Browsing articles from "May, 2014"

Kane Leads Blackhawks Past LA Kings, Into Game 7

May 31, 2014   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Kane Leads Blackhawks Past LA Kings, Into Game 7

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Patrick Kane skated to a patch of open ice near the painted Stanley Cup logo and fired a long, low shot at the Los Angeles net, hoping to hit an invisible hole.

His Chicago Blackhawks teammates weren’t shocked when he found it.

Kane’s career has been defined by his brilliance in the Blackhawks’ biggest moments, and his tiebreaking goal with 3:45 to play in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals will rank among the best.

Kane scored two goals and set up Duncan Keith’s tying score with 8:26 left, and the Blackhawks forced a decisive seventh game with a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Friday night.

After two straight elimination wins, the Blackhawks are heading home with a chance to advance thanks to the forward who saves his best for the brightest lights. Kane had one point in the series’ first four games before scoring seven more in Chicago’s consecutive elimination victories.

“It’s amazing what he can do in these big games when our season is on the line,” Chicago captain Jonathan Toews said about Kane. “Nobody else seems to be able to do it the same way he does. It’s pretty amazing.”

Game 7 is in Chicago on Sunday night. The winner gets the New York Rangers, who eliminated Montreal on Thursday night.

The defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks avoided elimination for the second straight game in an already memorable playoff series between two NHL powers at the top of their games.

Both teams blew late leads in the third period, and Drew Doughty was primed to be Los Angeles’ hero with a tying goal and a tiebreaking assist on Alec Martinez’s score with 12:22 left. But after Kane took control, Corey Crawford came up with several late saves as Chicago hung on.

“We get the privilege of playing with a guy like that every day and seeing what he can do,” Keith said of Kane. “You know when it comes down to crunch time, him and Johnny (Toews), I don’t know if there are two other guys I’d rather have on my team.”

The conference finals rematch between the NHL’s last two champions will be decided in a winner-take-all Game 7 — the third of the postseason for the Kings, who are 6-0 in elimination games this spring.

Crawford made 26 saves and exchanged harsh words with counterpart Jonathan Quick as the Blackhawks won for the ninth time in their last 11 elimination games.

Chicago trailed 3-1 in the conference finals after its second straight loss at Staples Center on Monday, but the Blackhawks prolonged the series with an epic double-overtime victory in Game 5.

“I’m frustrated, but I’m over it pretty quickly,” said Quick, who made 21 saves. “And we’ve got another game to play, Game 7. We’ve had two chances to close out this series, and we are not going to blow a third one.”

Doughty played 26 minutes in another dynamic game for the Kings, who were less than nine minutes away from their second trip to the Stanley Cup finals in three years before Kane outdid Doughty.

Chicago led 2-1 entering the third after getting goals from Kane and Ben Smith early in the second period, and Staples Center echoed with worry until Doughty tied it with 14:28 left. The Kings’ dominant defenseman took the puck from the point into the slot and fired a wrist shot past a screened Corey Crawford for his third goal in four games.

Doughty then collected the puck during a power play and fed Martinez for a low shot through traffic, putting the Kings ahead 3-2 and setting off a deafening celebration.

But the Blackhawks pressed for a tying goal, and got it when Keith beat Quick with 8:26 left. With the crowd hushed again, Kane dangled and scored the winner.

Kane is a familiar nightmare for Kings fans: He won last season’s Conn Smythe Trophy largely because of his dominance against Los Angeles in the conference finals. But Kane was just one problem for Los Angeles’ normally solid defense, which gave up numerous scoring chances.

“I feel like I’m a broken record here, but we’ve got to be sharp in our own end,” Martinez said. “We weren’t making plays that we normally make. We’ve got to be quick to contact on them. We weren’t very sharp.”

Crawford exchanged contact and angry words with Quick after the second-period horn. Quick was angry after Chicago agitator Andrew Shaw ran into him, and the goalies then had a brief confrontation in front of Chicago’s bench. Crawford shook his glove and blocker at his waist, miming his willingness to fight Quick while a linesman separated them.

Dwight King scored an early goal for the Kings, who fell agonizingly short of their third Stanley Cup finals trip in franchise history.

NOTES: The Blackhawks went with seven defensemen for Game 6, dressing Sheldon Brookbank for the first time since May 13. Kris Versteeg and Peter Regin were scratched. … King hadn’t scored a goal in Los Angeles’ last 10 games. … Kings owner Phil Anschutz made a rare appearance at Staples Center. Prospective new Clippers owner Steve Ballmer and point guard Chris Paul also attended the game.

Rupp Breaks Own American 10K Record At The Pre

May 31, 2014   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Rupp Breaks Own American 10K Record At The Pre

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Galen Rupp broke his own American record in the 10,000 meters, finishing in 26 minutes, 44.36 seconds at the 40th annual Prefontaine Classic on Friday night.

Rupp was looking to challenge the mark of 26:48 he set in 2011, and had asked organizers for a fast race. He got it: His finish in the Diamond League event was the second-fastest run on American soil.

Rupp took over the race for the final two laps, building a sizable gap with his challengers and putting the crowd at Hayward Field on its feet. Upon crossing the finish line, he was embraced by coach Alberto Salazar.

“I felt great, so I went for it,” he said of his all-out sprint for the record.

Rupp claimed the silver medal in the 10,000 at the London Olympics, behind training partner Mo Farah.

Farah, who made his debut in the London Marathon last month, was among those who watched the race, shouting “C’mon Galen!” on the final lap. Both Rupp and Farah train under Salazar.

Rupp is a local favorite because he grew up in Portland and went to Oregon. Hayward is the home field for the Ducks.

“Anytime I get to run here it is really special for me,” he said.

Fellow Nike Oregon Project athlete Mary Cain, the talented middle-distance runner who is wrapping up her senior year in high school and has been focusing on her finals, finished eighth in her 800 section in 2:02.31.

Last year at the Pre, Cain broke the high school record in the 800 in 1:59.51, placing fifth in an elite field that included Olympic bronze medalist Yekaterina Poistogova. The teenager from New York became the first American woman in the youth, junior, and high school categories to go under 2 minutes at the distance.

Cain went on to become the youngest U.S. athlete to compete at the world championships in Moscow. She decided last fall to skip a college track career and go pro, training under storied marathoner Alberto Salazar with the Nike Oregon Project.

Maggie Vessey turned heads in the 800 with a unique outfit that featured a diamond-patterned long-sleeve top and briefs with cutouts trimmed in teal.

In the International men’s 800, Job Kinyor moved up from fourth with less than a lap to go to win in 1:44.70, besting Elijah Greer of the Oregon Track Club.

Reese Hoffa won his third straight Pre Classic shot put title with his best throw so far of the season at 71 feet. Ivana Spanovic of Serbia won the women’s long jump in 22-7.

The Prefontaine Classic, the third race in the IAAF Diamond League series, is named for the legendary Oregon runner Steve Prefontaine, who died in 1975.

The event continues Saturday.

Man Who Accosted Pitt Pleads No Contest To Battery

May 31, 2014   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Man Who Accosted Pitt Pleads No Contest To Battery

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A man who accosted Brad Pitt on a red carpet pleaded no contest to battery Friday and was ordered to stay away from the actor and Hollywood red carpet events.

Vitalii Sediuk entered the plea during a court appearance Friday afternoon, two days after he leaped from a fan area and made contact with Pitt at the “Maleficent” premiere. He was sentenced to three years of probation and attend a year’s worth of psychological counseling.

Sediuk, 25, was also ordered to stay away from Pitt’s partner Angelina Jolie and stay 500 yards away from the Hollywood block where movie premieres and the Academy Awards are hosted. He was also ordered to stay away from LA Live, a downtown entertainment complex where Sediuk crashed the Grammy Awards in 2013.

He was charged earlier Friday with four misdemeanors, including assault and two counts governing conduct at sporting and entertainment events. He also pleaded no contest to unlawful activity at a sporting or entertainment event and the remaining counts were dropped.

Sediuk is a former journalist for the Ukrainian television station 1+1, which fired him roughly three weeks ago.

He has been jailed since Wednesday night and appeared in court in the sport coat and jeans he wore to the “Maleficent” premiere, which stars Jolie. He smiled at times during the hearing and politely answered questions from a judge. His hands remained cuffed for the hearing, and the right sleeve of his sport coat was ripped.

Sediuk is expected to be released from custody Friday afternoon. His attorney Anthony Willoughby said he expected the stay-away orders against his client to be lifted after a year if his client behaves.

Sediuk’s antics have repeatedly brought him too close for comfort to Hollywood’s elite. In 2011, Sediuk presented Madonna with a bouquet of hydrangeas at the 2011 Venice Film Festival, prompting the singer to express her disgust for the flowers. The following year, he attempted to kiss Smith on the mouth on a red carpet in Moscow, prompting a slap from the actor.

In 2013 he grabbed a microphone before Adele accepted a Grammy Award, which led to Sediuk’s arrest. He later pleaded no contest to trespassing and earned him a three-year probation sentence.

He hugged Bradley Cooper’s crotch earlier this year at the Screen Actors Guild Awards and streaked down a runway in a G-string at a show during February’s Fashion Week in New York City. No charges were filed after either incident.

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Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP

Pierzynski Lifts Red Sox Over Rays 3-2 In 10

May 31, 2014   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Pierzynski Lifts Red Sox Over Rays 3-2 In 10

BOSTON (AP) — It was only fitting that a batter who was by a pitch scored the winning run.

Beanballs were the theme Friday night as the Red Sox and Rays had another AL East rumble, with Boston earning a 3-2 victory on A.J. Pierzysnki’s RBI triple in the 10th inning that drove in Jonny Gomes.

The Red Sox rushed out of the dugout — for once not to possibly fight their division rivals — and celebrated their fifth straight win following a 10-game skid.

A chunk of Boston’s coaching staff had to watch the comeback from the clubhouse, where they were sent during a string of ejections in the latest testy game between the clubs, which included a bench-clearing scrum in the fourth inning.

“When we have four people ejected and also have three people hit by pitches, and they have none, that’s a hard one to figure out,” said Boston manager John Farrell, who was the first of three Boston skippers to get tossed.

His two successors joined him later along with starting pitcher Brandon Workman, who was tossed in the sixth after a throwing a high pitch that sailed behind Tampa Bay slugger Evan Longoria.

Farrell was still irked after the game that Tampa Bay ace David Price was not ejected.

Farrell objected after Price’s first pitch to David Ortiz hit him in the hip, setting the tone for the night. Plate umpire Dan Bellino immediately issued a warning to both benches, which irked Farrell enough to get him out of the dugout, then quickly ejected when he crossed Bellino’s threshold.

“There is intent to that pitch. As emphatic as Dan Bellino’s warning was, it sure seemed like Dan Bellino felt like there was intent as well,” Farrell said.

Ortiz felt it was retribution for two homers he hit off Price in the playoffs last year.

“If you’re mad because I take you deep twice, let me let you know,” Ortiz said during a postgame rant about Price. “I’ve got almost 500 homers in this league. It’s part of the game, son.”

There was much more to come, including a bench-clearing scrum after Price plunked Boston first baseman Mike Carp in the fourth. No punches were thrown and the only ejection was to Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo, who threw down his hat and burst into an argument when he learned Price wasn’t tossed.

Price said the pitch to Carp was not intentional.

“That’s not something I’m trying to do,” Price said. “I had six lefties in the lineup today. I’ve got to be able to throw my fastball in.”

Crew chief Jeff Kellogg explained to a pool reporter why Price wasn’t tossed after the warnings and his second hit batter.

“If we feel there was intent to hit the batter, he would have been ejected,” Kellogg said. “We felt the pitch was certainly inside but not intentional. So that’s why he stayed in the game.”

Andrew Miller (2-4) got the win. Juan Carlos Oviedo (1-2) took the loss after hitting Gomes, who was ejected Sunday when the Rays and Red Sox cleared the benches in Tampa Bay.

“I thought it was a great game. I thought it was handled great on the field by the umpires,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. “It’s always going to be felt from the perspective of the sides. I’m going to defend the Rays and they’re going to defend the Red Sox.”

These teams have a long history of bad blood, and Friday night was the latest chapter.

Boston retaliated in the sixth when Workman threw behind Longoria, who was visibly upset. Longoria and Pierzynski had a conversation at home plate, and a handful of players from both dugouts ventured a few steps onto the field, but no trouble ensued.

Workman was ejected and third base coach Brian Butterfield was automatically tossed with him, leaving hitting coach Greg Colbrunn as the fourth Red Sox skipper of the night.

The last-place Rays had won five straight against the Red Sox, including a three-game sweep last weekend that extended Boston’s losing streak to 10 in a row. The Red Sox vented some of the frustration during a bench-clearing dustup Sunday at Tampa Bay.

David DeJesus led off the game with a double and went to third on an error by Grady Sizemore in right field. Ben Zobrist followed with a fielder’s choice that allowed DeJesus to score and give Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead.

The Rays added a run in the fifth when Escobar led off with a double and scored on an RBI single by DeJesus.

Boston cut it to 2-1 in the fifth on two-out singles by Xander Bogaerts, Dustin Pedroia and Ortiz. Bogaerts added an RBI double to tie it at 2-all in the seventh after Jackie Bradley Jr. led off with a single.

Price left after seven innings, allowing two runs and six hits. He struck out six, walked one and hit two batters.

NOTES: Boston RHP Rubby De La Rosa is scheduled to make his first start of the season Saturday against Tampa Bay RHP Jake Odorizzi (2-4). … Price entered with a 6-1 record at Fenway Park. … With Price’s no-decision, Tampa Bay starting pitchers have gone 12 straight games without a victory. … The Rays activated Ben Zobrist (thumb) from the 15-day DL and started him at second base. … Boston placed 1B-C Ryan Lavarnway on the 15-day disabled list with a broken bone in his left hand and recalled OF-1B Alex Hassan from Triple-A Pawtucket.

Spurs Rout Thunder To Take 3-2 Lead In West Finals

May 30, 2014   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Spurs Rout Thunder To Take 3-2 Lead In West Finals

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Back at home, this blowout went to the San Antonio Spurs.

Now they can clinch their return to the NBA Finals on the road, where they are the ones taking the beatings in these wacky Western Conference finals.

“This is the craziest series I’ve ever been involved in,” veteran Tim Duncan said.

The Spurs took a 3-2 lead in it Thursday night after Duncan had 22 points and 12 rebounds in a 117-89 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Jekyll-and-Hyde series continued between the past two Western Conference champions, as the road team has been thumped in every game of the best-of-seven series.

Game 6 is Saturday in Oklahoma City.

“I have no clue, honestly,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of the disparity. “I think every game, it’s a different animal. It really is. We talk to our team about that all the time. You have no clue what’s going to happen, how a team is going to come out, whether they’re going to be lethargic or hold the ball, get 50/50 balls or don’t get 50/50 balls.”

Kevin Durant scored 25 points, but Russell Westbrook had only 21 points and seven assists after finishing with 40 points and 10 assists in Game 4.

Manu Ginobili scored 19 points, Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green each had 14 and Boris Diaw added 13 for the Spurs, who are a win away from returning to the NBA Finals after losing in seven games to Miami last year.

The Spurs returned to the style of play that enabled them to win the series’ first two games by a combined 52 points.

“We gave them everything they wanted,” Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. “They got the dribble drive, they got the 3-point line, and they got to the free-throw line.”

The Spurs were also 13 for 26 on 3-pointers and outrebounded the Thunder 48-35. San Antonio also limited Oklahoma City to four fast-break points after giving up 21 in Game 4.

After losing twice in Oklahoma City by an average of 11 points, San Antonio upped its winning margin in San Antonio to 26.7 points.

Oklahoma City had just 34 points in the second half after scoring 32 in the first quarter.

“Our shots weren’t falling for us,” Durant said. “We’ve got to stay aggressive and we’ve got to get stops. When we can’t make a shot, we’ve got to play defense, and we didn’t tonight.”

San Antonio outscored Oklahoma City by 10 points in both the second and third quarters, allowing both teams to sit their starters for much of the fourth.

Serge Ibaka, who dominated the interior in Oklahoma City, was held to six points and two rebounds.

The Spurs started Matt Bonner in place of Tiago Splitter to draw Ibaka out of the paint and it worked early. It also helped defensively, as Ibaka attacked Bonner but missed his first five shots on a series of running hooks. Duncan was also able to help defensively, rolling over to block a layup attempt by Ibaka.

“He didn’t have the games that he had the last two games, that’s pretty clear,” Brooks said. “I thought his energy was good. He competed. He missed some shots that he normally makes. (But) it was everybody. It was everybody.”

San Antonio’s crowd was raucous from the start, booing Westbrook heavily during pregame introductions and erupting joyously when Green scored the team’s first points on a 3-pointer 1 ½ minutes into the game

Oklahoma City withstood the early barrage, going on an 11-2 run for its largest lead of the game.

San Antonio kept Westbrook out of the paint early, but that only opened up the lanes for Jackson, who made his first five shots. He had four straight layups and then drained a 3-pointer with Parker closely defending.

When asked if San Antonio had done anything differently to keep him out of the paint, Westbrook said, “nothing.”

Three-point shooting got San Antonio back into the game, as Patty Mills and Green closed the first with consecutive 3s to tie the game at 32-all.

Diaw’s 3 gave San Antonio a 42-37 lead with 6:12left in the first half and resulted in an Oklahoma City timeout.

Ginobili’s 3 gave a 65-52 lead with 6.9 seconds left in the first half.

Ginobili’s third 3 gave San Antonio an 87-70 lead with 3 minutes remaining in the third.

NOTES: San Antonio used its 31st different starting lineup this season, with Bonner making his first start. He averaged 11.3 minutes in 61 regular-season games but his playing time has been curtailed to 4.8 minutes while appearing in all 16 postseason games. Diaw started in Bonner’s place in the second half. . Durant was sent back to the sideline after attempting to substitute with 10:29 remaining in the second quarter. A timekeeper told official Tony Brothers that Durant was not at the table in time to enter prior to an inbounds. “I was there,” Durant said. “That’s (wrong). You know that.” Durant was able to enter about 10 seconds later, however. . Ibaka wore a heating pad on his injured calf when he was not in the game.

Amazon Ruins Await Adventurous World Cup Visitors

May 30, 2014   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Amazon Ruins Await Adventurous World Cup Visitors

PARICATUBA, Brazil (AP) — If Hollywood were to set a psychological thriller in the Amazon rainforest, the haunting Paricatuba Ruins would be the perfect backdrop.

Massive root structures poke through the foundations of the once-stately neo-classical edifice, across the Rio Negro from the jungle metropolis of Manaus, one of the cities set to host World Cup matches.

Tourists arriving for soccer’s premier event are unlikely to stumble upon the ruins. There is virtually no signage pointing toward the site. It can be reached only by boat or by car for those who cross a new bridge spanning the Rio Negro and endure an hour-long ride over bumpy dirt roads.

Those living near Paricatuba, however, hope the jungle enshrouded villa will attract the more adventurous travelers among the 52,000 or so foreigners expected to descend Manaus for the matches featuring the U.S., England, Italy, Switzerland, Croatia, Cameroon, Portugal and Honduras.

Tree trunks braid around crumbling bricks and shards of fancy tile work. Pythons and iguanas make their homes in the carpet of waist-high brush.

It was built in 1898 at the height of the region’s rubber boom, which briefly transformed Manaus into one of the richest cities in the world. The sprawling villa was initially intended to house the Italian immigrants who arrived to work in the rubber trade.

The building’s decline over the next century mirrored that of Manaus, which after the rubber boom went bust, slipped into a long period of decadence and decay.

After the Italian migration dried up, the villa housed an art school run by French priests. Then it became a penitentiary. Then a leper colony, before simply being abandoned to the tropical elements.

The roof caved in, and the vegetation took over. During mango season, the ground becomes slick with the fruit’s rotting pulp. The thud of falling watermelon-sized jackfruits punctuates the eerie silence of the place.

Today, it is open for all who wish to visit. There is no charge to roam the ruins. The cost of a boat or car ride to the spot depends upon the whim of the captain or driver.

Children of the tiny village of Paricatuba, which grew up around the villa, use the ruins as a spot for energetic games of barefoot soccer or to scare themselves silly. Teenagers come here to make out, and older people to get drunk.

Darker things, too, are said to take place inside these crumbling walls.

“It’s full of ghosts and bones,” said Alice Lopes da Silva, an 8-year-old girl who was among a pack of local kids leading an unofficial tour of the building.

There’s the room fitted out with rusting, vine-engulfed bars that once kept prisoners in check. There’s a former bathroom with spooky red streaks along one of the walls and a straw broom leaning in the corner — left there, one of the kids suggested, by a witch. There’s the spot where, legend has it, lepers’ bodies were burned.

If World Cup visitors do make the effort to visit the ruins, they need not worry about finding a guide. Packs of schoolchildren eagerly greet new visitors, excited by the chance to show travelers their unique playground.

“Just follow me,” said 8-year-old Silva as she pulled back a rope of vines to open a path for visitors.

Zuckerberg, Wife Gift $120M To CA Schools

May 30, 2014   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Zuckerberg, Wife Gift $120M To CA Schools

MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, are donating $120 million to the San Francisco Bay Area’s public school system.

The couple’s gift will be spread over the next five years and is the biggest allocation to date of the $1.1 billion in Facebook stock the couple pledged last year to the nonprofit Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

“Education is incredibly expensive and this is a drop in the bucket. What we are trying to do is catalyze change by exploring and promoting the development of new interventions and new models,” Chan, said in an interview at Facebook’s Menlo Park, California headquarters.

The first $5 million will go to school districts in San Francisco, Ravenswood and Redwood City and will focus on principal training, classroom technology and helping students transition from the 8th to the 9th grade. The couple and their foundation, called Startup: Education, determined the issues of most urgent need based on discussions with school administrators and local leaders.

Zuckerberg and Chan, a pediatrician, discussed the donation in an exclusive interview with the Associated Press. It was Chan’s first significant step into the public spotlight and the couple’s premier interview together. The two met while studying at Harvard and married in their Palo Alto backyard on May 19, 2012 — the day after Facebook’s stock began publicly trading in a rocky initial public offering that now seems a distant memory. In 2010, they joined Giving Pledge, an effort led by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett to get the country’s richest people to donate most of their wealth.

“I’m really focused on connecting the world. That’s my main thing, and you’re primarily focused on children,” said Zuckerberg, turning to Chan. “And we’re able to do some of this work together, which is neat…There are interesting overlaps.”

Chan, 29, and Zuckerberg, 30, have made philanthropy a central theme of their life together. The two made the largest charitable gift on record for 2013. That $1.1 billion donation was on top of another $500 million the couple gave a year earlier to the Silicon Valley foundation, which helps donors allocate their gifts.

“I just think that philanthropy is a fancy way to say that you care about others and that you want to serve others. And that’s been a part of me for as long as I can remember,” said Chan, fresh from a pediatrics residency shift at the University of California, San Francisco medical center, where she works primarily with underserved, immigrant families. “(We) have this amazing opportunity it’s really important to me that we use this opportunity to continue to give back and create even more change to affect other people’s lives.”

Last year, Zuckerberg was No. 21 on the Forbes list of the world’s richest people, right behind Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and ahead of well-known billionaires such as activist investor Carl Icahn and philanthropist George Soros. He owns Facebook stock worth over $27 billion. In 2013, as the median yearly pay for U.S. CEOs crossed the $10 million mark amid a widening income gap, Zuckerberg took a symbolic annual salary of $1.

Though it’s been long in the works, the latest gift comes at a time when critics are still questioning what became of Zuckerberg’s $100 million donation to Newark, New Jersey’s public school system. Four years ago, he announced the donation flanked by then-mayor Cory Booker and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. A recent New Yorker article criticizes the donation and the chain of events it set in motion. While well-intentioned, the money has so far failed to fix the city’s ailing school system. The process lacked meaningful community input and much of the money has been spent on high-paid contractors and consultants. Four years later, the money is nearly gone and a lot of people are angry. The story’s most poignant quote is from Vivian Cox Fraser, president of the Urban League of Essex County, who says “Everybody’s getting paid, but Raheem still can’t read.”

Zuckerberg said the Newark experience is “a big influence on our thinking” with the Bay Area donation. Taking the long view, he’s quick to point out that the results in New Jersey are too early to measure.

“The schools and programs that the folks put in place, only now are they ramping up and students are starting to go through them. So you won’t know what the outcomes are until like 5, 7, 10 years from now,” he said. “That said, I think there are some things that are going generally better than we’d expected and some things that we’ve definitely taken as lessons.”

One of the positive outcomes Zuckerberg points to: Newark’s teacher contracts, which, among other things, provide for performance-based pay bonuses for the district’s best teachers. He says the contracts are “better than anything that had been negotiated before…to reward teachers who were the top performing teachers and hold teachers accountable who were not performing well.”

Zuckerberg admits that he and local leaders could have done a better job engaging the community and soliciting ideas about how to spend the money.

“I think one of the things that we took away from this is that we wanted to do our next set of work in a place where we can engage more directly with the community and a place that we care about a lot. The Bay Area just fit that well,” Zuckerberg said.

The couple’s broader philanthropic goals center on children, education and health, though Zuckerberg is also active in immigration reform. Last year, he and other tech leaders formed Fwd.us, a political group aimed at changing immigration policy, boosting education and encouraging investment in scientific research. Through Facebook, he’s also spearheading Internet.org, which aims to connect the more than 70 percent of the world’s 7 billion people who are not yet online.

Connecting the world and children: That’s the stuff of dinner conversations in the Zuckerberg-Chan household. A child of Chinese immigrants who arrived in the U.S. on a refugee boat, Chan recalled an early memory that shaped who she is. It was the time her mother left to give birth to her younger sister and she was left with her grandparents.

“I remember thinking when my mom was absent that it’s my turn to step up and care for my grandmother and my grandfather, and I’ve carried that with me ever since,” Chan recalled. She was two and a half at the time.

Zuckerberg, who turned 30 earlier this month, said he and Chan are inspired by Bill and Melissa Gates and others who believe philanthropy “isn’t just something where you can wake up one day and decide to give away a bunch of money and do it effectively. Like anything else, you need practice.”

To help prepare for their charitable work in education, Zuckerberg and Chan decided they needed hands-on experience. Chan has taught 4th and 5th grade science at a local private school and Zuckerberg has run an after-school program on entrepreneurship.

“We talked about the education work that we wanted to do and she made this point to me that I wasn’t going be one of those people who (try to help by giving) money to places but had never taught anything myself,” Zuckerberg said. He didn’t think he’d have time to teach while running Facebook, but Chan set it all up. He says, “it actually ended up being awesome.” He still meets with the students regularly.

All the talk of children leads to talk of kids of their own.

“Well one day, but right now.” Chan said.

“That’s a yes,” Zuckerberg cut in, laughter all around.

“Yes, but, we are a little preoccupied with other people’s children right now,” added Chan.

US Chamber Head Urges Cuba To Open Economy More

May 30, 2014   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on US Chamber Head Urges Cuba To Open Economy More

HAVANA (AP) — The head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has a prescription for communist-run Cuba’s struggling economy: less government control and a heavier dose of the open market.

In a speech at the University of Havana, Chamber president and CEO Thomas J. Donohue cautiously praised what he saw during a visit to evaluate economic reforms that have hundreds of thousands of islanders working independently of the state.

But he added that the challenge now is to consolidate and expand the changes.

“We at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce believe in the power of private enterprise to help societies progress and improve,” he said Thursday, before heading back to the U.S. “And it is in that spirit that we come to your country … and offer these observations.”

About a dozen business leaders arrived this week on the chamber’s first trade mission to Cuba since 1999. During the visit they met with entrepreneurs and government officials to talk about the reforms, which President Raul Castro began in earnest in late 2010.

“We have come to Cuba to assess the seriousness of this effort and to encourage and support it in any way we can,” Donohue said. “We’re trying to engage Cubans of all walks of life and explain how private enterprise can dramatically improve the lives of your citizens.”

State television reported Thursday night that Donohue met with Cuba’s president. It showed images of the encounter, but did not say how long it lasted or what they discussed.

About 455,000 islanders are currently running or working for private small businesses as a result of the reforms, and about 450 new non-agricultural cooperatives are operating autonomously.

“Their efforts to start their own businesses show that the spirit of entrepreneurship and enterprise is alive and well in the hearts of many Cuban citizens,” Donohue said. “And indeed, when that spirit is properly encouraged and given the freedom to operate, the country as a whole can do much better.”

He cited China and Vietnam’s economic overhauls as a model for improving Cubans’ lives. “It can happen here, too.”

Cuba has also decentralized a number of bloated state-run businesses and undertaken a big port project west of Havana that seeks to turn the sleepy fishing town of Mariel into a regional shipping hub. An adjacent special economic zone aims to lure much-needed foreign investment.

Island officials say they are not abandoning the socialist principles that have ruled here for more than 50 years, but rather are “updating” Cuba’s model to perform better in a globalized economy.

Donohue disagreed with those back home who criticized the trade mission by arguing it would be a mistake to strengthen commercial ties with Cuba due to questions about its record on civil liberties and political freedoms.

He said the Chamber of Commerce takes human rights concerns seriously, calling it an issue that should be part of a “constructive dialogue” between the U.S. and Cuba.

He called for Washington to allow imports and exports of goods and services involving a number of sectors in Cuba, saying it would be in the interests of American citizens and U.S. business. He cited telecommunications as one area with great potential.

Donohue said the chamber has lobbied for years to end the now 52-year-long U.S. economic embargo that bars most commerce between the two countries. Some exceptions exist for food and agricultural goods, but as Cuba turned to other partners such trade has fallen by nearly half in recent years to about $509 million in 2012, the most recent year for which officials figures are available.

“Changes take time, but if (President Barack Obama) wants to get it done before the end of his term, he’s got two years,” Donohue said. “And it’s going to take a while to do it, so he’ll have to get busy.”

___

Peter Orsi on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Peter_Orsi

5 Things To Know About Apple’s Duet With Beats

May 29, 2014   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on 5 Things To Know About Apple’s Duet With Beats

CUPERTINO, Calif. (AP) — Apple CEO Tim Cook looked like he wanted to dance Wednesday as he discussed his company’s $3 billion acquisition of Beats Electronics. The deal, by far the most expensive in Apple’s 38-year history, will give the iPhone and iPod maker a line of trendy headphones known for their hip appearance and thumping bass sound.

But Cook seems most excited about the potential of Beat’s still nascent music-streaming service, which currently has more than 250,000 subscribers. That’s paltry compared to the more than 10 million people subscribing to Spotify’s rival streaming service, Cook is confident that will change once Beats has access to the data that Apple Inc. has accumulated while selling more than 35 billion songs to more than 800 million iTunes accounts during the past 13 years.

COMBINING MATH WITH EMOTION

Apple is intrigued with Beats Music’s approach to compiling playlists to suit the individual tastes of each subscriber. Rather than just grouping songs by genre or relying on toneless algorithms that analyze past listening habits, Beats also draws upon the knowledge and ears of tastemakers such as Beats’ co-founders — rap music pioneer Dr. Dre and longtime recording industry executive Jimmy Iovine, who has been an engineer or producer on seminal albums made by Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and Dire Straits.

“We are getting the first music subscription service that got it right, that believes in human curation,” Cook said during a Wednesday interview at Apple’s Cupertino, California headquarters. “We think this is killer. The feeling that you get from listening to this service is so different than anything else.”

FILLING A VOID

Apple is the top seller of songs downloaded over the Internet and has attracted 40 million listeners to its free iTunes Radio service since its launch eight months ago. But neither of those resonates with music lovers like a classic album or a playlist tailored for a person’s mood at a particular time, according to Eddy Cue, the head of iTunes.

“With Beats, you can create a playlist that truly moves you,” Cue said Wednesday. “It gives you emotions, it gives you meanings, it tells about culture. Those are things you can’t get from a single song and we love that.”

MONEY MAKER

Cook says Beats is already profitable, six years after Iovine, 61, and Dre, 49, started the company, which is now based in Culver City, California. Dre originally wanted to design flashy sneakers, according to Sony Music CEO Doug Morris, who considers Iovine to be his best friend. Iovine thought making a stylish line of headphones would be more lucrative. The company launched its music streaming service earlier this year.

After generating $1.1 billion in revenue last year, Beats’ sales increased by 30 percent during the first three months this year, Cook said. He expects Beat to boost Apple’s earnings beginning in October. Apple earned $37 billion on revenue of $171 billion in its last fiscal year, so Beats’ initial contribution won’t be that significant financially.

A DECADE-LONG COURTSHIP

Iovine has disparaged the technology industry as “culturally inept,” but he says he has always thought of Apple differently since he first met the company’s late co-founder, Steve Jobs, to discuss the state of digital music in 2003.

“I came back to my team and said, ‘These guys get our industry and they get culture,'” Iovine said Wednesday. “This is a company that was founded by a person who respects music.”

Cook, who worked closely with Jobs before succeeding him as CEO in 2011, says the admiration was mutual.

Jobs “knew Jimmy very well and he loved Jimmy very much,” Cook said.

THINKING DIFFERENTLY

Many Apple watchers are convinced that Jobs would have never have bought Beats, no matter how fond he might have been of Iovine.

Jobs, who died in October 2011, was famous for hoarding cash and when he spent money, he preferred investing it in research that would enable Apple to innovate on own. Until Wednesday, Apple’s biggest previous purchase had been its $400 million acquisition of NeXt Computer, a company that Jobs started after he was ousted from Apple in the 1980s.

Jobs also had denigrated music subscription services, such as the one that Beats is trying to build.

Cook says he tries not to ever consider what Jobs might have done if he were still alive, but he insists that his predecessor wasn’t as resistant to acquisition as most people think.

“We have never been anti-acquisition,” Cook said. “We have looked at some very, very large companies and we decided not to buy them. But we didn’t decide not to do them out of religious reasons. There was no rule, ‘Thou Shalt Not Acquire.’ There was no rule that everything had to be built organically.”

Apple has now bought 27 companies since September 2012. Most of them have been small deals that haven’t required Apple to disclose the price.

Brad Pitt Attacked At ‘Maleficent’ Premiere

May 29, 2014   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Brad Pitt Attacked At ‘Maleficent’ Premiere

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A man was led away in handcuffs after allegedly attacking Brad Pitt on the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of the movie “Maleficent.” Pitt was apparently unhurt and soon resumed signing autographs.

Witnesses saw the man from the fan area jump over a barrier on to the red carpet Wednesday at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood and rush at Pitt, touching him briefly before security guards wrestled him back across the barrier.

A police spokeswoman says the man, whose name she did not know, was arrested on suspicion of battery.

Pitt kept greeting fans and walked into the theater.

Pitt’s longtime partner Angelina Jolie stars in “Maleficent,” Disney’s new live action spin on “Sleeping Beauty.”

Email messages left for representatives for Pitt and Disney were not immediately returned.

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