Baseball. America’s favorite pastime for almost as long as anyone can remember. It used to be looked to as one of the pioneers when it come to race and progression, but there’s been a big time change in the game. Last year, only 8% of professional baseball players were Black, and many people have wondered what’s happening in the sport. Is baseball too white? As a sport it is still making plenty of money and has a lot of dedicated fans, but the World Series has become less and less popular over the last few years. Many accuse the MLB of white-washing, and it’s starting to raise some eyebrows.
There is, however, one interesting aspect to this story. There’s been a huge increase in the number of Latino players. In fact, starting next year, teams will be required to have a Spanish translator.
So what’s up with baseball? Can it still be considered progressive, or are other factors at play?
Article (op-Ed) here.
In South Africa, President Jacob Zuma has been under intense scrutiny for quite a while now. He has faced massive backlash for his use of millions of state dollars for improvements on his private home. If you have the time, go ahead and search the web for Nkandla, which is the name of his residence.
Last Thursday, the constitutional court ruled that Mr. Zuma acted against the constitution by ignoring a national watchdog agency which told him to reimburse the sate for the non-security improvements.
The President and the ruling party defended their actions saying that Mr. Zuma acted in good faith, but was led astray by bad legal advice. They stuck to this theory in the impeachment court on Tuesday. The article says, “The impeachment motion required a two-thirds majority vote to pass, but the ruling party has a comfortable majority in the Assembly”. Obviously the vote failed, and President Jacob Zuma will not be impeached for his misuse of millions of dollars for personal gain.
With the recent win of Ted Cruz in Wisconsin, the republican party is again left to play a guessing game of who will be the nominee. For the first time since Iowa, Cruz won by a large margin, with Trump’s popularity at an all time low. Indeed, some exit polls said that if Trump was the candidate they would support Hillary Clinton, a third party, or none at all. Interestingly enough, even with last nights win, Cruz doesn’t have a safe bet for the nomination, thanks to John Kasich, who has enough support to take away key candidates.
How is this race going to swing? Trump is deeply controversial. Yet Cruz, his top contender, is notoriously unpopular in his own political arena, the senate, and was once considered incredibly divisive himself. If the nomination is decided at a party convention, who will the nominee be? If it comes to that, I wonder if the republic delegates will choose neither Cruz nor Trump, but try to draft someone more uniting. One things for sure: it’s going to be an interesting ride.
In recent events, Mainland China refused to air the Hong Kong Film Awards Ceremony because of the film that won first place. This film was called “Ten Years” and is about a dark future for Hong Kong being bullied by Mainland China into assimilation. In reflects on how Mainland China’s “one country two systems” policy isn’t actually being carried out. CCTV suddenly switched from the airing to show a cooking show at the time when it was supposed to be broadcasted. A Chinese newspaper reported that the film was “absurd,” a “thought virus,” and “fear mongering.” The event shows an increase in tension between Hong Kong and Mainland China. But what do you think; did either side go too far?
This story is beginning to sound slightly familiar, women and men from their late sixties to early forties are beginning to come forward with stories of being sexually abused by clergy members in their childhood. In her preteens Maureen Powers was sexually abused for two years by her priest who told her it was for the purpose of “research”. Her case is not an anomaly. Many priest raped and sexually abused children for years while their superiors, and even at times the police have assisted in covering their actions. Later in life many of the victims have committed suicide. These chidden and adults had no one to turn to. It goes with out saying how horrifying the story is.
But now some kind of justice is being served, Mark Rozzi who was sexually abused himself as a boy, is fighting to change laws in the state of Pennsylvania so living perpetrators will be held accountable for their actions. Churches are taking down any form of banners and pictures honoring the accused bishops. Though these actions are bringing some relief, its sad to realize these victims will never find true healing. I think we need to work harder as a nation to prevent and expose sexual abuse, especially in institutions like universities, any kind of school and churches. These institutions are supposed to be safe places for adults and children and I think everybody should be in charge of keeping it this way.
The revelation of the “Panama Paper”, which leaked the information of thousands of offshore bank accounts and tax havens used by many powerful people, has shocked the world. At first glance because of the sheer magnitude of the information found (2.6 terebytes of data) but also because of what this reveals about the worlds political and social leaders. Although having an offshore bank account is not in and of itself illegal, many people use it to avoid paying taxes or other things, and so everyone with accounts is being called into question.
The first leader to be affected is the prime minister of Iceland, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, who was forced to resign, yet there are surely many to follow. The discovery of the Panama Papers has impacted the world because it has exposed a secret realm where the rich and powerful continue to benefit while the average citizen suffers because of their selfishness. Tax evasion affects the whole nation, because citizens are no longer able to benefit from the programs and resources that the government could have offered with those paid taxes. We must also keep in mind that this manipulation of money also affects the economy as a whole. It is disappointing to see just another way that the world’s elite are selfishly taking advantage of others and I think that there should be consequences to pay for those who have been involved in these secret activities, including the banks involved.
view the full article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/06/opinion/the-panama-papers-sprawling-web-of-corruption.html?ref=world
In Sweden, Finnish has for decades been the second most spoken language. The closeness in proximity and cultures has for centuries fostered a natural interaction. But for the first time ever, Arabic is about to push Finnish aside to become the second most spoken language in Sweden.
While many may be surprised, in taking a closer look there are a few key facts to point to. Many of the Finnish speaking population is older, and beginning to die out. They might have spoken the language with their children, but living in Sweden, most probably prefer to speak Swedish in their daily lives. The other influencer is that last year, 163,000 migrants, mostly from the Middle-East applied for asylum in Sweden, considering estimated 155,000 people of Middle-Eastern decent lived in Sweden in 2012, that number easily begins to swallow the 200,000 who report Finnish as their first language.
Europe has always been a crossroads of civilization, as seen by the sheer number and diversity of the languages and cultures. But I find it interesting seeing this culture mixing happening now, even though similar things have occurred for thousands of years. How will Eastern cultures change Europe? I don’t know. Many in Europe are panicking, talking about the loss of their culture, which is understandable. But haven’t cultures always adapted and shifted, borrowing things from each other? This idea that culture is a fixed, rigid thing that needs to be protected from other cultures is absolutely incorrect.
Read the full story at Sveriges Radio.
We’ve all observed the recent inactivity of Congress, but California lawmakers decided to not let Washington’s lack of progress stop their own. This has been a big week for the state, which passed a plan to raise the minimum wage by 2022 to $15, is working on a secure retirement savings plan, and is pushing other liberal ideas through their legislature. Yesterday, San Francisco became the first city in the United States to provide 6 weeks of fully paid leave for both parents of a newborn or newly adopted child. The United States is one of the last countries to not offer some form of paid parental leave through national legislation, but San Francisco is blazing the trail in responding to the growing demand for such protection. There has been great attention to the issue of paternal leave as major tech companies offer full benefits to their employees (Twitter will begin offering full-time employees 20 weeks of paid leave in May) and as public figures, such as Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder who took a considerable leave after the birth of his first child, establish public support for the policy.
The new law will protect from people merely using the system because it provides stipulations on length of employment before the paid leave can be applied to an employee and it will be implemented in phases so as not to overwhelm employers or produce major push back. It is the first step towards national action on the subject. Californian lawmakers are frustrated with the gridlock in Congress, so they are taking action on their own to protect the social interests of their citizens. It is great that a family-focused policy such as paid leave for both parents is getting so much national attention and, hopefully, other cities and states will soon follow California’s lead to force national action on the issue. Families deserve time at the beginning to become established and form those connections. And, while California continues forward, I hope the rest of us aren’t far behind them.
This week has seen the resignation of the Icelandic Prime Minister, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, due to his involvement with the Panama Papers. These papers are so called because of their associations with Panamanian corporate service. More than 214,000 accounts were anonymously leaked with 11.5 million documents. That in itself calls to awe the craft and skill of the source who managed to bring to light all this new information. Then, as the article says, disgust comes next. Over 14,000 clients managed to hide away vast amounts of wealth from their mother countries to set it up overseas. While the Panama-based law firm insists that they have not broken any ethical laws by storing this money, it does make the question of where these thousands of people managed to accumulate all this wealth in the first place and then work to keep it hidden by using shell companies.
The two largest questions everyone is probably asking now is what will happen to all the people found to be involved with these offshore bank accounts, and had this information never been linked, how long would they have been able to live with this lie? Having offshore bank accounts is no new news nor is it illegal. However, to use them as a gateway to evade taxes and accumulate wealth from far legal ways is. If one thing, this shows the vulnerability of international finance. Over the past decade mainly, the vitality of money has been seen. It is a means to spreading democracy and holds much more power than every before thought. Due to this event, though, it can be seen that money is still fallible and while states may put up more rules, there will always be those searching for ways to break them.
The ultimate thing to consider and watch for from this event is whether or not a change will occur. The concept of having offshore bank accounts is not illegal in and of itself, but it seems that the connotation when one hears that idea brings only negative thoughts to mind. International law is something much different than state law, thus making changes harder to create. However, if many countries are suffering from their citizens using these types of accounts to hide away from taxing and ethical consequences, then perhaps some amendment needs to be made.