Tech Leaders, Others Launch $14M ‘News Integrity’ Nonprofit

Facebook and Mozilla are among the companies and organizations launching a $14 million fund to promote news literacy and increase trust in journalism.


The nonprofit, called the News Integrity Initiative, will be based at the City University of New York. It will run as an independent project of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. 


Others contributing to the fund include Craigslist founder Craig Newmark and the Ford Foundation. 


Recent polls show the public’s trust in the news industry at a low. 


False news and misinformation, often masquerading as trustworthy news and spreading on social media, has gained a lot of attention since the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Companies like Facebook are trying to address the issue. 

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Females Face Off-Ice Fight at All Levels of Hockey

The best women’s hockey players in the U.S. can now make a living playing the sport they love thanks to a landmark agreement with USA Hockey reached after a threat to boycott the world championship. The deal will likely help their counterparts north of the border make more money in their next Olympic agreement with Hockey Canada.

Even those who will benefit, though, acknowledge the off-ice fight isn’t over.

At every level of female hockey, from pre-teen girls to college to post-graduate players, there are obstacles.

“Women’s hockey has come a long way with the amount of teams that are popping up and support and visibility,” said Meghan Duggan, captain of the Americans’ team playing in the world championship. “I think it has a long way to go, and I’m excited to push it ahead. I’m certainly proud to be someone standing up for women’s hockey and really trying to get it to move forward. I look forward to see how far women’s hockey is going go.”

In a border town about 300 miles north of suburban Detroit, a new USA Hockey rule appears to be having unintended consequences for girls trying to find their stride.

The Soo Lady Lakers, an organization based in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, participated in the state’s Tier II 14-and-under tournament with just 11 girls that were mostly from Canada and 12 years old or younger. Beginning next season a USA Hockey rule states, no player 12 years or younger is eligible to play on a team intending or declared to compete in district or national championships.

Malory McCormick, who coached the Lakers at this year’s tournament, said the girls on her team that are not old enough to play 14U hockey next year have limited options. They can drive 2-plus hours, each way, to join a 12U team in Kalkaska, Michigan; play with 12U boys in their area; participate in house hockey with girls just learning how to skate; or quit playing the sport.

“It’s heartbreaking to tell the girls I don’t know what our team will look like next year,” McCormick said.

Kristen Wright, USA Hockey’s manager of girls’ player development, said the new rule was put in place for safety and development reasons because girls usually hit a growth spurt at about 13.

“The rule hasn’t gone into effect yet and we want to see what’s going to happen,” Wright said in a telephone interview Saturday night. “We think more good than bad will come up this, but we’ll review this over time and we’ll see how it changes the landscape of the game.”

Given the chance to comment on this story with a conversation or email, Michigan Amateur Hockey Association President George Atkinson repeatedly declined on Sunday.

In the same week that USA Hockey gave in to demands from its top-caliber women, females in the sport had a setback when the University of North Dakota eliminated its women’s hockey team. Eight players from the program represented three countries in the 2014 Olympics, including Monique Lamoureux-Morando, who plays defense for the U.S.

Lamoureux-Morando, who was a volunteer assistant coach for the program last season, said players on the team found out about the decision on Twitter.

“To have that happen and then the way in which they found out that their team was cut is just in my opinion very unacceptable,” Lamoureux-Morando said.

At the next level of women’s hockey, a professional league in Canada and another in the U.S. are trying to make it independently. At least some women who play for both leagues wish the five-team Canadian Women’s Hockey League would merge with the four-team National Women’s Hockey League to become one. That might help the sport gain support from the NHL, which could potentially financially back the best women in the game as the NBA does with the WNBA. The CWHL pays players with performance and playoff bonuses and hasn’t delivered on a promise to give them a salary. The NWHL paid players $15,000 and $26,000 last year in its inaugural season and then a month into the second season, the league announced it over-estimated its financial projections and slashed salaries in half.

For the first time, though, there’s hope for girls aspiring to play hockey as a career when they become women.

The best hockey players in the U.S. can make about $70,000 a year thanks to the recent agreement and in Olympic years, including next year, they can earn up to $129,000 with contributions from the U.S. Olympic Committee. And like the men who play for USA Hockey, the women will fly in business class and sleep in nicer hotels.

That development provided a lot of girls across North American with an emotional boost, including 12-year-old Crosby Wildfong, who looks up the players bold enough to threaten sitting out of the world championship.

“All of them are my idols,” said Wildfong, who is driven from Flint, Michigan, to suburban Detroit about an hour each way to practice with a top-tier HoneyBaked team. “I agree with them. They play the same sport as the boys, and the boys are getting paid so much more than they are. I don’t think it’s fair.”

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Japan Business Mood Brightens as Recovery Broadens

Japanese big manufacturers’ business confidence improved for a second straight quarter to hit a one-and-a-half year high in March, a closely watched central bank survey showed, a sign the benefits of an export-driven economic recovery were broadening.

Service-sector sentiment improved for the first time in six quarters and companies remained upbeat on their capital expenditure plans, the Bank of Japan’s “tankan” survey showed, offering hope the economic recovery will gather momentum in coming months.

The data, which will be among factors the BOJ will scrutinize at its next rate review on April 26-27, reinforces a dominant market view the central bank’s next policy move would be to reduce rather than expand monetary stimulus.

“The tankan showed a balanced improvement in corporate sentiment at manufacturers and service-sector firms,” said Yuichiro Nagai, an economist at Barclays Securities. “Overall, the results support the BOJ’s rosy view on the economy.”

The headline index measuring big manufacturers’ business sentiment rose to plus 12 in March from plus 10 three months ago, the tankan showed on Monday, falling slightly short of market forecasts but marking the highest reading since December 2015.

The index gauging big non-manufacturers’ sentiment improved 2 points from plus 20, rising for the first time in six quarters and hitting the highest level since March 2016, the survey showed.

Brexit, Trump cloud outlook

Big manufacturers and non-manufacturers expect business conditions to deteriorate slightly in the coming three months, as risks to global trade such as Britain’s decision to leave the European Union and U.S. President Donald Trump’s protectionist statements cloud the outlook.

Still, the survey found big firms plan to increase capital spending by 0.6 percent in the fiscal year ending in March 2018, compared with a median market forecast for a 0.1 percent drop.

“There has been talk about the risks of protectionism, but so far Japanese companies are not taking any specific steps related to this,” said Norio Miyagawa, senior economist at Mizuho Securities.

“This tankan will reinforce expectations that the BOJ is on hold for the time being. We certainly don’t see the need to ease or tighten policy,” he said.

Signs of life

Japan’s economy has shown signs of life in recent months, with exports and factory output benefiting from a recovery in global demand.

With inflation expected to accelerate later this year, a growing number of analysts now predict the BOJ’s next move would be to start scaling back its massive monetary stimulus.

The tankan’s sentiment indexes are derived by subtracting the number of respondents who say conditions are poor from those who say they are good. A positive reading means optimists outnumber pessimists.


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НАЗК позиватиметься до держпідприємства через збої в роботі е-декларування

Голова Національного агентства з питань запобігання корупції Наталія Корчак заявила, що НАЗК має намір позиватися до суду на державне підприємство «Українські спеціальні системи» за неякісне виконання обов’язків системного адміністратора системи електронних декларацій. Про це вона сказала 3 квітня перед засіданням Кабінету міністрів у Києві.

«Ми будемо подавати в суд на системного адміністратора в частині застосування до них штрафних санкцій, пов’язаних зі збоями у функціонуванні системи електронного декларування, а в суді ми у всьому розберемося», – заявила Корчак.

Єдиний реєстр електронних декларацій не працював кілька днів. У зв’язку з цим минулого тижня голова уряду Володимир Гройсман звинуватив керівництво НАЗК у незадовільному виконанні службових обов’язків і закликав до відставки, проте на ці заклики Корчак відповіла відмовою, а відповідальність за збої в роботі реєстру електронних декларацій поклала на спеціалізоване державне підприємство.

У жовтні минулого року завершився перший етап подання електронних декларацій за 2015 рік для суб’єктів декларування, які займають відповідальне та особливо відповідальне становище – президент, прем’єр, члени уряду, депутати, судді, правоохоронці. Тоді також були ускладнення у роботі реєстру.

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Підконтрольний Росії суд у Криму розгляне справу журналіста Миколи Семени

Підконтрольний Кремлю Залізничний районний суд Сімферополя 3 квітня розгляне справу кримського журналіста, автора Радiо Свобода Миколи Семени. Захист клопотав про забезпечення доступності й гласності судового процесу, суд 20 березня переніс слухання на два тижні. Перед початком слухань Семена заявив журналістам, що не визнає провини.

Також він зазначив, що у нього «не було ні найменшого наміру закликати до порушення територіальної цілісності Росії», в чому його звинувачують. За словами Семени, його матеріали містили «заклик не до порушення територіальної цілісності Російської Федерації, оскільки її порушила сама Рада Федерації Росії, приєднавши до себе територію Криму». «А це заклик до відновлення цілісності і Російської Федерації, і України як сусідніх держав», – сказав журналіст Микола Семена.

Справа стосовно Миколи Семени була порушена навесні минулого року. За версією звинувачення, журналіст порушив російське законодавство в статті про блокаду Криму з української сторони. Сам Семена наполягає, що реалізовував своє право на «свободу вираження поглядів».

Захист Миколи Семени, Міжнародна і Європейська федерації журналістів, а також офіс представника ОБСЄ з питань свободи слова закликали ФСБ Росії випустити журналіста з Криму на лікування, але позитивної відповіді вони не отримали.

Міністерство закордонних справ України висловило стурбованість переслідуванням громадян України в анексованому Криму і закликало припинити тиск, зокрема і на Миколу Семену.

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Marathoners Set to Pump $192M Into Boston Economy

Training for the Boston Marathon has left Tommy Race feeling spent. His bank account, too: Race’s Boston adventure will cost about $2,000.


“It’s a lot of money, but it’s also a vacation,” said Race, a high school math teacher from Bellingham, Washington. “For a runner like myself, I’d much rather throw down money to run Boston than go to Cancun or Europe or some other travel destination.”


Race (yes, that’s his real name) has plenty of company. Thirty-thousand athletes from 94 countries will participate in this month’s 121st running of America’s most venerable footrace, and organizers say they’ll pump $192 million into the local economy.


That’s the equivalent of $311 for every man, woman and child living in the city of Boston.


Sports industry experts say Boston’s payout is part of a lucrative global trend that’s been playing out in Chicago, New York, London and other cities that stage major marathons drawing competitors and spectators from around the world.


“People want to be a part of something that Olympians run in,” said Rich Harshbarger, CEO of Running USA, a nonprofit group that promotes the sport.


“You’re not going to be able to run the bases at Fenway. But at a big marathon, you get to line up and have the same experience that the pros do,” he said.


It’s an affluent bunch: Running USA’s latest national survey, done in 2015, found that more than seven in 10 marathon runners earn more than $75,000 a year, and most are college graduates.


Many in the field for the Boston Marathon on April 17 will bring their families along. Another 10,000 runners will descend on Boston for a sister 5K race, swelling not only the size of the crowds but the amount spent on hotels, restaurants, transportation and a weekend running expo hawking expensive gear and swag.


“Nearly everyone involved … will patronize local businesses,” said Tom Grilk, CEO of the Boston Athletic Association, which manages the marathon.


Included in the $192.2 million projection is $30 million that runners will raise to benefit dozens of charities.


And the Boston Marathon’s economic impact is steadily growing. Last year’s race generated $188.8 million, and the 2015 race brought in $182 million, the Association said.


Patrick Moscaritolo, president and CEO of the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, calls race weekend “an extraordinary kick start” for the tourist season.


Other races that are part of the World Marathon Majors – a series that includes Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, New York City and Tokyo – have an even bigger haul.


The TCS New York City Marathon says its economic impact in 2014, the most recent year for which figures were available, was $415 million. The Bank of America Chicago Marathon had an estimated $277 million impact in 2015, organizers say.

Getting to the start line is expensive, “but it’s worth every penny,” said Malinda Ann Hill, bereavement coordinator for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, who’s running her first Boston together with her twin sister.


After 12 attempts to qualify, Hill doesn’t care what it costs.


“My twin won’t total it up, though,” she said. “She doesn’t want to know.”

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Hollywood Icon Doris Day Turns 93, Oops – 95

To Doris Day’s many admirers, the pert and fresh-faced charmer who starred in “Pillow Talk” and “Move Over Darling” is ageless.

But Day turns 95 on Monday – which is a birthday surprise to even the star herself, who has long pegged her age to a 1924 birthdate that would make her 93. Media outlets have variously reported her as between 93 and 95.


A copy of Day’s birth certificate, obtained by The Associated Press from Ohio’s Office of Vital Statistics, settles the issue: Doris Mary Kappelhoff, her pre-fame name, was born on April 3, 1922, making her 95. Her parents were Alma and William Kappelhoff of Cincinnati.


“I’ve always said that age is just a number and I have never paid much attention to birthdays, but it’s great to finally know how old I really am!” Day said in a statement Sunday.


She’s in excellent company with other vibrant Hollywood standouts lucky enough to reach that milestone year, including Betty White, a close friend, and Carl Reiner.


“There has long been speculation and rumors about Doris’ age and we get this question a lot, looks like we finally have the answer,” said Day’s spokesman, Charley Cullen Walters. “The story I have heard the most is that at one point Doris was up for a role when quite young and her age may have been miswritten on the audition form.  We don’t know if that’s correct, but if so it could’ve simply stuck for all these years.”


He said Day and White had long joked about White being two years older.


“Now we know that they are actually just a couple months apart, and turns out it’s an even bigger exciting landmark than we thought,” Walters said. White was born in January 1922.


On previous birthdays, Day has said she doesn’t care about her age but rather using the occasion to highlight her favorite cause: animals.


A longtime supporter of animal welfare, Day founded the nonprofit Doris Day Animal Foundation in 1978 to provide grants to projects that rescue, care for and protect animals. Among the wide-ranging recipients: a group that helps seniors and others with pet care needs; one that provides trained service dogs for veterans and others; Iowa Parrot Rescue, and Misfit Acres, a Minnesota horse sanctuary.


Day, who lives in Carmel, California, has effectively parlayed her fame for her mission. This year, she’s seeking to bring younger people on board with a social media campaign that asks people to post a photo or video of their pet with the hashtag @DorisBirthdayWish and the tag @ddaf_org for her foundation. The best of the submissions will be combined into a digital birthday card for her.


Famous friends and admirers are among those saluting Day online. Country music star Reba McEntire tweeted that she was donating to the foundation and invited her Twitter followers to do the same.

Day, who started out as a big band singer, made her film debut in 1948 with “Romance On the High Seas” before starring in a string of smash-hit 1950s and `60s rom-coms. She remained a pop star as well, with hits including “Whatever Will Be Will Be (Que Sera)” and “Secret Love.”


“Pillow Talk” earned her an Academy Award nomination, and she won critical acclaim for dramatic turns in “Midnight Lace” and “Love Me or Leave Me.” But Oscar gold, including the lifetime achievement award that her career justifies, hasn’t come to her.


Yet Day, who once dismissed her “goody two shoes” image as “so boring,” isn’t necessarily predictable:  Walters said she has been offered the honorary award several times and politely declined. She always concludes, he said, in a “classic Doris tone – ‘Never say never!’”

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Minister: Iraq to Boost Crude Oil Production by Year’s End

 Iraq’s oil minister said on Sunday that his country plans to increase daily crude oil production to 5 million barrels by the end of this year, up from the current rate of about 4.4 million barrels per day, to secure sorely needed cash for its ailing economy.


Iraq, where oil revenues make up nearly 95 percent of the budget, has been reeling under an economic crisis since 2014, when oil prices began their descent from a high of above $100 a barrel. The Islamic State group’s onslaught, starting in 2014, has exacerbated the situation — forcing Iraq to divert much of its resources to a long and costly war.


Addressing an energy conference in Baghdad, Oil Minister Jabar Ali al-Luaibi didn’t give details on which of the country’s oil fields would supply the increased output.


Late last year, Iraq joined a deal by OPEC and non-OPEC members to lower production for six months by 1.8 million barrels a day in order to prop up global oil prices. The mutual production decrease began on Jan. 1. Iraq’s share in the deal is to reduce output by 210,000 barrels a day to 4.351 million barrels.


“There are positive elements in that deal and we achieved a lot of its targets,” al-Luaibi told reporters on the sideline of the conference. “Work and cooperation are underway … to reach the 1.8 [million barrels a day] reduction,” he added, without divulging whether Iraq is going to support an extension to that deal.


OPEC Secretary-General, Mohammed Barkindo, said the compliance among the participants was 86 percent in January and 94 percent in February. Barkindo told reporters that OPEC members would consider whether to extend the production decrease agreement at a meeting next month.


The deal propped up the crude price to around $50 per barrel.


Iraq holds the world’s fourth-largest oil reserves. This year, it added 10 billion barrels, bringing its total reserves up to 153.1 billion barrels.


Al-Luaibi also said that more 15 billion barrels are planned to be added by 2018.


Iraq’s 2017 budget stands at about 100.67 trillion Iraqi dinars, or nearly $85.17 billion, running with a deficit of 21.65 trillion dinars, or about $18.32 billion. That’s based on an estimated oil price of $42 per barrel and daily export capacity of 3.75 million barrels.


Iraq is also grappling with a major humanitarian crisis. The U.N. estimates that more than 3 million people have been forced from their homes since 2014. It also faces growing dissatisfaction among residents of areas recaptured from IS who have had their properties demolished and suffer from scarce public services.



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