All posts by brianmaciver

VIDEO: From the streets to the cage: The tale of the Assyrian Nightmare

By Brian MacIver

Ankeedo Shamoun has waited long enough.

“We’re going pro after this fight and we’re going to make a statement in the pro community, that’s for sure,” he said. “I’m not looking past this guy, but I’m looking through him. He’s just another stepping stone for me.”

The 28-year-old Chicago native is ready to take the next step in his Mixed Martial Arts career.

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VIDEO: Wallabies to run on Soldier Field

By Brian MacIver

Justin Biggs remembers the All Blacks November visit to Chicago.

“Euphoria. Everyone knew this was the first time in a very long time that this had happened. It was just a buzzing. Everyone singing, dancing, having a few drinks. Just having a genuinely good time.”

The Australian consulate employee will get to chance to cheer on his home country’s rugby team as the Australian Wallabies, one of the world’s best rugby clubs, will come to Soldier Field on Sept. 5 to play the USA Eagles.

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VIDEO: MMA hits its stride in Chicago and the U.S.

By Brian MacIver

The spinning backfist connected and the crowd jumped. His opponent was dazed. The soon-to-be-victor continued the onslaught. He threw wide, powerful hooks at his opponent’s head as he backed him into the cage.

The final seconds ticked away, the cheering grew louder and it was clear what these 100 or so people were here for: blood, bruises and beatings.

The fact that a small-time promotion company like the International Fighting Organization, or IFO, could attract 100 people at $30 per ticket to its debut Mixed Martial Arts show earlier this month in Irving Park, was a testament to the growing popularity of mixed martial arts.

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Take this job: workers quitting a good sign

By Brian MacIver

Nearly 3 million U.S. workers quit their jobs in March in hopes of finding better employment, a sign that the job market continues to improve, economists said.

The quit rate, which calculates the number of individuals who quit their job as a percentage of paid employees, hit 2 percent while the number of job openings stood at 5 million at the end of March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Jobs Opening Labor Turnover, or JOLTS, report released on Tuesday.

Of the 5 million total job separations, which includes quits, firings and layoffs, 2.8 million were from quits, a positive sign for the job market.

“The quit rate is a general indicator of how much people believe they can find a job,” said Michael Englund, chief economist at Action Economics, in an interview. “If people are willing to quit their jobs it’s because they believe they can easily find another.”

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VIDEO: Shop offers vintage moped rentals in Wicker Park

By Brian MacIver

When Armando Lucenda was a 12-year-old boy growing up in Pilsen 17 years ago, he said he had a choice to make.

“Back in the day, it wasn’t a safe neighborhood,” Lucenda said. “So I had two options. It was either hanging out with old motorcycles and fixing them, or hanging out with gangs and stuff like that. So I really went to motorcycles. It took a lot of my time but I’m happy about it because now I’m alive.”

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IBM earnings down, stock pops then falls

By Brian MacIver

Despite declining net income and revenue, tech giant IBM Corp. reported late Monday a better-than-expected increase in adjusted earnings, causing its stock to jump more than 3 percent in after-hours trading before declining on Tuesday.

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