Today is Super Bowl Media Day in Glendale, Arizona, the site of Super Bowl XLIX. There’s a horde of journalists and other “media” assembled to speak with the players and coaches, and given the wide-ranging reporting angles taking by those asking questions, some atypical topics get covered and some funny exchanges get produced.Take New England Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski, back in the state where he excelled in college for the Arizona Wildcats. Gronkowski was asked to sign his alma mater’s fight song, “Bear Down Arizona,” and he granted that request with a smile.Apparently, this happened more than once:Gronk was asked twice to sing Bear Down Arizona. He obliged both times.— Daniel Berk (@DSBerk) January 27, 2015Known for his outgoing, fun-loving personality, Gronkowski hasn’t been shy at all at this his second Super Bowl Media Day. With him, no topic is off-limits, even the erotic novel a fan wrote that starred him as the love interest.I think Gronkowski just read a line from that Gronk-based erotic novel. #SBMediaDay Are you not entertained?!?!— Randy Scott (@RandyScottESPN) January 27, 2015We most certainly are.
It’s been a pretty good 24 hours for the dunk. There was, of course, Zach LaVine winning the NBA Dunk Contest in spectacular fashion on Saturday night. There was also Kentucky center Willie Cauley-Stein saying he’s “just going to start dunking on people” and former Michigan wide receiver Devin Funchess showing off his athleticism. There’s also this: Iowa State guard Deonte Burton throwing down an awesome windmill dunk while sporting Timberland boots. That’s just ridiculous. Iowa State (18-6, 8-4 Big 12) is set to play Oklahoma State (17-8, 7-6 Big 12) on Wednesday at 9 p.m. E.T. The game will be televised on ESPNU.
TUSCALOOSA, AL – NOVEMBER 21: Derrick Henry #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide breaks a tackle by Zane Cruz #43 of the Charleston Southern Buccaneers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 21, 2015 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)Alabama back Derrick Henry is a physical specimen, and thanks to a recent Instagram post, we might have a clue as to how that happened. While most of us were sleeping (or stumbling back home after a late night out) at 4:08 in the morning, Henry was busy getting after it in the gym. The season is still just under four months away, but Henry looks like he’s ready to take a few hand-offs to the house. He’ll get his first chance on September 5 in Dallas, when the Crimson Tide take on Wisconsin.
SEC GradesIf you’re a long-time college football fan, you know that it was the SEC that came up with the idea of having two different divisions and a league championship game – back in 1992. One ESPN writer thinks that the league should reverse course and actually get rid of them.Edward Aschoff has a radical idea for the conference – get rid of the two divisions, pick four or five “permanent” rivalry games and put the two best teams in the title game.Aschoff isn’t a fan of the current 6-1-1 format, and doesn’t believe that having Missouri in the East is helping anyone. He also thinks that doing away with divisions would allow older rivalries – like Florida vs. Auburn – to be reborn.The SEC should fight to abolish divisions in college football https://t.co/lX8xMBaktC— ESPN SEC (@ESPN_SEC) May 4, 2016Obviously, the SEC would need to petition the NCAA to do away with its current system or rules to make this happen. But it’s an interesting idea, for sure.What do you think? Would leagues be better off doing away with divisions and just having their best two teams meet in a league title game?
Consultant with the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE), Dr. Oscar Coto, says Jamaica has an opportunity to tap into international financing that can assist with its efforts at reducing the impacts of climate change. This, he said, can be accomplished through advancement of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Programme of Activities (PoA) as well as Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs). “If through a supported-type NAMA, the country can get recognition of some incremental critical costs that are involved in delivering some climate change mitigation, through activities in the country…those resources would be used to support the scaling up of (projects) for a better energy sector, more renewable energy, more efficiency within the society (and ultimately) better living for Jamaicans,” he said. Dr. Coto was speaking to JIS News following a workshop on potential for Programmatic CDM and NAMAs in Jamaica, at the Courtleigh Hotel in New Kingston on April 3. The CDM is one of the ‘project-based’ mechanisms defined in the Kyoto Protocol designed to promote projects that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement created under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). PoAsrefer tovoluntary co-ordinated actions by a private or public entity that leads to GHG reductions through a number of CDM project activities. NAMAs are seen primarily as a way for developing countries—with financial and technological support from the international community—to make progress in reducing their own domestic GHG emissions. OLADE is providing support to the Government through the provision of technical assistance in order to contribute in the identification of opportunities for the development of CDM Programme of Activities as well as NAMAs. This is in keeping with Government’s activities to reduce the impacts of climate change within the energy sector. As such, Dr. Coto has prepared a report based on a ‘Study on the Identification of Potential Project Portfolios Associated to Programmatic CDM and NAMAs in Jamaica’, which he discussed during the workshop. In his presentation, Dr. Coto pointed to current trends to move from strict carbon financing to a broader concept of climate financing, which includes the NAMAs as an opportunity to assist countries in enabling mitigation activities, both at the policy as well as the project/programme level. Carbon financeis a new branch of environmental finance, which explores the financial implications of living in a carbon-constrained world, in which emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) carry a price.In his report, Dr. Coto noted that it is clear that the country has enacted a series of visions, policies and action plans that can contribute significantly to prepare Jamaica for climate financing opportunities. He argued that from the climate mitigation perspective, renewable energy interventions seem to be very cost effective in Jamaica, and associated climate financing could be attracted to assist in removing some of the perceived gaps associated with the regulatory challenges as well as in mobilising financing and guarantees for private sector participation. “It is becoming clear that the paths for most of the identified and discussed potentials for emission reductions in Jamaica lie within the boundaries of the NAMA mechanisms under discussion in the UNFCCC as a vehicle for climate financing,” the report reads.The report recommends that the country needs to engage in strengthening its capabilities to understand the depth of new climate financing opportunities and risks, assess if the emerging mechanisms of climate financing may be attractive to supplement and scale up on-going activities, and from there pursue opportunities that are cost effective and with ample sustainable development benefits for the country.
The event, which is part of Youth Month activities, is being held in commemoration of World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse. Event sponsors include Digicel, Scotiabank, Jamaica Broilers and Tastee. Assistance has also been given by the National Commercial Bank, the Jamaica National Building Society, the Development Bank of Jamaica and EXIM Bank. “We need persons to understand that it is not okay to abuse our children; it is not okay to neglect them; and it is not okay to treat them in a way that is not a part of our standard,” A prayer vigil and concert titled, ‘Bless the Children’, will be held at Mandela Park, Half-Way Tree, in Kingston, on Tuesday, November 19, beginning at 5:00 p.m.The event, which is part of Youth Month activities, is being held in commemoration of World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse. It is organised by the Child Development Agency, an arm of the Ministry of Youth and Culture.Among the speakers at the function will be Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna; Minister of Education, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites; Registrar of the Office of the Children’s Registry, Greig Smith and Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Child Development Agency, Rosalee Gage Grey.Prior to the official function at 2:30 p.m. there will be an expo showcasing government, non-governmental and child-centred organisations. Exhibitors will include Office of the Children’s Registry, Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA), Jamaica Red Cross, National Council on Drug Abuse and the Registrar General’s Department and other stakeholders dealing with child protection.Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Child Development Agency, Rosalee Gage Grey, told JIS News that the Day is observed each year to foster awareness and encourage Jamaicans to redouble their efforts to protect the nation’s children.“We need persons to understand that it is not okay to abuse our children; it is not okay to neglect them; and it is not okay to treat them in a way that is not a part of our standard,” she said.Mrs. Gage Grey pointed out that the agency will be issuing a call for persons to take a stand against all forms of child abuse and to make a commitment to work with families to assist them in taking better care of their children.“We want to offer some comfort and support to those families who have lost children violently and we are standing with them to say, no to child abuse,” she said.The Acting CEO emphasised that it is crucial at this time to bring the nation’s attention to the issues affecting the children and “to recommit to doing all that is possible to safeguard them from all forms of abuse and violence.”Event sponsors include Digicel, Scotiabank, Jamaica Broilers and Tastee. Assistance has also been given by the National Commercial Bank, the Jamaica National Building Society, the Development Bank of Jamaica and EXIM Bank. Story Highlights
PHOENIX – U.S. prosecutors levelled charges Thursday against the billionaire founder of an opioid medication maker that has faced increasing scrutiny from authorities across the country over allegations of pushing prescriptions of powerful painkillers amid a drug epidemic that is claiming thousands of lives each year.The fraud and racketeering case against Insys Therapeutics founder John Kapoor came the same day President Donald Trump declared the opioid crisis a nationwide public health emergency.The case naming Kapoor follows indictments against the company’s former CEO and other executives and managers on allegations that they provided kickbacks to doctors to prescribe a potent opioid called Subsys.In the new indictment, Kapoor, 74, of Phoenix, and the other defendants are accused of offering bribes to doctors to write large numbers of prescriptions for the fentanyl-based pain medication that is meant only for cancer patients with severe pain. Most of the people who received prescriptions did not have cancer.It also alleges that they conspired to mislead and defraud insurance providers who were reluctant to approve payment for the drug when it was prescribed for patients without cancer.U.S. prosecutors in Boston brought the case as they vowed to go after problem opioid makers similar to how they target “cartels or a street-level drug dealer.”“In the midst of a nationwide opioid epidemic that has reached crisis proportions, Mr. Kapoor and his company stand accused of bribing doctors to overprescribe a potent opioid and committing fraud on insurance companies solely for profit,” said Acting U.S. Attorney William D. Weinreb in Boston.A judge set bail at $1 million for Kapoor, saying he must wear electronic monitoring and surrender his passports. Kapoor, who was arrested earlier Thursday, entered court in basketball shorts, tennis shoes and a T-shirt, his long, grey hair disheveled.“He is not guilty of these charges, he intends to fight it vigorously,” defence attorney Brian T. Kelly said outside court. Kelly is a high-profile Boston lawyer and former federal prosecutor who successfully tried imprisoned gangster James “Whitey” Bugler.Kapoor came to the U.S. from India to get his Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry from the University of Buffalo, where the pharmacy school is named for him and his wife to honour their longtime philanthropy.Kapoor, whose worth Forbes estimated at $1.75 billion, also founded a company that operates seven restaurants including the Japanese eatery Roka Aker in Scottsdale.In Massachusetts, former Insys CEO Michael L. Babich and five other former executives and managers are set to go to trial in October 2018 and have pleaded not guilty. The latest indictment brings new charges against Babich and others.Several former Insys employees and health care providers have pleaded guilty to felony charges around the country, including in Alabama and Connecticut. A Rhode Island doctor pleaded guilty Wednesday to accepting kickbacks in return for prescribing the highly addictive fentanyl spray.A spokesman for Arizona-based Insys said this week that the company is under new management and has replaced nearly all its original sales staff. It says it takes responsibility for the actions of its former employees.“We have taken necessary and appropriate steps to prevent past mistakes from happening in the future, and are committed to conducting business according to high ethical standards and the interests of patients,” the company said in a statement Wednesday. “We also continue to work with relevant authorities to resolve issues related to the misdeeds of former employees.”Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri said evidence from a congressional probe she launched this year suggested that Insys had “gotten away with fines that amounted to a slap on the wrist for actions that helped fuel a nationwide epidemic that’s claimed hundreds of thousands of American lives.”Kapoor was named the drugmaker’s president and CEO in November 2015 after Babich resigned without explanation.Federal authorities apparently have been investigating the company for some time. In late 2013, Insys said it received a subpoena from the Department of Health and Human Services asking for documents tied to the commercialization of Subsys. Nearly a year later, it received a subpoena from U.S. prosecutors in Boston for documents connected with sales and marketing practices for the drug.In addition to the criminal charges, states have been suing Insys over its marketing practices.Meanwhile, the company has been active in politics, donating $500,000 last year to an Arizona campaign to defeat a ballot measure to legalize marijuana.The company’s stock price has taken a big tumble in recent months amid the legal issues. Insys stock plunged more than 20 per cent Thursday.___Associated Press writers Jacques Billeaud in Phoenix and Geoff Mulvihill in Cherry Hill, New Jersey contributed to this report.
WASHINGTON – Donald Trump’s views on trade have taken a battering in a newly released report that was not only published by his own White House, but presented under his own signature.The self-rebuke includes some of his talking points about Canada.The president regularly bemoans a trade deficit with the northern neighbour. Once again Monday, he was complaining about Canadian trade, saying: “We lose a lot with Canada. People don’t know it. Canada’s very smooth. They have you believe that it’s wonderful. And it is, for them. Not wonderful for us.”Far less smooth is the consistency of U.S. messaging.A far more positive story about trade appears in the newly released 2018 White House “Economic Report of the President” — it’s an annual document prepared by the president’s team, with Trump himself signing the introductory foreword.The document smashes at a few of the president’s favoured themes.One involves the supposed trade deficit with Canada. While Trump keeps talking about it, and insisting it exists, the document he signed states the opposite — that Canada is among the few countries in the world with whom the U.S. runs a surplus.The document states this at least three times.For example, it says, “All countries show a (U.S.) services surplus offsetting a goods deficit, with the U.S. running a net bilateral surplus only with Canada and the United Kingdom.”And again: “The United States ran a trade surplus of $2.6 billion with Canada on a balance-of-payments basis.”And once again: “The United States has free trade agreements … with a number of countries — some of which represent net trade surpluses for the United States (Canada and Singapore), and some of which represent deficits (Mexico and South Korea).”There’s more.The report also contradicts the president by stating that trade has helped the U.S. economy grow; that economies are shifting away from manufacturing; that foreign trade is increasingly important to the modern economy; that America has a good record of success in international dispute panels at the WTO; and that you can’t rework trade agreements to fix an import-export deficit.“Trade and economic growth are strongly and positively correlated,” the White House report says.The report does concede that trade deals create winners and losers in a country. States along the border have been the biggest winners in NAFTA, it says. Its general conclusion, however, is that trade creates jobs and wealth; it cites a study that every percentage point increase in trade-to-GDP ratio raises per capita income by between 0.5 and 2 per cent.“(This) is a stunning rebuke of … the president and his trade team,” Scott Lincicome of the pro-market Cato Institute tweeted after the report was released last week.The 563-page document was produced by Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers. He appointed the council.Meanwhile, there are reports in U.S. media that Trump is looking to promote trade hawk Peter Navarro to a more prominent position in the White House.Do these kinds of facts even matter to Trump?That could soon become clearer as he faces major decisions in the next few weeks. One involves whether to continue NAFTA negotiations beyond the spring; another involves whether to impose global steel and aluminum tariffs and whether any tariffs should apply to Canada, the U.S.’s No. 1 supplier.Affected Canadians are watching to see whether he’ll heed his own findings.“We’re all guessing the moves of a non-conventional actor,” said Flavio Volpe of Canada’s auto-parts manufacturers’ association, which has a stake in both the NAFTA and steel decisions.“None of us believe that, if they do the calculus, they’ll see that (punishing Canada) is in their best interest. But of course we’re all modelling in the fact that logic isn’t always the overlord with this administration.”He likened Trump’s modus operandi to that from his former career, as a real-estate developer in the cut-throat New York market. He said the president may have internalized the life lesson that, when there’s stress over the fate of a project, contractors and suppliers can be squeezed for better terms.“Maybe we just have a New York real-estate developer in the White House,” he said.That’s similar to a theory from Edward Alden of the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations. He writes that Trump sees chaos as his ally, because if there’s uncertainty over trade, companies are likelier to build new projects in the U.S.He shared that view in a piece for Politico titled, “The Real Game Trump Is Playing on NAFTA: He isn’t negotiating. He’s stalling for time.”Some economic analysts have even tried to put a price tag on this uncertainty. According to the Bank of Canada, and Scotiabank, a lack of clarity over NAFTA into 2019 could trim foreign investment in Canada and cost it 0.2 per cent of GDP through next year.
CALGARY – Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. reported a third-quarter profit of $1.80 billion, up from $684 million a year ago.The oil and gas producer says the profit amounted to $1.47 per diluted share for the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with 56 cents per diluted share a year ago.Revenue totalled nearly $5.9 billion, up from $4.47 billion in the same quarter last year.Production in the quarter amounted to 1,060,629 barrels of oil equivalent per day, up from 1,036,499 a year ago.On an adjusted basis, Canadian Natural says it earned $1.11 per diluted share for the quarter, up from an adjusted profit of 19 cents per diluted share in the third quarter of 2017.Analysts on average had expected a profit of 90 cents per share for the quarter, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.“The strength of our well balanced and diverse portfolio, combined with Canadian Natural’s ability to effectively and efficiently execute, delivered a strong third quarter for the company,” Steve Laut, Canadian Natural’s executive vice-chairman, said in a statement.Companies in this story: (TSX:CNQ)