Wednesday, September 16, 2015

BEIJING (AP) -- An environmental group says that the illicit timber trade between Myanmar and China is rebounding to levels near their peak a decade ago, as loggers push deeper into Myanmar to harvest its forests.

The London- and Washington D.C.-based Environmental Investigation Agency called in a report for both governments to stop the trade, which is worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year and supplies China's furniture industry. EIA says Chinese businesses acquire the rights to illegally log Burmese mountains through bribery.

EIA campaigner Julian Newman says the volume of illegal timber crossing the border has risen to nearly 900,000 cubic meters a year - not far off the 2005 peak of about 1 million cubic meters, which fell after Chinese authorities temporarily clamped down.

NEW YORK (AP) -- At an exclusive and intimate New York Fashion Week party, Katy Perry dedicated a song not to fabulous designers or picture-perfect models, but to their assistants.
Perry closed her 30-minute set at the Plaza Hotel on Wednesday with her inspirational No. 1 hit, "Firework."

She told the audience she wanted them to remember it "when you're going about your day and you rip your pants ... I'm talking about all the assistants here."

Perry performed at a party by Harper's Bazaar paying tribute to women in fashion. Honorees included Oprah Winfrey, Mariah Carey, Willow Smith, Jessica Chastain, Dakota Johnson and Perry.

She kicked off her set with "Roar" and performed popular hits like "I Kissed a Girl," "Teenage Dream" and "Dark Horse."

AMBON, Indonesia (AP) -- Myo Aung took a fishing job that he thought would keep him close to home in southern Myanmar, but he ended up thousands of miles away with no chance of return for five years. The 25-year-old is among more than 2,000 fishermen rescued this year from forced labor under brutal conditions, mainly in remote Indonesian islands, following reporting by The Associated Press and subsequent investigation by Indonesian authorities. Last week he was on Ambon island, awaiting his return home.
This is his story, in his own words, translated from Burmese and with editing for organization and length.

As we were working under the rain and the sun, I got really sick. I went to the captain and asked for medicine. The captain said, "OK, but you have to keep working after taking the pills." ... I couldn't stand the fever and went to sleep without going to work. The captain beat me up and shouted at me, and I went back to work.

Who could stand working continuously without taking a rest? Sometimes we have to sew the nets and we work half-asleep. We had to drink coffee a lot to keep ourselves awake.
The captain tortured the workers and beat them up if someone was not doing things that he asked. ... He never wanted to pay the right amount of money. He would sometimes give us 2 million or 1 million rupiah ($138 or $69) after three or four months. ... Here in Indonesia, a million rupiah is nothing. We could buy nothing much with it. We would buy coffee and some clothes.

They are so reluctant to pay us money. Our lives were like slaves. They only think us as their servants. For years since I got to Indonesia, there was no way back home. It was like our lives were already over.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Giants pitcher Jake Peavy homered through the low-hovering mist for his first long ball in more than nine years, leading San Francisco past the Cincinnati Reds 5-3 on Wednesday night.

Peavy struck out eight in six-plus innings on the mound and connected for his third career home run in the fourth against reliever Collin Balester. It was Peavy's first since July 26, 2006, at Dodger Stadium with the Padres.

That gave Giants pitchers nine home runs this season, most since hitting 10 in 1934. The 1924 staff also had nine.

Peavy (7-6) became the fifth San Francisco pitcher to go deep this season, matching a major league record. Everyone in the rotation with at least 16 starts aside from rookie Chris Heston has homered, and Madison Bumgarner has five.

San Francisco remained 7 1/2 games behind NL West-leading Los Angeles and 7 1/2 back of the Cubs for the second wild card.

Marlon Byrd hit an RBI triple in the third after a double in the second, and Ehire Adrianza added an RBI double and a run-scoring triple as the Giants chased Cincinnati starter Michael Lorenzen (4-9) after three innings.

Brandon Phillips hit an RBI double in the sixth to put the Reds on the board a night after they rallied for a 9-8 win in 10 innings. Skip Schumaker doubled home a run in the seventh.
Cincinnati loaded the bases with nobody out in the eighth but managed only one run.
Santiago Casilla retired Phillips on a bases-loaded grounder for his 34th save after a replay review extended the ninth inning.

Peavy allowed seven hits and one walk to win his third straight start and fourth consecutive decision since a loss at Pittsburgh on Aug. 20.

The right-hander went 250 at-bats and 287 plate appearances between home runs. He walked off to a warm ovation from the sellout crowd of 41,383 and chants of "Peavy! Peavy!"

San Francisco became the 16th team since 1901 to have five pitchers homer in a season and first since the 2002 Dodgers. The New York Giants did so twice, in 1930 and `35.

Rain forced the Giants inside during pregame warmups in the drought-starved Bay Area. The Reds have regularly attracted rain whether at home or on the road this year, with 23 rain delays spanning more than 30 hours. It began pouring in the bottom of the eighth, sending fans scattering for cover while others cheered the precipitation.

Reds: CF Billy Hamilton did not start for the second consecutive game after leaving Monday's series opener with a sore shoulder. He entered as a pinch runner in the ninth and was awarded a stolen base upon replay review after initially getting called out. ... Manager Bryan Price altered his rookie rotation by removing Lorenzen, Raisel Iglesias and Keyvius Sampson going into a weekend series at Milwaukee beginning Friday. Iglesias has fatigue in his right shoulder and the club will evaluate how to monitor his workload the rest of the way. Sampson is leaving for a couple of days to deal with personal family business. ... LHP Brandon Finnegan will make his first major league start Friday against the Brewers. ... C Brayan Pena (strained right hamstring) threw and worked out of his squat while catching a bullpen session.

Giants: RHP Tim Hudson will play catch and throw a light bullpen Friday and plans to pitch Sunday on turn despite a hip issue. "It's just an old, tricky hip," he said. ... 2B Joe Panik was transferred to the 60-day disabled list with lower back inflammation that has kept him out since Aug. 2. ... C Trevor Brown and OF Mac Williamson had their contracts purchased from Triple-A Sacramento.
Reds: Finnegan's first career start will be his 24th appearance overall and second against the Brewers.
Giants: Bumgarner (18-7) goes for a career high in wins as he looks to follow up a one-hitter his last time out in which he took a perfect game into the eighth inning against the Padres. The Giants have won his last seven starts at home and 10 of 12 overall.

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -- New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said Wednesday that he hopes Donald Trump can win the presidency, hours before Trump participated in the second Republican debate.

The Super Bowl MVP, whose four-game suspension for using deflated footballs was recently overturned by a judge, grinned broadly as he talked about his golf partner.
"I hope so," he said. "It would be great. There would be a putting green on the White House lawn, I'm sure of that."

Brady's locker sported a "Make America Great Again" red hat sent to him by Trump.
"It was a nice keepsake," he said. "It could be a - yeah, a nice piece of memorabilia he sent me."

Brady will lead the Patriots against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

Brady doesn't appear to have given to federal politicians, a review of Federal Election Commission records shows.

His boss, Robert Kraft, gave $5,000, the maximum amount, to President Barack Obama's campaign and another $52,000 to Democratic Party committees for Obama's 2012 re-election. Kraft is mostly a Democratic supporter but has given donations in recent years to Sens. Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham - both of whom are among those vying for the Republican presidential nomination.
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