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VTrans warns of safety concerns: Post-Irene ‘Tremors’

first_imgVermont Agency of Transportation Secretary Brian Searles today reminded the public that “tremors” from Tropical Storm Irene in the form of sink holes and slope failures continue to occur across the state, especially in the southern tier. Recent rains continue to soften the state’s soil, intensifying the probability of such tremors. These dangers can occur on roads that previously experienced no damage. Travelers need to be on the lookout and drive with care. “We appreciate there are some long detours to take in light of roadway closures,” Searles said. “Trying to make the longer commute shorter by driving aggressively may cost you your life. Everyone’s focus needs to be on safety.” As for road recovery efforts, a temporary bridge along Route 125 in Hancock will be open for public travel by the end of the day. This temporary bridge restores critical two-way traffic along Route 125 between Hancock and Middlebury, which was severed over the weekend when a bridge was closed. Additional forces arrived as 149 crews from the Maine Department of Transportation landed in Vermont at about 4 p.m. with 145 pieces of heavy equipment including 10 road graders, seven large excavators, and dozens of back loaders and dump trucks. The Maine crews will be deployed on Wednesday to several locations including Route 131 in Cavendish where they will replace culverts, clear debris and repair shoulder washouts. Maine crews also will be dispatched to Route 100 in Jamaica and Wardsboro where two teams will reestablish ditching and repair shoulder damage. Other crews will conduct a variety of tasks along routes 100, 30, 11, and 10. Also, 10 New Hampshire crews with trucks arrived delivering 150 Jersey barriers to help cordon off dangerous roadway sections. The New Hampshire crews on Wednesday will also help repair segments of Route 131 and Route 106.last_img read more

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Jokowi calls for regional spending as economy contracts

first_imgTopics : President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has called on local administrations to accelerate their regional budget spending to help boost the economy after Indonesia’s gross domestic product (GDP) contracted in the second quarter. About Rp 170 trillion (US$11.5 billion) in funds from local administrations were left sitting in banks, waiting to be disbursed, he said.“I am optimistic [the economy in] the third quarter will be better than in the second quarter,” Jokowi said during a coordination meeting in Bandung on Tuesday. “We want to grow positively but we need to work hard.” The President expressed hope for spending to occur between July and September to prevent a recession in the third quarter.The Indonesian economy shrank 5.32 percent year-on-year in the second quarter, the worst since the first quarter of 1999, as pandemic restrictions hit economic activity hard. Government spending, which was expected to anchor the economy and boost people’s purchasing power amid cooling private sector activity, plunged 6.9 percent during the period.Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati expected the economy to grow at no more than 0.5 percent or even contract further in the third quarter, which means the country could fall into recession.A recession is typically defined as an annual economic contraction in two consecutive quarters.center_img Jokowi further noted that Indonesia’s economic contraction of 5.32 percent was still better than that of other countries, such as Germany, France and the United States at 11.7 percent, 19 percent and 9.5 percent, respectively.“Local administrations must prioritize their spending in the third quarter as the sooner the spending happens, the better our chance of returning to a positive economic trajectory,” he said.The government has earmarked Rp 695.2 trillion toward its pandemic response, including economic, social and health needs.However, it has only spent Rp 145.4 trillion, dominated by social aid and a micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) stimulus, while the disbursement of stimulus funds for health care and corporate financing lagged behind.West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil said at the same meeting that 10.7 million families had received social aid as of Tuesday because only 25 percent of West Java’s population of 50 million were eligible for the assistance. He claimed that, in actuality, 72 percent of the population needed social aid.The West Java economy contracted 5.9 percent in the second quarter, shrinking further than the national contraction over the same period.The province reported 2.73 percent economic growth in the first quarter but the pandemic had brought its manufacturing industry down, resulting in a deep contraction the following quarter, Ridwan added.Around 40 percent of West Java’s regional GDP is sourced from the manufacturing industry.Ridwan said his administration would employ people affected by the pandemic in its projects and asked the government to buy consumable goods from local manufacturers in West Java, adding that some companies, such as state-owned weapons manufacturer PT Pindad and state-owned aircraft maker PT Dirgantara Indonesia, had pivoted their business toward health needs by producing ventilators as a way to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.“The central government can buy uniforms and other consumable goods from our manufacturers, so this can be a win-win solution,” he said. (eyc)last_img read more

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Now in the Olympics: Could 3-on-3 basketball catch on in America?

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Whether Olympic 3-on-3 or the BIG3 can capture America’s attention remains to be seen. But in France, as Mavraides and his U.S. teammates trade lightning-quick punches with Serbia, the action — even over a 5 a.m. YouTube stream — is awfully captivating. The rules are starkly different from 5-on-5, with a slightly smaller ball and games played on half-courts. With just 12 seconds on the shot clock, the tempo is often turned up to breakneck speed. The 10-minute game clock runs constantly, leaving it impossible to catch your breath. True to its playground roots, takebacks to the 3-point line are required after both makes and misses. Shots outside the arc are worth two points — inside, they’re worth one — putting long-range shooting at a greater premium than in traditional hoops.“The slow, big post player who could dominate 5-on-5 by soaking up the paint — that’s not the type of player you want here,” Mavraides said. “You need quick, agile players, who can all dribble, pass, and shoot.”Unlike the bruising squad that brought home America’s first 3-on-3 medal last year, Mavraides and his Team USA teammates live and die by the 2-pointer. They make for an eclectic collection of sharpshooters. Craig Moore, a Manhattan wealth manager and Northwestern alum, is sixth all-time in the Big Ten in 3-pointers. Damon Huffman, a shooter who played at Brown, owns an assisted living facility in Michigan. Zahir Carrington, a Lehigh alum and the team’s most physical presence inside, works in medical device sales.The team qualified for the World Cup by winning an invite-only tournament run by USA Basketball — a format the organization favors, for the time being, over handpicking a national team. In theory, the door is open for you and your weekly pickup team to compete for an Olympic 3-on-3 berth, come 2020.The vision for 3-on-3, according to USA Basketball spokesperson Craig Miller, is to make it possible for “someone who lives remotely and only has two buddies to get a team together and actually be competitive.”More accessible than traditional 5-on-5, 3-on-3 can be played pretty much anywhere from alleyways in the Philippines to a shopping mall in India. Not only does the ease of entry make for a more level international playing field, but for many in the international basketball world, it means huge potential for growth in countries that struggle to field full, 12-person rosters.“(FIBA) really likes the idea of seeing smaller countries, less traditional powers, compete,” Miller said.For the BIG3, it’s all about big names and flash. “I know Ice Cube’s dream is to have Kobe Bryant,” BIG3 commissioner and former NBPA president Roger Mason said. “This is a league built for someone like him.”Kobe passed, but the roster of players and coaches the league will feature is intriguing, nonetheless. Hall of Famers Julius Erving, Clyde Drexler and George Gervin will walk the sideline as coaches. Iverson, at 42, is the obvious draw among former players, but retired fan favorites such as Jason Williams, Mike Bibby, and Kenyon Martin could prompt some fans to tune in. Other big-name former players, Mason claims, are monitoring the league in its debut season.With rules catered to fans, it should be a sight to see. The BIG3 will introduce a 4-point shot. Hand-checking is allowed. And players who are fouled must shoot their free throws from wherever they are on the court.“There’s no doubt this product will do well,” Mason said. “Our guys still have gas in the tank. They still feel like they can compete at a high level. I think it’s a recipe for success.”The track record for other upstart leagues with similar ambitions isn’t exactly sterling. But Fox is bullish, and Mason is dreaming big. “Our league certainly has global appeal,” he said. Right now, plans for the future of both international competition and the BIG3 are almost entirely unwritten.“It’s still kind of a wait-and see-game,” Jay Demings, USA Basketball’s point man on 3-on-3, said.The current international structure is a mess of qualifiers and participation point totals, and the available prize money is insignificant, which is likely to discourage the best American players from getting involved. Of course, that won’t stop speculation over whether NBA players might someday get involved and what that might mean for the amateur, grassroots identity of the game as it currently stands.USA Basketball won’t rule out the possibility of NBA player involvement — “We always want to field the best team possible,” Miller said — but suggested the current qualifying structure likely wouldn’t work with the league season.Mavraides isn’t holding his breath.“I don’t see LeBron James or Stephen Curry coming to play on the halfcourt at the Olympics and putting their bodies on the line, given all that they do,” he said.Regardless, Mavraides said that as 3-on-3 hits its stride, the likelihood of him appearing in a Team USA jersey again subsides. A handful of D-League players already dotted the rosters of this year’s World Cup teams. Mavraides, who is ranked 431st in the world by FIBA, has no delusions of dominating 3-on-3 into 2020. Just to take part in the first 3-on-3 Olympic qualifying, he said, “would be an honor.”But as 3-on-3 prepares for its moment in the sun, in France, Mavraides and Team USA weather challenge after challenge from the world’s No. 1 team. A force in the 3-on-3 game, Serbia boasts league infrastructure, legitimate salaries and Red Bull sponsorship. Team USA is merely a collection of amateurs with day jobs.Nonetheless, Mavraides is confident. Down 10-9, he drives the baseline, beckoning for contact as he lifts for a lay-in. With the score tied, Mavraides looks out into the crowd and flashes a flexed bicep.But before long, the sun sets on Team USA’s World Cup run. Serbia is too much to handle. As Serbia pulls away, its top scorer and the world’s No. 1 player, Dusan Domovic Bulut, returns a flexed bicep in Mavraides’ direction. The final seconds tick off, and as the buzzer sounds, 10,000 are watching on YouTube.It’s far too early to tell what the future holds for 3-on-3. The BIG3 is coming. The Olympics are on the horizon. As basketball continues growing exponentially across the globe, it’s not difficult to imagine that number multiplying in the years to come.For now, the investment portfolio manager will return to his day job in Beverly Hills, knowing he got in on the ground floor.BIG3 FACTS AND FIGURESWhat: New professional 3-on-3 basketball league created by rapper Ice Cube featuring eight teams composed of former NBA playersTV: Fox Sports 1Captains: Allen Iverson, Julius Erving, George Gervin, Clyde Drexler, Rick BarryNotable players: Iverson, Charles Oakley, Mike Bibby, Rashard Lewis, Kenyon Martin, Corey MaggetteSchedule:June 25 – Brooklyn, N.Y.July 2 – Charlotte, N.C.July 9 – Tulsa, Okla.July 16 – PhiladelphiaJuly 23 – ChicagoJuly 30 – DallasAug. 6 – Lexington, Ky.Aug. 13 – L.A. (Staples Center)Aug. 20 – SeattleAug. 26 – Las Vegas (championship)Website: big3.com Globally, 3-on-3’s rise is playing out in similar fashion. As an international event, organized by basketball governing body FIBA, the discipline is really only seven years old. A new FIBA World Tour just finished its second season. And in America, despite the country’s pickup patronage, 3-on-3 — with its blistering pace and unique set of rules — has existed mostly on the fringes of basketball competition, at street fairs and on playgrounds.But if 3-on-3 is ever going to have its moment stateside, that day seems to be fast approaching. Two weeks before Mavraides and his teammates took the court for the FIBA World Cup quarterfinals, the IOC voted to add 3-on-3 basketball to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. A five-alarm fire of sports takes followed, sparking a mix of sideways glances and 3-on-3 lineup hypotheticals. Even LeBron James was asked if he might partake.The Olympics isn’t the only thing 3-on-3 has going. Today, a showcase of retired NBA stars will debut their own professional 3-on-3 league. Founded by Ice Cube and populated with recognizable former All-Stars such as Allen Iverson and Jermaine O’Neal, the BIG3 is America’s most serious attempt yet to bring 3-on-3 into the mainstream.“Summer is boring as (expletive),” Ice Cube declared at a news conference in January. “The BIG3 is just what the doctor ordered.”Fox seems to agree. The network signed on to broadcast BIG3 games on Fox Sports 1 every Sunday for the next 10 weeks. David Nathanson, Fox Sports director of operations, even called the league “one of our top priorities of the summer.”center_img The U.S. national 3-on-3 basketball team’s leading scorer has never played in an NBA game. He’s not a Drew League standout or a star on the streetball circuit. Dan Mavraides is, in fact, an investment portfolio manager in Beverly Hills.Four years ago, when Mavraides left a professional basketball career in Italy, he figured hoops would never again extend beyond pickup games at West Hollywood Park. The pull of a stable day job was too strong. Basketball, which took him to Princeton and then Europe, took a back seat.“I still felt like I had a lot more to give to the game,” Mavraides says, but with a busy schedule at work, some weeks he struggled just to find time for pickup games.So, Mavraides, 28, did not expect to be standing atop the key of a halfcourt arena in western France a few years later, with a Team USA logo across his chest, as music blared and fans lined bleachers around the court. For him, 3-on-3 started as merely a curiosity. But he quickly fell for its frenetic energy and the strategy the game demanded.last_img read more

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