first_img‘Times of hardship’ Khamenei advised Iranians that “everyone should follow the instructions” of the authorities to fight the epidemic “so that Almighty God will put an end to this calamity for the Iranian people, for all Muslim nations and for all mankind”.Jahanpour said Tehran province had reported 249 new cases and the central province of Yazd, where 84 new patients had been counted, “could become a new focus of the disease in the coming days”.To limit the spread of the virus, the authorities have asked people to refrain from travelling during the nation’s current New Year celebrations. In Iran “about 68 percent of deaths from COVID-19 disease are people over 60 years of age”, Jahanpour said, stressing that family trips “are generally risk factors for this age group”. Iran has a population of some 81 million and the disease is present in all 31 provinces. While it refuses to seek assistance from the American “Great Satan”, the Islamic Republic has not closed the door to international help. Iran said that by mid-March it had received medical equipment or financial aid from Azerbaijan, Britain, China, France, Germany, Japan, Qatar, Russia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. Aid group Doctors Without Borders (MSF) announced Sunday it would send a 50-bed inflatable hospital and a nine-person emergency team to Isfahan, Iran’s third largest city. “Iran is by far the hardest hit country in the region and Isfahan is the second most affected province in the country, and we hope that our aid will relieve, at least in part, the pressure on the local health system,” said Julie Reverse, MSF’s representative in Iran.  Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei said Sunday his country would never accept any aid to fight the novel coronavirus from arch-enemy and “charlatans” the United States, as Tehran announced 129 new deaths.Speaking in a televised address, Khamenei charged in a message directed at Washington: “No one trusts you. You are capable of bringing into our country a drug that will keep the virus alive and prevent its eradication.”Iran has been one of the countries worst hit by the COVID-19 illness along with Italy, Spain and China, and the latest fatalities raised the official death toll to 1,685, the health ministry said. More than 1,028 new cases in the past 24 hours meant a total of 21,638 people had now tested positive for the virus, said ministry spokesman Kianouche Jahanpour.US President Donald Trump — who has stepped up sanctions and a “maximum pressure” campaign on Tehran over its nuclear program — said on February 29 that Washington was ready to help Iran fight the virus if its leaders requested it. But Khamenei reiterated Iran’s rejection, charging that Washington, which whom it has had no diplomatic relations for more than 40 years, was “capable” of wanting to intensify the epidemic in the Islamic republic.”Today America is our most ferocious and vicious enemy,” Khamenei said in his address to the nation. “The American leaders are liars, manipulators, impudent and greedy … They are charlatans,” he said, also labeling them “absolutely ruthless” and “terrorists”.The American proposals “to help us with medicines and treatments, provided we ask for them, are strange”, he said, noting that the United States itself suffers from “a horrible shortage not only of disease prevention equipment but also of medicines”. Speaking to Washington, he added: “If you have something, use it for yourself.” Topics :last_img read more

first_imgAt about this time eight years ago, Ken Griffey, Jr. was accepting the American League Most Valuable Player honor. Now, thanks to a myriad of injuries over the last four seasons, Griffey is collecting the National League Comeback Player of the Year.Still, receiving any award has to feel pretty good for Griffey at this point. He’s no longer “The Kid” — it’s hard to keep that moniker once you have kids of your own. And the Griffey who belted 35 home runs and batted .301 this season is simply a shadow of the player who was once christened as the best player in the game, the star who would eventually break Hank Aaron’s home run record. Heck, people thought Griffey might shatter Aaron’s prestigious mark of 755.In his heyday, Griffey was a player who could do it all. A lanky kid (which he truly was, making his major league debut at age 19) possibly possessing the smoothest swing ever, “Junior” was blessed with a rare combination of power and speed. He translated that speed in center field into 10 Gold Gloves, just two less than Hall of Famers Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente.Griffey brought the struggling Seattle Mariners franchise into the limelight, to contender status. I would go as far as to say Junior did more for the Mariners than the color teal (and don’t deny it; we all rocked the teal in the ’90s). “The Kid” was the hero of children across the country, adorning the cover of video games and baseball-card wrappers alike. (Speaking of which, remember how expensive that 1990 Upper Deck rookie was?)There were always rough times. Critics despised the complaints with Seattle that he voiced publicly at times. Despite being a fairly quiet guy who kept to himself for the most part, detractors labeled Griffey as cocky. He was labeled a prima donna.But, after his recent debacle in Cincinnati, Griffey has dropped off of baseball’s A-list. Kids aren’t entranced while watching his picture-perfect swing. They don’t see the Griffey of old in the field, crashing into the outfield wall to rob a home run. “The Kid” has turned into a 35-year-old man.It’s hard not to feel a sense of irony when looking at Griffey’s fellow award winner — Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi, who snagged the American League Comeback honor. Giambi did have an impressive season while apparently staying steroid free. But, it’s those players like Giambi who have made the public forget how great the stars in Griffey’s era were. Banner home-run seasons by hulked-up ‘roiders took over America’s pastime and pushed Junior from an injured star to a forgotten commodity.Those power hitters loaded up with steroids have made 50-home-run seasons from the late ’90s look, well, quite frankly, fairly mundane. Somehow, swept up in the steroids scandal, the nation has brushed aside the accomplishments of Griffey and players like Frank Thomas. And, while it seems impossible to ever truly know these days about the legitimacy of any hitting statistics in baseball, Griffey and Thomas seem to hold up well under the scrutiny.When Griffey eclipsed the 500-home-run mark, there wasn’t the hoopla present after seemingly every Barry Bonds long ball at SBC Park.And compared to Bonds’ frosty relations with the media and the public, any of “Junior’s” actions in Seattle seem pretty civil. Hearing about any of Griffey’s accomplishments would have been a pleasant alternative to seeing Rafael Palmeiro’s ugly mustache in the news. Gag me.But, if even for just a millisecond, it’s nice to see Griffey take part of the spotlight back.last_img read more