Arts & Entertainment/Economy & business

Chebet and Lokedi of Kenya Win NYC Marathon Races in Debuts

Kenyans Evans Chebet and Sharon Lokedi made huge splashes in their New York City Marathon debuts Sunday.

Chebet won the men’s race and Lokedi the women’s race in her first-ever marathon on an unseasonably warm day, with temperatures in the 70s making it one of the hottest in race history since the marathon was moved to November in 1986.

Chebet finished in 2 hours, 8 minutes and 41 seconds, which was 13 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Shura Kitata of Ethiopia.

There was a scary moment in the men’s race when Daniel Do Nascimento, who had been leading the entire way, collapsed 21 miles in. Race officials said later that he was OK.

The Brazilian ran the first half of the race in a blistering 1:01.22, which put him 2 minutes ahead of the course record pace. He had been leading by nearly 2 minutes for the first 15 miles before he started to slow down a bit.

Do Nascimento went down right before heading back into Manhattan and was quickly attended to by medical professionals. A few miles earlier, he had taken a quick 20-second bathroom break and also had stopped to walk briefly a few minutes before he collapsed.

Chebet saw Do Nascimento on the ground and said he “felt bad for him but had to continue to race.”

“He knew that it was hot and humid and (Do Nascimento) was going at a high pace,” Chebet said through a translator. “He has a lot of experience, and he knew he was going to surpass him.”

Chebet, 33, pulled away from the pack when chasing Do Nascimento as they headed over the bridge into Manhattan for the first time. After Do Nascimento’s collapse, Chebet took the lead and wasn’t threatened the rest of the way.

Chebet won the Boston Marathon earlier this year.

“Boston was actually harder and it prepared him for the win for New York,” the translator said for Chebet. “He’s very thankful.”

The victory continued a drought for American men in the race: No runner from the U.S. has won since 2009. The Americans’ top hope, Galen Rupp, was in the chase pack before withdrawing from the race right before the 19-mile mark.

It was Lokedi’s first-ever marathon, and she finished in 2:23.23 — just ahead of Lonah Chemtai Salpeter of Israel.

“I’m just so happy that I just won, you know?!” said Lokedi, laughing. “I’m really excited, just so happy that I did it here. The people out there, the course was amazing, the cheers, everything. I’m just thankful.”

The 28-year-old was in a tight race before she pulled ahead of Chemtai Salpeter in the final 2 miles to win by seven seconds and finish about 50 seconds off the course record.

“I didn’t expect to win, I expected to run well,” Lokedi said. “It was a good outcome and I’m really excited.”

An hour earlier, the men’s and women’s wheelchair races ended with course records being broken.

Marcel Hug of Switzerland was victorious in the men’s wheelchair race for the fifth time, tying Kurt Fearnley for most-ever victories in that event. Hug finished the 26.2-mile (42.2 kilometers) course that goes through all five boroughs of New York in 1:25.26 to break the previous mark of 1:29.22 set by Fearnley of Australia in 2006.

“The conditions were great for us. A tail wind the first half. It was very good conditions. I think that’s the reason,” Hug said of the record time. “I didn’t know the time. My goal was to go as fast as possible and didn’t focus on the time.”

Hug, who also won the race last year, earned $50,000 for besting the course record. He crossed the finish line more than 2 minutes ahead of second-place finisher Daniel Romanchuk of Illinois.

The 36-year-old Hug, nicknamed the “The Silver Bullet,” has been on quite a streak, winning four gold medals at the Tokyo Paralympics last year as well as the Tokyo, Berlin, London and Chicago Marathons in 2022.

Susannah Scaroni also broke the course record in the women’s wheelchair race, finishing in 1:42.43. That was 21 seconds better than the old mark, which was held by Tatyana McFadden.

Scaroni, a 31-year-old from Illinois, pulled away from the field early and also earned the bonus money for topping the course record. Scaroni won the Chicago Marathon last month and was victorious for the first time in New York after finishing third in 2019.

The warm weather wasn’t ideal for the 50,000 runners who started the 51st edition of the marathon, which was back to full capacity for the first time since the pandemic. Race organizers said that there were nine misting stations on the 26.2-mile (42.2 kilometers) racecourse and there was plenty of water available along the way as well as bananas and energy gels.

There were a couple of celebrities who ran the race, including Ashton Kutcher and Chelsea Clinton, who completed it for a second straight year. Both were running for charity.

Samantha Judge, the wife of New York Yankees’ home run champion Aaron Judge, also ran the marathon. The baseball free agent presented her with her medal when she finished along with Yankees outfielder/designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton.

Science & Health

War Fallout, Aid Demands Overshadow Climate Talks in Egypt

When world leaders, diplomats, campaigners and scientists descend on Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt for talks on tackling climate change, don’t expect them to part the Red Sea or other miracles that would make huge steps in curbing global warming.

Each year there are high hopes for the two-week United Nations climate gathering and, almost inevitably, disappointment when it doesn’t deliver another landmark pact like the one agreed 2015 in Paris.

But those were different days, marked by a spirit of cooperation between the world’s two biggest polluters — the United States and China — as well as a global realization that failure to reach an agreement would put humanity on a self-chosen track to oblivion.

This November the geopolitical tiles have shifted: a devastating war in Ukraine, skyrocketing energy and food prices, and growing enmity between the West on the one hand and Russia and China on the other make for difficult conditions at a gathering that requires cooperation and consensus.

“There’s a lot of high and low expectations around this Egypt COP, a lot of mix of ambition and fatalism,” said Avinash Persaud, special envoy for the Barbados prime minister.

Here’s what to look out for during the 27th Conference of the Parties, or COP27, from Nov. 6-18 and why it might still end up being a success.

Science warnings

Scientists are more concerned about global warming than three decades ago, when governments first came together to discuss the problem because the pace of warming in the past decade is 33% faster than in the 1990s.

Greenhouse gas emissions are still rising, while tangible impacts from climate change are already being felt around the world.

But there is some progress. Before Paris, the world was heading for 4.5 degrees Celsius of warming by the end of the century compared to pre-industrial times.

Recent forecasts have that down to 2.6 C, thanks to measures taken or firm commitments governments have already made. That’s far above the 1.5 C limit countries agreed to seven years ago, however, and the time for keeping that target is fast running out.

Researchers say the world has already warmed by 1.2 C and capping temperatures at 1.5 C would require emissions to drop by 43% by the end of the decade, a highly ambitious goal. To get to the less ambitious 2 C goal emissions have to fall 27%.

“The 1.5 degrees is in intensive care and the machines are shaking. So, it is in high danger. But it is still possible,” United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said. “My objective in Egypt is to make sure that we gather enough political will to make this possibility really moving forward, to make the machines work … We’re getting close to moments where tipping points might, at a certain moment, make it irreversibly impossible to achieve. Let’s avoid it at all costs.”

Energy scramble

Prices for oil, coal and natural gas have jumped since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Some countries have responded by trying to tap new sources of fossil fuel.

This has raised concerns about governments backsliding on their commitments to cut emissions, including the agreement at last year’s climate talks to “phase down” the use of coal and sharply reduce the amount of methane — a powerful greenhouse gas — released into the atmosphere.

At the same time, rising fossil fuel prices have made renewable energy more competitive. Building solar and wind power plants remains more expensive for developing countries though. To help them cut their emissions quickly, rich nations are negotiating aid projects known as ‘just transition energy partnerships’, or JET-Ps, with several major emerging economies including Indonesia and India that could be finalized during or shortly after COP27.

Climate finance

One of the big sticking points in past negotiations concerned the financial support poor countries receive from rich nations to cope with climate change.

A deadline to provide $100 billion annually by 2020 was missed and now looks set to be achieved only next year. Future funding needs are likely to be in the trillions, not billions, said Mohamed Nasr, Egypt’s lead negotiator.

“The gap on finance is huge,” he said, noting that half the population of Africa doesn’t yet have access to electricity, much less clean energy.

Developed countries including the United States have also yet to make good on a pledge to double the amount they provide for adaptation, and make that half of the overall funding.

Discussions on climate finance also include the highly contentious issue of countries being compensated for the irreparable harm they’ve suffered as a result of global warming. Big polluters have strongly opposed demands for ‘loss and damage’ payments in the past, but observers say they’ve seen a softening of positions recently, including by the United States.

“I think that people are not expecting miracles in terms of a huge fund just miraculously appearing, but they are expecting a credible, meaningful pathway,” said Inger Andersen, head of the U.N. Environment Programme.

This would give countries that have done very little to cause the climate crisis but are on the front line of dealing with it “something to hold on to,” she said.

Activist voices

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg is not coming to this year’s gathering and recently called the U.N. process a “scam.”

Other activists have also voiced frustration at the slow pace of negotiations, given the scale of the threat posed by climate change. But Harjeet Singh of Climate Action Network International said there is no other space where all countries are equal.

“Tuvalu theoretically is as powerful as the U.S. and Malawi as powerful as the European Union,” he said of the talks. “For us as civil society it’s also a place to call out these countries, to call their bluff, to put a spotlight on those polluters and raise our voices.”

University of Maryland social scientist Dana Fisher, who studies the environmental movement, said given Egypt’s authoritarian government and an escalation of in-your-face tactics by frustrated protestors, especially youth, she would not be surprised if there are clashes.

“There’s going to be a vanguard of them who are going to be willing to break the law and engage in probably what will start out as civil disobedience, peaceful civil disobedience,” Fisher said. “And they’re probably going to get beaten up. And it’s going to be very good for mobilizing sympathizers.”

Egypt has insisted that campaigners will have “full opportunity of participation, of activism, of demonstration, of voicing that opinion.”

Eye on Africa

The gathering in Egypt will be the first time since 2016 that U.N. climate talks have taken place in Africa. Experts say it is important the continent gets more attention, given how heavily it is affected by rising temperatures.

“If we look at the 50 countries that are most vulnerable to climate change impacts and who have the least resilience, these are low income countries and most of them are in Africa,” said Preety Bhandari of the World Resources Institute. “So it is fortuitous that we are having this particular COP in Africa to highlight what the vulnerable countries are asking from the climate regime.”

Campaigners say that recognizing the challenges Africa faces and prioritizing the needs of vulnerable countries is essential for a successful outcome this year.

Economy & business/Silicon Valley & Technology

South Korea’s DRX Crowned League of Legends World Champions

South Korean team DRX were crowned League of Legends world champions on Saturday after scoring a surprise 3-2 victory over compatriots T1 in a thrilling final of the eSports tournament in San Francisco.

T1, the most successful team in eSports history, started as favorites and took the lead in the first round of the competition.

But DRX took command after many upsets, in particular thanks to 19-year-old Kim “Zeka” Geon-woo.

Their win, the team’s first-ever, was highly anticipated for talented 26-year-old Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu, who started competing in 2014 but had only made it past the quarterfinals once, also in 2014.

No player so “old” had ever won the world championships until this year.

The final took place at the Chase Center in San Francisco, home to the Golden State Warriors NBA team, in front of some 16,000 spectators.

The League of Legends World Championship is considered one of the most prestigious eSports tournaments. 

Arts & Entertainment/Economy & business

Iranian American Guest Performs on Germany’s ‘The Voice’

The German version of the television show The Voice had a special guest Saturday on its final episode of the season.

Rana Mansour, an Iranian American singer, performed the protest song For, (Baraye) a song dedicated to Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old Iranian woman who died recently after being arrested by Iranian police. Amini was detained for wearing her headscarf “improperly.”

Mansour performed the song in English so that it could be understood by an international audience.

Demonstrators have taken to the streets across Iran since Amini’s death, protesting not only her death, but the restrictions that many, especially women, face in Iran.

At the end of her performance, Mansour held up her fingers in the Victory sign and said, “Woman, life, freedom,” a phrase chanted by Iranian protesters.

Mansour received a standing ovation.

Arts & Entertainment/Economy & business

Baker Finally Wins Series Title as Manager With Astros

For now and forever, Dusty Baker, the epic storyteller, first-class name-dropper, toothpick chewer and baseball lifer will bear a most distinguished title: World Series champion manager.

The man who can weave a tale like few others, wistfully recalling his time under Hank Aaron’s tutelage or chance encounters with Jimi Hendrix, John F. Kennedy Jr. and countless more, completed the only missing chapter in his own story Saturday night.

After 25 seasons as a big league skipper peppered with a couple of painful near-misses, the 73-year-old Baker finally made it all the way home when his Houston Astros beat the Philadelphia Phillies 4-1 to win the title.

When Yordan Alvarez connected on a go-ahead three-run homer in the sixth inning, cameras panned to a beaming Baker who raised both arms high above his head.

He became the oldest manager to win a World Series in his third trip as a manager to the Fall Classic. As a player he went three times with the Dodgers, winning it all in 1981.

He entered Saturday’s game as the winningest manager without a World Series title and improved to 2,094-1,790 with this most memorable victory.

“I got 2,000 wins and all they talk about is I haven’t won the World Series yet,” he said Thursday.

They can’t say that anymore.

He joins Dave Roberts (Dodgers, 2020) and Cito Gaston (Blue Jays, 1992, 1993) as the only Black managers to win a World Series.

“I don’t think about being an African American manager because I look in the mirror every day and I know what I am,” he said before the game. “You know what I’m saying? (But) I do know that there’s certain pressure from a lot of people that are pulling for me, especially people of color. And that part I do feel. I hear it every day. and so I feel that I’ve been chosen for this.”

He helped the Astros to their second World Series title and first since the scandal-tainted one in 2017 that made Houston the most hated team in baseball. Baker helped clean up the team’s image after that and some begrudgingly began rooting for the Astros because they admired him.

While beloved across the game, he quickly became a fan favorite in Houston. Saturday night several fans proudly displayed signs that read “Do it 4 Dusty.”

Baker is the 12th manager in major league history to reach 2,000 wins and the first Black man to do it. Ten of the 11 other managers who have accumulated at least 2,000 wins are in the Hall of Fame. Bruce Bochy (2,003), who isn’t yet eligible, is the only exception.

Baker managed San Francisco, the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati and Washington before coming to Houston. He’s the only manager in major league history to take five different teams to the postseason.

Baker had come close before. In 2002, his San Francisco Giants starring Barry Bonds entered Game 6 against the Anaheim Angels a win away from a title. As the road team for the last two games of that series, the Giants squandered a five-run lead in a 6-5 loss in the sixth game before the Angels won the title with a 4-1 victory in Game 7.

After the crushing loss in Game 7, Baker met with his father, Johnnie B. Baker Sr., who delivered a harsh message.

“He goes: ‘Man, after the way (you) lost that one, I don’t know if you’ll ever win another one,’” Baker recalled last year.

Even though his father has been gone for more than a decade he still thinks about him every day and often recalls that moment. He’s been driven to prove his father wrong.

After being fired by the Nationals following a 97-win season in 2017, Baker wondered if he’d ever get another shot to manage, much less win that elusive title.

Back home in Northern California, as he worked on his wine business and grew collard greens in his garden, he often felt perplexed he had been passed over for interviews so many times as managerial openings came and went, having made inquiries that he said were unanswered over the years.

Then came 2019 and the stunning revelation that the Astros had illicitly stolen signs in 2017 and again in 2018. Manager A.J. Hinch was suspended for a year and subsequently fired, making way for Baker to return to the game.

Baker took over for the 2020 COVID-19-shortened season. The Astros squeaked into the postseason as a wild-card team before heating up in playoffs to come one win shy of reaching the World Series.

Baker made his return to the Series last season but came up short again as Houston fell to Atlanta in six games.

Baker was lifelong friends with Aaron, who died in January 2021 at 86. He joked that he probably didn’t have Aaron on his side last year against his Braves, but that things should be different this time around.

“He was probably rooting for the Braves last year,” Baker said last month. “I figure now he’s rooting for me.”

Hammerin’ Hank would certainly have been proud to see his buddy finally reach this milestone since Baker was by his side for his biggest one.

Baker was on deck and among the Braves congregated at the plate to celebrate with Aaron on April 8, 1974, when he hit his 715th home run to pass Babe Ruth for most all-time.

Baker thought about his dad, mom, Aaron and so many others he’s lost earlier this week.

“A couple days ago it was All Souls Day and I think about all the guys that I’ve played with and grew up with and that influenced my life,” he said. “And you think about the souls that – All Souls Day is about the angels that are protecting you. And I believe in that.”

Baker went through his normal routine before coming to the ballpark Saturday. He picked up coffee from a favorite spot in Rice Village and retrieved his clothes from the dry cleaners.

Baker also went to the cobbler to get some “expensive shoes” that he was having repaired because the sole came off.

Good thing, too, because after Saturday night’s win he’ll need a nice pair of shoes at the end of his career for a likely walk into the Hall of Fame.

Economy & business/Silicon Valley & Technology

UN Urges Musk to Ensure Twitter Respects Human Rights

U.N. rights chief Volker Turk on Saturday urged Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, to make respect for human rights central to the social network after he sacked around half the company’s employees.

Reports of Musk laying off the platform’s entire human rights team were “not, from my perspective, an encouraging start,” Turk said in an open letter.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said he was writing with “concern and apprehension about our digital public square and Twitter’s role in it.”

He warned against propagating hate speech and misinformation and highlighted the need to protect user privacy.

Musk, the richest person in the world, took control of the platform a week ago in a contentious deal.

After completing his mammoth $44 billion acquisition, Musk quickly set about dissolving Twitter’s board and sacking its chief executive and top managers.

Twitter on Friday fired roughly half of its 7,500-strong workforce.

“Like all companies, Twitter needs to understand the harms associated with its platform and take steps to address them,” wrote Turk.

“Respect for our shared human rights should set the guardrails for the platform’s use and evolution. In short, I urge you to ensure human rights are central to the management of Twitter under your leadership.”

Turk posted the open letter on Twitter, where he has more than 25,000 followers.

Turk, an Austrian longtime U.N. official who took up his post as the U.N. rights chief on Oct. 17, spelt out some fundamental human rights principles, urging Musk to put them at the heart of Twitter’s management going forward.

‘Horrific’ consequences

Turk urged Twitter to stand up for the rights to privacy and free expression to the fullest extent possible, under relevant laws, and to transparently report on government pressures that would infringe those rights.

But he said free speech “is not a free pass,” saying that the viral spread of harmful disinformation, as seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, resulted in real-world harm.

“Twitter has a responsibility to avoid amplifying content that results in harms to people’s rights,” Turk said.

“There is no place for hatred that incites discrimination, hostility or violence on Twitter.

“Hate speech has spread like wildfire on social media… with horrific, life-threatening consequences.”

Twitter should therefore continue to bar such hatred on the platform, while every effort should be made to remove such content promptly, said Turk.

He also said free speech depended on the effective protection of privacy.

“It is vital that Twitter refrain from invasive user tracking and amassing related data and that it resist, to the fullest extent possible under applicable laws, unjustified requests from governments for user data,” Turk said.

He said research was essential to understand the impact of social media on societies, and therefore urged Musk to maintain access to Twitter’s data through its open application programming interfaces.

Finally, he stressed that Twitter should have content moderation capacity in all languages and contexts, not just in the United States or in English-language content. 

Arts & Entertainment/Economy & business

Singer-Rapper Aaron Carter Dies in California at Age 34

Aaron Carter, the singer-rapper who began performing as a child and had hit albums starting in his teen years, was found dead Saturday at his home in Southern California. He was 34.

Representatives for Carter’s family confirmed the singer’s death. They did not provide any immediate further comment.

Carter, the younger brother of Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys, performed as an opening act for Britney Spears as well as his brother’s boy band, and appeared on the family’s reality series “House of Carters” that aired on E! Entertainment Television.

Deputies responded around 11 a.m. following reports of a medical emergency at the home in Lancaster, a desert city about 70 miles (112 kilometers) north of downtown Los Angeles, said Deputy Alejandra Parra with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Parra said the deputies found a deceased person at the residence, but she could not immediately confirm it was Carter.

Carter’s fiancé, Melanie Martin, asked for privacy as the family grieves.

“We are still in the process of accepting this unfortunate reality,” Martin said in a statement Saturday. “Your thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated.”

Hits included ‘I Want Candy’

Carter opened for the Backstreet Boys tour in 1997 — the same year his gold-selling debut self-titled album was released. He reached triple-platinum status with his sophomore album in 2000, “Aaron’s Party (Come Get It),” which produced hit singles including the title song and “I Want Candy.” His videos received regular airplay on Disney and Nickelodeon.

The singer earned acting credits through his appearance on television shows including “Lizzie McGuire.” He starred alongside his brother, Nick, and their siblings B.J., Leslie and Angel Carter on the E! unscripted series “House of Carters” in 2006.

Music and dancing

Carter made his Broadway debut in 2001 as JoJo in “Who in Seussical the Musical.” In 2009, he appeared on the ABC competition show “Dancing with the Stars,” finishing in fifth place with partner Karina Smirnoff. He was featured on the Food Network cooking show “Rachel vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off” in 2012.

In 2017, Carter opened up about his substance abuse on an episode of “The Doctors.” He was in rehab that same year after he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and marijuana charges. He checked himself in for treatment on a few occasions in an effort to regain custody of his son Prince.

Carter’s fifth and final studio album, “LOVE,” was released in 2018.