wednesday, 10 more on Thursday, another 10 on Friday, and the last two teams on Sunday. Both sides set up informational

conference calls yesterday afternoon to go over the details of the agreement. The NFLPA told player agents they’d be coached in particular on the guidelines and schedule for signing free agents and rookies; the NFL alerted general managers and coaches they would be briefed in separate calls. Should the players’ executive committee vote to accept the deal, it then would go to the 32 team representatives to approve. The 10 named plaintiffs in the players’ lawsuit against the league - including Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees - must officially inform the court in Minneapolis of their approval, too. - BARRY WILNER


Daily Challenge 7-26-11