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Puerto Rican outfielder Carlos Beltrán explains why he won’t visit White House with World Series-winning Astros

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Recently retired Carlos Beltran will skip the Major League champion Houston Astros’ visit to the White House, he said on Tuesday, citing family reasons while also criticising the United States government and agencies.

Beltran, a native of Puerto Rico, said that he was disappointed in the U.S. response to Hurricane Maria that devastated the Caribbean island in September.

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He noted the swift recovery by Houston after massive flooding in the Texas city in August.

“One thing that really impressed me a lot was how fast that city was able to get back on its feet,” the 40-year-old Beltran told reporters at an award dinner in New York.

“The situation in Puerto Rico has been different. There’s no doubt that I’m disappointed and I’m not the only one.

“We’re very disappointed in the government that we haven’t gotten the same benefits.

“Being part of the United States, you expect to at least get the same benefits when tragedies like this happen.”

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Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory but not a state.

Outfielder Beltran was part of the Astros team that won the World Series by beating the Los Angeles Dodgers in a seven-game series that stretched into November.

He subsequently retired, ending a stellar career in which he had a batting average of .279 and made nine All-Star appearances.

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It is customary for championship-winning U.S. sports teams to visit the White House and meet the president. The Astros have accepted their invitation, though no date has been set.

Several athletes have vocally opposed a White House visit since Donald Trump became president just over a year ago, including Stephen Curry of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors.

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But Beltran said his decision had nothing to do with Trump.

“I’m retired, so I feel like a don’t belong to any team anymore,” he said.”My family, that’s the team that I belong (to) right now.”

(Reporting by Andrew Both in Adelaide, South Australia; Editing by John O’Brien)

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England pubs reopen on US Independence Day — after first nationwide closure since 1665’s Great Plague

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The streets of Soho filled with merry drinkers in London on Saturday and the pubs of Manchester were packed as England's hospitality sector returned from a three-month coronavirus hiatus.

"It feels amazing," said Leo Richard Bill, a soldier, after getting through the door of one of London's buzziest restaurants on the Thames River's popular south bank.

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Parts of London and other cities, deserted during lockdown, sprang to life as people dressed up and came out for "Super Saturday" -- the day England's hospitality sector reopened for the first time since March.

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2020 Election

Trump’s angry words and Coronavirus surge darken Independence Day weekend in America

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The United States marked an unusually somber Independence Day on Saturday, with President Donald Trump bashing domestic opponents and China -- but praising the country's coronavirus response, despite a record surge in cases.

Across the country, virus fears dampened or nixed Main Street parades, backyard barbecues and family reunions on a day when Americans typically celebrate their 1776 declaration of independence from Britain.

Instead of adopting a unifying tone, Trump -- facing a tough re-election and eager to mobilize his political base -- railed against protesters demanding racial justice after unarmed African American George Floyd was killed by a white police officer.

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2020 Election

‘Spoiler’ Kanye West mocked for running for president against his pal Trump: ‘2020 never fails to disappoint’

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President Donald Trump appears to have lost the support of one of his most well-known Black supporters as Kanye West announced on Saturday that he is running for president.

“We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States,” West posted on Twitter, with the hashtag #2020VISION.

The musician was mocked for his presidential bid, here's some of what people were saying:

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