Olympics: Groups, schedule announced for Americas baseball qualifier in Arizona

• The eight-team tournament will be played in Surprise and Tempe

• Group play is scheduled from 22 -24 March, with the Super Round 25-26 March

• Winner will advance to the Tokyo 2020 Games • 2nd and 3rd Place teams will play in the final Olympic qualifier in Taiwan

The World Baseball Softball Confederation today announced the groups, schedule and location of the WBSC Baseball Americas Qualification Event for the Games of the XXXII Olympiad Tokyo 2020. Hosted by USA Baseball, the qualifier will be staged in Surprise and Tempe, Arizona, USA, where eight nations will compete for an Olympic spot over 16 games.

Group A: No. 2 USA, No. 10 Dominican Republic, No. 11 Puerto Rico and No. 15 Nicaragua.

Group B: No. 8 Cuba, No. 9 Venezuela, No. 12 Canada and No. 14 Colombia.

Game Schedule (all times local)

Sunday, 22 March-Surprise

1 pm Puerto Rico-Dominican Republic
7 pm USA-Nicaragua

Sunday, 22 March-Tempe

1 pm Venezuela-Cuba
7 pm Colombia-Canada

Monday, 23 March-Surprise

1 pm Colombia-Venezuela
7 pm Canada-Cuba

Monday, 23 March-Tempe

1 pm Nicaragua-Puerto Rico
7 pm Dominican Republic-USA

Tuesday, 24 March-Surprise

1 pm Nicaragua-Dominican Republic
7 pm Puerto Rico-USA

Tuesday, 24 March-Tempe

1 pm Canada-Venezuela
7 pm Cuba-Colombia

After group play concludes, the top two finishers from each group will advance to the Super Round, where they will each play two games. Head-to-head contests among these teams from the opening round will carry over into the Super Round standings.

The team with the best Super Round record will be declared the winner and become the fifth National Team to advance to the baseball tournament of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, joining world No. 1 Japan, No. 3 Korea, No. 5 Mexico and No. 18 Israel.

The runner-up and the third-place team in the Americas Qualifier will play the Final Qualifier, scheduled from 1 to 5 April in Taichung and Douliou City, Taiwan. They will battle for the last spot in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, along with No. 4 Chinese Taipei and No. 20 China, who both qualified through the Asia Championship, the runner-up from the Europe/Africa Qualifier, No. 8 Netherlands, and No. 7 Australia, the Oceania representative.

Venues

Surprise, Arizona, is located approximately 45 minutes northwest of downtown Phoenix. The stadium (cover picture) is the Spring Training home of the Kansas City Royals and the Texas Rangers. It opened in 2002 and has a seating capacity of 10,714. Surprise Stadium was rated as the top Spring Training facility in Arizona by USA Today.

Diablo Stadium -- located in Tempe, in the East Valley of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area -- is the Spring Training home of the Los Angeles Angels. The 9,558-seat facility opened in 1969 and was renovated in 2002.

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More than one million Canadian children live in poverty

Ottawa, Jan 15 (Prensa Latina) More than one million children live in conditions of poverty in Canada, according to a report published on Wednesday by Campaign 2000, a movement aimed at eliminating poverty in the country.

Some 1,356,980 children are experiencing significant deficiencies in their development and living standards, the report notes.

Child poverty varies according to province or territory; the most serious situation is in Nunavut, where the overall rate reached 31.2% in 2017, followed by Manitoba with 27.9%.

Conversely, the lowest figures were recorded in Quebec with 15.2%, and Yukon with 11.9%.

Although there was a reduction in child poverty in 2017 compared to an investigation carried out in 2015, the Campaign insists that the figure of over a million of children living in poverty is unacceptable for a country such as Canada, given its degree of economic and social development.

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Canada stages massive comeback versus Cuba

After dropping the first two sets against Team Cuba, the Canadian men’s team refused to quit, winning the next three sets to defeat the Cubans 3-2 (22-25, 22-25, 25-12, 25-21, 15-9) in day two of the NORCECA Men’s Tokyo Qualification Tournament.

With the victory, the Canadian men sit 2-0 in the tournament and are the only undefeated team.

For the second day in a row, Stephen Maar led the way for Canada, collecting 21 points. Behind Maar, Ryan Sclater had a big game with 20 points, with Hoag coming in third with 11.

 “There’s no word for this game,” said team veteran Nicholas Hoag after the match. “We focused in on our game plan because there were some specific things we had to do and we executed it really well. We had to stay aggressive and we got the win in the end.”

Head coach Glenn Hoag also spoke after the victory, “We were controlling the match from a defensive perspective. Our offense was struggling and scoring – they were playing well.”

“We’re not done. We don’t have our ticket to Tokyo,” said Hoag. “Puerto Rico is playing well; they beat Mexico in straight sets. We’re going to go stretch, eat, get some rest and be ready for tomorrow.”

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Canadian visitation to Cuba up from 2018

Canadians came out to Cuba’s shores in droves last year, surpassing 2018 arrival numbers by over 100,00.

According to the Cuba Tourist Board, over one million Canadians visited the destination in 2019, exceeding 2018 numbers by 112,144.

The uptick in visitation, added Gomez, is largely attributed to the opening of new luxury hotels in key destinations on the island, as well as the refurbishment of many properties. Continued development and expansion are planned for 2020, with more news coming at a later date.

Said Lessner Gomez, Director of the Cuba Tourist Board: “2019 was an exciting year for Cuba with the Havana 500 celebrations and the heightened excitement and energy that still continues. We look forward to welcoming even more of our Canadian friends to Cuba in 2020 and to share Cuba’s unique spirit and soul as well as celebrating the 61st anniversary of the Cuban Revolution.”

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Russian, Canadian tourism boom excels in Camaguey, Cuba

Despite the political campaigns of the United States against Cuba, the influx of Russian and Canadian tourists to this eastern part of the country, is very noticeable today at the end of 2019.

The main issuing markets have been motivated by the various improvements in the hotel infrastructure of the region, which combines geographical charms with potential for the practice of city tourism in a town declared by UNESCO in 2008, Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

In statements to the digital portal Cadena Agramonte, María Gema Suárez, sub-delegate of the Cubanacán hotel group in the province, said the boom in visitors corresponds to better infrastructure, conditioned to correspond to that increase.

The on-site tour operators has strengthened the criteria and opinion of the main travel agencies, which in turn prestige the destination of sun and beach where the Royal Floor Residential Hotel was inaugurated this season, with 35 rooms, and 4-star category, he scored.

Also this year, businessmen from the tourism sector, from Spain, including the travel agencies Camaleon Travel, Zafiro Tours Cieza and Mundo through, arrived in this province, who joined other European counterparts in the mega Travel Games event , organized by tour operator Thomas Cook.

'By 2020, construction projects will begin until 2025 and we will strengthen the main poles, and in the provincial capital this year we will advance in works such as the San Juan de Dios hotel,' said director of Mintur operations group in Camagüey, Bertha Rodríguez.

Tatiana Shnell, at the head of the tour of the Russian tour operator Pegas Touristik through the town, said that 'the fundamental product we promote is sun and beach, but we are interested in complementing our clients' stay with excursions to the city, as another way of knowing to Cuba and its people'.

Despite the constant measures of the United States government to prevent the rise of tourism in Cuba, the international airport terminal Ignacio Agramonte of the city of Camagüey alone in 2017 experienced an increase in operations to receive 250 thousand passengers from several destinations, according to official statistics.

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The Pro-Evo Upheaval in Bolivia: How is it Affecting the Canadian Political Scene?

On November 11, 2019, following the violent, racist, U.S.-led coup in Bolivia against Evo Morales — which was supported from the outset by Canada’s Justin Trudeau government —  I posted an appeal (in English, French, and Spanish) on YouTube denouncing the green light given by Trudeau on October 29 to Donald Trump’s plan. Just a few hours after the coup was consummated, Trudeau declared his support for it.

What right does Canada have to elect the government of Bolivia, to intervene in that country’s internal affairs? 

RELATED: Bolivia to Hold New General Elections in March 2020

The YouTube appeal was especially directed at New Democratic Party (NDP) MPs, who were elected with the support of the trade unions. “I’m appealing to the unions and the workers of Canada to put pressure on the NDP to take a stand against the Trudeau government, which is supporting this racist attack against Evo Morales.”

The appeal was also directed at the Bloc Québécois, which won more Quebec seats in Canada’s Parliament then Trudeau’s own Liberal Party. 

“We the people of Quebec and Canada, along with our Indigenous brothers and sisters in Canada cannot turn our back on the Indigenous people of Bolivia. Especially when some in Bolivia are burning the Wiphala flag, which is not only the symbol of the original peoples of Bolivia but the emblem of the whole region.”

“How would we feel if somebody somewhere decided to burn the Quebec or the Canadian flag? We must defend the people of Bolivia and take a strong position against Justin Trudeau’s interventionist, pro-imperialist policy,” I concluded.

Further to these and other appeals and comments on the social networks, responses started coming in. The first one of note appeared on the Facebook page of Natalia d’Agnese, an activist with Quebec’s left-wing Québec Solidaire party. She wrote: “Totally agree. The Canadian government is supporting a coup by a far-right, evangelistic, racist component of the opposition. Some Latin American countries have begun taking positions, including Mexico, Uruguay, the Argentine senate and its new president, and others.”

The Durham Region Labour Council (@DurhamRegionLC), representing the members of many affiliated unions of this Ontario city, announced: “We will be submitting an emergency resolution to be discussed at the @OFLabour convention in a few weeks to denounce @cafreeland's support of a coup in Bolivia. #ElMundoConEvo #GolpeDeEstadoBolivia”

Canada’s largest union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), with over 680,000 members throughout the country, published a statement of its “concern about the developing situation in Bolivia, which has led to a coup.

“CUPE calls on the Government of Canada to recognize and respect the sovereignty of the Bolivian people to determine their own political future, without military or foreign interference. We further call on the Liberals to stop taking their foreign policy cues from some of the world’s most right-wing governments.

“We extend our solidarity and support to the Bolivian people who will be most affected by the social or economic instability that accompanies this attack on their democratic rights.”

The situation concerning this Latin American country is developing minute by minute. It is too early to draw conclusions; however, the initial reaction proves what has been stated in previous articles about Latin America: that a large majority of Canadians oppose US imperialism and its allies.

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Canadian Brigade of Solidarity arrives in Cuba

The Solidarity Brigade with Cuba Calixto García, from Canada, arrived here Saturday to fulfill a broad program of activities in several provinces of eastern Cuba.

The group is made up of members of the Solidarity Movement with Cuba, delegates to the International Symposiums for the Liberation of the Five Heroes, members of the Ernesto Che Guevara Brigade and trade unionists, whose objective is to deepen their knowledge of the history, culture and traditions of this area.

According to the Brigade's plan, which ends on December 14, they will visit historical and agricultural sites in the territories of Santiago de Cuba, Guantanamo, Granma and Holguín provinces.

In Santiago de Cuba they will arrive at the Santa Ifigenia heritage cemetery, to pay tribute to the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, as well as the mausoleum of the Second Eastern Front Frank País, where the remains of revolutionary fighters and the Spanish dancer Antonio Gades rest.

Another point to visit will be the town of Caimanera, located very close to the territory illegally occupied by the Naval Base of the United States in the bay of Guantanamo.

They will also tour the native homes of Cuban heroine Celia Sánchez Manduley and that of the Father of the Fatherland, Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, in Granma province.

The itinerary will conclude in Holguin, with an activity in tribute to the General of the Three Wars, Calixto García, and a visit to an agricultural cooperative in the town of Velasco.

The Calixto García Brigade was established in November 2018, as a sign of the consolidation of friendship ties between the peoples of Cuba and Canada.

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WBSC draw confirms groups, schedules for Baseball Americas Qualifier, Last Baseball Qualifier

The winners of the Baseball Americas Qualifier and the Baseball Last Qualifier will join Japan (host team), Israel (Europe/Africa), Mexico (Premier12) and Korea (Premier12) in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games baseball competition.

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) today revealed the groups and schedule for the Baseball Americas Olympic Qualifier, and the schedule of the Baseball Last Qualifier, following a live draw conducted at Hotel Agora Regency Sakai, in Sakai, Japan, on the eve of the 3rd WBSC Congress.

“After today’s draw, all the teams know their Road to Tokyo 2020,” said WBSC Secretary General Beng Choo Low. “The excitement and expectation for the historic baseball return to the Olympic Games will escalate with these two qualifiers, setting the table for an unforgettable baseball event in Tokyo 2020.”

WBSC Baseball Americas Qualifier

Group A: No. 2 USA, No. 11 Puerto Rico, No. 12 Dominican Republic, No. 15 Nicaragua

Group B: No. 5 Cuba, No. 9 Venezuela, No. 10 Canada, No. 14 Colombia

The WBSC Baseball Americas Qualifier will be held in Arizona, USA, from 22-26 March.

The 12-game Opening Round will be played from 22-24 March, and the top two teams of each group will advance to the Super Round carrying the result of the game played between each other. The top National Team in the tournament final standings will gain a berth for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Baseball Last Qualifier

The WBSC also announced the schedule of games of the six-team WBSC Baseball Last Qualifier, to be held in Taichung, Taiwan, from 1-5 April.

World No. 4 Chinese Taipei, No. 8 Netherlands, No. 20 China, the top finisher of the Oceania Pre Qualifier and second and third place of the Americas Qualifier will play a single round robin for the final spot in the Olympic Games.

The winners of the Baseball Americas Qualifier and the Baseball Last Qualifier will join Japan (host team), Israel (Europe/Africa), Mexico (Premier12) and Korea (Premier12) in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games baseball competition.

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