The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 29.0°F | A Few Clouds
Article Tools

Stagehands and Producers Break Off Talks

The latest round of talks between the producers’ league and the stagehands union broke down Sunday night, leaving no end in sight for the strike that has already darkened most of Broadway for nine days. Soon after the breakdown, the League of American Theaters and Producers announced it was canceling performances of the 27 shows affected by the strike through next Sunday.

No further talks have been scheduled.

The negotiations, which had gone on for more than 13 hours on Saturday and 11 hours on Sunday, came to a halt a little after 9 p.m..

Bruce Cohen, a spokesman for Local One, the stagehands’ union, said in a statement that “producers informed Local One that what Local One offered was not good enough and they left.”

Charlotte St. Martin, the executive director of the league, said: “We presented a comprehensive proposal that responded to the union’s concerns about loss of jobs and earnings and attempted to address our need for some flexibilities in running our business. The union rejected our effort to compromise and continues to require use to hire more people than we need.”

The decision was made to cancel the performances, she said, so that travelers coming to town for the Thanksgiving weekend could plan accordingly.

Baby Shower in Brooklyn Ends in Deadly Gunfire

A manager at a Brooklyn banquet hall shot three people outside the hall early Sunday, one of them fatally, and was then shot by one of two men who intervened, the police said. The men were arrested moments later, after a police sergeant fired at them twice during a foot chase, striking one of the men in the leg, the authorities said.

The chaotic events began to unfold just before 1 a.m. during a raucous baby shower, when a fight erupted in the hall, named El Barnadillo, at 2833 Atlantic Avenue in East New York, the police said.

Witnesses told the police that the manager, Omar Marquez, tried to clear the premises, but when some people refused to leave, he pulled a gun from his waistband and fired a single shot into the air. It was not clear Sunday night whether Marquez was licensed to carry the weapon.

Soon, Marquez, 26, who lives on Pitkin Avenue seven blocks from the banquet hall, found himself surrounded by people at the party, the witnesses said. He was pushed out of the hall through a back door but managed to re-enter through the basement and emerge by the front entrance, where he opened fire, wounding three people, the police said.

One of those wounded — Theodore Williams, 21, who was shot once in the head — died upon arrival at Kings County Hospital Center, the police said. The other two were identified as Jason Garcia, 17, who was hit in the chest, and Darren Francis, 20, who was grazed in the head. Both were taken to Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center. Francis was listed in stable condition Sunday night; no information was available on Garcia’s condition, according to the police.

Separatist Rebels Accuse Ethiopia’s Military

Separatist rebels fighting in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia on Monday accused the government of strafing nomads in recent days at a watering hole with helicopter gunships, killing up to a dozen civilians.

The government promptly denied the claims of attacks, which would be a deepening of a conflict that until now has been confined largely to hit-and-run attacks between rebel soldiers and Ethiopian ground forces. But Western diplomats in Ethiopia said that the government had indeed used assault helicopters and that the war in the Ogaden was intensifying.

Abdirahman Mahdi, a spokesman for the Ogaden National Liberation Front, the leading rebel group in the area, said government helicopters attacked the nomads, who were noncombatants, near the village of Gurdumi several times since Thursday. Abdirahman, who is based in London, said he had spoken to field commanders who provided detailed information, including the names of several nomads killed next to their camels. He said the Ethiopians apparently attacked the watering hole because rebel soldiers had recently killed several government troops in an ambush nearby.

“The Ethiopians are turning to air power because they can’t face us on the ground,” Abdirahman said.

Tending an Ailing Elder Exacts a Financial Toll

The out-of-pocket cost of caring for an aging parent or spouse averages about $5,500 a year, according to the nation’s first in-depth study of such expenses, a sum that is more than double previous estimates and more than the average American household spends annually on health care and entertainment combined.

Family members responsible for ailing loved ones provide not only “hands on” care but often reach into their own pockets to pay for many other expenses of care recipients, including groceries, household goods, drugs, medical co-payments and transportation. That nudges the average cost of providing long-distance care to $8,728 a year.

These caregivers, spending on average 10 percent of their household income, manage the financial burden by taking out loans, skipping vacations, dipping into savings or ignoring their own health care.

These findings and others, to be released Monday, came from a telephone survey of 1,000 adults caring for someone over age 50 who needs help with activities like bathing, using the toilet, preparing meals, shopping or managing finances. It is the first detailed look at out-of-pocket spending among the estimated 34 million Americans providing care for older family members or friends and builds on a 2004 study.