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For A Moment, The First Lady Looked Kinda Annoyed At President Obama During The Tampa Bay Rays Vs. Cuba Game

Days after President Barack Obama landed in Havana for a historic visit, Major League Baseball returned to Cuba for the first time in 20 years. The Tampa Bay Rays arrived at the Estadio Latinoamericano to face off against the Cuban national team, and the stadium was packed. President Obama and Raúl Castro were both in attendance, along with several baseball legends. Here’s what went down:

Before the game began, Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Chris Archer made a new friend.

Credit: @MLB / Twitter

After a game of catch, Archer made his way over to President Obama…

Credit: @MLBGIFs / Twitter

Earlier this month, Archer asked Obama to join him for lunch in Cuba. Obama didn’t reply to his tweet, so Archer teased him about it before the game.

The Cuban national anthem rang out loudly at the Estadio Latinoamericano.

Credit: @hatzelvela / Twitter

As did the “Star Spangled Banner.”

Credit: @markknoller / Twitter

Cuban baseball legend Luis “El Tiante” Tiant threw out the first pitch along with two-time Olympic gold medal-winning pelotero Pedro Lazo.

Credit: @RedSox / Twitter

Lazo, who is still playing at 42 years old, is the one on the left. Tiant, who left Cuba in 1961, told Fox Sports it wasn’t easy to return to Cuba. But the 75-year-old former pitcher said he hopes the U.S. and Cuba can mend their relationship: “The world changes. We have to fix it.”

After a moment of silence for the victims of the terror attack in Brussels, Belgium, the game began.

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Credit: Joe Raedle / Getty

Obama later defended his decision to attend the game following the attacks: “The whole premise of terrorism is to disrupt people’s ordinary lives.”

Once fans heard the first crack of the bat, things became a bit more festive. Here’s everyone doing the wave:

Credit: @rgaut999 / Twitter

And, yes, both President Obama and Raúl Castro joined in.

Credit: @charliespiering / Twitter

When the Rays scored the first run of the game, Obama started a little trash talk.

But the Cuban team showed they’re also loaded with talent.

Credit: @MLBGIFs / Twitter

At one point, President Obama must have ticked off the First Lady, because we all know a “Hey, don’t be mad me” shoulder grab when we see one.

Credit: @JemeleHill / Vine

Seems like everything was OK, because Obama was all smiles when he met up with Derek Jeter.

Credit: @Yankees / Twitter

When it all ended, Tampa Bay was victorious, defeating the Cuban national team 4-1.

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Credit: Joe Raedle / Getty

After the game, Dayron Varona, a Cuban player who defected from Cuba in 2013, embraced old friends.

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Credit: Joe Raedle / Getty

Varona, who plays for a minor league team affiliated with the Rays, was not even thinking about making the trip to Cuba. But several Rays players, including Evan Longoria, Kevin Cash and Chris Archer, asked for Varona to be included on their roster. Varona told ESPN he was surprised by the gesture: “It’s amazing. Longoria, Archer, the manager and other players on the team, who I’ve only known for around 20 days, have supported me so that I can go back to my country.”

Just a few days earlier, Varona reunited with his family for the first time in three years.

Credit: @RaysBaseball / Twitter

Moments after the game, a protestor interrupted a live report from ESPN’s Bob Ley.

Credit: CorkGaines / ESPN / YouTube

A man in a white shirt jumped in front of the camera and threw up a handful of pamphlets in the air.

Cuban police quickly swarmed the man in the white shirt and another man, then threw them into a police car. Ley then remarked that the situation underscored “the entire political nature in which this game took place.”

Credit: @Lizzs_Lockeroom / ESPN / Twitter

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New Lawsuit Alleges that Alex Rodriguez is Guilty of Embezzlement and Racketeering: ‘He is a serial cheater and liar’

Entertainment

New Lawsuit Alleges that Alex Rodriguez is Guilty of Embezzlement and Racketeering: ‘He is a serial cheater and liar’

Photo via Getty Images

It looks like scandal just can’t stay away from A-Rod. The former Yankees all-star is now facing controversy based off of the claims filed in a lawsuit by his former brother-in-law, Constantine Scurtis.

The lawsuit alleges that Rodriguez is a pathological liar and cheater who embezzled millions of dollars through shady real estate deals.

The lawsuit states: “Defendant Alex Rodriguez, a former Yankees baseball player, is a serial cheater and liar. After cheating on his wife, Cynthia, and lying about his affairs, Alex Rodriguez then lied to and cheated his brother in law in their real estate partnership.”

According to Scurtis, he and Rodriguez formed a real estate partnership around the beginning of A-Rod’s marriage to his sister, Cynthia. The initial deal was that the duo would leverage A-Rod’s star power to attract clients and sales and would get 95% of the profits. Scurtis would get the rest of the profits, including acquisition fees when applicable.

Scurtis says that A-Rod sold their joint company without his consent and without giving him any of the profits.

But per Scurtis, in 2008, around the time that Rodriguez’s marriage to his first wife dissolved, A-Rod abruptly booted Scurtis from the partnership. Scurtis alleges that, up until that point, Rodriguez had previously lied to him and assured him that nothing would change in their business dealings.

The lawsuit also alleges that Rodriguez committed various acts of fraud, including concocting a “scheme to profit off of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Ike.”

Hurricane Ike was a natural disaster that resulted in at least 195 deaths and billions of dollars in damage in 2008.

Scurtis says that Rodriguez committed insurance fraud, faking accounting records to claim that his properties sustained significantly more damage than they actually did.

The lawsuit alleges that A-Rod bribed an official who caught wind of the scheme to keep quiet.

“Through their racketeering,” the lawsuit said, “Rodriguez and his co-conspirators have caused Scurtis many millions of dollars in damages.”

Scurtis’s lawyer says that A-Rod will “face a jury on August 2, 2021, to answer claims that he and his co-conspirators engaged in a pattern of racketeering and embezzlement.”

“Scurtis never suspected that the tussle over the day-to-day operation of the business arising from his sister’s divorce would be followed by a systematic and fraudulent effort to eliminate Scurtis’s equity in the venture and strip him of the future financial rewards to which he was rightfully entitled,” says the lawsuit.

It should be noted that this is not the first time that Scurtis has brought a lawsuit against his ex-brother-in-law.

There seems to be no love lost between these two former business partners. Over the years, Scurtis has filed a multiple lawsuits against the Dominican ex-MVP, including a $100 million one in 2015 that included many of the same allegations. It is unclear how that situation ended, but judging by the newest lawsuit, Scurtis’s previous ones have not been successful.

As for A-Rod, he is hitting back at Scurtis’s claims, and filed a countersuit denying the accusations. We guess we’ll just keep our eyes peeled to see how this all turns out.

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Trump Labels Cuba A State Sponsor Of Terrorism As His Own Supporters Face Similar Allegations

Things That Matter

Trump Labels Cuba A State Sponsor Of Terrorism As His Own Supporters Face Similar Allegations

Yander Zamora/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

In a move that is sure to complicate things for the incoming Biden administration, Trump has moved to put Cuba back on the list of nations that allegedly sponsor terrorism.

Obama had taken Cuba off of that list in 2015 and with four years to Cuba back on the list, many agree that Trump has simply put Cuba back on the list to make life difficult for President Biden.

The Trump administration has put Cuba back on the list of countries that “sponsor terrorism.”

With just days left in office, Trump has moved to label Cuba as a “state sponsor of terrorism” in a last-minute move that is sure to complicate things for the incoming Biden administration.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo justified the controversial move which reverses Barack Obama’s 2015 decision to remove Cuba from the list after more than three decades – by accusing Havana of “repeatedly providing support for acts of international terrorism in granting safe harbour to terrorists”.

Pompeo also alleged Cuba was engaging “in a range of malign behavior across the region”, highlighting its support for Venezuela’s authoritarian leader Nicolás Maduro who Trump has unsuccessfully tried to overthrow.

The controversial step places Cuba alongside Iran, North Korea and Syria as state sponsors of terror.

However, most officials agree that Trump’s claims about Cuba are bogus.

Many international observers – including U.S. allies – aren’t impressed by the administration’s claims that Cuba is sponsoring terrorism.

In an interview with The Guardian, Christopher Sabatini, a senior fellow for Latin America at Chatham House, said “These are trumped up charges. Terrorism as an international definition is committing acts of violence against unarmed civilians intended to frighten the population. Cuba doesn’t do that. Yes, it represses its own people – but so does Saudi Arabia.”

Groups that favor greater U.S. engagement with Cuba criticized the announcement.

“There is no compelling, factual basis to merit the designation,” according to Ric Herrero, executive director of the Cuba Study Group, a Washington DC-based organization that supports engagement with the island. “Instead it appears to be another shameless, last-ditch effort to hamstring the foreign policy of the incoming Biden administration and set the stage for the next election in Florida, all at the expense of the Cuban people and relations between our countries.”

Many observers agree that Trump’s move is simply a gift to party hardliners in Florida, and likely a deliberate attempt to make life difficult for the incoming Biden administration who may wish to end deténte with Cuba.

Of course, Cuban officials reacted angrily to the announcement.

After the announcement, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez tweeted: “We condemn the US announced hypocritical and cynical designation of #Cuba as a State sponsoring terrorism. The US political opportunism is recognized by those who are honestly concerned about the scourge of terrorism and its victims.”

Reversing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s action would require the Biden administration to certify to Congress that there has been a fundamental change in leadership in Cuba and that the government is not supporting acts of international terrorism, has not for the previous six months and will not do so in the future.

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