Tuesday, 12 December 2017

NEWS AND STORIES

Items filtered by date: July 2017

Patrick Vieira didn't think he wanted to coach. He never considered becoming a coach during his illustrious playing career, an 18-year span that saw him win three Premier League titles, five Serie A championships, the 1998 World Cup and the 2000 European Championship. Even after he retired in 2011 and took a job as the football development executive at Manchester City, Vieira didn't believe his future was being the man in charge of an entire team.

But while Vieira was working with players, helping them individually to develop their skills, City executive Brian Marwood observed the former midfielder. He saw Vieira's ability to communicate with the younger men who were trying to improve their game and the ease with which he imparted the wisdom he learned during the thousands of hours he spent on the field. Marwood thought Vieira might be able to succeed with a whole team. In the spring of 2013, Marwood appointed the French legend as reserve team and development squad manager.

Vieira thrived in the uncomfortable new environment.

"[Marwood] put me in the situation where I'd never been before," he says to ESPN FC in an exclusive interview. "I quite enjoyed it and quite liked it.

"I was surprised. And I'm still surprised."

Three years later, the man who never thought he would coach finds himself leading New York City FC, one of Major League Soccer's best teams. Not only that, but NYCFC boasts one of MLS' most distinct playing styles, a high-risk, high-reward, build-from-the-back mentality that produces exciting attacking soccer, even in the small confines of Yankee Stadium.

The broad strokes of the style come from the higher-ups at the City Football Group that owns NYCFC -- Claudio Reyna, the MLS club's director of football operations, calls it "part of the group methodology" -- but the day-to-day implementation falls to Vieira. He's the one responsible for tutoring players, drilling tactics and getting the little things correct. His success in doing so has NYCFC near the top of the Eastern Conference for the second year in a row and tied for the league lead in goals scored.

While the club has given up its fair share of terrible goals, the result of bad turnovers at the back and other miscues, it hasn't deviated from its plan. To many, that's deserving of praise.

"So many times in soccer we see people talk about style of play, but it's all a bunch of bulls---, because they really aren't trying to implement anything other than the most pragmatic way of playing in that moment against that opponent," former LA Galaxy GM and current Fox Sports analyst Alexi Lalas says. "For me, a real style of play means, 'This is who we are and we live and die by it. We don't change to fit the players. The players adapt or they are not part of it.'"

To play the same way, even after failure, takes confidence, both from the management and the players. That starts at the top, with the coach.

"The players buy into what he's saying," NYCFC midfielder Rodney Wallace says. "Even if sometimes it goes wrong, it doesn't matter because he knows that at some point it's going to work out. He's not afraid to make a mistake and he's not afraid of when we make mistakes. He knows that we were out there doing exactly what he's asking.

"The type of football that we play is exciting. It makes me want to wake up every morning and go to work."

The plan didn't come together overnight. Vieira took the NYCFC job at the beginning of 2016 after the club parted ways with founding manager Jason Kreis, but Vieira admits he struggled at first. He had to adapt to the peculiarities of MLS and understand soccer culture in the U.S. (Amusingly, Vieira calls the sport "soccer" when he talks about the game in the U.S. and "football" when speaking about teams overseas.)

During his time in Manchester, he developed ideas about how he wanted his team to play and how the City Football Group's management thought NYCFC should play, but the reality of actually getting to America and working with the players here made him realize he had to adjust his methods and style. He uses more video, conducts plenty of tactical drilling and unit work along with individual instruction, and keeps an open mind. Vieira is only a couple years into what could be a long coaching career, and he knows he's still learning.

"For him, there is an ability to test things out in a way that he might not get in other situations on other teams," Lalas says. "Because it's MLS. There's no relegation. And there's less scrutiny and therefore less pressure."

At some point, perhaps sooner rather than later, Vieira will want to move on to a bigger gig. He says he's happy building something at NYCFC now, and there's no reason not to believe him. He loves living in the city, a place where he'd come in the offseason during his playing days, but it's only natural that a competitive guy will grow restless eventually. When he does, the reps he's getting in the relatively uncritical U.S. will benefit him well. It's not out of the question to think he'll be the first great MLS coaching export of the modern era.

The move into coaching required a different mindset than he had as a player.

"When you are playing and you are on the field, you are thinking about yourself," Vieira says. "When you are the coach, you have to think about 26 players before thinking about yourself. You have to take things with humility. You have to understand that your playing career is finished, and then you have to look at the game in a different way."

Still, those playing days are not very far gone. How would Vieira, the coach, feel about managing Vieira, the player?

"I'd love to have a player like myself, the way I used to be," he says. "I always played with a lot of passion and was working hard for my teammates. I was thinking about my teammates before I was thinking about myself. So yes, I would like to coach Patrick."

He won't get a chance, of course. But Vieira the player would no doubt be surprised to fast-forward a decade and find where he landed. Perhaps he shouldn't have been. As it turns out, this coaching thing, it's not so bad.

Published in Sports

Berlin can tell you exactly what having a moment feels like. The German capital city is still in the midst of one that has lasted a solid three years. While locals will say their hometown has been cool all along, a perfectly timed confluence of hotel openings, new restaurants and cultural happenings made Berlin an impossible-to-ignore destination for global travelers.

The following cities, a mixture of once-fabled places starting to regain their mojo and budding spots that are just getting their feet wet chosen by our Forbes Travel Guide editors, are all aiming to become 2017’s version of Berlin, and they’re doing it with a host of hotel debuts, a slew of exciting events and the aroma of just-opened kitchens.

12. Oahu

Big things are happening on this 608-square-mile island. Oahu commemorated the 75th anniversary on the attack on Pearl Harbor in December. Hawaii will introduce its underappreciated contemporary art scene to the international community with its first Honolulu Biennial (March 8-May 8). Iconic The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort will hit 90 years in February (try its 90th Anniversary Package with a $90 resort credit and more perks).

Major Waikiki thoroughfare Kuhio Avenue is undergoing a revival as well. Leading the effort is The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach, the brand’s first outpost in Oahu. It brings contemporary apartment-like accommodations with kitchenettes or full kitchens, washer/dryers, balconies and beach views. The hotel also boasts Waikiki’s highest infinity pool (on the eighth floor), and in-demand dining options, like Sushi Sho and Hawaii’s first Dean and DeLuca.

Outside of congested Waikiki, Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina recently opened its doors on the island’s rugged western coast. An idyllic location between a nature preserve and lagoons, the luxurious hotel is a true escape. Relax in the elegant five-floor Naupaka Spa & Wellness Centre, dine at romantic Italian restaurant Noe or embark on an outrigger canoe ride.

11. Riviera Nayarit

Mexico’s Pacific coast isn’t a new entry on travelers’ radars by any stretch. But because of the region’s 2017 calendar, it should get more than the casual consideration when families start planning their vacations.

Be it with nature (XIII International San Blas Festival of Migratory Birds, January 29 to February 5), sports (International Beach Polo Cup, May) or high-end hotels (Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit’s Family Vacation Package, through April) this exclusive swath of Puerto Vallarta beachfront certainly has earned our attention.

10. Montreal

Canada marks its 150th anniversary this year, but Montreal celebrates its 375th. The city kicks it off with Les Hivernales (through March 11), a festival featuring cold-weather activities, such as snowshoeing, curling and winter biking.

Don’t miss the food component of another winter festival, Montréal En Lumière (February 23-March 11). Some sure-to-be-delicious events are the Jérôme Bocuse and Christophe Muller Honorary Co-President’s Dinners, where master chef Daniel Boulud and executive chef Riccardo Bertolino will curate meals at Four-Star Maison Boulud at The Ritz-Carlton Montreal (February 24-26), and the All-Day Black Truffle Brunch (February 25), where chef Normand Laprise will craft four courses at Four-Star Toque!

9. Raleigh

We’ve screamed of the charms of North Carolina’s capital city before, but now that eight restaurants (including James Beard-nominated chef Scott Crawford’s Crawford & Son and the 22,000-square-foot Morgan Street Food Hall and Market) have decided to open their doors by spring, we can back up our fawning with a bit of flavor.

But just as new places around town start to find their culinary groove, Raleigh-area standards are keeping their kitchens cooking with a commitment to fresh ingredients and a calendar stuffed with epicurean fun (Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Herons’ four-course Valentine’s Day dinners, February 10 to 14).

8. Bogota

As the city (and Colombia as a whole, really) continues shedding unsavory images from the 1980s and ’90s, people are slowly realizing just how special Bogota is.

With ambitious offerings at hotels (W Bogota’s new interactive music experiences), the continued growth in the restaurant industry (Four Seasons Hotel Bogota’s year-old Kuru Japanese restaurant) and exciting attractions (the National Museum of Colombia), the increasingly safer capital city is on the cusp of becoming the hottest destination in South America.

7. Washington, D.C.

All eyes are on D.C. as our new president settles into office. But there are other reasons the U.S. capital is a worthy destination.

D.C. will revitalize its waterfront with the October opening of The Wharf, a hub with shops, restaurants, parks, piers, promenades and a new InterContinental Washington D.C. at The Wharf.

The hotel scene continues to thrive. The area snagged MGM National Harbor, its first casino hotel and, of course, President Trump’s D.C. property. Four-Star The Ritz-Carlton, Washington D.C. just wrapped up a stylish redesign starring refined textures, bold fabrics, graphic floorcoverings and brass accents. Mandarin Oriental, Washington D.C. refreshed its elegant rooms in celadon and Tiffany blue to complement the earth tones and the dark wood furniture. And Four-Star Hay-Adams updated its accommodations with new 50- to 55-inch Samsung smart TVs, Bluetooth Soundlink speakers and mobile charging stations.

The Watergate Hotel unveiled Argentta, a sleek spa that includes a restored indoor pool, a whirlpool, saunas, a gym, steam rooms, a nail salon and more.

6. Phoenix

Being the host city of college basketball’s biggest event, the men’s Final Four (March 31-April 3), warrants Phoenix’s inclusion on this list alone.

The sizzling Arizona metropolis confirms its place on our roster with a year’s worth of other sports (MLB spring training, February 24-April 1), new dining opportunities (Scott Conant’s Mora Italian, Matt Carter’s Fat Ox) and luxury hotel fun (Scottsdale’s Four-Star The Phoenician’s I.Fly trapeze activity, through April 30).

5. Los Angeles/Beverly Hills

Much like Paris or New York City, no one would bat an eye if Los Angeles made it onto this list every year. But 2017 is special.

Though changes around Beverly Hills (Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, opening in June), Hollywood (Columbia Square’s continued reinvention) and downtown Hollywood (NoMad Hotel, opening later this year) probably won’t sway things much in L.A.’s favor when the International Olympic Committee decides on the host of the 2024 Summer Games this September, they certainly can’t hurt, either.

4. Santa Barbara

Napa may be California’s preeminent wine region, but the American Riviera is its most innovative one. Taste your way through more than 220 wineries in the emerging area. Cruise through the picturesque Santa Ynez Valley where boutique wineries like Refugio Ranch and Grassini Family Vineyards are creating great pours.

Another reason the city is on our list is that the fabled Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara observes its 90th anniversary. While details aren’t yet confirmed, the Spanish Colonial-influenced Four-Star hotel will undoubtedly celebrate in style (and we can reveal that a special wine will be a part of the festivities).

Elsewhere in the city, explore the trendy Funk Zone neighborhood. And for dinner, go to Four-Star Bacara Resort & Spa’s new steak-and-seafood restaurant Angel Oak, which keeps a 12,000-bottle wine cellar.

3. Houston

When Houston last hosted the Super Bowl, it was marred by a wardrobe malfunction. But when the game between the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots kicks off at NRG Stadium in February, the city will be the star.

The U.S.’s fourth-largest city is preparing for its close-up with the brand-new River Oaks District, which brings luxury shops like Harry Winston and Dior; Avenida Houston, a new entertainment district; the prized Menil Collection’s soon-to-open $40 million drawing institute; and Emancipation Park, which will get a $33 million facelift in time for the Juneteenth celebration.

Come in March for the popular Livestock Show and Rodeo, the world’s largest such event. Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Hotel Derek’s rodeo package will get you set up with chauffeured service to the show and craft beers beforehand.

Or stop and smell the azaleas at The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa. The Four-Star hotel welcomes the blooming flowers with the Azalea Trail Package (March 10-12), which includes a home and garden tour and a three-course dinner.

2. Lisbon

Similar to European hot spot Croatia, Portugal overflows with rich culture, Old World charm and beautiful beaches. See Lisbon’s modern side with Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon’s Street Art Tour. Hop into a vintage sidecar to discover cutting-edge murals, like a chiseled face from Portuguese artist Vhils, during a private four-hour tour.

Some other upcoming attractions: The landmark 25 de Abril Bridge, often compared to San Francisco’s Golden Gate, will open a viewing platform in the fall overlooking the Tagus River. And a Jewish museum will debut in the first half of 2017 in the popular Alfama neighborhood.

1. Bali

Visitors flock to the island to take in views like those you’ll find at Mulia Villas – Nusa Dua, Bali’s brand-new Unity Garden, which overlooks the Indian Ocean and the Balinese Geger Temple sitting atop the cliff of Nusa Dua bay.

But there’s more to this destination than sun and sand. Try an all-encompassing wellness getaway at Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort. Its Art de Vivre program tailors an itinerary with spa visits, gym sessions (try Navy SEALs-designed TRX or Jetlag Liberation therapy) and Vietura Artisan of Anti-Aging beauty clinic, which provides everything from detoxification to laser hair removal.

Travelers tend to avoid visiting during Nyepi, the day of silence that inspired Earth Hour (it falls on March 28, 2017). Ayana Resort and Spa Bali invites you to take part in the unique festivities, including the ogoh-ogoh ceremony, which involves an on-property parade of papier-mâché statues of skeletons and ghouls, and a 24-hour silence ritual, where you must stay quiet but can indulge in a two-hour Aquatonic Seawater Therapy Pool Treatment and go stargazing during a picnic on the resort’s lawn.

Viceroy Bali also celebrates the sacred holiday with a package that gives you a Balinese massage and the chance to witness a fire battle and an ogoh-ogoh tour in its local village.

Published in Business and Economy

851 AVENUE OF THE AMERICAS NEW YORK, NY 10001; Reservations: 1.866.993.8396 Hotel: 212.564.4567 Fax: 212.564.6825

Our hotel in NYC gets a fresh vibe

A cutting-edge Chelsea hotel in Manhattan

Lately people have been doing a double-take at Kimpton Hotel Eventi. Total transformations will do that, even to New Yorkers. Encompassing an entire block, Kimpton Hotel Eventi's artfully revamped ground floor features an eclectic-chic “living room” lobby, technology touches everywhere and a collection of cool new bars and restaurants run by famous chefs who know how to cook for the in-crowd. All inside a modern skyrise with floor-to-ceiling windows, stunning views and a coveted Chelsea location. If you've stayed with us before, it's time to rediscover Kimpton Hotel Eventi, and all of NYC for that matter.

Walk to Nearby Attractions from Kimpton Hotel Eventi

  • Madison Square Garden - 3 blocks (6 min walk)
  • Penn Station – 4 blocks (6 min walk)
  • Macy’s Herald Square -3 blocks (5 min walk)
  • High line - 4 blocks (15 min walk)
  • Gallery & Flower District – 3 blocks (3 min walk)
  • Empire State Building – 3 blocks (6 min walk)
  • Madison Square Park, Flatiron, Eataly: (7 min walk)
  • Times Square - 12 blocks (14 min walk)
  • Theater District- 12 blocks (14 min walk)
  • Bryant Park & NY Public Library - 10 blocks (11 min walk)
  • Closest Path Train to New Jersey - 3 blocks (3 min walk)
  • Grand Central Station – 13 blocks (20 min walk)
Published in News & Stories
Address: 132 W 27th St, New York, NY 10001
Phone: (212) 951-1000
 
Located in Chelsea and in convenient proximity to NoMad, Garment District, Greenwich Village and Union Square.
Walking distance to famous New York City landmarks such as the Empire State Building, Madison Square Garden, the iconic Flatiron Building, Madison Square Park, and Times Square.
Modern, spacious rooms perfect for business and leisure travelers.
Unique suites with terraces featuring breathtaking views of the Empire State Building.
2 Meeting Rooms with capacity for up to 70 persons total.
Fitness Center with outdoor terrace.

 

Enjoy New York as if you were the star of a movie in this centrally located, modern hotel in Chelsea with suites with terraces and spectacular views of the Empire State Building. Broadway and Times Square are just a few minutes walk away.

Following the success of this contemporary brand across Europe, INNSIDE New York NoMad is the first in the United States. With this flagship hotel, we are extending our professional, efficient and flexible service to both stylish business travelers and our leisure guests.

INNSIDE New York NoMad stands as a stunning new building on West 27th Street. The hotel is conveniently located within a 1 ½ block of Broadway and easy access to major shopping areas.

Guests staying at INNSIDE New York NoMad will enjoy convenient access to the city’s main subway lines including 34thStreet Penn Station (Red line) and West 23rd Street Station (Yellow line). Centrally located to New York City’s major tourist attractions such as the Theaters on Broadway, Madison Square Garden, Empire State Building, Chelsea Piers & Chelsea Market, The Javits Center, and many more attractions ideal for business and leisure guests alike.

ONLY IN MELIA.COM! EARLY CHECK-IN & LATE CHECK-OUT PLUS TWO WELCOME DRINKS TO OUR ATRIA LOUNGE!

EXPLORE NEW YORK CITY THE INNSIDER WAY AND GET A HEAD START TO YOUR ADVENTURE WITH AN 12 NOON CHECK IN. TWO WELCOME DRINKS IN OUR ATRIA LOUNGE WILL KICK OFF YOUR ENJOYMENT OF ALL THE BIG APPLE HAS TO OFFER INCLUDING THE BEST SHOPPING, FAMOUS SITES, BEST SHOWS, AND MORE. TAKE YOUR TIME AND STAY A LITTLE LONGER WITH A LATE CHECK-OUT AT 2PM. OFFER VALID THROUGH 12/31/2017.

 

 

 

Published in Headliners

Corey Johnson (born April 28, 1982) is the Council member for the 3rd District of the New York City Council. He is a Democrat. The district includes Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea, the West Village, and parts of Flatiron, SoHo and the Upper West Side in Manhattan.

 

Early life

Johnson was raised in Beverly, Massachusetts in a union household by his mother, Ann Queenan Richardson, a homeless services provider, and his step-father, Rodney Richardson, a Teamster.

Johnson made national headlines in 2000 when, as captain of his high school football team at Masconomet Regional High School, he publicly revealed that he was gay. His story was reported by major national news outlets including The New York Times and 20/20.

Shortly after graduating high school, Johnson moved to New York City and became engaged in LGBT rights activism. Johnson was a contributor and eventually the political director of the LGBT blog Towleroad.

In 2005, Johnson joined Manhattan Community Board 4 (CB4). In 2011, Johnson was elected Chair of CB4, becoming the youngest Community Board Chair in New York City at the time.

New York City Council

In 2013, Christine Quinn ran for Mayor of New York City as her term in the City Council was expiring. Johnson, then Chair of Community Board 4, ran to succeed Quinn and was elected in November 2013 with 86% of the vote. Johnson assumed office on January 1, 2014. Since being elected to office, Johnson has been one of the most prolific legislators in the Council, having passed 18 pieces of legislation.

Among his key areas of focus have been strengthening rent regulation and tenant protection, and enhancing services for New Yorkers with HIV and AIDS.

In the Council, Johnson serves as Chair of the Committee on Health, and is a member of the Contracts, Finance, General Welfare, Waterfronts and Mental Health, Developmental Disability, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Disability Services committees. Johnson is Co-Chair of the Manhattan Delegation to the City Council with Council Member Margaret Chin and is the former Chair of the LGBT Caucus.

Health

As Chair of the City Council’s Committee on Health, Council Member Johnson has overseen a number of hearings on major health issues affecting New York City, including the Legionnaires’ outbreak of 2015 and the proliferation of synthetic marijuana, known as K2, in New York.

On April 6, 2016, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed into law Johnson’s bill that prohibits the use of smokeless tobacco products, such as chewing tobacco, at sports stadiums and arenas that host events that require a ticket for admission. The legislation effectively banned chewing tobacco from professional baseball in New York City. A similar ban had previously been enacted in cities including San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

Johnson’s legislation to require transparency regarding health services administered at Rikers Island was signed into law on June 16, 2015.

Johnson’s legislation requiring automated external defibrillators to be present at public ball fields in New York City, which was co-sponsored by Minority Leader Steven Matteo, was passed by the City Council on April 20, 2016 and signed into law on May 10, 2016.

Criminal Justice Reform

On August 16, 2016, the City Council passed legislation introduced by Johnson and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to create a City office responsible for the coordination of social and healthcare services for individuals who have been released from the New York City Department of Correction.

LGBT Rights

In 2014, Council Member Johnson introduced legislation that removed outdated and unnecessary surgical requirements for transgender New Yorkers to correct their birth certificates. The legislation passed the City Council on December 8, 2014 and was adopted on January 8, 2015.

Women's Issues

Johnson’s first legislation to pass the City Council was a bill that granted a presumption of eligibility for people transitioning from domestic violence shelters to Department of Homeless Services shelters. The bill allows these individuals to bypass extensive intake procedures that they already underwent during their first shelter placement.

Education

Johnson introduced legislation with Council Member Vanessa Gibson to require the Department of Education to report on the use of disciplinary measures in public schools. The legislation was passed on September 30, 2015 and signed into law on October 13, 2015.

Johnson later introduced legislation requiring the Department of Education to regularly report on student health services in public schools, to ensure that such services are adequately serving New York City students. This legislation was signed into law by Mayor de Blasio on February 8, 2016.

Environment

In October 2015, the City Council passed Johnson’s legislation that requires the City to conduct regular air quality surveys that identify the major local and regional sources of air pollution.

Rent Regulation

Council Member Johnson was the prime sponsor of legislation to declare a housing shortage emergency in 2015, which allowed rent stabilization laws to be extended.

On June 3, 2015, Johnson was arrested in Albany in an act of civil disobedience while protesting for the extension of rent regulation and the reform of the rent laws in New York State. In total, 55 protesters were arrested for blocking the entrance to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office in this demonstration.

Seniors

Johnson passed legislation in collaboration with Council Members Margaret Chin and Paul Vallone to create oversight for all of New York City’s social adult day care centers. The bill requires all social adult day care centers operating in New York City to register with the City’s Department for the Aging (DFTA), and requires them to adhere to State regulations. The legislation also creates a DFTA ombudsman to take complaints regarding any lack of compliance with these requirements.

Animal Welfare

Johnson worked with Council Member Elizabeth Crowley in 2014 to introduce a set of bills to regulate the sale of pets in New York City, with the purpose of animal protection. The bills regulate irresponsible breeders, combat overpopulation, provide for the safe accounting of animals and ensure that known animal abusers are unable to obtain animals. The package of legislation was passed on December 17, 2014.

In 2015, Council Member Johnson introduced legislation mandating that either fire sprinklers or supervision be present in all establishments that house animals for more than 24 hours. The bill was signed into law on September 2, 2015, after more than a decade of advocacy by animal rights activists.

In 2016, Council Member Johnson co-sponsored legislation by Council Member Rosie Mendez to ban the use of wild animals in circuses. In October 2016, Johnson held a hearing in the Health Committee and spoke passionately in support of the legislation, saying to the media "trucking wild animals in and out of the city strictly for entertainment purposes is not a humane way to be treating them.” On June 15, 2017, Johnson Chaired a meeting of the Health Committee and successfully passed the bill by a vote of 7-0.  The bill heads to the full City Council for a vote on June 21, 2017.

Transportation

On May 27, 2015 the City Council passed Johnson’s legislation that requires all heavy-duty vehicles in New York City’s fleet to be equipped with sideguards, which are devices meant to reduce casualties when pedestrians and cyclists collide with trucks.

Labor

In response to a growing trend of hotel rooms being converted into luxury condominiums, Johnson introduced legislation to limit the number of condo conversions that hotel owners can make. The goal of this legislation was to protect jobs in the hotel industry. It was passed by the City Council on May 14, 2015 and signed into law on June 2, 2015.

District Improvements

Council Member Corey Johnson’s District includes all or part of the West Side neighborhoods of Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, Greenwich Village, SoHo, the Upper West Side, Times Square, FlatIron, Hudson Yards, the High Line, the Theater District, and the Garment District.

Since assuming office, Johnson has allocated $10 million in capital funding to improve schools, parks, libraries and other neighborhood institutions. He has allocated a further $1.35 million to support local non-profit institutions through discretionary funding.

Immediately upon assuming office, Johnson introduced Participatory Budgeting to his district. This is a process whereby residents propose and vote on projects to receive capital funding from the New York City Budget. As a result of Participatory Budgeting, funding has been allocated for the creation of a park on West 20th Street, a new library for City Knoll Public Middle School, and more.

Creation of 20th Street Park

In November 2015, Johnson announced fully funded plans to transform a vacant, city-owned garage and parking lot into a 10,000 square foot park on West 20th Street between Seventh Avenue and the Avenue of the Americas.

Courtesy: Wikipedia.org

Published in Parliament

Rosie Mendez (born February 28, 1963) is the Council member for the 2nd District of the New York City Council. She is a Democrat.

The district includes all or parts of Chelsea, the East Village, the Flatiron District, Gramercy, Greenwich Village, the Lower East Side, Midtown, Murray Hill, NoHo, and Stuyvesant Town in Manhattan.

 

Life and career

Mendez grew up in the Williamsburg Houses, a New York City Housing Authority development. She is the child of Puerto Rican parents, and attended New York City public schools through high school. She graduated from New York Universityand Rutgers School of Law—Newark. Her working and volunteering life has predominantly focused on community service. She began as a tenant organizer in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. She then worked on citywide housing issues as a housing specialist at the Parodneck Foundation. In 1995, Mendez graduated from law school and worked as an IOLA Legal Services Fellow at Brooklyn Legal Services. As a legal staff worker she became a member of the United Auto Workers (UAW).

Prior to her election to the Council, Mendez was the Democratic District Leader for her community for four terms. She served for three years as the Chief of Staff and Legislative Aide to her predecessor City Councilwoman Margarita Lopez.

Rosie Mendez is also the Chairperson of the New York City Council's LGBT Caucus.

New York City Council

In 2005, Mendez won the heavily contested Democratic primary for New York City Council's 2nd district. In the heavily Democratic district the primary victory was considered tantamount to election. After a landslide victory in the general election in November 2005, Mendez took office as the 2nd district's Councilwoman in January 2006. She was re-elected in 2009 and 2013.

Animal Rights

In June 2006, Mendez announced legislation to ban the use of wild animals in circuses. The bill received substantial support from other Council Members, including future Mayor Bill de Blasio, future Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, future Public Advocate Leticia James and future Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. Mendez, at a rally that year organized by the League of Humane Voters of New York City, told the media "We cannot say we’re an enlightened society when we allow animals to be tortured and abused for entertainment purposes." Though the bill had 25 co-sponsors, Council Speaker Christine Quinn strongly opposed the legislation and the bill died at the end of session. Mendez reintroduced the bill again in 2010 and then again in 2016. By 2016, the stars had aligned and, with the support of Council Member Corey Johnson, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, the bill received a hearing in October. In June 2017, the bill was voted out of the Health Committee unanimously. On June 21, 2017, the Council passed Mendez's bill by a vote of 43-6.  From the floor of the Council, Mendez thanked her "friend and constituent" John Phillips, who led the campaign to pass the bill and who brought the issue to her attention in 2006. 

Courtesy: Wikipedia.org

Published in Parliament

Margaret Chin (born May 26, 1954) is the Council member for the 1st District of the New York City Council. A Democrat, she and Queens Council member Peter Koo comprise the Asian American delegation of the city council.

The district includes all or parts of Battery Park City, Chinatown, Civic Center, East Village, Ellis Island, Financial District, Governors Island, Greenwich Village, Liberty Island, Little Italy, Lower East Side, NoHo, Nolita, SoHo, Tribeca, and the West Village.

Born on May 26, 1954 in Hong Kong as the third of five children and the only daughter in the family, Chin immigrated to the United States from Hong Kong in 1963. Her father, who arrived to the U.S. before his family did, was an undocumented worker, working as a waiter in the Bronx; his experiences inspired her to advocate for immigration reform during her political tenure.

Chin grew up in Chinatown and graduated from the Bronx High School of Science and the City College of New York with a degree in education. She worked for 14 years at LaGuardia Community College's Division of Adult and Continuing Education. She is married to Alan Tung, a public school teacher. Their son, Kevin, also graduated from the Bronx High School of Science. He completed his studies at Syracuse University, and is now studying photography in Santa Barbara, California.

Chin has been a member of several public service groups and organizations. In 1974, she was a founding member of Asian Americans for Equality, a group dedicated to "empowering Asian Americans and others in need",  and she served as the board's president from 1982 to 1986. She was the chairperson of the New York Immigration Coalition, a policy and advocacy organization which works on issues concerning immigrants and refugees.  She was a board member of the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, an affordable housing non-profit organization.  Chin was also a founding member of the Chinatown Partnership Local Development Corporation, a group that was formed in 2006 to "rebuild Chinatown following 9/11, and to preserve the neighborhood's unique culture while ensuring its vitality in the future."

In local and state politics, Chin was a member of Manhattan Community Board 1 and Manhattan Community Board 3, and was elected to the New York State Democratic Committee for two terms from 1986 to 1990.

Chin speaks Cantonese, Mandarin, and Taishanese, and has stated that her ethnicity helped her win the district that includes Chinatown. In her words, many new immigrants and seniors do not speak English, and appreciated that they could speak to her directly and "talk to a City Council member without having to go through an interpreter." Hunter College professor and sociologist Peter Kwong, who has written books on Chinese Americans, said that Chin's election victory was a "milestone in an increasingly active Asian American community" and a "special moment in Chinatown history". Margaret Fung, head of Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, a national Asian American civil rights group, described Chin's win as a "significant step forward for Asian American political representation".

New York City Council

Prior to winning the 2009 city council election, Chin had run and lost in the Democratic Party primary election for the District 1 seat in 1991, 1993, and 2001.

In a primary that had a small turn-out, she won the Democratic nomination with 39% of the vote, ousting two-term incumbent Alan Gerson. Chin earned 4,541 votes to Gerson's 3,520; the other three candidates, PJ Kim, Pete Gleason, and Arthur Gregory won 1,927 votes, 1,293 votes, and 235 votes, respectively. Campaigning on the issues of affordable housing, improving infrastructure, immigration reform, and better services for senior citizens,[5] Chin won the general election held on November 3 against Republican candidate Irene Horvath in a landslide victory, carrying 86% of the vote.

In 2013, Council Member Chin ran for reelection for the New York City Council. She received an endorsement from the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York prior to the September 2013 Democratic Party Primary. She was challenged in the primary by Democrat Jenifer Rajkumar, a Lower Manhattan District Leader, in a widely publicized race. Chin won with 58.5% of the vote. Chin is a member of the Progressive Caucus, and the Women's Caucus. Chin has twice been elected by her colleagues to serve as an executive member of the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus.

Courtesy: Wikipedia.org

 

Published in Parliament

The family of a young woman who mysteriously died after being served alcohol during a vacation at an upscale Mexican resort is speaking out for the first time as they search for answers. Reports abc7ny.com.

"You protect your child from so much since they're born, and then you know, something happens in an instant," mom Ginny McGowan said. 

Ginny and husband John McGowan are desperate for information as to how their daughter, 20-year-old Abbey Conner, ended up floating facedown in a pool, breaking her collar bone and slipping into a coma just two hours into their vacation at a five-star resort.

Mom and stepdad John were booked at the Iberostar Paraiso Resort in Playa del Carmen, and they became alarmed when Abbey and 23-year-old son Austin didn't show up for dinner.

"Probably the most excited person was Abbey," Ginny said. "We just sat on chairs at the side of the pool, and we're like, we're going to go up and get ready for dinner. You guys need to meet us in the lobby at 7:30."

Austin and Abbey stayed by the pool.

"We swam around for a little bit and decided let's celebrate with a drink," Austin said. "So we go up to the bar, and another group that was already there start talking...we didn't know them. The bartender pours out a line of shots, and I take one, and everyone else does. And the last thing I remember was like we are right now, sitting here talking, and lights went out. And I woke up in the ambulance."

The family says a guest found Abbey and Austin floating face down in the waist-deep pool, and soon, they were on the way to the hospital. But Ginny and John had no idea.

"It was getting close to 8, and I'm starting to get worried," Ginny said. "I said, I just, I need to call their room because I can't contact them any other way to find out where they are. And she said is your husband here with you. And I'm like, well, yeah, he's sitting right over there. And then she went and got the general manager and quickly brought me to John, explained that there had been an accident."

Abbey was brain dead, while Austin had a concussion and a golf ball-sized lump on his head. Abbey was flown to a Florida hospital, where she later died.

"She was on the right path, a good path for her," Ginny said. "And she she was happy."

Authorities said their blood alcohol level was .25, three times the legal limit in their home state of Wisconsin. Austin says he can't remember how many shots he had.

"I've thought about it, and I mean it is a possibility (we drank too much)," he said. "But how, if we're in a group of people, do two people at the same exact time just pass out in the pool and no one sees it?"

The family is questioning if tainted alcohol -- a toxic mix of cheap ingredients -- could be partially to blame. Other families have since come forward, recalling how they suddenly blacked out after a few drinks during visits to resorts in Mexico.

Mexican officials say they've seized 1.4 million gallons of tainted alcohol from Mexican businesses -- including resorts, clubs, bars, warehouses, and manufacturers -- in the past seven years.

The Iberostar resort denies serving tainted alcohol, telling the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that "we only purchase sealed bottles that satisfy all standards required by the designated regulatory authorities...We are deeply saddened by this incident and reiterate our deepest sympathies and condolences to the family."

The family has hired an attorney and plans on suing the resort.

"I hope she didn't suffer at all, and I hope she's at peace," Ginny said. "We miss you."

Published in Business and Economy
Wednesday, 26 July 2017 14:34

Trump bans transgender people in military

US President Donald Trump says transgender people cannot serve in "any capacity" in the military.

He tweeted that he had consulted with military experts and cited "tremendous medical costs and disruption".

The Obama administration decided last year to allow transgender people to serve openly in the military.

But in June, Defence Secretary James Mattis agreed to a six-month delay in the recruitment of transgender people.

The Pentagon said this was to allow the different branches of the military to "review their accession plans and provide input on the impact to the readiness and lethality of our forces".

Some Republicans have voiced opposition to allowing transgender people to serve at all.

The independent Rand Corporation estimated in 2016 that 2,450 of the 1.2 million active-duty service members are transgender.

In a series of tweets, Mr Trump said: "After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.

"Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail."

The US military's ban on openly gay and lesbian servicemen and women - known as "Don't ask don't tell" - was lifted in 2011.

Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Centre, a leading think-tank which studies gender and sexuality in the military, told the BBC that Mr Trump's decision would force transgender troops to in effect live as gays and lesbians did under "Don't ask, don't tell".

"Don't ask, don't tell was a disastrous policy that harmed the military for almost two decades," Mr Belkin said.

"It's not clear why the president would want to bring it back now for transgender troops, when all the evidence suggests that inclusive policy benefits the military and discrimination hurts the military."

 
Media captionBeing transgender in the US military - Jamie Ewing spoke to the BBC in 2016

Republican opponents of transgender people serving in the military include Vicky Hartzler, a congresswoman from Missouri, who wants transgender service members honourably discharged.

Others are opposed to the military bearing medical costs associated with transgender recruits, such as gender realignment.

Published in Headliners

Donald Trump Junior was informed that information offered by a Russian lawyer was part of a Russian government effort to help his father's election campaign, the New York Times reports.

Publicist Rob Goldstone, who arranged the 2016 meeting, reportedly stated this in an email.

Mr Trump Jr has defended the meeting, at which the lawyer offered to reveal damaging material on Hillary Clinton.

Moscow and the White House both deny there was any political interference.

The FBI and Congress are currently investigating alleged Russian meddling in last year's US election, including whether any of President Trump's associates colluded with the Russian government to sway the result.

Donald Trump Jr has insisted that the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, provided "no meaningful information" on his father's rival for the presidency.

The president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and then-campaign head, Paul J Manafort, were also at the meeting.

Mr Goldstone has previously denied any knowledge of involvement by the Russian government.

Jared Kushner
Jared Kushner has not yet commented on the Donald Trump Jr statement

Ms Veselnitskaya, who is married to a Moscow government official, has denied that she works for the Kremlin.

"It's a very serious development," Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told MSNBC of the New York Times report.

"It all warrants thorough investigation. Everyone who was in that meeting ought to come before our committee."

Mr Trump Jr has hired a New York defence lawyer to represent him in the Russia-related investigations.

Alan Futerfas described reports of the meeting as "much ado about nothing" and said his client had done nothing wrong.

The president's son said  he was "Happy to work with the committee to pass on what I know."


When was the meeting and how did it come to light?

It took place on 9 June 2016 at New York's Trump Tower, just two weeks after Donald Trump secured the Republican nomination.

It is thought to be the first confirmed private meeting between a Russian national and members of President Trump's inner circle.

After the New York Times first reported the meeting on Saturday, Mr Trump Jr released a statement which confirmed that it had taken place but did not mention whether it was related to the presidential campaign.

However, another Times report, on Sunday, said Mr Trump Jr had agreed to the meeting after being offered information that would potentially prove detrimental to Mrs Clinton.

The paper cited three White House advisers briefed on the meeting, and two others with knowledge for it, as its sources.

Donald Trump, Jr places a hand on the shoulder of his father, Donald Trump, during a rally on the final night of the 2016 US presidential election
Mr Trump Jr has hired a lawyer to represent him in the Russia investigations

Mr Trump Jr said that an acquaintance he had known from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant had set up the meeting. The Washington Post confirmed that figure to be music publicist Mr Goldstone, who has links to the Russian music industry.

In a statement on Sunday, Mr Trump Jr said he had been asked to meet "an individual who I was told might have information helpful to the campaign".

"I was not told her name prior to the meeting. I asked Jared [Kushner] and Paul [Manafort] to attend, but told them nothing of the substance."

What was discussed at the meeting?

Mr Trump Jr's statement continues: "After pleasantries were exchanged, the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Mrs Clinton.

"Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information.

"She then changed subjects and began discussing the adoption of Russian children and mentioned the Magnitsky Act.

"It became clear to me that this was the true agenda all along and that the claims of potentially helpful information were a pretext for the meeting."

Ms Veselnitskaya said on Saturday that "nothing at all was discussed about the presidential campaign" and insisted she had "never acted on behalf of the Russian government and [had] never discussed any of these matters with any representative of the Russian government".

On Monday, Mr Trump Jr tweeted sarcastically: "Obviously I'm the first person on a campaign to ever take a meeting to hear info about an opponent..." He also deniedissuing conflicting statements.

And he linked to a piece in the New York Post headlined "The Times 'exposé' on Donald Trump Jr is a big yawn".

What is the Magnitsky Act and who is Natalia Veselnitskaya?

Adopted by Congress in 2012, the act allows the US to withhold visas and freeze financial assets of Russian officials thought to have been involved in human rights violations.

It is named after a Moscow lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, who had accused Russian officials of tax fraud but was himself arrested and died in police custody.

The US law so incensed President Vladimir Putin that he suspended a programme allowing Americans to adopt Russian children.

A picture taken on December 7, 2012, shows the snow-clad grave of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky at the Preobrazhenskoye cemetery in Moscow.
The grave of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, in Moscow

Ms Veselnitskaya is a lawyer whose clients include companies and individuals said to be close to the Kremlin, and she has been at the forefront of a campaign - backed by the Russian state - to overturn the Magnitsky Act.

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov insisted the Kremlin had no idea who she was, saying: "We cannot keep a close watch on the meetings of all Russian lawyers inside the country and abroad." 


How has the rest of the Trump team responded?

Mr Kushner and Mr Manafort have not commented, although Mr Kushner's lawyer said her client had previously disclosed the meeting on security clearance forms. Mr Manafort has disclosed the meeting to congressional investigators.

A spokesman for President Trump's legal team said on Sunday that the president was "not aware of and did not attend" the meeting.

White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said the meeting was a "big nothing burger".

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus pictured at the White House on 6 June, 2017.
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus has dismissed the meeting as trivial

The Times said Mr Trump Jr had told the paper in March that he had not met any Russian nationals to discuss campaign-related matters.

Why is Russia being investigated?

It is alleged that Russian hackers stole information linked to the Clinton campaign and passed it to Wikileaks so it could be released and help tip the election towards Mr Trump.

Congressional committees and a special prosecutor are investigating whether there was any collusion between the Trump team and the Russians.

The investigations have yet to reveal any evidence of collusion, something the president has always denied.

Last week Mr Trump said interference in the election "could well have been" carried out by countries other than Russia and interference "has been happening for a long time".

Published in Business and Economy
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