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Cuban dissident to push for greater liberties

first_imgHAVANA – Internationally renowned dissident Oswaldo Paya on Thursday announced a new group with more than 300 members to promote reconciliation and push for laws that allow Cubans more individual liberties. Paya said the Citizen Committee for Reconciliation and Dialogue seeks to get average Cubans involved in efforts to change laws to “guarantee the exercise of fundamental rights of all Cubans, whether they live inside or outside” the communist-run island. It builds on Paya’s Varela Project, which amassed more than 25,000 signatures asking for a referendum to change Cuba’s electoral law and to guarantee freedoms of speech, assembly and private business ownership. The European Union honored that project in 2002 by awarding Paya its top human rights prize. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPettersson scores another winner, Canucks beat KingsWhile some members of the new committee are established dissidents, most are ordinary citizens, Paya told a small group of reporters. “The majority of Cubans want change,” said Paya, 55, a devout Roman Catholic who founded the opposition Christian Liberation Movement a decade ago to emphasize peaceful change. “Never before have the Cuban people been so conscious that change is near and that Cuba has to change.” The island’s 81-year-old leader, Fidel Castro, underwent emergency intestinal surgery last year and stepped aside provisionally for his brother Raul, the 76-year-old defense minister and his constitutionally appointed successor. Communist leaders insist that no major changes will occur after Fidel Castro is gone and dismiss opposition leaders such as Paya as “counterrevolutionaries” and “mercenaries.” Paya’s projects are less militant and more inclusive than most opposition projects in Cuba, bringing him criticism from some people in the exile community. He insists that change on the island must be homegrown and rejects proposals for change made by governments and groups outside the island, such as the recent White House project to promote a “democratic transition” in Cuba. In a “Declaration of Liberty for Cubans” accompanying Thursday’s announcement, Paya said, “The Cuban people, and especially the new generations, want to live in peace, in an environment free of fakery, fear, hate, rancor, without revenge or vengeance.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Tuesday’s QPR quiz

first_imgTest your Rangers knowledge by seeing how many of these five questions you can answer correctly…[wp-simple-survey-7]Video: QPR fans react to dramatic victory against StokeFollow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img

Catholic Astronomer Takes On the Pope, and Other ID Battles

first_imgRight after Pope Benedict XVI essentially affirmed intelligent design (11/10/2005), his court astronomer rejected it.  The Rev. George Coyne, Jesuit director of the Vatican Observatory, sounded like he was reading the NCSE playbook: “Intelligent design isn’t science even though it pretends to be…. If you want to teach it in schools, intelligent design should be taught when religion or cultural history is taught, not science.”  LiveScience, as could be expected after their series against I.D., gave this story prominence.  Coyne continued arguing that the faithful should abandon the concept of a dictator God or designer God creating a Newtonian “clockwork universe” and instead embrace the concept of God as “encouraging parent” using evolution to achieve his ends – allowing, participating and loving, but not intervening.  Evolution News remarked that the news media, picking up on this story, seems more Catholic than the Pope.  Bruce Chapman explained why it is incorrect to claim Coyne’s view represents the official Vatican position.    The contest between Darwinian evolution and intelligent design still shows no sign of abating.  Here are some other recent developments:Bio-Advocacy:  The journal BioScience contained two articles and an editorial attacking intelligent design and strategizing ways to defeat it in science classrooms (see 11/01/2005 entry for one of the articles).Cornell Students vs. Their President:  The senior editor of the Cornell Sun responded to the President’s anti-ID speech by reporting about the ID debate on campus, listing faculty members supporting and opposing the new ideas.  Xiaowei Cathy Tang found that it’s not just students, but some “faculty members urged the University and the nation to view I.D. as a valid challenge to some aspects of evolution.”Conservatives for Darwin:  CEH readers wrote in about anti-ID articles in the Washington Post by noted conservative columnists George Will and Charles Krauthammer, who pulled no punches with, “Let’s be clear.  Intelligent design may be interesting as theology, but as science it is a fraud.”  He called it “ridiculous to make evolution the enemy of God.”  He finds it “more elegant, more simple, more brilliant, more economical, more creative, indeed more divine” to picture, in the beginning, “a single double-stranded molecule, pliable and fecund enough to give us mollusks and mice, Newton and Einstein” even if it also produced the Kansas State Board of Education, he ended with a smirk.  Jonathan Witt on EvolutionNews claimed all Krauthammer did was knock down a straw man.Whose Claptrap?:  Tennesseean Tom Bohs wrote a torrid anti-ID editorial for the Jackson Sun, but his litany of ridicule, straw man tactics and ad hominems might backfire for some readers.  Sample: “If you believe the Earth is flat, well, I have a theory of evolution for you: intelligent design.  This is the pseudo-scientific claptrap some Christian fundamentalists are trying to foist off on society and have taught in our public school biology classes.  Don’t fall for the sales pitch.  It isn’t science.”Toe-Dipping in Indiana:  Mary Beth Schneider wrote in the Indianapolis Star about GOP state assemblymen who are testing the waters about intelligent design.  “We were trying to see if this is a hot-button issue for people,” said Bill Friend, Indiana House Majority Leader, and one of 36 Republican legislators who included the issue on a survey.UI no ID:  The Tribune reported on over 150 University of Iowa faculty who have signed a statement opposing intelligent design.The Sun Will Come Up, Tomorrow:  In a Malaysia newspaper, Dr. Stefan Tan claimed that Darwinism is dying.  He ended, “As one who believes that the universe is not an accident (the probabilities weigh against it), I believe it is a matter of time before macro-evolution will be nailed down in the coffin by an ever-increasing preponderance of evidences now trickling in.  Some might prefer to wait all night for the sun to rise but do we have that much time before we believe?”Get It Right, Reporters:  Frustrated at repeated misrepresentations in the media about the Kansas science standards, Evolution News listed the definitions of science in the standards of all 50 states.  The New York Times and other newspapers had claimed that Kansas made a dangerous change to its definition of science by robbing it of “natural explanations” for phenomena; Ker Than in LiveScience accused Kansas of bringing “supernatural explanations” into science, while MSNBC News portrayed it as a “subtle” but “brilliant” tactic to “open the door for divine interventions.”  The record shows that, prior to the vote, Kansas had been the only state embedding methodological naturalism into the definition of science.  The new definition actually is closer to the definition in 40 other states, while 9 states did not even specify a definition.When you look at who acts cool and rational, and who strives for honesty and accuracy in reporting, and who thinks instead of repeating sound bites, there really is no contest.  That the Darwin Party must resort to constant mudslinging and power plays can only mean one thing: they are running scared.    As to the Vatican astronomer, we’ll have to wait and see how that battle plays out.  Father Coyne fails to see the contradiction in what he said.  Everything characteristic of the Catholic faith involves God’s actual intervention in the affairs of mankind: the Creation, the Fall, the virgin birth, and the resurrection, to name a few.  The Darwinists want unguided, directionless, purposeless evolution; how can that possibly be reconciled with Catholicism without schizophrenia?  It appears that Coyne is more wedded to his scientific reputation than his faith, and more loyal to Pope Charlie (02/13/2004) than to Pope Benedict.  Press coverage of their disparate views may force a confrontation.  Does it matter?  Only to Catholics, and to Darwinists desperately seeking quotes from religious celebrities to shield their naked materialism.(Visited 7 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

A Simple KnicksProof Proposal To Improve The NBAs Draft Lottery

Pelicans3850.5100.4 That’s more proportionate to the small difference separating Minnesota, New York and Philly in the standings.Here’s how the lottery balls would have been distributed in each of the past 10 seasons.4For 2012, which was shortened by a labor dispute, I’ve prorated loss totals to an 82-game schedule. On average, the worst team would have had about a 25 percent chance of winding up with the top pick, as it does now. But those chances would have been as high as 38.5 percent (for the record-setting 2012 Charlotte Bobcats) or as low as 19.0 percent (for the 2013 Orlando Magic), depending on how much separated the very worst team from the almost-as-bad ones. In a year like 2010, in which there was a big gap between the second-worst team (the 15-67 Timberwolves) and the third-worst (the 25-57 Sacramento Kings), that’s where the sharpest break in lottery chances would have been.It’s not the radical change that I’d prefer! But it’s a simple enough reform that even the Knicks couldn’t screw it up.CORRECTION (April 15, 3:36 p.m.): An earlier version of the chart in this post gave the incorrect location of the second-worst NBA team in 2005. At that time, the Hornets were located in New Orleans, not Charlotte. Suns4360.6100.4 TEAMLOSSESLOTTERY BALLSCHANCE OF FIRST PICKLOTTERY BALLSCHANCE OF FIRST PICK Lakers6011911.936112.7 Nets4470.7100.4 Hornets49171.7642.3 76ers6415615.652918.6 Knicks6519919.957620.3 Jazz4480.8100.4 Magic57888.82569.0 Timberwolves6625025.0%62522.0% Kings54636.31696.0 Nuggets52434.31214.3 Pistons50282.8812.9 CURRENT SYSTEMREVISED SYSTEM The New York Knicks did something unusual Monday night: They won a basketball game — just their 17th this season. What wasn’t so unusual — from a franchise that starred in such tragicomedies as Amar’e Stoudemire punching a fire extinguisher and Andrea Bargnani nearly snatching defeat from the jaws of victory — was the Knicks’ poor sense of timing. Having spent most of the season ridding their roster of anyone who could possibly help them win, the Knicks have now won twice in a row.Those two wins could make a lot of difference to the Knicks’ chance of drafting Jahlil Okafor or Karl-Anthony Towns. With one game left for each team, the Knicks are 17-64, a game better than the Minnesota Timberwolves at 16-65. The Philadelphia 76ers have the third-worst record at 18-63.Let’s say each team loses its final game. Under the NBA’s lottery formula, the Timberwolves would have a 25.0 percent chance of landing the first pick, the Knicks would have a 19.9 percent shot, and the Sixers a 15.6 percent chance.That seems like an awfully big difference for teams that are separated by just one or two games in the standings. But it’s how the NBA’s rules work. The number of losses doesn’t matter, only the order of the teams.1The league does, at least, split the difference in the event of ties, so if the Knicks and Timberwolves each finish at 17-65, they’ll each have about a 22.5 percent chance at the first pick.There’s a better way to award those pingpong balls, one that maintains the spirit of the current lottery system without allowing a one-game difference to matter so much.Here’s how it works. Take each team’s number of losses. Subtract 41 (41-41 represents a breakeven record in the NBA). Then square the result. That’s how many pingpong balls a team gets. (OK, one more provision: A team gets a minimum of 10 lottery balls, including if it has a winning record.2Otherwise, a team with a winning record would get more lottery balls than a team with a 41-41 record, since subtracting 41 from a number less than 41 and squaring the result would produce a positive number.)That might seem arbitrary — but it produces results that are remarkably similar to the current formula, only fairer. What chance would each team have at the first pick this year, for example? Assuming each team’s final game goes according to the FiveThirtyEight NBA Power Ratings,3Meaning that the Wolves, Knicks and Sixers all lose. that would leave the Wolves with a 22.0 percent chance at the first pick, the Knicks at 20.3 percent and the Sixers at 18.6 percent. Heat45111.1160.6 read more

The Wales vs Portugal Match Is More Than Just Bale vs Ronaldo

More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed FiveThirtyEight Embed Code If you’re a fan of our podcasts, be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave a rating/review. That helps spread the word to other listeners. And get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments. Tell us what you think, send us hot takes to discuss and tell us why we’re wrong. Welcome to the latest episode of Hot Takedown, FiveThirtyEight’s sports podcast. On this week’s show (July 5, 2016), we break down the numbers behind Kevin Durant’s move to the Golden State Warriors and ask if this means they have a real chance of going 82-0. Then, we talk to Michael Caley of the “The Double Pivot” podcast about Wales’s run to the semifinals of the UEFA European soccer tournament and whether Gareth Bale will get the better of Cristiano Ronaldo when Wales and Portugal play each other on Wednesday. Finally, FiveThirtyEight’s Carl Bialik comes on to chat about just how momentous Novak Djokovic’s loss to Sam Querrey at Wimbledon really was. Plus, a significant digit on the Nathan’s hot dog eating contest, which took place July 4.Links to what we discuss are here:Kyle Wagner and Nate Silver say that even with Durant, the Warriors are unlikely to repeat their record-breaking 73-9 season.Neil Paine says that historically, superteams underperform.Zach Lowe writes that with Durant, the Warriors have a good chance of becoming the greatest team of all time.Neil Greenberg in The Washington Post breaks down how much better the Warriors will be with Durant.Also in The Post, Michael Caley explains why you can’t let Gareth Bale of Wales have space to play on the soccer pitch.The Guardian’s Barney Ronay says the Welsh and the Portuguese reached the semifinal through a collective effort.Carl Bialik writes that Djokovic’s defeat to Querrey was an upset out of another era.Significant Digit: 215 percent. That’s how much the record for hot dog consumption in the Nathan’s contest has increased since 1996. That year, Ed Krachie wolfed down 22.25 dogs; this year, Joey Chestnut consumed 70. Here’s a video of Chestnut’s feat. And here’s Walt Hickey’s article from last week on competitive hot dog eating. read more

Board of Trustees Finance Committee approves changes to football basketball ticket pricing

Fans cheer as players run onto the field at Ohio Stadium before a game. Credit: Lantern file photoOhio State’s Department of Athletics cleared its first hurdle in requesting that changes be made to the current ticket-pricing system for football and basketball: The Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees approved the plans Thursday afternoon.Under the proposal, individual, home-game football tickets for the 2017 season would range from $65 to $190; the current price scale has tickets ranging from $70 to $195. Both price ranges use a system of dynamic pricing, where varied prices are set based on the perceived demand of the game.The current 15-percent discount that season ticket holders receive, and 20-percent discount that OSU faculty and staff receive when buying season tickets, would remain in place for next year, said athletic director Gene Smith, who was in attendance during the meeting. Student prices, which are $34 per game when bought in Big Ten and full-season packages, are to remain at the same price through 2020.Army and University of Nevada, Las Vegas are scheduled to be the cheapest tickets, at $65 and $70 each, respectively. A ticket for Michigan State or Oklahoma is set to cost $190.Screen grab of the proposed OSU home football game ticket prices for the 2017 season. Credit: Ohio State Board of TrusteesChanges to the pricing model for Buckeye basketball were also approved at the Finance Committee meeting. Individual, home-game tickets for the 2017-18 season would range in price among a system of four seating sections and classifications of games. The first rank of games, exhibition games, would range from $5 to $10 depending on the seating section, and the most expensive “premier” games would range from $14 to $57. Student-section prices would remain unchanged, ranging from $10 to $13.The proposal also introduces a 12-percent discount for season-ticket holders, and the faculty and staff season ticket discount of 20 percent would remain unchanged.Both plans require final approval from the full board on Friday. read more

NFL hopefuls put talent on display at Ohio States Pro Day

Ohio State Football had its annual Pro Day on Friday to showcase the speed, strength and precision of NFL hopeful seniors. Buckeyes including running back Brandon Saine, linebackers Ross Homan and Brian Rolle, wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher, guard Justin Boren, and defensive backs Jermale Hines and Devon Torrence looked to improve on their marks from the NFL combine. And in most cases, they did. The players worked out in front of NFL scouts, families, and Coach Jim Tressel. Tressel is in the middle of a current NCAA investigation for allegedly failing to report e-mails from attorney and former Buckeye football player Christopher Cicero, indicating players sold football memorabilia to Eddie Rife, the owner of Fine Line Ink Tattoos. Tressel’s failure to report the e-mails is in violation of both his contract with OSU and NCAA Bylaw 10.1. The university conducted a self-report on the infractions, and is awaiting the results of a report from the NCAA. OSU notified the NCAA of Tressel’s violation Feb. 3 after becoming aware of the Jan. 13 violation. Early results of the 40-yard dash were an improvement for Rolle and Homan. Rolle ran a 4.56 at the combine, and improved that to a 4.51 at OSU’s Pro Day. Homan ran a 4.68 at the combine and improved to 4.60 at Pro Day. Homan talked about the difference between his experience at the NFL Combine and OSU’s Pro Day. “There is pressure, but at the combine, it’s a lot more heightened, you have all 32 teams in the stands, it’s a bigger stage,” Homan said. Present at OSU’s Pro Day were scouts from all teams except three; the Arizona Cardinals, the Washington Redskins, and the Seattle Seahawks. To no one’s surprise, former Ohio track star, Brandon Saine, posted the fastest time of the day with a 4.40, an improvement on his 4.43 time at the NFL combine. Saine talked about the speed difference between himself now, and when he won the high school state championship in track. “I like to think I’m faster; I’m stronger. If I could race my former self, I don’t know who would win,” Saine said jokingly. Sanzenbacher seemed to gain the most of any prospect today as he answered a lot of questions about his speed. He ran a 4.48 at OSU’s Pro Day. “I’ve been working on it every day. My goal from the beginning was to try and touch four-four, wherever it was,” Sanzenbacher said. “Speed is probably one of the biggest questions withme, I think you can only control things that there’s questions about when you are going into Pro Day. Speed was a big thing.” Cameron Heyward, OSU’s top prospect, did not participate in workouts while he is still recovering from January surgery. read more

Ohio State womens lacrosse off to undefeated 50 start

Five games into the 2012 campaign, the undefeated Ohio State women’s lacrosse team continues to dominate every team in their path with their best start in 10 years. Led by second-year coach Alexis Venechanos, the No. 12-ranked Buckeyes have outscored their opponents, 86-26, and allowed less than 15 shots per match. Brown University was OSU’s latest victim Saturday. OSU won, 16-3, in Ohio Stadium on the heels of a 21-7 win against Louisville on Feb. 19. “I am pleased with how we turned it around and put the tempo in our favor,” Venechanos said in a press release Saturday. “Brown is a good team and the game was closer than the score shows. They definitely made it difficult for us to get our game going at the beginning.” On the defensive end, the Buckeyes forced 15 of Brown’s 18 turnovers, which helped the Buckeyes score 12 unanswered goals at one point in the match. Senior attacker and co-captain Alayna Markwordt became the leading scorer in school history, edging the previous mark by four points, in the game against the Cardinals. Markwordt stands at 252 career points which date back to the fourth game of her freshman season on March 1, 2009. “As a team, we were really just focused on coming out and winning, and breaking the record was just part of that,” Markwordt said in a Feb. 19 press release. “I’m very grateful to have been able to play here for four years and remain healthy to get to this point.” The Buckeye offense is averaging 17.2 points per game, second in the American Lacrosse Conference only to Johns Hopkins’ 19. A newly installed “man-advantage” rule, where teams play without a player in each attacking zone for two minutes after a yellow card penalty, has not slowed down the Buckeyes. OSU was called for yellow cards three times in the Robert Morris game and twice against No. 6-ranked Stanford. No points were given up during those two-minute impediments. Co-captain and senior midfielder, Gabby Capuzzi, was honored as the ALC Offensive Player of the Week after the opening weekend of play. Capuzzi tallied six points in the 14-10 upset against Stanford. She leads the team with 15 ground balls and caused 14 turnovers. In OSU’s season opener against San Diego State Feb. 11, senior midfielder and co-captain Kirsten Donahue added four goals to her 15 on the season . Freshmen goalies, Caitlin Hester and Tori DeScenza, had a combined six saves in their first match of their collegiate career. The Buckeyes take on Notre Dame (2-0)  at home next at 1 p.m. Sunday. read more

Its difficult to defend Neymar Pelé

first_imgAccording to the Brazilian legend, Neymar has also been unlucky after his country failed to win the FIFA World CupFor Brazilian legend Pelé, Neymar’s attitude and theatrics make him undefendable.“It’s difficult to defend Neymar for all the things he does besides playing football. I spoke with him and reminded him of his ability,” Pele was quoted by SBS.“He was unlucky because Brazil did not win the World Cup and he was singled out.”PSG, Neymar, Ligue 1PSG ultras sent a warning letter to Neymar Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Brazilian superstar Neymar might play today his first game of the season for Paris Saint-Germain and the team’s ultras have warned him.“I’ve been with him in Europe twice. We talked and I explained: ‘The God of football gave you the gift. What you do complicates it’,” he explained.“People compare me with [Kylian] Mbappe and there are similarities, right? But he is already 19. He won the World Cup.”“I think Neymar is a more complete player than him, but in Europe, everyone speaks more about Mbappe,” he concluded.last_img read more