Archive for February, 2019

Jeter back from injury and playing for Yankees, six hits shy of 3,000 club

Saturday, February 23rd, 2019

CLEVELAND – On a tradition-filled day, Derek Jeter is back playing shortstop and batting leadoff for the New York Yankees.

Sidelined since June 13 with a calf injury, Jeter was activated from the 15-day disabled list Monday to continue his quest to reach 3,000 career hits. Jeter is batting first and playing short in manager Joe Girardi’s starting lineup as the Yankees open a three-game series with the Cleveland Indians.

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The Yankees’ captain, named to his 12th all-star team Sunday, needs six more hits to become the 28th major leaguer to reach 3,000. He is batting .260 in 62 games this season.

Jeter is also just a few swings from becoming the first player in New York’s storied history to eclipse 3,000 – a distinction that would separate the 37-year-old from all previous pinstriped greats.

Jeter was eligible to come off the DL last week, but needed more time to strengthen his calf. The AL East-leading Yankees went 14-4 without him.

As he dressed before the game, Jeter quietly chatted with former major leaguer Bobby Bonilla, who now works for the players’ union. Alex Rodriguez walked into the Yankees’ clubhouse after getting a haircut and faked being surprised when he walked up to Jeter, who shared a hug with his teammate.

Jeter spent the weekend on a rehab assignment with double-A Trenton. On Sunday, he went 1-for-2 with a bunt single, a walk and a throwing error in six innings.

If Jeter doesn’t reach 3,000 hits over the next three days in Cleveland, he may have the chance to reach the milestone at Yankee Stadium. New York will open a four-game series with Tampa Bay on Thursday before heading into the all-star break.

Moroccans turn out in record numbers to approve new constitution, says government

Saturday, February 23rd, 2019

RABAT, Morocco – Moroccans on Friday overwhelmingly approved a new constitution their king says will bring the country much-needed democratic reform, the Interior Ministry announced.

The 98.94 per cent approval rating and 72.56 per cent turnout appeared to indicate strong belief by Moroccans in the king’s promises of reform just months after hundreds of thousands marched throughout the North African country calling for more democracy.

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The huge turnout Friday announced by the government was in stark contrast to the 37 per cent that voted in 2007 parliamentary elections, and evoked some skepticism among pro-democracy activists.

“Now we have become a banana monarchy,” said Elaabadila Chbihna of the pro-democracy February 20 movement, whose demonstrations over past months sparked the King Mohammed VI’s decision to amend the constitution. “I am very skeptical, by 2 p.m. very few people had been to the polling stations.”

The amended constitution gives more power to the parliament and the prime minister and guarantees the independence of the judiciary, while still leaving control in the hands of the king.

The February 20 movement had called for a boycott, saying the new constitution was drawn up without consulting the public and left too much power in the king’s hands.

In Washington Friday, a State Department spokesman, Mark Toner, said that the United States welcomed the peaceful conduct of the referendum during what it called a period of profound change for Morocco.

“We welcome the referendum as an important step in Morocco’s democratic development. We feel this referendum did allow the people to express their views” on some of the issues outlined in King Mohammed’s reforms.

Germany says Islamic terrorism still a threat despite death of bin Laden

Saturday, February 23rd, 2019

BERLIN – Germany’s top security official said Friday that the terrorist threat to the country hasn’t decreased and the number of radicals continues to grow, even with the death of Osama bin Laden.

Security officials saw no reason to lower Germany’s threat level following the death of the al-Qaida leader, said Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich, presenting the annual report by Germany’s domestic intelligence agency.

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“The Islamist terrorist threat is widely varied and has not concentrated on a single leader of al-Qaida for a long time,” he said.

“We have had a general threat situation in Germany and Europe that has not changed for two years, but there are no concrete dangers.”

The number of people in Germany linked to radical Islamic groups rose to 37,470 in Germany in 2010, up from 36,270 the year before, according to the report from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

Most of those – 31,370 – were connected to Turkish groups, nearly all of them in Milli Gorus, a group whose founder advocates creating an Islamic state in Turkey.

Most worrying was the increase in numbers in “Salafi” groups that espouse an ultraconservative interpretation of Islam and have been especially successful at recruiting young people, said Heinz Fromm, who heads the domestic intelligence agency.

He noted that a 21-year-old Kosovo-born ethnic Albanian Muslim charged with killing two U.S. airmen outside Frankfurt’s airport in March had allegedly been inspired by watching Salafi videos online.

“Not every Salafi is a terrorist but almost every terrorist that we are aware of has had contact with a Salafi,” Fromm said.

McQueen designer shows wild side after winning acclaim with royal wedding dress

Saturday, February 23rd, 2019

MILAN – She may have shot to global fame as the designer of the much-admired royal wedding dress, but Sarah Burton hasn’t forgotten the bread-and-butter of the fashion business.

In her first major fashion show since being unveiled as the designer behind Kate Middleton’s nuptial gown, Burton showed her wilder side during the presentation Monday of Alexander McQueen’s menswear collection for next spring and summer.

The line paid tribute to the English rock star, not a small market niche.

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He’s larger-than-life, going for bold and even clashing patterns. But he also has an elegant side, with well-tailored suits in more subdued shades.

Plaid pants were paired with a checked baseball jacket, the patterns clashing but the black-and-white colour schemes in harmony. Horizontal striped sweater went along with pinstriped pants, as though they were always meant to.

And these were not the most attention-seeking rocker moments. Those went to roomy black or red zebra-striped pyjama pants, which could be paired with a red blouson with a sewn-in tie that could actually have been a bow. A long red-and-white striped jacket had something of the Mad Hatter. In fact, it was topped with a white hat graced by a single feather.

For the stage, there were golden thread pinstriped pants. For photo shoots, rockers could don a chest-baring deep V-neck sweater with silky trouser, or a floral tapestry jacket with matching peacock blue pants.

Burton may have been thinking ahead to next summer’s Olympic Games in London – on the mind of a few designers showing in Milan this week – when she added a few pieces in Union Jack red, white and blue, including a cardigan sweater worn over a blue mesh T-shirt.

Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Capt. Atom among DC heroes getting new series amid company’s relaunch

Saturday, February 23rd, 2019

PHILADELPHIA – Wonder Woman, Firestorm, Captain Atom and Aquaman are among the DC Comics characters getting new series this year as the publisher relaunches all of its superhero titles in September.

The company is planning 52 separate new series as it retools its major characters and moves to sell digital copies of its comics on the same day that the printed ones are sold in stores.

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The first batch of series includes “Green Arrow,” written by JT Krul and drawn by Dan Jurgens; “Justice League International,” which Jurgens will write and Aaron Lopresti will draw; “Mister Terrific,” from writer Eric Wallace and artist Roger Robinson; “The Fury of Firestorm” by Ethan Van Sciver and Gail Simone with artist Yildiray Cinar; and “Captain Atom,” by Krul and artist Freddie Williams II.

DC’s chief creative officer, Geoff Johns, will write the new “Aquaman” series, reuniting with artist Ivan Reis. Both worked together on titles about Green Lantern and the epic story arc “Brightest Day.”

Brian Azzarello will write the new “Wonder Woman” with art by Cliff Chiang, and Tony Daniel will handle writing chores for “The Savage Hawkman” with art by Philip Tan.

Francis Manapul will share scripting and illustration duties with Brian Buccellato on the relaunch of “The Flash,” a character Manapul is familiar with having drawn the speedster’s recent 12-issue series. The new series marks Manapul’s debut as a writer.

The anthology title “DC Universe Presents,” with Deadman in the first issue, will focus on multi-issue story arcs featuring different heroes. The first issue starts with a story by Paul Jenkins and Bernard Chang.

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