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Protests turn violent as angry farmers take to New Delhi’s streets

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farmers protest

Thousands of farmers used their tractors to tear down the road barricades.

In order to avoid interfering with morning celebrations marking India’s Republic Day holiday in central Delhi, farmers protesting India’s new agricultural laws were expected to start a procession of tractors through the city at noon local time. But, in the midst of some apparent confusion among protesters, farmers began to dismantle barricades about two hours early.

The protest had already threatened to upstage the yearly celebration of the creation of the Constitution of India. A lavish military parade was overseen by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and news channels showed surreal scenes of Mr. Modi saluting officers as chaos broke out just a few miles away in several parts of the city.

farmers protest

As evening fell in New Delhi, at least one person had died and many parts of the city still felt under siege. It was unclear whether the security forces, or the farm leaders who seemed to have lost control, were able to drive the protesters out of the city and back to the camps that they had occupied at the border of the capital for the past two months.

“Farmer agitators broke the agreed terms and started their march much before the agreed time,” the Delhi police said in a statement, confirming that several members of the force had been wounded, without providing numbers. “The path of violence and destruction was chosen by agitators.”

Tractors pushed aside a shipping container placed to block their route as police stood by helplessly at the city’s border with the village of Ghazipur, where farmers have been camped out for months in protest. Elsewhere, over approved march routes, thick clouds of tear gas rose as farmers on tractors, on horses and on foot forcefully started their rally hours ahead of schedule.

farmers protest

TV news showed that the farmers waved flags and taunted police officers. They also violated the Red Fort, the iconic palace that once served as the residence of the Mughal rulers of India, and hoisted a flag on top of the fort that is often flown in Sikh temples. Many of the farmers protesting are from Punjab, a part of the country that is predominantly Sikh.

Long swords, tridents, sharp daggers and battle-axes were carried by many farmers, functional if largely ceremonial weapons. It is obvious that most of the protesters at the demonstration that day were not wearing facemasks.

“Once we get to Delhi, we are not leaving until Modi repeals the law,” a farmer from Uttar Pradesh state told reporters.

Large groups of tractors and protesters disrupted the monitored routes, tipping over buses and violently clashing with overwhelmed police officers armed with wooden batons as they marched toward the centre of Delhi.

farmers protest

By early afternoon, Delhi police officers had deployed assault rifles in the area. More terrible photos had shown the police in the middle of key roads, armed with rifles, staring down protesters. In certain places, the police used their batons to beat protesters.

Some of the most violent clashes occurred near India’s income-tax office and an old headquarters of the police force. To prevent the farmers from bringing their tractors into the city, the police fired several volleys of tear gas to disperse the crowd.

The state television broadcast that it showed protesters tossing a dead body of a protester onto the roadway nearby. They had reported that he had been shot, but not independently verified. Several injured people were carried away saying that they had been injured when a farm dump truck crashed. A CCTV video showed one tractor crashing into a barrier, which led to the vehicle flipping over.

India’s government has temporarily suspended internet connections in border areas where it has been holding large protests for months.

The demonstration of the farmers on tractors are manifestations of Indians anger and disappointment in the central government. However, despite the political gains made by this Prime Minister, farmers have voiced their disapproval of his decisions.

In September 2013 Mr. Modi presented three major agricultural policy changes. But many farmers complained that the loosening of regulations put them at a disadvantage as giants of industry replaced them.

As their protests become larger in numbers and with more anger, the government decided to enter into a compromise with the farmers. The high court intervened in ordering the suspension of these legislations until the government reach a compromise with the farmers.

The farmers believe that higher income from exploitation is better than nothing at all. In addition to taking part in their protest during Tuesday, they will march to Indian Parliament on February 1, when the new budget would be presented.

Government officials claimed that insurgent elements would cause violence if the farmers were allowed in the city. Recently, farmers’ leaders brought before the media the young man they claimed to have detained on suspicion of a plot to shoot the leaders. The claims made by these two sides could not be independently verified.

farmers protest

There was some uncertainty about the length of the march as it got underway. The Reuters news agency reports, citing “documentation from the Delhi police”, that the march will begin only after the high-profile Republic Day parade concludes. Some news articles said that the number of tractors was capped to stay inside the city.

On Monday, farm leaders in Delhi failed to convince people that the bandhs were arbitrary and were planned with no regard to the law. The suggested routes were a proposal that would allow the protesters to walk close but not reach the centres of state power.

About 150,000 tractors were being prepared for the march in the capital, and that over 3,000 volunteers would help maintain order, while 100 ambulances would be ready to take care of the injured.

Many crop farmers in the march appealed for peace and respect.

farmers protest

Remember, our goal is not to take over Delhi, but to win the hearts of the people of this country.

“The trademark of this agitation was its peaceful character,” said Balbir Singh Rajewal, a main leader of the agitation. “I appeal to our farmers, to our youth, to keep this agitation peaceful.” The government and its agencies are distorting the facts intentionally. Watch out for it.

“If we choose to be peaceful, we will be victorious.” If we raise our voice to violence, Modi will win.

Mahesh is leading digital marketing initiatives at RecentlyHeard, a NewsFeed platform that covers news from all sectors. He develops, manages, and executes digital strategies to increase online visibility, better reach target audiences, and create engaging experience across channels. With 7+ years of experience, He is skilled in search engine optimization, content marketing, social media marketing, and advertising, and analytics.

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Apple iPhone 13 review: The most incremental upgrade ever

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Apple iPhone 13 review: The most incremental upgrade ever

By Brian X. Chen, The New York Times Company

The truth is that smartphones peaked a few years ago.

After so many advances, the miniature computers have reached incredible speeds, their screens have become bigger and brighter, and their cameras produce images that make amateur photographers look like wizards.

The problem with so much great innovation is that upgrades are now so iterative that it has become difficult to know what to write about them each year. That’s especially the case with Apple’s iPhone 13, which may be the most incremental update ever to the iPhone.

The newest iPhone is just 10% faster than last year’s models. (For context, in 2015, the iPhone 6S was more than 70% faster than its predecessor, the iPhone 6.) Its flashiest new feature, a higher screen “refresh rate” on the $1,000-plus models, makes motion look smoother when opening apps and scrolling through text — hardly a game-changer.

Innovations on smartphone cameras also appear to be slowing. Apple executives described the iPhone 13 cameras as “dramatically more powerful” and the iPhone’s “most advanced” ever, largely because they can capture more light and reduce noise. But in my tests, the improvements were marginal.

This is all to say the annual phone upgrade, which companies like Apple and Samsung tout with enormous marketing events and ad campaigns to gin up sales for the holiday shopping season, has become a mirage of tech innovation. In reality, the upgrades are now a celebration of capitalism in the form of ruthless incrementalism.

What better way to illustrate that slow march than with smartphone photos? To put the iPhone 13 cameras to the test, I bought a special tripod to hold two phones side by side so I could snap roughly the same photos of my dogs at the same time. I compared shots taken with the new iPhones, last year’s iPhone 12 and a three-year-old iPhone XS.

When I got the results, I was genuinely surprised by how well the iPhone XS camera stood up against the newest models. And the iPhone 13’s camera was just barely better than the iPhone 12’s.

To compare photos shot in daylight, I took all the phones and my dogs, Max (a corgi) and Mochi (a brown Labrador), to a park in Richmond, California. In one test shot of them sitting next to each other in the shade, the iPhone 13 and 12 photos were hardly distinguishable. The iPhone 13 did a somewhat better job capturing shadows.

In a test comparing the $1,000 iPhone 13 Pro with the iPhone XS, the $1,000 model released in 2018, both photos of the dogs in bright sunlight looked clear and detailed. I will grant you that the iPhone 13 Pro produced images with more vibrant colors.

But in one test on a shaded path in the middle of the woods, the photo taken with the iPhone 13 Pro made Mochi look blown out by the sunlight; the shadows and lighting captured by the three-year-old iPhone looked more natural. Apple disagreed with my assessment.

The improvements in the new iPhone cameras were most visible in lowlight photos taken with night mode, which captures multiple pictures and then fuses them together while making adjustments for colors and contrast. Low-light shots of Max perched on a balcony just after sunset looked clearer when taken with the iPhone 13 Pro than with the iPhone 12.

Low light was an area where the three-year-old iPhone XS could not compete because its camera lacks a night mode. In the same test, Max was cloaked in darkness, except for his handsome white mane.

The iPhone 13 cameras also have a new video feature called cinematic mode, which uses algorithms to automatically focus on faces — even those of my dogs — as they move around. I’d be hard pressed to imagine why a person with no ambitions to become a filmmaker would use this mode, but I can think of a few TikTokers who might like it.

So in summary, the iPhone 13 cameras are slightly better than those of last year’s iPhones. Even compared with iPhones from three years ago, the cameras are much better only if you care about taking nice photos in the dark.

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Biden: Budget talks hit “stalemate,” $3.5T may take a while

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Biden: Budget talks hit “stalemate,” $3.5T may take a while

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden says that talks over his $3.5 trillion rebuilding plan have hit a “stalemate” in Congress as he made the case for his expansive effort to recast the nation’s tax and spending programs and make what he sees as sweeping, overdue investments.

Biden spoke at the White House as Democrats in the House and Senate are laboring to finish drafts and overcome differences between the party’s centrist and moderate factions. Despite efforts by the president and congressional leaders to show progress, Biden on Friday cast the road ahead as long and potentially cumbersome, even with upcoming deadlines.

“We’re getting down to the hard spot here,” Biden told reporters at the White House. “We’re at this stalemate at the moment.”

Biden said the process is “going to be up and down” but ”hopefully at the end of the day I’ll be able to deliver on what I said I would do.”

The president’s acknowledgment of Democrats’ disagreements — and they have serious differences over taxes, health, climate change and the ultimate price tag — contrasted with congressional leaders’ more upbeat tone in recent days. Using carefully chosen words, top Democrats have seemed to be trying to create a sense of momentum as House votes approach.

On Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., predicted passage of both pillars of Biden’s domestic agenda. One is a still-evolving $3.5 trillion package of social safety net and climate programs, the other a separate $1 trillion measure financing highway, internet and other infrastructure projects that’s already passed the Senate with bipartisan support.

“We’re going to pass both bills,” she told reporters.

But she did not spell out how she and her Senate counterpart, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., would resolve disagreements and distrust between their party’s moderate and progressive wings that’s stalled both measures. And there remained confusion about the voting schedule, which will be crucial.

Pelosi promised House moderates last month that by this Monday, the chamber will consider the infrastructure bill, centrists’ top priority.

But progressives are threatening to vote to derail the infrastructure legislation until a final version of their favorite — the $3.5 trillion social and environment bill — passes the Senate and returns to the House. Progressives think delaying the public works bill would pressure moderates to back the larger measure.

“We’re bringing the bill up, we will have a vote when we have the votes,” Pelosi told a reporter Friday about the infrastructure bill’s timing. While she said debate would begin Monday, her remarks suggested that final passage of the public works legislation could slip.

Pelosi also told reporters that “the plan” was for her chamber to consider the $3.5 trillion package next week as well. It remained unclear how House-Senate bargainers would solve their differences over that bill that quickly.

The president said his private meetings with some two dozen Democratic lawmakers this week in efforts to hasten progress and close the deal went well — describing the tone as collegial and with “no hollering.”

But as lawmakers raised objections over the sweep and scope of the plan, which is to be funded by higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy, Biden said he tried to get them focused on priorities — what they can and can’t live with.

”It’s about paying your fair share, for lord’s sake,” Biden said. “There clearly is enough, from a panoply of options, to pay for whatever it is.”

In a stark reality check, Biden suggested talks could drag to the end of the year. “It’s just going to take some time,” he said.

Lawmakers are working nonstop and Biden is facing pressure to close the deal. Pelosi met Friday at the Capitol with her leadership team, and the House Budget Committee planned a rare Saturday session to take the strictly procedural step of sending the $3.5 trillion bill, as drafted by 13 other House panels, to the full chamber without any changes.

Before the House votes on that measure, it is certain to change, perhaps more than once, to reflect compromises reached with Senate Democrats.

Biden’s big vision over his “Build Back Better” campaign promise proposes expanding health, education and federal programs, with more services for Americans of all ages, while investing heavily in efforts to tackle climate change. All this would be paid for largely by hiking tax rates on corporations and wealthy individuals, those earning beyond $400,000 a year, or $450,000 for married couples.

But centrist Democrats see the overall price tag as too much, while progressive lawmakers are hesitant to compromise any further after already having dropped even more ambitious ideas.

___

Associated Press writer Alan Fram contributed to this report.

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Broncos confident LB Justin Strnad is ready for first NFL start, extended opportunity after Josey Jewell’s season-ending injury

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Broncos confident LB Justin Strnad is ready for first NFL start, extended opportunity after Josey Jewell’s season-ending injury

With inside linebacker Josey Jewell out for the season with a pectoral injury, Justin Strnad has been thrust into Jewell’s role and will make his first NFL start Sunday against the Jets.

But according to Von Miller’s scouting report, the Broncos aren’t expecting a drop-off at the position. That’s based off what the All-Pro saw out of Strnad in the latter’s brief training camp as a rookie in 2020, when Strnad “was on fire” before sustaining a season-ending wrist injury.

“Justin’s a big, athletic inside linebacker, and he can cover, he can play the run,” Miller said. “Pairing him with (fellow starting inside backer Alexander Johnson), we have two big linebackers in there.

“Nobody will be able to fill in what Josey did for us. He’s just so intelligent, and he can guard the running back. He can do all types of (coverage) stuff for us. But it’s Justin’s turn, and that’s just how the league is — next man up mentality. We can’t make up for Josey, but we have to play to Justin’s strengths and I feel pretty comfortable with Justin in there.”

At 6-foot-3, 235 pounds, Strnad is more lanky and less compact and beefy than the typical NFL inside linebacker. But that body type will serve him well once he acclimates to the pro game, said Lyle Hemphill, Strnad’s defensive coordinator at Wake Forest.

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Grading the Week: CU Buffs coach Karl Dorrell is running it back on offense — under the cover of Pac-12 After Dark-ness

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Grading the Week: CU Buffs coach Karl Dorrell is running it back on offense — under the cover of Pac-12 After Dark-ness

Never has an 8:30 p.m. kickoff been so welcome for CU football fans.

After what transpired last week against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Folsom Field, perhaps it’s best that the Buffs play under the cover of Pac-12 After Dark-ness.

With head coach Karl Dorrell signing up for another Saturday of the same old shenanigans, we can think of no better setting.

Karl Dorrell — Inc.

The CU Buffs head coach vowed to “start all over” in the wake of one of the worst offensive performances in program history — which, apparently, means getting the band back together for another jam session Saturday at Arizona State.

Freshman Brendon Lewis is still the quarterback.

Offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini is still drawing up the plays.

And the Buffs head football coach is going to … “show my face in the offensive room a little bit more now.”

Sounds like one heck of a reboot, as well as something best previewed by a limited audience — one they’ll almost certainly draw given that the game is on ESPNU and won’t end until sometime after midnight MDT.

If Dorrell’s decision to stay the course works out, Buffs fans will hear about it Sunday morning and be pleasantly surprised.

If it doesn’t — and that’s where the Grading the Week staff would put our money, if we had any — bedtime will have beckoned long before things get ugly, anyway.

And maybe then, with the USC Trojans stumbling into Boulder next week, Dorrell will finally have all the information he needs to decide whether or not the status quo has a future at Folsom Field.

Because seven quarters of scoreless football, and a passing attack surpassed by all but one FBS program (including triple-option practitioners Air Force and Army), evidently isn’t enough.

Teddy Bridgewater — A+

If you’re not on Team Teddy at this point, you’re just being obnoxious.

After submitting two near flawless performances as Broncos quarterback — albeit against two very flawed teams in the New York Giants and Jacksonville Jaguars — Bridgewater has shown the Grading the Week staff enough.

Consider us the lead conductors of the Teddy Train, and we’re welcoming any and all passengers.

Could we interest you in four touchdowns, zero interceptions and two double-digit wins? How about a 120.7 passer rating? Not even Tom Brady has matched the latter through two weeks (although, yes, he does have nine touchdown passes).

It’s slightly terrifying how comfortable Bridgewater looks as chaos swirls around him in the pocket. We can’t help but wonder if the former Louisville star missed his calling as an air traffic controller.

Say what you will about Drew Lock’s unlimited upside, that’s not something we ever considered in his 18 starts under center.

Broncos ownership rumors — B

Nothing gets the Grading the Week staff going quite like some juicy Broncos ownership rumors.

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‘Dozens’ of Massachusetts troopers line up to quit over COVID vaccine mandate

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‘Dozens’ of Massachusetts troopers line up to quit over COVID vaccine mandate

“Dozens” of state troopers fed up with the governor’s vaccine mandate are filing paperwork to quit the force as a Superior Court judge has denied any delay in the mandate that kicks in Oct. 17.

“Many of these troopers are going to be returning to their previous municipal police departments within the state that allow for regular testing and masks,” said union boss Michael Cherven. “To date, dozens of troopers have already submitted their resignation paperwork.”

The State Police Association of Massachusetts said in a statement shared with the Herald Friday that allowing the union representing 1,800 members to negotiate with the Baker administration was their preferred route.

“We are disappointed in the judge’s ruling; however, we respect her decision,” Cherven said. “It is unfortunate that the Governor and his team have chosen to mandate one of the most stringent vaccine mandates in the country with no reasonable alternatives.”

Gov. Charlie Baker instituted a vaccine mandate for all Executive Branch employees Aug. 19, including all troopers, with a deadline of Oct. 17 to be fully vaccinated. The order only granted exemptions for those who have medical or religious grounds to reject the vaccine.

Cherven pointed out troopers “have been on the front lines protecting the citizens of Massachusetts and beyond” through the pandemic — as have all first responders.

“Simply put, all we are asking for are the same basic accommodations that countless other departments have provided to their first responders, and to treat a COVID-related illness as a line-of-duty injury,” Cherven said.

Now that the judge has rejected any delay, the troopers still needing jabs have just days to begin the vaccination process — if they want the Moderna or Pfizer two-shot mRNA coronavirus vaccine. Not having a shot could cost the officers their jobs.

About 20% of members were unvaccinated as of earlier this week, the Herald reported.

“The State Police are already critically short staffed and acknowledge this by the unprecedented moves to take officers from specialty units that investigate homicide’s, terrorism, computer crimes, arsons and human trafficking, to name just a few,” Cherven said.

The commonwealth’s attorney, Jennifer Greaney, argued in court that the state had offered concessions during two “good faith” bargaining meetings and several emails.

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Biden: Budget talks hit ‘stalemate,’ $3.5T may take a while

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Biden: Budget talks hit ‘stalemate,’ $3.5T may take a while

President Biden said Friday that talks over his $3.5 trillion rebuilding plan have hit a “stalemate” in Congress as he made the case for his expansive effort to recast the nation’s tax and spending programs and make what he sees as sweeping, overdue investments.

Biden spoke at the White House as Democrats in the House and Senate are laboring to finish drafts and overcome differences between the party’s centrist and moderate factions. Despite efforts by the president and congressional leaders to show progress, Biden cast the road ahead as long and potentially cumbersome, even with upcoming deadlines.

“We’re getting down to the hard spot here,” Biden told reporters at the White House. “We’re at this stalemate at the moment.”

Biden said the process is “going to be up and down” but ”hopefully at the end of the day I’ll be able to deliver on what I said I would do.”

The president’s acknowledgment of Democrats’ disagreements — and they have serious differences over taxes, health, climate change and the ultimate price tag — contrasted with congressional leaders’ more upbeat tone in recent days. Using carefully chosen words, top Democrats have seemed to be trying to create a sense of momentum as House votes approach.

On Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., predicted passage of both pillars of Biden’s domestic agenda. One is a still-evolving $3.5 trillion package of social safety net and climate programs, the other a separate $1 trillion measure financing highway, internet and other infrastructure projects that’s already passed the Senate with bipartisan support.

“We’re going to pass both bills,” she told reporters.

But she did not spell out how she and her Senate counterpart, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., would resolve disagreements and distrust between their party’s moderate and progressive wings that’s stalled both measures. And there remained confusion about the voting schedule, which will be crucial.

Pelosi promised House moderates last month that by this Monday, the chamber will consider the infrastructure bill, centrists’ top priority.

But progressives are threatening to vote to derail the infrastructure legislation until a final version of their favorite — the $3.5 trillion social and environment bill — passes the Senate and returns to the House. Progressives think delaying the public works bill would pressure moderates to back the larger measure.

“We’re bringing the bill up, we will have a vote when we have the votes,” Pelosi told a reporter Friday about the infrastructure bill’s timing. While she said debate would begin Monday, her remarks suggested that final passage of the public works legislation could slip.

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Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes urgently trying to regain form: ‘It’s gotta happen quick’

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Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes urgently trying to regain form: ‘It’s gotta happen quick’

Matt Barnes knows he doesn’t have much time to figure things out, but he feels like he has pinpointed some of the issues that have led to his struggles.

As the Red Sox inch toward the wild card game and a potential postseason run, they’re doing so without a set closer. Barnes, an All-Star after a dominant first half, lost the job thanks to an awful August before testing positive for COVID-19. Now healthy and pitching in meaningful games again, Barnes and the Red Sox know the veteran could be a huge boost to the playoff push if he can at least come close to regaining his early-season form.

But with a week to go in the regular season, he knows time is not on his side.

“I don’t have many games to figure this (expletive) out,” Barnes said before Friday’s series opener against the Yankees. “It’s gotta happen quick. That’s the crazy part about baseball. You can be going really, really good and then one day, it’s gone. You can be going really bad and literally the next day, it’s back. It clicks and you’re back and it’s good. We’re going to keep moving. I know we don’t have a lot of time to get that done, but I’m going to keep doing my thing and keep working towards getting back to that spot.”

Entering Friday, Barnes had made two appearances since being activated from the COVID-19 IL. He struck out two in an encouraging return last Friday against the Orioles, but he took a step back Wednesday against the Mets. Replacing Chris Sale in the sixth inning of a lopsided game, Barnes recorded just one out as he walked two. Only eight of his 21 pitches were strikes.

Manager Alex Cora noted that Barnes’ velocity had been down, but the biggest key for Barnes is to get back to attacking the strike zone and getting ahead early in counts, which led to his success in the first half. But it’s not for a lack of effort.

“I’m trying to attack the strike zone,” Barnes said. “I’m not trying to throw balls on purpose. I don’t even feel like I’m trying to nibble, I feel like I’m trying to go right after guys and it’s just out of sync right now. It’s spraying. I think I’m getting rotational, getting too high on my front side which is forcing me to rush and then kind of start yanking.”

Barnes is optimistic, though. He, the coaching staff and his teammates have noticed those mechanical issues while watching video over the last few days and Barnes said that he’s felt really good during bullpens and warming up before his appearances.

“I think it’s just translating that into the game,” Barnes said. “I went back and watched some video after I was done (on Wednesday). I felt like we picked up on a couple of things, so I was working on that today. Listen, it’s been a grind for me for a little while. Luckily the offense is doing their thing, the starters have been doing their thing and the bullpen has been really rock solid for the last month, month and a half. I’m grinding right now, but we’re not going to stop. We’re going to keep working and keep moving forward.”

On Friday night, Barnes translated the work into an encouraging step forward. He worked around a two-out double from Giancarlo Stanton to throw a scoreless sixth inning against the heart of the Yankees’ order. He struck out two, didn’t issue a walk and 16 of his 23 pitches were strikes, though he only threw five fastballs.

Cora knows what he has when Barnes is at his best, and they’re hopeful that he can unlock it over the next week.

“We’ll keep working with him,” Cora said. “Hopefully we can get him back on track because we do believe that obviously when he’s right, he’s one of the best relievers in the big leagues.”

Whitlock progressing

Garrett Whitlock, who’s on the 10-day injured list with a right pectoral strain, is feeling better, Cora said. He’s not throwing yet, but the hope remains for the star rookie reliever to return before the end of the season.

“We’ll see how he’s reacting to treatment but he’s been feeling well, he’s been feeling better,” Cora said. “We’ll map it out. As soon as the medical staff feels like we can move ahead and do the next step, we’ll do it.”

Schwarber gets another nod

After hitting two home runs Wednesday against the Mets, Kyle Schwarber was back at first base for his sixth start at the new position for him. Cora has been pleased with how he’s handled it.

“He’s been OK,” Cora said. “I know everybody talks about that play in Seattle, but he’s been solid. He’s moving around and getting used to it, he’s been really good. We’re very pleased with the progress and we feel comfortable playing him at first base.”

Nathan Eovaldi made his 200th career start on Friday night. His 31st start of the season is the most since he made 33 with Miami in 2014. … Alex Rodriguez was chatting with Bobby Dalbec on the field prior to Friday’s game. Rodriguez is in town to call Sunday night’s game on ESPN.

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‘The Wire’ actor Michael K. Williams died of drug intoxication: autopsy

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‘The Wire’ actor Michael K. Williams died of drug intoxication: autopsy

Actor Michael K. Williams died of acute drug intoxication in what New York City’s medical examiner said Friday was an accidental death.

Williams, known for playing Omar Little on “The Wire” and who was an Emmy Award nominee this year, had fentanyl, parafluorofentanyl, heroin and cocaine in his system when he died Sept. 6 in Brooklyn.

Williams, 54, was found dead by family members in his penthouse apartment. Police said at the time that they suspected a drug overdose.

The city’s Office of Chief Medical Examiner said it would not comment further. A message seeking comment was left with Williams’ representative.

Williams had spoken frankly in interviews in recent years about his struggle with drug addiction, which he said persisted after he gained fame on “The Wire” in the early 2000s.

“I was playing with fire,” he told the Newark Star-Ledger in 2012. “It was just a matter of time before I got caught and my business ended up on the cover of a tabloid or I went to jail or, worse, I ended up dead. When I look back on it now, I don’t know how I didn’t end up in a body bag.”

New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said in an interview shortly after Williams’ death that he had spoken with the actor earlier this year about collaborating with the department on community outreach.

Williams had been working with a New Jersey charity to smooth the journey for former prison inmates seeking to reenter society, and was working on a documentary on the subject. Another project involved reaching out directly to at-risk youth.

“This Hollywood thing that you see me in, I’m passing through,” Williams told the Associated Press last year. “Because I believe this is where my passion, my purpose is supposed to be.”

Omar, a rogue robber of drug dealers based on real figures from Baltimore, was hugely popular among fans of “The Wire,” which ran on HBO from 2002 to 2008.

Williams also starred as Chalky White in HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” from 2010 to 2014 and had roles in the films “12 Years a Slave” and “Assassin’s Creed.”

Williams was nominated this year for an Emmy for supporting actor in a drama series for HBO’s “Lovecraft Country,” but lost Sunday to a star of “The Crown.”

Williams was remembered in the ceremony’s “In Memoriam” segment.

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Want to help design a library? South St. Paul is taking ideas with online survey

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Want to help design a library? South St. Paul is taking ideas with online survey

Residents can have a say in the design of new library in South St. Paul through Oct. 7.

Dakota County and South St. Paul are moving forward with the design process for a library merger and rebuild. They are working together with BKV Group, a Minneapolis-based architectural firm.

Located in a 96-year-old brick colonial-style building near City Hall, the library will move into a new spot a few blocks west at Marie Avenue and 7th Street. A 16,000-square-foot building will be built that will serve as a community hub as well as a library.

County and city staff have set an early timeline for the project, with September focused on community input on how the library will be used and look. One in-person opportunity will be at a display set up at the South St. Paul Farmers’ Market on Sept. 29. Residents can also fill out a survey through Oct. 7 that can be found on the South St. Paul website.

Other key dates on the timeline include:

  • October-December 2021: Develop a schematic design concept for the new library with estimated costs.
  • January 2022: Design approval.
  • January – April 2022: Design development.
  • April – June 2022: Construction documents.
  • July 2022: Project open for bidding.
  • September 2022 – January 2024: Construction.

WHY MAKE A CHANGE?

The current library building was built in 1927 and lacks space and the infrastructure to handle newer technologies. It also is in need of repairs, such as to its roof, staff said.

Other needs highlighted in the past include:

  • More behind-the-scenes space for staff to operate.
  • Updates to heating and cooling systems.
  • Larger ADA-compliant bathrooms.
  • A bigger computer hub.

Library officials said upgrades and repairs would be more expensive than a new structure — about $2 million more. Past estimates put the cost of a new building at about $8.26 million.

“We definitely need a community room,” said Kathy Halgren, the South St. Paul library director. “When we would have a real popular performer or story time personality, or someone that would bring in lots of people, there’s no place for people to be.”

Halgren also wants to see study rooms, teen spaces and an adult quiet area. In terms of outdoor space, the library will have a larger parking lot.

MERGER EXPLAINED

For decades, the South St. Paul Public Library operated independently of the Dakota County library system.

But rising costs made it difficult to remain independent, said Margaret Stone, the Dakota County library director. By switching to being county-run, South St. Paul could save around $800,000 and taxpayers $350,000, said Joel Hanson, South St. Paul city administrator.

The merger combines the South St. Paul staff and collection with Dakota County resources, which will hopefully help the library run more efficiently. Dakota County will take over operations, such as cataloging, that librarians had done in the past, allowing for the librarians to spend more time with the community.

“We have very good library staff (and) I think with the upgraded facilities, we would see an increase in service levels, just because (they are) able to do more with newer, more modern facilities,” Hanson said.

Dakota County is also considering making the library “net zero,” meaning it would produce no carbon emissions. This would be done by installing solar panels and using geothermal energy, Stone said.

As for the current building, the city has no active plans to either renovate or demolish it, Hanson said.

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Tainted: Did you see someone stealing a catalytic converter from a handicap van?

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Tainted: Did you see someone stealing a catalytic converter from a handicap van?

Tainted

Thursday, Sept. 23 between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. a thief or thieves stole the catalytic converter from my nephew’s handicap van while it was parked in a handicap spot in front of the Marcus movie theater in Oakdale.

My nephew is still recovering from major surgery just two weeks ago. It’s very sad that someone would steal from a quadriplegic.  This van (a 20-year-old black Ford) is my nephew’s only transportation.

If anyone saw this crime being committed, please alert the Oakdale Police Department.

Allen Eldridge, Maplewood

 

Sainted

On Sept. 21 I was riding on the trail near Powers Lake and my billfold must have fallen out of my bike pack. While I was back searching for it, my wife called and told me a nice young couple had just stopped by our house to return my billfold which they had found on the path.

Since they would not share their name, all she could do was to thank them profusely.

It is very nice to know that in this divided time in our country, there are people who do the right thing. Thank you VERY much.

John Pletcher, Woodbury

 

Sainted

Episcopal Homes long-term-care center on University Avenue needs to be Sainted.

My father needed a nursing home a year ago, and we found a bit of heaven at the Episcopal Homes. It is like a home away from his home. The staff were so careful with caring for the residents during the COVID outbreaks. The women and men who work hard everyday helping my father with his daily needs are definitely saints. I too have been greeted with great kindness and understanding.

I don’t look forward to growing old and perhaps needing help with daily living but if Episcopal Homes are still around, I hope I can spend the last years of my life with the kind and caring staff of there. I will never be able to express my appreciation enough. I hope this is a small step in knowing what incredible people there are in this world. Thanks, Episcopal Homes.

Sheila Walker, St. Paul

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