Monday, June 22, 2020
San Juan The
Top Black Liberation Jazz Tracks P21
Disapproval of the New Electoral Code Trump Rally Size Falls Short of Campaign’s Expectations
Minority Leaders Show Resistance to Recently Signed Bill That Changes the Way We Vote
Activists Say ‘Enough,’ Demand Closure of AES Plant P3
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The San Juan Daily Star
Monday, June 22, 2020
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June 22, 2020
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Anti-coal burning & ash dumping activists demand closure of AES
By THE STAR STAFF
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ctivists against the burning of coal and the dumping of coal ash in Puerto Rico said Sunday that the communities affected by the AES energy company still do not enjoy peace, tranquility or a better quality of life despite the approval of Law 5 of 2020. The legislation prohibits the deposit and disposal of coal ash on the island. Community leader Jimmy Borrero Costas, from the anticoal ash protest camp in Peñuelas, reminded Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced that there is still much to do about the human disaster that the AES has caused in Puerto Rico. “At the meeting with the governor in La Fortaleza, on September 30 of last year, we urged the governor to visit the communities of Guayama to see the health crisis suffered by people close to the coal plant. We requested that the Health Department be forced to carry out studies,” Borrero Costas said. “We insist on the need to establish air quality monitors that measure heavy metals and radioactive particulates in Puente de Jobos and Miramar, and we emphasize the importance of monitoring the ground and surface waters where carbon residues have been deposited. None of this was addressed by the governor.” Borrero added that other requests ignored by Vázquez were that the island Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DRNA by its Spanish initials) be ordered to follow up on the monitoring system for landfills where ash was dumped, that the coal plant be closed and that neither renovation nor new contracts be made with AES. The spokesman also clarified that the approval of Law 5 was an achievement of the communities and the people. “It must be clarified that the approval of Law 5, finally prohibiting the deposit of toxic ash in our country, was a great achievement of the people that cost effort, suffering, sacrifice, arrests and persecutions on the part of the government, of which Wanda Vázquez was secretary of Justice,,” Borrero Costas said. “In fact, as secretary of that agency, she never wanted to investigate the criminal actions of the AES coal company.” Mabette Colón Pérez, one of the residents affected by AES operations, said she was surprised by the governor’s comments. “I am surprised by her comments because the governor has never come to my community, even though we have invited her,” the young woman said. “My community cannot enjoy peace, tranquility or a better quality of life while the threat of AES remains latent. Despite the serious damage to health that we are suffering, AES remains unpunished and the government continues to look the other way. We fully support the new law, that is a great step, but it is not the final solution. The plant must be closed and AES removed from Puerto Rico.”
Peñolan community leader José M. Díaz Pérez, meanwhile, differed from Vázquez about the people who should be recognized on the political stage for the fight against AES and its practices. “The governor was wrong when she mentioned, on the political scene, the people who should be thanked for their perseverance and support. Larry Seilhamer and Nelson Cruz, not only voted in favor of [former Gov.] Ricky [Ricardo] Rosselló’s deformed Law 40, but they defended it in the worst moments of the confrontations in Peñuelas and Guayama,” Díaz Pérez said. “The only person in the NPP [New Progressive Party] who was firm in her position from the beginning was the representative Jaqueline Rodríguez Hernández.” Díaz Pérez also thanked politicians Juan Dalmau Ramírez, Denis Márquez Lebrón, Cirilo Tirado, Rossana López and former Sen. María de Lourdes Santiago Lebrón, who was arrested in the protests in Peñuelas, still holding her legislative post, for their support in different legislative aspects. Víctor Alvarado Guzmán, from the Salinas Environmental Dialogue Committee, clarified that Law 5 does not yet have an approved regulation. “The governor forgot to mention that five months after Law 5 was approved, there is still no approved regulation,” he said. “Why is the regulation important? Because the coal company AES asked the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for amendments to the federal rule that deals with the issue of coal ash, which would have the effect of overriding Law 5, if there is no approved regulation. With these amendments, which is a fact that the EPA will approve shortly, AES would be allowed to keep all the toxic ash it wants piled up in the yard of its plant or to scatter it again at its discretion [to the detriment of] all the people of the country.” Time passes, meanwhile, and the DRNA has not yet announced when public hearings will be held to evaluate the regulation, Alvarado Guzmán said. “We will continue fighting in order to close all doors to the AES company so that it finally leaves our country,” he said.
The San Juan Daily Star
Monday, June 22, 2020
Here’s what you need to know about the new Electoral Code By THE STAR STAFF
espite the rejection of the opposition parties, Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced signed the Puerto Rico Electoral Code into law over the weekend. The governor said she signed the legislation after listening to the concerns of all sectors, including opposition to online voting and dispositions that would allow individuals not living in Puerto Rico to vote. “Since I arrived at La Fortaleza last August, I have dedicated myself to listening to the complaints, recommendations and suggestions of citizens on different topics, and the Electoral Code was no exception,” the governor said. “In fact, I thank those people, who come from different sectors, for the input they send me when evaluating important legislative measures such as this, in some cases managing to improve them. As a result of some of those meetings, and as a legitimate concern of my own, I even returned the bill to the Legislature, making the possibility of signing it conditional on everything related to internet voting being eliminated. [I did] this [because] doubts had been raised about a possible alteration of this
[year’s] vote due to the lack of guarantees regarding its management.” In Senate Bill 1314, the internet or electronic vote was eliminated at the request of the governor herself. The measure that was signed into law provides for the consolidation or reduction of administrative offices and electoral offices, according to the need for services, and the elimination of positions and executive offices such as the vice presidencies and undersecretaries of the State Elections Commission (SEC), in order to achieve substantial savings. This includes the reduction or consolidation by stages of the Permanent Registration Boards (JIPs by the Spanish acronym), which must be relocated to the government’s Integrated Service Centers, or to existing public facilities that are free from political influences outside the institutional and electoral realms. Not later than June 30, 2022, the JIPs will be regional offices and will not exceed 12 in the jurisdiction of Puerto Rico. Currently, the offices of the vice presidents carry an annual cost of about $500,000, while the rental expenses via leasing fees of the JIPs exceed $1 million. Once the new State Center for Integrated Voter Services (CESI) has been established
no later than July 1, 2022, the SEC may continue to reduce the number of JIPs until their elimination. In order to save the jobs of JIP employees, the law establishes that the Officers of the Permanent Registration Board assigned to the JIPs whose premises are closed will be transferred to the CESIs of the regions to which each JIP corresponds and will operate continuously within those centers, offering the services corresponding to their functions. The opening hours of the polling stations are now extended from 9 a.m. at 5 p.m. to give our citizens more opportunity to exercise their right to vote. In addition, the categories of voters eligible for the “absentee vote” and “early vote” are expanded. As of the 2020 general election, any voter domiciled in Puerto Rico and active in the General Voter Registry who voluntarily requests it, as long as they swear that they will not be physically in Puerto Rico, are eligible to vote by mail. Likewise, all active voters in the General Voter Registry who request it and swear that on election day for reasons related to work or because they are a sole caretaker they would have difficulty showing up at a polling station, will have the right to vote with
the early voting method. “The American Civil Liberties Union itself, among its recommendations, requested that [the Electoral Code] ensure that all voters are able to vote by mail, without limitations, and this was included in the measure,” Vázquez said. “They emphasized that 33 states and Washington, D.C. conduct their elections using ballots by mail or absentee ballot without cause or excuse. As we were informed, we agree that Puerto Ricans must exercise their right to vote, without putting their health or that of their families at risk.”
PDP, PIP, CVM slam governor for enacting Electoral Reform By JOHN McPHAUL email@example.com
opular Democratic Party (PDP) President Aníbal José Torres launched an attack on Saturday against Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced for turning the new Electoral Code legislation into law. “Governor Wanda Vázquez once again says one thing and does another. She betrayed the country and showed which side of history she decided to be on. The governor did not keep her word. It was she who publicly stated that she would not sign a bill that lacked the endorsement of all interested groups,” Torres said in a written statement. “It was she who failed not only on her word, but also failed the country by turning the Electoral Code into law, which comes to fulfill two main purposes: to perpetuate the New Progressive Party in the administration of the State Elections Commission (SEC) with absolute control of the electoral process and disrupt democratic coexistence.” ”Today, we see how the governor decided to be on the side of history that violates protecting the principles and rights of voters,” he added. Torres said turning a bill that lacked consensus into law and doing so less than five months before the elections, “is a move that shows that she did not have the courage to confront Thomas Rivera Schatz and that she thought more about
her candidacy for governor than of defending democracy and fair play in electoral processes.” Torres said that as part of the process, the PDP presented several amendments related to the absentee vote, the intention of the voter, and the legal standing of the electoral commissioners to intervene in matters of a managerial or administrative nature in the SEC. Also, the minority party proposed removing from the Electoral Registry any voter who was confirmed to be in an electoral registry anywhere in the mainland United States, as well as Alaska and Hawaii, to avoid double registration. Despite these efforts, Torres said, none of the amendments was accepted in the recently approved bill. “Since November of last year, the Popular Democratic Party presented clear and specific
arguments about why it opposed the bill. On several occasions, we asked the governor to desist from converting it into law, since improvisation and haste have empowered the approval process,” Torres said. “The country has to understand that the governor’s signature on this bill is an outrage and an unprecedented blow to the electoral system, a system that for decades enjoyed the confidence of the voters. There is no genuine reason that has the benefit of the people as a principle, so that less than five months from the most important electoral event in the country, the rules of the game are changed.” Puerto Rican Independence Party Electoral Commissioner Roberto Iván Aponte Berríos said that “with this signature in favor of the Electoral ‘Deform,’ the governor has shown that she prefers to join an NPP [New Progressive Party] faction instead of representing all Puerto Ricans.” “It is an enormous betrayal of her initial commitment and especially to Puerto Rico,” Aponte Berríos said. “With the signing of the Electoral Code, the governor turns her back on her word and takes the dangerous path of undermining the country’s confidence in the electoral process by opening the door to fraud. Now it is up to the voters to revoke their mandate and veil the votes at the tables.” The Citizen Victory Movement (CVM) also criticized the governor’s action. “This is yet another blow to the democratic
process and the confidence of our people in the electoral process that is already tainted. The bill which is now a law, was approved in a hasty and undemocratic way, without the necessary public hearings to guarantee the participation of more people,” said CVM President Ana Irma Rivera Lassén. “The fact that electronic or internet voting, which among other things did not have the proper anti-fraud measures, has been removed from the bill, is not sufficient reason for its signing. The Citizen Victory Movement was part of a joint effort with other parties so that the governor would not sign the bill. Attention was drawn to the need to work on any change in a consensus effort to give the people more confidence in the electoral processes. Although the governor previously promised not to approve electoral laws without consensus after the electoral cycle began, she did not keep her word.” The CVM believes, among other things, that the proposed Electoral Code treats registered political parties unequally. “The proposed code erodes confidence in the electoral system and aims for some parties to see themselves as ‘superior,’ minimizing and marginalizing other parties that will consider themselves ‘inferior’ in rights within the SEC,” said Rivera Lassén, an at-large candidate for the Senate. “That is unacceptable, no matter who wins the election. The governor becomes an accomplice in this attempt to open the door to fraud and mistrust in the electoral process.”
The San Juan Daily Star
Monday, June 22, 2020
Health Dept. investigates COVID-19 outbreak in San Germán By THE STAR STAFF
uerto Rico Health Secretary Lorenzo González Feliciano announced Sunday that the team from the Health Department’s Office of Epidemiology and Research, together with the tracking team and other components of the agency, are investigating a coronavirus infection outbreak in the municipality of San Germán. The situation involves people who participated in a family activity and thus became infected. “We have communicated with the municipal authorities and activated the action plan to jointly manage the situation, in order to attend to these cases in a hurry and keep the spread of the virus in check,” González Feliciano said in a written statement. “Our responsibility with all citizens is to address all situations with priority and ensure the health of the people of Puerto Rico.” “Although we cannot disclose specific data on this case, because it is under investigation, I must say that it was diligently
attended to by the staff of the Department of Health, the mayor and his municipal team,” the Health secretary added. “Our commitment is to keep citizens informed, once we have the complete outlook, to guarantee that it is kept under control and
to avoid more community infections.” The Health chief also called on citizens to protect themselves and take care of their relatives, especially those who belong to the most vulnerable groups. “We are taking the path of [opening] the economy again and it is up to all of us to continue to the next phase,” González Feliciano said. “Let us be spokespersons for health and demand, from each other, the use of masks and social distancing at all times, as well as hand washing and surface disinfection. Let us be vigilant to the rules and protect our health and that of our loved ones.” Family activities should be limited and always making sure that safety measures are guaranteed to avoid infection, the official said. “Relaxation does not mean that we can let our guard down,” he said. “The responsibility to keep the virus controlled is a team effort between the government, private companies and all citizens.”
Ex-parks director denounces absence of protocols for reopening beaches By JOHN McPHAUL firstname.lastname@example.org
ormer Puerto Rico National Parks Company Director Samuel González said Sunday that in the absence of adequate protocols for how
to participate in beach activities, citizens should practice tourism “without leaving a trace.” González said the reopening of beaches and spas decreed by Executive Order 2020-044, issued by Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced, has been done irresponsibly, without having established adequate protocols for lifeguards, coordinating with municipalities or carrying out an educational campaign. “At some of the beaches there are no lifeguard towers,” González said. He said that under his direction at the National Parks Company, the public beach resort El Escambrón earned the first Blue Flag in the Americas. Among the criteria for the distinction given by the Denmark-based Environmental Education Foundation are maintenance, education and aquatic safety, he added. González also charged that due to the reduction of personnel in the National Parks Program and the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, no capacity exists to serve the more than 150 beach areas or the spas that the National Parks Program administers. “We have always defended the idea that the beaches belong to the people, and how since they are ours then we have to love and care for them,” González said. For this reason, he urged visitors not to leave
garbage at beaches, spas or rivers. “Take it home with you,” he said. González regretted that in her budget message the governor did not make any special allocation of funds for the rehabilitation of the Vacation Centers or for the Parque de Las Cavernas del Río Camuy, which represent two important infrastructures for social tourism. “The governor has failed National Parks and the country’s tourism,” he said.
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Monday, June 22, 2020
The San Juan Daily Star
Molina Healthcare to exit gov’t health plan in October By THE STAR STAFF
ealth Insurance Administration (ASES by its Spanish acronym) Executive Director Jorge Galva announced over the weekend that the exit of health insurer Molina Healthcare from the island government’s health care plan will take place in October. “ASES along with a team of experts are monitoring step by step the transition process outlined for the exit of one of the Vital Plan MCOs [insurers],” Galva said Saturday in a written statement. “It is not the first time that ASES has dealt with this type of situation. I promise that we have taken all control measures to guarantee the continuity of services and payments to providers.” ASES has scheduled the systematic transfer of beneficiaries for the week of Aug. 15, when the nearly 168,000 patients insured by Molina will go to one of the four insurers working for the Puerto Rico government’s Vital Plan. “It is important to emphasize that this new model gave and will always give beneficiaries the power to choose their insurer,” the ASES chief said. “For this reason, after the automated transfer, the beneficiaries will have a certain period of
time to decide whether to stay with the assigned insurer or switch to another one.” In a letter of announcement issued to all parties, ASES recognized the importance of orienting beneficiaries and providers on the various stages of transition. It details all the dates and the actions that will be carried out in the process,
which are the following: * July 15, 2020 -- Molina will notify all its beneficiaries by letter that as of Nov. 1, 2020 they will not be participating as an MCO for the Vital Plan. This notification to the beneficiary will be 30 days before the start of the process of self-assignment of Molina’s subscribers to the remaining MCOs in the Vital Plan. * Aug. 15, 2020 -- ASES will begin the process of selfallocation of the beneficiaries assigned to Molina approved by CMS, prioritizing the following aspects: * The current doctor-patient relationship with the Medical Group (PMG) and Primary Physician (PCP) or the current patient-physician relationship with the PMG, PCP and specialist for beneficiaries registered in special coverages. * Starting Sept. 21, 2020 -- Molina’s assigned beneficiaries self-assigned to the remaining MCOs will begin to receive the welcome letter, their medical plan card and the required regulatory material. * Oct. 19, 2020 -- ASES must have completed the selfallocation process of the beneficiaries assigned to Molina to the remaining MCOs of the Vital Plan. * Oct. 31, 2020 -- Molina ceases operations as an MCO participating in the Vital Plan.
Senate passes bill that includes custody officers in gov’t health plan By THE STAR STAFF
he island Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 1642 over the weekend, which proponents say does justice to the custody officers of the Corrections and Rehabilitation Department (DCR by its Spanish initials) by including them among the eligible beneficiaries in the Puerto Rico government health plan, known as the Vital Plan. “At present, these officers are excluded from the benefits of the Government’s health plan, although the highest qualities of character and moral soundness are required of them, with risky conditions on a daily basis,” said the bill’s author, Sen. Héctor Martínez. “These public servants juggle their salary and put their well being and
that of their family members first, for the general welfare of the penal community and Puerto Rico. We cannot stand idly by in the face of this injustice.” The senator highlighted that the working conditions of correctional officers, in addition to being onerous and imposing an enormous responsibility on their shoulders, also require their presence during holidays, climatic threats or storms, natural disasters, and contagious disease outbreaks including the new challenge of COVID-19. “Without a doubt, their salary is not enough for the work and the sacrifices they make, much less to provide themselves with a decent health plan that ensures their well being and that of their family,” Martínez said. Senate Bill 1642 would amend Section 3 of Article VI of Act 72-1993 of the Puerto Rico Health Insurance
Administration Act to include custody officers, their spouses and children as beneficiaries of the government Vital Plan. The senator noted that the benefit will remain in effect when the custody officer dies from any circumstance, as long as the surviving spouse remains in a state of widowhood and the children are under 21 years of age or those over the age of 25 are in post-secondary studies. In the event of the death of the custody officer member, the DCR shall notify the surviving spouse or minor dependents of their right to continue enjoying health card benefits. The notification will come with the obligation to accept or reject continuing coverage by means of a written endorsement. The DCR will record in its expense budget the funds to keep the health plan for such beneficiaries in force, through a contribution equivalent to the employer contribution that the custody officer received at the time of death for health benefits.
The San Juan Daily Star
Monday, June 22, 2020
Trump rally fizzles as crowd size falls short of campaign’s expectations By MICHAEL D. SHEAR, MAGGIE HABERMAN and ASTEAD W. HERNDON
resident Donald Trump’s attempt to revive his re-election campaign sputtered badly Saturday night as he traveled to Tulsa for his first mass rally in months and found a far smaller crowd than his aides had promised him, then delivered a disjointed speech that did not address the multiple crises facing the nation or scandals battering him in Washington. The weakness of Trump’s drawing power and political skills, in a state that voted for him overwhelmingly and in a format that he favors, raised new questions about his electoral prospects for a second term at a time when his poll numbers were already falling. And rather than speak to the wide crosssection of Americans who say they are concerned about police violence and systemic racism, he continued to use racist language, describing the coronavirus as “Kung Flu.” While the president’s campaign had claimed that more than 1 million people had sought tickets for the rally, the 19,000seat BOK Center was at least one-third empty during the rally. A second, outdoor venue was so sparsely attended that he and Vice President Mike Pence both canceled appearances there. Tim Murtaugh, a spokesman for the Trump campaign, falsely blamed the small numbers on “radical protesters” and the news media who he said had frightened away supporters. But there were few protests in the area and no sizable effort to block entrances, and there was a strong security presence. Trump was furious about the unused outdoor stage and the comparatively thin crowd in the arena, according to two people familiar with his reaction. News broadcasts carried video of the partially empty arena, and even the Drudge Report, a reliably conservative website, carried an all-caps headline that said “MAGA LESS MEGA” with a picture of rows and rows of empty blue seats. The disappointing turnout came as Trump already found himself under siege about his sudden firing of the U.S. attorney in Manhattan and his losing legal battle over the release of a memoir full of damaging revelations by John Bolton, his former national security adviser. And in Tulsa, Trump faced criticism for ignoring pleas from officials about health risks to rallygoers and restarting his “Make America Great Again!” rallies in a city where a white mob massacred hundreds of Black residents 99 years ago. In rambling, grievance-filled remarks, Trump made no reference to the Tulsa massacre of 1921 or to George Floyd, whose death at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis last month spurred global demands for racial justice. He also did not mention Juneteenth, which marks the end of slavery in the United States and fell just a day before his rally. Instead, the president railed about “left-wing radicals” who he falsely claimed were rioting in cities across the country and praised police officers who “get injured, they don’t complain. They’re incredible” while attempting to stop looters and rioters. “The unhinged left-wing mob is trying to vandalize our history, desecrate our monuments, our beautiful monuments, tear down our statues and punish, cancel and persecute anyone who does not conform to their demands for absolute and total
A crowd gathers near the BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla. control,” Trump said. He was referring in part to attempts to remove Confederate monuments, efforts that have support in both parties. The president once again shrugged off the threat from the coronavirus, which he also called the “Chinese virus” at one point, and bragged that he had done “a phenomenal job” fighting the pandemic. He acknowledged that increased testing for the virus revealed more cases of infection, which he felt made the country look bad. “So I said to my people, ‘slow the testing down,’” he said. Many of the thousands of Trump supporters at the rally did not wear masks or stand 6 feet apart — health precautions that Trump himself has ignored. The campaign conducted temperature checks and handed out masks, yet health experts remained concerned that the event could be a dangerous incubator for the virus, spreading through the building’s recirculated air. Minor confrontations between protesters and Trump supporters broke out throughout the evening. A few minutes before Trump began speaking, several dozen protesters marched about a block away from the entrance to the arena, bearing signs with messages like “Black Lives Matter” and “Go home Donald.” Trump supporters yelled “USA! USA!” as they walked by. “Go home, racists!” the protesters chanted as the crowd swelled to hundreds of people. Some heated conversations broke out along Boulder Avenue in downtown Tulsa, but when one man tried to start an “all lives matter” chant as a man in a Black Lives Matter shirt spoke, it did not catch on. While rallies are Trump’s favorite events, election-year politics have changed since his last one, on March 2. The coronavirus has largely shut down the campaign trail, and more recently the national political conversation has been dominated by a fierce debate over police violence against Black Americans after the killing of Floyd. But the altered political landscape has had little effect on the president, whom advisers describe as feeling like a caged animal during the national lockdown that forced him to abandon most travel. They say he is determined to recapture the excitement of his pre-virus campaign rallies, but this one seemed unlikely to offer much relief to Trump. He flew to Oklahoma amid mounting questions about
the firing of Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, whose office had investigated some of the president’s closest allies, imprisoning Michael Cohen, his former personal lawyer, and beginning an inquiry into Rudy Giuliani, his current lawyer. On Saturday afternoon, Attorney General William Barr announced that Trump had personally approved Berman’s firing. But soon afterward, as Trump left the White House for the trip to Tulsa, the president said that “we have a very capable attorney general, so that’s really up to him. I’m not involved.” The campaign had chosen to return first to Oklahoma, which the president won by 36 points in 2016, assuming his appearance would be wildly popular there. Aides to Trump spent the week boasting about enormous interest from people in the rally, and Trump bragged on Saturday as he left for Oklahoma that “the crowds are unbelievable,” which proved false. Some users of social media said on Saturday night that teenagers helped keep attendance at the rally down by seeking tickets they did not intend to use. TikTok and Twitter users posted that they had registered potentially hundreds of thousands of tickets for Trump’s campaign rally as a prank after @TeamTrump tweeted asking supporters to register for free tickets. During his speech, Trump delivered a defensive, 15-minute explanation of images that showed him ambling slowly down a ramp after delivering the commencement address at the West Point military academy last weekend. He blamed his slow walk on “leather soles” on his shoes and said he was trying not to fall on his behind. He also took several sips of water out of a glass after video at the West Point event showed him struggling to bring a glass up to his lips. He said he was trying to make sure he did not spill the water on his tie. The crowd applauded wildly. Many people in Tulsa, worried about the record numbers of coronavirus cases in Oklahoma in recent days, did not welcome the rally. On Saturday afternoon, local Black leaders held a news conference in the city’s historic Greenwood neighborhood, where the 1921 massacre took place, pleading with the city’s mayor, G.T. Bynum, a Trump ally, to cancel the rally. In the streets around the BOK Center before the rally, the president’s supporters — some of whom had lined up for days in the hopes of ensuring a seat in the arena — gathered not far from Black Lives Matter protesters and people in town for the Juneteenth celebration. Many wore red MAGA hats while others wore caps with patriotic emblems or colors. Some waved red, white and blue banners with the Trump 2020 logo, the American flag, or the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag. Some wore them like capes. Almost none wore masks. People close to Trump said that the lack of regular adulation that he receives from the cheering crowds since the coronavirus lockdowns has left him morose and irritable. And his advisers had hoped that the rally would be a positive outlet for his energy, as opposed to his Twitter feed, where he has posted several self-destructive messages in the last several weeks. After the rally, Trump’s spokesman searched for a way that Trump might be happy despite the poor turnout, claiming in a statement that millions of online rally viewers amounted to “a massive audience that Joe Biden can only dream of.”
Monday, June 22, 2020
The San Juan Daily Star
Biden raised more than Trump in May, his first month leading the money race
Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. raised roughly one-third more in May than he raised in April. By REBECCA R. RUIZ and SHANE GOLDMACHER
oe Biden, whose campaign had long struggled to raise money, zoomed past President Donald Trump’s fundraising machine in May for the first time, pulling in $80.8 million together with the Democratic National Committee, about 10% more than the $74 million Trump raised with the Republican Party. It was a reversal of fortunes for the former vice president and a testament both to his growing support among small donors — more than half his donors in May were new to the campaign — and the advantages of his first full month of fundraising in concert with the DNC, in chunks of up to $620,000 per donor. The $80.8 million that Biden raised was roughly onethird more than he had raised in April, when Trump edged him slightly. The campaigns took in a total of nearly $155 million in May — about $5 million per day — despite a health and economic crisis that has put more than 40 million Americans out of work and sent unemployment claims soaring. Tom Perez, chair of the Democratic National Committee, said the party was raising big sums both from small donors online and with traditional big contributors. “Quite frankly, we’re hitting it in both ways,” he said in an interview. Trump still maintains a sizable cash-on-hand advantage
over Biden and the Democrats, and his campaign is well on pace to surpass more than $1 billion raised in total this summer, having already collected $817 million. Trump’s campaign committee spent more than twice as much as Biden’s in May, $24.5 million compared with $11.7 million. The president’s campaign went on television last month, while Biden’s campaign made its first television purchase of the general election Friday. The vast majority of Trump’s spending, $19.8 million, went to a media-buying firm, American Made Media Consultants. The campaigns disclosed their fundraising to election authorities Saturday evening just as Trump was headed to a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, part of his effort to revive in-person campaign events. He also held a high-dollar fundraiser at a private home in Dallas earlier this month. With news that Biden’s fundraising had outpaced the president’s for the first time, Republican officials sought to minimize the Democrats’ edge in May while touting what they called a Republican war chest of $265 million in cash. “May was Biden’s first full month as the Democrat nominee, and with that brought advantages of higher fundraising limits and the full weight of the Democrat Party,” the RNC said in a statement Saturday. “Biden was still unable to make a dent in the massive cash-on-hand advantages that the Trump campaign and RNC enjoys.” Dick Wadhams, a veteran Colorado Republican strategist, said the coronavirus outbreak had had little bearing
on big-dollar giving, including in down-ballot races. “The pandemic certainly has restricted the candidates’ ability to raise money at events,” he said, “but these major donors on both sides, they don’t need to go to an event and have a glass of wine to write checks to their candidate.” Indeed, big-dollar contributions to super PACs were still strong in May, the new filings showed. For example, significant donations to the Senate Leadership Fund, a Republican-aligned super PAC, came from Bernard Marcus, a co-founder of Home Depot who gave $2 million, and Warren A. Stephens, an Arkansas businessman who contributed $1 million. Wadhams called Trump’s fundraising machine critical to boosting Republicans in competitive Senate races like the one in Colorado. In that contest, Sen. Cory Gardner, the Republican incumbent, was outraised in recent months by one of his Democratic challengers, former Gov. John Hickenlooper. Hickenlooper’s campaign has had recent stumbles yet received $3.7 million from April 1 to June 10 — $1.6 million more than Gardner raised. As of this month, however, Gardner still had roughly $3.4 million more in cash on hand than Hickenlooper did, thanks in large part to the Republican Party’s support. “Cory Gardner is especially being helped by having an incumbent president who is raising a lot of money not only for his campaign but for the national Republican Party,” Wadhams said. But he also noted that a close affiliation with Trump was “a double-edged sword” in the face of recent polling that has suggested weakened support for the president. In other key Senate contests, recent financial disclosures have indicated fundraising energy behind Democrats who are challenging Republican incumbents. In Georgia, where Democrat Jon Ossoff is seeking to unseat Sen. David Perdue, Ossoff raised roughly $200,000 more than Perdue from April 1 to May 20 — yet he reported cash stores of about $950,000, compared with Perdue’s $9.4 million. In Iowa, Sen. Joni Ernst was also narrowly outraised by her Democratic challenger, Theresa Greenfield, from April 1 to May 13, though Ernst, too, is sitting on roughly $2.2 million more than her opponent as of their last filings. And in Kentucky, where Sen. Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, is defending his seat, a Democratic challenger, Amy McGrath, reported raising $11.3 million from April 1 to June 3 — $4 million more than McConnell raised in that time. McGrath also reported having $19.3 million in cash on hand, roughly $4 million more than McConnell. McGrath, however, is facing a tightening primary contest against another Democrat, Charles Booker, who raised just under half a million dollars in the period in question, according to filings, and recently reported about $285,000 in cash on hand. Kentucky Democrats will select their nominee Tuesday.
The San Juan Daily Star
Monday, June 22, 2020
Trump fires U.S. Attorney in New York who investigated his inner circle By ALAN FEUER, KATIE BENNER, BEN PROTESS, MAGGIE HABERMAN, WILLIAM K. RASHBAUM, NICOLE KONG and BENJAMIN WEISER
resident Donald Trump on Saturday fired the federal prosecutor whose office put his former personal lawyer in prison and is investigating his current one, heightening criticism that the president was carrying out an extraordinary purge to rid his administration of officials whose independence could be a threat to his reelection campaign. Trump’s dismissal of the prosecutor, Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, whose office has pursued one case after another that have rankled Trump, led to political blowback and an unexpected result: By the end of the day, Berman’s hand-picked deputy, not the administration’s favored replacement, was chosen to succeed him for now. The abrupt ouster of Berman came as Trump sought to reinvigorate his campaign with its first public rally in months and days after new allegations by his former national security adviser that he had engaged in “obstruction of justice as a way of life.” It was the latest move in a broader purge of administration officials that has intensified in the months since the Republicanled Senate acquitted Trump at an impeachment trial. Since the beginning of the year, the president has fired or forced out inspectors general with independent oversight over executive branch agencies and other key figures from the trial. Berman, who has been in office since 2018, had declined to leave his post after Attorney General William Barr announced late Friday night that he would be replaced by Jay Clayton, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Clayton is friendly with Trump and had golfed with the president at his club in Bedminster, New Jersey, as recently as last weekend, according to two people familiar with the matter. But on Saturday, facing a standoff with Berman, Barr shifted course. In a letter released by the Justice Department, Barr told Berman that Trump had fired him and that he would be replaced temporarily with the prosecutor’s own chief deputy, Audrey Strauss. The choice of Strauss appeared to mollify Berman, who then issued a statement saying he would step down in light of the reversal. In the statement, Berman said that under Strauss, the Southern District of New York, as the prosecutors office in Manhattan is formally known, “will continue to safeguard” its “enduring tradition of integrity and independence.” The swirl of events Saturday, which changed by the hour, was the culmination of long-standing tensions between the White House and Berman’s office, which in the past three years has brought a series of highly sensitive cases that have troubled and angered Trump and others in his inner circle. First, there was the arrest and prosecution in 2018 of Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime legal fixer. Then, there was the indictment last year of a state-owned bank in Turkey with political connections that had drawn the president’s attention. More recently, Berman began an inquiry into Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer and one of his most ardent supporters. Speaking briefly to reporters outside the White House before heading to a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Trump
Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announces the indictment and arrest of Lawrence Ray in New York. tried to distance himself from the firing. He insisted he was “not involved” in the decision to remove Berman despite what Barr said in his letter. Clayton had recently signaled to his friends and the president that he wanted to return to his home in New York City and was interested in Berman’s job, according to people familiar with the matter. Barr had said New Jersey’s top federal prosecutor, Craig Carpenito, would hold the seat until the Senate could confirm Clayton. By Saturday afternoon, the plan began to unravel, as the president and his senior aides scrambled to secure support for Clayton’s confirmation in the Senate, according to people familiar with the events. The refusal of Republicans to defend Trump was palpable, and some people close to the president expressed concern that lawmakers in his own party would feel compelled to distance themselves from Trump’s decision. The most prominent critic of the move was Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and a close ally of the president’s. Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, suggested in a statement that he would allow New York’s two Democratic senators to thwart the nomination through a procedural maneuver. He complimented Clayton but noted that he had not heard from the administration about formal plans to name him. The decision to remove Berman unfolded with particularly dizzying speed and seemed to take even several of the participants aback. On Friday, Barr went to New York to meet with senior New York Police Department officials and, after nearly a month of public protests, to talk with them about “policing issues that have been at the forefront of national conversation and debate,” according to a Justice Department news release. When he later met with Berman, according to two people
familiar with the conversation, Barr suggested that Berman could take over the civil division of the Justice Department or become chairman of the SEC if he agreed to leave his position in Manhattan. But Berman declined, and Barr quickly moved to fire him, announcing his decision in a highly unusual late-night Justice Department news release. Hours later, Berman issued a counterstatement denying he was leaving. “I have not resigned, and have no intention of resigning, my position,” Berman’s statement said. He added that he had learned of Barr’s actions only from the news release. On Saturday, the pressure reached a breaking point. Barr told Berman in his letter that he had persuaded Trump to fire Berman because he had chosen “public spectacle over public service” by not voluntarily quitting the day before. “Because you have declared that you have no intention of resigning, I have asked the president to remove you as of today, and he has done so,” the letter read. In one sign that Barr’s move to oust Berman may have been hastily arranged, even Clayton, the man who had been poised to take Berman’s place, appeared to be caught off guard. Clayton had sent an email to his staff Thursday saying that he looked forward to seeing them in person, once work-at-home restrictions that had been put in place because of the coronavirus could be lifted. The email offered no indication that Clayton was planning to leave the SEC, according to a person briefed on it. Just after midnight Saturday, Clayton sent another email to his employees, telling them about his new position. “Pending confirmation,” he wrote, “I will remain fully committed to the work of the commission and the supportive community we have built,” according to a copy reviewed by The New York Times. Clayton could not be reached for comment. On Saturday, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., who heads the House Judiciary Committee, said the committee would investigate the firing of Berman as part of a larger inquiry into what he said was undue political interference at the Justice Department. “The whole thing smacks of corruption and incompetence,” Nadler said of Berman’s dismissal. Under Trump, the Justice Department has long believed that the Southern District was out of control. In no small part that was because the department believed that prosecutors in New York delayed in warning them that they were naming Trump — as “Individual-1” — in court documents in the Cohen prosecution. When Barr became attorney general, officials in the deputy attorney general’s office, which oversees regional prosecutors, asked him to rein in Berman, who they believed was exacerbating the Southern District’s propensity for autonomy. The office has embraced its nickname the “Sovereign District” of New York because of its tradition of independence. One particular point of contention was the question of how Berman and his staff should investigate Halkbank, a Turkish state-owned bank that the office indicted last year, according to three people familiar with the investigation. In a new book, John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser, wrote that Trump had promised the Turkish Continues on page 10
The San Juan Daily Star
Monday, June 22, 2020
Questions surround police killing of Latino man in California
Elisa Guardado, second from right, is the mother of Andres Guardado, who was fatally shot by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies. By GIULIA MCDONELL NIETO DEL RIO
ctivists and family members of an 18-year-old Latino man are calling his death in Southern California this past week an unjustified police killing. The man, Andres Guardado, was fatally shot by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies in Gardena, California, after he “produced a firearm” and ran away from them Thursday night,
the Sheriff’s Department said in a statement. But it was unclear what led to the confrontation amid weeks of nationwide demonstrations denouncing police brutality and racism. About 20,000 people marched near the Hollywood Walk of Fame this month in a protest organized by Black Lives Matter. Guardado was working two jobs as a security guard and was studying to be a mechanic at Los Angeles Trade-Technical
College, according to his uncle Noe Abarca. He was killed near an auto body shop for which he was providing security that day, Abarca said. Guardado, whose family is from El Salvador, was dedicated to working and learning his trade, his uncle said. “He was always cheerful. I never saw him sad or angry,” Abarca said in Spanish. “He had gained the respect and the admiration of our whole family.” “I haven’t slept in two days,” he added. Deputies from the Compton sheriff’s station pursued Guardado on foot and eventually shot him in the upper torso, the police said. They did not provide more details of the encounter or the deputies involved. Detectives were trying to determine if there was any video of the shooting. Guardado was not wearing a security guard’s uniform, the Sheriff’s Department said, and a handgun without identifying marks or serial numbers was recovered at the scene. It is difficult to tell how many Latinos are killed by the police because departments are not required to report consistently on race and ethnicity, said Eric Rodriguez, the senior vice president of policy and advocacy at UnidosUS, an advocacy group for Latinos. But it is clear that a high percentage of Latinos fear that the police will use excessive force, Rodriguez said. “Something that is screaming out from the community is the feeling of being oversurveilled,” he said. The Los Angeles Community College District released a statement supporting Guardado’s family and calling for a “full and independent investigation into the circumstances of the killing.” “We must never be desensitized to, or normalized by, the alarming number of deaths by law enforcement of black and brown men and women in this country,” the district said. Guardado and his father would often visit a restaurant owned by Abarca. But Sunday — Father’s Day — his father, uncle and other relatives will be marching in a demonstration that begins at the site where Guardado was killed. “We will be demanding justice,” Abarca said.
Trump fires U.S. Attorney in New York who investigated his inner circle From page 9 president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in 2018 that he would intervene in the investigation of the bank, which had been accused of violating sanctions against Iran. Then there was the inquiry into Giuliani, which has focused on whether he violated laws on lobbying for foreign entities in his efforts to dig up dirt in Ukraine on the president’s political rivals. That investigation began after Berman’s office brought indictments against two of Giuliani’s close associates. Trump has told advisers he was pleased with the move to dismiss Berman, and a person close to the president described it as a long time coming. Trump has been dissatisfied with Berman, despite choosing him for the post himself, going back to 2018. That year, he
told the acting attorney general at the time, Matthew Whitaker, that he was frustrated that Berman had been recused from the case against Cohen and wanted him to somehow undo it. A Republican who contributed to the president’s campaign and worked at the same law firm as Giuliani, Berman had suggested that the Justice Department could not fire him because of the way he came into his job. In 2018, the attorney general at the time, Jeff Sessions, appointed Berman as interim U.S. attorney in Manhattan. But Trump never formally sent Berman’s nomination to the Senate, as is normal protocol. After 120 days, Berman’s official appointment to the post was made by the judges of the U.S. District Court. Berman suggested that only those judges could dismiss him from his position, although that was far from a settled legal
matter. A 1979 Justice Department memo holds the position that the president could fire a prosecutor in Berman’s position. Last year, Barr considered replacing Berman with Edward O’Callaghan, a top Justice Department official and a former Southern District prosecutor, according to people familiar with the matter. The plan fell through, however, in part because of the complex legal issues around how Berman was appointed. Strauss, who currently serves as Berman’s deputy, was one of his early hires after he became U.S. attorney in 2018. She had previously worked in the office as a rank-and-file prosecutor and later spent many years as a lawyer in private practice. As deputy, Strauss had also assumed responsibility for several of the prominent investigations from which Berman had recused himself. Among them was the prosecution of Cohen.
The San Juan Daily Star
Monday, June 22, 2020
Johnson & Johnson will stop selling skin-whitening lotions By MARIA CRAMER
onsumer-products giant Johnson & Johnson said Friday that it would no longer sell certain products that are advertised as dark-spot reducers but have been used by some purchasers to lighten skin tone. The product lines, Neutrogena Fine Fairness and Clear Fairness by Clean & Clear, were not distributed in the United States but were sold in Asia and the Middle East. “Conversations over the past few weeks highlighted that some product names or claims on our Neutrogena and Clean & Clear dark-spot reducer products represent fairness or white as better than your own unique skin tone,” the company said in a statement. “This was never our intention — healthy skin is beautiful skin.” The company said its website was being updated to remove links to both products, which may still appear on shelves “for a short while.” “We will no longer produce or ship the product line,” the company said. The statement followed a string of announcements this week by companies saying they would be removing brands that have been criticized for using racist imagery to sell products. On Wednesday, the owners of Cream of Wheat, Uncle Ben’s Rice and Mrs. Butterworth’s all said they would be reviewing how the brands’ products are packaged.
Those announcements came after Quaker Oats said it would retire Aunt Jemima, the pancake mix and syrup brand, after acknowledging that its logo, a grinning black woman, was based on a racial stereotype. In India, where the Clean & Clear skin-lightening line is sold, consumers have posted reviews touting the products’ effects and their ability to lighten skin. In Asia, commercials advertising Neutrogena Fine Fairness have described how it allows a consumer to “whiten more thoroughly.” Other companies have been criticized for expressing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement while also selling products that advertise their skin-lightening effects. More than 11,000 people have signed a petition calling on Unilever to stop selling Fair & Lovely, a skin-lightening product marketed in India and the Middle East. Commercials for the lotion have shown dark-skinned women using it to lighten their skin and then becoming more successful as a result. “This product has built upon, perpetuated and benefited from internalized racism and promotes anti-blackness sentiments amongst all its consumers,” the petition says. The decision to remove the Clear Fairness line is the latest move by Johnson & Johnson to respond to the demonstrations against racism that have been held across the country since the death of George Floyd. Last week, Band-Aid, which is owned by Johnson & Johnson, announced it would start selling bandages meant to match
different skin tones. “We stand in solidarity with our Black colleagues, collaborators and community in the fight against racism, violence and injustice,” Band-Aid said in an Instagram post. “We are committed to launching a range of bandages in light, medium and deep shades of Brown and Black skin tones that embrace the beauty of diverse skin. We are dedicated to inclusivity and providing the best healing solutions, better representing you.” The company said it sold bandages with different skin tones in 2005 but discontinued the products “due to lack of demand.” “Since then, we’ve seen conversation increase on this topic, and we were planning to bring a new offering to the market for diverse skin tones,” the company said in a statement. Dominique Apollon, vice president for research at Race Forward, a racial justice advocacy organization, said that Johnson & Johnson’s decisions to stop selling the lotions and to reintroduce the bandages were positive but long overdue. Apollon called the creams “a symptom of anti-blackness that occurs around the world.” Last year, Apollon posted a photo of himself on Twitter wearing a dark brown bandage that matched his skin tone. The photo of the bandage, which was made by a company called Tru-Colour, blending with Apollon’s skin was retweeted over 100,000 times. “It shocked me how beautiful it looked,” Apollon said. “It gave me this experience of how it felt to be included and regarded as opposed to disregarded.”
Maker of Eskimo Pie ice cream will retire ‘inappropriate’ name By MARIA CRAMER
he name attached to Eskimo Pie, the chocolate-covered ice cream treat that has been around for nearly a century, will soon be retired in what is the latest product to yield to growing pressure to remove or rethink brands that have long been considered racist or culturally insensitive. Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, which owns the dessert, said it would be changing the product’s brand name and marketing. “We are committed to being a part of the solution on racial equality, and recognize the term is inappropriate,” Elizabell Marquez, head of marketing for Dreyer’s, said in a statement Saturday. “This move is part of a larger review to ensure our company and brands reflect our people values.” The company said it planned to have a new name by the end of the year and would discontinue the character of the Eskimo. The packaging has long featured a small, dark-haired child wearing mittens and a heavy parka with a fur-lined hood. The term Eskimo is commonly used in Alaska to refer to all Inuit and Yup’ik people but it is considered derogatory by many who associate it with racist, non-Native colonizers who settled in the Arctic and used the term. In 2009, a young Inuit woman publicly denounced Pascall, a candy manufacturer in Australia and New Zealand, for appro-
priating her culture to sell its “Eskimo” marshmallows and other sweets. The woman, a Canadian tourist, described how shocked she was to find the candies while visiting New Zealand and described to reporters how as a child other children mocked her by calling her an Eskimo. The company refused to change the name. In Canada, an organization that represents the Inuit has called on the Edmonton Eskimos, a professional football team, to change its name. The statement by Dreyer’s was the latest in a string of announcements by companies that they would remove, rename or review brands that have been criticized for using racist imagery to sell products. The decision to change the branding around the Eskimo Pie was announced Friday, the same day that consumer giant Johnson & Johnson said it would no longer sell Neutrogena Fine Fairness and Clear Fairness by Clean & Clear, which have been advertised as dark-spot reducers but used by some purchasers to lighten skin tone. Those product lines were not distributed in the United States and sold only in Asia and the Middle East. On Wednesday, the owners of Cream of Wheat, Uncle Ben’s rice and Mrs. Butterworth’s all said they would be reviewing how the brands’ products are packaged, the same day that Quaker Oats said it would retire the name and image of Aunt Jemima.
Quaker Oats acknowledged the logo of the pancake mix and syrup brand, a grinning black woman, was based on a racial stereotype. The Eskimo Pie was invented by Christian Kent Nelson, who was inspired by a boy who came to his confectionery shop in Iowa in 1920 and could not decide between an ice cream and a chocolate bar, according to a 2017 article in Smithsonian magazine about the history of the treat. When Nelson asked why he did not buy both, the child replied: “Sure I know — I want ’em both, but I only got a nickel.” Nelson began looking for ways to make melted chocolate stick to frozen ice cream and eventually figured out that cacao butter was the perfect adherent, the article said. The ice cream bricks were first called “I-Scream Bars.” It was not until Nelson became partners with Russell C. Stover, a Colorado chocolate maker, that the name was changed to Eskimo Pie. The invention made Nelson “rich overnight,” according to a 1922 New York Times article about the dessert. By then, Nelson, then barely 29, was making $30,000 a week in royalties from sales of the product. “Probably no innovation of recent years designed to meet the cravings of a sweet tooth has met with such instantaneous success in New York, Chicago and other cities,” The Times reported.
The San Juan Daily Star
Monday, June 22, 2020
London index reshuffle to give healthcare stocks a bigger profile
he Russell rebalance becomes final on the fourth Friday every June, after markets close. Stocks are added or deleted from Russell’s family of indexes, including the Russell 1000 large cap and Russell 2000 small cap, prompting fund managers to adjust portfolios to reflect new weightings and components. Russell bases the placesment in the indexes on a number of factors, including market capitalization, voting rights requirements and country of domicile. Telegraphing the reconstitution can create additional buying and selling stocks. Some investors may use the additional liquidity to take advantage of any resulting price dislocations, or to adjust the holdings in their portfolios, especially in smaller companies that have much lower liquidity. The resulting surge in trading volume crests right before the market close. FTSE Russell says more than $15 trillion is currently benchmarked to its indexes globally and about $9 trillion to its U.S. indexes. “I’m already at the spot where I will be happy when Russell is behind us because it is an emotionally elevated day, everybody has to really be on their toes, there is a lot of messages and a lot of traffic coming down,” said Gordon Charlop, a managing director at Rosenblatt Securities in New York. The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, because of the scale of the revamp, reinforces the rules for trades on the close and contingency plans in the event of unusual market conditions. During the June 2019 reconstitution, Nasdaq said 1.279 billion shares representing $42.59 billion were executed in its “closing cross” in 1.14 seconds across Nasdaq listed stocks. This year’s reconstitution is also influenced by market volatility generated by the COVID-19 pandemic. While other index providers delayed rebalancing that was scheduled for earlier in the year, FTSE Russell has moved forward with the reconstitution as originally scheduled. “Our policy team did consult the market on whether any temporary measures were needed to accommodate the market volatility and the overwhelming feedback was that it wasn’t required and we should proceed according to the published rules,” said Catherine Yoshimoto, director, product management at FTSE Russell. The influence of the novel coronavirus will also create more movement between the indexes than in recent years. Virtu Financial estimates turnover across the Russell 3000 to be $57 billion compared with the $35 billion last year. In addition, the coronavirus has aided the strong performance of healthcare stocks and other names that have benefited from the “stay at home” environment, some of which are likely to be added directly, or promoted to, the large cap Russell 1000. Lori Calvasina, head of U.S. Equity Strategy at RBC Capital Markets anticipates nearly half of the stocks being promoted to the Russell 1000 from the Russell 2000 will be healthcare names.
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The San Juan Daily Star
Monday, June 22, 2020
Security law to tighten Beijing’s grip on Hong Kong
China released a sweeping blueprint on Saturday to tighten its control over Hong Kong, revealing plans to establish a security agency in the territory to help Beijing extinguish challenges to its power after months of unrest. By CHRIS BUCKLEY, KEITH BRADSHER and ELAINE YU
hina released a sweeping blueprint Saturday to tighten its control over Hong Kong, revealing plans to establish a security agency in the territory to help Beijing extinguish challenges to its power after months of unrest. The planned national security law for Hong Kong also gives the territory’s chief official, who must answer to Beijing, the power to appoint which judges will hear such security cases, eroding the autonomy of the city’s independent judiciary. The announcement drew immediate protests from opposition leaders who warned that it would imperil the rule of law in Hong Kong, a global financial center with greater freedoms than in mainland China. The proposed law is a pillar of President Xi Jinping’s push to subdue political strife in Hong Kong, the sole part of China that has loudly defied his drive to entrench authoritarian control. Opposition from the United States, Britain and other Western countries appears unlikely to derail that effort. The details released by the official Xinhua News Agency on Saturday suggested that the law would greatly magnify the Chinese government’s ability to extinguish po-
litical opposition in Hong Kong, which sustained monthslong street protests there last year that often flared into clashes with the police. The law would also allow Beijing to override the city’s local laws. “This is a dramatic change in the administration of justice in Hong Kong, and it gives central authorities control over Hong Kong that was never anticipated” when Britain returned the territory to Chinese sovereignty in 1997, said Jerome Cohen, a New York University law professor and Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow. Defying some expectations in Hong Kong, Chinese lawmakers — meeting as the National People’s Congress Standing Committee — did not vote to approve the law Saturday. Even so, Chinese news media and law experts have said that the government is eager to bring the law into force quickly. Hong Kong’s opposition politicians said the law would seriously erode the city’s cherished judicial independence and rights to protest and free speech. Chinese security forces already operate secretively in Hong Kong, but the new law would expand and formalize their presence. “This will hollow out Hong Kong, as far as I could see. This new law can simply mean anything Beijing wants it to mean,” said Claudia Mo, a pro-democracy law-
maker in the Hong Kong legislature. Beijing “used to be quite insistent about judicial independence in Hong Kong,” she said. “Now they are taking off even that facade.” The announcement of such far-reaching changes may reignite the huge street marches seen in Hong Kong last year, which demonstrated the breadth of anti-government sentiment. They have since dwindled in part because of the coronavirus pandemic and increased police pressure, and so far, both the virus and tougher policing appear to have sapped the willingness of residents to take to the streets again. Tam Yiu-chung, a Hong Kong member of the Chinese legislature’s top committee, told reporters that the authorities in Beijing would only directly intervene in “exceptional” circumstances, such as if unrest turned into war or otherwise went “completely out of control.” In the wake of monthslong protests in Hong Kong last year over a proposed extradition bill, Chinese Communist Party leaders in October demanded steps to “safeguard national security” in the territory, which retained its own legal system after its return to Chinese sovereignty. Last month, the full, annual session of the National People’s Congress, China’s party-controlled legislature, nearly unanimously passed a resolution that authorized its Standing Committee to impose the security legislation on Hong Kong. The Xinhua statement said that basic civil liberties like freedom of speech and freedom of assembly will be protected. Critics have scoffed. “The terms that are being identified as crimes are vague terms,” Michael C. Davis, a former law professor at the University of Hong Kong who is a research scholar at Columbia University, said in a telephone interview. “There’s a legal morass here that means, essentially, the chances that a court can push back are slim.” The explanation of the national security law for Hong Kong included other key points: — The legislation will order the Hong Kong government to “strengthen oversight and management” of schools and associations in national security matters, suggesting the law could be used to try to stifle campus unrest. — The law will require Hong Kong to
establish its own national security commission, in parallel to the central government’s security apparatus, and Beijing will assign at least one adviser. — China will establish its own national security arm in Hong Kong, separate from the territory’s own security commission, to “collect and analyze” intelligence and handle certain cases. — The national security law must always prevail if it comes into conflict with local Hong Kong laws. Lau Siu-kai, vice chairman of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, a body that advises Beijing, said that the new law showed respect for Hong Kong’s common-law tradition and the independence of its judiciary. “Beijing is willing to entrust Hong Kong with the authority and powers to deal with national security,” Lau said, while adding that, “Of course, Beijing will reserve some powers.” There is virtually no doubt that the Chinese lawmakers — hand-picked by the party — will ultimately approve the legislation. Chinese rules say that draft laws should be discussed at three, perhaps two, lawmakers’ sessions before a vote. This was only the first time the lawmakers had discussed the proposed security law. Lau said that the legislation would be completed and put into law no later than the end of July. The Xinhua statement did not specify a schedule. Many experts say China will bring the national security legislation into force before September, when Hong Kong holds elections for its Legislative Council. Existing rules ensure that the council is dominated by lawmakers loyal to Beijing, but a minority of pro-democracy lawmakers has kept a foothold in it. Politicians in Hong Kong from both pro- and anti-government camps have said that the security law might be used to disqualify some opposition candidates from running in the elections. On Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signaled that the Trump administration would use the September elections to judge whether and by how much to reduce Hong Kong’s special access to U.S. markets. He and other administration officials have said that the planned security legislation shows that China no longer respects Hong Kong’s autonomy.
The San Juan Daily Star
Monday, June 22, 2020
Russians eat burgers in gloves. Should everyone?
Status-conscious fast-food joints across Eastern Europe have offered their diners disposable gloves for years and the idea may find a wider audience in the pandemic era. By ANTON TROIANOVSKI
hen you enter a home in Moscow, you take off your shoes. When you go to a play, you have to check your coat. When you eat a burger, you often wear gloves. Across hygiene-conscious Eastern Europe, many people consider it uncouth and unsanitary to eat a burger with their bare hands. The answer used to be a knife and fork. But the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated a years-old trend: order a burger from Kyiv, Ukraine, to Kamchatka — or in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn — and there is a fair chance it will come with a side of disposable gloves. Most often, the gloves are made of a synthetic, latex-free rubber called nitrile. At Black Star Burger, which launched the phenomenon in Moscow in 2016, the gloves on offer are black, individually wrapped in plastic packets. At Star Burger in Kyiv, they are green (or pink on Valentine’s Day). At Butterbro, a gastro pub in Minsk, Belarus, they come wrapped discreetly inside a napkin next to a serving dish made of the trunk of an ash tree. “Gloves, I think, are an unspoken, required attribute of any burger restaurant,” said Butterbro’s manager, Alina Volkolovskaya. “I’m surprised that establishments in
every country don’t offer them.” To visiting Americans, the practice always seemed odd, bordering on blasphemous. But when Moscow’s lockdown ended this month and I went out to celebrate, nervously, with a cheeseburger to go, it suddenly kind of made sense. I found a bench in the sun along a just-reopened boulevard promenade, unwrapped and balanced the burger on my lap, disgorged some hand sanitizer and rubbed vigorously. Then, imagining bits of virus still clinging to my hands, I for the first time pulled on those black nitrile gloves. “I don’t want to say I’m a genius,” Black Star Burger’s founder, Yuri Levitas, later told me, “but this really is a very convenient, practical thing.” In truth, the longer you eat, the weirder it feels. Your hands sweat, the sauce stuck on the gloves cools unpleasantly, and licking your fingers becomes an increasingly unappetizing proposition. I called George Motz, a New York hamburger specialist, and he insisted that gloves negate the “very tactile experience” of eating a burger. “Take the gloves off and get closer to your burger!” Motz said. “Part of the bite is the way you feel and touch it: You can feel the bun; you can feel the heat; you have a connection with what you’re about to taste.”
Several U.S. restaurant safety experts, however, were intrigued, having never heard of establishments providing diners with disposable gloves. They doubted the practice would take off in the United States — the coronavirus, after all, is not even known to spread through food — but some said that gloves used properly could help protect people who don’t wash their hands from a variety of germs. “They could be potentially beneficial,” said Robert Williams, an associate professor of food microbiology at Virginia Tech, “in cases where the customer would not have washed their hands anyway.” In Moscow, where the mayor ordered residents to wear gloves this spring as a coronavirus-mitigation measure, the number of restaurants serving burgers the American way is dwindling. The BB&Burgers chain serves them wrapped in parchment and sliced in half but is likely to start providing guests with gloves as well, a spokeswoman said. “We continue to believe that when you eat a burger, you should hold it with your hands and feel how the sauce sometimes flows down your hands,” said Valentin Mitrofanov, marketing director at the Burger Heroes chain. “But given the pandemic, some changes may of course have to be made.” Vanity, not health concerns, first propelled Eastern Europe’s gloves-and-burgers fad. Levitas of Black Star Burger recruited Timati, a Russian rap star close to the Kremlin, to lend a celebrity cachet to his new burger chain, which now has 67 locations across the former Soviet Union and one in Los Angeles. Timati touted the black gloves as Black Star Burger’s “most important knowhow” on his Instagram feed, amid the photos of surfboards and private jets. The gloves proved impervious to politics. A Kyiv restaurateur, Gennady Medvedev, said he had the idea to serve gloves with burgers independently of Black Star Burger in the years after he opened his Star Burger chain in the Ukrainian capital in early 2014 — during his country’s antiVladimir Putin revolution. “I don’t like to eat with my hands, especially burgers,” Medvedev said. “It was a way to broaden our audience to people like me who eat with a knife and fork.” The trend took off behind the former Iron Curtain as fancy burger places popped
up in a region unfamiliar with the dish before McDonald’s arrived in the 1990s. Alexander Monaenkov, a Moscow-born burgerbar owner in Prague, said he handed out gloves to evoke the refinement of whitegloved waiters in Michelin-star restaurants. Corina Enciu, a Moldovan-born restaurateur in Krakow, Poland, said she introduced gloves because her burger joint lacked a place for people to wash their hands. “Now, with the coronavirus, this will be even more in demand,” Enciu said. “People are afraid of this virus, and they will always use either gloves or hand sanitizer.” Gera Wise, a Kyiv-born cafe and nightclub owner in the Russian-speaking Brooklyn neighborhood of Brighton Beach, said his customers started asking for gloves after Timati started modeling them. Soon he had his waiters offering black gloves to anyone who ordered a burger. On weekend nights before the pandemic, Wise recalled, they were the perfect companion to the Russian rap blaring from the speakers. “It’s awesome to sit here, in gloves, eat burgers, see all this and be seen,” Wise said. “You feel like you’re in Moscow.” Motz, the burger expert, said he had only heard of burger places providing gloves in Poland and Russia. He doubts it will catch on in the United States even with heightened hygiene concerns because “Americans take their burger culture way too seriously.” Indeed, Williams of Virginia Tech said the concept of providing gloves to diners has not come up in any of his countless conversations with restaurants about adjusting to the pandemic. Gloves are not necessarily more hygienic than good hand-washing, the scholars noted, and they create waste. The process of restaurant staff repackaging the gloves and giving them to the customers represents another pathway by which germs can spread. People transmit the coronavirus mainly through the air, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said there is no evidence of the virus spreading through food or food packaging. “What I don’t want people to do is to be so paranoid about eating with gloves,” Donald Schaffner, a professor of food science at Rutgers, said, “that they forget that the overwhelming majority of the risk comes from other people.”
The San Juan Daily Star
Monday, June 22, 2020
Latin America’s virus villains: Corrupt officials collude with price gougers for body bags and flimsy masks By NATALIE KITROEFF and MITRA TAJ
f all the schemes that have siphoned resources from Latin American countries fighting the coronavirus, the body bag conspiracy might be the most brazen. Last month, prosecutors in Ecuador announced they had identified a criminal ring that had colluded with health officials to win a contract selling body bags to hospitals at 13 times the real price. Then, one of the men implicated, Daniel Salcedo, fled Ecuador in a small plane that crashed in Peru. Salcedo is now recovering in the custody of the Ecuador police. Even as Latin America has emerged as an epicenter of the pandemic, with deaths and infections soaring, efforts to contain the crisis have been undermined by a litany of corruption scandals. Dozens of public officials and local entrepreneurs stand accused of exploiting the crisis for personal enrichment by peddling influence to price-gouge hospitals and governments for medical supplies, including masks, sanitizer and ventilators. Some of the gear was so flawed that it was rendered useless — and may have contributed to even more sickness and death. “People are dying in the streets because the hospital system collapsed,” said Diana Salazar, Ecuador’s attorney general. “To profit from the pain of others, with all these people who are losing their loved ones, it’s immoral.” Investigations into fraud have reached the highest levels of government. The former Bolivian health minister is under house arrest awaiting trial on corruption charges after the ministry paid an intermediary millions more than the going rate for 170 ventilators — which didn’t even work properly. In Brazil, which has the second highest number of coronavirus deaths after the United States — and Friday surpassed 1 million reported cases — government officials in at least seven states are under investigation on suspicion of misusing more than $200 million in public funds during the crisis. In Colombia, the inspector general is investigating reports that more than 100 political campaign donors received lucrative contracts to provide emergency supplies
during the pandemic. Peru’s police chief and interior minister resigned after their subordinates bought diluted sanitizer and flimsy face masks for police officers, who then began dying of infections from the virus at alarming rates. Prosecutors are investigating links between police officials and the suppliers of the equipment to determine whether they colluded to defraud the government, according to Omar Tello, the head of anti-corruption investigators in the prosecutor’s office. When Peruvian prosecutors began to look into the purchase of protective gear this month, several boxes of evidence went missing at the headquarters of the police’s investigative crime unit in Lima. Police officers told authorities that several security cameras were not working the day they disappeared. Tello said the monitoring system appeared to have been manipulated, and prosecutors are working to extract images of people who removed the boxes. More than 11,000 police officers in Peru have been infected and 200 have died of the virus, according to the government, forcing the country to shutter some stations at least temporarily to contain outbreaks. The coronavirus is testing nations that were struggling with corruption long before confronting a global health emergency. Presidents in Brazil, Peru and Guatemala have been forced from office in cases of bribery and kickbacks over the years. But the pandemic has broadened the opportunities for public officials in Latin America to pilfer from state coffers, corruption experts say. Declaring a state of emergency, several countries suspended some regulations governing public contracts, paused in-person congressional sessions or did away with rules requiring them to respond to media requests for information. “You have the ideal conditions for doing whatever you want,” said Eduardo Bohorquez, director of Transparency International Mexico, an anti-corruption nonprofit group. “There is less transparency, less access to information and zero independent oversight from Congress.” The federal hospital system in Mexico gave back flawed ventilators that it had ordered from the son of the head of the federal electri-
city commission after a local watchdog group revealed that the government had agreed to pay 85% more than the cheapest option. Last month, an official within the Bolivian health ministry went to a Spanish company called IME Consulting to purchase 170 ventilators, even though another company was offering the machines for half the price. The Bolivian government agreed to pay IME Consulting about $28,000 per ventilator — three times the price that the original manufacturer said it charges for each machine. Shortly after the ventilators arrived, doctors began complaining that the machines were not suitable to treat seriously ill coronavirus patients. A lawyer for the former health minister, Marcelo Navajas, told reporters he was “totally and absolutely innocent” and that “there was absolutely no illegal or inappropriate action here.” Days before Salcedo’s botched escape from Ecuador, police officers raided the home of a former president, Abdalá Bucaram. They arrested him after having discovered an illegal firearm along with thousands of face masks and coronavirus tests. “Mr. Bucaram isn’t procedurally qualified as an importer or a vendor of medical
supplies,” said Salazar, the attorney general. She said prosecutors suspect that a criminal group including Salcedo, Bucaram and some of their family members have been overcharging hospitals for medical equipment since 2018. Last year, the attorney general said, they sold one hospital thousands of body bags for $148 each, even though they were only worth about $11. Salcedo “has been a vendor during the health emergency as well,” Salazar said. “Of course, he had to take advantage.” Salcedo’s brother, Noé, was caught this month trying to cross the border into Peru with $47,000 in cash — money that investigators believe was illicitly obtained — and he is now in jail. Prosecutors have issued arrest warrants for Michel and Dalo Bucaram, two of the former president’s sons. Until recently, Dalo Bucaram was staying at Salcedo’s house in Miami. Salcedo’s lawyer has said that her client is not involved in a corruption scheme and that the cash his brother was carrying came from a bank loan taken out by his parents. Bucaram, who is under house arrest, has denied the charges against him and said he faces “cowardly political persecution.”
A forensic investigator disinfecting a body bag holding the remains of a man who collapsed on the street and died from from the coronavirus last month in Quito, Ecuador.
Monday, June 22, 2020
A knock, then gone: Venezuela secretly detains hundreds to silence critics
A mural depicting, from left, Hugo Chavez, Simon Bolivar and President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas. By JULIE TURKEWITZ and ANATOLY KURMANAEV
crush of Venezuelan government agents entered the home brandishing guns but not a warrant, and took Ariana Granadillo away. Over the next week, they confined, beat, interrogated and nearly suffocated her, then let her go as abruptly as they had taken her in. While her sister searched for her for days, unable to pry any word from officials, her captors told Granadillo, then 21, that they were counterintelligence agents. She had “never, ever, ever, ever been involved in politics,” she said in an interview, but she soon learned that her ordeal was not unusual. Secret detentions, known under international law as “forced disappearances,” are playing a critical role in the Venezuelan government’s increasingly authoritarian efforts to control its population, discourage dissent and punish opponents, according to a new report by two human rights groups, provided exclusively to The New York Times. The report, made public on Friday, documents 200 such cases in 2018 and 524 last year, a jump it attributed to increased protests as Venezuela endured successive political and economic crises, and the government’s repressive responses. It was produced by Foro Penal, a Venezuelan group that meticulously tracks the cases and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, a nonprofit organization based in
Washington, D.C. Investigators documented many kidnappings in which authorities arrived in unmarked cars, presented neither identification nor warrants, confiscated cellphones and computers, and said little as they cuffed and hooded people. More than 20% of the victims reported being tortured while held captive. Using international law as a guide, the groups defined forced disappearance as a detention lasting two days or more that, unlike an ordinary arrest, included state denial of any information about a person’s whereabouts. The report adds to an already large body of evidence of human rights violations committed by President Nicolás Maduro and his allies, including widespread reports of torture and an assessment by the United Nations that Venezuelan security forces have committed thousands of extrajudicial killings. The government did not respond to a letter seeking comment. Forced disappearances are considered by international law to be a crime against humanity if they are proven to be systematic. The authors of the Venezuela report call the practice “one of the most serious and cruel violations of human rights” because it places victims “in a state of absolute helplessness.” The tactic is reminiscent of the rightwing Latin American dictatorships that Maduro and his predecessor, Hugo Chávez, long opposed. Argentina and Chile were infamous for secretly detaining — and often murdering
— people in the 1970s and 1980s. In Venezuela, the new analysis found, the average disappearance lasted just over five days, suggesting the government sought to instill fear while avoiding the scrutiny that might accompany large-scale, long-term detentions. The motives behind disappearances appeared to vary, according to interviews conducted by Foro Penal, including extraction of information, silencing dissidents or temporarily removing political opponents from the public sphere. Last year, 49 people disappeared following what the report called “protests due to failures in basic services,” like water or electricity. The Maduro government may also be using women like Granadillo as bargaining chips, sometimes seizing female loved ones in an attempt to terrorize male targets. Her only apparent offense, Granadillo said, was that her father’s second cousin was a colonel whom the government viewed as a political opponent. Granadillo, a medical student, was abducted for the first time in February 2018, when she was living at the colonel’s home outside Caracas, near the hospital where she was about to begin an internship. The agents who burst in demanded that she and a cousin go with them for questioning, loaded her into a white car, handcuffed her and “let us know that from that point they were the owners of our lives,” she said. They led her, blinded by a hood, into a building pulsing with loud music, pushed her into a bathroom and threatened her with a knife, questioning her about the colonel’s location. She and her cousin spent the night there, forced to relieve themselves in front of a captor. “At some points,” she said, “we could hear the screams of other people who were evidently being tortured.” The next day, agents forced her to sign a document “where we promised not to divulge all the abuse” and let her go. Two days later, she began her internship, determined to finish medical school. But three months later, the agents returned — this time in the morning, while she lay in bed. They loaded Granadillo and her parents into a plate-less taxi with darkened windows, tied their hands, pulled the hoods over their faces and took them to another house. After being interrogated and struck, she said, she spent the night in a cell below the stairs. The next day, agents gave her water and
a bit of food and “stressed that no one even knew that we had been kidnapped,” she said. At times she could hear the agents beating and questioning her father. After a week, officials dropped Granadillo and her parents on a roadside in Caracas, the capital, she said. They eventually fled the country and now live in a small town in Colombia. Without her academic records, she has not been able to resume her medical training. Many of her friends in Venezuela have distanced themselves, fearful of government retaliation. She is 23 and forever changed, she said, scared of door knocks, constantly anxious, fighting a deep depression. She misses “the innocence I had before all this happened,” she said. “Because I discovered an evil in human beings that I did not know existed.” Maduro has come full circle from his student days as an activist denouncing human rights violations by Venezuela’s pro-American governments during the Cold War. When his mentor, Chávez, swept to power in 1999, the new left-wing government promised to do away with the abuses of the previous system and create an equal and democratic society. Instead, Chávez jailed opponents selectively to neutralize rivals and consolidate power. This targeted persecution gave way to systematic use of repression and fear, human rights advocates say, after Chávez died in 2013 and Maduro took power. And, according to the new report, forced disappearances became tools to weaken rivals like Gilber Caro, a charismatic opposition lawmaker. Security forces have jailed him three times since early 2017, despite his parliamentary immunity. Caro has been held for a total of nearly two years in jail, often in locations unknown to his family or lawyers, without being convicted of any crime. In the brief periods of freedom between disappearances, Caro told friends about the torture and abuse at the hands of security forces, and carried on with his social work and parliamentary duties. He remains in jail pending trial. The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances has asked the Venezuelan government to allow its members to visit and assess the country’s use of the practice. “We’re waiting,” said Bernard Duhaime, a member of the group, “for them to let us in.”
The San Juan Daily Star
Monday, June 22, 2020
China’s man in Washington, named Trump By NICHOLAS KRISTOF
obody has been tougher on China than me,” President Donald Trump has declared repeatedly, and he is trying to exploit anti-China feelings for his re-election. He portrays Joe Biden as soft on China, and his backers have run ads denouncing “Beijing Biden.” All that is preposterous, for it is Trump who has been China’s stooge, a sycophantic flatterer and enabler of President Xi Jinping. If that wasn’t already evident, John Bolton’s new book, “The Room Where It Happened,” portrays Trump as practically kowtowing to Xi. The kowtow meant prostrating oneself before the emperor or a patriarch and knocking one’s head on the ground. Today it takes the form of a fawning American president publicly declaring, “President Xi loves the people of China” and hailing Xi’s “very capable” handling of the coronavirus. I’ve been gasping as I read an advance copy of Bolton’s book, particularly his chapter on relations with China, because China policy perfectly captures Trump’s soaring hypocrisy wrapped in venal incompetence. The passage in the book that got the most attention concerns a telephone conversation between Trump and Xi last year. “He [Trump] then, stunningly, turned the conversation to the coming U.S. presidential election, alluding to China’s economic capability to affect the ongoing campaigns, pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win,” Bolton writes. The government clearance process redacted Trump’s exact words, but Vanity Fair says he told Xi, “Make sure I win.” Yet perhaps what troubles me even more is Trump’s kowtowing to China’s human rights abuses to win favor with Xi. “On June 4, the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, Trump refused to issue a White House statement,” Bolton writes, quoting Trump as saying, “Who cares about it?” Xi has imprisoned some 1 million Muslims in modern concentration camps in the Xinjiang region, in what may be the largest internment of people based on religious categories since the Holocaust. “Xi explained to Trump why he was basically building concentration camps in Xinjiang,” Bolton writes. “According to our interpreter, Trump said that Xi should go ahead with building the camps, which he thought was exactly the right thing to do.” Trump has also largely abandoned two Canadian citizens whom China has imprisoned as hostages to
States is actually bolstering Xi’s regime. In other words, Trump seems to be doing his utmost to make a country great again. It’s just not America. More proof that I have the best readers. In April I used my column to announce an effort to raise funds for five great organizations working at home and abroad to respond to the coronavirus, and my readers have now donated a total of $5.8 million to the effort. Here’s how the 10,200 donors have allocated the money: $1.67 million to Catalyst Kitchens, which provides meals for the hungry in the United States; $1.38 million to the Center for American Indian Health President Xi Jinping of China with President Trump in at Johns Hopkins University, which supports the virus Beijing in 2017. response in Native American communities in the United States; $1.1 million to Water for People, which installs try to prevent Canada from extraditing a prominent water systems at schools and clinics abroad so people businesswoman, Meng Wanzhou, to the United States. can wash their hands; $826,000 to the International The United States should stand with Canada to end Rescue Committee, supporting displaced people around such hostage-taking; instead, Trump has validated it by the world; and $788,000 to Save the Children, helping suggesting that he can interfere with the legal process out-of-school kids here in the United States. to solve problems. wAnd if you haven’t donated yet, you still can at Trump has denied making some of these com- KristofC19ImpactInitiative.org. ments, but then again Trump has made more than 19,000 false or misleading statements since assuming the presidency, by the count of The Washington Post. Moreover, the White House’s main objection to Bolton’s book is that it publishes classified information — and statements are considered classified only if they are true. The White House thus provides backdoor confirmation PO BOX 6537 Caguas PR 00726 of the book’s general truthfulness. Telephones: (787) 743-3346 • (787) 743-6537 It has always been ludicrous for the Trump (787) 743-5606 • Fax (787) 743-5100 campaign to denounce “Beijing Biden,” when Trump publicly lavishes more affection on Xi than on Melania. “President Xi is extremely capable,” is “strong, sharp and powerfully focused,” is “doing a very good job” and is “a man who truly loves his country,” Trump has said on various occasions this year alone. My own view as a China-watcher who lived for Publisher years in Beijing is that we should stand up to Xi where we need to — while also negotiating on trade and seeking Manuel Sierra Ray Ruiz ways to cooperate on climate change, pandemics and General Manager Legal Notice Director more. Trump does the opposite: He bungles trade and María de L. Márquez Sharon Ramírez achieves nothing there, fails to cooperate on climate or Business Director Legal Notices Graphics Manager health, damages America’s alliances and ignores Xi’s worst abuses, all while flattering Xi in apparent hopes R. Mariani Elsa Velázquez of getting re-election help. Circulation Director Reporter A joke in China suggests that Trump’s Chinese Lisette Martínez María Rivera name is Chuan Jianguo, or “Build-the-Country Trump.” Advertising Agency Director Graphic Artist Manager That’s because Build-the-Country is a common revolutionary name among Communist patriots, and it’s mockingly suggested that Trump’s misrule of the United
Dr. Ricardo Angulo
Monday, June 22, 2020
The San Juan Daily Star
NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL
Trump the Troglodyte
There are leaders who are ahead of their times, leaders who are behind their times, and then there’s Donald Trump, who comes from another time altogether. By FRANK BRUNI
here are leaders who are ahead of their times, leaders who are behind their times, and then there’s Donald Trump, who comes from another time altogether. He’s stuck somewhere closer to the Stone Age than to Stonewall. And the Supreme Court just told him so. In a 6-3 decision, the justices ruled on Monday that gay and transgender people are protected by a landmark federal civil rights law. It was a stunning milestone in LGBTQ progress. It was also a major slap at Trump, whose administration has gone perversely far out of its way not merely to halt advances during the Obama years but to turn back the clock. The court, even with two Trump appointees, moves with the illuminated society around it. Trump just grovels before his blinkered base. And while Trump is often clueless about public opinion, the court seems to be at least loosely tethered to it, as with a 5-4 ruling on Thursday that nixed his intended scuttling of a program that protected immigrants known as Dreamers from deportation. In some polling, about three-quarters of Americans support that program. “Do you get the impression that the Supreme Court doesn’t like me?” Trump tweeted just after the immigration decision was handed down. I merely get the impression that a majority of the justices are sane. It’s one of the great riddles of Trump’s presidency: how a man so spectacularly out of touch and out of sync with so many Americans could wind up ruling over us. And
he falls further out of touch and more clangorously out of sync by the second. While the rest of the country graduates from “Gone With the Wind” to “12 Years a Slave,” Trump clings to Tara tighter than Scarlett ever did. While the NFL finally blesses many players’ desire to kneel during the national anthem, Trump still curses it. While Juneteenth lodges ever deeper in the national consciousness — and has been mentioned, annually, in official White House statements — Trump has to have a black Secret Service agent explain it to him, as Michael Bender of The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. “Sleepy” Joe Biden? Trump, in the midst of a great “awokening,” is Rip Van Winkle. And should he ever be roused from his culturally oblivious snooze, he’ll want meatloaf for lunch and a well-done steak for dinner. He’s an impossibly beefy man in an Impossible Burger world. No president’s agenda and sensibility are in perfect tune with the country’s mood and the cultural zeitgeist, but Trump’s discordance is earsplitting. As Americans came to depend on Obamacare, Trump came to kill it. As Americans grew receptive to restrictions on firearms, Trump grew submissive to the NRA. As Americans focused on climate change, Trump ramped up offshore drilling. He thinks that taking the contrary position makes him courageous, when really it just makes him obtuse. He’s an imagination-starved anachronism in visionary drag. In fact I have a new theory for why he chose the running mate he did. Mike Pence, who calls his wife, Karen, “Mother,” was one of the few men in America who made Trump look positively postmodern. And that damned wall of Trump’s, the wretched hallucination at the center of his political identity? Poll after poll show that most Americans don’t want it — not if Mexico pays for it, not if Martians pay for it, not if Trump, Pence and Javanka put on coveralls and build the monstrosity themselves. (Actually — correction — I suspect that most Americans would back that last scenario, and by a lopsided margin if Stephen Miller and Betsy DeVos joined the work crew.) You would think that a man so unreflective of his country could never command the affections and approval of a majority of its people. And you’d be right. Trump is the product and emblem of minority rule, the ridiculously lucky beneficiary of ridiculous political circumstances. Almost 3 million fewer Americans cast ballots for him than for Hillary Clinton; he received 46% of the popular vote. But thanks to the exigencies of the Electoral College, he won the presidency nonetheless. Most candidates — and presidents — start to sweat when their approval rating dips below 50%. Trump does a jig when his gets anywhere close to it. The Republican Senate majority that saved his presi-
dency by acquitting him during his impeachment trial is, like him, a seriously warped mirror of the country. Republicans control the chamber not because, in aggregate, they get more votes in Senate elections. They control it because its architecture privileges less populous states, many of which lean Republican. With the advent of the coronavirus pandemic, Trump’s clash with his own country intensified. He sporadically bristled at and raged about social lockdowns and other such cautionary measures even as most Americans supported them. His view of recent anti-racism protests, his language about police brutality and some of his stubborn positions in regard to racial justice go against increasingly powerful currents in America, where a majority of people now embrace the Black Lives Matter movement. His refusal to rename military bases that pay tribute to men who fought for the Confederacy goes against even military leaders. And on gay rights? He’s a study in regression. He went from shouting out LGBTQ Americans at the Republican National Convention in 2016 (a slightly misunderstood speech, as I previously explained) to smacking us down ever since. His administration has packed federal courts with judges hostile to gay rights. It has barred transgender Americans from enlisting in military service. It has backed Americans who, citing religious beliefs, don’t want to give LGBTQ Americans medical care or bake us a cake. Last June, when several U.S. embassies requested permission to fly the rainbow flag in honor of Gay Pride, the State Department said no. In the days just before the Supreme Court’s historic ruling on Monday, the Trump administration reversed an Obama-administration rule prohibiting discrimination against transgender people in health care. And it is the administration’s position — reiterated before the Supreme Court — that federal civil rights laws don’t and shouldn’t prevent a gay or lesbian employee from being fired on the basis of sexual orientation. The court begged to differ. But then so do Americans — by a really big margin. According to a recent CBS poll, 82% of them didn’t think it should be legal to fire someone for being gay. That included 71% of Republicans who held that position. One lesson of all of the discrepancies between public opinion and Trump’s opinion is that if a president persuades Americans that he (or, someday soon, she) is successfully managing the economy, there’s a lot of wiggle room to be both tyrant and troglodyte. Another, as I mentioned earlier, is that the system is at least sort of broken. A third is that Trump traveled toward his presidential destiny not via that oft-cited escalator in Trump Tower but via a time machine. I hope he kept the batteries charged, so it’s ready, after November, to return him to the past.
The San Juan Daily Star
Monday, June 22, 2020
Depto. de Educación y Fundación Kinesis crearán salones de educación a distancia para acceso universitario Por THE STAR ampliar el acceso de estudiantes a información de Pcas,aracarreras universitarias, de becas y ayudas económiel secretario de Educación, Eligio Hernández Pérez,
anunció hoy un acuerdo colaborativo con la Fundación Kinesis que creará diez Salones de Educación a Distancia (SED) en distintas zonas de la isla. “Seguimos buscando herramientas que ayuden a ampliar el acceso universitario a nuestros jóvenes. Aunque al momento no hay una determinación final para el modelo de regreso a clases en agosto, porque está en discusión con los gremios, continuamos ofreciendo alternativas para que los alumnos continúen desarrollándose académicamente. Kinesis brinda talleres, información importante sobre becas y otros ofrecimientos que pueden ser crucial a la hora de elegir una carrera universitaria. Queremos que nuestros alumnos tengan varias opciones y estén orientados para su futuro”, expresó Hernández Pérez. Cada SED contará con equipo necesario para que la población estudiantil, de octavo grado en adelante, puedan participar de talleres exclusivos sobre temas de acceso universitario. Cada alumno tendrá una cuenta personal, por lo que podrá acceder a los talleres en cualquier momento. Cerca de 9 mil estudiantes se beneficiarán de este acuerdo que no representa costo para el Departamento de Educación (DE). Kinesis instalará computadora, mouse, teclado, cámara web, impresora, proyector, micrófonos con bocinas integradas, pantalla de proyección y un monitor LED en cada SED. Estos espacios serán ubicados en escuelas superiores -una por municipio- de Arroyo, Patillas, Maunabo, Jayuya, Adjuntas, Ciales, Florida, Luquillo, Ceiba y Comerío. Se espera que los salones estén listos para el inicio del próximo semestre escolar, independientemente el regreso a clases sea presencial, en línea o una combinación. Por su parte, el presidente y fundador de la Fundación Kinesis, José E. Fernández Bjerg, indicó que “en estos momentos de cambios, se hace imprescindible el que todos redoblemos esfuerzos en beneficio de la edu-
cación y el futuro de nuestros estudiantes, como garantía de nuestro futuro como País. El que podamos ser parte de esta alianza y de la vida de 9 mil estudiantes que podrán encaminarse a través de la tecnología hacia lo que será su futura carrera universitaria y profesional, es para nosotros un gran honor, tal cual es nuestra misión día a día en Fundación Kinesis”.
El DE designará a un encargado que será responsable del manejo del equipo e informará y asegurará la participación estudiantil; mientras, la facultad documentará las actividades de los alumnos. A través de una propuesta federal por el Departamento de Agricultura Federal (USDA, por sus siglas en inglés), la Fundación Kinesis donará el equipo al DE.
Asociación de Policías respalda concejal del Bronx Rubén Díaz para sustituir a congresista José Serrano Por THE STAR l presidente de la Asociación de Miembros de la PoliEpúblicamente cía de Puerto Rico, José J. Taboada de Jesús respaldó las aspiraciones del concejal del Bronx, Rev. Rubén Díaz, a quién las encuestas dan por vencedor para convertirse en el sustituto del Congresista José Serrano. “El concejal Rev. Rubén Díaz, natural de Bayamón cuenta con el respaldo de la mayoría de las organizaciones policiales de Nueva York, entre ellas “The Police Benevolent Association”, la organización de policías más grande de la ciudad. Nosotros hacemos claro que respaldamos sus aspiraciones para el Congreso y exhortamos a todos los “boricuas” e hispanos en el Condado del Bronx de Nueva York, para que acudan el próximo martes, 23 de junio a votar por quién ha sido primero Senador Estatal y ahora concejal representando al Bronx. Conocemos las ejecutorias del Rev.
Rubén Díaz, su desvelo por la gente del Bronx, identificado como el Condado de mayor concentración poblacional en Estados Unidos. El bayamonés aspirante al Congreso tiene
mucho respaldo y ha ganado las últimas elecciones por una ventaja abismal”, señaló José J. Taboada de Jesús, presidente de la Asociación de Miembros de la Policía de Puerto Rico. El exalcalde de Bayamón, Ramón Luis Rivera (padre), respaldó también a Díaz para al Congreso Como se recordará, el ahora concejal de Bronx Rev. Rubén Díaz recibió el respaldo del ex alcalde de Bayamón, Ramón Luis Rivera (padre), quien lo describió como “un hijo digno representante de Bayamón, trabajador, honrado y dedicado por los suyos en el Condado del Bronx”. “El próximo martes, 23 de junio una delegación de policías de Puerto Rico viajará al Bronx para estar con el Rev. Rubén Díaz y apoyarlo todo el día durante el proceso de la votación. No hay duda que tendremos otro Congresista “boricua”, que apoya una mayor participación de Estados Unidos en ayudas para Puerto Rico”, dijo José J. Taboada de Jesús.
Monday, June 22, 2020
The San Juan Daily Star
‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ imagines a world free of whiteness By MAYA PHILLIPS
But it’s the magical “bending,” so named to describe how its wielders manipulate, tease and nyone unfamiliar with “Avatar: The Last strong-arm their element into submission, that is Airbender,” the animated adventure sethe most entrancing adaptation of Eastern culturries that ran on Nickelodeon from 2005 to al traditions. Each bending style is inspired by a 2008, was probably surprised by the buzz that classic Chinese martial art, which the show’s creators developed under the direction of a martial greeted its arrival on Netflix last month. arts consultant. The flighty, variable and evasive It was the most-watched show on the service for days, and became a trending topic on air-bending of Aang resembles Baguazhang; the Twitter as long-simmering debates about the sesoft, fluid water-bending takes cues from tai chi; ries (Who wins the title as the avatar GOAT: Aang earth-bending, with its stability and immovable or Korra?) were reignited, funny GIFs were crestances, is grounded in hung gar; and the fierce, ated, hashtags were shared. aggressive fire-bending style is adapted from But “Avatar” always stood out; I dipped into Northern Shaolin kung fu. it years ago, during its original run, drawn in durAang is corrected by his masters as he ing the marathon blocks of the show Nickelodeon learns: He must deepen his stance or turn his arm sometimes aired in the afternoons. Its allure was just so; he must clear his mind and direct the energy through him. Movement is key; the citizens its visual proximity to the anime series I loved, but of each nation move differently, so movement is it was also endlessly bingeable. Not simply a series of short episodic adventures, “Avatar” was an linked to culture, a national disposition, a history invitation to immerse yourself in an epic journey within the narrative and a larger, real-life context, with conflicts, characters and long-running jokes of the cultures and traditions that inform these fictional styles. (like the misfortunes of an unlucky cabbage vendor, a fan favorite) that built on what came before. DiMartino and Konietzko’s admiration for Created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Eastern culture surfaces throughout the series, a Bryan Konietzko, “Avatar” is set in an Asiatic world loving pastiche of allusions and inspirations: anime, Kung Fu flicks, world mythologies, Native comprising four nations that are each defined by tribes, Studio Ghibli films. In one episode, when a single natural element — earth, fire, water and Aang is plagued by a series of nightmares about air — and gifted citizens known as “benders” who his imminent faceoff with the fire lord, the animaare able to manipulate the elements of their homelands. This world is menaced by the Fire Nation, tion playfully morphs to mimic that of other famous anime series, like “Dragon Ball Z.” ruled by a totalitarian regime that attacks, exploits “Avatar” managed to embrace all of the and oppresses the other lands. In “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” Aang, a 12-year-old air-bending monk, The only one who can bring balance to the travels the world with a water-bender named Katara and her brother, above while also conscientiously navigating the world is the Avatar, who in the lore of the story Sokka. tricky minefield of cultural appropriation. The is reborn as a different member of the four nawriters were mindful of any inadvertent links the tions during each lifetime and has the ability to show might make between one of the fictional insects, dense Amazonian forests, upside-down temples master all four elements. In the series the Avatar is a pre- carved into the sides of cliffs, a vast desert hiding a Bor- nations and real Asian countries. Designs and artwork cocious 12-year-old air-bending monk named Aang, who gesian library of limitless knowledge, and even a mystical more explicitly based on those of actual countries were reappears, after a hundred years trapped in a state of hi- island on the back of an ancient beast. Though the creators reworked so as to avoid any negative inferences that could bernation, to complete his bending training and defeat the were inspired by Anglocentric world-building franchises come with the association. The show also brought in Edmegalomaniacal fire lord. like “Lord of the Rings,” “Star Wars” and “Harry Potter,” win Zane, the former vice president of the Media Action Aang teams up with two members of the Southern the cultures, philosophies and aesthetics of “Avatar” were Network for Asian Americans, as a consultant to make sure questions of cultural sensitivity would be addressed. Water Tribe, a water-bender named Katara and her brother, influenced almost exclusively by Asian traditions. After all, “Avatar” is unique in its approach to worldSokka, and travels the world in search of masters of the In order to master the elements, Aang draws from leselements, while also having side adventures, thwarting Fire sons based on the principle of yin and yang and the work- building. The show could have easily placed its world Nation troops and evading the fire lord’s son, Zuko, who ings of chakras, and his values are borrowed from Eastern in proximity to whiteness by having the four nations be has a Captain Ahab-esque obsession with defeating the Av- belief systems like Buddhism. (Aang promotes peace, a just one part of a larger landscape still occupied by white atar. Meanwhile, secondary characters reappear through- respect for all life, and is a reincarnation of previous ava- people, so that even if the story starred Asian characters, out the series to help Aang and his friends prepare for a tars.) The fashions and music were inspired by Chinese and whiteness would still be a prominent feature. Instead, the final war against the Fire Nation, to bring harmony back to Japanese styles, and many of the grand vistas and archi- show built a world with its own history and culture outthe four nations. tectural models in the series, like the impenetrable city of side of that, where the characters seem, by default, Asian The world of the show is expansive and fanciful — Ba Sing Se, were inspired by real-world sites like China’s and view life through an Eastern lens rather than a white Western one. with rocky terrains, formidable canyons full of oversized Great Wall and Forbidden City.
The San Juan Daily Star
Monday, June 22, 2020
Top essential black liberation Jazz tracks By MARCUS MOORE
n the late 1960s, as Black Americans fought for equal rights, music started to reflect their calls to action. Nina Simone wondered what real freedom felt like, and James Brown encouraged Black people to proudly proclaim their race. While Black music has always been a refuge, these songs expressed a new way of thinking, combating racism with unflinching pride. Jazz musicians including Ornette Coleman, Sun Ra and John Coltrane also sought transcendence with their art, and through shrieking horns and deconstructed rhythms, they set forth a new wave of energy music. It was called free jazz, a loose, improvised blend less tied to structure, and its creation has been credited to Coleman, who started playing these frenetic arrangements on a white plastic saxophone in 1959. The music, and its focus, evolved over the next decade: Sun Ra believed that Black people would never find peace on Earth and should live on other planets. Coltrane, through his saxophone, blew shrill notes to summon higher powers. Some jazz purists weren’t thrilled with this “new thing.” Still, the music persisted. Through Alice Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp and others, free jazz started tapping into Black consciousness, and songs like “Journey in Satchidananda” and “The Creator Has a Master Plan” helped listeners escape the despair of everyday life. In 2015, when America was in peril once again — unarmed Black people were being killed by the police at an alarming rate, and the country’s ideological divides grew wider in the run-up to the presidential election — the music responded in kind. In December 2014, R&B singer D’Angelo released “Black Messiah,” his most political album to date, and the following March, Kendrick Lamar put out “To Pimp a Butterfly,” an avant-rap album that embraced free jazz. Two months later, saxophonist Kamasi Washington, a major contributor on “Butterfly,” released his own bold statement — a three-hour jazz album called “The Epic” — which, through its collection of big band, funk, spiritual music, gospel fusion and R&B, was meant to heal a new generation of Black people fighting against overt oppression. Suddenly, jazz was cool again, and acts like Shabaka & the Ancestors and Irreversible Entanglements continue pushing forward. To understand where Black liberation jazz may head next, it’s helpful to listen to where it’s been. Here are 12 essential songs from the late 1960s and ’70s when the subgenre was just being established — a list that highlights tracks that were considered underground. Sonny Sharrock, ‘Black Woman’ (1969) The title track of guitarist Sonny Sharrock’s debut album was meant to convey the paralyzing stress felt by Black women every day in this country. For much of the song, Sharrock’s wife — experimental vocalist Linda Sharrock — emits primal screams, as the intensity of Sonny’s rapid guitar chords grows more riotous. The track might be jarring, but it effectively captures the pain of being treated as subhuman. Hal Singer, ‘Malcolm X’ (1971) “Malcolm X” is a standout from tenor saxophonist Hal Singer’s album “Blues and News,” which was released only in France. Singer is from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and was 2 when the Tulsa massacre took place in his Greenwood community. “Malcolm X” pays homage to the civil rights leader through
As black Americans fought for equal rights in the 1960s, music reflected their calls to action, and in jazz, that meant sounds that were spiritual, boundary-pushing and celebrated blackness. stacked drums, staggered piano chords and Singer’s billowing saxophone solo in a meditative mix of jazz and soul — a rightful nod to the historical figure. Mtume Umoja Ensemble, ‘Baba Hengates’ (1972) Long before James Mtume was known for the hit song “Juicy Fruit” in 1983, he led a jazz ensemble in the early ’70s and released “Alkebu-Lan: Land of the Blacks” on Strata-East Records. The album, Mtume declared on the opening “Invocation,” was a “humble offering to the unity of the entire Black nation.” The bandleader also denounced the term “jazz” — rather, he said, the album was Black music, pure and unfiltered. Pharoah Sanders, ‘Izipho Zam’ (1973) The concluding track of Sanders’ “Izipho Zam (My Gifts)” is a sprawling 28-minute collage of West African percussion, meditative chants and Sanders’ screeching saxophone. Around the 15-minute mark, the arrangement settles into a hypnotic drum break that still sounds incredibly fresh and modern, 47 years after its release. Roy Brooks and the Artistic Truth, ‘The Last Prophet’ (1973) Recorded live at Small’s Paradise nightclub in Harlem, Roy Brooks’ “Ethnic Expressions” is a capital-B Black record, from its red, black and green cover art to the deep threads of soul and funk captured on the LP. When Brooks was a bandleader, his music always took on an Afrocentric slant. Before this album, he released a project called “The Free Slave” in 1970. Four years later, he put out another live set, “Black Survival: The Sahel Concert at Town Hall.” Each album was constructed to highlight the profound beauty of Blackness, where his people didn’t have to be extraordinary, they could just be. Sun Ra, ‘Space Is the Place’ (1973) Sun Ra’s music also centered on the beauty of Blackness, yet the experimental bandleader took it a step further, suggesting that Black people, subjected to centuries of torment and discrimination, should just leave the planet altogether. Thus “Space Is the Place,” the place being somewhere in the universe where Black people can truly be free. Sun Ra conveyed this through a polyrhythmic jumble of horns, synthesizers, piano chords and drums. There was a method to the chaos.
Beneath the cacophony was vocalist June Tyson, who offered the song’s lasting takeaway: “There’s no limit to the things that you can do.” The Descendants of Mike and Phoebe, ‘Coltrane’ (1974) It’s easy to think a song titled “Coltrane” would be about John, but the composition feels more like an ode to Alice, the saxophonist’s spiritually centered wife. Composed by Bill Lee (Spike Lee’s father), the arrangement takes cues from Alice’s “Journey in Satchidananda” as a mystical jazz opus with strong transcendental power. The Ensemble Al-Salaam, ‘Malika’ (1974) Much of the Ensemble Al-Salaam’s 1974 album, “The Sojourner,” is a high-wire act: gospel-infused jazz meant to ignite the soul. “Malika” starts with a brief drum solo by Andrei Strobert, then bursts into a whirl of scatting (Beatrice Parker), surging electric bass (Leroy Seals), and saxophone (Khaliq Abdul Al Rouf), as if the band members are racing to keep up with one another. Though the track masterfully rouses the spirit, it could also score a car-chase scene. World’s Experience Orchestra, ‘The Prayer’ (1975) The spiritual jazz ensemble World’s Experience Orchestra recorded its album “Beginning of a New Birth” in the basement of a Boston church, and its concluding song is a 14-minute suite of meditative chants and choral moans. On the surface, it plays like a gospel song, but it was meant to soothe a nation of Black people doing their best to persevere. “The Prayer” was remarkably tranquil, a needed respite from societal strife. Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson, ‘The Liberation Song (Red, Black and Green)’ (1975) Gil Scott-Heron threw the gauntlet in the early ’70s when, on his most famous song, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” he warned listeners of a pending uprising — at some point in time. There’d be no running from it, he said, “the revolution will be live.” His anthemic “The Liberation Song (Red, Black and Green)” with Brian Jackson also rings true now. “I see the Blackness of my people,” sang vocalist Victor Brown. “You know they’re calling for freedom everywhere.” Brother Ah, ‘Transcendental March (Creation Song)’ (1975) It’s a song about awakening and staring down fear, even as the unknown lurks around the corner. “I am not afraid,” a poet repeats with conviction. “I am not afraid.” Brother Ah’s second album was more straightforward than his 1972 debut, “Sound Awareness,” yet its convergence of African folk, traditional jazz and Indian rhythms was still quite ambitious. And while “Transcendental March” was the album’s most accessible song, it was still very much Brother Ah (who died in May): contemplative, otherworldly and enlightening. Oneness of Juju, ‘African Rhythms’ (1975) In the early ’70s, the bandleader James “Plunky” Branch spent time as an activist, learning more about the struggles of Black people worldwide, not just in the United States. His first band, Juju, made avant-garde jazz meant to highlight the brutal inequalities created by apartheid in South Africa. Once he resettled in his hometown of Richmond, Virginia, Branch formed a new band — Oneness of Juju — and created a more accessible blend of jazz, Southern R&B and polyrhythmic dance. The meaning didn’t change, but in making the sound more palatable, he brought the spirit of Africa to a brand-new audience.
Monday, June 22, 2020
The San Juan Daily Star
Socially distanced travel? Consider renting an RV By ELAINE GLUSAC
ince selling their home in Fort Collins, Colorado, in September 2018, Tom and Mona Mesereau have logged 18,000 miles through 30 states in their 32-foot Class A recreational vehicle, running their public relations business from the road. “Starting out in an RV is a little like moving into a new house,” Tom wrote in an email, listing tasks such as hooking up to power and water sources. “It is somewhat daunting at first, but it gets easy quickly. After the first couple of times setting up and breaking down, your trip will just get better.” That’s some encouragement for the anticipated surge of new RV travelers who are turning to these homes on wheels as a way to travel safely and maintain social distancing. RV rental companies are reporting huge increases in summer bookings after the industry virtually shut down because of pandemic-related travel restrictions. Although many states were still locked down in May, Airstream, the retro trailer brand, saw retail sales climb 11% compared to last year. RVshare, an RV sharing site, said the number of days booked via its site has more than doubled yearto-date compared with last year. “When you rent an RV, you’re getting a rental car, hotel and more direct access to where you want to go,” said Jon Gray, the chief executive of RVshare. You also usually get a private bathroom, which is helping drive interest in RVs, according to a survey of 4,500 households in the United States and Canada by the private campground company Kampgrounds of America. About half of respondents said having a private bathroom in a cabin or RV was very important. With borders in the United States and Canada closed to foreigners, predicting traffic is tricky. Pre-pandemic, about 40% of bookings at Cruise America, the largest RV rental company on the continent, with nearly 5,000 vehicles, was international, largely from Europe. Business remains down because of international falloff, but if present trends continue, the company expects to sell out of its RV rentals by the end of summer. “Right now, domestic demand is through the roof,” said Randall Smalley II, the assistant vice president of global marketing and business development at Cruise America. “We’re fortunate to provide vehicles that offer control of your vacation.” Rent a vehicle or share one Since buying an RV can set you back anywhere from $10,000 to $300,000, it makes sense to rent. Rental options range from companies that own their rooms on wheels, like Cruise America, or marketplace platforms like RVshare and Outdoorsy where you can find someone else’s RV to rent. “RVshare brings together two groups that make sense: People who want to go on an RV trip but don’t own one and people who have one parked in their driveway 50 weeks a year,” said Gray. “In a world where social distancing is at a premium, the ability to take your bathroom and sleeping arrangements with you positions RVs very nicely.” At Outdoorsy, where it’s easy to find vintage, pet-friendly or budget vehicles, the owners of its roughly 200,000 vehicles on the site offer local travel advice. “They are bringing great recommendations to the table,” said Jen Young, the co-founder of Outdoorsy. “That’s going to become important as people focus on in-state and local travel to have that
Recreational vehicles were gaining in popularity before the coronavirus pandemic, but now, with travel restrictions loosening, a surge of travelers is drawn to the relative solitude that RVs offer. expertise spread across the country.” Like booking through Airbnb or other peer-to-peer sites, the platforms work as marketplaces for renters to meet owners and they don’t oversee the cleaning of the vehicles. To address the hygiene issue associated with the sharing economy — borrowing a vehicle with someone else’s germs — Outdoorsy is encouraging owners to let their vehicles sit empty for 48 hours between rentals. RVshare recommends its owners follow cleaning guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before renting — including using disinfectants with 70% alcohol, and washing linens on the warmest settings — and is working on offering professional cleaning. The company also has a partnership with TaskRabbit through which owners can find cleaning services (with additional fees included in the rental agreement). Cruise America disinfects each vehicle between uses, and the company says it exceeds the guidelines established by the CDC. Whether you rent from Cruise America or via a marketplace, vehicle rates are often just the base of the bill. Pricing RVs follows “the old car rental model,” said Smalley, noting charges for mileage and not emptying sewage. Cruise America vehicles typically cost between $60 and $160 a night depending on size and season before gas, which can be a major expense even in these times of low fuel prices (the RVs get 6-10 mpg). Bedding ($60) and cookware ($110) are additional. RVshare said its average rental is less than $1,000 for a week, excluding gas. Outdoorsy’s average rate is $135 a night. Van life gets an upgrade On the small end of the spectrum of RV models, camper vans are the tiny houses of the road, tricked out to accommodate a bed, kitchen and amenities like wall-mounted TVs. Most camper vans lack bathrooms but have cachet, as celebrated under the hipster nomadic Instagram hashtag #vanlife. Before it was a social media darling, it was a way of life in Australia, where Omar Bendezú, the owner of the 13-van rental company Ondevan in Miami, got the idea to bring the concept stateside in 2017. An engineer by training, Bendezú remodeled his vans, including kitchenettes and queen-size beds, with the help of
a carpenter and got muralist Muta to paint the early vans. “I saw the opportunity here to give people the means to explore by themselves,” he said, noting that up to 60% of his business, pre-virus, was international, primarily from European travelers visiting the United States. Ondevans cost about $100 a day and the company encourages drivers to stop at local campgrounds, farms and shops highlighted on a supplied map that Bendezú said is designed “to build community with other small businesses.” Jucy camper vans, painted in signature green and purple, are ubiquitous around New Zealand, where the company is based. But its North American operation, reliant on foreign travel, is struggling this year, especially with the postponement or cancellation of major events, including the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and Burning Man. “Since those and other festivals are not happening, our business has been seriously impacted,” wrote Hiron Menon, the general manager for North America at Jucy, in an email. Dodging the crowds Most RV companies say the biggest demand is around coastal communities and national parks in the Western United States, although states like Michigan and areas like New England surge in summer. In an April survey of 354 customers, RVshare found that an overwhelming majority, 93%, expressed an urge to avoid crowds — up 70% since the pandemic began. Spontaneity and freedom are key attractions to travel by RV. But this summer, potentially with more vehicles on the road and COVID-related capacity constraints in parks, some advance planning is required. “Although Tom and I have traveled quite a bit, making lastminute park reservations depending on whim, this is not the year to wing it,” wrote Mona Mesereau in an email from New Mexico where regulations limited RV park capacity to 25% occupancy during the state’s phased reopening. “Plan where you will stay each evening.” In addition to apps like AllStays, the Mesereaus use Harvest Hosts, a network of more than 1,000 wineries, breweries, attractions and farms that allow RV parking overnight (annual membership costs $79). Members are encouraged to spend a minimum of $20 at the host business in exchange. “You could easily plan a winery tour in California or a farm tour in New York, stopping occasionally at places with hookups to dump your tanks and replenish your water,” Mesereau said. Extreme social-distancing seekers may opt for boondocking, or camping without power and water hookups, which is often free in national forests or Bureau of Land Management areas. Sites can be found using Frugal-RV-Travel.com and Ioverlander.com. With batteries and water tanks, “all RVs are built for some degree of boondocking,” said Anna Maste, the co-founder of Boondockers Welcome, a website that lists RV parking on private property accessible to members for a $50 annual fee. “The traditional term meant a wilderness setting, but RVers are an inventive bunch. It has come to mean any number of things including Wallydocking, or parking in a Walmart parking lot overnight.” Boondockers Welcome connects RV travelers to about 2,300 enthusiasts in the United States and Canada who offer free hosting for a night or two. Locations range from a driveway north of New York City to a Florida compound with room for five RVs and a firepit.
The San Juan Daily Star
Monday, June 22, 2020
Benzodiazepines tied to higher risk of ectopic pregnancy By NICHOLAS BAKALAR
Bone drugs may have added benefit: Lower pneumonia risk By NICHOLAS BAKALAR
steoporosis drugs such as Fosamax and Actonel may have an additional benefit: A new study suggests they are associated with a reduced risk for pneumonia. Researchers studied the nitrogen-containing bisphosphonates, prescription drugs sold under various brand names for the treatment of osteoporosis. Using a database of patients 50 and older hospitalized for hip fracture, the scientists compared 4,041 people who used bisphosphonates with 11,802 who were not exposed to the drugs. In an average follow-up of almost three years, they found that compared with those who never took the drugs, people who used bisphosphonates had a 24% reduced risk of getting pneumonia and
a 35% reduced risk of dying from it. The reason for the effect is unclear. The study, in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, adjusted for the use of many other medicines. Bisphosphonates lowered the risk even in people already vaccinated against seasonal flu and pneumococcus, two common causes of pneumonia. A co-author, Dr. Douglas P. Kiel of Hebrew SeniorLife and Harvard Medical School, stressed that the study is observational and does not prove cause and effect. “It is too early to be prescribing these drugs for pneumonia,” he said. “But if physicians would do what is expected — treat people after a fracture and prescribe bisphosphonates — you might get a bonus by reducing pneumonia.”
omen who take benzodiazepines, such as Valium or Xanax, before becoming pregnant may be at increased risk for ectopic pregnancy, a new study found. An ectopic, or tubal, pregnancy is one in which a fertilized egg grows outside the uterus, often in a fallopian tube, and it is a life-threatening event. The egg must be removed with medication or surgery. Benzodiazepines, sold by prescription under several brand names, are widely prescribed for anxiety, sleep problems and seizures. The study, in Human Reproduction, used an insurance database of 1,691,366 pregnancies to track prescriptions for benzodiazepines in the 90 days before conception. Almost 18,000 of the of the women had used the drugs, and the scientists calculated that these women were 47% more likely to have a tubal pregnancy than those who did not. The study controlled for other risks for tubal pregnancy, including sexually transmitted infections, pelvic infection, use of an intrauterine device, smoking and fertility treatments. “Women planning a pregnancy who are using these drugs should talk to their care provider to see whether a change in treatment is possible, and then slowly change treatment before going off their contraceptive,” said the lead author, Elizabeth Wall-Wieler, a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University. “Women for whom there is no alternative, or who have an unplanned pregnancy, should let their care provider know, and those pregnancies should be monitored carefully. The key to treating ectopic pregnancy is to treat it early.”
Monday, June 22, 2020
The San Juan Daily Star
6,000 strains of bacteria under 1 roof By JENNIFER PINKOWSKI
n the winter of 1915, Pvt. Ernest Cable arrived at the No. 14 Stationary Hospital in Wimereux, France, in bad shape. The British army’s soldiers stationed on the Western Front of World War I were being ravaged by a variety of microscopic enemies. For Cable, it was Shigella flexneri, the bacterium that causes dysentery. A military bacteriologist named Lt. William BroughtonAlcock took a sample of S. flexneri from Cable’s body after he died on March 13, 1915. It was likely kept alive in agar, sealed under paraffin wax, and was eventually renamed NCTC 1 when it became the very first specimen added to Britain’s National Collection of Type Cultures, the oldest library of human bacterial pathogens in the world devoted to sharing strains with other scientists. The collection turned 100 this year. Managed by Public Health England, the NCTC holds about 6,000 bacterial strains representing more than 900 species that can infect, sicken, maim and kill us. (Strains are genetic variants of a species.) Of the nearly 800 registered culture collections in 78 countries, it is one of only a few dedicated to clinically relevant bacteria — that is, to species that make us sick. About half of the microorganisms in the world’s culture collections are bacteria, dwarfing the number of viruses and fungi. While many scientists today are focused on fighting the spread of the novel coronavirus, bacteria continue to outmaneuver our immune systems and antibiotics. We think of them as invaders in our world, but really, we live in theirs. “On any possible, reasonable or fair criterion,” wrote Stephen Jay Gould, the evolutionary biologist, “bacteria are — and always have been — the dominant forms of life on Earth.” The collection supplies many of the world’s clinical microbiologists with authenticated microbial strains of known origin. These scientists study how bacteria evolve; test safety protocols for infectious pathogens; develop vaccines, anticancer drugs and treatments for metabolic diseases; and study the ever-increasing problem of antimicrobial resistance. Cable’s killer, for instance, was brought back to life from its freeze-dried form by Kate Baker, a microbiologist at the University of Liverpool, and her colleagues, part of an effort to understand how S. flexneri has evolved over the last century. It still kills about 164,000 people every year, most of them children. The team sequenced the NCTC 1’s genome and then compared it with other strains isolated in 1954, 1984 and 2002. Only 2% of the bacterium’s genome had changed over the century, but those changes were associated with higher virulence, immune evasion and greater antimicrobial resistance. When researchers like Baker discover a new species or strain, they can deposit it in the NCTC. “Their science can then be reproducible, because other people can study it,” said Sarah Alexander, the collection’s lead scientist and curator. “There may be new applications for those strains.” “From my perspective, it is one of the most important collections worldwide,” said Jörg Overmann, director of the German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures, one of
the world’s largest and most diverse. Sixpence None the Germier The collection first opened in London in 1920 at the Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine. Its first 200 cultures — including Cable’s — were deposited by Sir Frederick William Andrewes, a pathologist who studied dysentery throughout World War I. The organization sent 2,000 strains to various institutions for free over the next year. The bacteria were delivered alive, teeming on a medium of agar made from Dorset egg yolks and sealed with paraffin wax. Safety protocols were not in place yet: In 1922, three NCTC researchers caught Tularemia, or rabbit fever, during an experiment in which they had rubbed the spleen of a guinea pig infected with Francisella tularensis on the scarified skin of a healthy guinea pig. The collection was transferred to a farmhouse north of London in 1939, a lucky move as the institute was bombed during World War II. In 1947, the curator honed the collection to medical and veterinary strains. The collection began charging scientists 2 shillings and sixpence per strain — about $5 today. In the following decades, the growing collection moved back to London and raised its prices. Today it is a nonprofit that is self-supporting through the sale of strains, which usually cost between $85 and $375. “I need to make sure the collections are scientifically relevant and financially robust,” said Julie Russell, the head of culture collections at Public Health England, which also has collections of pathogenic viruses and fungi. The NCTC holds many bacteria relevant to medical breakthroughs. Alexander Fleming, who discovered penicillin, deposited 16 strains into the collection between 1928 and 1948. Fleming sourced NCTC 4842, the bacterium Haemophilus influenzae, from his own nose. Betty Hobbs, a noted expert on food poisoning who identified Clostridium perfringens as the culprit behind many food-borne illnesses, deposited more than 20 related strains. A subset of its holdings is the Murray Collection, assembled by Everitt George Dunne Murray in the first half of the 20th century from the stool, urine, blood, cerebrospinal fluid and other bodily products of sick people across the world. The sub-collection’s 683 strains span the period when antibiotics entered into general use. “It gives us this snapshot of an era for which we don’t have much information but that is critical for understanding how we’ve got to the antimicrobial crisis that we’re in today,” Baker said. The collection has also sequenced the genomes of about half the strains, making that data available publicly for genetic research. Bacteria In, Bacteria Out In 2019, the collection sent 3,803 ampuls of bacteria to 63 countries. Among the most requested genera and species were Clostridium (a leading cause of infectious diarrhea), E. coli (360 strains, some dangerous, others harmless), Staphylo-
In a photo provided by Public Health England, an ampul store in the collection. coccus (causing infections ranging from mild to fatal), Mycobacteriaceae (responsible for tuberculosis and leprosy, among others) and Salmonella (from contaminated food). They are shipped from a distribution center outside London under strict protocols, with safe handling instructions. Most bacteria are biosafety level 2 or 3, which means they can cause serious or lethal diseases but have a cure. Level 4, the deadliest, includes only viruses. The collection is also growing at a good clip. “We receive anywhere between 50 and 200 strains a year from all sorts of sources,” said Jake Turnbull, a microbiologist at the collection. Some are newly discovered, called type strains. Others are deposited from historical collections, or by scientists who retire or shift their research focus and want their strains to have a future. New specimens are cultured on agar to make sure they are alive and uncontaminated, suspended in a sugar-rich cryoprotectant broth, freeze-dried at about minus 28 degrees Fahrenheit for three to four hours, plugged with sterilized cotton, flame sealed in an evacuated glass ampul and stored at 39 degrees. Not all specimens survive long-term storage. “The process we use is very similar to the one developed in the 1930s,” Russell said. Each sample must come with a description of its origin, identification and special characteristics that are added to a searchable database. “Fifty years ago, you may just get a handwritten letter with a strain,” Alexander said. “Now we may get a strain that’s had its whole genome sequenced.” Antimicrobial resistance is likely to be one of the most pressing public health concerns for years to come. Of the 49 antibiotics currently in development, only four have been approved, and less than a quarter come from novel drug classes. The samples being studied, donated and preserved in the NCTC and other culture collections will almost certainly play a role in medical breakthroughs decades in the future, just as Cable’s has a century after he died. Alexander is keenly aware of this long-term view. Scientists who place their microorganisms in the collection “leave their legacy,” she said. “You immortalize your science. We’re very much hopeful that in a hundred years’ time, people may be able to access strains that scientists deposited a hundred years ago.”
The San Juan Daily Star que se represente por derecho propio, en cuyo caso deberá ESTADO LIBRE ASOCIADO presentar su alegación responDE PUERTO RICO TRIBU- siva en la Secretaría del TribuNAL DE PRIMERA INSTANCIA nal Superior de Puerto Rico, SALA SUPERIOR DE SAN Sala de San Juan y enviando JUAN copia a la parte demandante y enviando copia a la parte petiEFRÉN ISAÍAS representada por: RODRÍGUEZ SANTIAGO, cionaria Lcdo. JAIME VAZQUEZ MORALES CÁNDIDA REYES RUA 14,392 Cond. Madrid - Ofic. 205 SANTIAGO Calle Loíza #1760 Parte Peticionaria Santurce, Puerto Rico 00911 EX-PARTE Tel. / Fax (787) 728-5505 Civil Núm.: SJ2019CV08335. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Sala: 606. SOBRE: EXPE- Mediante el presente edicto, el DIENTE DE DOMINIO. EDIC- cual se publicará en un perióTO. ESTADOS UNIDOS DE dico de circulación general, en AMÉRICA, EL PRESIDENTE tres ocasiones distintas dentro DE LOS ESTADOS UNIDOS, de un término de 20 días, se EL ESTADO LIBRE ASOCIA- convoca a las partes ignoraDO DE PUERTO RICO, SS. das y/o con algún interés en la A: ISAÍAS RODRÍGUEZ propiedad antes mencionada VÁZQUEZ, CELEDONIA y a quienes puede perjudicar esta inscripción, así como a los AMARO LEBRÓN Y anteriores dueños y a sus hereSUS SUCESIONES; deros, advirtiéndoles que de no HEREDEROS oponerse o expresarse dentro DESCONOCIDOS de 20 días, contados a partir de la fecha de la última publiY/O PERSONAS CON cación del edicto, el Tribunal INTERÉS FULANO DE TAL Y SUTANA DE podrá conceder a la parte peticionaria el remedio solicitado TAL; SECRETARIO DE sobre inscripción de la antediTRANSPORTACION Y cha propiedad, a su nombre, en OBRAS PUBLICAS. URB. el Registro de la Propiedad. En PIÑERO CALLE JOSÉ igual plazo podrán comparecer MARTÍ #169 SAN JUAN, el Honorable Fiscal, el SecretaPUERTO RICO 00917. rio de Transportación y Obras Públicas o en su defecto, los Por la presente se le notifica organismos públicos afectados, que la parte peticionaria ha con el fin de alegar lo que en presentado, ante este Tribunal, derecho fuere pertinente. Por una Petición sobre Expediente Orden de la Honorable Juez de Dominio con el fin de jusAlexandra Rivera Sáez, expido tificar e inscribir la siguiente el presente Edicto bajo mi firma propiedad en la sección corresy sello oficial de este Tribunal, pondiente el Registro de la Proen San Juan, Puerto Rico, hoy piedad: URBANA: Estructura 27 de enero de 2020. GRISELde concreto, techada de zinc, DA RODRÍGUEZ COLLADO, dividida en dos (2) secciones, SECRETARIA REGIONAL. que en total mide, aproximadaORTIZ SILVA, MELBA, SEmente, treinta y tres (33) pies CRETARIA DE SERVICIOS A de frente, por cincuenta (50) SALA. pies de fondo y radica en la Calle José Martí, número ciento LEGAL NOTICE sesenta y nueve (169). DedicaESTADO LIBRE ASOCIADO da, actualmente, a taller de reDE PUERTO RICO TRIBUjas. Enclava en solar propiedad NAL DE PRIMERA INSTANCIA de Doña Mercedes La Torre, siSALA DE SAN JUAN. tio conocido hoy como UrbaniEROTIDO zación Piñero en el Barrio Hato MELO SANTANA Rey de Río Piedras, antes, hoy DEMANDANTE vs. San Juan, Puerto Rico. Colin-
da, por su frente, con la Calle José Martí; por su fondo, con Supermercado Econo Facundo; por su derecha, entrando con Rafael a Santana; y por su izquierda, entrando con Miguel A. Ortiz y con Antonio Pérez. Se le notifica que 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.ramajudicial.pr, salvo
MARÍA PINEDA SÁNCHEZ
Demandada CIVIL NÚMERO: SJ2020RF00466. SOBRE: Divorcio (Ruptura Irreparable). EMPLAZAMIENTOP OR EDICTO. ESTADOS UNIDOS DE NORTEAMERICA EL PRESIDENTED E LOS EE.UU. ESTADO LIBRE ASOCIADO DE PUERTO RICO. ss.
A: Sra. María Pineda Sánchez 2503 Columbia Avenue
Monday, June 22, 2020 Apt. A Everett, Washington 98203
Se le notifica a usted que se ha radicado en esta Secretaría la solicitud del epígrafe. Se le emplaza y requiere que radique en esta Secretaría el original de la contestación a la Demanda de Divorcio y que notifique con copia de dicha contestación a la Lcda. María Pagán Hemández, P.O. Box 21411, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00928 -1411, teléfono 787-282-6734, abogada de la parte demandante, dentro de los treinta (30) días siguientes a la publicación de este Edicto. Si dejare de hacerlo, podrá dictarse contra usted sentencia en rebeldía concediendo el remedio solicitado en la Demanda. EXPEDIDO bajo mi firma y sello de este Tribunal Superior de Puerto Rico, Sala de San Juan, Puerto Rico, a 12 de junio de 2020. Griselda Rodriguez Collado, Secretaria. Chary L Santiago Gambaro, Sec Servicios a Sala.
FICACION, DIRIJO A USTED ESTA NOTIFICACION QUE SE CONSIDERARA HECHA EN LA FECHA DE LA PUBLICACION DE ESTE DICTO. COPIA DE ESTA NOTIFICACION HA SIDO ARCHIVADA EN LOS AUTOS DE ESTE CASO, CON FECHA DE 10 DE JUNIO DE 2020. LIC. TORRES DELGADO, JOAN MARIE TORRESDELGADOLAW@ GMAIL.COM EN BAYAMON, PUERTO RICO, A 10 DE JUNIO DE 2020. LAURA SANTA SANCHEZ, SECRETARIO. POR: F/ YANIRA GARCIA COSME, SECRETARIO AUXILIAR
LEGAL NOTICE Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico TRIBUNAL GENERAL DE JUSTICIA Tribunal de Primera Instancia Sala Superior de Ponce.
SCOTIABANK DE PUERTO RICO Demandante vs.
25 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 Ponce, Puerto Rico, el 9 de junio de 2020. LUZ MAYRA CARABALLO GARCIA, Secretaria Regional, f/ KEILENE RODRÍGUEZ MELÉNDEZ , Secretaria Auxiliar.
LEGAL NOTICE ESTADO LIBRE ASOCIADO DE PUERTO RICO TRIBUNAL DE PRIMERA INSTANCIA SALA SUPERIOR DE SALINAS.
WILMINGTON SAVINGS FUND SOCIETY, FSB, d/b/a Christiana Trust, as indenture Trustee, for the CSMC 2016-PR 1 Trust Mortgage-Backed Notes, Series 2016-PR1 Parte Demandante Vs.
ASSOCIATES INTERNATIONAL HOLDINGS CORPORATION; JOHN DOE Y RICHARD ROE como posibles tenedores desconocidos
BALLESTEROS ESTADO LIBRE ASOCIADO VILLAMARZO DE PUERTO RICO TRIBUDemandados NAL GENERAL DE JUSTICIA TRIBUNAL DE PRIMERA INS- CIVIL NÚM. PO2019CV02753. TANCIA SALA DE BAYAMON- SOBRE: EJECUCIÓN DE HIPOTECA. NOTIFICACIÓN Parte Demandada SUPERIOR. ORTIZ BURGOS, FELIX DE SENTENCIA NUNC PRO CIVIL NUM: SA2019CV00367. TUNC POR EDICTO. SOBRE: CANCELACION DE VS PAGARE EXTRAVIADO. EMA: JOSEFINA DE JESUS, MAGALI PLAZAMIENTO POR EDICTO. BALLESTEROS CASO: DDI2019-0674. SOBRE: RUPTURA IRREPARAVILLAMARZO, PARA ESTADOS UNIDOS DE AMÉRICA EL PRESIDENTE DE BLE. NOTIFICACION DE SENSER NOTIFICADA POR LOS EE. UU. EL ESTADO LITENCIA POR EDICTO. EDICTO BRE ASOCIADO DE PUERTO A: MAGALI DE JESUS P/C: LCDA. FRANCES L. RICO. SS. EL SECRETARIO(A) QUE ASENCIO GUIDO A: JOHN DOE Y RICHARD SUSCRIBE LE NOTIFICA A EXT LA CONCEPCION ROE como posibles USTED QUE EL 03 DE FE45 CALLE B tenedores desconocidos BRERO DE 2020 , ESTE TRIBUNAL HA DICTADO CABO ROJO, PUERTO POR LA PRESENTE se les emplaza y requiere para que SENTENCIA, SENTENCIA RICO, 00623 PARCIAL O RESOLUCION EN (Nombre de las partes a las que se conteste la demanda dentro de ESTE CASO, QUE HA SIDO les notifica la sentencia por edicto) los treinta (30) días siguientes DEBIDAMENTE REGISTRA- EL SECRETARIO(A) que sus- a la publicación de este EdicDA Y ARCHIVADA EN AUTOS cribe le notifica a usted que to. Usted deberá radicar su DONDE PODRA USTED EN- 27 de diciembre de 2019, este alegación responsiva a través TERARSE DETALLADAMEN- Tribunal ha dictado Sentencia, del Sistema Unificado de MaTE DE LOS TERMINOS DE LA Sentencia Parcial o Resolución nejo y Administración de CaMISMA. ESTA NOTIFICACION en este caso, que ha sido debi- sos (SUMAC), al cual puede SE PUBLICARA UNA SOLA damente registrada y archivada acceder utilizando la siguiente VEZ EN UN PERIODICO DE en autos donde podrá usted dirección electrónica: http:// CIRCULACION GENERAL EN enterarse detalladamente de unired.ramajudicial.pr/sumac/, LA ISLA DE PUERTO RICO, los términos de la misma. Esta salvo que se presente por deDENTRO DE LOS 10 DIAS notificación se publicará una recho propio, en cuyo caso SIGUIENTES A SU NOTIFICA- sola vez en un periódico de deberá radicar el original de CION. Y, SIENDO O REPRE- circulación general en la Isla su contestación ante el TribuSENTANDO USTED UNA PAR- de Puerto Rico, dentro de los nal correspondiente y notifique TE EN EL PROCEDIMIENTO 10 días siguientes a su notifica- con copia a los abogados de la SUJETA A LOS TERMINOS DE ción. Y, siendo o representado parte demandante, Lcda. MarLA SENTENCIA, SENTENCIA usted una parte en el procedi- jaliisa Colón Villanueva, al PO PARCIAL O RESOLUCION, miento sujeta a los términos BOX 7970, Ponce, P.R. 00732; DE LA CUAL PUEDE ESTA- de la Sentencia, Sentencia Teléfono: 787-843-4168. En BLECERSE RECURSO DE Parcial o Resolución, de la cual dicha demanda se tramita un REVISION O APELACION puede establecerse recurso de procedimiento de cancelación DENTRO DEL TERMINO DE revisión o apelación dentro del de pagare extraviado. Se alega 30 DIAS CONTADOS A PAR- término de 30 días contados a en dicho procedimiento que se TIR DE LA PUBLICACION partir de la publicación por edic- extravió un pagaré hipotecario POR EDICTO DE ESTA NOTI- to de esta notificación, dirijo a suscrito por los demandantes,
a favor de Banco Popular de Puerto Rico o a su orden, por la suma de $27,039.40 al 10% al interés anual, vencedero el primero (1) de octubre de 2009, según consta de la escritura número número 331, otorgada en Ponce, Puerto Rico, el día 27 de septiembre de 2004, ante la Notario Elba I Cruz Rodríguez. Que grava la propiedad que se describe a continuación: RÚSTICA: Parcela marcada con el número noventa (90) en el plano de parcelación de la comunidad rural Arcadio Maldonado del Barrio Lapa, del término municipal de Salinas, Puerto Rico, con una cabida superficial de quinientos dieciséis punto treinta y tres (516.33) metros cuadrados. En lindes por el NORTE, con la parcela número ochenta y nueve (89) de la comunidad; por el SUR, con la parcela número noventa y uno (91) de la comunidad; por el ESTE, con la calle número nueve (9) de la comunidad y por el OESTE, con la parcela ochenta y seis (86); ochenta y siete (87) y ochenta y ocho (88) de la comunidad. Inscrita al folio ciento cuarenta y cinco (145) del tomo doscientos dos (202) de Salinas, finca número siete mil ochocientos treinta y cuatro (7,834), Registro de la Propiedad, Sección de Guayama. SE LES APERCIBE que, de no hacer sus alegaciones responsivas a la demanda dentro del término aquí dispuesto, se les anotará la rebeldía y se dictará Sentencia, concediéndose el remedio solicitado en la Demanda, sin más citarle ni oírle. Expedido bajo mi firma y sello del Tribunal en Salinas, Puerto Rico, a 12 de NOVIEMBRE de 2019. MARISOL ROSADO RODRIGUEZ, Secretaria. BRENDA I RAMOS POMALES, SubSecretaria.
MATOS VAZQUEZ 2408 Cedar Trace Cir., Tampa, FL 336 13-5552 o sea, la parte arriba mencionada.
POR LA PRESENTE, se le emplaza para que presente al Tribunal su alegación responsiva a La demanda dentro de los treinta (30) días siguientes a la publicación de este edicto. Usted deberá presentar su alegación a través del Sistema Unificado de Manejo y Administración de Casos (SUMAC), al cual puede acceder utilizando la siguiente dirección electrónica: https://unired.ramaiudicial. pr, salvo que se represente por derecho propio, en cuyo caso deberá presentar su alegación responsiva en la secretarIa del tribunal, notificando copia de la misma al (a la) abogada de la parte demandante o a ésta, de no tener representación legal. LCDA. MARGARITA GOMEZ VAZQUEZ Número del Tribunal Supremo: 8,806 URB. FOREST VIEW 1-2 BAJOS CALLE ESPA1A BAYAMON, P.R 00956 TEL. (787) 740-7190 EMAIL: licmargaritatomez@gmail. com y/o email@example.com Se le apercibe que si usted deja de presentar su alegación responsiva dentro del referido término, el Tribunal podrá dictar sentencia en rebeldía en su contra y conceder ci remedio solicitado en la demanda, o cualquier otro, si el Tribunal, en el ejercicio de su sana discreción, lo entiende procedente. NOTIFIQUESE. Dada en Bayamón, Puerto Rico, a 11 de junio de 2020. LCDA. LAURA I. SANTA SANCHEZ, Secretaria Regional. Glenda E. Sanz Suárez, Secretaria Tribunal Confidencial I.
Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico TRIBUNAL GENERAL DE JUSTICIA Tribunal de PriESTADO LIBRE ASOCIADO mera Instancia Sala Superior DE PUERTO RICO TRIBUNAL DE PRIMERA INSTANCIA SALA SUPERIOR DE BAYAMON. The
SHIARA BELMARIE DIAZ MORALES Demandante
JUAN CARLOS MATOS VAZQUEZ
Demandado CASO NUM. BY2020RF00773. SALA: SOBRE: CUSTODIA y PATRIA POTESTAD. EMPLAZAMIENTO POR EDICTO. ESTADOS UNIDOS DE AMERICA EL PRESIDENTE DE LOS ESTADOS UNIDOS EL ESTADO L1BRE ASOCIADO DE PUERTO RICO. SS.
A: JUAN CARLOS
BOSCO CREDIT X, LLC, BY FRANKLIN CREDIT MANAGEMENT CORPORATION AS SERVICER Demandante v.
RUBEN ALBERTO MARTINEZ SOTO
Demandado(a) Civil: Núm. BY2019CV02663. SALA 503. Sobre: COBRO DE DINERO Y EJECUCION DE GARANTIAS. NOTIFICACIÓN DE SENTENCIA POR EDICTO.
A: RUBEN ALBERTO MARTINEZ SOTO
(Nombre de las partes a las que se le notifican la sentencia por edicto) EL SECRETARIO(A) que suscribe le notifica a usted que el 27 de diciembre de 2019, 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 8 de junio de 2020. En BAYAMON, Puerto Rico, el 8 de junio de 2020. LCDA. LAURA I SANTA SANCHEZ, Secretaria. IVETTE M. MARRERO BRACERO, Sec Auxiliar.
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The San Juan Daily Star
Monday, June 22, 2020
MLB’s restart encounters an obstacle it can’t negotiate with By TYLER KEPNER
ajor League Baseball’s players and team owners spent last week trying to finalize the structure of a possible 2020 season after tense negotiations. But Friday, the ominous backdrop of those talks — the coronavirus pandemic — showed just how little the two sides really control. The league was planning to temporarily close all of its training complexes in Florida and Arizona after players in both locations tested positive for the virus, according to an official with direct knowledge of the plan who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the league had not yet made an official announcement. With a second version of spring training still on hold, some players have been working out informally at team facilities, even as infections rise sharply in Florida and Arizona. The league wants to shut down the complexes for extensive cleansing, and test people for the virus before allowing them to return. Few teams were planning to use their spring training complexes for formal workouts, anyway — assuming those take place — and the rising infections could cause the teams that were exceptions to reconsider. The Philadelphia Phillies and the Toronto Blue Jays have already closed their Florida training complexes in Clearwater and Dunedin, making the decision Friday after players on their teams tested positive for the coronavirus. Both teams’ facilities are in Pinellas County, where cases of the virus have been rising. The Tampa Bay Lightning of the NHL also closed their training facility in Tampa, Fla., after three unnamed players and an unspecified number of staff members tested positive for the virus. The team said the players were in self-isolation and were asymptomatic “other than a few cases of low-grade fever.” The league said 11 players had tested positive since teams opened their facilities for voluntary workouts June 8. The Florida Department of Health said in a report Friday afternoon that Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties — on either side of Tampa Bay — had both reached a one-day high for new cases. There were 372 new cases in Hillsborough County, where Tampa is, and 266 in Pinellas County. The Phillies said that five players and three staff members at their complex had tested positive for the coronavirus. The team
The Philadelphia Phillies closed its training facility in Clearwater, Fla., on Friday after eight people tested positive for the coronavirus. added that while eight staff members had tested negative, there were 12 more staff members and 20 players who were awaiting results. NBC Sports Philadelphia reported that none of the eight people who tested positive had been hospitalized. John Middleton, the Phillies’ managing partner, said in a statement that the team’s complex “will remain closed until medical authorities are confident that the virus is under control and our facilities are disinfected.” A Blue Jays spokesman confirmed an ESPN report that the team had shut down its Dunedin complex after a pitcher showed symptoms of the virus. The report said that the pitcher had recently been in contact with Phillies minor leaguers. On the other side of the state in West Palm Beach, the Houston Astros announced Friday that a player tested positive for the coronavirus. The player had experienced minor symptoms and was recovering, general manager James Click said in a statement. No other players tested positive. If the league stages a season, the plan remains for teams to hold games in their home parks, without fans. The league has not seriously considered a so-called bubble approach — as the NBA, WNBA and Ma-
jor League Soccer are taking in Florida — in months, but last Wednesday’s proposal from MLB to the players’ union does allow for that possibility. The commissioner’s office sent a 67page operations manual on health and safety protocols to the players’ union last month. It has not been formally approved, but the plan called for a facility in Salt Lake City to devote a portion of its anti-doping laboratory to analyzing the coronavirus tests of players and club officials authorized to be in close contact with them. Those covered by the plan would have their temperature and other symptoms checked at least twice per day, and anyone with a temperature of at least 100 degrees would be immediately tested for the virus. Under the plan, all those who test positive must self-isolate until cleared by a team doctor and a member of MLB’s medical staff, and cannot rejoin the team until they test negative twice — at least 24 hours apart — and show no symptoms of the virus. The league’s plan also has dozens of precautionary measures, which include banning spitting, smokeless tobacco, sunflower seeds and water coolers, providing a personal set of baseballs for each pitcher in
the bullpen and requiring social distancing in dugouts. It all would be unnecessary, of course, if the sides cannot reach an agreement on returning to play, and Commissioner Rob Manfred refuses to put in place a schedule over fears of a grievance by the union. The sides finally made tangible progress last week, with owners proposing a 60-game schedule Wednesday and the players countering with a 70-game proposal Thursday. Both proposals would give players their full prorated salaries, an issue that had been a matter of fierce disagreement for months. But while the spread in games seems slim enough to resolve now, the union issued a discouraging statement Friday night. “MLB has informed the Association that it will not respond to our last proposal and will not play more than 60 games,” the statement said. “Our executive board will convene in the near future to determine next steps. Importantly, players remain committed to getting back to work as soon as possible.” There are no sure things considering the sides’ lack of trust, but the sport got a stark reminder Friday that it cannot control the overriding factor: the scale of devastation inflicted by the virus.
The San Juan Daily Star
Monday, June 22, 2020
The Red Sox organist is providing all the baseball you need right now By BEN SHPIGEL
s the organist at Fenway Park in Boston, Josh Kantor is used to taking requests. On March 26, what would have been Major League Baseball’s opening day, he received a poignant one from a friend: Why don’t you play some songs on the organ in your living room and broadcast it? Every afternoon since, Kantor has livestreamed on Facebook a medley of songs, stories and comedy from his Cambridge, Mass. home. His daily concerts — they start at 3 p.m. except on Sundays, when they begin at 4 — provide a respite from the stresses wrought by the pandemic and a diversion from the back-and-forth over when baseball might come back. The living room set is bedecked with baseball and music paraphernalia — from bobblehead dolls to cards to a featured record album that changes daily — but also a sign promoting feedingamerica.org; once or twice a show, Kantor encourages viewers to donate to food banks. Kantor, 47, wishes he could be playing while the Red Sox take batting practice, or seeing his colleagues at the Loeb Music Library at Harvard University, where he works in special collections, or out performing gigs; a keyboardist, he has performed with the likes of devout Chicago Cubs fan Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, members of R.E.M. and Wilco, and Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie. In the meantime, Kantor and his wife, the Rev. Mary Jane Eaton, who works with Boston’s homeless population when not helping out behind the scenes, are cherishing how heeding one request — among the many they now get online every day — has afforded a measure of comfort and community for an appreciative audience. This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and condensed. Q: How have you and your wife been coping over the last few months? A: There were a lot of adjustments that had to be made very rapidly, it seems like, at first. I mean, I have a part-time job at a library, and thus far I’ve been able to work from home, and I think I’m going to be able to work from home until it’s safe for me to go back. But the university is talking about potential furloughs and layoffs, so everybody’s very nervous about that. All of our meetings are extra tense. And then we have wisely in the last couple of weeks chosen to have some open, honest conversations
Aside from playing the organ at Red Sox games, Kantor has worked with R.E.M., Death Cab for Cutie and Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam. about systemic racism, and I’m glad we’re doing it, but it requires energy. And then my wife works with the homeless in Boston, so it’s always kind of stressful, although she loves the work and is very good at it. Then I’m furloughed from baseball games for who knows how long; and I also play a lot of gigs, under normal circumstances, at clubs and theaters, and all those places are closed. I know so many people who are in a tough spot right now, but I’m physically healthy and paying the bills and things are good at home, so I’m counting my blessings. Q: Of all your jobs and hobbies, which do you miss the most? A: That’s a great question. I don’t know. What I’m finding lately is that it’s less that I’m missing specific job-related tasks and more that I’m just missing the people. On the rare occasion that there’s a Zoom call, it’s just great to see people’s faces. Q: Did missing all that human interaction compel you to start the livestream? A: I had been seeing footage in Italy where people were playing instruments on the roof, and then everyone in the neighbor-
hood was playing along, and it just seemed so beautiful. I was mulling that maybe on the day that would be the home opener — which was a week after Major League Baseball’s opening day — that maybe I’d just set up my portable keyboard outside and play for my neighbors on the block, and it would be a social distance block party where we’d all stay 6 feet from each other. But then on opening day, my old friend Jason, whom I’ve known for 30 years, texted me and said I should do a livestream. I said, “I don’t know how to do a livestream.” He’s like, “Just Google it.” Q: Did you ever anticipate it would blossom like it has? A: The first day we did it, we thought it would be a one-day thing. We figured it would be 10 minutes, two people would show up, and somebody would make a request, and it would be like, OK, that was our little catharsis to get over the fact that we missed opening day. And a ton of people showed up and put in requests. Mary and I felt really recharged after doing it, so we said, let’s keep doing it; let’s figure out a way that we can schedule a time every day
when we’re both here and we can do this. Q: What kind of requests do you enjoy receiving? A: I enjoy them all because there’s always a challenge. Even if it’s a song I don’t particularly like, it’s sort of this challenge of, can I still learn how to play it? Can I make it sound as good as I possibly can so the person who wants to hear it will enjoy it? Sometimes, and you can tell, I get really excited over a particular twist or turn in a song, the way a harmony moves, and I’ll stop playing and try to give an exciting 30-second lecture on why that’s cool. Q: What’s your routine leading up to 3 p.m.? A: Usually at 2:55, I put on a shirt and turn on the organ and dial in whatever sound settings I want to use. I jot down a couple of quick notes I want to remember to say, like, who’s got a birthday — a lot of people have been messaging me to say, ‘My birthday is on such-and-such a day; can you give me a shout?’ — or what’s the baseball card of the day? I recently found all my old cards in the basement, so I pick a different one and share a story or a memory of the player. We’ve been very deliberate with that — and with our record album of the day that’s on display — of having African American representation. Maybe there’s a story I think I want to share. I might jot a note about that. Q: Do the same people tend to listen every day? A: It’s turned into sort of a familiar feel. Everybody’s really nice, everybody’s really generous — which I feel lucky about, because the default for comment threads is not kindness and generosity. Maybe having Mary there keeps people in line, or she just attracts nice people. In some ways, that makes it so I’m not as much the spotlight, because when they’re chatting, they’re not chatting with me. I’m the guy at the party in the corner playing the cocktail music, and so I feel kind of comfortable thinking of it in that sense instead of feeling like it’s all eyes on me and I’m under a spotlight all the time. Q: It seems like it’s been therapeutic for you as well. A: That’s the main reason I do it. It strengthens me and refortifies me every day to feel better equipped and stronger to face all the different challenges personally and societally that I want to be facing. For us, it’s our group therapy. We know we’re going to spend time together, we’re going to make something fun, and we’re going to interact with people and give and receive some good vibes.
The San Juan Daily Star
Monday, June 22, 2020
The PGA Tour resumed last week. A golfer has now tested positive for the COVID-19. By BILL PENNINGTON
he PGA Tour expanded coronavirus testing of players, caddies and officials over the weekend after five-time tour winner Nick Watney became the first golfer to test positive for the virus since golf’s tournament schedule resumed last week following a three-month layoff. Watney, 39, tested negative for the coronavirus at the RBC Heritage event in Hilton Head, S.C. last Tuesday and played in Thursday’s first round. On Friday, he consulted with a physician after experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. The results of a subsequent test for the virus came back
positive, and he withdrew from the competition. The tour’s health protocols mandate that Watney begin a self-isolation and recovery period of at least 10 days. He will not be allowed to compete until he comes up negative in additional tests. The PGA Tour resumed last week with a tournament in Fort Worth, Texas, and since then nearly 1,000 virus tests have been administered in the pro golf community. Watney, who is currently ranked 234th in the world and has not won a PGA Tour event since 2012, was the first golfer, caddie or tour official to test positive. Officials for this week’s Travelers Champion-
ship recently announced that they plan to increase testing, to include volunteers and members of the media. On Saturday, the tour announced that 11 additional tests were administered to unnamed individuals who had close contact with Watney on Thursday, a group that included his partners during the round and their caddies. Each test was negative, the tour said. Scores of other players were set to be tested Saturday as a negative test result for the virus is required for a player who intends to board a tour-sponsored charter flight to the Travelers tournament outside Hartford, Conn. Nearly 100 players used
the tour’s charter flight option to travel from Texas to South Carolina last week. Watney, however, made other arrangements. Rory McIlroy, the world’s top-ranked golfer, said a positive test result for a player was not unexpected. “I think the consensus was someone is going to get it at some point, and Nick’s the one that’s got it, and he’s self-isolating and doing what he has to do,” McIlroy said. “Look, we’re still in the middle of a pandemic,” he added. “Until this thing’s over, we all just have to stay vigilant and keep your distance and wear our masks if we’re going out in public, and keep washing our hands.”
Tiz the Law wins an unusual Belmont Stakes By JOE DRAPE
ife is strange these days. We wear face masks, stand six feet apart and have reluctantly become experts at video conferencing into meetings. Sports are trying to come back in stutter-steps. So it was kind of nice, if even normal, to watch the racehorse Tiz the Law turn in a transcendent performance in the 152nd running of the Belmont Stakes. The race, traditionally the last leg of the Triple Crown, instead kicked off the series for the first time Saturday. It marked the return of big-time sports to New York, but on a smaller scale allowed by the coronavirus pandemic. Even better, Tiz the Law was bred in New York and is owned, trained and ridden by New Yorkers. Does Sackatoga Stable sound familiar? How about Barclay Tagg? They should — back in 2003 another New York-bred by the name of Funny Cide won the Derby and the Preakness before having a Triple Crown bid denied right here at this grand old racetrack on Long Island. On Saturday, however, Belmont Park was not so grand. Instead of 100,000 fans filling the grandstands, there was only a bare-bones staff of grooms, trainers and assistant starters — fewer than 100 in all, or just enough to get the horses and their jockeys through
the day. All wore masks or bandannas and gloves all week, making the paddock look like a cross between a medical center and a waiting room for desperadoes. There were no hot dogs or beer. No buffets in the dining room. And there were no betting windows open. Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave the traditional “Riders Up” call via a television screen. Sam “The Bugler” Grossman was deemed essential personnel and sounded the Call to Post. A scratchy recording of Frank Sinatra belting “New York, New York” accompanied the 10-horse field to the track. Then, nothing but the sound of birds chirping. Lots of them, loudly. Tagg was not complaining. He is 82 now, so much a creature of routine that he told the NBC television presenter to hurry up and get the trophy presentation underway. He had work to do. As Tiz the Law pounded down the stretch like he was bouncing from one trampoline to another, Tagg understood how fortunate he was to have another shot at the Triple Crown. “I’m just glad I lived long enough to get a horse like this,” said Tagg, who became the oldest trainer to win the Belmont. He did so by entrusting a horse of a lifetime to 25-year-old Manny Franco, who would be riding in his first Belmont. More seasoned riders wanted the mount on Tiz the Law, but Tagg stayed with Franco.
On Saturday, Franco was grateful. And nervous. “I can’t lie to you,” he said. “But I knew what I had underneath me. I’m in good hands with Barclay.” Up in Saratoga Springs, the mecca of New York racing, Jack Knowlton, the managing partner of the stable, was at a party with about half of Tiz the Law’s 35 partners. Sackatoga Stable was born in Sackets Harbor, N.Y., when six old high school buddies sat on the front porch of the village’s former mayor and acknowledged they were approaching midlife crises. Five of them were small-business men and one a teacher, and their careers had been good to them. So they got into the horse business. Knowlton had landed in Saratoga Springs as a healthcare consultant in the early 1980s, hence the name. The group, now with additional partners, captured the imagination of sports fans by arriving at each Triple Crown race in an old yellow school bus and with coolers full of beer. Unfortunately, Empire Maker upset their bid to sweep the series in the Belmont Stakes. They do not spend a lot of money on horses and they spread the risk among partners. Tiz the Law cost $110,000 at auction. “We buy New York-breds,” Knowlton said. “We give them to Barclay because he knows what to do with them.”
The group has employed Tagg as their trainer for 25 years. The Belmont had not been good to New York-breds in the past. The last one to win this race was Forester in 1882. Now, 138 years later, Tiz the Law graced the winner’s circle of the Big Apple’s biggest race. It was the fifth victory in six starts for the son of Constitution, and the $535,000 first-place check pushed his career earnings past $1.4 million. He ran the mileand-an-eighth distance in 1:46:53 and paid his backers $3.60 for a $2 bet. When the coronavirus forced organizers to move the Kentucky Derby from May 2 to Sept. 5 and the Preakness Stakes from May 16 to Oct. 3, New York racing officials had little choice but to run the race in June. The Breeders’ Cup World Championships are always on the first weekend of November. But the Belmont was hardly the Test of the Champion that horse racing aficionados have come to know and love. Instead of its grueling mile-and-a-half distance, the race was shortened to a mile and an eighth and the start was placed at the end of the turn on the backstretch, which meant horses and riders had to navigate only one turn. It did not matter. New York was in the sporting spotlight once again and, for a few minutes at least, we got to see what we had missed.
The San Juan Daily Star
Monday, June 22, 2020
How to Play:
Fill in the empty fields with the numbers from 1 through 9. Sudoku Rules: Every row must contain the numbers from 1 through 9 Every column must contain the numbers from 1 through 9 Every 3x3 square must contain the numbers from 1 through 9
Answers on page 30
The San Juan Daily Star
Monday, June 22, 2020
(Mar 21-April 20)
You’re ready to make a fresh start in your personal life. Your ever-increasing income will set you thinking about buying a dream home. Check out the online estate agencies and be open to exploring up and coming neighbourhoods for your new abode. You’ll enjoy restoring a rundown property to its original beauty. It’s also possible that you’ll be welcoming someone new to your household. A youngster, elderly relative or roommate will add a welcome spark to your living space.
(Sep 24-Oct 23)
An authority figure is grooming you for a higher level of success. Listen carefully to their advice, but always obey your heart when making important decisions. If you’re interest in the world of corporate business affairs has waned over recent times, look for a position at an arts or charitable organisation. An unexpected refund, inheritance or royalty cheque will arrive. Use this windfall to indulge your love of luxury. Give yourself permission to spend more money than usual. You’re overdue for a treat.
(April 21-May 21)
(May 22-June 21)
(Nov 23-Dec 21)
(June 22-July 23)
(Dec 22-Jan 20)
Have you always wanted to write stories or songs? Now is the time to get started. Ideas are flowing like a mighty river. Whenever a great plot point or lyric occurs to you, stop what you’re doing and jot it down. Exercising your imagination will inspire you to change your look. Adopting a more casual appearance will make you more confident. It’s good to know people care more about what you think and believe than how you resemble some movie star ideal. You’re tired of covering a loved one’s expenses. They take your financial assistance for granted. Paying your bills and theirs has become a source of resentment. It’s time to have a heart to heart talk about the situation. This could lead to a loud argument. Stand firm. Don’t fall for a guilt trip. You have every right to keep your hard-earned cash. It’s time for your friend to get a job, reduce their expenses or find some other form of assistance. You’ve already gone above and beyond the call of duty. You could find yourself taking on a completely new role under new and challenging circumstances. Share the good news with someone who has given you moral and practical support. This friend’s faith in your abilities has been empowering. Let it change the way you see yourself. Working behind the scenes for an inventive entrepreneur will be informative. You’ll learn some valuable lessons about tapping into your intuitive side.
(July 24-Aug 23)
A spiritual breakthrough will prompt you to make some important changes. Dedicating more time to contemplative activities will help you put material matters in proper perspective. Your happiness isn’t dependent on a big bank balance. Cuddling your pets and communing with nature will cultivate contentment. Accept an opportunity to show of your creative talent. Record some music, upload photos of your handiwork on social media or submit a manuscript for publication.
(Aug 24-Sep 23)
Have you been working as part of a team? The entire group will receive great news. You might receive an award or prize. It’s also possible your efforts will be showcased in an article or news story. Get ready for your close up. An unusual opportunity to study online will fall into your lap. Although the prospect of venturing into unknown territory makes you nervous, it’s a risk worth taking. You’ll love working with a patient instructor who makes you laugh.
(Oct 24-Nov 22)
You’re given the time and the opportunity to achieve expert status. Whether this means embarking on an intense online study or taking the lead in organising a self-help community group is immaterial. Push yourself harder than usual. It’s possible you’ll experience some setbacks, but that’s part of the learning process. Joining forces with an unusual person will be lots more fun than expected. Allow your other half to introduce you to new ways of thinking and behaving. Pooling your resources with a highly practical person will work to your advantage. Stop complaining that your other half is cramping your style. Thanks to their ability to make smart investments, you’ll both make more money. It pays to watch, listen and learn. Taking up an unusual form of exercise will be lots of fun. Instead of dreading these workouts, you’ll look forward to them. Join an online class that features lots of lively music. You’ll look forward to these sessions each day. Being half of a dynamic duo is good for your ego. Instead of assuming the weight of the world on your shoulders, you share the workload with your other half. As a result, you have more time to do the things you love. An unexpected romantic encounter puts you back in touch with your sensual side. Allow an attentive admirer to introduce you to new ways of experiencing pleasure. Learning to release your inhibitions is one of the most important lessons you’ll ever acquire.
(Jan 21-Feb 19)
You’re motivated to begin a health regime. Eating more nutritious food and taking regular exercise will make you feel much better. It will also help to establish a regular sleep routine. Stop burning the candle at both ends; it isn’t good for you. Give yourself permission to feel differently about a family matter. Although your relatives think your outlook is strange, that doesn’t mean it is invalid. Instead of condemning unusual behaviour, you can accept people just the way they are.
(Feb 20-Mar 20)
A creative breakthrough makes you excited and energised. Put mundane tasks on the back burner and focus on this project instead. If this means taking a few days off work, so be it. You’ll have a wonderful time painting, writing or playing music. Positive feedback from someone who is often your harshest critic will be more pleasing and reassuring than you had thought. Offering a refreshing alternative to the status quo will cause people to sit up and take notice of you. Keep marching to the beat of your own drum.
Answers to the Sudoku and Crossword on page 29
Monday, June 22, 2020
Frank & Ernest
Wizard of Id
For Better or for Worse
The San Juan Daily Star
Monday, June 22, 2020
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