More than two dozen philanthropic organizations and corporations on Thursday launched the California Black Freedom Fund. It’s five-year $100 million initiative the group says will provide resources to Black-led organizations in the state aiming to eradicate systemic racism. The 25 funders include the philanthropic groups of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, Philanthropist Laurene Powell Jobs as well as JPMorgan Chase. The group says the fund aims to address the “history of underinvestment” in Black-led organizations. It currently has $32.4 million, with the rest of the money slated to be raised and given during the next five years.
… Mandolall, Driffield and Seeram share Player-of-the-Year awardsBy Frederick HalleyTORONTO, Canada – Two former national players, Rovendra Mandolall and Shiv Seeram, along with Richard Driffield, stole the spotlight when Ontario Masters Softball Cricket Club (OMSCC) staged its 17th annual presentation, dinner and dance at the Estate Banquet Hall, Scarborough here on Saturday night.Walter Seenarine (left) of Tropical Breeze hands over Player-of-the-Year trophy to Ronesha Mandolall in the presence of her father and recipient Rovendra Mandolall,Mandolall, a former Under-19 stalwart, who represented Hustlers Sports Club in the Over-40 A Division, copped the award in that division while Driffield of Guyana Sports Club got the nod for his outstanding performances in the B Division. It also marked a second consecutive year for the consistent Mandolall who shared the honour with Our Own’s Troy Gobin in 2016.Seeram, who played for both his native Guyana and his adopted country Canada, was supreme in the Over-50 class for Skeldon and was unchallenged for the Player-of-the-Year award.Essequibian Mandolall, who took home the Tropical Breeze-sponsored trophy, was brilliant with both bat and ball, tallying 405 runs with two centuries (109, 102 not out) with a batting average of 135 while capturing 11 wickets including figures of five for nine versus GT Bannas.Richard Driffield (right) collects his Player-of-the-Year trophy from OMSCC president Azeem Khan.Not to be outdone, Seeram who recently led the Ontario Masters team to the seventh edition of the Guyana Softball Cup, ended the season with 406 runs, his best knocks being 149 not out against GT Bannas and an undefeated 115 versus Jaguars. He copped a trophy, sponsored by businessman Nirad Lall.The left-handed Driffield, who was awarded the Mike’s Auto Collision trophy, totalled a season-best 486 runs which was decorated with a flamboyant 168 against Ramblers and an unbeaten 98 versus Friendship Masters.The Captain-of-the-Year award, introduced for the first time by the OMSCC, and sponsored by Dr Rudy Singh, went to Caribbean Sensation’s Over-50 skipper Ganesh Ramraj who led his team to victory over Skeldon in the final.Five players, Mahendra Nauth (Royals), Roopchand Lachman (Pegasus), Rudy Singh (Pegasus), Surendra Beepat (Cougars) and Sunny Ramadhar (Friendship Masters) collected prizes for smashing centuries during the season. Khemraj Budhai (Guyana Sports) and Fazil Rasool (Dirty Dozen) received special awards for averaging 86 and taking seven wickets respectively in the Over-50 division.Terry Mathura of Guyana Sports, who had a fantastic economy rate of 2.67 runs, sending down 18 overs for a mere 48 runs in the Over-40 Division 2, along with Jerry Brittania (Caribbean Sensation) with 2.86 in the Over-50 and Azeez Baksh (Hustlers Sports Club) with 3.38 in the Over-40 Division 1 led the race in that category.Prizes for the most catches during the season went to Khemraj Budhai of Guyana Sports with six in the Over-40 category while Roy Brittania and Azim Kassim of Caribbean Sensation took five each.There were double feat awards for Ahmad Bradshaw (Gentlemen) for scoring 104 not out and 84 and Ganesh Ramraj (Caribbean Sensation/Friendship) for scores of 54 and 77.After failing to reach the final in 2016, Our Own Sports Club bounced back to defeat archrivals Hustlers in a sensational Over-40 division final, played before a record crowd at St Bede’s on the final day of the season. Pegasus claimed the Challengers trophy also in the Over-40 segment.The A division Over-40 regular season champions were Hustlers while Guyana Sports topped in the B division.Caribbean Sensation carted off both the regular season as well as the championship titles in the Over-50 division. Essequibo retained the Inter-county title for an unprecedented sixth consecutive year.
In the past 20 years, USC has strengthened all its unreinforced masonry buildings on campus in an effort to ensure earthquake safety.“USC has been pretty proactive, but the big worry is the rest of L.A. has a lot of concrete buildings that no one is doing anything with,” said Gregg Brandow, professor of engineering practice in USC’s Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.Data compiled by the University of California show that there are nearly 1,500 concrete buildings in Los Angeles that could be at risk in a major earthquake.Berkeley released its research to the public on Jan. 25. The list included all concrete buildings in Los Angeles constructed before the 1976 building code. This building code required ductile detailing of the reinforcing bars in concrete to provide additional strength to the structures. The university researchers gave the list to Los Angeles officials and released a copy to the Los Angeles Times in response to a public records request.“We’re interested in running an analysis of earthquake losses,” said Jonathan Stewart, co-principal investigator of the study. “We’re getting a sense for the scale of impact in dollars and lives lost to craft public policy to change the problem.” Stewart is also the department chair of civil and environmental engineering at UCLA.The study listed seven buildings located on the USC campus. Yet Associate Senior Vice President for Campus Development and Facilities Management Joe Back said that three of the addresses are inaccurate, and the remaining four have been inspected and meet seismic standards.The four buildings named were Parkside Apartments, Parkside Residential Building, Fluor Tower and United University Church, the last of which is not owned by USC. Back said Parkside Residential Building is located at the 920 West 37th Street location which the study listed; The description given in the L.A. Times article, however, identifies a smaller, one-story building which was demolished.Parkside Residential Building is one of the newest buildings on campus and meets seismic standards, Back said. Additionally, Parkside Apartments has already received a seismic upgrade, and Fluor Tower has been inspected and determined to meet seismic standards as well, he said.“All of our occupied buildings meet seismic standards,” Back wrote in an email. “USC continuously looks to identify upgrade opportunities in our buildings and executes a significant amount of work each year that includes upgrades in seismic performance, disabled access, heating/cooling systems and technology.”Stewart said the study addressed the fact that the list might not be 100 percent accurate. The researchers have not made any conclusions about the safety of the buildings.Stewart said the purpose of Berkeley’s study was to raise awareness of buildings that would be a potential threat if a large earthquake were to strike, as well as force the city to implement policies that will address this problem.“It will be interesting to see whether any sort of policy initiative is taken by the city of Los Angeles to do something about the problem,” Stewart said. “We saw just last week that Santa Monica funded a study to do a similar catalog of buildings. That’s a good sign. We would like to see cities taking this problem seriously.”The researchers’ data shows that it is crucial to update the buildings that cause a potential threat because of the possibility for extreme damage and lost lives. If a 7.15 magnitude earthquake occurred on the Puente Hills fault beneath Downtown Los Angeles, It could cause $20 billion worth of damage and 300 to 2,000 casualties depending on the time of day, Stewart said.In order to do more research on the topic, James Anderson, professor of civil engineering and environmental engineering at the Viterbi School of Engineering, submitted an application for a grant which will allow researchers to look at the various buildings in question to predict what the consequences would be of an earthquake.“We want to create a tool to analytically predict what the consequence would be for these buildings,” Anderson said. “For example, three years ago in Mexico City, there were buildings reviewed by engineers that reported no sign of damage, and yet they collapsed, so that simulates a need for an analytical tool that can quantify this.”Thomas Jordan, professor of earth sciences at the Dornsife School of Letters, Arts and Sciences and director of the Southern California Earthquake Center, cited the importance of this type of research.“We’ve been proactive at USC, but seismically it’s been quiet in Southern California for a long time,” Jordan said. Since we can’t know when another will happen, we worry that whole region might wake up and it might not be just one, but a sequence of major earthquakes, which is a concern.”
Sports or just games? And why does it matter?Nick Poggenklaas, Van Diepen Van Der KroefThis is the second article in a series of guest posts by Nick Poggenklaas, who is a sports lawyer at Van Diepen Van Der Kroef Law Firm Are esports ‘just games’? Or are esports real sports, just like football and tennis?Many people have argued the former. One of the oft repeated arguments to support this view is that esports players are often not physically participating. The action is mostly happening in a virtual world.I disagree with the people who claim esports is just a game and you do too, don’t you?In my opinion sport is not by definition an activity which necessarily involves physical action. I think sports such as chess prove this point. Moreover, esports do have all the other ingredients which see traditional sports qualify as sports. Such an ingredient is, for example, that there are organised competitions for esports too. I don’t want to elaborate too much on the answer to the first question, because there are already a lot of articles on this matter.“Esports are more than a game, they are sports!”I want to focus on the question of why it’s important that esports are – also in the eyes of the courts – sports and not just games. In order to answer this question I would like to return to the so called ‘Bosman- case’.Bosman was a professional football player who wanted to transfer from a Belgium club to a French one in 1990. Due to the transfer system which was enforced by FIFA at the time Bosman wasn’t allowed to make this transfer. After five (!) years of lawsuits the European Court of Justice ruled that FIFA’s transfer system was an illegal restraint on the right of free movement of workers, which is laid down in the EU Treaty of Rome. Bosman won the case. FIFA almost immediately changed the transfer system after the European Courts’ ruling, and this re-worked system remains in place today. “A restraint on right of free movement of workers remains.”It’s still questionable if FIFA’s current transfer system is in line with EU law. FIFA however states that the transfer system is a just and much needed instrument in order to keep (international) football competitions fair. Most legal professionals are of the opinion that FIFA’s view is correct and more recent cases more or less also confirm this.But what do we learn of the Bosman case and the cases that followed? The law is not made for sports. Judges thus sometimes have to make exceptions to the laws which apply to a specific case, because this might be beneficial to a sport.“At some point a judge shall have to make such an exception for an esports related case. But in order for that judge to make this much needed exception, he or she first has to realise esports are sports and not just games.”Having mentioned why it’s important that the community and judges agree that esports are sports, I would like to make one final plea. This plea is in favour of Arbitration Courts which focus on esports, such as WESA’s Arbitration Court. A specific esports related appeal court is, in my opinion, not needed. It is my view that the Court of Arbitration of Sports (CAS) is a great legal institute which could handle esports related cases after a party appeals to the Arbitration Court’s ruling.This is the second article in a series of guest posts on the legal challenges and issues currently at play in the esports industry. You can read the first, on sponsorship agreements, here. Any questions about esports related contracts or disputes? Feel free to reach out to Nick at firstname.lastname@example.org