Dear Editor,Finance Minister Winston Jordan has pawned the remaining working assets belonging to the Guyana Sugar Corporation for $30 billion; and while the promise is to keep the industry open, this is not the case.The announcement by Government that it had found $30 billion to invest in the Albion, Blairmont and Uitvlugt estates cannot be taken at face value, since this is a $30 billion loan on top of the more than $80 billion the company is claimed to already owe.I wish to draw a quick reference to the adage, ‘all that glitters is not gold.’ The Granger Administration, this past week, announced that it had secured $30 billion to be invested in the remaining three estates in order to return them to profitability.The devil is in the details. What the Special Purpose Unit (SPU) has in fact secured is a pawnbroker in the form of Republic Bank.The loan for the sugar industry is what we call a syndicated loan. What this means is that Republic Bank has agreed to manage a loan portfolio as against lending GuySuCO its customers’ money.The bank is not lending GuySuCo anything. What the bank has found is a set of persons who are going to put in some money, to be repaid within a short space of time.A school child would be able to tell that the sugar industry is facing financial difficulties as is, and so pawning off all of its assets in hopes that one bright idea would be forthcoming out of Congress Place is in itself a not-so-bright idea.A syndicated loan is one wherein the bank finds persons or companies with money willing to be put into a venture, and the bank in turn ensures that the syndicated loan is repaid as a priority out of any revenue stream.What this will mean for GuySuCo—a company already struggling to pay its basic bills—is that it will soon begin to default on those loans.There is no doubt the bank will ensure that such a risky transaction is insulated as best as possible, and this would mean Government guarantees and high interest rates.Is the sailor Minister Jordan making a bad situation worse, or have we caught wind of skullduggery at epic proportions? The announcement came at a time when the national gaze is on the oil and gas industry. I predict that, in the very near future, the sugar company will begin to default on its payments to Republic Bank, since there is only so much cost cutting you can do before having to actually shut down. You have already sent home thousands of workers and closed a number of estates. Without a comprehensive strategy for the industry, the David Granger Administration has now pawned out the only three remaining sugar estates, and when the company is unable to repay on its loan, Republic Bank will take the assets and sell them off as scrap in order to pay off the loan, ‘end of story.’This obtains even as the Government continues to sell out large plots of GuySuCo cane lands, and instead of investing the earnings into saving the industry, the PNC government has laid its cards on the table: not only will the industry be closed, but the factories will be sold as scrap metal.You remember what happened to the thousands of sugar workers who were fired in January this year? They are still to be provided with some form of alternative source of income or employment.What is going is like a fire-sale of GuySuCo, and what’s left abandoned will simply be sold as scrap metal — the end of a long and proud era of modern Guyanese history.Sincerely,Dr Peter Ramsaroop
(Prime Minister Stephen Harper meets with AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo and delegation of First Nations leaders. Photo/PMO handout)APTN National NewsWhile Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo sat in the meeting room of the high-security Langevin Block building flanked by Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan and Treasury Board President Tony Clement he could hear the sounds of the Idle No More protest that had shut down the streets outside.Atleo, who attended the meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper Friday despite heated pressure from Manitoba, Ontario and some Saskatchewan chiefs, said the sounds of the protests gave the meeting added weight.“Listening to the power voices of the Idle No More rally that was surrounding the Prime Minister’s Office, it added a sense of strength, that we are in a moment we can’t go back from,” said Atleo. “That our people will stand up for the land, the water, the air.”Atleo led a delegation of about 16 First Nations leaders to meet with the prime minister and several cabinet ministers.During the meeting, thousands of people marched down Ottawa’s Wellington Street which separates Parliament Hill from Langevin Block which houses the Prime Minister’s Office. Rallies also unfolded across the country, from Whitehorse to Halifax, Yellowknife to Winnipeg, from Vancouver to Toronto to Montreal to Fredericton, thousands of people rallied under the banner of Idle No More. Nova Scotia also saw a rail blockade by members of Millbrook First Nation.There were over 200 Idle No More related events around the world, from London, England, to Texas, to New Zealand.A massive round dance also framed the lawn of Parliament Hill at one point and the drums shook the air.“I am blown away, I am filled with pride, I am just standing here trying to take this in,” said Molly Peters, a Mi’kmaq Idle No More organizer from Nova Scotia, who was standing on the steps of Parliament Hill watching the round dance slowly turn on the lawn below.“I came for unity,” said Stacie Landon, from Neyaahiinigmiing First Nation in Ontario. “I am here for my children’s future.”Janice Trudeau, from unceded Wikwemikong First Nation, said she took the streets in Ottawa in solidarity with other Indigenous people.“I came in solidarity with other Anishinabe people to form a united front against Harper,” she saidAnd while the grassroots flooded the streets of Canada with round dances, songs and drums, fissures developed between First Nations chiefs over the meeting with the prime minister.A few hours before the meeting began, chiefs from Ontario and Manitoba stated they would not be participating and warned that they would be initiating economic disruptions on Jan. 16.“We can’t live in poverty anymore while Canadians live this great life,” said Grand Chief Gordon Peters of the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians. “We’ll stop it the only way we can stop it…Stop the roads, stop the rails, stop the transportation of goods.”Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Derek Nepinak, who marched Friday morning along with about 150 others, including Ontario and Saskatchewan chiefs to the door of the Langevin building, said Manitoba chiefs would be standing with the grassroots.“Across the tables in this room and across the street paper crosses hands and artificial laws are made to control us. We are saying no more,” said Nepinak as he stood at the gates to Parliament Hill and across the street from Langevin.Nepinak and Peters were among a number of chiefs who opposed the meeting. They wanted Governor Genernal David Johnston to appear along with the prime minister and the chiefs wanted it to be held in a larger venue. Many said they also supported Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence who has been on a liquids-only fast since Dec. 11. Spence had said she’d end her protest if the governor general and the prime minister met with First Nations leaders.“It’s important for both of them to be there at the same time with all leaders, not just some,” Spence told reporters early Friday outside her Victoria Island compound where she’s spent most of her days in a teepee.Spence has said she’ll continue to abstain from solid foods.Yet, despite this opposition, Atleo led chiefs from the Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan into the meeting with Harper.The AFN released a list of points they planned to discuss with the prime minister and Duncan, Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, Clement and senior bureaucrats.Atleo said the meeting lasted from about 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. and it was done with a tone of “respectful dialogue.”Atleo said he felt the chiefs who attended the meeting managed to convince Harper that he needed to personally take charge of the issues between Canada and First Nations.“The ability now to have direct prime ministerial engagement on matters of great concern for our people…including unilateral legislative development…We now have a forum…that we did not have before,” said Atleo, in an interview with APTN National News. “It is incumbent and the responsibility of the prime minister and the Crown to honour and implement the treaty relationship with First Nations. It will require a lot of work.”Atleo acknowledged that many of the chiefs from Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan were against the meeting because they wanted to stand behind Spence.Spence is expected to continue her fast because the prime minister and the governor general did not appear together at the meeting.Atleo said he understands the chiefs’ position, but he has been pushing to meet Spence’s demands which appeared to shift.“On Dec. 31, on New Year’s Eve, we had a national conference call with 50 or 60 chiefs on the line and that if we were to secure a meeting with the prime minister and governor general, that Chief Theresa Spence would end her hunger strike,” said Atleo. “It turns out we all either didn’t understand or there was miscommunication. Twenty-four hours later, I had had chiefs saying we need to go sit with Chief Spence and she said she would continue until there was a meeting with the prime minister and the government general.”On the Conservative government’s side, Duncan said he felt the meeting was “constructive,” but he wouldn’t go into specifics about some of the demands the chiefs had like resource revenue sharing.However, he did say that although it was discussed, Bill C-45 and Bill C-38 would not be repealed as requested by many First Nations across the country.“We’re quite comfortable that we have met our constitutional obligations with those bills and we believe there is every reason to proceed,” said Duncan.The Prime Minister’s Office issued a release saying that Harper had a “good, frank dialogue with First Nations.”The prime minister says both sides did not agree on all matters, but First Nations brought “serious and important proposals to the table.”Harper says he will debrief his cabinet onFriday’s meeting and committed to meeting with National Chief Shawn Atleo in the coming weeks to “review next steps.”The Prime Minister was initially going to attend only at the beginning and end but took part in the entire meeting, which went two hours longer than planned.Serpent River Chief Isadore Day, who opposed Atleo attending the meeting, said many chiefs were “shocked” the meeting occurred.Day said Atleo had no “business” talking about treaties at the meeting.“I’d like to denounce the national chief even discussing treaties when the majority of the treaty communities weren’t even at the table,” said Day.Day warned Atleo earlier in an email earlier in the day Friday that if he went to the meeting he could face a motion of non-confidence from chiefs.“The talk is that a lot of people aren’t happy, obviously, you know people are shocked, folks are saying that the best thing for people to do is take a bit of a step back and go home and do something thinking,” said Day. “How could in one day, the national chief say we are united and that we are all standing behind Chief Spence and in the next day, take this entourage to a meeting. That is not sitting well with the majority of the chiefs in assembly.”Former National Chief Matthew Coon Come who was one of the first to arrive to the Langevin offices told reporters earlier that it would be a lost opportunity if chief didn’t take advantage of the meeting.*Note APTN National News has changed the terminology of Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence’s protest to a liquids-only fast
Jody Avirgan: Neil, my favorite little tidbit from the the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference was the fact that each day, all the stats nerds streamed into the building toward panel discussions about sports analytics, waltzing right past — actual sports! There was a massive regional volleyball tournament taking place in the same building, and as far as I could tell, no one stopped to check it out. And, honestly, part of me thinks that it could have been an NFL game and people would have still hustled upstairs to talk about sports rather than just watch them. There was a panel discussion called “Is Analytics Taking the Fun Out of Sports.” This felt like a nice parallel to that idea.Neil Paine: “Hey, nerds — get your heads out of those volleyball spreadsheets and try watching a match!” (Said no one ever.) But seriously, the juxtaposition was interesting, particularly considering that we had the opportunity to speak with some people who do sabermetrics for volleyball. It seemed like this should have been a big moment for them — considering their sport was on display for all Sloan-ites to see — but instead it was just another smaller sport that can sometimes go neglected at an event geared more toward basketball, baseball and football.But not by us — right, Jody?Jody: Never. We contain multitudes. That said, I know next to nothing about volleyball. And while there is obvious strategy involved — you can see play fakes and how teammates work together — I hadn’t really thought about how you would evaluate the merit of particular plays. The main thing I learned from Mila Barzdukas and Giuseppe Vinci was to think about the setting pass. Is it one that leaves the team with no options but to flail and punch it over the net? Or is it a pass that multiple people could spike, from a wide range of unpredictable angles? That is, in essence, the goal of every possession — a versatile set pass. And it’s graded on a scale of 0 to 3. If you’ve got three options of attack from a given set, that’s a success.And the thing that makes it so intriguing is that the quality of the set is related to the pass before it, which is related to the serve before it. … It’s impossible to untangle each pass from the others. Which might be kind of unique among all sports, right? And, I imagine, a real metrics challenge. …Which is where I saw your wheels turning. Have we found your new beat?Neil: It’s possible. Not really having played volleyball since high school gym class, I’d never considered how oddly well-structured it is for analysis, in terms of the way each rally progresses and the fact that outcomes for individual players can be counted with relative ease. (Even at the 14- to 15-year-old level we observed, Vinci and Barzdukas insisted that coaches were tracking basic pluses and minuses — that is, positive and negative plays — for their players during matches.) It’s still not as perfectly suited to analytics as baseball (what is?), but it wouldn’t be unfair to liken it more to basketball than sports with more moving parts, such as hockey, soccer and football.The strategy of maximizing your passing options on any given setting opportunity struck me as particularly fascinating because it seems like one of those statistical best practices that can suddenly bring focus to a coach’s entire game plan. It that way, it may be much like how conserving outs should be the all-consuming imperative of a baseball offense or how resisting mid-range jumpers has become the mark of smart offensive basketball. (Even hockey has recently found a version of this: Playing dump-and-chase is the equivalent of cutting off your setter’s passing options.)The beauty of sports analytics, though, is that they’re a beginning, not an end. Finding the right strategy is just the first step in a journey that (hopefully) ends with the right players putting it to use. And with an actual volleyball tournament in such close proximity to analytics experts, both components of the odyssey were placed side-by-side, however briefly.Jody: Well said, Neil. Nice setup. Even the most grizzled volleyball coach would say you’re “passing a 3.” OK, folks, watch the video. Mila Barzdukas, Giuseppe Vinci, Neil Paine and Jody Avirgan in front of a regulation size volleyball. CORRECTION (March 10, 10:37 a.m.): An earlier version of this article mischaracterized the number of passes in a volleyball point. It’s two, not three.
Santiago Solari confirmed that the tragic events at Flamengo on Friday has indeed affected Vinicius Junior.In the early hours of Friday morning at Flamengo’s Ninho do Urubu training base in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a fire broke out as the club’s youth players slept in their dormitories.The incident saw 10 people tragically lose their lives with three teenagers being sent to the hospital in a serious condition.Tributes from all over the world have since been coming in for Flamengo and the families involved.Speaking ahead to Real Madrid’s derby against Atletico Madrid later today, Solari confirmed that former Flamengo prodigy Vinicius has indeed been affected by the events back in his homeland.“Obviously he is affected. It is his home, that’s normal,” said the Real Madrid coach, according to FourFourTwo.“I insist, it’s something very sad, especially for the families who are affected for whom we want to send them our thoughts and our condolences.”The 18-year-old winger joined the Flamengo youth academy in 2010 and spent his formative years at the club learning his trade before making his senior-team debut on 13 May 2017 as a second-half substitute against Atlético Mineiro in a league match.La Liga Betting: Match-day 4 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Despite it being very early into La Liga season, both Barcelona and Real Madrid have had unprecedented starts to their campaigns. With this in…10 days after making his debut, Vinicius was signed up by Real Madrid in a €46m deal but had to wait until last summer before he could complete the move as he wasn’t 18 at the time.The Brazilian took to social media on Friday shortly after the news emerged of what had occurred at his old club.“What sad news! Praying for everyone! Strength, strength, strength,” Vinicius wrote on Twitter.Meanwhile, Paris Saint-Germain defender Marquinhos has also mourned the 10 people who tragically lost their lives on Friday.The fire took over two hours to get under control after it first broke out and there has been no word yet on how it came about in the first place.Só de lembrar as noites e dias que passei no ct, é de arrepiar. Ainda sem acreditar, mas em oração por todos! Que Deus abençoe a família de cada um! 😢 pic.twitter.com/RcBsdH3GME— Vinicius Jr ⚡️ (@vini11Oficial) February 8, 2019
115 people arrested in San Diego and Imperial counties after ICE operation 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI) — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportation officers arrested 115 individuals for violating federal immigration laws in the San Diego and Imperial counties during a three-day targeted enforcement operation that ended Thursday.Fifty of the immigration violators arrested were convicted criminals and seven others illegally re-entered the U.S. after removal. All but seven of the arrests took place in San Diego County. Seven others had re-entered the United States after being removed on the basis of an Immigration Judge’s final order of removal.Depending on the alien’s criminal history, an alien who illegally reenters the United States, after having been previously removed, has committed a felony punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison.“This week’s operation targeted public safety threats, such as convicted criminal aliens, individuals with final orders of removal, those who illegally re-entered the country after being removed, and individuals who have otherwise violated our nation’s immigration law,” said Greg Archambeault, field office director for ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in San Diego. “Operations like this reflect the vital work ERO officers do every day to protect the nation, uphold public safety and protect the integrity of our immigration laws and border controls. We will continue to conduct similar operations, while seeking to ultimately deport at-large criminal targets and other immigration fugitives who pose a threat to public safety.”The arrests include:A 43-year-old Mexican national and Center Street Locos gang member in Oceanside, California, who had previously been removed from the U.S. on four prior occasions. He has multiple criminal convictions, including grand theft, controlled substance for sale and driving under the influence.A 55-year-old citizen of Kazakhstan who is wanted by authorities in Kazakhstan for alleged tax evasion and embezzlement. He was taken into ICE custody at his Oceanside residence Tuesday pursuant to a “Red Notice” arrest warrant issued by Interpol in September.A 52-year-old citizen of Mexico sentenced to 30-months in federal prison in 2009 after being convicted of illegal re-entry after deportation. He has three criminal convictions for spousal abuse, including battery, inflicting injury and threatening to terrorize, and was ordered removed by an immigration judge in 1998. He had previously been removed from the U.S. to Mexico on 10 prior occasions.Four of the individuals arrested during this operation will face federal criminal prosecution for illegal re-entry after deportation. The arrestees who are not being federally prosecuted will be processed administratively for removal from the United States. Those who have outstanding orders of removal, or who returned to the United States illegally after being deported, are subject to immediate removal from the country. The remaining individuals are in ICE custody awaiting a hearing before an immigration judge, or pending travel arrangements for removal in the near future.Of the public safety targets who remain at large, those believed to be residing in or around the San Diego area include:A citizen of Mexico convicted of statutory rape, sex with a minor in 2012. He was previously removed from the United States in 2003.A citizen of Mexico convicted of domestic violence in 2010 and known associate of the “ESD” street gang. He was last removed from the United States in 2007 and illegally re-entered on an unknown date.While the vast majorities of cities in America do cooperate with ICE, state laws in California force ICE to focus additional resources to conduct at-large arrest in the community, putting officers, the general public and aliens at greater risk and increase the incidents of collateral arrests.These arrests were driven by leads developed by the local field office in conjunction with the Pacific Enforcement Response Center and the National Criminal Alien Targeting Center. ICE focuses its enforcement resources on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security.However, ICE does not exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States. ICE does not conduct sweeps or raids that arrest aliens indiscriminately. KUSI Newsroom Posted: March 16, 2018 Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter March 16, 2018 Updated: 6:19 PM KUSI Newsroom,