Browsing articles in "News from US"

Protestors Call For Hong Kong Leader To Step Down

Jun 17, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Protestors Call For Hong Kong Leader To Step Down



MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We’re going to stay in Hong Kong a little longer to hear from one of the protesters who was out in the streets all day. Galileo Cheng is a social affairs executive for the Hong Kong Catholic Institution Staff Association, and he is with us now.

Welcome. Thanks for talking to us.

GALILEO CHENG: Yes. Thank you.

MARTIN: The government says that they’ve shelved this bill for now. Why is it that so many people still felt they needed to come out to protest?

CHENG: Well, whenever they say they’re suspending it indefinitely, the Hong Kong people are not believing it.

MARTIN: So what is it that the protesters are asking for? They’re asking for the bill to be shelved indefinitely. Is there anything else?

CHENG: Yeah. They’re calling for (unintelligible) responsibility of the police firing tear gas or all kinds of firearms, not arrest and charge for those protester and to release them, and most importantly, to cancel the Hong Kong government’s decision of marking the June 12 protest as a riot and step down for the Carrie Lam.

MARTIN: Tell me about the atmosphere there, if you would. You mentioned – and I think many people saw – that, you know, earlier in the week at earlier protests, there was tear gas. And many people – I think protesters believe that the police reacted kind of harshly. What’s the atmosphere there today?

CHENG: This one is funny. We are – because the police are very restrained, extremely calm. They don’t wear any kind of protective gear or anti-riot gear on the street. Of course, there are numbers, so they are not going to take strong action today.

MARTIN: What is it that you think is giving the protesters the encouragement to come out again now in such large numbers?

CHENG: I think the sentiment has to change. Two years ago, people were very disappointed about the Occupy Movement that after 71 days, and it came back nothing. But now, the Hong Kong person seems to be – Hong Kong people seems to be much more determined, less (unintelligible). So they have been planting the seed in the heart of the young people.

So this time, we see at the midnight of town, you’ve got the 300-somethings young peoples being arrested and 80% of them are just 16 to 25 years old. So that’s – we haven’t been expected. We thought the youngster don’t care about politics anymore. But it turns out that those young guys are coming out and becoming the front line. The seed had grown, and they were out.

MARTIN: That is Galileo Cheng. He’s a social affairs executive for the Hong Kong Catholic Institution Staff Association. He’s been out all day, and he’s giving us a report from the front lines of the protests.

Galileo Cheng, thank you so much for talking with us.

CHENG: Thank you.

Copyright © 2019 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Sports Analyst: NBA Reliance On Analytics Hurts Diversity Hiring

Jun 17, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Sports Analyst: NBA Reliance On Analytics Hurts Diversity Hiring



MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Let’s talk basketball for a minute. The men’s NBA season is officially over. The Toronto Raptors have won their first NBA championship. And now the big news in the men’s game is the upcoming draft and the big trades, like Anthony Davis heading to the Lakers. So we thought this might be a good time to explore how teams decide. And while there’s been a lot of talk these days about the growing power of agents and big-name players, increasingly, teams are using advanced analytics, really detailed performance data to determine whom to hire.

And Jalen Rose has some thoughts about that. Jalen Rose is a former college basketball star, a member of the University of Michigan’s Fab Five, a former NBA player. And he’s now a prominent sports analyst on multiple shows on ESPN and elsewhere. In a recent conversation with The New Yorker Magazine, Rose argued that the increased reliance on analytics over things like playing experience make it harder for former players, many of whom are minorities, to get high-level positions. I called him to ask him to tell me more.

JALEN ROSE: There became an amazing groundswell of opportunities that presented themselves in powerful positions, whether general manager, president and/or an entire department now that organizations are dedicating themselves to making sure they are on top of the analytics. And they’re able to decipher not only what you see, but obviously they’re able to detect it via the numbers.

So I understand, and I appreciate having all of the information. But at some point, there still has to be some level of logic, expertise. Your eye test has to be something that you’re able to trust along with your instincts to make that big final decision. I just always felt like analytics should be a tool – a wrench, a hammer – that’s a part of the tool box, not necessarily the end-all, be-all to a final decision. And it definitely should not be the sole reason why somebody is put into a powerful position.

MARTIN: In a way, I feel like you’re saying that, well, you’re saying a couple of things that people have seen in other fields. They feel that, say, algorithms are replacing human judgment. And it also – what I hear you saying is that this is a way to kind of keep the club the way it’s always been. Now that more African Americans are getting the experience to move into these front office positions, you have the feeling that perhaps this reliance on data is a way to kind of keep it as the club that it’s always been that has not been particularly diverse. Is that what you see?

ROSE: Well, I’m just really talking about the landscape as I see it and acknowledging how that did take place based on the dynamics you just described. It’s just that what ended up happening with those jobs and the dynamics of professional sports. If you look from the top down, there needs to be more diversity in the powerful positions.

And a lot of times, the numbers became a catalyst to say, here’s an opportunity. Oh, and by the way, since you know analytics, you get pushed to the front of the line. And if you look in the NBA and in many professional sports, there isn’t a lot of diversity amongst those who got their position based on the fact that they were really good at crunching the numbers and doing analytics.

MARTIN: So what kind of reaction are you getting?

ROSE: A lot of support. And the great thing about being open-minded and trying to always be fair, you hear it from all sides. And when people have a good point, you acknowledge it. And when you feel like what you’re saying and what you believe is what it’s going to be, then and you just own it.

MARTIN: That was ESPN analyst former, NBA player Jalen Rose. We’re talking about a piece that just posted in The New Yorker called “Jalen Rose Has A Problem With Basketball Analytics.” And we reached him in Oakland. Jalen Rose, thanks so much for talking to us.

ROSE: Thank you kindly. Have a great day.

Copyright © 2019 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

The Ethical Question Of Running Up The Score

Jun 16, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on The Ethical Question Of Running Up The Score



MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The Women’s World Cup is underway in France, and as usual in the early rounds, the underdogs have been getting dispatched by the powerhouses pretty handily. But Tuesday’s match between the U.S. and Thailand took this to a new level. The U.S. crushed the Thai opponents 13-0. For some, this was a cause for celebration and vindication, as the U.S. women have been pressing their governing body for better pay and conditions. But for some commentators, the lopsided result raises questions about sportsmanship and even ethics. Should the Americans have kept running up the score against the vastly outmatched Thais?

To settle this, we’ve called Shawn Klein, a lecturer in ethics and philosophy at Arizona State University. And he’s with us now from KJZZ in Arizona.

Thank you so much for joining us.

SHAWN KLEIN: Thanks for having me.

MARTIN: And, professor Klein, I want to mention that you teach a class in sports ethics – a class that has a whole section of the syllabus devoted to the ethics of running up the score. So you have thought a lot about this. You watched this game. Did it strike you as unethical in the moment?

KLEIN: I thought it was exciting. I thought it was ridiculous. I kept running to my son and saying, they scored again. They scored again. I didn’t experience it as lacking in sportsmanship.

MARTIN: And when you say ridiculous, you don’t mean that in a bad way. You mean it like, ridiculous – like, wow, this is ridiculous.

KLEIN: Yeah. I mean…

MARTIN: This is crazy (laughter).

KLEIN: Crazy – this is – I’ve never seen this. This is, you know, Michael Jordan leaping over all the defenders in basketball. This is Serena Williams demolishing, you know, her competition in a tennis match. It was a sporting moment that you just don’t see, and so it would – that part was exciting, to see that historical aspect of it.

MARTIN: And so what do you make of the way this has kept bubbling up all week? I just want to note that the U.S. coach, Jill Ellis, said that if this had been a men’s soccer match, these questions would never have come up. I don’t know any way to test that theory. But why do you think this has bubbled up like it has all week?

KLEIN: I mean, I think she’s right to a degree. I do think that the fact that this is the Women’s World Cup is playing a role of why it’s getting the attention it’s getting. At the same time, these questions do get raised in other sports. I mean, I can’t recall it being raised in men’s soccer. Certainly, from the U.S. perspective, the U.S. has never gotten (laughter) close to having this kind of match – at least, on the winning side. But in other sports, whether it’s the NFL, men’s college football, baseball, flipping the bat after a home run, the celebrations – this question does get raised against men’s teams.

MARTIN: You did mention the celebrations. So that is another sportsmanship question that has come out of this match – about the way the U.S. women celebrated their goals – you know, jumping in each other’s arms or rolling on the field. I mean, that’s pretty standard stuff. But I do wonder if you think that the fact that the team kept celebrating when they kept scoring – do you think that’s something that’s pushing people’s buttons?

KLEIN: I do think that that’s the driving force for a lot of the discussions. But what the U.S. players were doing was coming together. In some of the cases – so you take Mallory Pugh, this was her first World Cup goal. Yes, it was the 11th goal that the U.S. scored, but this was her first goal. So of course she’s going to celebrate, and of course the team around her is going to come to her and celebrate.

And that shows great team chemistry – that they’re all so happy for Pugh’s success and achievement – an achievement that she’s been dreaming about since she was 6 years old. So I think that that ability to dream and then celebrate when you have achieved your dream, I think, is one of the magical things of sport. And I would hate to see us not celebrate that.

MARTIN: I wanted to ask you, for the people who think it’s just not a good look or maybe it just makes the U.S. look bad or like bullies, why do you think that it was important from the standpoint of the U.S. women for them to play hard and score as many goals as they could? Like, what point do you think they were making?

KLEIN: One is just internal to their – to the team – that they can play well together in the context of a game in front of fans on international TV. I also think it’s a message to the rest of the field that the U.S. is here to defend their championship, and they’re going to play hard.

I think it’s also important in terms of telling young women that it’s OK to be who they are. It’s OK to be great. It’s OK to pursue greatness and to achieve greatness. And it’s OK to celebrate your achievements and not to run from them and not to hide from it. And I think that’s an important message.

MARTIN: Well, I do want to note the USA plays Chile tomorrow, Sunday. Care to – I don’t know – handicap it for us?

KLEIN: (Laughter) I think that the U.S. will win. I don’t think we’ll get into the double digits again. I’ll say that. It may be more like a – let’s say 6-1 score. Let’s go with that.

MARTIN: OK. That’s Shawn Klein. He hosts a podcast called “The Sports Ethicist” where questions like this one often come up.

Shawn Klein, thanks so much for talking to us.

KLEIN: Thanks for having me.

Copyright © 2019 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Dean Obeidallah Wins $4.1M In Defamation Suit Against Neo-Nazi Website

Jun 16, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Dean Obeidallah Wins $4.1M In Defamation Suit Against Neo-Nazi Website



MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Continuing the conversation about new technologies, this week, lawmakers debated how to deal with information generated by artificial intelligence, which they fear could be used to smear candidates and interfere with elections. A comedian and commentator named Dean Obeidallah decided to tackle this conduct the old-fashioned way. He sued his defamers, and he won. This week, a judge ruled that the publisher of the neo-Nazi site The Daily Stormer must pay Obeidallah $4.1 million for falsely portraying him as a terrorist. Here to tell us more is Dean Obeidallah. He’s with us from our bureau in New York. Welcome. Thanks so much for joining us.

DEAN OBEIDALLAH: Thank you.

MARTIN: So let me just remind everybody again exactly what happened. What was your specific complaint against The Daily Stormer and its publisher, Andrew Anglin?

OBEIDALLAH: Well, what they did to me and what they wrote about me requires going backwards slightly a little bit. I wrote an article on May 31, 2017, for The Daily Beast, where I’ve been writing weekly for a few years. And in that article, I used the term white supremacist terrorism. And I said, why will Donald Trump not use the term white supremacist terrorism? Because this is three months before Charlottesville. There was already a spike in white supremacist violence going on.

And that so upset Andrew Anglin at The Daily Stormer, the publisher and founder. He wrote an article the next day smearing me. He fabricated tweets that made it look like I was tweeting that I was the mastermind of the bombing, I was cheering for it and I did it the name of Allah and my faith as a Muslim. And they looked exactly real, with retweets and likes and then directed his readership at The Daily Stormer to confront me was the exact term.

MARTIN: And what happened? Did people think this was you?

OBEIDALLAH: Well, yes.

MARTIN: And did people confront you?

OBEIDALLAH: The Daily Stormer readers clearly thought it was me from the comments that were directed at me that very clearly said that I hope – Dean better hope he dies of natural causes before we get him, things like we should hang him from an elm tree. And in their comments, they clearly saw – thought I was a terrorist. And just so it’s clear for people, The Daily Stormer is not your average white supremacist neo-Nazi publication, if there is such one. It is one where readers go to, they exchange information. They animate each other into action.

And readers of The Daily Stormer have committed acts of violence. James Jackson, who I wrote about that May 2017 article, came to New York in March from Maryland to start a race war and killed an elderly African American man and thankfully was arrested before he could kill others. And others have read this publication. So when they say confront you there, it’s not a normal publication saying, go challenge his opinions. It is direct action, encouraging people to literally confront me and to commit acts of violence.

MARTIN: OK. But I’m just curious about why, if you feel that these people are promoting and fomenting violence, why isn’t this a criminal matter as opposed to a civil matter? I mean, a civil matter is between two private parties, and the only consequence could be money, right? That’s the only way it can be a remedy. But if you feel that this group is actually encouraging violence, why isn’t this a criminal complaint?

OBEIDALLAH: It would be a harder case to prove from a criminal point of view because the direct – just as a lawyer, I can say, I mean, speech is protected and has more protections in the criminal setting. So to be charged criminally with inciting violence, you must directly say, go get this person at this place.

MARTIN: Go get him.

OBEIDALLAH: And we’re going to get him. And we’re going to kill him. Instead, it was slightly more ambiguous. But clearly, from a civil point of view, these tweets and this language was not protected by the First Amendment.

MARTIN: Before we let you go, how do you feel? I mean, I know this has not been a – this has not been a pleasant couple of years…

OBEIDALLAH: No.

MARTIN: …Dealing with this and being – first of all, just being falsely defamed for having associated with something, you know, so heinous and then being maligned in this way. I mean, was at least that moment in court when the judge ruled in your favor, like, how did that feel?

OBEIDALLAH: No, that felt great. Did it make up? I can’t go back to my life pre-June 1, 2017, where I’m getting smeared. And as a Muslim, being attacked with the worst anti-Muslim trope you can say is that I’m a Muslim and I’m a terrorist. So it was very painful. It was painful to have friends and family express concerns. It was painful to contact security at Daily Beast and my radio channel to say, hey, we might be visited by white supremacists coming to kill me. And they might kill innocent people I work with. That was all horrible.

But through this all, I’ve never once questioned doing this. This is the right thing to do. It’s the thing we have to do. And I’m happy we got the judgment. And we’re going to continue. And I hope it inspires others and gives them a roadmap to say, don’t be silent. There are lawyers who will represent you – I’m not kidding – free of charge for this kind of work to make it clear that we’re not going to cower from these people. We’re going to sue them. We’re going to win. We’re going to get their money.

MARTIN: That’s Dean Obeidallah. He’s the host of “The Dean Obeidallah Show” on Sirius XM. He’s a columnist for The Daily Beast. And he’s a comedian and a former lawyer. Dean, thanks so much for talking to us.

OBEIDALLAH: Thanks for having me on, Michel. I appreciate it.

Copyright © 2019 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Mexico’s Migration Chief Abruptly Resigns

Jun 15, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Mexico’s Migration Chief Abruptly Resigns

Passengers from Tecun Uman, Guatemala (across the water), arrive by raft at Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, on Friday at sunrise.

Rebecca Blackwell/AP


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Rebecca Blackwell/AP

Passengers from Tecun Uman, Guatemala (across the water), arrive by raft at Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, on Friday at sunrise.

Rebecca Blackwell/AP

The president of Mexico’s National Migration Institute, the government agency that controls and supervises migration, resigned Friday.

In a brief statement, the institute announced that Tonatiuh Guillén Lopez presented his resignation to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Guillén Lopez, who thanked the Mexican president for the opportunity to serve the country, had been commissioner of the migration agency since December.

The statement did not give a reason for the resignation.

Messages sent to Guillén Lopez by NPR were not immediately returned.

His resignation comes as Mexico is dealing with a surge of migrants, mostly from Central America, trying to reach the United States.

Trump: U.S., Mexico Reach Deal To Avoid New Tariffs

Mexico Is Overwhelmed By Asylum Claims As It Ramps Up Immigration Enforcement

The migration agency has been struggling with budget cuts and increased demands. It has come under criticism from the United States for not doing more to control the surge of migrants.

The United States and Mexico on June 7 agreed to a series of actions to address the flow of migrants, including increased enforcement by Mexico of its southern border with Guatemala.

Earlier in the day, López Obrador said that his government will bolster security at his country’s southern border, acknowledging that there have been lax controls there.

“We have identified 68 crossings like that, and in all of them there will be oversight,” López Obrador said as cited by The Associated Press.

What The U.S. Military Knows About The Attacks On Oil Tankers In The Gulf Of Oman

Jun 15, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on What The U.S. Military Knows About The Attacks On Oil Tankers In The Gulf Of Oman



AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

These two tankers that were attacked yesterday in the Gulf of Oman weren’t the only ones. Four other ships were attacked in the region in just the last month. The U.S. Navy watches the sea lanes there closely. NPR’s Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman has been reporting on what the military knows. He joins us now. And Tom, let’s just talk about what you’ve learned so far starting with where those two tankers are now.

TOM BOWMAN, BYLINE: Well, Audie, I’m told one of the ships, the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous, is being towed by tugs. The fire is out on the vessel. Crew’s back on board, and the destroyer USS Bainbridge is on overwatch. This second vessel, the Norwegian-owned Front Altair – tug operators are saying they’ve been told by Iranian fast boat operators not to move the ship according to U.S. military officials, and they say that’s what the tug operators are telling their company officials in Oman.

CORNISH: What more is the U.S. saying about what happened?

BOWMAN: Well, U.S. military personnel are now inspecting this ship, the Courageous, and saying it appears an explosive device left a hole that folds in, meaning it was not an internal but rather an external explosion. They also say they’re pulling off what appears to be a mine or two and seeing scorchers on the ship. We could see pictures of that.

And of course as we just learned, the president is saying Iran did it. The Pentagon released this video they say is an Iranian ship taking a limpet mine off one of the tankers. Iran denies any involvement. The foreign minister, Mohammad Zarif, said the U.S. has immediately jumped to make allegations against Iran without a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence.

CORNISH: In the meantime, are there plans to send any more U.S. ships to the area?

BOWMAN: Well, the Bainbridge is there, of course. And another destroyer, the USS Mason, which was off Karachi, Pakistan, is now off Oman. I’m told it’s possible you could see other ships and aircraft heading there in the coming days. That’s something that the top military officer for the region, General Frank McKenzie, was asking about even before these explosions.

CORNISH: Tom, I want to step back and look at some of the history here because some people may remember the so-called tanker wars of the 1980s. And at that time, as Iran and Iraq fought, they attacked ships, so then the U.S. began escorting some ships through those waters. Is that something we could see again?

BOWMAN: You know, we could see that again. And of course, Audie, during the tanker war, it got very complicated very quickly. The U.S. ended up firing on Iranian ships and shot down an Iranian airliner. And four years ago, there was a week-long escort effort after Iranian fast boats grabbed the crew of the container ship and brought them off Iran.

Now, this effort, I’m told, is – requires a good number of ships. And I was just talking with Ash Carter, the former defense secretary just yesterday. And he said, you know, it requires a lot of planning. And it’s not something you do lightly.

CORNISH: Tom, before I let you go, do you get any sense that the Pentagon feels like they’re on the defensive here in terms of explaining themselves?

BOWMAN: No, they think the evidence is pretty clear. But again, there’s skepticism, as we heard in Europe. There’s skepticism obviously from Iran. And they may offer Congress a little more detailed information maybe that they can’t publicly release. And I’m thinking about, you know, radio intercepts from this ship maybe back to Iran if that’s the case, if it was Iranian. And also, you can track these ships, of course. Did this ship come from an Iranian port? So there’s a lot more they could provide, and I’m sure they have it.

CORNISH: That’s NPR’s Tom Bowman.

Copyright © 2019 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Masai Ujiri’s Remarkable Journey To The NBA

Jun 14, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Masai Ujiri’s Remarkable Journey To The NBA



AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The Toronto Raptors are making their first NBA Finals appearance in franchise history. And going into tonight’s Game 6, they lead the series 3-2. That puts them one win away from the title. Masai Ujiri is behind Toronto’s big season. He’s the Raptors general manager and one of basketball’s most-revered GMs. Growing up, the NBA seemed far away when he was watching old footage of All-Star Games shipped to Nigeria on VHS tapes.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Dikembe Mutombo.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Mutombo is leading all the statistics for the rookies this year.

CORNISH: Masai Ujiri is the first African general manager in the NBA. He’s spreading love for the game back where he grew up with his Giants of Africa charity. I spoke to Bill Rhoden, sports writer for The Undefeated, about the journey Ujiri took from Nigeria to the front office in Toronto.

BILL RHODEN: He got bitten by the basketball bug. And I think the wildest thing about the story is that his parents then allowed him to come to the United States and begin this incredible basketball journey. They allowed him to go to Seattle. There was a Nigerian family in Seattle. And he attended a prep school.

You know, that’s where he began – you know, he started playing. And he wanted to either make it to the NBA or some level of college basketball. So he went to a junior college. From the outside, it looked like it was not – this was not the road to the NBA.

CORNISH: What kind of player was he? How did people describe him?

RHODEN: They didn’t (laughter). He was self-described as this tall, skinny kid that had much more ambition than for the Division 1 skills. He was intellectual. He was smart. And he just had this – just this tenacity. But at that point, the light had not gone on yet that it wasn’t going to happen for you.

CORNISH: What was his first foray into the NBA on any level in terms of management?

RHODEN: The first big opportunity he got was with the Orlando Magic. And he impressed them with, again, his tenacity. And they said, OK, we’ll give you a shot, though not a pay. And he became sort of an international scout. Kiki VanDeWeghe, who at the time was in Denver, hired Masai as an international scout. And the kind of rest, as they say, is – became history.

CORNISH: Now, Ujiri wants to lead Toronto to its first NBA title. How significant would that moment be?

RHODEN: Yeah, for Toronto, for sure. But I think for Masai – and, again, he will not necessarily talk about it – but he feels that his actions speak louder than words. But we don’t have to say anything. Here you’ve got this person who’s made this tremendous journey from, you know, from England to Nigeria to the United States, Seattle, North – and who’s now a game away from standing on top of the world. And even if he doesn’t, he’s already acknowledged as probably one of the best team presidents in the NBA.

CORNISH: I want to talk about how you describe him in your story. You say that he has become one of the shrewdest front office minds in the business of basketball. You say that he’s known for being fearless, for forward-thinking moves for blockbuster trades. He’s also quite humble. I want to play for you a clip of him speaking to Vice Sports last year.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MASAI UJIRI: The longer I do it, the more embarrassing it is for me because when is the next person coming along? Who have I helped? How many African kids, how many African youth have I helped to be in a position like this one day? That’s what you put on your shoulder, like being from the continent of Africa right there. That’s the weight that I put.

RHODEN: What he’s done in Africa is created hundreds of young African players – not just Nigeria. These kids are getting opportunities to go to college using their basketball skills, but not necessarily to be in the NBA, just using basketball as a vehicle. And that’s where his passion is and his lane.

You know, he said, I can’t change the entire world, but my lane and my opportunity has been basketball, and I could maximize that. And he’d really preached on all the African players who come over to the United States and who play in the NBA, it’s your duty to help me give back. I mean, it’s really been amazing.

CORNISH: That’s Bill Rhoden of The Undefeated. Thank you so much for speaking with us, for sharing your story.

RHODEN: Thank you very much.

Copyright © 2019 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Trump Turns Trade Talks Into Spectator Sport

Jun 14, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Trump Turns Trade Talks Into Spectator Sport

President Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping are expected to talk about trade on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, later this month.

Thomas Peter/AFP/Getty Images


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President Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping are expected to talk about trade on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, later this month.

Thomas Peter/AFP/Getty Images

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Thursday that the Trump administration is determined to make China play by the rules of international trade.

“You know how you get from here to there?” Kudlow told an audience at a pro-trade think tank in Washington. “You kick some butt.”

That’s not the kind of dry, technocratic language one usually associates with trade negotiations. But it’s another example of how President Trump has turned international commerce into a highly unusual spectator sport.

The next big spectacle is expected to be a faceoff between Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, later this month.

Inside The White House's Bitter Fight Over China

This “Talka in Osaka” is another high-stakes showcase for the president, who has managed to turn trade talks into must-see television. Less WTO — more WWE, complete with heroes, villains, plot twists and plenty of trash talk.

“China wants to make a deal very badly,” Trump told reporters this week. “It’s me, right now, that’s holding up the deal.”

Trump said that before he took office, “China ate the United States alive, economically.” The president has imposed steep tariffs on Chinese imports. And he’s threatened to go further if China won’t throw in the towel.

Like last week’s tariff battle with Mexico, the showdown with China has kept the president on the front page, sent shock waves through the stock market, and turned dusty rules of international commerce into a hot topic around the dinner table.

“There will be no shortage of conversations in the early summer barbecues, boy, with people looking at their portfolios,” said Matthew Slaughter, a Dartmouth economist who studies international trade.

China Puts New Tariffs On $60 Billion Of U.S. Goods, And Stock Prices Reel

Trump has not only put trade front and center in the national conversation. Because the president is such a polarizing figure, he has managed to scramble the usual partisan cheering sections. Some Republicans are now defending tariffs and other protectionist measures while some Democrats are pushing in the opposite direction.

“There’s some Democrats who are now saying, ‘Boy, we need to be careful on levying these new trade barriers and we need to worry about trade wars,’ ” said Slaughter, who served in the George W. Bush White House. “The president and his policies are starting to muddy those waters again.”

A Quinnipiac poll last month found 53% of all Americans disapprove of the president’s handling of trade, while just 39% approve. The poll was taken about a week after talks between the U.S. and China broke down and Trump increased tariffs on some $250 billion worth of imports.

“Right now, China is paying us billions and billions of dollars,” Trump said. “They never gave us 10 cents.”

Never mind that most economists say the tariffs are largely paid by American businesses and consumers. Meanwhile, China has raised tariffs of its own on U.S. exports, while cutting the taxes on products it buys from other countries.

Kudlow calls himself a free trader but said he has come around to the president’s view that tariffs can be a useful economic weapon.

More Tariffs On China, More Head Scratching From Economists

“It’s a negotiating tool, but it’s not a bluff,” Kudlow said. “As you’ve seen, he will actually execute or implement tariffs.”

A member of the audience asked Kudlow what happens if Trump’s tariffs don’t deliver a knockout punch. What if, instead, the two sides settle into a costly, rope-a-dope trade war?

Kudlow didn’t have a ready answer for that. The think tank’s director emeritus, Fred Bergsten, observed that for much of the past century, the U.S. has gone largely unchallenged in the global ring. In China, it is finally facing another economic heavyweight.

Citizenship Question Lawsuit Plaintiffs Ask Supreme Court To Delay Ruling

Jun 13, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Citizenship Question Lawsuit Plaintiffs Ask Supreme Court To Delay Ruling

ACLU’s Voting Rights Project Director Dale Ho (center) speaks outside the U.S. Supreme Court in April after arguing on behalf of plaintiffs in the lawsuits over the citizenship question the Trump administration wants to add to the 2020 census.

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images


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ACLU’s Voting Rights Project Director Dale Ho (center) speaks outside the U.S. Supreme Court in April after arguing on behalf of plaintiffs in the lawsuits over the citizenship question the Trump administration wants to add to the 2020 census.

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Advocacy groups that sued to block the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to delay issuing a ruling on the question’s fate.

In a filing released Wednesday, they cite recently uncovered documents that they say show an alleged cover-up of the real reason the Trump administration wants the hotly contested question on forms for next year’s national head count.

“The significance of this case cannot be overstated. The census happens once a decade and there is no chance for a do-over,” said Dale Ho, the director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project who helped represent the plaintiffs in the lawsuits. “The Supreme Court should not permit the Trump administration to add a citizenship question to the census based on an incomplete and misleading record.”

The Supreme Court is expected to announce its decision by the end of the month on whether the Trump administration can include on census forms the question, “Is this person a citizen of the United States?” The case was argued before the justices in April, more than a month before the plaintiffs brought forth the newly revealed documents.

GOP Redistricting Strategist Played Role In Push For Census Citizenship Question

Judge Delays Review Of 'Serious' Allegations Of Citizenship Question Cover-Up

The justices are under pressure to make a ruling by July 1, which is the deadline by which the Census Bureau says it must start printing 1.5 billion census forms, letters and other mailings.

Last week, a federal judge at a lower court in New York set a schedule through early August for reviewing the plaintiffs’ cover-up allegations. During a hearing, U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman — whose ruling to block the administration’s plans for the question was appealed to the Supreme Court — called the latest allegations “serious,” but he stopped short of making any rulings that would interfere with the high court’s review.

The administration has maintained it wants a citizenship question on the census to better enforce part of the Voting Rights Act.

But the plaintiffs argue that the documents of a deceased GOP redistricting strategist show that the administration was driven to add the question to give Republicans and non-Hispanic white people a political advantage when new voting maps are drawn after the 2020 census. They allege that a Justice Department official and a former consultant to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the census, provided false or misleading testimony about the question’s origins for the lawsuits.

A spokesperson for the Justice Department, which is representing the administration in this legal battle, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Both attorneys for the administration and the plaintiffs informed the Supreme Court of the new allegations earlier this month. The justices are set to meet Thursday to discuss the remaining cases in their current term, which is currently scheduled to end in just over two weeks.

House Judiciary Committee Approves Funds For Sept. 11 First Responders

Jun 13, 2019   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on House Judiciary Committee Approves Funds For Sept. 11 First Responders

TV personality Jon Stewart at a hearing by the House Judiciary Committee as it considers permanent authorization of the Victim Compensation Fund on Capitol Hill in Washington.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP


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TV personality Jon Stewart at a hearing by the House Judiciary Committee as it considers permanent authorization of the Victim Compensation Fund on Capitol Hill in Washington.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

A day after TV personality Jon Stewart blasted lawmakers for their inaction, the House Judiciary Committee voted unanimously Wednesday to extend the compensation fund for police, firefighters and other first responders to the Sept. 11 attack sites.

The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund was established in 2011 to help first responders whose illnesses and deaths were connected to their exposure to toxic substances they encountered at the World Trade Center, at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pa.

But the Fund is nearing depletion. As NPR reported:

“The $7.3 billion fund has already paid out about $5 billion to 21,000 claimants. But it still has about 19,000 additional unpaid claims to address.

“With resources rapidly dwindling, the fund said any pending claims will be paid at 50 percent of their prior value. Claims received after Feb. 1 of this year will be paid at 30 percent.”

Stewart, who has long championed the cause of the first responders, criticized Congress for not extending the program, telling lawmakers “you should be ashamed of yourselves.”

“Al-Qaida didn’t shout death to Tribeca — they attacked America, and these men and women and their response to it is what brought our country back,” Stewart said.

The bill, which would extend the compensation fund to 2090, now goes to the full House for consideration, where it is expected to pass. Its future in the Senate is not clear.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York urged the chamber’s Republican leadership to bring the bill up for a vote as soon as possible.

“We will reach the point soon, most likely this year, when more will have died from 9/11-related illnesses than on 9/11 itself,” Schumer said.

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  • NPT: 2019-06-17 09:18 PM
  • EDT: 2019-06-17 11:33 AM
  • PDT: 2019-06-17 08:33 AM