June 12-14, 2020
San Juan The
Oregon’s Chardonnay Leaves Buttery Cliches in the Past P22
Fewer Restrictions in 3rd Phase of Reopening PREPA Union Leader Calls for Federal Probe of $1.5B Contract P4
Oversight Board Approves General Budget Plan for FY 2021
Spas, Gyms, Movie Theaters, Bars to Open with Social Distancing Restrictions More Freedom to Go to the Beach, But Zero Crowds
NOTICIAS EN ESPAÑOL P 19
The San Juan Daily Star
June 12-14, 2020
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June 12-14, 2020
The San Juan Daily Star, the only paper with News Service in English in Puerto Rico, publishes 7 days a week, with a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday edition, along with a Weekend Edition to cover Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Governor activates phase three of reopening
By JOSÉ A. SÁNCHEZ FOURNIER Twitter: @SanchezFournier Special to The Star
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Vázquez announces the removal of the stay-at-home order, shortens the curfew to 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., opens beaches and allows businesses to open 7 days a week
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ollowing a week full of bad news and controversies, Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced tried to close on a positive note Thursday, announcing the implementation of the third phase of her economic reopening plan, which will go into effect next Tuesday. “This virus will continue to exist among us. But Puerto Rico has given a great example to follow in these difficult times with our behavior. And it is time for a change,” the governor said during a press conference held in the lobby of the Caribbean Cinemas building at the Montehiedra Outlets in Cupey. “The time has come for Puerto Rico to take a step on the road to economic regrowth.” “Although we are announcing the third phase, we cannot be lax with the social distancing guidelines,” she warned. “We cannot lower our guard.” “It is my responsibility to put the health of our people first,” Vázquez added. “And that is why if we see an increase in the contagion statistics, or in the number of COVID-19-related deaths, or in the hospital room occupancy or in the use of ventilators, I will order a move back into phase two.” Vázquez said the government-imposed curfew will now be in effect from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., but the manda-
tory stay-at-home order was rescinded. This means that, starting on Tuesday, people will be allowed to go out freely outside of those hours, instead of staying at home unless there is an extraordinary reason to do so, as was ordered during the second phase of La Fortaleza’s plan. Commercial activity will now be allowed seven days a week, during specified hours depending on the business. Beaches are now open, but those who visit them must still respect social distancing guidelines as well as the recommendations of the island Health Department and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cinemas will be allowed to reopen at 50 percent capacity, but all patrons must wear masks and also comply with social distancing requirements. Museums and spas can also reopen under similar requirements. “If you go to see a movie and forget to bring your protective mask, you will not be allowed in,” the governor forewarned. Those in the professional services industry, such as attorneys and accountants, can also go back to work on normal schedules. The governor added that phase three will be in place at least for a month, at which time it will be decided what will be the government’s next step in the commercial reopening plan. Moving to phase three of the economic recovery plan puts a positive spin at the end of what has been a rough week for La Fortaleza. In the span of a few days, Vázquez had to deal with another debacle in the Department of Labor and Human Services’ response to the sudden increase in stimulus checks and unemployment benefit requests, which forced the resignation of Labor Secretary Briseida Torres, as well as the publication of a scathing report about irregularities in a $1.5 billion plant conversion contract between the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority and New Fortress Energy.
The San Juan Daily Star
June 12-14, 2020
Report raises big questions about $1.5B PREPA contract Union leads call for a federal investigation into how plant conversion project was granted to New Fortress Energy By JOSÉ A. SÁNCHEZ FOURNIER Twitter: @SanchezFournier Special to The Star
he Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) was hit hard by a damning report published Thursday by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) and island advocacy organization CAMBIO that raised serious questions about the legality of a $1.5 billion contract that PREPA gave New Fortress Energy (NFE) in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. The contract was to modify energy plants San Juan 5 and 6 from liquid diesel fuel to natural gas use, as well as for providing the gas for the plants. Reaction from the Electrical Industry and Irrigation Workers Union (UTIER by its Spanish acronym) was immediate, with union leaders asking federal authorities to commence an investigation
into the matter. “Today we are formally requesting the federal district attorney for Puerto Rico, Stephen Muldrow, to investigate the granting of contracts by PREPA to New Fortress Energy,” UTIER President Ángel Figueroa Jaramillo said in a press release distributed Thursday by that organization. The union included a copy of the independent report in its written communication with the district attorney’s office. The report published by IEEFA and CAMBIO -- two non-governmental organizations that advocate for self-sustainability and transparency in government -- details a series of meetings between PREPA management, its financial advisers, Filsinger Energy Partners and NFE in which the idea of updating San Juan 5 and 6 power plants to combustible gas was discussed. Several of the meetings occurred prior to PREPA even formally published a request for proposal for the project, according to the report, and continued during the granting process. It also claims that the contract was negotiated by an attorney external to PREPA who also represented NFE’s parent company. The published report also states that NFE got inside information from PREPA about the availability to lease property in
prime locations for the fulfillment of the contract, something competing companies were not informed about. “If that does not constitute an unfair advantage for New Fortress Energy, then what does? That and many other revelations [from the report] make it more than necessary for the District Attorney to intervene in this contract, which is costing the Puerto Rican people $1.5 billion,” said Figueroa Jaramillo, who described the contract as a “needless squandering” of public funds. “UTIER always has shone a light on this reckless waste of public funds on unnecessary and expensive contracts, and it is about time that this is investigated and that those responsible face consequences for their actions.” According to the 49-page report, the final deadline agreed upon was not met and the supposed savings that it would bring were greatly exaggerated. It recommends that the contract be voided, and that the granting process be submitted to an independent investigation, among other suggestions. A tough week for Vázquez Garced The contract granting process occurred before Wanda Vázquez Garced became governor following the resignation of then-Gov. Ricardo Rosselló Neva-
res. Back then, she was the secretary of Justice. However, the report came out in one of the most controversy-laden weeks of her relatively brief stay at La Fortaleza. On Wednesday, Health Secretary Dr. Lorenzo González Feliciano presented the new model for recording COVID-19 cases on the island, which was met by some doubt and confusion. On Tuesday, the governor asked for the resignation of Labor and Human Resources Secretary Briseida Torres amid the latter’s broadly criticized management of the unemployment benefit and stimulus checks request process. Carlos Rivera Santiago was nominated by Vázquez for the Department of Labor and Human Resources’ top position following Torres’ resignation announcement. Also on Thursday, it came to light that PREPA had contracted former New Jersey governor and early Trump supporter Chris Christie at a monthly salary of $28,750. Christie left the governorship under controversy following an investigation into possible retributory tactics against city mayors who did not align themselves with his policies. He was an early backer of then presidential hopeful Donald J. Trump but apparently fell out of favor shortly after Trump moved to the White House.
Senate receives documents for Labor secretary nominee By JOHN McPHAUL firstname.lastname@example.org
enate Appointments Committee Chairman Héctor Martínez confirmed on Thursday that the Senate has already received documents from the nominated secretary of the island Department of Labor and Human Resources, Carlos Santiago Rivera, who could be confirmed on Tuesday of next week. “I’d have to see. That appointment came about 48 hours ago to the Senate,” Martínez said in a radio interview. “He [Santiago Rivera] already delivered all the documents. He was already confirmed as prosecutor last November 2019 and is prominent as an adviser to the governor on labor matters.” Martínez said the nominee only had to update some documents after having already made the required submissions to the Senate before being confirmed as a prosecutor in November. The legislator announced that the of-
ficial will be asked many questions during the hearing in order to know what his vision will be for the agency, what support he will have and what resources he will have at his disposal to resolve the situation with unemployment claims. Martínez also announced that “the public hearing could possibly be [today] or Monday and if he [Santiago Rivera] did not have any type of problem, he would be confirmed in the Senate vote on Tuesday.” Santiago Rivera was nominated on Tuesday after the resignation of the former secretary, Briseida Torres Reyes, amid criticism for her handling of the avalanche of unemployment applications and the delay in the disbursement of the benefit to workers displaced by the coronavirus pandemic. “[There must be] supervision, leadership and commitment,” Martínez said. “But while the preparation, the experience that a nominee has is important, when he goes before the Senate Appointments Committee, more than that he must have
sensitivity, a sense of justice, and above all firmness when making decisions, especially in an agency like the Department of Labor in the crisis that is happening and the needs that citizens are having.” Regarding the allegations of his being involved with the case of the student Alma Yariela Cruz, who was prosecuted after a 2017 bullying incident in which, according to reports, the then-11-year-old fought back against schoolmates who had taunted her with racial slurs, Martínez said Santiago Rivera’s responses should be analyzed. “It would have to be seen what his participation was if any in this case,” Martínez said. “The explanation he has given is that when he entered as director of the Family and Juvenile Advocate Office, that case had already been filed. He believes that such a case should not have come to court, but of course, that will be part of the questions being asked. That is part of the evaluation that the Appointments Committee will be doing.”
“Right now I have no compelling reason or any information that forces me to vote against it [Santiago Rivera’s confirmation],” the senator said. “But I cannot anticipate what will happen because the confirmation process has not finished and the hearings have not taken place and therefore it would be necessary to see how the questions will be answered.”
The San Juan Daily Star
June 12-14, 2020
Fiscal board approves version of general budget plan for FY 2021 By THE STAR STAFF
he Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico on Thursday approved a proposed general fund budget for fiscal year (FY) 2021 for the commonwealth of Puerto Rico and submitted it to the island Legislature for its consideration. The $10 billion proposed general fund budget for the Puerto Rico government’s day-to-day operations reflects the effect of the novel coronavirus pandemic on the economy, delays most rightsizing by one year to allow the government to focus on implementing the reforms necessary for Puerto Rico to recover, secures pensions, includes investments in health care and infrastructure to strengthen Puerto Rico, and introduces milestone budgeting to encourage real change on the island. Payroll freezes for the government and public entities remain largely in place, the oversight board said. General fund expenditures are projected to increase from $9.6 billion in FY 2020 (inclusive of the $500 million
additional expenditures from the March 2020 emergency measure support package) to $10 billion in FY 2021, mainly because of incremental investments in technology and public hospitals, and a reclassification of special revenue expenditures as general fund expenditures. The effect of the COVID-19 crisis is projected to reduce general fund revenues by more than 12 percent, from $11.6 billion originally projected for FY 2020 to $10.2 billion in FY 2021. FY 2021 revenues are projected to decline by 5 percent even compared to projected post-COVID-19 revenues of $10.7 billion in FY 2020. The proposed budget includes $675 million in investments, including $450 million for technology infrastructure such as private sector investments to expand broadband access and faster speed in underserved areas. In addition, the proposed budget includes $225 million in health care sector investments, including for improvement of public hospitals and public hospital information technology, and scholarships to encourage medical students
to serve Puerto Rico’s rural areas after graduation. The budget is consistent with the fiscal plan certified on May 27, the oversight board said. About 20 percent of the proposed budget is devoted to education, but the amount is a $92 million cut from the current budget. While 10 percent of the proposed budget is for health spending, it still suffered a $373 million cut when compared to the current budget. About 11 percent of the budget is for spending in the area of public safety, or $61 million more than in the current budget. About 4 percent of the budget is devoted to corrections or jails, for a $37 million increase. About
11 percent of the budget is devoted to economic development. That number represents a hike of $28 million when compared to the current budget. About 3 percent of the budget is for social welfare. The amount is about $15 million more than what is in the current budget, which expires June 30. The University of Puerto Rico was allocated $559.9 million in the proposed budget, or $35 million more than in the current FY 2020 budget. New milestone budgeting is intended to drive efficient and successful implementation of key reforms. The proposed budget sets aside $83 million of incremental funding to be released once key milestones are met. The proposed budget excludes about $170 million in spending that was part of the budget submitted to the oversight board by the Puerto Rico government, including parametric insurance funding, funds to align salaries across agencies, and funding for the Puerto Rico Corporation for Public Broadcasting (WIPR), which the certified fiscal plan requires to be transferred to non-profit status.
Industry alliance seeks FCC ruling on proposed CRIM tax on island telecom firms By THE STAR STAFF
elipe Hernández, who heads the Puerto Rican Telecommunications Alliance, asked Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai on Thursday to investigate the legality of Senate Bill 1333, which would impose taxes on telecommunications companies for the Municipal Revenue Collections Center (CRIM by its Spanish acronym). In the opinion of the members of the Alliance, such a tax would not only be detrimental to the stability of the industry, but goes against the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA) and the objective of promoting the universal availability of high-speed internet access that is affordable and reliable for all citizens. “Senate Bill 1333 violates [the ITFA], establishing the imposition of a property tax for each line on the internet,” Hernández said in a written statement. “This … could represent an increase in current tax burdens of up to 1,000 percent,
leading many of the industry’s small and medium-sized businesses to bankruptcy, and would increase consumer rates.” In his letter to Pai, Hernández also asks the FCC to evaluate whether the legislation proposed in the Puerto Rico Senate could interfere with the reconstruction of the island’s telecommunications infrastructure, and redirect to “unwanted recipients” or municipalities the economic
benefits that the U.S. Congress and the FCC granted for the island’s reconstruction after the destruction caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria, the recent earthquakes and the novel coronavirus pandemic. “Internet, television and telephone providers have endured the blow of Hurricane Maria, earthquakes and now a pandemic, making large investments to maintain services, which allow many businesses to operate and people to study and work from their homes,” Hernández said. “So instead of giving us an incentive, they hit us hard. There is no way that we can survive if this materializes and the consequences will be bankruptcies, loss of thousands of jobs and increases in consumer rates. We are aware that every company in Puerto Rico pays the fair and reasonable tax based on the appraisal of the property. But the CRIM prefers to discriminate against the telecommunications industry, seeking to profit from one of the few growing industries on the island.”
The letter highlights the urgent need for a ruling by the FCC, amid the unwillingness of House Speaker Carlos “Johnny” Méndez Nuñez and House Municipal Affairs Committee Chairman Reinaldo Vargas to hold a transparent hearing process, Hernández said. “Until now, the only ones that were invited to testify at the only public hearing that the Committee has held, were the Association and the Federation of Mayors, who are the beneficiaries of the measure, and who seek to balance their budgets at the expense of the telecommunications industry and the citizens. Now, to cover up their incompetence or bad faith, they invite us to participate (yesterday) in a closed-door hearing, without the press and without access by citizens. What do they fear or, rather, what do they hide?” Hernández said. Last Monday, dozens of telecommunications industry workers that collaborate closely with the Alliance, held a protest at the Capitol demanding to be heard.
The San Juan Daily Star
June 12-14, 2020
PRNG continues COVID-19 support in nursing homes By THE STAR STAFF
he Puerto Rico National Guard (PRNG) continues to support the island Health and Family departments by conducting COVID-19 tests at various nursing homes, impacting thousands of residents and employees. “Our mission is to reach all homes and centers for the elderly,” said PRNG Adj. Gen. José J. Reyes. “Given the enormous struggle that we face with this pandemic and other emergency situations that we’ve lived through, protecting our elderly and their dependents is a priority.” PRNG teams are coordinating visits to reach more than 1,000 nursing homes, where military personnel, in collaboration with local Primary Health 330 Centers, will be administering both the rapid test and the molecular test to residents and staff. As of Wednesday, the PRNG had visited 75
homes and performed 7,945 COVID-19 tests (4,123 rapid tests and 3,822 molecular tests) to monitor the virus in that especially vulnerable community. Having already visited 15 homes for the elderly this week, PRNG teams will be visiting another 11 homes by week’s end in the municipalities of Aguas Buenas, Bayamón, Caguas, Cayey, Juana Díaz, Lares, Quebradillas, San Juan and Toa Baja to reach an additional 423 employees and 405 residents. “Joint Task Force-Puerto Rico [JTF-PR] continues with its efforts to reach all homes for the elderly,” said Brig. Gen. Miguel A. Méndez, JTF-PR commander in charge of military operations. “In addition to the homes to be visited these next few days, we are coordinating with more than 50 other homes to set a date to visit them.” Any elderly home that is interested in coordinating a visit with the Puerto Rico National Guard to carry out COVID-19 tests can contact the PRNG call center at 787-523-0802.
Save the Zoo Foundation: Postings about alleged deaths of animals are false By JOHN McPHAUL email@example.com
ave the Zoo Foundation President Lynette Matos said Thursday that information disseminated on social networks about the alleged death of animals at the Zoological Garden of Puerto Rico is false. “It is always important to verify the information that we share on social media,” Matos said in a written statement. “On Tuesday, false images of the zoo in Puerto Rico ran that do not represent the reality of the animals that are cared for by Natural Resources [department] staff.” She noted that the island Department of Natural and
Environmental Resources (DNER) invests over $1.4 million in the annual feeding of all the animals. Since the DNER is responsible for the zoo in Mayagüez -- whose official name in Spanish is El Jardín Zoológico de Puerto Rico Dr. Juan A. Rivero -- the priority has been the well being and nutrition of all the animals, which are in good condition, she said. “These photos are not real; we have worked very hard to educate citizens about the importance of zoos in the preservation and conservation of species worldwide,,” Matos said. “We have been there with the volunteers, with the veterinarians, with pre-veterinary students, so many people have approached us with proposals to develop the zoo and recreation areas. Actually, we have fought for the animals to be well cared for, cared for and fed so that the zoo can soon announce its opening.” She added that the organization has also received the support of many other organizations and animal rescuers in Puerto Rico. “There are always rescuers who donate, collaborate, help and join our goal so that the zoo can open,” Matos said. “However, there are always people against it, who like to defame; they create false information, false pages, where they put images of malnourished or mistreated animals from other places seeking to make it seem that they are from Puerto Rico when they are not. When spreading false information when the USDA [U.S. Department of Agriculture], DNER, or some [other] government entity come to investigate, nothing happens because it turns out to have been defamation of the park.” Matos went on to point out that discrimination by
species is also something that is occurring in Puerto Rico. People who help pets do not help native, exotic and/or wild animals. “Today we see discrimination by species in all aspects; for example, people who request help for domestic animals, [are] more [likely to] judge and criticize those who help animals in the zoo in Puerto Rico, when all animals are the same, with the same rights,” she said. “Our responsibility is the well being of all regardless of whether it is a dog, elephant, cat or bird, all are the same.”
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The San Juan Daily Star
June 12-14, 2020
Why are so many NYPD officers refusing to wear masks at protests? By MICHAEL WILSON
iot helmets, ballistic vests, shields, batons — fully decked-out police officers have become staples in New York City as the protests against racism and police brutality approach their third week. But increasingly, one piece of equipment has attracted attention with its absence: the face mask. On any given day, any corner, any group of officers, some or all of them are not wearing masks. Others wear them below their chin. With masks having become as ingrained as shirts and shoes in the vast majority of New Yorkers’ wardrobes, their widespread absence on the police is striking — and to a mayor and governor still fighting the coronavirus pandemic, troubling. “Police officers should be wearing masks,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a news conference in Manhattan on Monday. Likewise, Mayor Bill de Blasio, on his call-in appearance on WNYC on Friday, was asked why officers were unmasked. ”I’m frustrated by it, too,” he said. “The policy is police officers are supposed to wear face coverings in public, period.” But he noted that compliance is far from universal: “It has not been happening consistently. I have had this conversation with Commissioner (Dermot) Shea multiple times. It has to be fixed and that bothers me.” While police officers may forgo mask-wearing for any number of reasons, from peer pressure within ranks that are loath to change to a desire to more easily communicate, the images have fueled a perception of the police as arrogant and dismissive of protesters’ health — perhaps even at the peril of their own. And while several officers have conspicuously knelt down with or hugged people at rallies, the widespread failure to use masks is creating a more standoffish look, one that protesters say suggests that the police operate above the rules — one of the very beliefs motivating the nationwide movement. “If you’re out here to protect the public, it starts with you,” said Chaka McKell, 46, a carpenter who attended a protest in
With face masks having become as ingrained a part of the vast majority of New Yorkers’ wardrobes as shirts and shoes, their widespread absence on the police is striking - and to their mayor and governor, troubling. Downtown Brooklyn on Monday. “The head sets the example for the tail.” The official New York Police Department policy is that officers should wear masks when interacting with the public. But in a statement Wednesday, the department dismissed the criticism about the lack of masks as petty. “Perhaps it was the heat,” Sgt. Jessica McRorie of the department’s press office said in a statement. “Perhaps it was the 15hour tours, wearing bullet resistant vests in the sun. Perhaps it was the helmets. With everything New York City has been through in the past two weeks and everything we are working toward together, we can put our energy to a better use.” Skipping personal protection may come with a cost. The city is still reporting hundreds of new coronavirus cases each week, and more than 40 members of the Police Department have died of COVID-19, the police said. Just days ago, Shea announced the virus-related death of Chief William Morris, who led the transportation division. As of May 29, the most recent date that numbers were made available, 901 uniformed members of the department — about 2.5% of the total number — were
out sick, down from 19.8% at its peak in April. As of that same date, 5,627 members of the department had returned to work after testing positive for the coronavirus. Then the protests began, putting the officers, working in large crowds, in the spotlight. The new questions arise during what seems, from the outside, to be an evolving relationship between officers and protective masks. In the early days of the coronavirus’s arrival in the region, with cases seemingly few and isolated, officers for the most part set the masks aside, with the encouragement of their leaders. On March 20, with the city moving toward a quarantine — bars and restaurants had closed three days earlier — Shea was asked at a news conference about officers without masks. “That could very well be a good thing, quite frankly,” he said. “We’re trying to conserve the use of these and use them where appropriate. And I think the medical professionals would tell us that, generally speaking, it’s better to have the masks on the people that are sick as opposed to officers walking around in the street.” Not long after, though, the governor made masks mandatory for all New Yorkers. Since April 17, anyone visiting
an indoor location or unable to maintain social distancing must wear a mask — a striking period of 54 days and counting, perhaps indefinitely for many. And so, the sight of maskless officers, at gatherings that are protesting police behavior nationwide, rankles some. A Twitter account, @nypdmaskwatch, has posted photographs of officers without masks, including their names and badge numbers. At a rally Monday outside Brooklyn’s Borough Hall, 11 of the 13 police officers near one section of the crowd wore masks, with the other two having pulled them down below their chins. But around the corner stood 12 officers, only three wearing masks. At the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge stood 38 officers and captains. Eight wore masks, some below the nose, while 14 wore them below their chins and 16 wore none. Asked about the masks, officers mostly declined to comment or ignored the question. One officer who was confronted about the matter by a young man in Brooklyn on Saturday responded, “We’ve got more important things to deal with.” One captain who was walking alongside protesters without wearing a mask seemed to suggest the decision falls to the individual officer in the situation at hand. “The focus is staying at peace with the protesters,” said the captain, who declined to give his name since he had no authorization to speak with the news media. “This isn’t the ideal scenario, but we’re doing the best we can. Ideally, officers wear their masks, they take precautions and they stay safe, but our priority right now is the protest and the protesters.” Crista Simiriglia, the manager of the band Sunflower Bean, who was passing out Gatorades from the back of their touring van at a nearby demonstration, was struck by the lack of police masks. “It was very startling and very dangerous,” she said. A musician in the band, Julia Cumming, 24, said she was surprised whenever she sees an officer wearing a mask. “I’ve come to expect them not to,” she said. “It’s just very strange. I’m generally confused. They’re supposed to give this sense of authority.”
The San Juan Daily Star
June 12-14, 2020
Protesters topple statue of Jefferson Davis on Richmond’s Monument Avenue By MICHALE LEVENSON
rotesters toppled a statue of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War, in Richmond, Virginia, on Wednesday night, as demonstrators across the country continued to target symbols of white supremacy after the death of George Floyd. Demonstrators knocked down the statue at about 11 p.m., according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, and local news reports showed photographs of it lying on the street, with the police nearby before a tow truck carted it away. The statue was among a number of prominent Confederate monuments that had stood on Monument Avenue in Richmond, which was once the capital of the Confederacy. It came down one week after Mayor
Levar Stoney of Richmond said that he would propose an ordinance to remove all four Confederate monuments that the city controls along Monument Avenue. Stoney said he would introduce the bill July 1, when a new state law goes into effect giving local governments the authority to remove the monuments on their own. “Richmond is no longer the capital of the Confederacy — it is filled with diversity and love for all — and we need to demonstrate that,” Stoney said in a statement. The mayor’s press office and the Richmond Police did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment late Wednesday. In 2018, a commission appointed by Stoney recommended that the Davis monument be removed and replaced with a new statue. “Of all the statues, this one is most unabashedly Lost Cause in its design and sentiment,” the commissioners wrote.
‘Take back your city’ from protesters, Trump tells Seattle Mayor By MIKE BAKER
resident Donald Trump renewed his threat to take federal action against local protesters in a late-night tweet Wednesday, telling government officials in Washington state that they needed to crack down on demonstrators in Seattle. Trump said protesters were taunting government leaders, apparently referring to a group that has set up barricades to occupy territory in several blocks of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. “Take back your city NOW,” Trump wrote in a tweet directed at Mayor Jenny Durkan and Gov. Jay Inslee. “If you don’t do it, I will. This is not a game.” The president added, “Domestic Terrorists have taken over Seattle, run by Radical Left Democrats, of course. LAW & ORDER!” Police officers and protesters had repeatedly clashed next to the Capitol Hill
police station in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, whose death in Minneapolis police custody sparked nationwide protests. Police officials decided to abandon the station Monday, boarding it up and allowing protesters to demonstrate in the area without a police presence. At gatherings Wednesday, protesters held discussions about their priorities, listening to speeches and poetry while children drew with chalk on the street. There was no violence or looting, and the city’s fire chief wandered around the area talking with protesters about their needs and a collaborative path forward. Trump had previously discussed deploying active-duty troops to quell the protests in American cities, which experts said would require invoking the Insurrection Act of 1807. That led to blowback from former military leaders who warned that such action could cause the military to lose credibility with Americans.
A statue of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War, had stood in Richmond, Va., since 1907. They also noted that Davis was not from Richmond or Virginia. The sculpture was unveiled June 3, 1907, and depicted Davis giving the speech in which he resigned from the U.S. Senate, according to the commission. On a column behind Davis sat an allegorical figure, Vindicatrix, based on the word vindicate, which reinforced the mythology of the Lost Cause, the commission said. The statue came down amid a national reckoning over racist imagery and emblems fueled by the protests that have erupted after the death of Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis, who was killed after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Across the country, at least 10 monuments to Confederates or other controversial historical figures have been removed, and people have challenged similar monuments in more than 20 cities. Last week, Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia said he planned to order that the Robert E. Lee statue on Monument Avenue be removed. An administration official said the Lee monument was the only Confederate statue in Richmond over which the state had control. Just hours before the Davis monu-
ment was taken down Wednesday, NASCAR announced that it would ban the Confederate battle flag from its events and properties. Last Friday, the Marine Corps issued detailed directives about removing and banning public displays of the Confederate battle flag at its installations. And the mayor of Birmingham, Alabama, last week ordered the removal of a Confederate statue from a public park In Richmond this month, graffiti was scrawled on the headquarters of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and the building also burned for a time. Statues of the Confederate generals J.E.B. Stuart, Stonewall Jackson and Lee, all of which stand on the city’s Monument Avenue, were marked. On Tuesday evening, a statue of Christopher Columbus was torn down and tossed into a lake in a Richmond city park where protesters had gathered for a demonstration in support of indigenous peoples. “We stand in solidarity with black and brown communities that are tired of being murdered by an out-of-control, militarized and violent police force,” the Richmond Indigenous Society, which took part in the rally, said in a statement Wednesday.
The San Juan Daily Star
June 12-14, 2020
Biden’s brain trust on the economy: Liberal and sworn to silence By JIM TANKERSLEY and THOMAS KAPLAN
ew aspects of Joe Biden’s presidential campaign are shrouded in as much secrecy as the counsel he receives on the economy: which advisers have the most sway with the presumptive Democratic nominee, what ideas have the greatest currency, and what new policies Biden will ultimately embrace to address the racial inequities now animating protests nationwide. Some broad contours have become clear. Biden plays down concerns about the deficit during this recession, aides say, and he has begun soliciting ambitious plans to bridge the gap in earnings and wealth between black and white Americans. His regular briefings are by a small group of liberal economists and others with roots in the Obama White House and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. And he sees the economic recovery as his foremost duty if he wins the presidency. Yet the details of the policymaking process are closely held. Biden is seeking input from more than 100 left-leaning economists and other researchers, but there is little clarity on who among them has true influence. The Biden campaign recently formed an economic policy committee, which includes this wide range of outside experts, and imposed strict rules to ensure their public silence. A three-page document, sent last month before the committee’s first online meeting, warned participants not to circulate email from committee leaders or refer to “the candidate or to the campaign” in documents. “You are not to disclose the names of others who are involved in the committee to nonmembers,” according to the memo, which has not previously been reported. Members were allowed to tell friends and colleagues that they are participating, it continued, but “you should not, however, disclose your participation on social media such as Facebook or LinkedIn or in your professional bio.” A section about press inquiries began, “Simply put, do not talk to the press.” Biden’s team of advisers — and how it is shaping the thusfar cautious evolution of Biden’s platform toward what aides say will be a more ambitious agenda — is crucial to understanding how Biden would attempt to govern at a time of persistent economic turmoil, as the nation claws its way out of the depths of the coronavirus recession. Those advisers are also a key to how he may try to bridge divides between his center-left outlook and the views of young, progressive activists who want him to embrace a bolder agenda of taxing the rich and spending heavily on social programs. President Donald Trump, Biden’s opponent, has an in-house team of White House advisers but also consults a wide range of Wall Street executives and other friends, typically with no public disclosure of who they are or what is said. The confidentiality of Biden’s process drew fire from a top White House aide, who complains that the secrecy allows Biden’s advisers to avoid scrutiny for their views and to champion Biden publicly without disclosing ties to his campaign. Conversations with policy experts close to the Biden campaign suggest that Biden has thus far leaned on a core group of advisers who roughly match his own ideological standing within a Democratic Party that has steadily moved left since Barack Obama won the White House in 2008. Biden appears to have widened that group to include some of the young and sharply progressive thinkers who drove the policy debate leftward during much of the
Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. sees the economic recovery as his foremost duty if he wins the presidency. 2020 Democratic primary campaign. To wit: Asked over email if he was advising Biden, Gabriel Zucman, one of the architects of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s proposed tax on high-wealth Americans, referred a reporter to an email address for Biden’s press office. That address matched one that campaign officials sent to members of the newly formed economic policy committee, with instructions to give it to reporters in the event of questions about Biden. Campaign officials refused multiple requests to detail Biden’s economic brain trust. They did confirm that Biden receives regular briefings from a group of advisers that includes at least three liberal economists who are firmly rooted in the party’s Washington establishment: Jared Bernstein and Ben Harris, two former chief economists for Biden from his time in the White House, and Heather Boushey, who was the top economist for Clinton’s transition team when she was the Democratic nominee in 2016. The campaign has also announced a set of so-called unity task forces on policy that include appointees by Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, another progressive rival in the Democratic primary race. Those committees have only just begun to meet, and their members have also been instructed not to talk to reporters about their work for the campaign. It is unclear what direct access Sanders’ appointees have to Biden. Biden has faced pressure from progressives who have objected to his receiving advice from Lawrence Summers, a former Treasury secretary under President Bill Clinton and top economic aide to Obama whom they fault over his record in areas like financial regulation and climate change. Kevin Hassett, a senior adviser to Trump and a former chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said Biden was allowing economists to hide their ties to him when appearing on television to discuss policy, enabling them to avoid questions about Biden’s campaign and parrot his talking points without disclosure to viewers. “It is unethical to formally advise a candidate and publicly advocate the candidate’s views while concealing that relationship,” said Hassett, who worked on the presidential campaigns of John McCain, George W. Bush and Mitt Romney. “If he does have an economic team, then he should identify them. If he doesn’t identify them, then the advisers should, at the very least, identify themselves as Biden supporters when appearing in the media.”
Biden’s campaign responded to questions about his economic team and transparency by taking a shot at Trump’s own record of public disclosure — and management of the economy. “Dr. Hassett and his boss should both spend less time griping over cable news coverage and more time trying to fix this mess they got us into,” said Andrew Bates, a Biden spokesman. “If they want to talk about transparency, they can feel free to release Donald Trump’s tax returns any day.” Biden is briefed regularly by internal and outside advisers on economic issues, an effort that gained urgency amid the pandemic recession. Biden, people who have been involved in those briefings say, demands detailed presentations and often pushes back on what he is presented. As the pandemic has worsened and businesses have shut down in response, he has become more fixated on questions of how to preserve business dynamism and to accelerate job creation in recovery. Campaign officials have stressed to reporters that Biden is seeking bolder and more expansive solutions to the challenges facing a nation just beginning to climb out of a steep and swift recession. That almost certainly means adopting at least some of the more aggressive, and expensive, federal spending programs that progressives have championed. Of late, he and his team have been discussing additional policies to address long-standing racial and ethnic disparities in income and wealth, on top of the plans Biden has already rolled out. The new effort to solicit advice from hundreds of experts is coordinated by Larry Strickling, a former Commerce Department official under Obama, who ran a similar effort for former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg. It includes four co-chairs: Boushey; Austan Goolsbee, a former top Obama aide; Byron Auguste, a former National Economic Council deputy under Obama; and Indivar Dutta-Gupta, the co-executive director at the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality and the youngest of the group’s leaders. Harris, one of the former chief economists for Biden in the White House, who is 42, appears to be the youngest of the economists in Biden’s inner circle. Two of the others in that core group, Bernstein and Boushey, have spent years in Washington pushing for aggressive federal efforts to boost workers and combat inequality, including raising the minimum wage and providing government-funded paid leave and child care. They have gained clout as liberal economists moved away from the economic principles espoused by Bill Clinton, like minimizing government regulation of financial markets, negotiating international trade agreements and reducing the federal budget deficit, that many of Obama’s advisers also embraced. They are often joined by Ron Klain, a former chief of staff to Biden, and two Biden campaign aides: Stef Feldman, the campaign’s policy director; and Jake Sullivan, a senior adviser who served as a gatekeeper of sorts for Hillary Clinton’s campaign policy operation and performs a similar role for Biden. Biden talks to some policy experts who came to prominence under Bill Clinton, like Summers and Gene Sperling, and investment banker Roger Altman. Campaign officials have sought to play down Summers’ influence with Biden. Summers declined a request for comment. None of the people contacted by The New York Times who regularly consult with Biden on economics would agree to speak on the record about the advice they are giving Biden or the questions he asks about policy matters.
The San Juan Daily Star
June 12-14, 2020
COVID-19 patient gets double lung transplant, offering hope for others By DENIS GRADY
young woman whose lungs were destroyed by the coronavirus received a double lung transplant last week at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, the hospital reported on Thursday, the first known lung transplant in the United States for COVID-19. The 10-hour surgery was more difficult and took several hours longer than most lung transplants because inflammation from the disease had left the woman’s lungs “completely plastered to tissue around them, the heart, the chest wall and diaphragm,” said Dr. Ankit Bharat, the chief of thoracic surgery and surgical director of the lung transplant program at Northwestern Medicine, which includes Northwestern Memorial Hospital, in an interview. He said the patient, a woman in her 20s who had no serious underlying medical conditions, was recovering well:
“She’s awake, she’s smiling, she FaceTimed with her family.” But she has a long way to go. She is still on a ventilator because even though the transplanted lungs are healthy, her long illness has left her chest muscles too weak for breathing, and it will take time for her strength to return. The transplant was her only chance for survival, Bharat said. His team wanted other transplant centers to know that the operation could save some desperately ill COVID-19 patients. He said that other medical centers had been calling to find out about the operation and that some wanted to send COVID-19 patients to Northwestern for lung transplants. “I want to emphasize that this is not for every COVID patient,” Bharat said. “We are talking about patients who are relatively young, very functional, with minimal to no comorbid conditions, with permanent lung damage who can’t get off
the ventilator.” For such patients, he said, the news of a successful transplant “absolutely could start something.” He also said that doctors were closely monitoring COVID-19 survivors who had been on ventilators with severe lung damage, to see whether they recover fully or have scarring in the lungs that might eventually lead them also to need transplants. The patient’s name is being withheld to protect her privacy, and her family has declined to be interviewed, said a Northwestern spokeswoman, Jenny Nowatzke. She said the woman was Hispanic, a professional in her late 20s who lives and works in Chicago and had recently moved there from North Carolina. She was healthy before she contracted the coronavirus, Bharat said. She had had a minor illness that required her to take a medication that suppressed her immune system somewhat, but it was not
An extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO, room, where coronavirus patients struggling to breathe are treated, at a Northwestern Medicine facility in Chicago.
clear whether the drug made her especially vulnerable to the virus. She was ill for about two weeks before being admitted to the hospital on April 26. She soon needed a ventilator. Her condition kept worsening, and doctors connected her to a machine that pumps oxygen directly into the bloodstream. Weeks passed with no improvement, and the lung damage began to put a strain on her heart and liver. It became clear that her lungs would never recover, Bharat said. “You have someone in their 20s, who’s otherwise healthy, this poor girl,” Bharat said. “The whole team felt it’s hard to let someone go like that. We wanted to give her every option. Everybody was just rooting for her.” Previously, he said, he and his colleagues had debated what they would do if they had a young patient with irreversible lung damage. They had heard of such cases at other centers where care was withdrawn, and patients died. It seemed reasonable to try a lung transplant. Northwestern Medicine performs 40 to 50 a year; Bharat said he does most of them. The patient was put on the waiting list for a transplant only after she tested negative for the coronavirus. A matching donor was quickly identified, and a few days later the young woman underwent the operation. She was the sickest patient to whom he had ever given a transplant, he said, and her lung damage was among the worst he had ever seen. A pathologist who examined the lungs confirmed that the damage was irreversible. Researchers are studying them in hopes of learning more about the disease, to help answer one of many unanswered questions, Bharat said: “What is the failure of repair mechanisms in the human that make someone get to this point?” The patient must take immune-suppressing drugs to prevent her body from rejecting the transplant. They can increase the risk of infection, Bharat said. The patient has already been tested several times to see if the drugs could somehow have reactivated the coronavirus, but so far, those tests have been negative.
The San Juan Daily Star
June 12-14, 2020
Sobering jobs outlook: ‘We’re expecting a long haul’ By TIFFANY HSU
lthough the first wave of reopenings is returning workers to restaurants, retailers and other businesses hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, layoffs are seeping through sections of the job market that previously escaped major damage. On Thursday, the Labor Department said more than 1.5 million Americans filed new state unemployment claims — the lowest number since the crisis began, but far above normal levels. A further 700,000 workers who were self-employed or otherwise ineligible for state jobless benefits filed new claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a federal aid program. The overall number of workers collecting state benefits fell slightly in the most recent seasonally adjusted tally, to 20.9 million in the week ended May 30, from a revised 21.3 million the previous week. “We’re slowly seeing the labor market recovery begin to take form,” said Robert Rosener, an economist at Morgan Stanley, pointing to an “initial reopening bounce.” But, he added, “there’s still an enormous amount of layoffs going on in the economy.” On Monday, BP said it would lay off 10,000 people worldwide, mostly office-based workers. The entertainment promotion giant AEG told employees that it would carry out layoffs, furloughs and salary reductions on July 1. Job losses were announced this week at the University of Denver, the nonprofit group UJA-Federation New York, and the city of Peoria, Illinois, among others. The weekly report on unemployment claims comes after the government reported that jobs rebounded last month and that the unemployment rate fell unexpectedly to 13.3%. Correcting for a classification error, the actual rate was closer to 16.4% — still lower than in April, but higher than at any other point since the Great Depression. Jerome Powell, the Federal Reserve chairman, warned on Wednesday that the economic pain could last for years and that there would be “a significant chunk” — millions of workers — “who don’t get to go back to their old job, and there may not be a job in that industry for them for some time.” Powell said that “it’s possible Congress will need to do more,” but a divide has arisen on Capitol Hill over whether to extend a $600 weekly supplement to state unemployment benefits beyond July 31, as Democrats advocate, or to pare or halt it, possibly replacing it with government incentives to return to work, as some Republicans have proposed. Unemployment remained below 4% for much the year before the pandemic began. Reopening efforts will quickly reinstate a third of the workers who lost their jobs, said Beth Ann Bovino, chief U.S. economist at S&P Global. Hiring efforts, like a recent push by the broadband and cable company Charter Communications to fill thousands of positions, will help nudge the jobless rate down. But a return to the labor market conditions that preceded the pandemic is unlikely before 2023, Bovino said. “We’re expecting a long haul,” she said. “When people
Semaj Watts of Las Vegas was furloughed in April from her social media job with the Girl Scouts. She returned to work at the end of May. start talking about a V-shaped recovery, it’s like claiming success with the patient still on the table.” From March through May, 30% of lost jobs came in the food service industry, Bovino said. Ten percent stemmed from retailers. But as states try to stoke the economy by gradually lifting restrictions on those businesses and others, the shock of the pandemic is increasingly reverberating through sectors like manufacturing and professional services. With last week’s new filings, more than 44 million people have applied for state jobless benefits since mid-March. In addition, as of May 23, 9.7 million people were collecting Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits, the government said Friday. Unlike the figure for state claims, the number for pandemic assistance is not seasonally adjusted. In the third quarter, more employers than in the first half of the year expect to shrink payrolls, while fewer companies plan to increase hiring, according to a survey of 7,700 U.S. businesses by the employment agency ManpowerGroup. Seasonally adjusted hiring plans are the weakest in a decade. “These knockdown effects are starting to ripple through industries that initially seemed more secure, but are now facing a second wave of job losses,” Bovino said. Some companies let employees go recently after suddenly losing major contracts. Others laid off workers who were furloughed and had expected to return to their jobs.
The construction engineering firm in Boston where Christian Lecorps was an electrical engineering contractor spent much of the spring operating as if the pandemic would end quickly, even mulling whether to hand out bonuses and raises, he said. But work slowed in recent weeks. On Friday, Lecorps, 29, was laid off over Skype. On Tuesday, he dropped off his laptop at the office and began preparing to file for unemployment benefits. Hunkered down in his mother’s home in Brockton, Massachusetts, he hopes to use his spare time raising money for his startup, which aims to bring renewable energy to developing countries. But investors do not appear to be in a spending mood. He fears that if he is unable to quickly replace his income, his credit may suffer. “The funds I have will only last me until the end of this month,” he said. “Repairing this situation is going to take a lot longer for people like me, who are trying to get back on their feet.” Some jobless workers are not represented in the government count, which skips people who have tried to apply for benefits but failed, as well as those who were out of work but did not file for aid. Some states report claims as they are submitted, while others count them as they are reviewed. As some workers come close to exhausting their benefits, not all states have set up extension programs to pick up the slack.
The San Juan Daily Star
June 12-14, 2020
U.S. stocks plunge on dire economic forecasts and pandemic resurgence
all Street tumbled in a broad sell-off on Thursday, with the Dow plunging well over 5%, as a cautionary economic forecast from the U.S. Federal Reserve and the prospect of a possible resurgence of COVID-19 infections put investors in risk-off mode. The S&P 500 and the Dow were on course for their worst day since March 18, when markets were shocked by the abrupt economic lockdowns put in place to curb the coronavirus pandemic. The Nasdaq was set to snap a three-day streak of record closing highs. Everything’s for sale,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York. “There’s fear we’re near a top.” “The chatter today is back on the virus and the potential for a second wave of the virus,” he said. Deaths of Americans from COVID-19 could reach 200,000 in September, a grim result of the United States’ economic re-opening before getting growth of new cases down to a controllable level, according to a leading health expert. At the conclusion of its two-day monetary policy meeting on Wednesday, the U.S. Federal Reserve released its first pandemic-era economic outlook, after which Chair Jerome Powell warned of a “long road” to recovery. Economic data appeared to back up the Fed’s dour economic projections, with jobless claims still more than double their peak during the Great Recession and continuing claims at an astoundingly high 20.9 million. A year-on-year drop in core producer prices also reflected the central bank’s disinflationary concerns. “The (economic) data points are so far away from consensus, it’s hard to say we’re headed in the right direction,” said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago. “We’re going to have fits and starts, and it won’t be a smooth ride until the end of the year.” The CBOE volatility index , a barometer of investor anxiety, hit its highest level since May 14. The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 1,514.08 points, or 5.61%, to 25,475.91, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 152.93 points, or 4.79%, to 3,037.21 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 396.55 points, or 3.96%, to 9,623.80. All 11 major sectors of the S&P 500 were in the red, with energy .SPNY and financials .SPSY suffering the largest percentage drops. Interest rate-sensitive banks .SPXBK slipped 8.3%, after the Fed indicated key interest rates would remain near zero through at least 2022. Travel-related companies, among the hardest hit by mandated lockdowns, were sharply lower.
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The San Juan Daily Star
June 12-14, 2020
As Italy reopens, tour guides plead for more aid, and tourists By ELISABETTA POVOLEDO
few dozen black-clothed tour guides and tour organizers recently twirled white umbrellas to the tune of “Singing in the Rain” outside the Pantheon, one of Rome’s greatest tourist attractions. The problem was, there were very few tourists. The Pantheon, an ancient Roman temple, was among a wave of attractions across Italy that reopened this month after the coronavirus lockdown. The flash mob of guides and organizers was one of several similar events held in various Italian cities this week to draw attention to the severe problems caused after tourism — usually a lifeline — was paralyzed by the pandemic. In the days after some of the first lockdown restrictions were lifted, Italians relished the empty streets, rediscovering city monuments and museums that they would normally avoid because of long lines. But even as travel restrictions are lifted throughout Europe, reluctance to travel outside national borders remains high. Forecasts for the number of airplane reservations to Italy suggest drops of 95.2% in June, 82.4% in July and 76.4% in August, compared to the same periods last year, according to Italy’s national tourism agency, ENIT. That is nothing short of a disaster, according to the workers dancing outside the Pantheon, who feel they have been neglected by the government. Many are demanding subsidies for the coming season when most will be out of work. “Without tourism, Italy dies,” chanted Ilenya Moro, a tour guide in Rome who helped organize the flash mob. After it ended, the participants marched to a nearby square in front of the Italian Parliament to continue making their grievances heard. About 3.5 million people in Italy depend on tourism for their livelihoods, including taxi drivers, restaurateurs and waiters, hoteliers and the country’s 25,000 tour guides and 20,000 tour organizers. Tour guides and tour organizers often work on a freelance basis. In 2018, tourism accounted for around 13.2% of Italy’s gross domestic product, contributing about 232 billion euros, or around $262 billion, according to ENIT. In 2019, more than 63 million foreigners traveled to Italy, a 2.3% increase from the previous year. This year, ENIT has a grim outlook. Forecasts show a drop of 72.9% from May to October in the number of travelers from the United States alone, an important constituency. “Americans tend to be open and easy to get along with, and a lot of them want guided tours,” Moro said. Moreover, they tend to tip. “But not as well as they used to; money is tight everywhere,” she added. In April, an Italian hoteliers’ association, Federalberghi, registered a 99.1% drop in foreign clients, compared to the same month a year earlier. Representatives have expressed concerns about the coming season. As it is, only 40% of Italy’s hotels are operative, a Federalberghi spokeswoman said. Another group, Confturismo-Confcommercio, estimated that the hotel industry lost roughly 11 billion euros from March 1 to May 31, roughly the duration of the
Tourists visit the Ponte di Rialto in Venice, Italy, on June 1, 2020. Many of the 3.5 million workers in Italy whose livelihoods depend on tourism have suffered financially during the pandemic. lockdown. For Italy’s tour guides and tour organizers, the losses are no less significant. “I have five children, a wife and am the only one who works,” said Stefano Pace, a tour guide who went to the flash mob in front of the Pantheon. “Until long-haul international flights return, we won’t have any work.” The government has already allocated some money to the tour guide sector — dipping into a pool of funds that guaranteed freelance workers 600 euros for March and 600 euros for April. “But that doesn’t stretch very far,” Pace said. In its latest financial decree, the government promised that it would distribute an additional 1,000 euros to freelance workers in May, but some have said that gaining access to the money will be unnecessarily complicated because of rules and restrictions. “This will create situations of difficulty for many who won’t likely be working until next year,” said Giuliano Varchetta, who works as a tour organizer, a job that involves looking after logistics and accompanying visiting groups. “Tourism is a particular industry, we won’t have a reprise until mass tourism is back,” said Varchetta, speaking at the protest in front of the Italian Parliament. Margherita Capponi, founder of AGTA, a tourist guide union that organized the flash mob and protests Tuesday, said, “We have asked the government to continue giving us 600 euros a month until next March, because there is no work.” “No one is traveling, Italians don’t want guided tours, and
many museums aren’t letting us inside” with large groups, she added. “We’re going to need help until next year.” To ensure social distancing, many Italian museums and archaeological sites allow a maximum of 10 people per guided tour. “June is normally our best month, when we work the most, because clients from the United States begin to travel after schools close,” Capponi said. But this year will be different. Since the lockdown began, Capponi has worked one day — June 2 — taking a small group through the Vatican Museums, the day after the reopening. “And I am one of the few who has actually had a tour,” she said. To help those in the greatest need, her organization set up an emergency fund for workers. “Some didn’t even have enough to eat,” she said. At the Pantheon, a few locals wandered inside after having their temperatures checked. The cavernous interior would normally be swarmed by crowds. A custodian there said that the Pantheon would sometimes welcome 30,000 visitors in a single day, but that’s no longer possible now that only 80 visitors are allowed inside at a time. “From an economic point of view, for us, it’s a tragedy,” said Azzurra Mancini, a tour guide who had taken advantage of the protest to visit the ancient Roman temple. “The pandemic swept away the city’s thriving life. I hope our dear Americans will soon be back with us.”
The San Juan Daily Star
June 12-14, 2020
As Prime Minister, Boris Johnson struggles to find his voice By MARC LANDLER and STEPHEN CASTLE
fter a week when protesters battled with police outside his residence, spray-painted “racist” on a memorial to Winston Churchill and dumped the statue of a 17th-century slave trader into Bristol harbor, Prime Minister Boris Johnson knew he was going to face questions about race and justice in Parliament. Yet, standing in the chamber on Wednesday, Johnson seemed nonplused when a lawmaker from the opposition Scottish National Party, Kirsty Blackman, condemned President Donald Trump’s response to the police killing of George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis, and asked Johnson if he still believed his assertion that Trump had “many, many good qualities.” “Yes, black lives matter,” he replied, “and yes, the death of George Floyd was absolutely appalling.” As for Trump, the prime minister said, he is the president of the United States, Britain’s most important ally, which is “a bastion of peace and freedom, and has been, for most of my lifetime.” Johnson’s statement landed with a thud — and not just because Parliament was sparsely populated as part of coronavirus-related social distancing measures. At a time when the unrest in the United States is prompting many in Britain to ask questions about racial injustice in their society, the prime minister is still struggling to find his voice. As with his response to the virus, Johnson was late to address the protests that erupted in London and other cities after the death of Floyd. And when he did, he oscil-
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, before Parliament in the House of Commons in London. lated between a hard message of authority and a more conciliatory tone: strident calls for law and order followed by promises to listen to the anguish of black Britons and other minorities. For some critics, there is little difference between Johnson and Trump. “You’ve got a bad guy on both sides of the Atlantic,” said Kehinde Andrews, a professor of black studies at Birmingham City University. Unlike Trump, Johnson has not used tear gas to break up the demonstrations outside the prime minister’s residence at No. 10 Downing St. He has not propagated conspiracy theories about the motives of the protesters. And he regularly invokes the phrase, “black lives mat-
ter,” which Trump has not done. Defenders of Johnson argue that when he was mayor of the London, he pushed for people from ethnic minority groups to be promoted in the Metropolitan Police. Ray Lewis, a Guyana-born adviser who worked with him as mayor, said Johnson had a genuine interest in working to improve the lives of young people from the Afro-Caribbean community. More recently, Lewis said, Johnson has spoken privately of his anger over the Windrush scandal, in which Caribbean and other immigrants were wrongly detained and, in some cases, deported from Britain in 2018. “He, like most other people from privileged circumstances, responds to the world
according to how he has been brought up,” said Lewis who is chief executive of Eastside Young Leaders’ Academy, an organization he founded to help Afro-Caribbean boys in east London. “I have about as much in common with him as I do with Vladimir Putin, and yet there was a kind of connection.” “Is he racist?” said Sonia Purnell, a British journalist who wrote a critical biography of Johnson. “Probably not.” Instead, Purnell, who is white, said Johnson tailors his statements to please his audience. As a columnist for the right-leaning Daily Telegraph, his slurs against black people drew little blowback. As the leader of a rightwing Conservative government, his call for law and order after the protests appealed to his political base. “He is a crowd pleaser,” Purnell said, “so the question is, what crowd is he pleasing?” In the early days of the pandemic, Johnson resisted unpopular measures like shutting down pubs. As a result, Britain imposed a lockdown later than its European neighbors. Neil Ferguson, an influential epidemiologist at Imperial College London, told a Parliamentary committee on Wednesday that if Britain had acted a week earlier, it would have cut its current death toll of 41,000 in half. Johnson’s reluctance to order a full lockdown also reflects his instinctive aversion to government interference, the “nanny state” he often lampooned as a journalist. “He wants folks to have fun,” said Tim Bale, a professor of politics at Queen Mary, University of London. “But I’m afraid that we are in a situation where folks can’t have fun, and he finds that difficult.”
The San Juan Daily Star
June 12-14, 2020
Ukraine’s backlog of babies born to surrogates begins to ease By MARIA VARENIKOVA
the babies themselves. One woman living in Vinnytsia, in western Ukraine, who asked to be identified only by her first name, Dasha, to avoid repercussions from her agency, has been caring for a baby girl she gave birth to in April. She said she became a surrogate mother to pay her mortgage. The baby, she said, cries constantly, and the agency that arranged the birth has provided little support. “It was very hard,” Dasha said in an interview. “I just want the parents to come and to take this girl away from me.”
or weeks, more than 100 foreign genetic parents of babies born to surrogate mothers in Ukraine have been waiting nervously, prevented by Ukraine’s rigid coronavirus restrictions from entering the country to pick up their newborns. But the government has been granting some exemptions, and Wednesday, having gone through a mandatory quarantine, 11 couples from Argentina and Spain were joyously united with their newest family members. It was a first step in whittling down a backlog of babies born into Ukraine’s surrogate motherhood industry during the pandemic that some officials have said could swell to as many as 1,000. “It was like a dream,” Andrea Diez, a mother from Argentina, said Wednesday after she was handed her baby at a news conference hosted by a surrogacy agency, Biotexcom. Biotexcom, which has faced criticism over the backlog, staged the event for maximum effect, bringing out the babies and uniting them with their joyful parents for the first time. With permissive legislation, high-quality private maternity hospitals and an abundance of poor women, Ukraine has in recent years become the leading country providing surrogacy services to foreigners, industry executives and women’s rights advocates say. For the most part, the surrogacy agencies care for most of the babies, although some have been left with the surrogate mothers. Biotexcom, the largest such agency, is caring for 79 babies in cribs in a hotel and clinic in Kyiv. The company was expecting two more births Wednesday. The baby pickup Wednesday is a step toward unwinding the problem, one of the more bizarre to arise from travel restrictions imposed to limit the spread of the coronavirus. But the schedule for pickups so far is slower than the rate of births, so the stranded surrogate babies are still growing in number in Ukraine. Authorities have estimated that 1,000 surrogate mothers are expecting. So far, 120 genetic parents of 125 babies have asked for assistance with travel, and 31 couples have arrived, including the 11 who met their babies Wednesday, according to Lyudmila Denisova, Ukraine’s human rights ombudsman. The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv said in a statement Wednesday that it had assisted 11 American parents with travel to Ukraine, with three more scheduled to arrive next week. Ukraine is an outlier among nations, though not alone, in allowing foreigners access to a broad range of reproductive health services, including buying eggs and arranging for surrogate births for a fee. Ukrainian law grants custody to the genetic parents. Diez and her husband, Fernando Montero, both 46, said they turned to Ukraine for a surrogate mother after years of failed fertility treatments in Argentina.
Andrea Diez and Fernando Montero, Argentine citizens and parents of newborn Ignacio, addressing the news media in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Wednesday. They named their son Ignacio (and nicknamed him Nacho). Born April 29, he spent the first month and a half of his life cared for by nurses in a room packed with cribs. The baby pileup has revived criticism of the business in Ukraine. Biotexcom has been criticized for sometimes impregnating surrogate mothers with three embryos, increasing the chances of a successful pregnancy but risking an abortion if all three develop. “We do it for the result,” Albert Tochylovsky, the company director, said in an interview. “We work for the result.” La Strada, a women’s rights group, said it received about 100 calls a year from surrogate mothers seeking help. In many cases, the women are upset about having to hand over the baby, said Maryna Lehenka, the group’s legal director, indicating “insufficient psychological support for women who go into surrogacy programs.” Other surrogate mothers have expressed appreciation for the pay — around $15,000 per birth, if everything goes right — and the chance to help infertile couples. But some are upset by the total separation from the babies once they have given birth. “It’s been five years since I gave birth to my twins, and I would be happy to receive a postcard to know how they are doing,” said Olha Korsunova, 27, who is now 12 weeks into her third surrogate pregnancy. “The parents do not do that, and it is their right; I do not judge,” she said. Korsunova decided to become a surrogate mother after the war in eastern Ukraine drove her from Donetsk, her hometown, and she needed money for medical school. She gave birth to her own son when she was 18 and at 21 gave birth to the twin boys, for parents from Spain. “I received education and have a possibility to give my son all he needs thanks to the surrogacy programs,” Korsunova said. She is studying obstetrics. Some surrogate mothers have been left caring for
Request for Proposals (RFP) Disaster Recovery Consulting Services NOTICE is hereby given that IGLESIA BAUTISTA DE LA NUEVA JERUSALEN INC. FAJARDO, P.R. is soliciting responses for Contract for Repairs. On September 5th and 17th, 2017, Governor Ricardo Rossello requested separate Federal declarations of emergency disaster for Puerto Rico related to the impacts of Irma and Maria. Subsequently, President Donald Trump approved Puerto Rico’s Emergency Declaration (EM-3384) and Major Disaster Declaration (DR-4339) related to the impact of Irma, and Emergency Declaration (EM-3391) and Major Disaster (DR-4339) associated to the impact of Maria. The IGLESIA BAUTISTA DE LA NUEVA JERUSALEN INC. FAJARDO, P.R seeks professional services from Construction firms to complete the necessary repairs caused by Hurricane Maria. Each proposal will meet all submission requirements and will be independently evaluated and assigned a score for each evaluation criteria up to the maximum points. The points may be weighted by their importance to the organization needs. The offeror must submit evidence to document meeting the criteria. The Criteria is as follows: FACTOR 1: PRICE (25%), FACTOR 2: EXPERIENCE AND TECHNICAL COMPETENCE (25%), FACTOR 3: CAPACITY TO ACCOMPLISH WORK AND WORK MANAGEMENT (40%), and FACTOR 4: SCHEDULE (10%).The Contract awarded as a result of this solicitation will be administered by the Client as it is a project under the FEMA Public Assistance Program. The anticipated contract will provide for a full range of services consistent with Federal Acquisition Regulation requirements and Federal construction requirements. The North American Industry Classification (NAICS) code for this acquisition is 234100. This announcement is open to all businesses regardless of size, additional consideration will be given to certified Federal Small Businesses. Firms must be capable of responding to and working immediately on the project. The bid documents will only be made available in electronic format. No CD-ROMs or hardcopy documents will be distributed. All questions and requests for RFP documents shall be submitted by email before 3:00 pm of June 10, 2020 to IGLESIA BAUTISTA DE LA NUEVA JERUSALEN INC. FAJARDO, P.R, email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com DEADLINE: All proposals must be delivered before 4:00pm on June 17, 2020 to IGLESIA BAUTISTA DE LA NUEVA JERUSALEN INC. FAJARDO, P.R Any RFP delivered after 4:00pm may not be considered and may be returned unopened to the addressee. The Church reserves the right to reject any or all proposals. DELIVERY ADDRESS: Please submit one original proposal to the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org; ronalsalas@bepeabody. com IGLESIA BAUTISTA DE LA NUEVA JERUSALEN INC. FAJARDO, P.R reserves the right to award the contract to the proposal that provides the best value according to the evaluation. IGLESIA BAUTISTA DE LA NUEVA JERUSALEN INC. FAJARDO, P.R .also reserves their right to cancel the request for proposal process, without any penalty. Respectfully, Wilma Filomeno Torres email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
June 12-14, 2020
Reopening on shaky ground: The view from five countries By JEFFREY GETTLEMAN
t Nigambodh Ghat, the oldest cremation grounds in India’s capital, the bodies keep coming. One ambulance arrives with five inside. Then another. Then another, in an endless display of death. As the coronavirus pandemic surges in New Delhi, a public health care system that was already strained might be reaching its breaking point. People can’t get tested. They can’t find a hospital bed. The situation has become so grim that government officials have proposed commandeering some of New Delhi’s fanciest hotels to turn into hospitals. But ready or not, much of India’s coronavirus lockdown has ended, as have those in other countries struggling to balance economic damage with coronavirus risk. In many places — India, Mexico, Russia, Iran and Pakistan, among others — leaders have come to feel they have no choice but to take the surge of cases on the chin and prioritize the economy. Some of these leaders, especially those in the developing world, said they couldn’t sustain the punishing lockdowns without risking economic catastrophe, especially for their poorest citizens. So the thinking has shifted, from commanding people to stay indoors and avoid the virus and other people at all costs, to now openly accepting some illness and death to try to limit the damage to livelihoods and to individual lives. A glimpse from the streets, reported by correspondents in countries especially hard hit, reveals a sharp rise in person-to-person contact in recent days — precisely at the time that the World Health Organization is warning that infections from this highly contagious disease are roaring toward a new peak. India is now producing more new daily infections, around 10,000, than all but two countries, the United States and Brazil.
“It’s a bit of a mess,” said Indrani Gupta, a health economist in New Delhi. “Our economy is so dependent on labor, millions would have lost their livelihoods and their lives if this lockdown went on for months and months.” But, she added, the lockdown began too soon. “We got it in reverse,” she said. “We shut down too quickly, and it was too draconian. And I don’t think now is the time to ease up.” In Russia, politics may be playing a role in the push to reopen. This week, Moscow’s mayor lifted many of the restrictions in place since March 30, surprising some infectious disease experts who pointed to still high-infection rates. Political analysts said one reason for the abrupt reopening was to pave the way for high turnout at a July 1 referendum that could amend the country’s constitution to allow President Vladimir Putin to remain in power until 2036. Officials had delayed the referendum, originally scheduled for April, because of the lockdowns. On Tuesday, grateful Muscovites spilled out of their apartments for walks in the sunshine. Authorities canceled a system of electronic passes for all trips outside the home other than to pharmacies and grocery stores. “We managed to avoid a catastrophe,”
In Rawalpindi, Pakistan, last week. Pakistan, where coronavirus infections have surged, has recently relaxed restrictions.
declared Sergei Sobyanin, Moscow’s mayor, in a video blog. Now, he said, the city was “starting to defeat the coronavirus.” The raw data isn’t quite as rosy. Russia’s number of new infections has hovered around 8,000 to 9,000 each day — far different, than say Italy, where the daily infections have plummeted to a few hundred now from more than 6,000 in March. Many leaders are taking this same tone. In Mexico, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador ended the country’s quarantine, despite the continued rise in COVID-19 cases, and kicked off the reopening in early June with a tour of the country. “We have to head toward the new normality because the national economy and the well-being of the people depends on it,” he said, during a stop in Cancún. Unlike some other nations, Mexico has not offered the sort of large stimulus package to bolster its economy, which may be why its cushion against the economic pain of a strict lockdown was so thin. Mexico’s government has consistently downplayed the severity of the disease though it has conducted, per capita, by far the least amount of testing among the dozens of countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. In Mexico City, hospitals and morgues are saturated. So are the crematories. Some people have defied protocols to bury loved ones in secret, at packed funerals. Mexican doctors fear the worst is yet to come. “We are still in the first steps of this pandemic, unfortunately,” said Dr. Alejandro Macías, an infectious disease expert. “The perception is that we are much further along than where we really are.” Pakistan may soon be overwhelmed, but it has relaxed restrictions as well. Outside the cities, almost no one is wearing a mask or making attempts to socially distance. In Lahore, the windy alleyways of the old city are crammed with people.
In the past week, Pakistan’s infections have nearly doubled, but there’s no way to gauge how prevalent COVID-19 really is because testing has been so scarce. A doctors association has claimed that more than 2,500 health care workers have contracted the disease and 34 have died. At least five Pakistani lawmakers have also died from coronavirus. Still, the country is opening up. Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan, a millionaire former cricket star who campaigns as a populist, has called lockdowns elitist, implying that only rich people could afford to be sealed up in their homes. “We sought a total lockdown without thinking about the consequences for the daily wage earners, the street vendors, the laborers, all of whom face poverty and hunger,” he wrote on Twitter. “May God forgive us our sin.” Iran, next door, became one of the most alarming centers of the pandemic early on but thought it had seen the worst. In early May, it decided to open up the country from a brief three-week lockdown in an attempt to salvage its economy, which was already suffering under international sanctions and huge budget deficits. Iran’s leaders said the coronavirus pandemic was a reality that Iranians had to learn to live with. Health experts warned that opening the country too soon without meeting any benchmarks — such as a sustained drop in the number of new infections — risked a second surge. Now, a month later, that second surge has arrived. On June 4, Iran reported 3,574 new infections in one day, the highest number of new cases since the pandemic began. President Hassan Rouhani continued to insist that the economy must remain open because Iran “did not have a second option.” And he warned members of his coronavirus task force not to create “anxiety among the public by saying there is a second or third surge.”
The San Juan Daily Star
June 12-14, 2020
The Civil Rights Act of 2020 By CHARLES BLOW
here are images of police officers joining protesters in dancing the “Cupid Shuffle,” taking knees and hugging little girls. There have been images of members of Congress donning kente cloth stoles, Joe Biden taking a knee and Mitt Romney marching with protesters. There have been images of a rainbow of races and ethnicities marching through streets with Black Lives Matter posters held high, of them kneeling in moments of silence, of defaced and beheaded statues. All of these are feel-good gestures that cost nothing and shift no power. They create no justice and provide no equity. The Democrats in the House and Republicans in the Senate are pondering separate legislative reactions. It is not yet clear if Donald Trump would agree to any of the provisions. The Democrats’ bill predictably goes further than the Republicans’ plan, but both primarily focus narrowly on police training, accountability, record keeping and punishment. But, these bills, if they pass as conceived, would basically punish the system’s soldiers without altering the system itself. These bills would make the officers the fall guy for their bad behavior while doing little to condemn or even address the savagery and voraciousness of the system that required their service. This country has established a system of supreme inequity, with racial inequity being a primary form, and used the police to protect the wealth that the system generated for some and to control the outrages and outbursts of those opposed to it and oppressed by it. It has used the police to make the hostile tranquil, to erase and remove from free society those who expressed sickness coming from a society that poisoned them with persecutions. This society creates conditions in which extreme, concentrated poverty can exist and then punishes those who react negatively to being condemned to that poverty. This society doesn’t sufficiently care for and insure people, guaranteeing that every person, regardless of station or wealth, has equal access to health care, and then it punishes those who suffer from stress, depression and violent fits of rage because of it. This society systematically cloisters power —
The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and other members of Congress kneel and observe a moment of silence in Washington on Monday. economic, political and cultural — in the hands of an elite few, almost all white, and then bemoans the apathy of those from whom power is withheld. We need more than performative symbols of solidarity. We need more than narrow, chaste legislation. Even if either of the police reform bills were passed and signed into law, they would cost the nation nothing and would leave the power structure untouched. In Martin Luther King’s 1967 book “Where Do We Go From Here,” he wrote: “The practical cost of change for the nation up to this point has been cheap. The limited reforms have been obtained at bargain rates. There are no expenses, and no taxes are required, for Negroes to share lunch counters, libraries, parks, hotels and other facilities with whites.” What he was seeking, what we were seeking, at that point — quality education; decent, goodpaying jobs; fair housing — would actually cost the nation something. That is what real justice looks like: equal access to possibility, success and safety. In this fight, our sights must be set high, our demands comprehensive. There is no glory in aiming small, in meekly pleading before power, to accepting crumbs on the floor when the bread is on the table. If we are serious about battling racial injustice in the public square and not just on the police squad, we need nothing short of a new civil rights act, the Civil Rights Act of 2020. At this point, politicians are still playing safe, being risk-averse while calling it radical. They want the appearance of substantial action
while leaving the substance of society untouched. They want to appear responsive without taking full responsibility. Poverty is the problem. Wealth inequality is the problem. All the things that lead to and attend poverty and wealth inequality are the problem. But no one wants to talk about that, let alone deal with it, because to truly tackle these issues would deal in some way with wealth redistribution, and the mere mention of that concept throws the comfortable and the rich into a tizzy. So, we’ll ban some chokeholds. We’ll collect some new records and disclose others. We’ll put constraints on officers, requiring more training and exposing them to litigation. But just remember: These are not necessarily rogue officers. They are instruments of the system and manifestations of society. They are violent to black people because America is violent to black people. They oppress because America oppresses. The police didn’t give birth to American violence and inhumanity. America’s violence and inhumanity gave birth to them.
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June 12-14, 2020
The San Juan Daily Star
NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL
Trump trembles: Mitt’s on the move
Senator Lisa Murkowski can count on President Trump’s support in 2022 — for her opponent. By GAIL COLLINS
o Mitt! Back in 2016 when Donald Trump was elected, the world was so upside down you might have believed almost any prediction of our strange future. But I’ll bet you’d still have been skeptical if somebody told you Mitt Romney would turn into an inspirational political figure. Yes! The same guy who ran one of the most boring presidential races in modern history. (“There’s no question it’s not good being poor.”) Early this year he turned into an impeachment hero. Now he’s calling for “a voice against racism” and marching for Black Lives Matter. And driving Donald Trump nuts. No holier a grail than that. Yet there’s still one more little thing. Mitt can’t bring himself to say that people should support Joe Biden. He’s keeping his own voting plans secret. There’s a lot of speculation he’s going to write in his wife’s name, like he did in 2016. That’s a pretty pale rebellion. It’s like saying you’re going to sit home on Election Day and sulk. Same story for Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, who says
she’s “struggling” to figure out what to do. Last week Murkowski responded fervently in support of former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ anti-Trump essay in which he urged Americans to “unite without him” and create a better world. There are, everybody knows, a great many things the country needs to do to make a brighter tomorrow. But the “without him” part does seem to be the critical priority. Cheers to both Murkowski and Romney. It’s true that neither of them is up for reelection this year, but if you cast your eyes across the Republican Senate majority, you will see many, many folks in safe seats who are nevertheless afraid to cross the president, even when his behavior causes them to go home and weep, or drink, or sit up all night playing solitaire on the computer. You may remember that Romney was a Republican candidate for president in 2008 and 2012. But it’s OK if you don’t. Neither campaign was very memorable, although I personally will never forget when he placated social conservatives by announcing that the only reason he had supported abortion rights as governor of Massachusetts was that he really didn’t understand what an embryo was. There are two ways to look at his current profile in courage. One is that Romney is a very rich 73-year-old in
a safe seat who can do pretty much anything he wants. Another is that it’s still … courageous. Take your pick. Murkowski was once elected to the Senate on a write-in vote after a Tea Party candidate won the Republican nomination. Since then she’s bucked her president on repealing Obamacare, but supported him on everything from Cabinet nominees to impeachment. All the while busily delivering tons and tons of stuff to Alaska’s powerful energy interests. She’s got a certain amount of independence, but you still have to get those drilling rights. There must be a ton of Republican officials who are at least a little tempted to reject the dreaded concept of Four More Years. But if they want credit for showing some spine, they have to follow through and vote for the only other real candidate in the race. Otherwise, it’s just a wasted vote at best, and maybe a real boost for Trump. Perhaps you remember in 2016, when people who would never in a billion years have supported Donald Trump showed their lack of enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton by voting for the Green Party. Their defection was enough to turn the tide in several critical swing states. In Michigan, for instance, Trump won all 16 electoral votes with a majority of 10,704 voters. Green Party candidate Jill Stein got 51,463. The White House is already sniping at Romney and Murkowski for their rebellion. Trump vowed to campaign against Murkowski no matter who was running against her — “good or bad. … If you have a pulse, I’m with you.” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany suggested nobody cared if Romney said “three words outside on Pennsylvania Avenue.” The words presumably were “Black Lives Matter,” but we have already learned that McEnany is a spokesperson who has a certain amount of trouble with speaking. “But,” she added, “I would note this: that President Trump won 8% of the black vote. Mitt Romney won 2% of the black vote.” Actually, the two candidates got pretty much the same African-American support, which would be minimal. The difference between them, of course, is that Romney’s been growing on racial issues while Trump has been shrinking. If it’s possible to get tinier. A lot of Republicans who are horrified by the president don’t have the gumption to criticize him at all. After Trump tweeted that the 75-year-old demonstrator who was seriously injured by the police in Buffalo might have been “an ANTIFA provocateur,” reporters cornered Sen. Marco Rubio on what he thought. Rubio pleaded ignorance: “I don’t read Twitter, I only write on it.” So give M and R credit for taking a stand. But this thing about not voting, or going for the Libertarian, or writing in Brad Pitt, is crazy. They’ve got to back Biden. Then after he takes office, they can attack every single thing he tries to do for the next four years. Everybody wins.
The San Juan Daily Star
June 12-14, 2020
Asociación de Maestros logra que Educación deje sin efecto descuentos automáticos a maestros a punto de retirarse Por THE STAR
a presidenta de la Asociación de Maestros, Elba Aponte Santos, confirmó el jueves, que gracias a la demanda radicada por la AMPR contra el Departamento de Educación, a raíz de los descuentos realizados a la licencia de vacaciones de maestros que estaban comprando tiempo para retirarse, se logró que los descuentos quedaran sin efecto y los maestros que así lo solicitaron podrán comprar tiempo. “Estamos bien contentos con el resultado de esta demanda y el acuerdo alcanzado, porque nuevamente le hacemos justicia al magisterio. El Departamento de Educación dejó sin efecto cualquier descuento automático realizado a la licencia de vacaciones de los maestros que solicitaron compra de tiempo para acogerse a los beneficios de retiro. También se dejó sin efecto la fecha del 5 de junio de 2020 que era la fecha límite para informar si se acogerían o no a los beneficios de retiro aquellos maestros que solicitaron la utilización de sus balances de días acumulados a la licencia de vacaciones para la compra de tiempo para retiro (Ley 26-2017)”, explicó Aponte Santos en comunicación escrita. Aponte Santos resaltó que “los maestros que se encuentran en este grupo, a quienes el Departamento de Educación ya les dejó sin efecto el descuento, tendrán hasta este próximo lunes 15 de junio de 2020 hasta las 8:00 de la mañana para notificar al Departamento de Educación a través del portal del empleado, si se acogerán a los beneficios de retiro. De no recibirse notifica-
ción dentro de este término se entenderá que el maestro no se acogerá a los beneficios de retiro y continuará trabajando”. La también educadora expuso los pasos que se supone el Departamento de Educación ha estado llevando a cabo referente a este asunto. “El Departamento informó que ya envió una notificación automática por el portal dejándole saber al maestro que solicitó compra de tiempo que su solicitud ha sido reevaluada y que puede autorizar la compra de
tiempo con la totalidad del balance acumulado en su licencia de vacaciones en o antes de la fecha antes indicada. Además, notificará la decisión de la solicitud de compra de tiempo a aquellos maestros a quienes no les haya notificado la misma aún”, dijo Aponte Santos. Aponte Santos indicó que “los maestros que hayan solicitado compra de tiempo y emitido su decisión de retirarse o no en o antes del 5 de junio, podrán reevaluar dicha decisión y notificar nuevamente si se acogen a retiro o no, una vez reciban la reevaluación”.
Cámara de Representantes anuncia reinicio de operaciones administrativas regulares Por THE STAR
l administrador de la Cámara de Representantes, Moisés Cortes Rosado, anunció es que dicho cuerpo legislativo reiniciará sus labores administrativas regulares el próximo lunes, 15 de junio, con la implementación de una serie de robustas medidas de seguridad ante la pandemia del COVID-19. “Según establecido en el plan de acción implementado por el Presidente de la Cámara, Carlos ‘Johnny’ Méndez, este próximo lunes, 15 de junio, iniciaremos la segunda fase del retorno de operaciones con el reingreso del personal del área administrativa, incluyendo la implementación de medidas de seguridad contempladas en el plan de apertura, tales como la limitación de áreas de entradas, proceso de evaluación de empleados sobre cualquier síntoma que estuviese experimentado, toma de temperatura, proceso de desinfección, demarcación de distanciamiento, la utilización de mascarillas, distribución de material informativo, la disponibilidad de desinfectante de manos,
continuando la instalación de acrílicos, entre otras”, señaló el funcionario en comunicación escrita. La Cámara de Representantes se ha mantenido celebrando sesiones ordinarias, vistas públicas y reuniones ejecutivas desde que se declaró el estado de emergencia a consecuencia del COVID-19 el pasado 15 marzo. Cortés Rosado enfatizó que, como partes de las medidas enfocadas en la protección de los empleados, funcionarios y legisladores, se estableció un Protocolo de Seguridad ante el COVID-19, específicamente para las sesiones legislativas, que limita al mínimo el contacto entre los legisladores y empleados. Por otra parte, el Administrador Cameral catalogó como exitoso el trabajo remoto realizado por los empleados durante los primeros meses de la pandemia. ‘’Al principio de la emergencia, el Presidente de la Cámara impartió instrucciones para limitar las labores en las oficinas legislativas y de las comisiones al mínimo. Además, los empleados administrativos no tuvieron que venir a sus oficinas, salvo en ciertas circunstancias. No obstante,
desde el inicio de la emergencia, el personal esencial en el área administrativa se mantuvo laborando de forma remota, con el propósito de continuar con las operaciones ante un estado de emergencia. El trabajo remoto permitió que la Cámara continuará ejerciendo las funciones esenciales, mantenido el contacto entre personas al mínimo, mientras las funciones y operaciones se realizaron con cierto grado de normalidad”. Durante la primera fase se mantuvieron celebrando las sesiones legislativas, vistas públicas, reuniones ejecutivas con el mínimo personal, distanciamiento, el control de acceso a las personas citadas, distribución de material educativo, instalación de acrílico, entre otras medidas. “En esta segunda fase se extienden las sesiones legislativas –ya que- culmina el año fiscal 2020. En el caso de las vistas públicas, tendrán mayor impacto, específicamente las vistas públicas que estará realizando Comisión de Hacienda y Presupuesto para atender evaluar el presupuesto recomendado para el año fiscal 2021”, detalló el administrador de la Cámara.
June 12-14, 2020
The San Juan Daily Star
Grammys tweak use of ‘Urban’ as music industry weighs a loaded term By BEN SISARIO
s protests over racial injustice continue to sweep the country, the music industry has come under renewed scrutiny, including from within. One ongoing issue is the term “urban,” which has drawn quick condemnation as a racist and outdated euphemism for genres like hip-hop and R&B that predominantly feature black artists. Some major record companies and broadcasters have already pledged to drop it. Now the Grammy Awards have entered into the fray, by removing the word from some categories yet adding it to another, as part of a series of rule changes announced Wednesday. Starting with the 63rd annual ceremony, planned for January, best urban contemporary album will be called best progressive R&B album. In a statement, the Recording Academy, the organization that presents the Grammys, called this change “a more accurate definition to describe the merit or characteristics” of R&B music. But in the Latin field, “urban” was dropped from one category yet added to another. Best Latin pop album will now be called Latin pop or urban; the category Latin rock, urban or alternative album has been shortened to Latin rock or alternative. The upshot of that change is that reggaeton albums — still considered “urban” — will now compete against top Latin pop hits. The discrepancy may partly be a result of awkward timing. As part of the Grammys’ annual housekeeping process, proposals for rule changes were due in March, and the academy’s board approved them a few weeks ago — well before the music industry began its most recent steps to address systemic changes, a process that coalesced just a week ago with #BlackoutTuesday. Still, complaints over the term “urban” — which date to 1970s radio formats — have been simmering for years, with artists and industry insiders saying it segregates black artists and executives. At the most recent Grammys ceremony, in January, performer Tyler, the Creator won best rap album — for the eclectic, genre-crossing album “Igor,” which contained comparatively little rapping — and told reporters that he considered the prize a “backhanded compliment.” “It sucks that whenever we — and I mean guys that look like me — do anything that’s genre-bending or anything,” he said, “they always put it in a rap or urban category.” He added, “I don’t like that ‘urban’ word. It’s just
Tyler, the Creator spoke out about being placed into a “rap or urban” category at this year’s Grammys. a politically correct way to say the N-word to me.” In a statement explaining the changes, an academy spokeswoman said: “At the time that this category amendment proposal was put forth earlier in the year, use of the word urban when classifying certain genres in Latin music was widely accepted. However, we understand that in the current climate, sentiment might be changing. We are continuing to follow the conversation and are committed to making necessary adjustments.” Among the other changes announced by the Grammys: — The best rap/sung performance category, which had been known as rap/sung collaboration until 2017, has been renamed once again, to best melodic rap performance — an acknowledgment of how many young hip-hop acts blur the line between rapping and singing. — Eligibility rules for best new artist, one of the most prestigious categories — and one where the rules are frequently contested — have been adjusted. Previously, artists could be disqualified for having released more than 30 tracks or three albums in their career; instead, the Grammys’ screening committees will now decide whether an artist’s moment of
“breakthrough or prominence” came before the current year. The Grammys also addressed questions of conflicts of interest in its nominations committees, the teams of industry experts that review submissions and finalize the names on the ballot in many categories. Grievances about that process have been bubbling for years but burst into the open in January through a legal complaint from Deborah Dugan, the academy’s ousted chief executive. She claimed that the academy allowed people affiliated with eligible artists to sit on review committees and that academy board members skewed ballots toward artists they are affiliated with. The academy has denied those charges. But its latest batch of rule changes includes a detailed process requiring disclosure of ties to potential nominees and disqualifying people from a committee if a conflict is found. As part of a pledge to make its awards and organization more diverse — a process that began two years ago with the establishment of a task force — the Recording Academy also recently announced the hiring of its first chief diversity and inclusion officer, Valeisha Butterfield Jones, a former Google executive.
The San Juan Daily Star
June 12-14, 2020
New York Philharmonic cancels Fall season By ZACHARY WOOLFE
ith the number of coronavirus cases down sharply in New York, the city began a gradual reopening this week. But in yet another sign that the full resumption of cultural life is still far off, the New York Philharmonic announced Wednesday that it was canceling its fall season. “We’re in a marathon,” Deborah Borda, the orchestra’s chief executive, said in an interview, adding: “It is possible we could lose this entire upcoming season. But we will do our best to find some way of doing some kind of performances. There must be live music for people.” The decision not to resume performances before Jan. 6, 2021, at the earliest came the week after the Metropolitan Opera said it would not reopen before the end of December. Like the Philharmonic, the Met has been closed since March and has furloughed its orchestra, chorus and stagehands and some administrative staff, while continuing to provide them with health benefits. But symphonies are smaller operations than grand opera companies, and the Philharmonic has been able to continue to pay its musicians. As they have since May, they will earn about $2,200 per week —
75% of the orchestra’s base pay — through Sept. 21, when their current contract expires. The musicians and management plan to meet through the summer to negotiate a new contract. The orchestra’s administrative staff, which over the past months has had pay cuts but not the widespread furloughs or layoffs of some other arts institutions, may
now be a target of cuts. “Now that we’ve announced the cancellation,” Borda said, “we can’t sustain in our current format with the staff.” She anticipates announcing by the end of June a plan for the organization to survive the closure in what she called a “pulledback format,” though she said she hoped to produce some form of socially dis-
Jaap van Zweden leads the New York Philharmonic at David Geffen Hall in New York, Dec. 5, 2019.
tanced events for small audiences. (Even smaller-scale performances, though, will be challenging: Also Wednesday, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center announced the cancellation of its own fall season, with its planned slate of concerts delayed a year.) The cancellation of the Philharmonic’s fall means the loss of approximately $9 million in ticket revenue. That is in addition to a net loss of $7 million to $10 million associated with the cancellation of concerts starting in March. Borda said that the Philharmonic, unlike some other arts organizations, did not plan to increase its draw from its endowment, which at $194 million (as of the end of May) is considered small relative to its $87 million budget. One beneficiary of the grim news could be the Philharmonic and Lincoln Center’s long-delayed effort to renovate David Geffen Hall, the orchestra’s home. The project is expected to cost $550 million, of which nearly $200 million remains to be raised, and construction is scheduled to begin in May 2022 — but Borda said that the orchestra was exploring whether it could use its unexpected absence this fall to start construction early. “We’re looking to see if we can accelerate some of the work right away,” she said, “to move us ahead in our plans.”
Coachella and Stagecoach canceled as officials fear virus resurgence By JOE COSCARELLI
he Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, the marquee pop extravaganza that was postponed in March as the coronavirus pandemic led to shutdowns across the United States, is officially canceled for the year. Riverside County, California, which encompasses the Coachella Valley and hosts the event, said that its public health officer, Dr. Cameron Kaiser, called off the weekend-long concert series Wednesday, along with Stagecoach, a country music festival that is also held annually at the Empire Polo Club in Indio. Both events were originally scheduled for April before being pushed to October as the entire live-music
industry paused earlier this spring. “I am concerned as indications grow that COVID-19 could worsen in the fall,” Kaiser said in a statement Wednesday announcing the cancellations. “In addition, events like Coachella and Stagecoach would fall under Gov. Newsom’s Stage 4, which he has previously stated would require treatments or a vaccine to enter. Given the projected circumstances and potential, I would not be comfortable moving forward.” The announcement came while many places eased restrictions tied to the virus and made plans to reopen — including the Disneyland Resort in California — even as the U.S. surpassed 2 million coronavirus cases and saw rising rates of infection in 21 states.
AEG Presents, which owns the concert promoter Goldenvoice, the presenter of both festivals, laid off 15% of its employees and furloughed many more this week while also instituting pay cuts, according to Billboard. The magazine reported that Goldenvoice was considering whether Coachella would return at full capacity (about 125,000 people per day) in October 2021, or with fewer attendees in April, when it typically kicks off the summer festival season. AEG declined to comment. This year’s Coachella was initially set to be headlined by rapper Travis Scott, singer Frank Ocean and a reunited Rage Against the Machine, along with dozens of other acts from across genres. Stagecoach was scheduled to feature Carrie Underwood,
Eric Church, ZZ Top and more. The concert industry has been essentially frozen since mid-March, when AEG and Live Nation, the corporations that dominate the live-music sphere, suspended all touring in North America in response to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving artists — as well as their crews and all other affiliated workers — unsure of when such large-scale events will return. Other major music festivals, including Lollapalooza in Chicago, Levitation in Austin and Summerfest in Milwaukee, have also been called off for the year. “These decisions are not taken lightly with the knowledge that many people will be impacted,” said Kaiser, the Riverside County public health officer. “My first priority is the health of the community.”
The San Juan Daily Star
June 12-14, 2020
Oregon Chardonnay escapes the buttery clichés By ERIC ASIMOV
y far, the most popular wine in the United States is chardonnay. Yet the variety faced some skepticism among the small but select sample of readers who took part in our recent Wine School examination of Oregon chardonnays. Perhaps this should not have been surprising. Although it has been America’s white wine of choice for decades, chardonnay has always been polarizing. Witness the small but vocal Anything But Chardonnay group that took root in the early 1990s, rebelling against the oaky, buttery, flamboyant California style that had asserted its dominance among American white wines. The goal among the ABC crowd was not simply to promote other good white wines like riesling, which had largely been ignored as the populace rushed to embrace chardonnay. It was also to take a stand against the stylistic choices made by so many California wineries back then. American wine producers have come a long way in the last 25 years. The extravagant style of chardonnay is still popular — JaM Cellars, a big producer that makes a chardonnay actually called Butter, is suing an even bigger producer, Wine Group, for describing its Franzia boxed chardonnay as “Rich & Buttery” on the packaging. American consumers now enjoy a far greater diversity of styles and flavors. It’s easy to find tense, taut chardonnays alongside those bombastic bottles, and plenty in between. Partly this is because consumers have far more heterogeneous tastes than was once assumed. But also, American winemakers have gotten much better at making chardonnay. I have seen that firsthand in Oregon, the source of some of the best American chardonnays being made today. It wasn’t always that way. Back in the 1980s and ’90s, Oregon chardonnay was not particularly good at all. The farmers and producers in the Willamette Valley, the primary area in Oregon for chardonnay as well as pinot noir, had to learn what to plant, where to plant it, how to farm it and how to best make the wine. That’s a lot to have achieved in the short 50-year history of Oregon wine, but the improvement over the last 25 years has been astonishing. Still, the state’s chardonnay rarely receives much attention. The overwhelming association of Willamette Valley with pinot noir, along with the ubiquitous phrase California chardonnay, is perhaps evidence of marketing done too well.
A variety of rosés in New York, May 12, 2020. Drinking rosé this year does not feel like the usual sort of blithe summer pastime. Here at Wine School, our aim is to get beyond the conventional narrative to form our own opinions. That meant trying a few Willamette Valley chardonnays and staying tuned to our own reactions, regardless of what we’ve heard or what we’ve been told. As is our custom, I suggested three bottles to try. They were: Crowley Willamette Valley Chardonnay 2018, The Eyrie Vineyards Dundee Hills Chardonnay 2017 and Lingua Franca Willamette Valley Avni Chardonnay 2017. I thought these were three excellent wines, especially with the roasted halibut I ate with them. Yes, I know I had suggested salmon, and I looked for the wild variety. In my neighborhood in Manhattan, it was not yet available. I was familiar with the Eyrie and the Lingua Franca but had never tried the Crowley before. I was pleasantly surprised. It was rich and textured, well balanced, with savory herbal flavors, a hint of unobtrusive oak and an initial flinty scent — what the British often call “struck match” — that would be familiar to any lover of modern white Burgundy.
This is a sign of what textbooks might call “reductive winemaking,” a technique of minimizing the wine’s exposure to oxygen during production. It’s not at all an unpleasant aroma and has become fashionable in Burgundy in an effort to combat a curse of premature oxidation that has cut short the aging potential of numerous white Burgundies over the last 25 years. The technique hasn’t necessarily solved that problem, but it’s been adopted by many chardonnay producers around the world. I detected that struckmatch scent, to a lesser degree, in the Lingua Franca Avni as well. This wine, a year older than the Crowley, was likewise beautifully balanced and savory but richer, riper and a little more complex. Against these two wines, the Eyrie stood out. It showed no flinty aroma, for one thing, but it also seemed a little more distinctive, not as tightly coiled although certainly both lively and savory. You might imagine the other two wines were Burgundies but not this one. Why is that? I can’t pinpoint the reason, although it may be that Eyrie, a Willamette Valley pioneer, has essentially been farming the same vineyards for decades, while Crowley and Lingua Franca are newer producers without the same sort of intimate familiarity with lands and vines. That’s not a criticism. It’s only to say that experience counts, even in the United States where what’s new tends to be valued over what’s tried and true. Regardless, these are all impressive wines, full of energy, with the potential to age and evolve. Each had the signature characteristic of Oregon chardonnay, pronounced acidity due to the state’s relatively cool climate, which accounts for that vibrancy. Reaction to these wines was, well — it’s chardonnay, so the response was all over the place. Anthony of Muskegon, Michigan, wrote that he and his wife had been among the chardonnay skeptics but thoroughly enjoyed the Lingua Franca. “Consider us converts after this lesson,” he wrote, demonstrating admirable open-mindedness. Dan Barron of New York, however, found the Crowley to be “stiffly, correctly Burgundian.” He called it “an accounting professor of a wine,” presumably a slight on accounting professors. Ferguson of Princeton, New Jersey, tried the Lingua Franca with salmon, which she compared with the Sonoma chardonnays we drank some years ago. “There was more minerality or stoniness than the Sonoma chardonnays,” she said. “Both are made from grapes but the Sonoma ones announced the fact.” Bob of New York noted the reductive quality of the Lingua Franca, called it “very Burgundian,” while Martina Mirandola Mullen of New York, holding noth-
The San Juan Daily Star ing back, called the Eyrie “a great example of a perfect Oregon chardonnay.” Lora Keenan of Portland, Oregon, judged the Crowley to be typical of “the oaky/buttery chardonnay style,” which varied wildly from my own impression. A few readers found good Willamette Valley chardonnays from other producers, which they enjoyed. Others took me up on my suggestion to practice their pairing skills. Amy Louise Pommier in Brooklyn found perfect synchronicity with her salmon and the wine, although it was not an Oregon chardonnay but a plousard from the Pupillon region in the Jura, in eastern France. —Rosé for All Seasons Drinking rosé this year does not feel like the usual sort of blithe summer pastime. It’s mostly a matter of the coronavirus pandemic and the protests against racism and police brutality, which overshadow what are really lighthearted pleasures. But other factors are taking a toll on rosé as well. Twenty-five percent tariffs imposed by the Trump administration in October on wines from France, Spain and Germany have clouded the horizon for American sales. Paradoxically, a rosé glut was already pulling down prices. It’s not that sales of rosé in the United States have dropped. They are still growing, just not as fast as the wine trade expected. In January, before the pandemic struck, the Nielsen company was predicting that the percentage pace of rosé’s rapid growth would slow to the single digits in retail sales. Rosé has also faced increased competition with hard seltzer and canned cocktails, both fast-growing categories, particularly among young people. Fashions come and fashions go. But good wine remains, whether white, red, rosé or orange, regardless of economic pressures and mood swings. With other wines, we tend to differentiate, by grape, style and place of origin. It’s not enough to know a bottle is white, for example. Is it made of riesling, chenin blanc or something else? Is it dry, sweet, fruity? But rosé? We let it go at pink, because, for many
June 12-14, 2020
people, it’s not the wine they are consuming but the idea. This month, I thought it would be interesting to compare three rosés that in fact differ radically from one another. Here are the bottles I suggest: — Wölffer Estate Long Island Rosé 2019, $16 — Tiberio Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo 2019 (The Sorting Table, Napa, California), $20 — Arnot-Roberts California Rosé Touriga Nacional 2019, $30 Although made on Long Island, the Wölffer represents the classic pale-pink style that earned the gossip-page moniker Hamptons Water, which later inspired the Hampton Water, started by pop star Jon Bon Jovi and his son Jesse Bongiovi. It’s amusing — to me, at least — that the Wölffer is actually produced in the Hamptons. It is made largely of merlot, with a substantial amount of chardonnay and a few other grapes as part of a blend. Although pale rosé has come to be thought of as ideal, some of the best rosés are much darker in color,
like the Tiberio Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, made entirely of montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Cerasuolo means cherryred, so you can imagine what it looks like. The third rosé comes from Arnot-Roberts, one of the best of the new wave of California producers, which is actually not so new anymore. The wine is made from port grapes, mostly touriga nacional with some tinta cão, grown in Lake County, California. It’s on the paler end, closer to the Wölffer than to the Tiberio. If you have difficulty finding any of these, try to select instead something akin to what you’re after: a pale New York or Provençal rosé for the Wölffer, a dark southern Italian bottle for the Tiberio and a pale California alternative for the Arnot-Roberts. What to eat? You could go with something classically Mediterranean, a salade niçoise, for example, hummus and other dips, or maybe some sautéed fish. Drink cool rather than icy cold, and above all, don’t sweat it. Let’s let rosé do its job and cheer us up.
Though it has been America’s white wine of choice for decades, chardonnay has always been polarizing.
June 12-14, 2020
The San Juan Daily Star
Watch this black hole blow bubbles By DENNIS OVERBYE
fied gas. Each bubble, her team estimated, conn another example of casual cosmic tained about 400 million billion pounds malevolence, astronomers published a of matter — about 1,000 Halley’s comets movie last month of what they said was worth. It would not be fun to be caught in a black hole shooting blobs of electrified one of these as it went by, Espinasse said, gas and energy into space at almost the as they brim with radiation. speed of light. “Consequences can be indirect,” she From a distance — quite a distance, said. “A huge increase in cosmic rays durof some 10,000 light-years — the black ing the Pliocene might have been indirecthole looked like a cosmic pop gun, propelly responsible for the extinction of some ling puffs of light across the sky. Up close ocean animals — not due to irradiation but ... well, you wouldn’t want to be up close, due to damage to the ozone layer they creas clouds of sterilizing radiation 1 trillion ated. So maybe crossing the path of a jet miles wide swept by in a near flash. could indeed create a massive extinction, The movie was compiled from optical, though we are a bit speculating here.” X-ray and radio observations of a troubled As the bubbles traveled outward, they star named MAXI J182+070, located in the lit up the thin interstellar gas with a travelconstellation Ophiuchus, by a group of reing light show. searchers led by Mathilde Espinasse of the One bubble went north, figuratively University of Paris. They published a report speaking, and the other south. Astronoon this distant oblivion on May 29 to the mers monitored them for the next year and Astrophysical Journal Letters. a half with NASA’s orbiting Chandra X-ray The observations paint a familiar picObservatory, the Very Large Array in New ture of brute forces at work strewing wreckMexico and the MeerKAT radio telescope age and change across an unforgiving array in South Africa. universe. They will also help astronomers The teams clocked the northern jet better understand how black holes produce moving away from Earth at about 60% of the fireworks that they do, the authors said. In an undated handout photo, the black hole MAXI J1820+070 hurling the speed of light. The southern jet, comThe star in question is actually two hot material. The black hole was seen shooting electrified gas and energy ing toward us, appeared to be advancing stars: a black hole, a gravitational pit, about into space. across the sky at superluminal speed, more eight times as massive as the sun; and a than one and a half times the speed of light smaller star, with half the mass of the sun, — an impossible velocity, according to that the black hole is feeding on. The black hole first robotic telescopes, located around the world and run relativity, which established the speed of light as the came to notice in March 2018 when it underwent an by Ohio State University, that is ever on the lookout cosmic speed limit. But when corrected for geometry, outburst that was detected by the All-Sky Automated for strange things in the sky. Espinasse and her co-authors concluded that both jets Survey for Supernovae, or ASAS-SN, a network of 24 Black holes are often the corpses of stars that were traveling about 80% of the speed of light, safely have died and collapsed. They are so dense that not below the speed limit In total, she said, each bubble traveled a couple even light can escape them, according to Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity. As a result, they of light-years. Sheperd Doeleman of the Harvard-Smithsonian are one-way passages to eternity for anything that enters. But they are sloppy, slow eaters; matter falling Center for Astrophysics and director of the Event Hointo a black hole must first traverse a hot doughnut rizon Telescope, which captured the first image of a of doom that swirls around the edge of the hole like black hole last year, called the new paper a “cool arDestin VIP Cleaning LLC looking for water circling a drain. Pressures and magnetic fields ticle.” This new Ophiuchus black hole, he said, is “a Stocking Associates for retail stores. in this hellish region can squeeze some of the super- tiny cousin” to the supermassive black holes at the center of galaxies like our Milky Way and the hulking energized matter outward in mighty jets. Various shift available. In July 2018, such an eruption tossed two clouds giant Messier 87 in Virgo. Must speak fluent English “That said, this is a very nice result that shows the bristling with energy in opposite directions out of and be able to lift 25-30lbs. the MAXI J182+070 system. In an email, Espinasse same ‘superluminal’ velocities we saw in the ‘blowHourly rate of $11. Bi-weekly pay. likened the ejected material to soap bubbles, each torch of the gods,’” Doeleman said in an email, referabout two-tenths of a light year in diameter. Except, ring to another recent report of a black hole erupting. Contact us at 850-368-2047 or she added, they are not spherical and were filled not “Black holes truly are the most efficient engines in the firstname.lastname@example.org. with soap but with plasma, a highly energetic electri- universe.”
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Friday, June 12, 2020
TENEDORES Y CUALESQUIER PERSONA DESCONOCIDA CON POSIBLE INTERÉS EN LA OBLIGACIÓN CUYA CANCELACIÓN POR DECRETO JUDICIAL SE SOLICITA.
Por la presente se le notifica que ha sido presentada en este Tribunal una Demanda en su contra en el pleito de epígrafe. En este caso la parte demandante ha radicado una Demanda para que se decrete judicialmente el saldo de un (1) pagaré hipotecario a favor de First Financial Caribbean Corp. haciendo negocio como HF Mortgage, por la suma de $82,000.00. Dicho pagaré fue suscrito el día 5 de febrero de 2003, ante el notario Luis A. Archilla Diaz, garantizado por hipoteca constituida mediante la Escritura número 100 otorgada en San Juan, Puerto Rico, inscrita al folio 170 del tomo 432 de Caroilna, finca número 16,567, inscripción 5ta. Se describe la propiedad a continuación: URBANA: Propiedad horizontal. Apartamento Mil Doscientos Tres A, localizado en el piso décimo segundo del edificio conocido como Surfside Mansions, que radica en el kilómetro dos hectómetro uno de la carretera estatal número ciento ochenta y siete, Isla Verde, Carolina, Puerto Rico. Tiene forma rectangular irregular, midiendo once metros cuarenta y tres centímetros de ancho por siete metros noventa y tres centímetros de fondo, teniendo un área de noventa y cuatro metros cuadrados con sesenta y tres centímetros cuadrados. Su puerta principal mira hacia el Norte y se comunica con pasillo comunal que da al vestíbulo común que tiene salida a los elevadores y escaleras que a su vez dan salida al exterior del edificio. Este apartamento contiene “foyer’, una sala-comedor, persona desconocida dos dormitorios, dos baños, cocina y closets. Colinda por con posible Interés el NORTE, en una extensión en la obligación cuya de once metros y cuarenta y cancelación por decreto tres centímetros, con pared cojudicial se solicita. munal que lo divide del pasillo Demandados comunal que comunica con los CIVIL NÚM. CA2020CV00046. elevadores y escaleras, por el SOBRE: CANCELACION DE SUR en una extensión de once
metros y cuarenta y tres centímetros, con pared comunal que lo divide del patio principal del edificio que mira hacia la carretera estatal número ciento ochenta y siete, por el ESTE en una extensión de cinco metros cincuenta y nueve centímetros con pared comunal que lo divide del apartamento mil doscientos uno; y en dos metros treinta y cuatro centímetros con pared comunal que lo divide del incinerador y canal de tuberías; y por el OESTE en una extensión de siete metros noventa y tres centímetros con pared comunal que lo divide del apartamiento número mil doscientos tres. A este apartamento se le asigna área de estacionamiento Mil Doscientos Tres A. Finca #16,567, inscrita al folio 170 deI tomo 432 de Carolina, Registro de la Propiedad de Puerto Rico, Sección I de Carolina. La parte demandante alega que dicho pagaré ha sido saldado según más detalladamente consta en la Demanda radicada que puede examinarse en la Secretaría de este Tribunal. Por tratarse de una obligación hipotecaria y pudiendo usted tener interés en este caso o quedar afectado por el remedio solicitado, se le emplaza por este edicto que se publicará una vez en un periódico de circulación diaria general de Puerto Rico. Usted deberá presentar su alegación responsiva a través del Sistema Unificado de Manejo y Administración de Casos (SUMAC), al cual puede acceder utilizando la siguiente dirección electrónica: https://unired. ramajudiciaLpr/sumac/, salvo que se represente por derecho propio, y notifique con copia de ella a la abogada de la parte demandante la Lcda. Zilmarie Delgado Fieras, 33 Calle Resolución, Suite 302, San Juan, PR 00920-2 72 7; Tel. (787) 7826500, dentro de los treinta (30) días siguientes a la publicación de este Edicto, apercibiéndole que de no hacerlo así dentro del término indicado, el Tribunal podrá anotar su rebeldía y dictar sentencia concediendo el remedio solicitado en la Demanda sin más citarle ni oírle. EXPEDIDO bajo mi firma y sello de este Tribunal, en Carolina, Puerto Rico, hoy día 23 de abril de 2020. Lcda. Marilyn Aponte Rodriguez, Sec Regional. Maricruz Aponte Alicea, Sec Auxiliar.
LEGAL NOTICE ESTADO LIBRE ASOCIADO DE PUERTO RICO TRIBUNAL DE PRIMERA INSTANCIA SALA SUPERIOR DE YAUCO.
25 RAMON Y FRANCES ROSA JULIA COURET COMO ISRAEL DE CARABALLO, por sí y JESUS MARTINEZ LUGO, MARIE todos de apellidos MARTINEZ COURET como miembro de la compuesta por ROBERTO PETICIONARIOS SUCESION DE ISRAEL ANTONIO, ISRAEL DE EX-PARTE MARTINEZ LUGO, JESUS, MARÍA DEL CIVIL NUM: YU2020CV00001. TAMBIEN CONOCIDO ROSARIO, ANTONIO SOBRE: EXPEDIENTE DE COMO ISRAEL DE RAMON Y FRANCES DOMINIO, ART. 195 LEY DEL JESUS MARTINEZ LUGO, MARIE todos de apellidos REGISTRO DE LA PROPIEcompuesta por ROBERTO MARTINEZ COURET DAD INMOBILIARIA DE PR. PETICIONARIOS ANTONIO, ISRAEL DE EMPLAZAMIENTO POR EDICEX-PARTE TO. JESUS, MARÍA DEL CIVIL NUM: YU2020CV00001. A: SUCESION ROSARIO, ANTONIO SOBRE: EXPEDIENTE DE PEREZ VELEZ RAMON Y FRANCES DOMINIO, ART. 195 LEY DEL MARIE todos de apellidos REGISTRO DE LA PROPIE- Se le notifica a usted que ha sido radicada ante este TribuMARTINEZ COURET DAD INMOBILIARIA DE PR. PETICIONARIOS
CIVIL NUM: YU2020CV00001. SOBRE: EXPEDIENTE DE DOMINIO, ART. 195 LEY DEL REGISTRO DE LA PROPIEDAD INMOBILIARIA DE PR. EMPLAZAMIENTO POR EDICTO.
A: JOHN DOE / MARIE DOE
Se le notifica a usted que ha sido radicada ante este Tribunal de Primera Instancia, Sala de Superior de Yauco, una Petición de Dominio. Usted deberá presente al tribunal su alegación responsiva dentro de los 30 días desde la última publicación de este edicto, sirviéndole copia de dicha contestación a la Lcda. Teresa Pacheco Camacho, con oficinas en la Calle Santiago Vivaldi Pacheco, Número 24-B, Yauco, Puerto Rico, dirección postal: P.O. Box 1942, Caguas, Puerto Rico 00726-1942, teléfono número 787-267-5784, fax número 787267-6328, correo electrónico email@example.com, abogada de los Peticionarios. Se le apercibe que, de no hacerlo así, el tribunal podrá dictar sentencia en rebeldía en su contra y conceder el remedio solicitado en la petición, o cualquier otro, si el tribunal, en el ejercicio de su sana discreción, lo entiende procedente. EXPEDIDO bajo mi firma y sello de este Tribunal en Yauco, Puerto Rico, hoy 12 de marzo de 2020. Luz Mayra Caraballo Garcia, Sec Regional. Delia Aponte Velazquez, Sec Auxiliar.
LEGAL NOTICE ESTADO LIBRE ASOCIADO DE PUERTO RICO TRIBUNAL DE PRIMERA INSTANCIA SALA SUPERIOR DE YAUCO.
ROSA JULIA COURET CARABALLO, por sí y como miembro de la SUCESION DE ISRAEL MARTINEZ LUGO, TAMBIEN CONOCIDO
nal de Primera Instancia, Sala EMPLAZAMIENTO POR EDICde Superior de Yauco, una PetiTO. ción de Dominio. Usted deberá A: ENSENADA presente al tribunal su alegaCONSTRUCTION, CORP. ción responsiva dentro de los Se le notifica a usted que ha 30 días desde la última publicasido radicada ante este Tribu- ción de este edicto, sirviéndole nal de Primera Instancia, Sala copia de dicha contestación a de Superior de Yauco, una Peti- la Lcda. Teresa Pacheco Cación de Dominio. Usted deberá macho, con oficinas en la Capresente al tribunal su alega- lle Santiago Vivaldi Pacheco, ción responsiva dentro de los Número 24-B, Yauco, Puerto 30 días desde la última publica- Rico, dirección postal: P.O. ción de este edicto, sirviéndole Box 1942, Caguas, Puerto Rico copia de dicha contestación a 00726-1942, teléfono número la Lcda. Teresa Pacheco Ca- 787-267-5784, fax número 787macho, con oficinas en la Ca- 267-6328, correo electrónico lle Santiago Vivaldi Pacheco, firstname.lastname@example.org, Número 24-B, Yauco, Puerto abogada de los Peticionarios. Rico, dirección postal: P.O. Se le apercibe que, de no haBox 1942, Caguas, Puerto Rico cerlo así, el tribunal podrá dic00726-1942, teléfono número tar sentencia en rebeldía en su 787-267-5784, fax número 787- contra y conceder el remedio 267-6328, correo electrónico solicitado en la petición, o email@example.com, quier otro, si el tribunal, en el abogada de los Peticionarios. ejercicio de su sana discreción, Se le apercibe que, de no ha- lo entiende procedente. EXPEcerlo así, el tribunal podrá dic- DIDO bajo mi firma y sello de tar sentencia en rebeldía en su este Tribunal en Yauco, Puerto contra y conceder el remedio Rico, hoy 12 de marzo de 2020. solicitado en la petición, o cual- Luz Mayra Caraballo Garcia, quier otro, si el tribunal, en el Sec Regional. Delia Aponte Veejercicio de su sana discreción, lazquez, Sec Auxiliar. lo entiende procedente. EXPELEGAL NOTICE DIDO bajo mi firma y sello de este Tribunal en Yauco, Puerto Estado Libre Asociado de Rico, hoy 12 de marzo de 2020. Puerto Rico TRIBUNAL GENELuz Mayra Caraballo Garcia, RAL DE JUSTICIA Tribunal de Sec Regional. Delia Aponte Ve- Primera Instancia Sala Superior lazquez, Sec Auxiliar. de CAROLINA
HACIENDA DEL MAR OWNERS ASSOCIATION Demandante V.
JULIO V. WESTERBAND GARCIA, GUILLERMINA GARCIA VELAZQUEZ, Y LA SOCIEDAD LEGAL DE BIENES GANANCIALES COMPUESTA POR AMBOS
Demandado(a) Civil: CA2018CV03644. SALA 404. Sobre: COBRO DE DINERO. NOTIFICACIÓN DE SENTENCIA POR EDICTO.
A: GUILLERMINA GARCIA VELAZQUEZ
(Nombre de las partes a las que se le notifican la sentencia por edicto) EL SECRETARIO(A) que suscribe le notifica a usted que 22 de marzo de 2020 , este Tribunal ha dictado Sentencia, Sentencia Parcial o Resolución en este caso, que ha sido debidamente registrada y archivada en autos donde podrá usted enterarse detalladamente de los términos de la misma. Esta notificación se publicará una sola vez en un periódico de circulación general en la Isla de Puerto Rico, dentro de los 10 días siguientes a su notificación. Y, siendo o representando usted una parte en el procedimiento sujeta a los términos de la Sentencia, Sentencia Parcial o Resolución, de la cual puede establecerse recurso de revisión o apelación dentro del término de 30 días contados a partir de la publicación por edicto de esta notificación, dirijo a usted esta notificación que se considerará hecha en la fecha de la publicación de este edicto. Copia de esta notificación ha sido archivada en los autos de este caso, con fecha de 9 de junio de 2020 En CAROLINA , Puerto Rico, el 10 de junio de 2020. LCDA. MARILYN APONTE RODRIGUEZ, Secretaria. ELIANN REYES MORALES,
LEGAL NOTICE ESTADO LIBRE ASOCIADO DE PUERTO RICO TRIBUNAL DE PRIMERA INSTANCIA SALA SUPERIOR DE YAUCO.
ROSA JULIA COURET CARABALLO, por sí y como miembro de la SUCESION DE ISRAEL MARTINEZ LUGO, TAMBIEN CONOCIDO COMO ISRAEL DE JESUS MARTINEZ LUGO, compuesta por ROBERTO ANTONIO, ISRAEL DE JESUS, MARÍA DEL ROSARIO, ANTONIO
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The San Juan Daily Star
June 12-14, 2020
LeBron James and other stars form a voting rights group By JONATHAN MARTIN
BA superstar LeBron James and a group of other prominent black athletes and entertainers are starting a new group aimed at protecting African Americans’ voting rights, seizing on the widespread fury against racial injustice that has fueled worldwide protests to amplify their voices in this fall’s presidential election. “Because of everything that’s going on, people are finally starting to listen to us; we feel like we’re finally getting a foot in the door,” James said in a phone interview Wednesday. “How long is up to us. We don’t know. But we feel like we’re getting some ears and some attention, and this is the time for us to finally make a difference.” The organization, called More Than a Vote, will partly be aimed at inspiring African Americans to register and to cast a ballot in November. But as the name of the group suggests, James and other current and former basketball stars — including Trae Young, Skylar Diggins-Smith and Jalen Rose — will go well beyond traditional celebrity get-outthe-vote efforts. James, 35, said he would use his highprofile platform on social media to combat voter suppression and would be vocal about drawing attention to any attempts to restrict the franchise of racial minorities. “Yes, we want you to go out and vote, but we’re also going to give you the tutorial,” James said. “We’re going to give you the background of how to vote and what they’re trying to do, the other side, to stop you from voting.” He made no mention of President Donald Trump, whom he has sharply criticized in the past, but he repurposed Trump’s slogan to hail America’s beauty, explaining, “We want to be beautiful once again.” The new organization represents James’ most significant foray yet into electoral politics. He has long said that he believes his greatest legacy will come from his off-thecourt achievements. He has poured millions into his native Ohio, helping to underwrite college tuition for low-income students to attend the University of Akron and even opening his own school in the city for children in third through eighth grades. He has also delved into entertainment, starting a media production company with his close friend Maverick Carter that has produced an HBO series, “The Shop,” in which
the two men conduct casual interviews in a barber shop. James has also underwritten a series of documentaries. Until now, though, his political involvement has mostly been limited to speaking out on social media and appearing at a single rally late in Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. The death last month of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, however, helped convince James that he needed “to get out and do a little bit more.” Invoking the names of an earlier generation of athletes who called for social justice, James, a forward for the Los Angeles Lakers, said he wanted to be a model for future generations. “I’m inspired by the likes of Muhammad Ali, I’m inspired by the Bill Russells and the Kareem Abdul-Jabbars, the Oscar Robertsons — those guys who stood when the times were even way worse than they are today,” James said. “Hopefully, someday down the line, people will recognize me not only for the way I approached the game of basketball but the way I approached life as an African American man.” In some respects, James’ activism reflects a return to an earlier generation of athletes who used their fame to speak out about racial equality and the Vietnam War with little regard to whom it might offend. And because today’s players have come of age in an era of social media, they want to engage in advocacy in their own voice. “This group of athletes wants to feel empowered in every single way,” Carter said. Jocelyn Benson, the Michigan secretary of state, said that “trusted voices” like James’ could help break through the din at a moment of rising skepticism toward the news media and both political parties. “What we’re seeing in Michigan is, there’s a heightened need to inform citizens how to vote in this coronavirus era,” said Benson, a Democrat who is helping advise the group. “We’ve got to go beyond registering people to vote and talking about the importance of voting to actively combating voter suppression.” The group, which will be organized as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization and therefore not engage in specific advocacy for a candidate, is still coming together, but James said he had found only willing ears in his recruiting conversations. “I’m sick of seeing unarmed black men killed by the police,” said Diggins-Smith, a
A new voting rights organization represents LeBron James’s most significant foray yet into electoral politics. guard for the Phoenix Mercury, adding that she wanted “to put some action behind my frustrations, behind my anger, behind the helplessness that I’ve been feeling.” For James and the other organizers, part of their motivation is to combat apathy among black voters. Older African Americans are historically reliable voters, but in 2016 there was a drop-off with younger black voters, particularly men. “We’re not letting that happen again,” said Rose, who called Floyd’s death perhaps the most galvanizing killing since the lynching of Emmett Till. Young, a 21-year-old breakout star with the Atlanta Hawks, said he was hoping to be a “role model for my generation.” “If people my age see that I’m going out and I’m voting and I’m talking,” he said, “maybe the next 21-year-old will.” On Monday, James convened a call that included Rose, the Detroit-raised former NBA star; Diggins-Smith; Draymond Green, a forward for the Golden State Warriors and another Michigan native; Udonis Haslem, a longtime Miami Heat forward who is from Florida; and NFL running back Alvin Kamara, who is from Georgia. James has also
gotten a commitment from comedian Kevin Hart, a Philadelphia native, and is speaking to a number of musicians. James and Carter are putting up the initial funding. The organization will team up with voting rights organizations, including When We All Vote and Fair Fight; and is being advised by Adam Mendelsohn, a former political strategist who has worked with James for nearly a decade, and Addisu Demissie, who ran Sen. Cory Booker’s 2020 presidential campaign.
The San Juan Daily Star
June 12-14, 2020
Roger Federer won’t play in 2020 after knee surgery By CHRISTOPHER CLAREY
s the tennis world debates when it will be safe to resume official competition, Roger Federer has made it clear he will not return to the courts in 2020. On Wednesday, he announced that he recently had a second operation on his right knee and that he would not play again this year. Federer, 38, first had surgery on the knee in February, shortly after reaching the semifinals of the Australian Open and playing an exhibition match with Rafael Nadal in Cape Town, South Africa. “A few weeks ago, having experienced a setback during my initial rehabilitation, I had to have an additional quick arthroscopic procedure,” Federer said on social media. “I will be missing my fans and the tour dearly, but I will look forward to seeing everyone back on tour at the start of the 2021 season.” Federer would probably have seen few fans in the stands if he had played again this year. The coronavirus pandemic has canceled all play on tour since mid-March, and if competition does resume, it will most likely be without spectators (or with very few of them). Federer, who will turn 39 in August, has said the reason he has played so many years with evident enthusiasm is his connection to the public, and he is typically a crowd favorite. He still holds the men’s record for Grand Slam singles titles with 20. But his longtime
Roger Federer had an operation on his right knee and said he would miss the rest of 2020. rivals Nadal and Novak Djokovic have closed the gap. Nadal, 34, has 19 major singles titles. Djokovic, 33, won his 17th at this year’s Australian Open after beating the ailing Federer in a semifinal. But it is unclear whether Nadal and Djokovic will have the opportunity to add to their totals in 2020. Wimbledon, which was Fe-
derer’s initial target for his return, was canceled for the first time since 1945. For now, the two remaining Grand Slam tournaments in 2020 are the U.S. Open, which is scheduled from Aug. 31 to Sept. 13, and the French Open, which has been rescheduled for late September and early October with precise dates to be determined.
U.S. Open officials plan to announce next week whether their tournament can be played. But concerns about the pandemic and the players’ ability to travel internationally could still force the U.S. Open and French Open to be canceled. While players and officials weigh the pros and cons of resuming play, Federer will observe (and rehabilitate) from afar, in the company of his wife, Mirka, and their four children. In a grueling individual sport, he has been a remarkably durable champion. He did not have a significant injury until 2016, when he required surgery on his left knee, which caused him to take a six-month break from the game. When he returned in 2017, he won the Australian Open and Wimbledon and went on to win the Australian Open again in 2018 before regaining the No. 1 ranking at age 36, which made him the oldest man to reach the top spot. “Now, much like I did leading up to the 2017 season, I plan to take the necessary time to be 100 percent ready to play at my highest level,” Federer said in his statement. He is still ranked No. 4 despite having played just six official matches and only one tour event in 2020. Those are his lowest totals in any season since he joined the tour full time in 1999. But this has been a season unlike any other, and it remains unclear just how much tennis Federer will end up missing.
Claudell Washington, a baseball sensation at 19, dies at 65 By TYLER KEPNER
he rookie sensation is a captivating character for sports fans, a blank canvas for the imagination. The young ballplayer with uncommon talent inspires awe, even among the greats. So it was for the teenage Claudell Washington, who joined the Oakland Athletics in the summer of 1974, when he was 19, and fit seamlessly into their lineup. That October, he hit .571 in the World Series to help the A’s win their third championship in a row, against the Los Angeles Dodgers. “He’s the best player for his age I’ve ever seen or known,” the future Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson raved to The Sporting News that September. Jackson, a fellow Oakland outfielder, said Washington should be a .300 hitter and easily capable of 20 home runs per season. His swing, Jackson added, reminded him of that of Carl Yastrzemski, another future Hall of Famer.
Washington, who died on Wednesday at 65, never reached those heights. He batted .278 with 164 home runs, topping out at 17 in the 1984 season for the Atlanta Braves. But he was named to two All-Star teams, compiled 1,884 career hits and stole 312 bases as a durable mainstay for seven teams across 17 seasons. His death was announced by the Athletics. The announcement did not say where he died or give the cause, but he had been treated for prostate cancer since 2017. “He had a great skill set — he could steal bases, he could do it all,” the former A’s pitcher Mike Norris, who roomed with Washington in the minors and majors, said in a phone interview Wednesday. “I don’t know if his personality had anything to do with him being traded, but his bat spoke for itself.” Claudell Washington was born Aug. 31, 1954, in Los Angeles and grew up in Berkeley, Calif. He did not play for his high school baseball team because he
had wanted to play outfield and the coach wanted him to pitch, but an Oakland scout, Jim Guinn, knew Washington from the local sandlots. Guinn signed him as an undrafted free agent for $3,000 in 1972 (the equivalent of about $18,500 today). Washington was in the majors within two years, never to return to the minors. In his first start after a promotion from Class AA — where he had hit .361 — he tripled and stroked a game-winning single off Cleveland’s Gaylord Perry, a grizzled spitballer who had won 15 decisions in a row on his way to his fourth 20-win season. “I don’t know anything about him,” Washington said of Perry after the game, according to The Akron Beacon Journal. “I wasn’t nervous at all.” Charles Finley, the mercurial owner of the A’s, gave Washington a $500 bonus on the spot. According to Norris, Finley later told Washington that he would build the team around him. But instead — as Finley grew weary of rising salaries and players’ newfound free-agent rights — he
traded Washington to the Texas Rangers in 1977. “He was such a macho-type guy, but he actually shed a tear,” Norris said of Washington. “That deeply hurt him. Being from Berkeley, that was home.” Washington later bounced to the Chicago White Sox, the New York Mets, the Atlanta Braves, the New York Yankees and the California Angels before a final stint with the Yankees in 1990. He never returned to the World Series after that rookie season, but one of his later swings ranks among the most widely seen in major league history. On June 5, 1985, Washington came to bat at Wrigley Field against Lee Smith of the Cubs. Before flying out, he flicked a foul ball into the seats down the leftfield line. It was a routine baseball moment, except for this: Producers of the film “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” released a year later, used footage of that swing for the foul ball caught by the title character during his famous romp through Chicago.
The San Juan Daily Star
June 12-14, 2020
Golf’s return draws a star-studded field and a prickly entrance test By BILL PENNINGTON
he PGA Tour returned from a 90day layoff Thursday with a tournament in Fort Worth, Texas, that was to be contested without spectators and with one new golfing ritual: Players were directed to sanitize their hands after every hole while their caddies wipe down golf bags with disinfectant. But of the dozens of safety procedures enacted for professional golf’s return, none has vexed the players more than the coronavirus testing they have been required to undergo. “Hurt more than I thought it would, I’m not going to lie,” Jon Rahm, the tour’s No. 2-ranked player, said Tuesday, hours after he tested negative for the coronavirus. And when Jordan Spieth, the threetime major championship winner, was asked what was the most uncomfortable part of adapting to golf’s new competitive environment, he batted away suggestions that it might be the spectator-free atmosphere or not being able to high-five someone after a birdie putt. “I think the swab test was probably the most uncomfortable,” Spieth said, referring to the long swab that must be inserted deep into the nasal cavity. “There was nothing comfortable about it.” While nothing may be as directly off-putting as the virus swab test, there are likely to be a host of uncommon and anomalous situations during the four days at the Charles Schwab Challenge at the Colonial Country Club. Scores of players rarely touched their clubs for two months after the PGA Tour suspended its schedule March 13 because of the pandemic. Golf may be leisurely to recreational players, but for pros the pause was viewed as an unexpected vacation from taut competition and the grind of lengthy practice days. In the past several weeks, players have picked up their clubs again. But friendly matches with peers on a comfortable home course, or formless range sessions, are not the usual preparation for a PGA Tour event. “It’s almost impossible to simulate being out there on tour,” said Dustin John-
son, the No. 5-ranked golfer. “It’s going to take a little time to adjust. The competition rust is a lot different when you haven’t played.” Rahm said he took seven weeks away from the game, and when he decided to play again his first goal was to “not shank the first seven balls I hit.” With that experience in mind, and with a chuckle, Rahm predicted “a variety of scores” this week. The long layoff has unwittingly led to what is probably the strongest field in the recent history of the event at Colonial, which dates to 1946. The world’s top five ranked golfers, and 16 of the top 20, were to tee off Thursday, although that group did not include the 11th-ranked Tiger Woods. Woods, who has not played on the tour since mid-February at the Genesis Invitational when he finished last among golfers who made the cut, has played the Colonial tournament only once, in 1997, and he typically does not play any of the other tour events scheduled in the next four weeks. Based on his usual schedule of preferred events, Woods would not make his return until mid-July to play in the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio, hosted by Jack Nicklaus. But with the 2020 golf schedule upended and revised — the U.S. Open will be in September and the Masters in November — it is reasonable to expect Woods to break with tradition and play relatively soon, perhaps in next week’s RBC Heritage Classic at Hilton Head, S.C., or at the Travelers Championship outside Hartford, Conn., from June 25-28. Besides Woods, there are other prominent golfers missing from this week’s field, but most are non-Americans who did not make the trip to Texas because of governmental travel guidelines requiring a 14-day quarantine. That group includes Tommy Fleetwood and Lee Westwood of England, Francesco Molinari of Italy and Adam Scott of Australia. Each is ranked in the top 31 on the tour. This weekend’s tournament will be reflective of recent events besides the pandemic. Tour officials planned to honor George Floyd, the 46-year-old black man killed in police custody in Minnesota last month, and the racial justice movement
Rory McIlroy, the No. 1-ranked golfer in the world, headlines the field of the Charles Schwab Challenge, which includes 16 of the top 20 ranked players in the world. by keeping open the 8:46 a.m. tee time Thursday. Players around the golf course were to pause for a minute of silence. The tee time represents the 8 minutes and 46 seconds that the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck. Brooks Koepka, the world’s thirdranked golfer, praised the gesture. “Especially being one of the first sports back, it’s important to set the tone going forward for other sports — for just people in general,” Koepka said. He added, “There needs to be change, and I want to be part of the solution.” The tournament is being contested without fans, which the golfers have readily conceded will be the strangest part of their return to competition. Rahm wondered what players will hear if the final act of the tournament is a dramatic 30-foot putt holed to win the title. “Nothing? Crickets?” Rahm asked incredulously. The tour, meanwhile, has issued warn-
ings about players and caddies maintaining social distancing protocols. Some players have so far appeared better at keeping the appropriate distance than others. The frequent testing of players, caddies and course volunteers, which includes daily thermal readings, may be playing a role in that phenomenon. Kevin Na, the event’s defending champion, explained: “You’ve got to remember that all of us tested negative. I think guys get a little comfortable.” Na continued: “I think people need to realize that some mistakes will happen. Someone will fist bump.” Na, however, said he asked tour officials about the potential for the virus spreading. “The answer I got was we hope it doesn’t happen, and we don’t think it’s going to happen because with all the testing that we’re doing and the precautions we’re taking,” he said. “But if it does, if it starts spreading, then they will reassess and they’ll most likely start having to have to cancel tournaments.”
The San Juan Daily Star
June 12-14, 2020
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The San Juan Daily Star
June 12-14, 2020
(Mar 21-April 20)
Dwelling on the past is driving opportunity from your door. Command the power of the present moment. Review your options and make a choice that feels good. It’s better to ignore conventional wisdom and follow your heart, even at the risk of seeming impractical. Someone will try to impose their ideas on you. Be polite but firm about setting boundaries. If this pest continues trying to convert you, cut off the relationship or file an official complaint. You have better things to do than listen to this drivel.
(Sep 24-Oct 23)
It’s important to deliver what you have promised. While the temptation to take the day off and stay in bed is tempting, it’s better to meet your obligations. After dispatching your long list of things to do, give yourself a reward. Imposing your beliefs on a romantic interest will drive a wedge between you. At times like these, it’s important to remember that variety is the spice of life. Differences can enhance your relationship, rather than detract from it.
(April 21-May 21)
(May 22-June 21)
(Nov 23-Dec 21)
(June 22-July 23)
(Dec 22-Jan 20)
A friend has deceived you and you’re not sure how to react. If you still have affection for them, talk to them about how their behaviour has negatively affected you. Explain that you’d rather hear a painful truth than be subjected to a lie. Stop getting in the way of making more money. Instead of working harder, try becoming more receptive to abundance. It’s much easier to attract wealth than cultivate it. Picture yourself living in the lap of luxury, enjoying all your favourite creature comforts. Be scrupulously honest at work, even if it means losing a client, patron or patient. Your professional reputation rests on giving truthful feedback. Stroking someone’s ego might work for a few days, but it will ultimately backfire. Be direct when making assessments and offering advice. Excessive pride is keeping you from advancement. Instead of brushing off a newcomer’s advice, give it a try. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how their idea saves time, money and aggravation. Giving away your power to a spiritual guru or powerful teacher is a mistake. The answers you seek are within. No formula can solve your spiritual dilemmas. A sensitive person like you needs a creative outlet to thrive. Pick up a pen or paintbrush. Talking behind someone’s back will backfire. If you have a problem with a child or romantic partner, have a heart to heart discussion. When you give them a chance to amend their behaviour, you’ll pave the way to a stronger relationship.
(July 24-Aug 23)
Difficulties with an insurance policy or legal settlement can drain your energy. Don’t get sucked into a downward spiral. When you feel blue, change direction. Play some upbeat music. Step away from your desk and take a walk around the block. Call a humorous friend. Stop feeling compelled to paint a rosy picture of your life on social media. If you feel lonely or want help, admit it. You’ll be touched and surprised by all the compassionate responses you receive.
(Aug 24-Sep 23)
Emotional confusion surrounding a relationship can be resolved. Instead of looking to your partner for guidance, turn your attention inward. Ask yourself what you want from this partnership. The answer will surprise you. Moral support is more important than financial assistance. Throwing your weight around at work will create great resentment. If a job needs to be done, assign it to the person who is best qualified to perform it. Resist the urge to micromanage them.
(Oct 24-Nov 22)
The irresponsible behaviour of someone younger is driving you to distraction. You’re starting to worry about their safety. Resist the temptation to impose a lot of harsh rules and regulations. Show faith in your protege. This will build their confidence and make them more mindful. Asserting your independence will be more difficult than expected. Normally, you’re the one who clings tightest. This situation is different. Don’t feel guilty about demanding more free time. You deserve it. An illness could be a manifestation of emotional distress. Instead of trying to mask your symptoms with a lot of over the counter medications, tune into your feelings. What can you do to relieve anxiety, fear or anger? Communing with nature can be therapeutic. Insisting on getting your way could mark the end of a close relationship. You’ve always had a commanding personality. This has made it easy to get what you want. Start deferring to your partner’s needs for a change. Are you having difficulty learning a task? Look for a tutor who takes a flexible approach to teaching. After working together for a few days, this instructor will hit upon a method that works for you. People have all different ways of absorbing information. Stop conflating your self-worth with your job. It doesn’t matter if you have a wonderful position or are unemployed. You’re fabulous, regardless of the way you make money. Using work to disparage or envy others is a losing proposition.
(Jan 21-Feb 19)
An impractical attitude towards money can create annoying situations. Get into the habit of paying bills on time. It’s so much better than being hit with late fees. Program your phone to send reminders or set up an automatic payment plan through your bank. A creative block is driving you to distraction. The best way to get your imagination to flow is to tackle mundane tasks. A brilliant breakthrough will occur while you’re chopping vegetables, folding laundry or sweeping the floor.
(Feb 20-Mar 20)
You are unclear which direction to take. Rather than pressuring yourself to choose a path, give yourself a break. Enjoy some pleasant diversions. While your conscious brain is occupied with fun and games, your subconscious can drift, dream and discover your heart’s desire. An inability to get along with a relative is not your fault. You can’t force affection. Although you’ve tried treating this family member with respect, they continue to berate you. Feel free to cut yourself free from this bond.
Answers to the Sudoku and Crossword on page 29
June 12-14, 2020
Frank & Ernest
Wizard of Id
For Better or for Worse
The San Juan Daily Star
June 12-14, 2020
The San Juan Daily Star
Weekend Print Edition - The San Juan Daily Star