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.

© 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

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.
AP NFL website: and

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Asian stock markets and currencies were mostly higher Thursday as investors bet the Federal Reserve would not raise interest rates at this week's closely watched meeting.

KEEPING SCORE: Tokyo's Nikkei 225 advanced 1.2 percent to 18,396.34. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.9 percent to 22,151.59 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 1.3 percent to 5,167.30. Markets in Southeast Asia were also higher. China's Shanghai Composite Index reversed course to gain 0.8 percent to 3,175.81. South Korea's Kospi was flat at 1,974.89. The dollar fell 0.4 percent against the South Korean won and dropped 0.5 percent against Indonesia's rupiah.

HIKE OR NO HIKE: Two months ago, it seemed almost certain that the Fed was going to raise rates in September. Now, after the turmoil in financial markets and concerns about China's economy, there are more investors who believe that the Fed will wait until
December to raise rates. The Fed started its two-day policy meeting Wednesday and will announce its decision Thursday afternoon. Interest rates have been near zero since 2008 in response to the financial crisis and Great Recession. The Fed's low interest rate policy was designed to encourage lending, but it also helped drive a seven-year bull market in stocks.

MONETARY MOVES: Some analysts said the recent advances in stock markets are driven by expectations that central banks around the world may do more to support economic growth. Some economists expect the Bank of Japan will increase its asset purchase program and a number of European Central Bank members have talked up the prospect of additional asset purchases.

ANALYST QUOTE: "I can't help but think there is a view that something more substantial is at play here than just potential Fed inaction and I feel that market participants are looking at a global response driven by central banks," said Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG in Melbourne, Australia.

WALL STREET: Wall Street closed higher as the Fed policymakers began their two-day meeting. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.8 percent to 16,739.95. The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 0.9 percent to 1,995.31 and the Nasdaq composite added 0.6 percent to 4,889.24.

ENERGY: U.S. benchmark crude edged up 3 cents at $47.18 per barrel on electronic trading in New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract jumped $2.56, or 5.7 percent, to close at $47.15 per barrel on Wednesday after a steeper-than-expected drop in crude inventories. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, added 12 cents to $50.64 per barrel in London after a 4-percent jump in the previous session.

CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened to 120.76 yen from 120.56 yen and the euro weakened to $1.1288 from $1.1289.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Ian Kinsler's two-out RBI single preceded a two-run homer by J.D. Martinez in the top of the 12th inning, pushing the Detroit Tigers past the Minnesota Twins 7-4 in a back-and-forth game Wednesday night.

With scant fans left from the paid crowd of 22,509, Martinez's 37th home run off Brian Duensing (4-1) landed with a loud clang on the metal bleachers in lower left field that punctuated a tough loss for the postseason-chasing Twins. They stayed 1 1/2 games behind Houston for the second American League wild card spot, after the Astros lost to Texas.

Ian Krol (2-3), the ninth Tigers pitcher, got the last nine outs for the victory while allowing only one walk. He stranded the two runners he inherited with no outs in the 10th.
The first pitch was delayed 56 minutes because of rain, and the game finally ended at 12:23 a.m. local time.

Jefry Marte hit a two-run single in a four-hit ninth inning against Kevin Jepsen, his first squandered save in eight attempts with Minnesota. Then the Twins got one back in the bottom of the inning as Bruce Rondon took his third blown save in eight tries for Detroit, walking Miguel Sano to start and surrendering the tying double to Trevor Plouffe.
Eddie Rosario of the Twins held star of the night status until then, with a home run in the third inning and the go-ahead RBI single in the eighth.

Daniel Norris came off the disabled list to start for the Tigers on a strict pitch count that limited him to 3 2/3 innings. The Twins had only two hits through the sixth, but Joe Mauer walked to start the seventh and stretch his streak of reaching base to 36 consecutive games.

Sano followed with his second double of the game. Hunter's single off third baseman Marte's glove gave Drew VerHagen his first run allowed in 12 appearances. Then Rosario met Detroit's third reliever, Blaine Hardy, with the big hit.

Twins starter Ervin Santana surrendered a two-run, two-out, full-count double in the first inning to Tyler Collins, but the Tigers had just three other hits against him. Second baseman Brian Dozier helped turn three double plays, stretching for a wide toss from Santana and staying in stride to fire the relay throw to first to end the fourth.

Over his last four turns, Santana has finished 29 innings and allowed just 22 hits, six walks and five runs with 32 strikeouts.

Signed for $49 million, RHP Ricky Nolasco has a 5.40 ERA over the first half of his four-year deal with the Twins. He won five straight starts in May but landed on the DL with a right ankle injury that needed surgery. Nolasco threw a sharp bullpen session Wednesday, though, and manager Paul Molitor used the words "professionalism" and "hunger" in praising Nolasco's effort to return this season. The Twins have a six-man rotation, so the only chance for Nolasco to pitch while the Twins are in contention would be in relief.
"I'm proud of what he's done to get himself ready," Molitor said.

Tigers: Nick Castellanos was scratched from the original lineup due to tightness in his left groin. He was replaced at 3B by Marte, who batted sixth with Collins moving up one slot. ... RHP Anibal Sanchez saw Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Florida, where an MRI showed no structural damage to his shoulder. He received a platelet-rich plasma injection.
Twins: RHP Glen Perkins looked good in his bullpen session, Molitor said, and the closer should be ready for game action by Friday. Jepsen has been handling the ninth inning for Perkins, who's been out with a bad back since Sept. 1.

Tigers: After a day off Thursday, Detroit returns home to host division-leading Kansas City. RHP Justin Verlander (3-8, 3.58 ERA) pitches Friday for the Tigers, opposite RHP Johnny Cueto (9-12, 3.47 ERA) of the Royals.

Twins: This 10-game homestand continues for Minnesota on Thursday against wild-card competitor Los Angeles, with LHP Tommy Milone (8-5, 3.73 ERA) taking the mound for the Twins against LHP Hector Santiago (8-9, 3.21 ERA) of the Angels.
All Times Eastern
Toronto 9, Atlanta 1 F
American League
Boston 10, Baltimore 1 F
Cleveland 5, Kansas City 1 F
N.Y. Yankees 3, Tampa Bay 1 F
Texas 14, Houston 3 F
Detroit 7, Minnesota 4 F 12 Innings
Chicago White Sox 9, Oakland 4 F
Seattle 3, L.A. Angels 1 F
National League
Chicago Cubs 3, Pittsburgh 2 F 12 Innings
Washington 12, Philadelphia 2 F
Miami 6, N.Y. Mets 0 F
St. Louis 5, Milwaukee 4 F
San Diego 4, Arizona 3 F
L.A. Dodgers 2, Colorado 0 F
San Francisco 5, Cincinnati 3 F
National Football League
No games today.
Top 25 College Football
No games today.
WNBA Basketball Playoffs
No games today.
Major League Soccer
New England 2, New York 1 F
New York City FC 2, Toronto FC 0 F
Montreal 1, San Jose 1 F
PARIS (AP) -- Paris authorities are evacuating more than 500 Syrian and other migrants from tent camps and moving them to special housing as the country steps up efforts to deal with Europe's migrant wave.

City social workers and charity workers woke the migrants before dawn Thursday, and they gathered their belongings calmly, watched over by police.

The operations took place at a large camp near the Gare d'Austerlitz train station in southeast Paris, and another in the 18th arrondissement of northern Paris.

Paris city hall said migrants are being bused to special migrant housing centers in Paris and the surrounding region, and offered help applying for asylum.

France has been criticized for its relatively slow response to the migrant crisis even as neighboring Germany has taken in hundreds of thousands of people.

Source: BBC
A surge of desperate migrants from the Middle East and Africa has put unprecedented pressure on EU countries, especially Italy, Greece and Hungary.
More than 350,000 migrants were detected at the EU's borders in January-August 2015, compared with 280,000 detections for the whole of 2014.
That 350,000 figure - an estimate from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) - does not include the many who got in undetected.
The conflicts raging in Syria and Afghanistan, and abuses in Eritrea, are major drivers of the migration.
More than 2,600 migrants have drowned in the Mediterranean this year, trying to reach Greece or Italy, the IOM says.
Many attempt the perilous Western Balkans route, hoping to reach Germany and other northern EU countries. They run the gauntlet of brutal people traffickers and robbers.

How many people are on the move?

The 350,000 total detected so far this year at the EU's borders includes more than 230,000 who arrived in Greece and nearly 115,000 in Italy. About 2,100 arrived in Spain.
Most of those heading for Greece take the relatively short voyage from Turkey to the islands of Kos, Chios, Lesvos and Samos - often in flimsy rubber dinghies or small wooden boats.

The voyage from Libya to Italy is longer and more hazardous.
Some of the worse tragedies in 2015 include:
Survivors often report violence and abuse by people traffickers. Many migrants pay thousands of dollars each to the traffickers.
Chaos in Libya has given traffickers freedom to exploit migrants.

The EU's external border force, Frontex, monitors the different routes migrants use and how many people are arriving at Europe's borders.
Frontex has been carrying out most of the rescue operations in the Mediterranean.

Where do they come from?

The largest migrant group by nationality in 2015 is Syrians, as people flee the country's brutal civil war.
Afghans and Eritreans come next. They are often also fleeing poverty and human rights abuses.
People from Nigeria and Kosovo also make up large groups. Poor, marginalised Roma account for many of the migrants from Kosovo.

In Italy new migrants from Eritrea form the biggest group, followed by those from Nigeria.
But in Greece migrants from Syria are the biggest group, then Afghans.

Where are they going next?

Germany, which receives by far the most asylum applications in the EU, isexpecting 800,000 refugees to arrive this year.

Some 3,000 people are expected to cross into Macedonia each day in the coming months, according to the UN.
Many then cross into Serbia, which says it has seen 90,000 migrants so far this year, and head for Hungary - a gateway to the EU's passport-free Schengen zone.
In July alone, 34,000 migrants were detected trying to cross from Serbia into Hungary.
Faced with that influx, Hungary has built a controversial 175km (110-mile) razor-wire fence to keep migrants out. It plans to fortify it over the coming weeks.
It has also urged EU partners not to send back migrants who have travelled on from Hungary.
After hundreds of migrants crowded onto trains bound for Austria and Germany at a central Budapest station the Hungarian authorities decided to close it to migrants on 1 September.
The EU's Dublin Regulation places responsibility for examining an asylum seeker's claim with the first EU country that the migrant reached.
But Greece complained that it was inundated with applications, as so many migrants arrived in Greece first. Germany then suspended the Dublin rule and decided to consider asylum cases from the majority of Syrian applicants.
Finland is also among the countries that have stopped sending people back to Greece.
Other countries are also struggling with the influx of arrivals.
Austria says it is expecting 80,000 asylum applications this year.
Meanwhile several thousand migrants are camped around Calais in northern France. Many have been risking their lives jumping aboard UK-bound lorries and trains near the Channel Tunnel.

What are politicians doing about it?

After much argument EU leaders agreed to triple the funding of Frontex to some €120m (£86m) in April.
However Frontex said in August it had not received enough pledges of assets from EU states to help Greece and Hungary.
Italy abandoned its Mare Nostrum search-and-rescue mission last year after some EU members - including the UK - said they could not afford to fund it. The decision was widely criticised by rights groups.
In April EU leaders pledged to beef up maritime patrols in the Mediterranean, disrupt people trafficking networks and capture and destroy boats before migrants board them. Any military action would have to conform to international law.
And huge questions remain over how the migrants who arrive in the EU are dealt with.
The European Commission tried unsuccessfully to persuade member states to accept a mandatory quota system for taking in 40,000 Syrians and Eritreans over the next two years. They agreed to accept 32,500 on a voluntary basis.
Another 20,000 refugees currently in UNHCR camps would also be transferred to the EU, but the details have not been decided.

Are EU countries doing their fair share?

For years the EU has been struggling to harmonise asylum policy. That is difficult with 28 member states, each with their own police force and judiciary.
Championing the rights of poor migrants is difficult as the economic climate is still gloomy, many Europeans are unemployed and wary of foreign workers, and EU countries are divided over how to share the refugee burden.
More detailed joint rules have been brought in with the Common European Asylum System - but rules are one thing, putting them into practice EU-wide is another challenge.
Asylum applications in EU, 2014
The number of asylum claims in the EU rose to 626,065 in 2014, up from 435,190 in 2013, the European Commission reports.
Germany granted the most, followed by Sweden and Italy.

How do migrants get asylum status in the EU?

A migrant sits on a Norwegian Coast Guard boat after being transferred from the Italian Navy Ship Fulgosi during a migrant search and rescue mission off the Libyan coast - 1 September 2015Image copyrightAP
Image captionMore than 100,000 people got refugee status in the EU last year
They have to satisfy the authorities that they are fleeing persecution and would face harm or even death if sent back to their country of origin.
Under EU rules, an asylum seeker has the right to food, first aid and shelter in a reception centre. They should get an individual assessment of their needs. They may be granted asylum by the authorities at "first instance". If unsuccessful, they can appeal against the decision in court, and may win.
Asylum seekers are supposed to be granted the right to work within nine months of arrival.
In 2014, the EU statistics agency Eurostat reports, 45% of first instance asylum decisions were positive - that is, authorities granted refugee or subsidiary protection status, or permission to stay for humanitarian reasons.
Nearly 104,000 got refugee status in the EU last year, nearly 60,000 subsidiary protection status and just over 20,000 authorisation to stay for humanitarian reasons. (Austria was not included in the data.)
The highest number of positive asylum decisions in 2014 was in Germany (48,000), followed by Sweden (33,000), then France and Italy (both 21,000) and the UK (14,000).