The Toronto Blue Jays are inching closer to acquiring 2012 Cy Young award winner R.A. Dickey from the New York Mets, according to multiple sources.There were several other teams that were strongly interested in the services of Dickey, but the Mets decided to channel their negotiations with the Blue Jays and cut off all other discussions with the other teams, according to CBSSports.com.As of Saturday morning a major league executive aware of the negotiations told ESPNNewYork.com that both teams are working towards completing the trade.The Mets have discussed acquiring the Blue Jays top catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud, who they previously did not want to include, and center fielder Anthony Gose.Last season while playing in Triple-A in Las Vegas, the 23-year-old d’Arnaud had a batting average of .333, on base percentage of .380, a slugging average of .595 and 16 home runs.Dickey has yet to discuss extension talks, nor has he been asked to take a physical according to sources close with ESPNNewYork.com.The 38-year-old Dickey put together impressive numbers to win the 2012 Cy Young award. He led the NL with 233 2/3 innings pitched and finished second with an ERA of 2.73. He also led the league in strikeouts with 230 and owns a lifetime career ERA of 3.98 over 10 major-league seasons.Dickey, who is under contract with the Mets next season for $5 million, attempted to negotiate an extension with the club, but both sides were approximately $6 million apart. The Mets offered Dickey a two-year extension worth $20 million, while Dickey requested a two-year extension for $26 million.The knuckleballer made his frustrations known publically about the negotiations while attending a holiday party earlier this week at Citi Field for children affected by Hurricane Sandy.“In the context of the market, you want what you think is fair,” Dickey told reporters. “I feel like we’re asking for less than what’s fair because that’s how it’s been for me.”
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The Indian government has approved plans to sell part of its stake in state-run banks and raise about $25.76 billion, according to a statement issued on Wednesday. State Bank Of India, largest public-sector bank in IndiaReutersThe decision was taken at a meeting of the Union Cabinet. The sale is expected to happen in a phased manner, till 2019. The 27 state-run banks of Asia’s third-largest economy currently have state ownership ranging from 56 percent to 84 percent. These banks account account for 70 percent of the total outstanding loans of about $1 trillion. The government would continue to hold 52 percent stake in the banks after the stake sale.The banks also need an estimated $60 billion to build a buffer against bad loans in line with new global regulations.Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha had told the parliament in November that a reduction in government stake in the banks would reduce capital injections substantially, as mandated by the new norms.Over the last decade, the government funded these banks by about $13 billion. However the need to lower the budget deficit could limit the options available to the government on continued funding for the banks.Over the next four years, the government would have to pump in ₹788.95 billion ($12.70 billion,) to maintain its 52 percent stake. Dividend outflow for the same period would mop up almost ₹345 billion ($5.56 billion.)While the bigger state-run banks could see positive reaction to its share sales, smaller ones could languish. Most state-run banks are burdened by high levels of bad debt and corporate governance issues.A panel appointed by the RBI had recommended the government to reduce its stake in state lenders to less than 50 percent.
Thomas Bougher/TexasTribuneHundreds of industrial facilities across Texas are illegally spewing millions of pounds of toxic pollutants into the air each year when they break down or perform maintenance, and state environmental regulators are not adequately policing the rogue emissions, according to a new report.The report by the Washington D.C.-based Environmental Integrity Project and Austin-based Environment Texas — titled “Breakdowns in Air Quality” — found that 679 facilities from the Beaumont/Port Arthur area to rural West Texas emitted more than 68 million pounds of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, benzene and other toxic substances last year during more than 3,400 incidents of breakdown or maintenance. The organizations compiled the report by analyzing emissions reports in online databases maintained by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the state’s environmental regulatory agency. Terry Clawson, a spokesman for the commission, said Wednesday morning that the agency was reviewing the report.The report asserts that the vast majority of the 2015 emissions were illegal because they exceeded the maximum emissions facilities allowed under their state and federal air permits. Companies have argued, however, that emissions during maintenance, start-up and shutdown events aren’t illegal and that they do everything necessary under federal and state law to minimize the breaches, which they say are unavoidable.The report found that facilities in the Houston area accounted for the largest share of 2015 emissions, discharging 5 million pounds of pollutants. Dow Chemical’s plant in Freeport accounted for the highest share — nearly 1.3 million pounds.The facility with the single highest emissions rate in the state was Keystone Gas Plant in West Texas’ Winkler County, the report says. In 2014, that plant emitted 11 million pounds of sulfur dioxide, which causes smog. Its air permit limits sulfur dioxide emissions to 1.6 million pounds of sulfur dioxide.State penalties for such events are too infrequent and too low, the report says.“Fines imposed by the state are often very small in comparison to the cost to public health and the profits generated by the industry,” it concludes.“By their own admission, polluters in Texas are routinely and egregiously violating the law and endangering public health with unauthorized emissions,” said Luke Metzger, director of Environment Texas, in a statement. “And too often regulators look the other way when polluters break the law. This lawlessness must come to an end.”Environment Texas and other environmental groups have sued companies directly in recent years over such emissions events, citing inaction from state and federal environmental regulators. Disclosure: Dow Chemical has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here. Share This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/2016/04/27/plants-emitting-pollutants-illegally-report-finds/.