All season, track and field fans have had a dilemma. With the JAAA schedule packed on every Saturday from the start of the year, hard choices have been made. If you saw the slip-surge 10.44-second run by Calabar High School’s Christopher Taylor at the Camperdown Classic, it meant you missed the determined 52.4 4x400m anchor leg by Junelle Bromfield for STETHS at the Western Relays. Choosing either one meant almost certainly missing the 51.91-metre record discus heave by Excelsior throws princess Shanice Love at the King of the Rings at the Antrim-Mountain View Avenue-based institution. That dilemma disappears on Saturday with the Gibson/McCook Relays. As is customary, there are no other meets on the JAAA schedule on the day when the Gibson/McCook Relays presents a feast for sprint fans. First staged as the Gibson Relays in 1973, the meet is a festival of speed. The 4×100-metre relay is at the foundation of the meet, with preparatory, primary, secondary and tertiary student-athletes all attempting to move their batons around the National Stadium track at high speed. Bordered by the meet-opening and meet-closing 4x400m relays, Gibson/McCook also has competitions in the 4x200m, 4x800m, the sprint medley and selected individual events. Jamaica has always loved the sprints, so while other meets have come and gone, the Relays has retained its appeal. Many view it as a prelude to the ISSA Boys and Girls’ Championships and use it as an indicator for the results of that high-energy high-school meet. Hence, the core of the support of the Gibson/McCook has long come from past students of the champion teams in the land. With no scheduling dilemma to split the attentions of the fan base, this Saturday should be no different. In recent years, interest has been boosted by the presence of superstars who have foregone the traditional move to the United States of America to study and train. This has given fans an early-season glance at Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell, Brigitte Foster-Hylton and the like. Very few have the opportunity to see them at the Olympics or the World Championships, so it’s a day aficionados cherish. Bolt has been a brilliant source of speed and excitement. His Racers team holds the men’s 4x100m record at a phenomenal 38.08 seconds. That was at the 2010 renewal, when the tall man also zipped through a 4x400m anchor leg in 44.2 seconds in vain. Last year, he made the news worldwide for a race his Racers team lost by inches, the men’s 4x100m to the University of Technology. Relays are the team event of athletics. It takes co-operation to pilot the baton, from start to finish, safely and quickly enough to win. The speed, the fine margins for error, and the excitement, has kept fans on the edge of their seats and on their feet during each of the previous 39 stagings of the event. Don’t be surprised if it happens again on Saturday. – Hubert Lawrence has made notes at trackside since 1980.
Mi-8 Helicopter. Photo: UNBMoscow on Saturday said 18 people were killed when a helicopter crashed on its way to an oil station in northern Siberia in the early hours of the morning.The Russian transport ministry said the Mi-8 helicopter carrying three crew members and 15 passengers crashed when it collided with machinery carried by another helicopter soon after take-off.It added that the second helicopter landed safely and that the accident took place in “normal” weather conditions.“The first take-off was carried out by a Mi-8 with an external cargo suspension without passengers on board, the second take-off was performed with passengers who were workers on shifts at the oil station,” the ministry said in a statement.“According to preliminary information, the Mi-8 carrying passengers for reasons unknown collided with the external suspension of the second helicopter after take-off. As a result it fell, was destroyed and burned,” it added.“Three crew members and 15 passengers died.”The helicopter was operated by Russian national airline Utair, which has its head office in Khanty Mansiysk airport in western Siberia.In a statement issued on its website, Utair said the crash took place at 5:43am Moscow time (0243 GMT) after taking off from a helipad at the Vankor oil and gas field, in the Turuhansk district of the Krasnoyarsk region.The oil field is operated by Russian national oil company Rosneft through its subsidiary Vankorneft.Utair said the helicopter was made in Russia in 2010.It added that the pilot was born in 1985 and was trained at the Omsk Aviation School in southwestern Siberia.“He flew 5,990 hours, 2,300 of which he was the helicopter commander,” Utair’s statement said.The airline said it sent its specialists to the site of the crash.Russia’s transport ministry said it created a commission to investigate the crash and that the vice director of the Federal Air Transport Agency was on his way to the site.The country’s Investigative Committee said it opened a criminal investigation into the crash.Accidents involving helicopters and small planes are frequent in Siberia and far eastern Russia, where air transport is commonly used to cover vast distances.In April, a Mi-8 helicopter crashed in far eastern Russia, killing six people.In November 2017, six people died when a small plane crash-landed in the Khabarovsk region.In 2016, 19 people died when a Mi-8 helicopter carrying oil and gas field workers crashed in a remote area of Siberia.
Carrie FeibelHouston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee speak out for federal Zika funding at St. Joseph Medical Center in downtown Houston.Houston politicians and public health officials are urging Congress to pass an emergency funding measure to fight the Zika virus, before adjourning for the Memorial Day holiday weekend.Three months ago, President Obama requested $1.9 billion to combat Zika. The Senate is proposing $1.1 billion, and the House has approved even less.Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner joined Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee on Monday, at a press conference at St. Joseph Medical Center in downtown Houston. “I will simply tell you that’s not enough,” Turner said. “That $660 million being proposed by the House is woefully inadequate.”(The House bill is actually for $622 million.) After the “Tax Day” floods hit Houston on April 18, the city worked extra quickly to clean up debris that could act as mosquito breeding sites, Turner said. But they had to use outside contractors to finish in just two weeks. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee said there’s still stagnant water collecting at illegal dump sites in low-income neighborhoods, and in trash-clogged ditches.“Urban mayors have said in this region that they need money for cleanup,” Lee said. “That’s what we’re going to fight for, (to remove) sitting water and tires. We’ve indicated that to the Centers for Disease Control.””City health workers have already knocked on the doors of 8,000 homes in Houston, handing out DEET and educating residents, according Houston’s medical director, Dr. David Persse.But with federal funds, the city could do better outreach, and contact many more people.“I want us to understand that we are different from Central America and the Caribbean, in that they didn’t see this coming. There was no way they could see this coming,” Persse said forcefully.“We’ve got advance notice. We have no excuse to be unprepared, we have no excuse,” he said.Texas has 36 confirmed cases of Zika, 13 of those in Harris County. Of those, 35 were patients travelers infected abroad, who later returned home to Texas. One of the cases involved a Dallas County resident who had sexual contact with someone who acquired Zika while traveling. X 00:00 /01:21 To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Listen Share
The tit for tat went on with Trump tweeting and Corker speaking further.Corker gave CNN an interview on Capitol Hill in which he suggested Trump’s presidency is not salvageable and regrets ever supporting him as a candidate. “Let me put it this way: I would not do that again,” Corker said regarding his 2016 endorsement.“I think at the end of the day, when his term is over, I think the debasing of our nation, the constant non-truth telling, just the name-calling, I think the debasement of our nation will be what he’s remembered most for and that’s regretful,” Corker said.Trump’s tweets continued after that.…Corker dropped out of the race in Tennesse when I refused to endorse him, and now is only negative on anything Trump. Look at his record!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 24, 2017 …Corker dropped out of the race in Tennesse when I refused to endorse him, and now is only negative on anything Trump. Look at his record!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 24, 2017 Share …the entire World WAS laughing and taking advantage of us. People like liddle’ Bob Corker have set the U.S. way back. Now we move forward!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 24, 2017 Asked whether he was still planning on attending Tuesday’s Senate GOP lunch with Trump, Corker responded: “Oh, definitely. It’s my lunch.”It’s a fresh reminder that Trump’s Senate visit comes while he has been at odds on both policy and politics with an unusually high number of members of his own party.Corker and John McCain of Arizona have been vocal critics of Trump’s leadership skills. Corker, who is retiring, is also a key vote on tax legislation. He has vowed to oppose any bill he believes will add to the deficit. The United States’ debt topped $20 trillion for the first time ever in September, and Corker has said he views the debt as the most significant threat to national security.Republicans like McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., are eager for more information from the Trump administration on a recent military operation in Niger that killed four soldiers. McCain has suggested the Armed Services Committee will conduct oversight hearings to figure out what went wrong.Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., is trying to get the president on board for his bipartisan health care plan to bolster the individual insurance market. The bill, co-authored with Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., potentially has the support in the Senate to overcome a filibuster, but it doesn’t stand a chance unless Trump gets on board. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said he will not bring it up for a vote unless the president is guaranteed to sign it. Alexander has warned that inaction could cost premiums to spike further.Politically, there is also ongoing tension between Trump and senators up for re-election in 2018. The president is picking and choosing which senators he will support, breaking with political norms of backing incumbents. His former chief political strategist, Steve Bannon, is also threatening to recruit and fund primary challengers to senators who don’t support the president’s agenda. Trump has declined to endorse GOP Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, another Trump critic, but he has offered assurances to GOP Sens. Roger Wicker of Mississippi and Deb Fischer of Nebraska that he supports their re-election bids.Pablo Martinez Monsivais/APPresident Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky tried to tamp down rumors of a rift between them, last week in a Rose Garden press conference at the White House.McConnell has defended his members and pushed back on efforts to oust incumbents, noting that many insurgent primary candidates cost Republicans Senate victories in 2010 and 2012.“It’s important to remember that those who lose elections don’t get to make policy. Only those who win elections actually get to make policy,” McConnell told reporters last week. “And so our strategy going forward is to protect our incumbents and to help people get nominated who actually can win elections.”Trump has been a frequent critic of McConnell as well and has increasingly called on McConnell to blow up the Senate rules and eliminate the legislative filibuster to make it easier to get legislation passed. McConnell does not support that move, and he does not have the votes to do it.The two met privately at the White House last week. Afterward, together they tamped down on talk of a rift. “I think what the president and I would both like to say to you today, contrary to what some of you may have reported, we are together totally on this agenda to move America forward,” McConnell said.The most important item on that agenda is enacting tax cuts by the end of the year. Following the party’s failure to make good on their promises to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, Republicans fear a similar failure on tax cuts will endanger their congressional majorities in the 2018 midterm elections.In other words: There’s plenty to discuss over lunch.Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Win McNamee/Getty ImagesSen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill about President Trump on Tuesday morning, ahead of Trump’s visit with GOP senatorsUpdated at 10:24 a.m. ETMarching down Pennsylvania Avenue to send a message to Congress is a classic move in presidential political theater, and Tuesday is President Trump’s inaugural performance. Trump makes his first visit to Capitol Hill to meet with Senate Republicans at their weekly meeting and the message is clear: Pass a tax cut.On this issue — more than any other currently facing the GOP — the party is overwhelmingly unified. Lawmakers are eager to see the president embrace their upcoming tax legislation and to help the party make the case to the public for a plan that aims to cut taxes for American businesses and most individual taxpayers.After that, it could get awkward.The morning kicked off with another confrontation between the president and Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker of Tennessee that resulted in the senator expressing regret for supporting Trump for president last year.Appearing on NBC’s Today Show, Corker dismissed Tuesday’s visit as nothing more than a “photo op” and said the president could be most helpful on tax legislation by tweeting less and letting Congress work through the process.Corker referenced a recent presidential tweet ruling out any changes to the way tax-deferred income can be contributed to 401(k) retirement plans. Taxing retirement savings isn’t a particularly popular idea on Capitol Hill — and it’s unclear whether it was ever in the bill — but Republicans fear the president’s habit of tweeting policy positions at random could make it harder to pass a tax cut on a tight timeline.Corker also reiterated previous criticism of Trump’s leadership, suggesting that the president has “kneecapped” diplomatic efforts led by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and that there are “people around (Trump) that work in an effort to contain him” including Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis and chief of staff John Kelly.In response, the president fired off a few tweets attacking Corker’s record on Iran and taxes, and suggesting the senator “couldn’t get elected dog catcher in Tennessee.”Bob Corker, who helped President O give us the bad Iran Deal & couldn’t get elected dog catcher in Tennessee, is now fighting Tax Cuts….— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 24, 2017