31 Aug

Spike Lee ‘done’ with Knicks for the season

first_imgNEW YORK,  (Reuters) – The New York Knicks’ abysmal season took yet another unfortunate turn this week after a purported mix-up at Madison Square Garden led to a public rift with one of the team’s most famous and stalwart supporters, director Spike Lee. The Academy Award winner told ESPN’s First Take yesterday that he would not attend another Knicks game at Madison Square Garden this season after an issue with security over the door he used to enter the arena on Monday, saying that the team later tried to “spin” the incident.  The 62-year-old New Yorker eventually reached his regular court side seat to watch the Knicks take on the Houston Rockets. But he told ESPN he objected to how the franchise handled the situation.“I’m coming back next year, but I’m done for the season,” said Lee.The Knicks responded to his remarks with a critical tweet yesterday, saying Lee was creating “this false controversy to perpetuate drama.” The incident clouded an otherwise positive day for the struggling Knicks, one of the worst teams in the National Basketball Association’s Eastern Conference, who upset the much stronger Rockets 125-123.The tweet also said that Lee and Knicks owner James Dolan shook hands at the game and included a photo of the two.last_img read more

13 Aug

A break for smokers? Glitch may limit penalties

first_imgWASHINGTON | They huddle outside office buildings and they can’t satisfy their nicotine cravings by lighting up on planes and trains, but now smokers could be getting a break from an unlikely source.A glitch involving President Barack Obama’s health care law means smokers may get at least some relief next year from tobacco-use penalties that could have made their premiums unaffordable.In yet another health care overhaul delay, the administration has quietly notified insurers that a computer system problem will limit penalties that the law says the companies may charge smokers. A fix will take at least a year.Older smokers are more likely to benefit from the glitch, experts say. But depending on how insurers respond to it, it’s also possible that younger smokers could wind up facing higher penalties than they otherwise would have.Some see an emerging pattern of last-minute switches and delays as the administration scrambles to prepare the Oct. 1 launch of new health insurance markets for people who don’t have job-based insurance. Last week, the White House unexpectedly announced a one-year postponement of a major provision in the law that requires larger employers to offer coverage or face fines.The smokers’ glitch is “a temporary circumstance that in no way impacts our ability to open the marketplaces on Oct. 1,” Health and Human Services spokeswoman Joanne Peters said in a statement.A June 28 HHS document couched the problem in technical language:“Because of a system limitation … the system currently cannot process a premium for a 65-year-old smoker that is … more than three times the premium of a 21-year-old smoker,” the industry guidance said.If an insurer tries to charge more, “the submission of the (insurer) will be rejected by the system,” it added.Starting in 2014, the law requires insurance companies to accept all applicants regardless of pre-existing medical problems. But it also allows them to charge smokers up to 50 percent higher premiums — a way for insurers to ward off bad risks.For an older smoker, the cost of the full penalty could be prohibitive.Premiums for a standard “silver” insurance plan would be about $9,000 a year for a 64-year-old non-smoker, according to the online Kaiser Health Reform Subsidy Calculator. That’s before any tax credits, available on a sliding scale based on income.For a smoker of the same age, the full 50 percent penalty would add more than $4,500 to the cost of the policy, bringing it to nearly $13,600. And new tax credits available to help pay premiums cannot be used to offset the penalty.The underlying reason for the glitch is another provision in the health care law that says insurers can’t charge older customers more than three times what they charge the youngest adults in the pool. The government’s computer system has been unable to accommodate the two.The administration is suggesting that insurers limit the penalties across all age groups. The HHS guidance document used the example of a 20 percent penalty for young and old alike.In that case the premium for a 64-year-old would be about $10,900, a significant cut from the $13,600 if insurers charged the full penalty.Younger smokers and older smokers can still be charged different penalties, but if the total of premiums and penalties is more than three times greater for older smokers, the system will kick it out.Insurers had not expected such limitations. Before the glitch popped up, experts said the companies would probably charge low penalties for younger smokers, and much higher ones for older ones.“Generally a 20-year-old who smokes probably doesn’t have much higher health costs than someone who doesn’t smoke in any given year,” said Larry Levitt, an insurance market expert with the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. “A 60-year-old is another story.”It’s unclear what insurance companies will do.Another workaround for the companies would be to charge the full penalty to both younger and older smokers. In that case, there wouldn’t be any savings for older smokers, and younger ones would see a big price shock.Levitt said he suspects insurers will keep the penalties low to sign up more young people. That’s happened so far in three states, he added.But health care industry consultant Bob Laszweski said he thinks insurers will do the opposite, hitting young and old with high penalties. “It’s going to throw cold water on efforts to get younger people to sign up,” he said.Workers covered through job-based health plans would be able to avoid tobacco penalties by joining smoking cessation programs because employer plans operate under different rules.That option is not guaranteed to smokers trying to purchase coverage individually, prompting 10 states already to limit what insurers can charge smokers buying individual coverage.last_img read more

12 Aug

San Miguel Thursday Darts

first_imgStandings Nov. 18 (week 25) Irish Rovers22814167 Soho/Cupido2412122412 O’Leary’s2141785 The School2212102412 TeamPlayedWonLostPts.Beer-legs Jantha C.H.251693214 Blue Mountain2414102815 Fishing Gallery231583012center_img Londoner2313102417 Rising Sun252054022 Sports Corner Bar22814168 Crazy Eddies241593015 Dan Yar Bar2141782 Nervous Wreck24159308 W. Tankies24618128last_img

6 Aug

Defender Andoni Iraola swaps Athletic Club for New York City

first_img “I have only played for one team for my entire career and I knew that after leaving Bilbao my first option would be New York,” Iraola said in a press relase.  The club celebrated the signing of the Basque and said that even though David Villa would continue as captain, Iraola is “another captain.”  CEST 16/06/2015 EFE Iraola, who is yet to pass his medical, then spoke about his desire to begin training with his new teammates in New York, “the best place to continue my career.”  “It’s going to be really good to play with David Villa,” he continued. “We crossed in the Spanish national team and we have played against each other on many occasions, but now to play together will be an extra motivation.”  Upd. at 22:35 “His level of professionalism and humility is exactly what we want at New York City,” said the club’s sporting director, Claudio Reyna.  New York City announced on Tuesday the signing of Athletic Club right-back Andoni Iraola.  The defender, 33, revealed in April his intention to leave Athletic when he his contract ends on June 30.  Iraola leaves Athletic after 12 years in the first team and as the fourth most capped player in the history of the club.  He joined the Bilbao side in 1999 and made his debut on August 30, 2003, in a match against Barcelona.last_img read more

5 Aug

Membrey loss kept alive

first_imgBy DAVID NAGEL “THERE is help out there – suicide is 100 percent preventable … suicide is 100 percent preventable,”…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.last_img

5 Aug

Clyde the cow

first_imgBy Mitchell Clarke A cow affectionately named Clyde who caused peak hour chaos on the Monash is set to spend the rest of…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.last_img