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Five NC Courage players set to start Olympic qualifying tonight against Haiti

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The North Carolina Courage are well represented as the USWNT faces off against Haiti tonight in their first match of the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament. New head coach Vlatko Andonovski called up all four Courage players who won the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France last summer – Abby Dahlkemper, Jessica McDonald, Samantha Mewis, and Crystal Dunn – and also elevated forward Lynn Williams to the tight 20-player roster. The fact that Williams made the roster at the expense of four former World Cup winners is a huge deal for her and signifies that Andonovski is bringing his NWSL coaching experience to the table when making Senior National Team decisions. For Courage fans across the country, tonight is an opportunity to see our players in action for the first time since October, when they won a dominant 4-0 victory over the Chicago Red Stars in the NWSL Championship.

There are a lot of questions that could be answered during this match and tournament. Most importantly, Andonovski’s roster still has Dunn listed as a defender. It’ll be interesting to see if she has played her way into a position that she doesn’t prefer or if the new coach will let her run with the forwards. Outside back is a brutally shallow position for the USWNT, so she might just be stuck there through the Olympics. I’m also watching to see how much play Williams and McDonald get. The Olympic roster gets cut down to just 18 players, and you have to think that the overabundance of forwards is going to be the main place that those two extra players will be culled from. Additionally, Alex Morgan is going to try to be back to play in the Olympics after the birth of her first child. I doubt that she will be on the squad come May, but these athletes are not normal people and if she wants a spot in the deciding camp she’s going to get it. That leaves the two Courage strikers fighting for spots that might not even be available when the plane takes off for Japan. It still amazes me that McDonald fought her way onto the USWNT after so many years of being overlooked, and Williams can finally breathe more easily after Jill Ellis walked away from the team. The last two cuts from this team are going to be brutal.

A brutal first tournament for the new head coach

Since the tournament first started in 2004, the United States has never failed to win outright. The competition in CONCACAF has never been much of a challenge for the best team in the world, but the tournament itself is set up to be a dangerous gauntlet. Two groups of four teams face off in a traditional group stage round robin competition where the top two teams head to the semifinal round. The United States is matched up against Haiti, Panama, and Costa Rica in Group A, and it should be a breeze to sweep the group. Group B is comprised of Canada, Mexico, Jamaica, and Saint Kitts and Nevis. Just making the tournament is a huge achievement for St. Kitts, but realistically the two seminalists will come from the other three options.

The only game that will matter for the USA is the semifinal match, and that’s where things get a bit scary. Just two teams qualify for the Olympics from CONCACAF, so the semifinal matches become de facto play-in matches. Both teams that make the championship game will already be in the Olympics, and there won’t even be a 3rd-place match because both of those teams will have already been eliminated. Playing against Jamaica or Mexico would be a pretty easy path for the USA, and the most likely scenario is that one of those two teams will be the runners up in Group B. The biggest threat to the defending World Cup champion missing the Olympics would be if Canada falters and ends up coming second in the group.

If you’d made such a prediction two years ago it would have been rightly laughed down as absurd. After climbing all the way to 4th in the world following their impressive performance at the 2015 World Cup, Canada saw a slow decline in performance from 2016-2018 before the bottom completely fell out after manager John Herdman left his post in 2018 to coach the men’s team. The tenure of replacement manager Kenneth Heiner-Møller has been rocky to say the least, and Canada plunged to 8th in the most recent rankings. Then, in a closed-door practice match for this tournament, the team drew with Haiti 1-1. Canada has been mostly silent about the performance, but Haiti couldn’t help but talk it up.

In the tweet, you can see a bad turnover from Canada in the middle third, a few quick passes from the Haitian midfield, and then a complete disaster on defense before the Haitian attacker slots the ball home. If Canada loses to either Mexico or Jamaica, they could be fighting for their life in a knock-out game against the USWNT in the semifinals. That’s still a game that the United States should win, but it would be less of a guarantee than they might otherwise have.

How to Watch

After waiting until the last minute, FOX finally bought a bundle of rights for various tournaments over the next three years. The game against Haiti will kick off at 8:30 p.m. ET from BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, TX. The game will be broadcast on FS2, as will the first match of the afternoon where Panama will face off against Costa Rica.

The USWNT will play against Panama on January 31st on FOX Soccer Plus, and again on February 3rd on FS1 against Costa Rica. The semifinal match will be on February 7th and the final on February 9th.

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Haiti’s Carnival Shooting, Florida Primary History, Solar Energy & Everglades Black History

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On this Tuesday, Feb. 25, episode of Sundial:

Haiti’s Carnival shooting 

A protest in Haiti over police pay and working conditions ended in an exchange of gunfire between Haiti’s National Police force and the country’s armed forces.

February is meant to be a celebratory time in Haiti, with Carnival bringing tens of thousands of Haitians to the streets of Port-au-Prince, but on Sunday the mood was anything but celebratory. The Miami Herald’s Jacqueline Charles has been following the violence in Haiti and joined Sundial to talk about how the government has responded. 

Florida primary election history

On March 17, Floridians will head to the polls and vote in the state’s primary election. More than a decade ago Florida moved its primary day to January, but the state’s delegates were penalized. The Florida primary is now after Super Tuesday, which is usually in early March. 

Dr. Susan Macmanus, a University of South Florida politics professor and political analyst, joined Sundial to talk about the history of the Florida primary and share her analysis on this year’s presidential election.

Read more: Are You Voting In The 2020 Florida Primary? What Issues Do You Care About Most?

Florida’s P.A.C.E Energy Program

Solar investment in Florida jumped 150 percent in part because of the Property Assessed Clean Energy Program or P.A.C.E, a loan-like program that helps Floridians install solar panels, according to a study by the University of Southern Florida.

The Miami Herald’s Alex Harris has been reporting on the program and joined Sundial to talk about the concerns that have been raised about P.A.C.E because of the lack of consumer protections. 

Florida’s Maroon Communities 

The exhibition “The Four Moments of the Sun: Hidden Lands of Florida’s Maroon Communities,” presented by Artists in Residence in Everglades, features photographs and maps of the locations where, during the late 1700s and 1800s, enslaved Africans escaped into the Florida wilderness of the Everglades and formed their own communities.

“I have the most utmost respect for the process they [freedom seekers] went through when they had no idea if they would succeed,” says Jeanine Michna-Bales, a Dallas-based photographer who took the photographs. 

She joined Sundial to talk about the history of black communities in South Florida and what her photographs represent. The exhibition is on display at the AIRIE Nest Gallery in Everglades National Park until Aug 30. 

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15 Killed in Fire at Haiti Orphanage Run by US Church…… | News & Reporting

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A fire swept through a Haitian children’s home run by a Pennsylvania-based Christian nonprofit group, killing 15 children, officials said Friday.

Rose-Marie Louis, a child-care worker at the home, told The Associated Press that the fire began around 9 p.m. Thursday and firefighters took about 90 minutes to arrive. The orphanage had been using candles for light due to problems with its generator and inverter, she said.

About half of those who died were babies or toddlers and the others were roughly 10 or 11 years old, Louis said.

Late Friday afternoon, police raided another home also run by the Church of Bible Understanding and took away several dozen children in a bus over protests from employees.

The fire happened at the group’s orphanage in the Kenscoff area outside Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital.

“It could have been me,” said Renadin Mondeline, a 22-year-old who lived in the home with her son, now 6, for about two years until she started making enough money as a street vendor to start renting her own place to live last year. “These little girls inside were just like my baby.”

Rescue workers arrived at the scene on motorcycles and didn’t have bottled oxygen or the ambulances needed to transport the children to the hospital, said Jean-Francois Robenty, a civil protection official.

“They could have been saved,” he said. ‘‘We didn’t have the equipment to save their lives.’’

The Associated Press has reported on a long-standing series of problems at the two children’s homes run by the Church of Bible Understanding.

“‘We are aware of the fire in the children’s home in Haiti,” said Temi J. Sacks, a spokesman for the group, which is based in Scranton, Pennsylvania. “It would be irresponsible for us to comment until after all the facts are in.”

The Church of Bible Understanding lost accreditation for its homes after a series of inspections beginning in November 2012. Haitian inspectors faulted the group for overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, and not having enough adequately trained staff.

Members of the religious group were selling expensive vintage building fixtures like banisters and chandeliers at high-end stores in New York and Los Angeles and using a portion of the profits to fund the homes.

The Associated Press made an unannounced visit to the group’s two homes, holding a total of 120 kids, in 2013 and found bunk beds with faded and worn mattresses crowded into dirty rooms. Sour air wafted through the bathrooms and stairwells. Rooms were dark and spartan, lacking comforts or decoration.

The Church of Bible Understanding operates two homes for nearly 200 children in Haiti as part of a “Christian training program,” according to its most recent nonprofit organization filing. It has operated in the country since 1977. It identifies the homes as orphanages but it is common in Haiti for impoverished parents to place children in residential care centers, where they receive lodging and widely varying education for several years but are not technically orphans.

“We take in children who are in desperate situations,” the organization says in its tax filing for 2017, the most recent year available. “Many of them were very close to death when we took them in.” The nonprofit reported revenue of $6.6 million and expenses of $2.2 million for the year.

Associated Press journalists Evens Sanon reported this story in Port-au-Prince, AP writer Michael Weissenstein reported from Havana and AP writer Ben Fox reported from Washington.


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How a ND couple helps an island community

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What began as a soccer academy for kids has grown into a mission to empower an entire community in the island nation of Haiti thanks to the efforts of a couple in North Dakota.

“I grew up in Haiti and in Haiti, there’s a lack of opportunity,” said Ricardo Pierre-Louis/Founder of Lespwa Lavi.

But Ricardo and Nika Pierre-Louis are changing that.

The Bismarck couple founded Lespwa Lavi… it means “Hope for Life”. But before they began bringing hope to Haiti, Ricardo was a boy growing up in Haiti himself. He was a soccer player, which gave him opportunities for scholarships and travel.

“So with that same path, I felt it was very very important to give back and help kids in Haiti. I wanted to provide school tuition for kids in Haiti,” said Pierre-Louis.

After starting the school tuition program, he partnered with a man named Duvelsaint. Together they created a soccer academy… and in 2016, plans were made to create Lespwa Lavi Academy, a bilingual school that will prepare students for university-level education.

And their horizons grew when the community of Verrettes saw another need.

“We had no real intention of starting a church or anything and I think in 2017 the people in Haiti said we have to start a church,” said Nika Pierre-Louis.

Built first from sticks, stones, and mud, the church has grown in membership, from 50 to 250. And now, Ricardo and Nika’s church in Bismarck is getting in on the growth.

“We knew immediately that it matched with our heart because it was not only reaching the orphan, it was not only reaching the poor, it was looking to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ,” said Bryce Meyer/Executive Pastor of Campus Ministries at Evangel.

Evangel’s support helped provide a full-time pastor for the Haitian church, along with an opportunity to build a larger, permanent church building. Ricardo and Nika say they’d like to see a “sister city” partnership between Bismarck and Verettes.

“The main goal…the main idea of Lespwa Lavi is to have a sustainable project,” said Ricardo.

It’s a big dream — and it’s coming to life in Haiti.

For more information on Lespwa Lavi go here.

_____

Video Credit: J.Morgan Legreid

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Poor Neighborhoods in Haiti Descend into Anarchy

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Venite Bernard’s feet are bloodied because she did not have time to get her shoes when she fled her home with her youngest children.

Bernard and her family lived in the poorest part of Haiti’s capital, where gunmen have been known to shoot people in their homes. Now they live safely inside the town hall of Cite Soleil in Port-au-Prince.

More than 200 other Haitians also are camped out there. They all fled part of what many civic leaders say is Haiti’s worst lawlessness in more than 10 years.

Bandits entered the homes of some people and beat them, and they were shooting,” Bernard said as she cried. “Everyone was running so I left as quickly as I could with the children.”

United Nations peacekeeping troops withdrew from Haiti in 2017 after 15 years. At the time, UN officials said the force had helped to re-establish law and order.

Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere. Nearly 60 percent of the population survives on less than $2.40 a day.

But the withdrawal of the UN peacekeepers meant reduced security. Haitian police forces have been moved out of the area to provide security at protests against President Jovenel Moise.

“They have been unable to contain the activity of gangs as they might have wished,” said Serge Therriault, the UN’s police commissioner in Haiti.

A weak economy, rising inflation and a lack of investment in poorer areas has led to an increase in crime. Some neighborhoods have become places where everyone is afraid to go.

Diplomats fear the situation in Haiti represents a growing threat to that part of the Caribbean. They say it could affect migration, drugs and weapons trafficking.

The United States House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing on Haiti on Tuesday, its first in 20 years.

Moise’s critics say he has lost control of the country and should resign. The president says the situation is already calming down and he will carry out his full term.

Haitians say gangs fight over neighborhoods where they demand “protection” money and carry out drug and arms sales.

Some politicians are using the gangs to repress or incite protests. They are also providing weapons and assisting the worst of the criminals, according to human rights experts and Haitians.

“When those in power pay them, the bandits stop the population from participating in the anti-government protests,” said William Dorélu, who lives in Cite Soleil. “When they receive money from the opposition, they force people to take to the streets.”

Both opposition leaders and the government deny the accusations.

Impunity Breeds Crime

Moise told the Reuters news agency last month he was trying to strengthen Haiti’s police force. He also said he had reestablished a committee to get gangs to disarm.

The president wrote in a statement to Reuters on Tuesday that accusations of violence will be investigated and brought to justice.

Critics accuse the president and his administration of failing to arrest gang leaders. The criminals feel free to do as they want and the police are too weak to stop them.

“Every time the police stop a gangster, there is always the intervention…to free them,” said Pierre Esperance. He directs Haiti’s National Human Rights Defense Network, RNDDH. The group watches for human rights violations.

Esperance spoke at the U.S. congressional hearing. He said that more than 40 police officers had been killed this year, compared with 17 in 2018.

One year ago, there was a massacre in the neighborhood of La Saline, where anti-Moise feelings are strong, rights activists say.

Over two days, gunmen killed at least 26 people while police failed to stop the violence, said a UN report. Eyewitnesses named in the report say they saw a government official with the gang. It is possible the gangs and government officials are working together, the UN wrote.

The government later dismissed the official, who denied any involvement. Neither he nor anyone else has been arrested or brought to trial over the massacre.

The information about the La Saline massacre “is in the hands of the justice system,” Moise told Reuters.

People living in La Saline say they feel abandoned.

“We never received an official visit after these events,” said Marie Lourdes Corestan. She found her 24-year old son’s body in a pile with other bodies.

There have been six massacres since Moise took office, said the RNDDH, the most recent one last month.

The U.N.’s Therriault said a recent lessening of protests is helping police officers get control of the security situation.

But many, including Bernard, say they are too afraid. She has not been able to find her two oldest sons.

“I hope my boys are not dead,” she said. “I wish for the end of this violence, and that God helps us to find somewhere to live.”

I’m Dorothy Gundy, and I’m Susan Shand.

The Reuters News Agency reported this story. Susan Shand adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

________________________________________________

Words In This Story

town hall – n. a public building used for government offices and meetings

bandits n. criminals

hemisphere – n. half of an round object, such as a planet

gangn. a group of people working together on unlawful activities

accordingadv. as stated by or in

massacre – n. an event in which a large number of people are killed

abandonv. to give up control of another person or territory

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Haiti – Security : The DG of the PNH takes stock of the situation and calls for calm

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Haiti – Security : The DG of the PNH takes stock of the situation and calls for calm
25/02/2020 09:08:15

Haiti - Security : The DG of the PNH takes stock of the situation and calls for calm

On Monday, Rameau Normil, the Director General a.i. of the National Police of Haiti (PNH), accompanied by members of the High Command, met with the media to take stock of the current situation within the police institution.

From the outset, Rameau Normil, considered the police demands just and legitimate https://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-30077-haiti-flash-claim-of-the-police-the-government-sets-up-a-crisis-cell.html while asking them to keep calm and return to their duty station in order to continue to fulfill the mission that has been assigned to the PNH, which is to protect and serve the population as a whole recalling that the police institution was apolitical.

The Director General of the PNH condemned the incidents that occurred at the Champ-de-Mars Sunday, February 23 https://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-30102-haiti-flash-high-tension-at-champ-de-mars.html which have caused loss of life https://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-30109-haiti-flash-clashes-in-champ-de-mars-at-least-a-dozen-victims-provisional-assessment.html and expressed its sympathies to the families of the victims.

He recalled the provisions adopted by the authorities at the highest level to facilitate the improvement of the living and working conditions of all the police https://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-30100-haiti-flash-moise-s-promises-to-the-police-officers.html . He also mentioned the creation of a Facilitation and Dialogue Commission, made up of 5 members of the PNH, responsible for meeting all the protagonists of the crisis with the aim of determining reasonable ways and means for a sustainable return. institutional stability and public peace. This Commission has two weeks to submit its report

Members of the Commission :

  • Jean Gardy MUSCADIN (Inspector General)
  • Smith PAYOT (Inspector General)
  • Magalie BELNEAU (Curator)
  • Jean Mary Rosa LEONARD (Agent 4)
  • Michelson FORTUNE (Agent 3)


In addition, in a press note made public the same day, representatives of the unrecognized Syndicate of the National Police of Haiti, asked the police who have been demonstrating for a week now to return to their police station to start negotiations with authorities. On the other hand, these representatives warned any sector which would like to use the police movement to give it an orientation which does not correspond to its demands.

Remember that the police are demanding better working conditions, social benefits, respect for their constitutional right to organize and as a precondition the reinstatement of dismissed members by the PNH high command last week. https://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-30061-haiti-flash-5-police-officers-dismissed-for-indiscipline-attack-on-the-honor-of-the-pnh-and-acts-of-vandalism.html

See also :
https://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-30112-haiti-security-meetings-of-the-high-command-of-the-fad-h-and-the-pnh.html
https://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-30111-haiti-flashthe-ministry-of-justice-evoke-an-attempted-coup.html
https://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-30109-haiti-flash-clashes-in-champ-de-mars-at-least-a-dozen-victims-provisional-assessment.html
https://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-30103-haiti-security-message-from-the-secretariat-of-the-high-command-of-fadh.html
https://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-30102-haiti-flash-high-tension-at-champ-de-mars.html
https://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-30100-haiti-flash-moise-s-promises-to-the-police-officers.html
https://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-30077-haiti-flash-claim-of-the-police-the-government-sets-up-a-crisis-cell.html
https://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-30069-haiti-flash-panic-and-violent-demonstration-of-police-offciers-in-port-au-prince.html
https://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-30061-haiti-flash-5-police-officers-dismissed-for-indiscipline-attack-on-the-honor-of-the-pnh-and-acts-of-vandalism.html
https://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-30051-haiti-flash-police-protesters-set-fire-to-champ-de-mars.html

HL/ HaitiLibre

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