Recently, the President of the UN General Assembly, María Fernanda Espinosa, along with the Governments of Antigua and Barbuda, and Norway, welcomed two new participants to the Play it Out concert, to be held in Antigua on June 1st, 2019.“Having dedicated my presidency to women and girls everywhere, it gives me immense pleasure that Meagan and Amanda, two very successful women, will co-host this important event,” noted President Espinosa.Celebrated actress Meagan Good has appeared in dozens of film and television productions, most recently the hit films Shazam and The Intruder. Amanda Cerny, meanwhile, is representative of ‘new media’ and has emerged in recent years as a leading global influencer, with over 35 million followers on social media.The Play It Out concert raises awareness for plastic pollution. This year’s 2019 headliners include Ashanti and Machel Montano, with additional sets of music from Cody Simpson, Rocky Dawuni, Nico and Vinz, Robin Schulz, St. Lucia, and Bomba Estero.“I am honored to serve as host for this vitally important event and initiative. Ridding our waters of plastic pollution and educating the world on the effects of nearly 13 million tons of plastics being dumped into our waters yearly is crucial,” states Good. “Fish, seabirds, sea turtles, and marine mammals can become entangled in or ingest plastic debris, causing suffocation, starvation, and drowning. Plastic affects human health. Toxic chemicals leach out of plastic and are found in the blood and tissue of nearly all of us. Exposure to them is linked to cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption and other ailments,” elaborated Good.Cerny added, “Single-use plastics are devastating our oceans and our planet. As individuals we can choose to either contribute to the problem or take action to protect our natural world. I’m excited to be co-hosting Play it Out and to use my platform as a UN Environment Ambassador to raise awareness surrounding the impact of our consumption and help win the battle against plastic pollution.”A free concert, Play it Out will include an audience of up to 20,000 at the Sir Vivian Richards National Stadium in Antigua. Live streaming will be available and broadcast across social media.
View image | gettyimages.comThe way I see it, the Mets owe us big time for spending so many hours watching them lose two games in a row in Kansas City to a superior team. How they repay us is obvious. They have to host a victory parade down Broadway in Manhattan, and make sure we all have the day off so we can sleep in late.The opener on Tuesday was grueling enough—the longest World Series game in history measured by innings. By the time the final out was recorded in the 14th, five hours and nine minutes after it started, I was numb, both spiritually and physically. My eyes could barely see. My mind was shot.As they taught us by their debacle the following night, the first matchup was one the Mets had to win. All that effort gone to waste. I mean, on our part, as demoralized fans too masochistic to turn the damn thing off until some distant voice of reason, probably female, penetrated our consciousness with these words: “Go to bed!”After all, hadn’t we done our time already this season? Didn’t we stick with the Metropolitans back in July, when the needs of our families and our communities—hell, our republic, for that matter—went begging for 18 innings? It was July 19th, and the Mets only took a 1-0 lead over the St. Louis Cardinals in the top of the 13th inning, only to blow it in the bottom of the same inning when Jeurys Familia gave up a leadoff homer. No, I don’t want to remember it well—they did go on to prevail 3-1—but it came back to haunt me when Game 1 entered the midnight hour after he’d blown it in the ninth inning. I turned to my viewing companion, my son who had to get up even earlier the next morning than I so he could catch a train to the city, and asked him rhetorically, “How much longer should we watch this?”Well, the answer was obvious. To the bitter end. After all, past was prologue. We both stuck with the team in July, when the World Series seemed like a pipe dream, why would we be sensible now? Back then, Ruben Tejada—bless his soul, and curse Chase Utley’s—hit a sacrifice fly that allowed Wilmer Flores to score the go-ahead run. We got an insurance run on a squeeze bunt by Eric Campbell. Ah, those were the days, weren’t they? And let us recall that it was a day game, too.Tuesday night seemed to last forever. My son said he had a dream (perhaps a nightmare) later that it ended at 5 a.m. Let the record show it was over way before then. Apparently, we were not alone. The game was the most-watched World Series opener since 15 million viewers tuned into the 2010 matchup.This game, let’s face it, did have a little bit of everything. There was the first inside-the-park homer since the World Series of 1929 (and the anniversary of the Stock Market crash was this week, too, come to think of it)—and it came off the very first pitch that our Dark Knight, Matt Harvey, threw. That in itself is a rarity.And, laughing at their expense because it is Fox after all, there was a “rare electronics failure” that blew the game off the air—and onto our radios—in the fourth inning. Just like that, we all had to hunt for our AM dials, but just before we could settle in, the network figured out how to stream the international feed for domestic consumption. I just felt sorry for the hapless chaps back in the studio who had to make small talk while the engineers figured out how to override the meltdown. We haven’t seen anything like this since the Oakland A’s-San Francisco Giants World Series—dubbed the Battle of the Bay—was disrupted by a severe earthquake that struck in 1989 just as Game 3 was getting underway and knocked ABC off the air. By the way, the Giants were down two games to none. The bad news is that the Athletics went on to sweep them four-zip.Tuesday’s snafu also illustrates just how dependent America’s pastime has become on modern technology. The four-minute on-field delay was reportedly due to the replay capability being lost in both team’s clubhouses. We wouldn’t want to lose that, would we? Why, without replay capability, how could the game go on? Now, since it was Fox, nobody dared to blame the liberal media for screwing up, but the thought had to be in the noosphere. But they found the right switch and the game went on at Kauffman Stadium. For the record, the 2013 Super Bowl was delayed when the power went out in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. That’s a more old-fashioned problem, but it certainly couldn’t have helped the automaker’s brand since play stopped for 34 minutes.Once Fox resumed its World Series coverage, it was amusing when Joe Buck—he of the five o’clock stubble—told the viewing audience that they had enough quarters to keep Game 1 on the air for the rest of the evening as he traded microphones with Matt Vasgersian and John Smoltz, who were handling the game for MLB International. Little did Buck know that the night was still young.Going into Wednesday night’s game from the Mets’ point of view, they probably figured that all their East Coast fans could use some shut-eye but they took it one step further, and seemed to nod off at the plate, getting only two hits off the Royals’ mighty-dreadlocked righthander Johnny Cueto, who pitched the whole damn game, while our long-haired phenom Jacob DeGrom hardly struck anybody out and got rocked instead. Our reputed ace gave up four runs in the fifth inning, and then it was lights out for him. For good measure other Mets pitchers came in in relief and allowed three more before the game was mercifully over, 7-1 the final score.Sleep, perchance to dream, never sounded so good Wednesday night. For the superstitious, the Mets lost by one run in the first game of the 1986 World Series and by six runs in the second game—and that was at Shea Stadium, where we teach future generations the Mets beat the Red Sox in Game 6, and, just as important, in Game 7.Whether history can repeat itself this time against Kansas is a question that remains to be seen. Too many Mets fans woke up Thursday morning thinking the world had ended, let alone the Series. But let us remember they’ve only played each other twice, and they have at least two more games to go.So, the message to us all: stay tuned. And hope the blessings flow. 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The Beacon Project was established following USC’s involvement in a national college admissions bribery scheme uncovered by the FBI earlier this year. Last spring, Annenberg faculty passed a resolution to independently investigate the University and its admissions system. “As long as you’re here, this is a community that anyone going here as a journalist has the ability to report on. It’s not something to take for granted,” Urban said. “This is the largest private employer in all of Los Angeles — the things that happen here matter to a lot of people.” This article was updated at 8:40 a.m. on Aug. 29. A previous version incorrectly stated that Urban drove to San Diego to interview Dennis Kelly. However, Urban drove to San Diego to interview a former UCLA Health Center director. The students worked full time for 12 weeks out of the Annenberg Media Center, investigating and reporting on various problems within the University. The University has not yet responded to Peay’s investigation. “It was very independent,” Urban said. “They gave us so much autonomy … They really trusted us, like, ‘You know what to do. If you need to report, go do reporting.’ They’d say drive down to San Diego, and … I rented a car, and I drove down to San Diego [to do an] interview.” The sun had only just risen when Sasha Urban, a junior majoring in journalism, pulled out of a rental car garage to drive down Interstate 5 to San Diego County, where one of his sources lived. Along with Schoofs, the project was led by faculty editors and Annenberg professors Christina Bellantoni, Gary Cohn and Gabe Kahn. During the summer, the reporters worked on the stories they pitched when they applied in April. While Urban focused on uncovering more information about allegations against Kelly in a report that was ultimately published in BuzzFeed News, Peay focused on investigating USC’s promises of transparency and the multiple internal investigations into the University. “We initially started to form [the internship] around the admissions scandal,” Bellantoni said. “We wanted to focus on that, but we knew this was a really important story. We said [to Urban], ‘Well, let’s see what you find.’ And he found material that [made us] sure this was indeed an important story.” As the final weeks of summer approached, students compiled their research and started drafting their stories with support from faculty editors. While both Urban and Peay’s investigations were published in Annenberg Media, Peay’s investigation was also published in LAist and Urban’s in BuzzFeed News. “Before the summer started, going to someone’s house to interview them was the most terrifying thing I could have ever thought of,” Urban said. “[But] I probably went to five or six people’s houses for [my] story, and it was so, so worth it.” In response to Urban’s investigation, Interim Provost Elizabeth Graddy sent a University-wide email assuring that USC is doing its best to hear student concerns while balancing the sensitive information of open lawsuits. Additionally, the University reminded all students, faculty and staff of free counseling in the wake of the allegations against Kelly. Urban was attempting to interview the former UCLA health director regarding Dennis Kelly, a former USC doctor accused of sexually assaulting former and current students. His investigation into Kelly and the University’s response to decades of allegations against the doctor was his focus as a reporter with the Beacon Project, a summer journalism initiative created by the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. The Daily Trojan regrets this error. “The school of journalism supported it, so that we were able to hire six reporters to be a part of this summer internship,” said Mark Schoofs, one of the professors who led the initiative. “Their job for the summer was to report on the University and related issues.” Participating students included Consuelo Cifuentes, who is pursuing a master’s degree in communication management; Sam Kmack and Ruby Yuan, seniors majoring in journalism; Austin Peay, a senior majoring in law, history and culture and classics; and Ashley Zhang, a sophomore majoring in political science. Annenberg offers several investigative reporting classes this fall, some taught by Schoofs and Cohn. The Beacon Projects ended with the summer, but several of the reporters hope to continue reporting as their stories develop. “It’s unprecedented for a journalism school to create a program to investigate its own University that upholds the highest standard of investigative journalism,” said Schoofs, formerly an investigative editor at BuzzFeed News.