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Detroiters: ‘No cuts to our pensions!’


first_imgWW photo: Kris HamelBallots will be sent the week of May 12 to tens of thousands of city of Detroit retirees to vote “yes” or “no” to pension cuts being imposed by the state-appointed emergency manager, Kevyn Orr. These cuts are part of the municipal bankruptcy forced onto the city by Orr and his law firm, Jones Day, and Gov. Rick Snyder, a rightwing Republican.Meanwhile, Detroit pensioners and supporters plan weekly protests on Fridays and a national demonstration on July 24.A big-business media campaign is claiming that the cuts, if approved by the pensioners, will be 4.5 percent for nonuniformed retirees and full payment for police and firefighters.However, buried in the 440-page disclosure statement being sent to the retirees along with the ballots is the truth about the pension cuts.For nonuniformed retirees, in addition to imposing the 4.5 percent cut in base payments, a “yes” vote will result in the elimination of the 2 percent yearly cost-of-living adjustment for the next 10 years. This means another 14.5 percent reduction in pensions.In addition, the plan calls for “recovering” — taking! — interest payments from the pension fund on annuities paid for out of retirees’ own funds. This results in 8.8 percent further cuts in payments.The total cut in pensions, based on Orr’s own figures, is an average of 28 percent per retiree, a far cry from the 4.5 percent touted by the EM through his media flunkies.This doesn’t include the virtual elimination of health benefits for retirees, which will now be paid out of a Voluntary Employee Benefit Association with very limited funding. This VEBA, the disclosure statement says, will not be able to maintain the slashed benefits which went into effect on March 1, with retirees receiving a measly $125 monthly stipend to help pay for Affordable Care Act ­premiums.For police and firefighters, even with a “yes” vote the actual pension reduction is 17.4 percent due to cost-of-living cuts and annuity take backs.Retiree boards submit; neocolonialism exposedA corporate media frenzy is trying to get retirees to approve the slashing of their pensions. If the vote rejects the cuts, the EM and media threaten to cut an additional 19.5 percent for general retirees and 8 percent for police and firefighters, and the collapse of the so-called “grand bargain” to fund pensions.The Detroit Retired City Employees Association, the Retired Detroit Police and Fire Fighters Association and the “Official Committee of Retirees” appointed by the bankruptcy trustee are all going along with these pension attacks. The Detroit General Retirement System Board preliminarily approved them as well.The grand bargain is a scheme wherein the city of Detroit would make no pension contributions for 10 years. Instead, the pensions would be funded during that period by $350 million in contributions from corporate charitable trusts, $350 million from the state of Michigan and an additional $100 million from the Detroit Institute of Arts, which would continue to function under the direction of an independent formation. If the charitable trusts or DIA are unable to make their contributions, pensions will be cut further.In addition, the state funding (actually a $190 million bond) has conditions attached to it. These include 20 years of oversight of the city’s financial and policy decisions, including pensions, by a financial board to be named by the governor and state legislature. This will guarantee suburban, white, Republican, racist, neocolonial control over the resources and functioning of this majority African-American city for the next two decades.STOP: ‘Cuts must be rejected’The Stop Theft of Our Pensions Committee, an outgrowth of the Moratorium NOW! Coalition, is calling for a “no!” vote by pensioners, and the rejection of any cuts in the deferred wages earned by Detroit’s retirees.STOP rejects the idea that retirees should be grateful for the corporate foundations’ and state’s “grand bargain.” Instead, the committee says that the banks, which devastated Detroit with their racist, predatory lending practices that led to over 100,000 home foreclosures from 2005 to 2012, owe the city billions of dollars in reparations for the destruction they’ve caused.STOP notes that a March report by the Michigan Municipal League titled “The Great Revenue Sharing Heist” documented that since 2003, the state of Michigan has effectively stolen $6.2 billion from Michigan cities, including $732 million from Detroit alone, by diverting state sales tax revenues earmarked for cities to the state treasury. The state of Michigan owes Detroit far more than its $190 million share of the “grand bargain.”The committee is also demanding that the $120 million paid by the city of Detroit for “professional fees” during the bankruptcy, in what amounts to a looting of the city treasury sanctioned by the bankruptcy court, be immediately restored.Organizations around the U.S. are weighing in and recognizing the dangerous precedent that will be set if Detroit retiree payments are slashed despite Michigan’s constitutional bar to impairing accrued pensions. In early May, the California Public Employees Retirement System and the American Association of Retired Persons filed amicus briefs in support of appeals of Judge Steven Rhodes’ decision that the Michigan constitutional ban on diminishing pensions is superseded by federal bankruptcy law.The Detroit retiree committee of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Union voted against the proposed pension cuts and endorsed the call for a national demonstration on July 24, when the bankruptcy trial starts.The Moratorium NOW! Coalition and the Stop Theft of Our Pensions Committee, energized by the May Day demonstrations hitting the banks, the court and the emergency manager, have called for “Freedom Fridays” in Detroit. Weekly demonstrations will gather on Fridays at 4 p.m. at the bankruptcy court.For more information, visit moratorium-mi.org or call 313-680-5508.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more


Myanmar Times and other media threatened and sanctioned by military censors


first_img Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association condemn the recent sanctions taken by the military government’s censorship board against the Burmese-language edition of the Myanmar Times weekly, which was ordered to suppress its next issue for carrying a report about an increase in the price of satellite dish licences (http://www.mmtimes.com/no400/n006.htm) in its 11 January issue.The newspaper apparently published the story, which quoted an Agence France-Presse dispatch, without requesting the censorship board’s permission.”The latest sanctions against news media that are already subject to censorship and self-censorship appear to be linked to recent official statements on press freedom,” the two organisations said. “Information minister Kyaw Hsan, for example, told a group of media publishers on 13 January that the media must make an effort to help the national economy to improve and to protect itself against the destructionists threatening the country’s interests. We suspect that this kind of comment may pave the way for new sanctions and restrictions.”A Rangoon-based journalist said the government also asked the Myanmar Times to fire four of its journalists, Nwe Nwe Aye, Win Nyunt Lwin, Myint Soe and Win Kyaw Oo. The four were reportedly told to go this week.The censorship board recently ordered at least two magazines, the Myanmar Tribune and Action Times, not to publish any “political” news. A journalist employed by one of these publications said Maj. Tint Swe, the head of the censorship board, threatened them with reprisals if they did not concentrate on entertainment and sport. Myanmar Tribune and Action Times decided to temporarily suspend publication.A spokesperson for the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, was summoned by the censorship board on 11 January and reprimanded for issuing a newsletter on 4 January, Independence Day. Reference was made to the Printers and Publishers Registration Act, under which an unauthorised publication is punishable by up to seven years in prison.According to the Burmese exile magazine Irrawaddy, young NLD activists printed and circulated a newsletter entitled Ah-Yoan-Thit (The Dawn) containing articles on last September’s demonstrations and arrests of party activists.The military government has refused to give the NLD any publication permit since the start of the 1990s. Aung San Suu Kyi has herself repeatedly requested authorisation to publish a newspaper.Around 150 weekly newspapers and 80 magazines are published in Burma. Most of them do not cover politics but all of them are subjected to prior censorship. According to some sources, rampant corruption within the censorship board means that publications are sometimes able to carry reports that would normally be censored. Follow the news on Myanmar US journalist held in Yangon prison notorious for torture RSF_en Receive email alerts May 12, 2021 Find out more Organisation News January 16, 2008 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Myanmar Times and other media threatened and sanctioned by military censors Help by sharing this information RSF asks Germany to let Myanmar journalist Mratt Kyaw Thu apply for asylumcenter_img MyanmarAsia – Pacific to go further May 31, 2021 Find out more News MyanmarAsia – Pacific May 26, 2021 Find out more News Thai premier, UN rapporteurs asked to prevent journalists being returned to Myanmar Newslast_img read more


Bespoke Festival is “the wheel deal” for Limerick cyclists


first_imgNo vaccines in Limerick yet Advertisement Email First Irish death from Coronavirus Linkedin Surgeries and clinic cancellations extended NewsCommunityOtherCyclingLifestyleLife & LeisureLocal NewsBespoke Festival is “the wheel deal” for Limerick cyclistsBy Staff Reporter – June 17, 2014 1575 by Claire O’Brien | [email protected] up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up THE 2014 Bespoke Cycling festival launched in Limerick last Saturday with a Summer Solstice cycle from Limerick City to Lough Gur and back among the highlights of this week-long festival.Events held so far include the European Mountain biking Championships in Ballyhoura, and numerous bike fixing workshops to help get people on their bikes for the first time or rediscover their love of cycling.On Thursday (June 19th) at 11 am the Adare GAA Field will hold the Country Limerick Cycling Pursuit Challenge where students can work on their cycling skills.On Sunday at 3pm participants will be taken on a cycling tour of the city’s waterfront beginning and finishing at Howley’s Quay,followed by entertainment and refreshments.On Friday,Limerick Smarter Travel will host an event where participants can bring their bike for free minor repairs in advance of Sunday’s Bespoke Bike Parade.Saturday allows the public to experience the Summer Solstice in Lough Gur.Participants will depart Limerick at 5.00am and will cycle to Lough Gur and back.Limerick Smarter Travel Project Manager,Pat O’Neill stated that the festival is one of a number of measures introduced to encourage people to get on their bikes and use a more sustainable mode of transport.Phelim Macken,Coordinator,Limerick Sports Partnership added that the festival promotes the cycling facilities available throughout Limerick. Facebook RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHORcenter_img Previous articleTaylor: So far so good for Limerick FCNext articleLimerick photographer is recognised internationally Staff Reporterhttp://www.limerickpost.ie Twitter Print Shannondoc operating but only by appointment Walk in Covid testing available in Limerick from Saturday 10th April TAGSBespoke Cycling FestivalCountry Limerick Cycling Pursuit ChallengefeaturedSummer Solstice cycle Proceedures and appointments cancelled again at UHL WhatsApplast_img read more


Smooth operator: Freshman Ennis brings quiet confidence, unwavering nerve as point guard for No. 8 Syracuse


first_imgThroughout Tyler Ennis’ childhood, his father — and often his coach — Tony McIntyre would ask him the same series of questions.Do you even like basketball? Are you sure? Why don’t you show it on the court?For years, McIntyre failed to see the competitive fire in his son’s game. Tyler would play up on his older brother’s teams. Dylan, two years ahead of Tyler, and Brandon, four ahead, were fiercer on the court.McIntyre wondered if Tyler felt pressured to play the sport that controlled the family’s everyday life. It wasn’t that Tyler was passive. He was outgoing off the court, just not exclamatory on it. There was never any yelling. There was never frustration after a mistake or celebration after a success.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textZiniu Chen | Staff PhotographerSo McIntyre would ask his son those questions. On the court after games. In the car on their way home. At the dinner table later that night.The questions baffled Tyler because there were never any questions in his mind.Only an answer: “That’s how it’s supposed to be.”“I just played and that’s how I always was. It helps me in pressure situations and keeping guys in control and things like that. My dad always wondered why. I don’t know why.”Tyler is preparing to be  the seventh freshman to run the point for Jim Boeheim in the last three decades. But he’s far from an ordinary freshman — preposterous passing ability and catlike vision aside.He’s as prepared a freshman Boeheim said he has ever had — more poised than former Duke superstar Jay Williams, according to Mark Taylor, who coached both in high school.“I don’t really look at myself as a freshman,” Tyler said.Not many people do — mostly because he doesn’t look like one. The calm command and unwavering nerve he brings as the Orange’s court general is a sharp contrast from the animated reactions of Michael Carter-Williams last season.“He’s going to have good games. He’s going to have average games,” McIntyre said. “I’ve never seen him play a bad game.”Now at Syracuse, the university he once called his “dream school,” he’ll look to lead the Orange to its first national championship since 2003.“I know a lot of people are expecting a big year, expecting a lot,” Tyler said, “but that comes with what I wanted. I wanted a big role as a freshman and I got it. I know high expectations come with that.“Now I have to produce.”Suzette Ennis loved to shoot homemade videos of her children when they were young.Many times when she was focusing on another sibling, Tyler would jump in front of the camera and break in: This is Tyler TV and we’re doing a show on Dylan Ennis.“He actually liked being on the camera,” Suzette said.Even as a kid, Tyler’s personality off the court contrasted that on it. In the house, rambunctious battles with his brothers in NBA Live would spill out onto the street in front of their house where they would play basketball.He was the kid brother, but he wasn’t the shy kid brother.“He was always the kid they would push around on the street when he was 4 or 5 years old,” McIntyre said. “They would always be like, ‘You can’t play. And he said, ‘Well I’m going to play.’”But on the court, he was stoic. The chatterbox Dylan roughhoused with around the house was sometimes emotionless on the court. For a while it was concerning for the family, but over time Dylan began to see it as a strength.“I think that’s what I like most about him. You can’t tell that he’s down. You can’t tell that he’s mad,” Dylan said.Tyler played up on Dylan and Brandon’s teams from age 4 all the way until high school.Always a point guard for his father’s CIA Bounce program — an AAU team — Tyler gained confidence playing with his brothers.From the beginning, he carved out a role as a distributor and ball-handler.“We would really push each other, beat each other up to the point where we made sure we got a lot out of it and made sure we got better that day,” Brandon said.There was a time when Tyler would come home from practice with hair long enough to braid and scratches up and down his arms.That was back when basketball was only his second-best sport.From age 4 until the end of sixth grade, Tyler was a better box lacrosse defender than point guard.“He was actually amazing at it,” McIntyre said. “I think that helped him, too, with his emotions.”Lacrosse helped him gain the confidence to hang with his brothers and other players their age, Dylan and his parents agreed. But rather than the 6-foot-2 point guard he is now, Tyler was one of the biggest players on the lacrosse field.From a physicality perspective, lacrosse prepared Tyler to challenge big men at the rim. To absorb contact, and still finish his shots.But from a tactical perspective, box lacrosse is similar to basketball. Reading screen-and-roll plays and zone rotations carried over to the basketball court, where Tyler thrived in pick-and-rolls.They’re still his favorite play to this day.“I think that’s what’s made him a better basketball player in terms of coming off screen-and-rolls,” McIntyre said. “Because in lacrosse, if you put your head down, you’re getting killed.”There came a point, though, when Tyler’s lacrosse career had run its course. Entering middle school, that’s when the basketball dominance began.“I remember thinking, ‘He wasn’t the little Tyler who I used to beat up,’” Brandon said. “I’ve really got to play him now.” Courtesy of St. Benedicts PrepFive hundred ninety-eight.That was St. Benedict’s ranking after Tyler’s first year at the school. After head coach Roshown McLeod resigned in April 2011 following a 13-12 campaign. After all the non-seniors split for greener pastures.Other prep schools swarmed to Tyler. He could have gone anywhere, St. Benedict’s assistant coach Bob Farrell said.But two years later, Tyler would lead the Gray Bees to the national championship game.It all started with a trip to Newark Liberty International Airport in spring 2011 when newly hired head coach Mark Taylor picked him up.“He was unsure what he was going to do,” Taylor said. “He really didn’t know. But I gave him a lot of credit just getting on the plane, coming down and talking.”Taylor and Farrell had only spoken with him over the phone at this point, but they knew the program’s immediate success hung in the balance of that conversation.“If you commit to us, we’re going to commit to you,” Taylor told Tyler. “This is your team. We’ll build the pieces, but we’ve got to have a point guard that has the ability and the IQ that you have, and everything else will fall into place.”He stayed.St. Benedict’s won a school-record 35 games en route to the No. 2 ranking in New Jersey that year, as Tyler was named Gatorade New Jersey Player of the Year.As a senior he led the Gray Bees to the No. 2 national ranking and just seconds from a national title.When he didn’t make the McDonald’s All-American team, Tyler dropped a school-record 53 points on Eastern (N.J.). When highly acclaimed Princeton Day Academy star Aquille Carr talked smack to him on the court, Tyler scored 10 straight points on “the Crimestopper.”Tyler helped the Gray Bees snap No. 1 Findlay Prep’s 54-game winning streak, then St. Anthony’s 83-game streak.“He’s a true gamer,” Farrell said. “If you’ve got to send somebody to hit free throws in the last few seconds or take that last shot, Tyler would be my guy.”Tyler was Farrell’s guy off the court, too. The strict Monday-to-Friday confines of St. Benedict’s were often difficult for Tyler. He would complain about the living situations, Bob’s wife Michelle Farrell said, like being unable to have food in his room.But more than anything, he just needed a change of environment from Newark.So on weekends without basketball games, he stayed at the Farrell’s home in Point Pleasant Beach. He became part of the family, walking or biking to the nearby Jersey Shore regularly with the Farrell’s son Matt, and attended family dinners on Sunday — the quiet Canadian surrounded by as many as 20 boisterous Italians.“I remember the first time he came and my husband introduced me to him,” Michelle said, “he talked so quiet I couldn’t understand him.“He had to repeat himself, and I finally just said, ‘If you want to stay here, you’re definitely going to have to speak up because nobody can hear you.’”Gradually, Tyler became comfortable there. He learned Michelle would take care of his laundry for him and cook him pork roll, egg and cheeses on a hearty bagel each morning.The bedroom he slept in each weekend became Tyler’s room, and the family support from the Farrells allowed him to stay focused on basketball and maintaining his control on the court.“He was part of the family,” Michelle said. “That was just another one of my kids out there.”C.J. Fair, Jerami Grant, Rakeem Christmas and Michael Gbinije all agreed: They haven’t seen Tyler get frustrated on the court once.Through two months of practice, a four-game homecoming exhibition tour to Canada, Orange Madness and SU’s two scrimmages, Tyler has fit the bill as a smooth operator.“The only time he gets frustrated is when I take the towel from him while he’s in the shower,” Gbinije said before cracking a smile.Tyler said he’s comfortable with the weight placed on his shoulders. He wants it there.Seemingly, Boeheim does, too. Before the season he said that Tyler would play 38 minutes per game this year.More than the 35.3 per game that Gerry McNamara played as a freshman in SU’s 2003 championship season and the 35.5 that Jonny Flynn played as a freshman five years later.That confidence shone through in Boeheim’s press conference after SU’s 79-41 win over Holy Family last Friday.When asked about his assessment of Tyler’s performance, Boeheim merely shrugged.“He was fine. I don’t even think about him.” Commentslast_img read more




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