DC5m United States mix in english 481 articles, created at 2016-12-03 12:33


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Donald Trump's call with Taiwan -- what does it mean? (16.99/17)

China views Taiwan as a renegade province and since 1979 the US has acknowledged Beijing's claim that Taiwan is part of China, with US-China relations governed by a set of protocols known as the One China Policy.
Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen on Friday night published a statement about the 10-minute phone call, in which the two shared views on policies.
Ties with Taiwan
China's state-run CCTV quickly issued a statement following the call saying the President-elect had made "an unprecedented break with the One-China Policy and accepted US-Mainland protocol. "
Trump -- who has previously vowed to take a tough line towards Beijing -- stressed that Taipei had initiated the call.
"The President of Taiwan CALLED ME today to wish me congratulations on winning the Presidency. Thank you! " he tweeted.
Policy change?
Zhang Baohui, a political science professor at Lingnan University in Hong Kong, said the tweets made it clear that Tsai had called Trump.
"If Trump had called Tsai then it would be very significant but if she called him, it may not suggest a wholesale policy change. China's reaction so far has been calm and muted. It has not blamed Trump but singled out Taiwan. "
Michael Pillsbury, a China adviser to Trump during the campaign who served under Presidents Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Obama , said Trump's call was like many of the dozens he had made and taken since Election Day with world leaders.
"It shouldn't be seen as a departure from norms," Pillsbury said. "We should have warmer ties with Taiwan. And it can be done without alienating Beijing. Indeed over the last decade, Taipei has pursued closer relations with the mainland. We too can do both. The zero sum mentality is an old way of thinking. "
Damaging breach in protocol?
Michael Green , who served as President George W. Bush's special assistant for national security affairs, also said the idea of closer US ties with Taiwan was not unprecedented but that Trump's call was a huge breach in protocol.
"The Chinese will go ballistic," Green said. "They will have to, and they will warn the US publicly and will find ways to warn them privately, about this. "
Barry Pavel, director of the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council said there was a danger that "the Chinese are going to think it was deliberate and that this is the beginning of a hostile policy by the Trump administration, upending the basic geometry of diplomatic relations between the US and China since 1979. "
Moving towards an official relationship
Alan Romberg, China expert at the Stimson Center, said that Beijing -- at a minimum -- would want to strongly reiterate the importance of the US adhering to the One China policy.
"They will also want to be sure that it is not a harbinger of a real change in the policy," Romberg told CNN. But he said he did not think the call would cause a crisis in the US-China relationship.
"At this point Xi Jinping has indicated that he wants a good relationship with the US under President Trump," he said. "Beijing will want to make sure that he acquires the necessary knowledge about this issue. "
Richard Bush, the former managing director of the American Institute in Taiwan , which is the official channel of US interests on the island, said the call wasn't "technically" a breach of the unofficial status of Washington-Taipei relations because Trump isn't yet in the White House.
"China has a couple of options here," he said. "It could choose to be unhappy about this, but not make it a big issue. The other way they could see it is the first step in a kind of probe towards moving towards an official relationship. "
He added: China "might calculate that it is better to react vigorously and strongly with the first step rather than wait for the situation to get worse. "
Bonnie S. Glaser, the Asia expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies , said that the President-elect's call would worry China, but wouldn't necessarily convince Beijing that it was impossible to have a functioning relationship with the Trump administration.
"They will remind the US that obligations are to have an unofficial relationship with Taiwan," Glaser continued. "In private, I expect a little bit of a sharper message that they will deliver to the Trump team. "
Indeed in public comments Saturday, the Chinese government appeared to blame Taipei rather than Trump, with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi describing the call as "a shenanigan by the Taiwan side. "
"It won't at all change the 'one China' structure that the international community has agreed upon. I don't think it will change the 'one China' policy that US Administrations have adhered to over the years," Wang said on the sidelines of a foreign policy seminar.
"The 'one China' policy is the cornerstone of a healthy China-US relationship. I hope this political foundation won't be disrupted or damaged," Wang said.

Taiwan’s Tsai Ing-Wen ‘initiated’ phone call with Donald Trump, says island’s presidential spokesman
AP News in Brief at 12:04 a.m. EST
China lodges protest over Trump call with Taiwan president
Chinese foreign minister brushes off Trump call with Tsai as ‘petty trick’ by Taiwan
The Latest: China's foreign minister reacts to Trump's call
Trump upends US foreign policy with Taiwan call
Trump speaks directly with Taiwan's leader, irking China
Trump angers China with phone call to Taiwan's president


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Student stabs psychology professor to death on California campus — RT America (10.99/17)

The professor was found dead with several stab wounds in the campus’ Seeley G. Mudd building, Los Angeles Police Officer Meghan Aguilar said.
“We do believe this is not a random act and there is no concern for the safety of anyone on campus at this time," Aguilar added .
The student suspected of carrying out the attack has been arrested, Los Angeles Police Department Officer Drake Madison said , as cited by the local media.
The victim was later identified as Bosco Tjan, the co-director of the Dornsife Cognitive Neuroimaging Center, who had worked at USC’s Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences since 2001. AP cited public records indicating that Tjan was 50 years old.
“As the Trojan family mourns Professor Tjan’s untimely passing, we will keep his family in our thoughts,” USC President C. L. Max Nikias said in a statement, adding “we encourage anyone in need of support to reach out to Student Counseling Services or the Center for Work and Family Life.”
READ MORE: Shooter reported at University of South Carolina campus
According to USC’s Department of Public Safety, the stabbing “was the result of a personal dispute.”
Chris Purington, project manager at Tjan’s lab, said that the professor had never had problems with anyone.
“He was somebody who really cared about people” Purington said as cited by AP, adding “he mentored people and he looked out for them. He spent a lot of time thinking about what it means to be a mentor and guide people.”
University of Southern California is one of the world’s leading private research universities with some 44,000 students, according to the university.

Possible Faculty Fatally Stabbed At University of Southern California
Professor fatally stabbed on USC campus, student arrested
Student suspect arrested in fatal stabbing of USC professor
Student stabs university professor to death over personal dispute on campus
Man, 25, stabbed to death on USC campus, police say
University of Southern California Confirms Student Fatally Stabbed Psychology Professor
Psychology professor stabbed to death on California campus
University of Southern California psychology professor stabbed to death by student


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Trump Philippine leader (10.63/17)

Duterte says he was greatly pleased with the "rapport" he had with the newly elected U. S. president..
Duterte made the comments to reporters in Davao City on Saturday after a brief phone call last night with President-elect Donald Trump. Government officials earlier passed along snippets of their conversation.
"He was quite sensitive to our war on drugs and he wishes me well in my campaign and said that we are doing, as he so put it, 'the right way,' " the President said.
Washington has been critical of the Philippines handling of drug dealers, including extrajudical killings -- government executions without the benefit of judicial proceedings. That has sparked Duterte's resentment.
Duterte's verbal tirades and tilt away from Washington have raised many eyebrows since he took office in May.
While on a trip to China in October, Duterte said that "America has lost," and that he has realigned himself with China's "ideological flow. " He later clarified his comments about relations with the United States saying he was rather pursuing a "separation of foreign policy" from the US.
But Duterte was pleased over the exchange with Trump.
He described Trump as "animated" and said they talked about "a lot of things. " Duterte said he told Trump Filipinos "are tight with America" and wished Trump success.
"He was wishing me success in my campaign against the drug problem. He understood the way we are handling it and he said there is nothing wrong with protecting your country. It was very encouraging in the sense that I suppose that what he wanted to say was that he would be the last to interfere in the affairs of our own country. "
Both men extended travel invitations to the other.
"He has invited me to visit New York and Washington DC. He said if I am around he wants to be notified of my presence. And I mentioned to him about the ASEAN Summit next year and he said he would try his best to be here. He wants to attend the summit and that would be great for our country. I could sense a good rapport. "
Trump's transition team passed along a comment about the call but didn't mention Duterte's war on drugs.
"Duterte "offered his congratulatory wishes to President-elect Trump. In their conversation, they noted the long history of friendship and cooperation between the two nations, and agreed that the two governments would continue to work together closely on matters of shared interest and concern. "

Duterte says Trump wished his drug crackdown 'success'
Duterte says Trump wished his drug crackdown ‘success’
Duterte Says Trump Wished His Drug Crackdown 'Success'
Rodrigo Duterte Says Donald Trump Endorses His Violent Antidrug Campaign
China says has defeated "conspiracy" to stir up S.China Sea trouble
Start-up CEO Sacks resigns; report says Trump team next
AP News in Brief at 12:04 a.m. EST
The 'Two Trumps' surface in president-elect's transition


 4 /481 

Student suspect arrested in fatal stabbing of USC faculty member on campus (9.99/17)

A USC faculty member was stabbed to death inside a campus building Friday, allegedly by a student who has been taken into custody, Los Angeles police said.
Police received a 911 call from USC about 4:30 p.m. of a victim with multiple stab wounds, said LAPD Det. Meghan Aguilar. Firefighters responding to the call found the man dead inside the Seeley G. Mudd Building in the southwest corner of campus in the 3600 block of McClintock Avenue, authorities said.
“We want to make clear this was not a random act,” Aguilar said. “This victim was targeted by the suspect.”
The names of the victim and suspect, who is also a male, were not released.
Aguilar said police were interviewing possible witnesses inside the Mudd building, which houses the psychology department and classrooms used for biology, chemistry and other science courses. Clusters of students passed by the building but could not pass through the area, which has been cordoned off.
Pastor Joshua Beckley of the Ecclesia Christian Fellowship Church spoke at a candlelight vigil the day after a terrorist attack killed 14 people and 22 were seriously injured in 2015. A year later, he reflects on the city and how it has changed.
Donald Trump is set to preside over the most affluent Cabinet in U. S. History , the mountain lion known as P-45 has been given a second chance , before election day, L. A. Mayor Eric Garcetti didn't hold back when it came to Donald Trump but now has a more civil tone , and USC is a lock for the Rose Bowl, right? Not so fast.
William Crespo cries as he talks about his brother, slain Bell Gardens Mayor Daniel Crespo, and the sentence given to Lyvette Crespo.
The original version of this 911 call provided to the Times by the L. A. Fire Department included redacted portions to prevent the release of confidential health information. This condenses audible portions of the publicly released recording to remove silence.
The gorillas are majestic creatures and are well taken care of by the experts at the Los Angeles Zoo. But what goes into keeping the animals healthy and happy? Benjamin Crutcher, our Curiosity Correspondent, went to the zoo to find out.
Earlier in the day, USC sent out a campuswide alert about the police activity on campus. “No danger to USC or the community,” the text said. “Stay away from area.”

Possible Faculty Fatally Stabbed At University of Southern California
Professor stabbed to death on USC campus, student arrested
Student suspect arrested in fatal stabbing of USC professor
Man, 25, stabbed to death on USC campus, police say
Professor fatally stabbed on USC campus, student arrested
University of Southern California professor fatally stabbed with student arrested
Professor fatally stabbed on USC campus, student arrested - - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports
Professor Fatally Stabbed on USC Campus, Student Arrested


 5 /481 

What US presidents said about ties with China and Taiwan (7.99/17)

President-elect Donald Trump spoke Friday with Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, a highly unusual and probably unprecedented move since the U. S. broke diplomatic ties with the self-governing island in 1979 and ...

Trump Speaks Directly With Taiwan's Leader, Irking China
Trump angers China with phone call to Taiwan's president
Trump speaks with Taiwan’s president, risking China tensions
China hopes Trump call with Taiwan leader won’t damage ties
Taiwan calls on China to view Trump call "calmly"
Trump Speaks With Taiwan's President About US Policy On China
China lodges protest over Trump call with Taiwan president
Trump speaks directly with Taiwan's leader, irking China


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Panel urges better cybersecurity to President-elect Trump (7.73/17)

A presidential commission on Friday made 16 urgent recommendations to improve the nation's cybersecurity, including creating a nutritional-type label to help consumers shop wisely and appointing a new international ambassador on the subject — weeks before President-elect Donald Trump takes office.
The release of the 100-page report follows the worst hacking of U. S. government systems in history and accusations by the Obama administration that Russia meddled in the U. S. presidential election by hacking Democrats.
The Presidential Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity urged immediate action within two to five years and suggested the Trump administration consider acting on some proposals within its first 100 days.
The commission recommended that Trump create an assistant to the president for cybersecurity, who would report through the national security adviser, and establish an ambassador for cybersecurity, who would lead efforts to create international rules. It urged steps, such as getting rid of traditional passwords, to end the threat of identity theft by 2021 and said Trump's administration should train 100,000 new cybersecurity workers by 2020.
Other ideas included helping consumers to judge products using an independent nutritional-type label for technology products and services.
"What we've been doing over the last 15 to 20 years simply isn't working, and the problem isn't going to be fixed simply by adding more money," said Steven Chabinsky, a commission member and the global chair of the data, privacy and cybersecurity practice for White & Case LLP, an international law firm.
He said the group wanted the burden of cybersecurity "moved away from every computer user and handled at higher levels," including internet providers and product developers who could ensure security by default and design "for everyone's benefit. "
The White House requested the report in February and intended it to serve as a transition memo for the next president. The commission included 12 of what the White House described as the brightest minds in business, academia, technology and security. It was led by Tom Donilon, Obama's former national security adviser.
The panel studied sharing information with private companies about cyber threats, the lack of talented American security engineers and distrust of the U. S. government by private businesses, especially in Silicon Valley. Classified documents stolen under Obama by Edward Snowden, a contractor for the National Security Agency, revealed government efforts to hack into the data pipelines used by U. S. companies to serve customers overseas.
One commissioner, Herbert Lin of Stanford University, said some senior information technology managers distrust the federal government as much as they distrust China, widely regarded as actively hacking in the U. S.
President Barack Obama said in a written statement after meeting with Donilon that his administration will take additional action "wherever possible" to build on its efforts make progress before he leaves office next month. He urged Trump and the next Congress to treat the recommendations as a guide.
"Now it is time for the next administration to take up this charge and ensure that cyberspace can continue to be the driver for prosperity, innovation, and change both in the United States and around the world," Obama said.
It was not immediately clear whether Trump would accept the group's recommendations. Trump won the election on promises to reduce government regulations, although decades of relying on market pressure or asking businesses to voluntarily make their products and services safer have been largely ineffective.
Trump's presidential campaign benefited from embarrassing disclosures in hacked emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee, Hillary Clinton's campaign staff and others, and Trump openly invited Russian hackers to find and release tens of thousands of personal emails that Clinton had deleted from the private server she had used to conduct government business as secretary of state. He also disputed the Obama administration's conclusion that Russia was responsible for the Democratic hackings.
Though Trump is a prolific user of online social media services, especially Twitter, he is rarely seen using a computer. His campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, tweeted a photograph Monday of Trump working on an Apple laptop inside his office at Trump Tower. He testified in a deposition in 2012 that he did not own a personal computer or smartphone, and in another deposition earlier this year said he deliberately does not use email.
Trump has already promised his own study by a "Cyber Review Team" of people he said he will select from military, law enforcement and private sectors. He said his team will develop mandatory cyber awareness training for all U. S. government employees, and he has proposed a buildup of U. S. military offensive and defensive cyber capabilities that he said will deter foreign hackers.
The new report suggested that the government should remain the only organization responsible for responding to large-scale attacks by foreign countries.
Obama has a mixed legacy on cybersecurity.
Under Obama, hackers stole personal data from the U. S. Office of Personnel Management on more than 21 million current, former and prospective government employees, including details of security-clearance background investigations for federal agents, intelligence employees and others. The White House also failed in its efforts to convince Congress to pass a national law — similar to laws passed in some states — to require hacked companies to notify affected customers.
But the Obama administration also became more aggressive about publicly identifying foreign governments it accused of hacking U. S. victims, arrested some high-profile hackers overseas, successfully shut down some large networks of hacked computers used to attack online targets, enacted but never actually used economic sanctions against countries that hacked American targets and used a sophisticated new cyber weapon called Stuxnet against Iran's main nuclear enrichment facilities.
Congress passed a new law in late 2015 to encourage companies and the government to share information about online threats.
Follow Tami Abdollah on Twitter at
Copy of the report:

The Latest: Scholar says China concerned about Trump policy
The 'Two Trumps' surface in president-elect's transition
Taiwan’s Tsai Ing-Wen ‘initiated’ phone call with Donald Trump, says island’s presidential spokesman
The Latest: Scholar Says China Concerned About Trump Policy
Donald Trump smashes protocol by speaking to Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen
The "Two Trumps" surface in president-elect's transition
Could President-Elect Donald Trump Accidentally Start A War? [Video]
The “Two Trumps” surface in president-elect’s transition


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No. 4 Washington beats No. 9 Colorado 41-10 for Pac-12 title (5.29/17)

Taylor Rapp returned one of his two interceptions for a touchdown and Myles Gaskin ran for 159 yards to help No. 4 Washington strengthen its case for a playoff berth with a 41-10 victory over No. 9 Colorado in the Pac-12 championship game Friday night.
"We think we have a heck of a team and we think we belong in there," coach Chris Petersen said. "I think they'll do what they should do, which is the right thing. ... These guys have done everything they're supposed to do. "
The Huskies (12-1, No. 4 CFP) broke open a close game when Rapp intercepted Sefo Liufau's passes on the first two drives of the second half for a touchdown and to set up a field goal that made it 24-7.
Washington rolled from there to its first conference title since 2000 with a performance likely to keep the Huskies in the top four when the College Football Playoff bids are handed out Sunday.
"We didn't play this game for the playoff committee," receiver John Ross said. "We played this game because this is what we worked for. "
It was a rough day for Colorado (10-3, No. 8 CFP) and Liufau, who was knocked out of the game after twisting his right ankle on a sack on the Buffaloes' first drive of the game. He returned to start the second half and threw three interceptions, including one on the first play from scrimmage that Rapp returned 35 yards for a score.
Liufau threw another interception on the ensuing drive and Colorado could never recover. Even a circus kick return in the third quarter couldn't help the Buffaloes. Anthony Julmisse returned a kick to near midfield and fumbled. Phillip Lindsay scooped up and ran down to the 2 but Colorado was held to a field goal.
"We just didn't execute as an offense," Liufau said. "It's probably the most frustrating part, especially as one of the captains and one of the leaders and your group isn't performing to the level it should be. "
Colorado: From the opening kickoff that went out of bounds, little went right for the Buffaloes, who were unable to cap an impressive turnaround season with a conference title. Liufau's injury didn't help the cause. Steven Montez went 5 for 12 for 60 yards in the first half and was unable to generate any consistent offense and Liufau was even worse when he returned. He threw as many interceptions in the third quarter (3) as he had all season and was just 2 for 12 for 12 yards after coming back into the game.
Washington: The usually efficient Jake Browning struggled throwing the ball but it didn't matter as the Huskies dominated the game with 265 yards on the ground behind Gaskin and Lavon Coleman (101 yards). Browning went just 9 for 24 for 118 yards but did throw two TDs. His second touchdown was far from his prettiest throw of the season. With a defender draped all over him, Browning threw a ball up from grabs that John Ross caught in front of Chidobe Awuzie and ran in 19 yards for the score. Browning's 42 TDs are one shy of Jared Goff's Pac-12 record.
Colorado: The Buffaloes must wait to see if they will remain ahead of No. 11 USC in the playoff rankings and get a Rose Bowl bid if Washington goes to the playoff or likely head to the Alamo Bowl if they drop behind the Trojans.
Washington: A likely berth in the playoff.

No. 4 Washington defeats No. 8 Colorado for Pac-12 title
Washington takes Pac-12 title, on course for playoffs
Washington routs Colorado to win Pac-12 championship
Washington blasts Colorado, complicates Michigan's CFP path
No. 4 Washington makes its case for the playoff with rout of No. 8 Colorado, 41-10, to grab Pac-12 title


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Friday’s boys’ high school basketball summaries 12.02.16 (4.24/17)

Berry 11 9 17 15 – 52
North Meck 26 23 18 19 – 86
Berry: Maurice Brown 23, Filmore 7, Ford 4, Berry 4, Riley 4, Woodard 3, Graham 3, Chapman 2, Grace2
North: Jae’Lyn Withers 23, Tristan Maxwell 13, Sherman 9, Worthy 8, Lowery 8, Luckey 8, Hairston 5, Clark 3, Bolton 3, Cage 3, Strother 2, Griffin 1
Records: North Meck 7-0; Berry 1-4
Ravenscroft 22 10 16 20 68
Providence Day 20 22 14 21 77
RS: Ian Dubose 33, Jack Barnette 12, Jack Hemphill 12, Der Hejjen 2, Taylor 4, Sanders 4, Steele 1
PDS: Devon Dotson 31, Wertz 9, Isaac Suffren 12, Luke Stankavage 15, Muhammad 6, Miralia 4
Records: PDS (6-2) RS (5-2)
Cannon School 16 15 26 15 -- 72
Cary Academy 7 10 -- 31
Cannon School 72– Jairus Hamilton 10, Phillip McKenzie 15, Murphy 7, Deveaux 6, Alexander 5, Johnson 4,Usher 3, Parker 2, Exson 1, Cox 8, Zion Hendrix 11
Cary Academy 31 – Murphy 11, Kozlowski 6, Nunnally 3, Niemchak 2, Fowler 9
Records: Cannon School 3-5; Cary Academy 2-1
Vance 9 13 21 -- 56
Independence 19 15 7 11 -- 52
Vance 56– Marcus Neal 11, Cameron Hamilton 10, Raboulin 5, Abraham 5, Beidleman 1, Justin Freeman 19, Johnson 4, Barnes 1
Independence 52 – Smith 3, Robert Bonar 11 Chea Johnson 11, Allen 2, Justyn Hamilton 18, Tshiona 7
Records: Vance 5-1; Independence 3-2
Piedmont 17 15 16 22 -- 70
Forest Hills 17 22 16 17 -- 72
PIEDMONT -- Hunter Tyson 32, Price 9, Baucom 8, Climingbear 7, Hucks 1, Wright 4, Ruetgers 2, Eichensur 7
FOREST HILLS -- Nas Tyson 25, Trey Belin 14, Jai Rorie 12, Tyrese Barbour 11, K. Tyson 4, McLaughlin 4, Ratliff 2
Records: Forest Hills 3-0, Piedmont 3-2
NW 11 9 23 54
CM 24 13 15 76
Cox Mill: Wendell Moore 27, Caleb Stone-Carawell 17, Francis Sio 15
Records: CM 3-2 2-0 SPC
Weddington. 11 13 - 50
South Meck. 12 9 11 14 - 46
Weddington 56 - Ryan Schwieger 25, Timmy Havens 11, Litton , Livingston , Dixon , Davis , Davidson
South Meck 69 - Bryant Thomas 18, Paul Hudson 12, Derrick Walker 11, Seth Williams 12, Newkirk 5, Jackson 5, Quick 2, Sims 2, Logan 2, Mallory 1
Lincoln Charter 33 27 29 11 100
Cherryville 11 17 6 11 45
Lincoln Charter (5-0 2-0): Kody Shubert 28, Jackson Gabriel 20, Axel Holm 12, Zeke Mayfield 10, Johnson 9, Knox 8, Clark 5, Stewart 3, England 2, Wilson 3, Davis 2, Collonia, Martin
Cherryville: Will Lewis 11, Brown 9, Hunt 8, Hudson 7, Sanders 3, Hardin 3, Cain 2, Jeffers 2
Notable: Kody Shubert 28 pts. 7 assist, 1 steal, 26pts at the half; Jackson Gabriel 20 pts. 6 rebounds 7 assist 3 steals 6-11 3pt; Jehlon Johnson 9 ptbs. 10 rebounds
AK 14 9 16 14 - 53
Hough 7 18 - 39
AK David Kasanganay - 13, Harper Hendricks - 12, Jerod Carrier - 7
Hough Hill - 7, Early - 7, Topp - 6
Concord 11 8 16 23 58
E. Rowan 8 15 10 16 49
Concord: H. Nasirildeen 12, Metcalf 17, Rotan 4, Lippard 6, Threadgill 6, O'Neal 8, Irby 4
Notable: Hamsah Nasirildeen 12pts, 8rebs, 7assts, 5stls; Andrew Metcalf 17pts, 6rebs, 3assts, 5stls.
FCA: 16 6 20 10 52
CFA: 14 17 9 18 58
FCA: Alvorado 2, Harvey 17, Jenkins 2, Nash 12, Wink 1, Milos Supica 17, Kristic 2
CFA: D'Wayne Crawford 8, Stephen Edoka 15, Brody Madeira 5, Weston Edwards 3, Stah Rajic 8, Lazar Popovic 7, Amir Waddell 3, Amara Morris 6, Jordan Minlend 3.
Notable: Stephen Edoka 15 points 14 rebounds, Amiri Waddell 11 rebounds,
Records: CFA 6-3
DDS - 12 16 14 7- 50
AS- 7 10 6 - 30|
DDS - Harrison 6, Wolter 2, Gavin Rickard 12, Garvin Stewart 12, Kollme 3, Breunig 8, Johnson 2
AS- Morrison 6, Morrison 12, Gaumore 9, McRae 3
LNC 19 26 11 12 68
Hopewell 11 17 22 21 71
LNC: Hickert 22, Allen 16, Watts 7, Ashford 4, Reed 3, Martino 2, Calton 2
Hopewell: Sherrill 22, Williams 19, Forney 11, Dixion 11, Forney 11, Berg 4, Davis 2, Jones 2, Cannady 1
CSD 18 33 15 -- 81
TJ 12 8 6 -- 38
COMM SCH OF DAV 81 - Knox 26, Ellington 9 Alexander 2, Gomilla 10, McMahan 4, Christian 9, McCoy 1, Martin 2 Renshaw 11, Ward 3
Thomas Jefferson 36 - Wilson 14, Silva 2, Camper 11, Robbins 3, Moore 6, Mintz 2
Records: CSD 3-1, 2-0; TJ 1-2, 0-2
DA 20 12 13 13–58
CL 9 7 15 17–48
DA 58— Jorden Davis 15, Nick Beischer 14, Charlie Mendys 12, McCallie 5, Carpenter 4, Sinclair 4, Savarino 4
CL 48— John Beecy 16, David Baynard 12, Jackson Farr 12, B. Smith 4, Herrmann 3, Troutman 1
Records: DA 8-0, CL 1-5
East Rutherford 30 16 13 28 -- 87
East Burke 18 12 21 16 -- 67
East Rutherford 87 -- Malik Hamrick 25, Josh Searcy 20, Christian Walker 13, Juwan Blanton 11, Logan 6, Miller 4, A. Hamrick 3, R. Carson 3, Hampton 2
East Burke 67 -- Devin Sechrist 19, Caleb Wright 15, Adam McDowell 15, Cody Kistler 12, Lowman 3, Smith 2, Morrison 1
Records: East Rutherford 5-0 (2-0 SMAC), East Burke 0-2 (0-1 SMAC)
Gaston Day 19 17 22 24 82
Asheville Christian 21 9 16 17 63
Gaston Day -- Nate Hinton 19, Quan McCluney 18, MJ Armstrong 17, Brandon Reeves 12, John Crump 9, Demilade Adelekun 7
Asheville Christian -- Caleb Mill 19, Max Spurling 15, Chris Clayton 13, Kennedy Kincaid 5, Coleman Compton 4, Mitchell McMahon 3, Alex Jenkins 2, Ethan Hefner 2
Lake Norman 81 Bandys 63
Lake Norman//16.....29......18.....18
Bandys 17........9........15.....22
Lake Norman DeMarcus Johnson 14....... Luke robinson 13....... Brian dow 10
Omar Mohtady..9 Joe Hudson 8....... Zach Schultz 8....... Kelin Thorpe 7 Ryan spence 6 Jack smith 3 Matt Woods 2....... Brandon Rigby....1
Bandys JaToy C. 20...... D,Kiser 15....... A. Gwyn 12.... B. Thompson 8 J Wombold 4.... C. Styborski 2....... D. Reed 2
Grace Academy-- 16 20 24 11- -71
South Charlotte Thunder- 28 23 3 18--72
Grace Academy--71 Eric Evans 24 points 17 rebounds 7 assists, Mark James Lawson 22 points 6 rebounds 5 assists, Jaylen Thompson 6 points 7 assists 7 rebounds.
South Charlotte Thunder--72 Issaih Abbott 24 points, Matt Broussard 20 points.
Mallard Creek 22 19 8 18 -- 67
Garinger 8 15 14 16 -- 53
MALLARD CREEK 67 -- Eric Reed 13, Jordan Campbell 13, Hamrick 9, Austin 9, Tate 5, Tennyson 4, Dixon 4, Cunningham-Brown 3, Glenn 2
Garinger 53 -- Ray 17, Martinez 14, Hunter 9, Mcintire 5, Wilson 4, Cannon 2, Crowder 2
Indian Land 4 14 12 22 52
Marvin Ridge 21 15 20 15 71
IL: Sistare 19; Alston 14; Palmer 11
MR: J. Cardwell 17; C. Jones 17; R. Berry 8
Metrolina Christian 10 8 26 19-- 63
Charlotte Country Day 9 18 15 15-- 57
Metrolina Christian 63 -- Nick Dietrich 28, Malcolm Wade 14, Tate Johnson 5, Larry Barnes 5, Tyler Nelson 4, Noah Jordan 5, Nathan Clark 2
Charlotte Country Day 57 -- DeAngelo Epps 12, Tristan Miller 14, Alex Tabar 11, Tim Newman 8, Rylan Mclaurin 6, Myles Browner
Records: Metrolina Christian 5-1, Charlotte Country Day 3-4
Mooresville 21 11 31 16 -- 79
Kannapolis 15 18 13 -- 59
Mooresville 63-- Noah Allen 6, Treye Gunnings 23, Tay Davis 14, Jay Davis 6, Welch 28, Mauney 2
Kannapolis -- Williamson 5, Harris 5, Biuins 4, Argabright 14, Medley 12, Baruti 7, Parks 4, Nixon 3, Massey 5
Mountain island 26 13 28 -- 95
Highland Tech 6 27 14 12 -- 59
Mountain island 95 -- Jalen Thomas 32, Shaddai Boots 24, Javeon Dunn
Records MICS 2-2
Pine Lake Prep 25 26 20 8-- 79
Sugar Creek 11 8 1 0 -- 20
Pine Lake Prep 79 -- Alex Cluff 15, Justin Workman 15, Eito Yuminami 13, Wallace Foutch 12, Will Harwood 12
Sugar Creek 20 -- Latrell Roberson 8, B Taylor 4, Tradarion Morrison 3
Charlotte International - 17 14 7 9 - 47
Queen's Grant - 27 22 14 - 90
Queen's Grant (1-1) - Daymaun Harvey 29, Terron Harvey 19, Ace Owens 12, Murphy 9, Chapman 8, Westbrook 5, Morgan 3, Sanders 3, Suggs 2
Carolina International (4-3) - Jakai Brewton 20, Williams 6, Barker 5, Awunti 4,Jay Brewton 3, Fields 3, Lampkin 3, Featherson 3
SouthLake Christian 27 17 22 14 = 78
Westminster Catawba 5 3 6 7 = 21
SouthLake Monroe 25, Haughton 13, Fairfax 13, VanWingerden 10, Reed 7, Roberts 5, Smith 7
Westminster Catawba Christopher 2, Jake 12, Charlie 3, Rob 4
Statesville Christian (7-0) 21 24 13 3--61
Millers Creek Christian 4 5 6 6-- 21
Statesville Christian 61 – Brennan Settle 18, Christian Bailey 14, Logan Mosley 11, Jordan McCray 7, Hazien Campbell 4, Chase Hedrick 4, Luke Johnson 2, Josh Frye 1
Millers Creek Christian 21 -- Lucas BIllings 12, Brooks Brown 7, Trey Few 2
UFCA: 17 16 21 15 -- 69
UCS: 8 4 8 10 -- 30
UFCA: Rafael Jenkins 21, Tyrell Dawson 12, Elias Tewolde 12, Jason Thompson 11
UCS: Jonah Watson 12, Bryson Burns 12
York 11 9 22 26 68
Fort Mill 19 11 22 63
York: Kennedy 27, Jones 12, Mare 11, Prosser 5, Culp 4, Cobb 4, Robbins 3
Fort Mill: DeLuca 25, White 8, Grainger 8, McIntyre 8, Heriot 6, Chrisley 6, Griffin 2
Fort Mill: 3-1

HS Boy's Basketball: Mahomet-Seymour vs IVC
Friday’s Women’s Basketball Scores
Friday’s girls’ high school basketball summaries
High school football, basketball, baseball, cheerleading and more
High School Boys Basketball: South Fork vs. Martin County


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Jury going into next week in ex-officer's murder trial (4.20/17)

CHARLESTON, S. C. (AP) - The jury in the murder trial of a former South Carolina police officer charged with gunning down a black motorist will continue deliberating next week, despite at one point Friday appearing deadlocked by a juror who told the judge he could not "with good conscience approve a guilty verdict. " The panel of one black and 11 white jurors has now deliberated for more than 16 hours over three days on whether to convict former North Charleston police Officer Michael Slager in the death of 50-year-old Walter Scott. They will return to the jury room Monday. Twice on Friday the jurors told Judge Clifton Newman they had reached a stalemate. One juror sent a letter directly to the judge saying he could not "with good conscience approve a guilty verdict. " The juror added he was not about to change his mind. But then in the courtroom, the jury foreman told the judge that he thought jurors could reach a unanimous verdict and deliberations continued. Newman did not say whether the jurors were leaning toward a conviction on murder or on voluntary manslaughter. Slager pulled over Scott's 1990 Mercedes for a broken taillight on April 4, 2015. Scott was shot five times in the back as he fled the traffic stop. A passer-by captured the shooting on cellphone video that stunned the nation. Slager was fired from the department and charged with murder after the video surfaced. Jurors are considering the charge of murder, which in Slager's case could carry a sentence of from 30 years to life in prison, and a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter, which carries a sentence of two to five years. The city of North Charleston reached a $6.5 million civil settlement with Scott's family last year. Following the shooting, the city also that the U. S. Justice Department to review its police department policies with an eye toward how the department can improve its relationship with residents. Slager also faces trial next year in federal court on charges of depriving Scott of his civil rights. Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Jury going into next week in ex-officer's murder trial - - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports
Jury going into next week in ex-officer's murder trial ::
Jury Going Into Next Week in Ex-Officer's Murder Trial
Jury going into next week in ex-officer’s murder trial


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Iran Condemns US Senate Vote to Extend Sanctions (3.28/17)

Iran's foreign minister is condemning the U. S. Senate's extension of a piece of anti-Iran legislation.
On Thursday the Senate voted to extend the Iran Sanctions Act by 10 years. The measure will now be sent to outgoing President Barack Obama to sign. The Saturday report on Iranian state television quotes Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying that the extension "shows the lack of credibility of the U. S. government. "
Iranian officials claim the extension of the U. S. sanctions would violate the nuclear agreement signed this year between Iran and six world powers — which lifted a variety of international sanctions in exchange for limitations on the Iranian nuclear program .
However the U. S. still maintains its own separate set of sanctions, which are set to expire Dec. 31 if they are not extended.

Iran condemns US senate vote to extend sanctions
US Senate vote to extend Iran sanctions proves US unreliable, says Iran
Iran says extension of sanctions act shows U.S. unreliable


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14 slain in San Bernardino terror attacks are not forgotten (3.16/17)

San Bernardino native Jose Piña somberly placed two red roses at the Dec. 2 terrorist attack memorial in San Bernardino on the one-year anniversary Friday.
A card he left with the roses below a cross read: “Never forgotten. Piña family.”
“I guess we’re all family now,” Piña said, pushing sand against the bottom of the vase to hold it in place on the cold, windy morning.
He brought the flowers on his way to work at Rooter Hero Plumbing in Montclair, then stood alone remembering the attack.
“That was the day San Bernardino was silenced,” he said. “The streets were silent. No one was out. I’ll never forget that day.”
Piña felt sad, there at the memorial, where a few fresh bouquets had been left among silk flowers, U. S. flags and signs – some new, some from the original memorial that grew at the corner of Waterman Avenue and Orange Show Road after the attack at the nearby Inland Regional Center.
He thought about the survivors and the 14 people who were killed last year.
“Just heavy-hearted for the families, you know?” he said.
Throughout the day, others came bearing flowers.
Maria Aguas and her daughter, Mariel – San Bernardino residents with no ties to the victims or survivors – brought red roses.
Erika Gomez, who went to school with the wife of shooting victim Nicholas Thalasinos, and her family brought two dozen roses.
Nearly 60 Teamsters from Local 1932, whose members include survivors employed by San Bernardino County, brought 400 white carnations and a wreath.
The Teamsters carried flowers in their hands down Waterman Avenue as they walked from their union hall in downtown San Bernardino south to the memorial.
They tied the red- and white-blossomed wreath to a fence, along with white carnations, before joining hands and standing in a circle to hear a prayer and observe two minutes of silence at 10:58 a.m., when the attack was reported to San Bernardino police.
“We had members that were killed, and many injured,” said Local 1932 Executive Trustee Rich McDowell. “We decided we needed to do something for our members, many who are dealing with a lot of health issues and psychological issues.”
People cruising through the busy intersection in cars and big-rigs throughout the morning and afternoon beeped while passing the memorial.
Shortly after the Teamsters departed, a woman driving a long, gray Teamsters truck north on Waterman Avenue beeped as she passed in the closest lane, one hand stretched out as if to touch the memorial – or the souls of those whose lives have been lost.
A memorial grew at the corner of Orange Show and Waterman after the IRC was cordoned off while first responders searched for the attackers and brought survivors out, laying the injured on Waterman Avenue and other spots and gathering those not shot at the San Bernardino Golf Club across the street.
A smaller memorial of prayer candles and silk flowers later appeared in front of the IRC’s third building, where San Bernardino County’s public health department had rented a conference room for a holiday party and training event.
On Friday, a large “United We Stand” sign was still draped on the fence at the cleaned memorial, which bore fresh rake marks in the sand.
Stuffed animals inhabited a bush. Wooden “Stars of Hope,” each painted with a victim’s name – Tin Nguyen, Juan Espinoza, Shannon Johnson, Yvette Velasco – hung from trees or lay on the ground below. Small U. S. flags atop the fence and along the sidewalk flapped in high winds.
Shortly after 8 a.m., three women from San Bernardino County’s nearby Mill Center Head Start taped a poster to the fence. The poster bore the names of the 14 victims on doves whose wings were made with Mill Center students’ white handprints.
Like county buildings and many nearby offices and businesses, the Head Start preschool was forced to go on lockdown after the attack in 2015.
“The day this happened, we could hear the sirens,” said Mill Center Supervisor Sharri Carroll.
A short while after the women appeared, at least 100 cyclists from Redlands-based Ride Yourself Fit bike club rode from Redlands to Waterman Avenue and Orange Show Road.
The route was 14 miles with 22 turns to honor the 14 people killed and 22 wounded in the attack.
San Bernardino graphic artist Juan Garcia-Ruiz, who designed the SB Strong logo in the aftermath of the attack, met the cyclists for a moment of silence. He designed the ride bibs the cyclists that carried the Dec. 2 date and Roman numerals XIV. XXII – 14.22.
“These are wounds that will probably never be healed,” Garcia-Ruiz said.
Laura Runyon, 24, of San Bernardino also stopped by the memorial to pay her respects.
“I have friends who work in the (IRC) buildings,” she said.
At 11:05 a.m., four more women – all San Bernardino County employees – stopped by with candles, which couldn’t be lit because of heavy wind, to read victims’ names on a sign.
“It’s just a somber feeling – not much to really put into words, I guess,” said one of the women, who didn’t want to give her name.
Erika Gomez, who went to school with Jennifer Thalasinos, brought her husband and three other family members to honor the dead.
“We feel for their families. It’s a big loss,” said Gomez, who works for the county. “It just breaks our hearts to know Christmas and New Year’s is right around the corner, and they’re going to be without their loved ones.”
For several hours, three women from The Way World Outreach of San Bernardino stood near a table where they offered hot chocolate, M&Ms and prayers to everyone.
“We’re here to comfort them,” outreach member Marie Cabrera said. “If they just need a shoulder to cry on, we’re here.”
Contact the writer: 951-368-9444 or

The Latest: Hundreds attend memorial for terror victims
The Latest: Hundreds Attend Memorial for Terror Victims
San Bernardino recalls terror attack with silence, speakers
In a dark year of terrorism and record homicides, San Bernardino also showing signs of hope
'God Bless America' concludes San Bernardino memorial


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CFB notes: No. 13 Western Michigan beats Ohio, 29-23, in MAC title game (3.15/17)

Robert Spillane intercepted a pass with 51 seconds remaining, and No. 13 Western Michigan remained undefeated, holding off Ohio 29-23 on Friday night to win its first Mid-American Conference title since 1988.
The Broncos (13-0, No. 17 CFP) led 23-7 at halftime, but Ohio rallied and had the ball in WMU territory in the final minute when Spillane intercepted Greg Windham's pass over the middle. Spillane immediately took a knee at his own 30, then was mobbed by his teammates as a Ford Field crowd full of Broncos fans roared.
Ohio (8-5) never led and didn't do much on offense until the final quarter, but the Bobcats still came achingly close to their first MAC championship since 1968.
Instead, WMU became the first undefeated team to win the MAC title game since Marshall in 1999. The question is whether the Broncos have done enough to make it to the Cotton Bowl. WMU is trying to earn the Group of Five bid to a New Year's Six bowl.
“We've done all we can do,” quarterback Zach Terrell said.
Western Michigan's Corey Davis had eight catches for 144 yards, including a 70-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter. Butch Hampton kicked five field goals, the last a 34-yarder that gave the Broncos a 29-23 lead with 1:24 remaining.
The crowd of 45,615 was easily a record for a MAC title game.
In the first interview he's granted since he was dismissed as head coach of Oregon , Mark Helfrich says he reached out to former coach Chip Kelly a couple of weeks ago when he thought he could be fired. Helfrich told ESPN Radio that he reached out to Kelly when it started “going south” for the Ducks and the rumors heated up, in the interest of trying to save his assistants' jobs. “When you start thinking of your assistants and all the support staff and all those people, if he were to come back here some of those people would be ‘saved’ quote-end quote,” Helfrich said.
Standout Iowa State wide receiver Allen Lazard will return for his senior season. Lazard caught 69 passes as a junior in 2016, including seven for touchdowns, and his 1,018 yards rank third in school history. Lazard also averaged seven catches for 114 yards in his final five games, coinciding with quarterback Jacob Park's elevation to the starting job.

College football: Broncos hold on to beat Ohio
The News' Tony Paul breaks down WMU's win
No. 13 WMU holds on, beats Ohio 29-23 in MAC title game
Western Michigan 29, Ohio 23 in MAC championship


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Bulls win 111-105 to hand Cavaliers a 3rd straight defeat (3.12/17)

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago beat slumping Cleveland 111-105 on Friday to narrow the gap between the Central Division heavyweights to two games, with Jimmy Butler leading the way with 26 points. It was the third straight defeat for the reigning league champions after having started the season an impressive 13-2. Toronto also holds a two game lead in the Atlantic Division after routing the Los Angeles Lakers in their largest win of the season. In the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Clippers won comfortably at New Orleans, while San Antonio re-established its three-game break in the Southwest by recovering from a slow start and narrowly beating Washington. Chicago's Dwyane Wade had 24 points for the Bulls, who dominated Cleveland 78-60 in the key, and won despite sinking of 3 of 18 3-point attempts. The Bulls used a strong third quarter to turn a one-point halftime deficit into an 88-80 lead. And they withstood several pushes in the fourth to knock off the defending NBA champions. LeBron James, who turned up in a Chicago Cubs jersey after losing a bet with Wade on the outcome of baseball's World Series, scored 27 points for the Cavaliers. Toronto made it five straight wins by cruising past the Lakers 113-80. Kyle Lowry had 24 points, going 6 of 9 on 3-point attempts as the Raptors beat the Lakers for the fourth straight time and set a new season high for winning margin, bettering the 27-point win against Philadelphia five weeks earlier. DeMar DeRozan and Norman Powell both added 16 points for Toronto. Brandon Ingram had 17 points for the Lakers. Los Angeles' Blake Griffin had 27 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Clippers to a 114-96 win at New Orleans. Chris Paul had 17 points and 13 assists for the Clippers, who backed up their win at Cleveland on Thursday and moved within one win of Pacific Division leader Golden State. Anthony Davis hurt his right shoulder but played through it, scoring 21 points for New Orleans. San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard sank the winning basket with six seconds left as the Spurs escaped from early trouble and beat Washington 107-105. Leonard had 23 points and LaMarcus Aldridge added 19 for the Spurs, who have won their past 17 home games against the Wizards. Bradley Beal was 5 for 5 on 3-pointers in scoring 23 points for the Wizards. His final 3 gave Washington a 103-102 lead with 53 seconds remaining. Danny Green's 3-pointer put San Antonio ahead 105-103 with 19 seconds to go. John Wall tied it with 11.2 seconds left on a driving layup before Leonard rose for a 20-foot jumper at the top of the key. Otto Porter Jr. missed a 9-foot runner off a Washington inbounds play that would have tied the game. Detroit tied a team record with 17 3-pointers in routing Atlanta 121-85. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 23 points and Tobias Harris added 18 for the Pistons, who had seven players score in double figures and made it five wins from six. The Hawks, losers in eight of their past nine games, were 9-2 and tied for the Eastern Conference lead after beating Milwaukee on Nov. 16. Now they are one-half game behind eighth-place Detroit and headed to play Toronto, the East's second-best team, on Saturday. Dennis Schroder had 17 points and 13 assists for Atlanta, who were riding high early in the season but have lost eight of the past nine. Houston led from start to finish in winning 128-110 at Denver, completing a good road double after their victory at Golden State the previous day. Boston needed a 10-0 surge in the fourth quarter to pull away from Sacramento and record a 97-92 win. A sloppy New York gave up the lead against Minnesota in the fourth quarter before snatching it back and edging the Timberwolves 118-114. Orlando cruised to a 104-88 win at Philadelphia in a match of two out-of-touch Eastern Conference teams.

NBA Capsules
NBA: Struggling Cavaliers fall to Bulls, 111-105, for third straight loss
Butler, Wade lead Bulls to 111-105 win over Cavaliers


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Seidel: Western Michigan's P. J. Fleck delivers on championship promise (3.11/17)

Four years ago, I sat in an office with P. J. Fleck, who was at the time, the new, 32-year-old coach at Western Michigan.
He was passionate and energetic, tossing around slogans and philosophies, while describing his vision of what he wanted to build at WMU.
"I picture this place being like Boise State," Fleck told me. "Why not? Why not us? Why can't we win the Orange Bowl? Not just going. Winning it. Why can't that happen? I truly believe it can happen. "
It sounded so crazy at the time, a young, first-year coach throwing out grand statements, talking about changing the culture and winning championships at a place that hadn’t won the Mid-American Conference championship since 1988.
"Why fight it? " he asked. "Why resist it? We've won two championships in 107 years. So why not try this? Why not do something that is so different, that has never been done. That's where elite things happen, when people think outside the box. "
So he jumped outside the box and started rowing, walking on hot coals, raising awareness and creating a new culture and identity.
And tonight, the Broncos won a championship, just like he said he would, after holding on for a 29-23 victory over Ohio to win the MAC championship in Ford Field. The undefeated Broncos have now won 15-straight games, the longest in school history.
In many ways, it was an uncharacteristic game. The Broncos are known for putting up points -- they came into this game averaging 44.8 points per game, the most in the MAC and third most in the country -- but Ohio held WMU to three straight field goals in the first half.
The Broncos are known for taking care of the ball -- they went the first six games of the season without a turnover -- but quarterback Zach Terrell was intercepted twice in the second half.
But in the fourth quarter, the Broncos held, forcing an interception with 51 seconds to secure the win.
"I got hired to change the culture of the community,” Fleck said, four years ago. “Change the thought process, the belief system of the student body. Change the belief system of the administration. "
He did all kinds of things to raise awareness. He did a Polar Bear plunge and the video went viral. He walked on broken glass and hot burning coals , and that video went viral, too. He was the grand salesman, getting people talking about the Broncos. And suddenly, the recruits started to consider WMU. The talent level started to rise, the Broncos eventually started winning games, and everybody started going to the games.
"I'm trying to change a culture," Fleck said.
He did it. And then some.
Tonight, as he I got on the People Mover in Detroit, WMU fans started to chant to each other: “Row the boat! Row the boat!”
And after WMU scored in the second quarter, taking a 23-7 lead, the fans in Ford Field went at it again: “Row the boat! Row the boat!”
Yes, the culture has been changed. WMU drew more than 143,000 people this season, setting an attendance record to watch this team that has accomplished a whole bunch of “never before.”
The Broncos won their first bowl game in history (2015 Popeye's Bahamas Bowl). They put together the highest ranked recruiting class in MAC history, No.48 in 2016, according to
And on Friday, they broke the MAC championship game attendance with 45,615 fans.
"I think this place has everything to compete on a year-in, year-out basis with Big Ten schools," he says. "I really believe it can be like a Boise State. "
Maybe not all of the Big Ten schools. But MSU did beat Northwestern and Illinois.
"It has everything you need,” Fleck told me four years ago. “It's got the rural. It's got the urban. It's got a phenomenal top-100 public institution. You are two hours from Detroit, two hours from Chicago. Thirty minutes from Lake Michigan beaches. Wonderful beaches. They look like Florida beaches. The economy is strong. We are doing a lot of things in Kalamazoo. You get the college atmosphere here.”
Now, that statement seems so ironic. Does it have everything he needs? Fleck is now the hot, young, coveted coach. Purdue is looking for a coach. But USA Today reported on Friday that Purdue officials now believe it is unlikely they will get a sit-down interview with Fleck.
Oregon is looking for a coach, too. And there are sure to be other vacancies.
What will Fleck do?
He has already done what he said he was going to do. He has transformed this program.
Now that I think about it, in all those grand statements, he never said anything about staying forever.
Contact Jeff Seidel: Follow him on Twitter @seideljeff. To read his recent columns, go to .

Western Michigan Broncos deserve Cotton Bowl slot, coach P.J. Fleck says
Western Michigan's P.J. Fleck makes impassioned statement on Cotton Bowl-worthiness
Western Michigan 29, Ohio 23 in MAC championship


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Dazed Tennessee residents get first look at wildfire rubble (3.10/17)

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) - Charlotte Moore needed a phone charger. "I'll just get it at home," she shrugged. Then she remembered that her home was gone. The realization came as she made the familiar drive up to the top of Laurel Mountain in the Roaring Fork neighborhood of Gatlinburg on Friday, where what lay ahead was anything but familiar. On the first day officials let property owners return to assess the damage from the wildfire that devastated their homes, the eastern Tennessee tourist destination was headed toward an uncertain future. As people were allowed into the city, Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters raised the death toll to 13 and said the number of damaged buildings now approached 1,000. He also defended the response to the wildfires that spread rapidly Monday, saying it was not the time for "Monday morning quarterbacking. " He promised a full review later. Gatlinburg residents and business owners, meanwhile, got their first look at the wildfire destruction Friday, and many walked around the once-bustling city in a daze, sobbing. They hugged each other and promised they would stay in touch. "We love it up here so much," said Gary Moore, Charlotte's husband, his voice trembling. "We lost everything. But we're alive, thank goodness. Our neighbors are alive, most of them. And we're just so thankful for that. " Every home they passed on the drive up was a pile of unrecognizable rubble. They stopped to console some neighbors - Scott and Tammy Sherrod - who were seeing what was left of their home for the first time. Scott calmly walked through what remained of the home he bought with a VA loan four years ago. Tammy sat among the ashes and cried. Tammy and her daughter salvaged a few items, including a pottery coaster that her daughter had made when she was a little girl. Half of it shined in bright colors, while the other half was charred black. Brianna's name was still written on the back. "That's all we got," Tammy said. Tammy and her family had escaped the flames just in time Monday night. As she drove her car down the road, she placed her hand against the window for a moment but had to jerk it away because the heat had burned her. "It was like the gates of hell opened up," she said. After days of waiting to see their homes, some of the shock gave way to anger. "The city sure could have done a better job of getting us out of here," said Delbert Wallace, who lost his home. "When they got up that morning, when they seen that fire, we should have been on alert right then. " Authorities urged anyone who hiked the trial to give them a call. Waters and other local officials said the fire moved so far so fast that it gave them little time to react. The dead included a Memphis couple separated from their three sons during the wildfires. The sons - Jared, Wesley and Branson Summers - learned that their parents had died as they were recovering in a Nashville hospital. "The boys, swaddled in bandages with tubes hanging out and machines attached, were allowed to break quarantine, and were together in the same room, briefly, when I confirmed their parents' death," their uncle Jim Summers wrote on a Facebook page set up for the family. Their injuries "pale in comparison with their grief. " Other fatalities included a couple from Canada, 71-year-old Jon Tegler and 70-year-old Janet Tegler, a woman named Alice Hagler, and May Vance, who died of a heart attack after she was exposed to smoke. Officials said she was vacationing in Gatlinburg, but an obituary posted online said she was from the area. Other victims' names have not been released. In communities near Gatlinburg, signs of normalcy appeared. In Pigeon Forge, the Comedy House rented an electronic billboard message that said it was open, and Dollywood, the amusement park named after Dolly Parton, reopened Friday afternoon after it was spared any damage. The Associated Press was allowed into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park - the most visited national park in the country - on Thursday. Soot, ash and blackened trees covered the forest floor, and the gorgeous vistas of tree-topped mountain ranges were scarred by large areas of blackened soil and trees. Small plumes of smoke smoldered from hot spots. Deputy Park Superintendent Jordan Clayton said the initial fire started Nov. 23 near the end of the Chimney Tops hiking trail. "Whether it was purposefully set or whether it was a careless act that was not intended to cause a fire, that we don't know," Clayton said. "The origin of the fire is under investigation. " At the top of the mountain, Charlotte Moore took a picture of her burned-out car. She found a favorite vase mostly intact, but the coins inside were melted together. She and her husband are better off than most because they also own a home in Florida, which is where they were at the time of the fire. But Gatlinburg had been their primary residence. On Friday, they spent most of their time at home comforting their neighbors. "It just hits me in the gut," Gary Moore said. ___ Mattise reported from Nashville, Tennessee. Associated Press writers Rebecca Yonker in Louisville, Kentucky, and Kristin M. Hall in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, contributed to this report. Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Dazed Tennessee residents get first look at wildfire rubble - - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports
Dazed Tennessee Residents Get First Look at Wildfire Rubble
As wildfire death toll hits 13, residents dazed, sobbing


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Brazil Grieves For Football Team Killed In Crash (3.10/17)

A small Brazilian city will hold a massive funeral Saturday to honor its football team, wiped out at the height of their glory in a plane crash that killed 71 people.

Small Brazilian city prepares to bury remains of soccer club
Chapecoense plane crash: Team's home town gathers for memorial service
Chapecoense's fallen heroes return home to Brazil
Brazil grieves for football team killed in crash


 17 /481 

Football playoffs: Celebrations, fun and drama from Friday's championship games (3.10/17)

The county’s high school football scene produced a lot of excitement and drama Friday night as teams played in the CIF-SS championship games.
There were plenty of stars on the field, and you can read all about them at The four games involving county teams were Edison vs. La Mirada, San Clemente vs. Murrieta Valley, Corona del Mar vs. Sierra Canyon and Yorba Linda vs. Burbank.
In this slideshow, we have a collection of photos that show the entire scene and wide range of emotions both on the field and in the stands.

HS Boys’ basketball roundup: No. 3 Robinson, No. 4 Charlotte Christian fall on night of upsets
Football: Friday's Southern Section championship scores
GHSA high school football state championship games and schedule


 18 /481 

Iran's Supreme Court confirms death sentence for tycoon (3.08/17)

Iran's official IRNA news agency is reporting that the country's Supreme Court has confirmed the death sentence against a well-known tycoon.
The Saturday report says Babak Zanjani was sentenced to death over a variety of charges including money laundering and disrupting the country's economy.
Zanjani was arrested in 2013 as part of a crackdown on alleged corruption during the rule of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Iran's Oil Ministry says Zanjani owes more than 2 billion euros ($2.25 billion) for oil sales he made on behalf of Ahmadinejad's government.
Zanjani is one of Iran's wealthiest businessmen, with a fortune worth an estimated $14 billion. He was arrested shortly after the election of President Hassan Rouhani.

Alabama inmate seeks execution stay from US Supreme Court
Iran's Supreme Court Confirms Death Sentence for Tycoon
Iran’s Supreme Court confirms death sentence for tycoon


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Steve Kerr says he smoked pot for pain (3.08/17)

Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP
Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr yells Monday, May 16, 2016, during the first half of Game 1 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals between the Warriors and the Oklahoma City Thunder in Oakland, Calif.
Associated Press
Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016 | 12:02 a.m.
OAKLAND, Calif. — Steve Kerr, the reigning NBA Coach of the Year with the Golden State Warriors, acknowledged he tried marijuana twice in the past 18 months while dealing with debilitating back pain.
Kerr told Comcast SportsNet Bay Area's Warriors Insider Podcast with Monte Poole on Friday that he used medicinal marijuana but it didn't help — but painkillers have been worse.
"I have no idea if I would, maybe I would have failed a drug test, I don't even know if I'm subject to a drug test or any laws from the NBA," Kerr said. "I tried it and it didn't help at all. "
The 51-year-old Kerr missed the first 43 games last season and the team's record 24-0 start while on a leave of absence following complications from two back surgeries. A spinal fluid leak led to terrible headaches, nausea and neck pain among other symptoms that left him feeling frustrated and down.
Kerr noted, "athletes everywhere are prescribed Vicodin like it's Vitamin C, like it's no big deal. " He said he hopes sports leagues "are able to look past the perception" and that it's only a matter of time to change rules.
He also was just selected the Western Conference Coach of the Month for November.

Golden State Warriors Coach Admits To Marijuana Use For Chronic Pain
Kerr tells Comcast SportsNet Bay Area he smoked pot for pain
Steve Kerr: I smoked marijuana to ease back pain


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Airbnb settles row with New York City officials after threats it could be fined thousands of dollars for illegal sublets and vows to work WITH them to clamp down on guilty landlords (3.07/17)

Airbnb escaped facing punitive state laws against illegal sublets as it resolved its long-standing row with New York City officials. The company filed a lawsuit against the city after it proposed plans to hold it accountable to punitive fines for advertising short-term apartment rentals. It said that the ambiguous wording of the law meant it could be vulnerable to fines of up to $7,500 alongside the users acting illegally. Under the terms of the settlement, New York City agreed that the law would not be enforced against the company and was instead aimed at individual violators, a spokeswoman for Mayor Bill de Blasio said. 'The city will enforce this and other existing laws against bad actors, and appreciates the additional enforcement powers this new tool provides to protect New Yorkers and visitors from unsafe conditions,' said Melissa Grace, a mayoral spokeswoman. San Francisco-based Airbnb in a statement said it saw this agreement as a step forward for its hosts, with both sides agreeing to work cooperatively on ways to address New York City's housing shortage. 'We look forward to using this as a basis to finding an approach that protects responsible New Yorkers while cracking down on illegal hotels that remove permanent housing off the market or create unsafe spaces,' Airbnb said. The deal follows an earlier settlement with the New York state attorney general, who agreed his office would refrain from taking any action to enforce the law, citing an express provision stating enforcement would be carried out by the city. The lawsuit came amid ongoing clashes between the online lodging service and public officials seeking to minimize the impact of short-term rentals on neighborhoods and urban housing markets. Airbnb argues it cannot legally be held responsible for how landlords use its platform. If it is required to enforce local laws on short-term rentals, that could drastically reduce listings in some of its biggest markets.

Airbnb Ends Fight With New York City Over Fines
NYC settles on Airbnb deal to slap hosts with fines instead of home-sharing company
Airbnb agrees to abide by NYC’s short-term rental fines


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Bishop to meet with Trump transition team to discuss overturning monument decisions (2.33/17)

SALT LAKE CITY — Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, said he believes it's possible for President-elect Donald Trump to unravel controversial monument designations under the Obama and Clinton administrations, including the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
Bishop said he's meeting Monday with members of Trump's transition team to discuss issuing new executive orders to upend previous designations he calls "outrageous and controversial," as well as overturning any action President Obama may take regarding the proposed Bears Ears national monument.
"The more outlandish, the larger, the more outrageous and the more problems the designations present themselves, the easier and more defensible it is," Bishop said.
"If it was outrageous, it would increase the possibility it would be upheld," he said.
No U. S. president has ever used an executive order to undo a presidential proclamation by a predecessor creating a national monument, but Bishop said the lack of precedent doesn't forestall it from happening.
Steve Bloch, an attorney with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, said what Bishop is calling for is "beyond the pale. "
"It would be venturing into uncharted waters for Rep. Bishop to suggest the president should do something different here," Bloch said.
Some U. S. presidents have altered boundaries of previous monument designations or diminished their footprint, which have also not been challenged, Bishop said, stressing that "the idea of rescinding it is not specifically stated, but it is not denied. "
Bishop said he believes monument designations that did not follow the intent of the Antiquities Act — by carving out land protections in the smallest footprint possible to provide safeguards for specific antiquities — are rightfully vulnerable to being overturned by an executive order from a new president.
"Because it was not well done, it would be easier to obtain," he said, pointing to the surprise 1996 designation by then-President Bill Clinton of the 1.7 million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
The monument's creation, made by President Clinton from a state away in Arizona, roiled Utah's political leaders in a move that locked up one of the nation's most abundant reserves of coal.
Earlier this summer, Garfield County leaders declared a state of emergency they said was brought on by punitive federal land policies that have ruined their economic livelihood.
The call for 1.9 million-acre Bears Ears monument in San Juan County has resurrected fears that President Barack Obama will follow Clinton's lead and put a big chunk of land in Utah off-limits to activities such as mining, grazing or off-roading.
Monument supporters say the remote and rugged region — teeming with cultural artifacts — is in jeopardy from those threats and has already been plundered by looters.
The Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition has made an impassioned push for the monument's creation, joined by other Native American tribes, historic preservation groups, paleontologists and others.
Bloch said it would be an unprecedented and dangerous move for a U. S. president to undo the nation's track record of protecting public lands.
"If you look in Utah, Capitol Reef, Zion and Arches national parks all came along from presidents exercising their authority under the Antiquities Act," he said. "We have a track record in Utah and in the country that is universally hailed as the right thing to do for conservation and the protection of antiquities. "
Bishop has said a monument designation is unnecessary and contrary to local wishes. He produced a public lands bill in Congress to set up a pair of national conservation areas in the Bears Ears region and has proposed a co-management strategy that he says will ensure Native American tribes have a place at the table and retain access.
The land in question is already owned and managed by the Bureau of Land Management, which Bishop said points to a "conundrum" missed by most.
"If there are antiquities and they are being injured, then it is being done by the BLM," he said, "because this is BLM land. If it is a monument still managed by the BLM, how do you propose a solution? "
The Native American tribes in favor of a monument said Bishop's bill does not go far enough. Bloch speculated that if Trump reverses a Bears Ears national monument, the tribes would sue in federal court.
Political conservatives critical of the Obama administration are eying a Trump presidency with optimism, hopeful that it could overturn multiple controversial monument designations that have happened over the past eight years.
Since he took office in 2008, President Obama has set aside more than 550 million acres in two dozen monuments — the most of any president in U. S. history.
Some designations in Nevada, New Mexico and off the coast of New England happened over the objections of local residents and industry. Bishop said the same controversy over Bears Ears exists in Utah, with the majority of local residents opposed.

Pakistan PM's special assistant to meet team Trump
Days after 'productive' Nawaz Sharif-Donald Trump conversation, Pakistan to send envoy to meet US president-elect team
Start-up CEO Sacks resigns; report says Trump team next


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Trump transition: From Brexit to Calexit (2.27/17)

Washington, Dec 3 (IANS) Hillary Clinton polled over 2.5 million more votes than Donald Trump, yet come January 20, the Manhattan mogul would become POTUS - President of the United States. That's not cricket!...

The 'Two Trumps' surface in president-elect's transition
The "Two Trumps" surface in president-elect's transition
The “Two Trumps” surface in president-elect’s transition


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Indonesia police release treason suspects, continue probe (2.26/17)

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian police said they released eight people on Saturday, including prominent citizens who were arrested a day earlier for suspected treason and other crimes but are continuing to investigate them. Three others are still detained for questioning. National police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar said that another man, Alvinida Al-Farasi, was also arrested Friday, bringing the number of people under suspicion to 11. They were detained hours before the second major protest by conservative Muslims against the minority Christian governor of Jakarta. It drew at least 200,000 people to the city's streets and ended peacefully. Amar said the group planned to use the mass rally to occupy parliament and force lawmakers to hold an extraordinary session to overthrow the government of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo. He said those released included Rachmawati, the daughter of Indonesia's founding president and the younger sister of former President Megawati Sukarnoputri; retired army Gen. Kivlan Zein and activist Ratna Sarumpaet. They were cooperating with the investigation so their continued detention wasn't necessary, he told reporters. Some opposition politicians criticized the arrests. Police also released musician-turned-politician Ahmad Dhani, who is accused of defaming Jokowi. Authorities are still holding Sri Bintang Pamungkas, a noted political prisoner under late dictator Suharto's regime, and two people suspected of breaches of the electronic information and transactions law. Dhani and another of those arrested, political activist Ratna Sarumpaet, were part of the campaign team for Prabowo Subianto in the 2014 presidential election that Subianto lost to Jokowi. "Police have detected their activities within 28 days and collected evidences of their evil conspiracy to overthrow the government," Amar said.

Indonesia Police Release Treason Suspects, Continue Probe
Treason suspects planned to incite chaos


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WMU wraps up MAC title, likely Cotton Bowl bid (2.20/17)

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Over there, at midfield, was Justin Tranquill, dancing like nobody was watching.
Over there, in the tunnel, was Robert Spillane, clutching the final game ball like it was a carton of eggs.
And over there, and there, and there, was P. J. Fleck, hugging everyone in sight — before going crowd-surfing in a delirious Broncos locker room.
Western Michigan is the undisputed and unforgettable champion of the Mid-American Conference for the first time since 1988, when Fleck was 8 years old, and the second time since 1966, following a thrilling and tension-filled 29-23 victory over Ohio before a record and raucous crowd Friday night at Ford Field.
The victory caps a 13-0 season for the Broncos, who seem certain their next stop — after a certain hero's welcome in Kalamazoo, that is — is Arlington, Texas, for the Jan. 2 Cotton Bowl.
"It's historic," Fleck said, clutching a celebratory cork. "I don't care what league you're in. My son's baseball team didn't go undefeated, they were pretty good. If you go undefeated in sports, it's very special, no matter what.
"To go undefeated, it takes a ton of resolve, resilience, energy, commitment, it's very special, no matter what.
"We did our job. "
Spillane, a junior defender from Chicago who once committed to Fleck and WMU just weeks removed from WMU's 1-11 season, to the disbelief and disgust of his mother, made a game-saving interception with 51 seconds remaining to send the Broncos sidelines and large fan base into a frenzy.
It was the third turnover forced by WMU, whose turnover margin now stands at plus-19, No. 2 in the nation behind near-certain national-playoff participant Washington.
For a team on a storybook journey this season, it was only fitting it was Spillane to make the big play in the end. It was Spillane, after all, who stripped the ball from Northwestern, about ready to score, to earn the season-opening victory. Without that, WMU wouldn't be in this position.
"There's no better feeling than our seniors leaving with a 13-0," Spillane said in the Ford Field tunnel, cradling the game ball that he says he'll be framing soon.
"They started this program. They built this foundation. They stuck to the process the whole way, and look what happens when you stick to the process.
"I don't think anyone on the team still understands how big this actually is.
"We still got one more game. That's gonna be awesome. "
Ohio (8-5), a little-thought-of opponent — at least by the media — leading into this game, proved a worthy foe, and showed off its suffocating defense, picking off WMU senior quarterback Zach Terrell twice — when he had thrown just one interception all season, to 30 touchdowns, coming into the game.
Both picks came in the second half, and both led to Ohio points, a touchdown and a field goal, to make it a ballgame after the Broncos opened up a 23-7 lead at halftime.
WMU likes to say, "The Ball is the Program," and the program's most-historic season was in jeopardy because the Broncos didn't take care of the ball for a change.
"The guys did a great job of picking (me) up," said Terrell, whom Fleck later referred to as the best player on the team — and that's saying something, seeing as Davis, the star senior receiver, is heading toward a high selection in April's NFL draft.
"We kept our oars in the water, that's what this team's all about. People might think it's cliche and not real, but that's just how we operate. Give a lot of credit to the guys picking me up. "
Terrell still finished with strong numbers, at 19-for-31 yards for 290 yards and two touchdowns — both coming in the second quarter after WMU, which started out run-heavy only to stall and have to settle for field goals, transitioned to the passing game.
Terrell found Davis for a 70-yard score to make it 16-7. That was the 50th time those two have connected for a touchdown in their careers, one behind the national record for a tandem.
That was a big response, coming on the first play after Ohio — switching from freshman quarterback Quinton Maxwell to senior Greg Windham, who had been nursing an ankle injury — scored its first touchdown.
A little more than seven minutes later, just before the end of the half — after Fleck had burned his final timeout with Ohio about to punt from deep in its territory — Terrell marched down again, and hit senior Carrington Thompson for an 8-yard touchdown with 36 seconds left in the second quarter.
"Both sides made plays," said Ohio coach Frank Solich, now 0-3 in MAC championship games. "Congratulations, certainly, to Western Michigan, a very, very good football team. "
Solich was worried about the second half coming into this game, because Western, with its depth, tends to wear down opponents, but Ohio actually came roaring back.
By the end of the third quarter, Ohio had cut its deficit to 26-20, thanks to two touchdown passes from Windham, a 5-yarder to senior Jordan Reid — his second score of the game — and a 31-yarder to sophomore Papi White.
Windham finished 14-for-30 for 214 yards and the three touchdowns, while White had two catches for 98 yards, including a 67-yarder on Windham's first throw of the game.
A 37-yard field goal by Ohio freshman Louie Zervos, who missed an extra point earlier, made it 26-23 with 7:14 left.
But Terrell, despite the uncharacteristic early mistakes, steadily responded with an 11-play drive that began with two key passes, and featured the hard running of sophomore Jamauri Bogan. It ate up nearly 6 minutes and ended with a 34-yard field goal from freshman Butch Hampton, his MAC-record fifth field goal of the game. Hampton, in the first half, hit from 42, 27 and 21, and early in the second, hit from 33.
Ohio got the ball back with 1:24 left, and Windham completed his first three passes for first downs to get inside Western Michigan territory in a hurry.
"I will say, I don't know if I was breathing during that," Fleck said. "But we had a conversation on the headset and I told Ed (Pinkham, defensive coordinator)... 'I believe in you, we're going to get this thing, and they did.' It's only fitting that Robert Spillane strips the ball at Northwestern to make us 1-0.
"And Robert Spillane ends the story, ends the book of the regular season with a pick. Only fitting. "
With that, Fleck closed an imaginary book at the MAC media dais.
Davis, the FBS's all-time leading receiver, added 144 yards to his resume on eight catches. Bogan, coming off a 200-yard game against Toledo last week, rushed for 86 yards on 26 carries, many key ones late.
WMU added three turnovers, including two in the first quarter to again set the tone — a fumble recovery by junior Andre Turner on Ohio's first drive, and a fumble recovery by freshman Giovanni Ricci on a WMU kickoff. That led to three points.
Then, several fascinating hours of football later, Spillane secured turnover No. 3 — and, of course, history.
"I can't. I can't," Davis said, the game's offensive MVP, when asked to put all this into words. "We've come so far.
"It's crazy, mind-blowing, honestly, just to look back and see how far we've come. I would've never thought we'd be an undefeated team.
"A lot of blood, sweat and tears, and it paid off. "

P.J. Fleck emotional after WMU's first MAC title since 1988
WMU's Corey Davis on Cotton Bowl: 'We're in'
P.J. Fleck, WMU celebrate MAC title, 13-0 season
WMU on Cotton Bowl: No debate, ‘We’re in’
No. 13 WMU holds on, beats Ohio 29-23 in MAC title game
Lucky 13: Western wins MAC title, likely in Cotton Bowl


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Friday’s football scores, how the Sweet 16 fared (2.15/17)

Observer rankings of the top 16 high school football programs in our circulation area
Class 1A
(East- 1) Plymouth 21, (Mideast- 2) North Edgecombe 8
(East- 2) Chocowinity Southside 39, (Mideast- 5) Northampton County 12
(West- 2) Mitchell County 45, (West- 4) Cherokee 14
Class 1AA
(East- 2) Wallace-Rose Hill 35, (Mideast- 1) Salemburg Lakewood 0
(East- 3) Tarboro 13, (East- 1) East Carteret 7
(MIdwest- 1) West Montgomery 23, (MIdwest- 3) East Montgomery 20
(West- 1) Mt. Airy 38, (Midwest- 2) Whiteville 12
Class 2A
(East- 3) Edenton Holmes 35, (East- 1) Elizabeth City Northeastern 21
(Mideast- 1) South Columbus 42, (Mideast- 3) East Bladen 41
(MIdwest- 1) Reidsville 30, (Midwest- 3) North Rowan 13
Class 2AA
(East- 1) East Duplin 35, (East- 3) Hertford County 27
(East- 6) Jacksonville Northside 21, (Mideast- 1) Clinton 14
(Midwest- 1) Monroe 27, (Midwest- 3) East Lincoln 0
Class 3A
(East- 3) Havelock 24, (East- 1) West Craven 7
(Midwest- 1) Belmont South Point 42, (West- 2) Canton Pisgah 0
Class 3AA
(East- 5) Jacksonville 45, (Mideast- 2) Lee County 42
(MIdeast- 1) Eastern Guilford 28, (Mideast- 3) Western Alamance 17
(Midwest- 2) Weddington 21, (West- 1) Asheville Reynolds 13
Class 4A
(Mideast- 1) Scotland 49, (East- 6) Wilmington Hoggard 27
(West- 2) Charlotte Catholic 28, (Midwest- 1) East Forsyth 24
Class 4AA
Midwest- 2) Greensboro Page 49, (West- 4) West Forsyth 14
(MIdwest- 3) Charlotte Vance 50, (Midwest- 1) Matthews Butler 49
(Mideast- 1) Apex Middle Creek 49, (East- 2) Garner 30
Upper State
Boiling Springs 31, Gaffney 13
Spartanburg 45, Dorman 21
Lower State
Dutch Fork 42, White Knoll 7
Fort Dorchester 42, Conway 13
Class AAAA
Upper State
South Aiken 50, Ridge View 17
South Pointe 35, Belton-Honea Path 7
Lower State
Chapin 38, North Myrtle Beach 7
Hartsville 35, Orangeburg-Wilkinson 20
Class AAA
Upper State
Chapman 27, Powdersville 22
Newberry 45, Palmetto 28
Lower State
Brookland-Cayce 14, Bluffton 7
Dillon 35, Timberland 7
Class AA
Upper State
Abbeville 42, Cheraw 13
Saluda 35, Liberty 5
Lower State
Barnwell 17, Carvers Bay 6
Batesburg-Leesville 42, Bamberg-Ehrhardt 29
Class A
Upper State
Lamar 51, Williston-Elko 14
McBee 27, Lewisville 20
Lower State
Hemingway 48, Hannah-Pamplico 20

Football: Friday's Southern Section championship scores
Friday’s Women’s Basketball Scores
Friday’s College Hockey Scores


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WATCH: Yahya Jammeh calling president-elect Barrow to concede defeat (2.13/17)

Cape Town
– A video of Gambian President Yahyah Jammeh conceding defeat to opposition
leader Adama Barrow has gone viral on social media.
who ruled the west African country for 22 years, accepted his defeat on Friday
following an election in which over 800 000 people voted.
"Allah is
telling me my time is up and I hand over graciously with gratitude toward the
Gambian people and gratitude toward you," Jammeh said.
He also
wished Barrow "the best".
Watch the
video below.
to Jammeh's congratulatory message, Barrow said: "We will continue from where
you left. "
Official results
showed Barrow, a businessman and politically unknown until six months ago,
comfortably won Thursday’s poll with 45.54%.
took 212 099 votes (36.66%) and third party candidate Mama Kandeh 102 969 votes

Gambia's shock presidential victor Barrow hails 'new era'
Taiwan’s Tsai Ing-Wen ‘initiated’ phone call with Donald Trump, says island’s presidential spokesman


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Michigan turns eyes to ACC after Washington wins (2.13/17)

Michigan fans will ditch their Colorado gear and Twitter avatars and become Virginia Tech fans on Saturday.
If the Wolverines (10-2) are going to slide into the top four of the College Football Playoff rankings, they will need considerable help from the Hokies, who face Clemson in the ACC championship.
Alabama is No. 1, Ohio State is No. 2, Clemson is No. 3 and Washington is No. 4 in the CFP with the final rankings released on Sunday, along with the New Year’s Six destinations and the rest of the bowls. Michigan is No. 5 and ranked ahead of No. 6 Wisconsin and No. 7 Penn State, who will play each other in the Big Ten championship Saturday night.
CFP chair Kirby Hocutt stressed numerous times this week that the separation between Washington and Michigan is “razor thin.” He described Michigan as having a “strong resume” with three wins over top-10 opponents.
But Washington apparently closed that gap for good when the Huskies won the Pac-12 championship Friday night, beating up on Colorado, 41-10. The Huskies are 12-1 and had three second-half interceptions, including a pick-six. Washington converted the other two Colorado turnovers into field goals. Colorado starting quarterback Sefo Liufau suffered a leg injury early in the game, and returned later but was ineffective.
Now, Michigan must hope Virginia Tech (9-3) can upset Clemson (11-1), which is a 10 1/2-point favorite heading in the ACC title game.
Michigan is coming off a 30-27, double-overtime loss at Ohio State last Saturday. The Wolverines lost two of their final three games by a total of four points, including a one-point loss at Iowa that ultimately was pivotal for the Wolverines in terms of their postseason chances.
“The selection committee looks at Michigan with the strong resume,” Hocutt said this week. “They have three wins against top-10 teams. They played an impressive game this past weekend against No. 2 Ohio State despite the loss. Small separation — I can’t emphasize that enough between No. 4 and No. 5.
“We talked about Michigan’s additional loss to an unranked loss sitting there on their resume. So again, can’t look forward and anticipate what may or may not happen this weekend, but Michigan does have an impressive resume in the eyes of the selection committee.”
Had Michigan defeated Ohio State, the Wolverines would be preparing to face Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game and be very much in control of their playoff destiny. But they are home watching and waiting.
Most likely, Michigan will play in the Orange Bowl against Florida State. Assuming Clemson wins, the four playoff teams will be formally revealed at about 12:30 Sunday during ESPN’s “Selection Show,” and Michigan will then know its destination during the 2:30 announcement.

Washington routs Colorado to win Pac-12 championship
Washington blasts Colorado, complicates Michigan's CFP path


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Sheriff defends release of suspect in Joe McKnight shooting (2.12/17)

The suspect in the shooting death of former USC and New York Jets running back Joe McKnight was released by the Jefferson Parish (La.) Sheriff's department on Friday.
McKnight, 28, was the apparent victim of a road-rage incident just outside of New Orleans, according to Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand.
A suspect, 54-year-old Ronald Gasser, never left the scene and was placed in custody immediately before being released overnight.
"Mr. Gasser did in fact shoot Mr. McKnight," Normand told reporters on Thursday. "We will be releasing additional details as we get through these interviews with these witnesses. Mr. McKnight did not have a gun in his possession. "
Protesters gathered outside the sheriff's office on Friday, and Normand defended his handling of the case.
"Mr. Gasser is not going anywhere. He has been completely cooperative with us in every request we have made," Normand said. "We will do a very thorough and deliberate investigation. "
McKnight was born in River Ridge -- just outside of New Orleans -- and was a high school star at local powerhouse John Curtis Christian before going to USC. He was drafted in the fourth round by the Jets and spent three seasons in New York, piling up 505 rushing yards and averaging 28.7 yards on kickoff returns.
McKnight was released in training camp in 2013 and played two games with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2014. He played for the Edmonton Eskimos and the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the CFL last season.

Joe McKnight's shooting: What we know Saturday morning
At Joe McKnight's vigil, friends and supporters plead for answers
Watch: Joe McKnight remembered by LHSAA with moment of silence
Sheriff: McKnight shooting was 'road rage'; defends case


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Man shot to death in East Chicago (2.10/17)

A man was shot to death in East Chicago, Indiana, the Lake County coroner’s office said Friday.
A death investigation team was called about 11:30 a.m. to the 4900 block of Melville Avenue, according to the coroner’s office.
Terance Jackson, 22, of the 3900 block of Butternut Street in East Chicago, was found with gunshot wounds, the coroner’s office said. He was pronounced dead at 12:09 p.m. and his death was ruled a homicide.
East Chicago police did not provide additional information Friday.

Man, 19, shot on Far South Side
Man arrested in connection with 4 shooting deaths in L.A.
Man prepares for death from 'orphan' syndrome
Man shot in Gresham


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Huskies trounce Buffs, take Pac-12 championship game (2.08/17)

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - After all that, after all his heroics, they got his name wrong.
Taylor Rapp delivered the emphatic exclamation point to another dominant defensive performance for the Washington Huskies, earning the most valuable player award in a 41-10 victory over Colorado in the Pac-12 championship game Friday night. And for that the trophy presenter called him Tyler Rapp.
The true freshman safety from Bellingham quickly corrected the guy, and then held his MVP trophy aloft as teammates cheered.
The No. 4 Huskies offered a course correction of their own, sending a message to anyone who might have doubted their credentials.
No way the College Football Playoff committee gets this one wrong.
The Huskies (12-1) won their first conference championship since 2000, doing so in a fashion that should offer no debate about their worthiness for their first bid to the College Football Playoff.
The CFP committee on Sunday will release its final rankings of the season, and the Huskies bolstered their case with a victory over a No. 9 Colorado team that came into the week holding out hope of a playoff berth of its own.
Rapp closed that door on the Buffaloes (10-3) when he returned an interception 35 yards for a touchdown on the first snap of the second half, extending UW's lead to 21-7.
On Colorado's next possession, Rapp added his second interception of the game off Colorado's Sefo Liufau. That set up a UW field goal to push the margin to 17 points, and continued a most impressive week for Rapp, who three days earlier was named the Pac-12's defensive freshman of the year.
"It felt so good," said Rapp, standing in the UW end zone with purple and gold confetti at his feet, his MVP trophy in his hands. "I'm still trying to take it all in right now. It's so surreal. It feels like a dream. "
Safety Ezekiel Turner had UW's third interception of the second half, and the Huskies held the Buffaloes (10-3) to 163 yards of total offense_and just 50 in the second half.
"This is crazy. I'm speechless right now," UW left tackle Trey Adams said during the on-field celebration. "This is what we all came here for. "
Washington has won 12 games in a season for just the second time in school history, joining the 12-0 national champions from 1991. The Huskies will now wait for the CFP committee's announcement Sunday about where they will play their bowl game_the two semifinal games are the Fiesta Bowl in Arizona and the Peach Bowl in Atlanta_and one could make a strong case that the Huskies have earned a No. 2 or No. 3 seed.
Liufau, a graduate of Tacoma's Bellarmine Prep, went down with an apparent ankle injury on the Buffaloes' first series. He returned to start the third quarter, but his first pass went off the hands of receiver Jay MacIntyre and into the hands of Rapp, who returned it for the touchdown.
In the past four games, Rapp has four interceptions and a forced fumble.
The Huskies won the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, establishing a tough running game early with Myles Gaskin and Lavon Coleman to eventually wear down a Colorado defense that came into the game ranked No. 1 in the Pac-12 in fewest yards allowed.
Gaskin (159 yards) and Coleman (101 yards) both rushed for 100 yards to help offset an uncharacteristic slow start from star quarterback Jake Browning.
Browning had statistically his worst game of the season against Colorado's excellent defensive secondary, completing just 9 of 24 passes for 118 yards. He did have two touchdown passes to tie Marcus Mariota for second place on the Pac-12's single-season list with 42, one shy of Jared Goff's 2015 record.
Browning's second touchdown pass was one of the highlights of the season from John Ross III. Browning was hit from behind as he threw the pass to the flat on his right. Ross, with a defender closing in, leapt and reached high to haul in the pass with his right hand, as if casually pulling down a rebound. Ross then scooted untouched along the sideline for a 19-yard touchdown, extending Washington's lead to 31-7.
Chico McClatcher added an 8-yard touchdown run with 4:32 left in the game to make it 41-10.
The loss ends a charmed season for Colorado (10-3), who had the greatest one-year turnaround in conference history to win the Pac-12 South.
The Buffaloes will now await their fate to see if they or USC (9-3) will play in the Rose Bowl.

Huskies take care of business
Washington routs Colorado to win Pac-12 championship


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Road rage ends in McKnight's death; criticism of case looms (2.07/17)

HARVEY, La. (AP) — A road rage incident possibly sparked by a driver cutting off another on a nearby bridge spiraled into a shooting that left an ex-NFL player dead, authorities said, amid criticism the shooter was allowed to go free. Joe McKnight, 28, was shot Thursday afternoon in Terrytown, across the Mississippi River from New Orleans. Authorities identified Ronald Gasser, 54, who stayed at the scene, as the shooter and released him overnight. At a news conference Friday, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said the altercation started on a nearby bridge and proceeded into the New Orleans suburb. Witnesses reported hearing rapid gunfire after the two men were in a heated argument. Gasser shot McKnight three times from inside his car while McKnight stood outside. No charges have been filed, and some have criticized the sheriff for releasing Gasser. Morris Reed Sr., president of the New Orleans branch of the NAACP, was part of a small group of protesters outside the sheriff's office Friday. He said they would ask the Department of Justice to open an independent investigation into the shooting. "Until someone is charged with a crime, justice is not served," he said on local media. Dozens of people gathered at the scene of the shooting Friday night, holding hands in prayer and lighting candles. One woman held a sign saying "This is murder. " Normand defended his handling of the case, saying they would investigate thoroughly. Speaking of Gasser's release, the sheriff said the state has certain "statutes" that provide a defense to certain crimes but did not go into detail. Normand rejected accounts in local media speculating about the shooting. He said there's no video of the incident and Gasser did not stand over McKnight, firing. Coroner Gerry Cvitanovich said McKnight's three wounds were not consistent with being shot from above. When asked whether the state's "stand your ground" law will play a role, Normand said: "It is one of the issues that looms on the horizon," before saying he didn't want to give an opinion. "Stand your ground" laws give people wide latitude to use deadly force when they believe they are in danger. Dane Ciolino, a Loyola University law professor in New Orleans, says under such laws people "engaged in lawful activity in a place where they have a lawful right to be, don't have to retreat. " He said it "... boils down to whether the killing is necessary for this man to save his life. " Authorities have said McKnight didn't have a weapon on or near him when found. But news that Gasser has been involved in a similar altercation — at the same intersection — with a driver a decade ago will likely raise further questions about who was the aggressor. Normand said in a press release late Friday that in February 2006, a man observed a truck driving erratically and called a number on the truck, speaking to a man later identified as Gasser. Gasser and the man got into a fight on the phone and then Gasser followed the man to a service station, confronted him and hit him several times. Gasser drove away and the victim called 911. Investigators found Gasser and issued a misdemeanor summons for simple battery, which was later dismissed. Authorities said they are trying to determine why it was dismissed. McKnight's grandmother, Barbara Franklin, said relatives are "trying to find out our own selves" just what happened and why Gasser was released. "He might be released now, but God is going to bring about justice in it," she said by phone. McKnight's death was eerily similar to that of former New Orleans Saints player Will Smith who was killed last April in a shooting sparked by a traffic altercation. The man accused of shooting Smith goes on trial Monday in New Orleans. The discrepancy in how the two shooters were treated stood out for Kawanee Holmes, of Gretna, Louisiana who came to the intersection where McKnight was shot to leave balloons and flowers with a friend. "It wasn't justified what he did. He could have defused the situation by driving away," Holmes said. McKnight is black and Gasser is white, authorities said. Normand denied race played a role, pointing out that the man who raised McKnight used to be a sheriff's deputy and many people in the department are close to his family. McKnight played three seasons for the New York Jets and one with the Kansas City Chiefs. He spent this season in the Canadian Football League. He was considered the nation's No. 1 running back recruit when he came out of Louisiana in 2006 and signed with the University of Southern California. Former teammates in New York remembered McKnight fondly. "I enjoyed the time when he was here and getting to know him as a person. I think it's going to hurt his son the most and that's what is really bothering me — knowing that a kid will have to grow up without his dad," said Muhammad Wilkerson. The Jets plan a moment of silence before Monday's game to honor McKnight. Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll coached McKnight at USC and said he had talked with McKnight just three weeks ago in California. "He had a great heart, he was a great kid, he was fun to be around, fun loving but you just knew he had a lot of stuff to overcome and he was making it," Carroll said. "We're going to miss him greatly," Carroll said. ___ Associated Press reporters Jeff Amy in Jackson, Mississippi, Dennis Waszak Jr. in Florham Park, New Jersey, and Tim Booth contributed to this report. ___ Follow Rebecca Santana on Twitter @ruskygal.

Road rage ends in McKnight’s death; criticism of case looms
Sheriff: McKnight shooting was 'road rage'; defends case


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After Isis: the families returning home in Iraq (2.06/17)

O n the evening of 11 August 2014, Assam Dara Ali was at home in Jalawla, southern Iraq. His wife, Teba, was putting their two young children to bed; meanwhile, Kurdish officials in Erbil were beginning to report that Jalawla had fallen to Isis. “Suddenly we heard cries of ‘Allahu Akbar’, God is greatest, from the mosque,” Assam tells me. Isis was broadcasting its takeover message from the minarets, visible from the family’s courtyard.
In the preceding months, fighters had seized large swaths of Iraq: the city of Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad, the western towns of Sinjar and Makhmour, as well as Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city. The newly declared caliphate of Islamic State was expanding by the day.
Assam’s eight-year-old daughter, Hanin, had heard the same call of “Allahu Akbar” at night before, when the imam announced the end of Ramadan – a time of celebration with presents, feasting and sweets. “Daddy,” she said, running to her father in great excitement, “is it Eid?”
Assam told Teba and the children to hide under the stairs. “We stayed awake all night. We were afraid they would come into the house and kill us.” People began loading up minivans and cars, escaping along the backroads Isis soldiers wouldn’t know. Assam and his family left early the next morning, heading for Teba’s parents’ home in Baghdad. “We called neighbours and they told us which way was safe,” he says. There was only time to take their identity cards.
It is an early morning in late autumn, and I am in the southern Iraqi desert, driving on an empty road towards the Iranian border. There are two things you notice as you approach Jalawla, about 100 miles north-east of Baghdad. The first is people selling local produce at the side of the road: pyramids of pomegranates, caskets of plump radishes. The second is the multiple checkpoints. Since they recaptured Jalawla from Isis last November, the peshmerga – Kurdish armed fighters – has turned the town into a fortified citadel. At its entrance, there is a queue of dusty 4x4s, belching taxis, bicycles; a commotion of peshmerga and police officers; young men pushing carts, hawking fruit and cigarettes. An armed soldier taps on the window, leans in to check our documents and waves us through.
Jalawla was once a town of about 80,000, a place where people wanted to live and to visit. It had 12 mosques, good schools, a hospital with a reputation for skilled doctors and excellent maternity care. The youth club offered karate and had recently staged a highly praised performance of Oliver Twist. But mostly what drew people here was the market: a labyrinth of stalls both outside and indoors, selling everything from melons and tomatoes to fine jewellery and mobile phones. There was nothing like it for miles around.
Most of the town’s inhabitants fled during its 15-month occupation by Isis – to nearby towns, to Baghdad, or farther afield in Iraq. Around 300 families stayed behind, either because they had been told they would be “safe” under Isis rule, or because they were sympathisers.
Tipped off by local informers, Isis burned homes and businesses belonging to Shiite and Kurdish families, blew up a Shiite mosque and killed anyone with a connection to the Iraqi military. The death toll from the occupation includes 20 civilians murdered by Isis, as well as 175 peshmerga and 40 Asayesh, Kurdish security forces. Just about every home was looted – and not exclusively by Isis.
Once the peshmerga regained Jalawla, after a two-day battle in November 2015, the town was stripped of explosive devices and booby traps; in February this year, it was finally declared safe for civilians. It is still a long way from returning to business as usual, the streets lined with ramshackle shops and abandoned buildings. Ninety-five per cent of the town was damaged, either as a consequence of fighting, or because buildings were occupied or destroyed by Isis. The town hall is still a pile of rubble, as is the former headquarters of Asayesh. (These security personnel now work from a makeshift office in a private house.)
After months of ghostly emptiness, people have started moving back. The population is now up to 66,000. It is possible to drink sweet black tea in glass cups from the stall in the market, as well as to buy vegetables and clothes. The health clinic, with its dentist, doctor and pharmacy, has reopened. There are the sounds of building: diggers, bulldozers, workmen.
But ordinary life has yet to resume. Twenty per cent of homes are still without water because the government has not paid the $650,000 bill for repairing the town’s water supply. Seven schools remain closed, and there is a shortage of teachers. The hospital has reduced its service, offering only A&E and dental care. Men in uniform patrol the streets, and there is a town-wide curfew on some nights.
Some of the biggest changes are, of course, not apparent to the eye. “We don’t feel safe,” Hiwa Jabari tells me, summing up the collective psyche. Jabari, a small, muscular man in his 40s who speaks excellent English, runs a pharmacy in the basement of the health clinic a few minutes’ drive from the centre of town. “Daesh [Isis] turned this into a hospital,” he explains. “They treated their wounded soldiers here and they stole everything.” He means $200,000 of drugs and medicines – stock he has since replaced thanks to a loan from a friend – as well as dispensary equipment: weighing scales, pill counters.
For many people, this was a theme of the occupation: Isis’s infatuation with their equipment. Fighters stole the air-conditioning unit from the office of the water board, as well as drilling machines. They took a generator from a school and computers from the youth centre. But Jabari points out that the militants didn’t take everything from the pharmacy: he has a souvenir, an old barcode scanner with “Belongs to Islamic State” written on it in Arabic with black marker pen. “I have no idea why they didn’t take it,” he says. “Perhaps they didn’t know what it was.”
Assam and his family moved back to their home in the centre of Jalawla in June, and to the bridal shop he runs nearby. When I visit, Teba is changing the nappy of four-month-old Asal, or Honey, who was conceived in exile. At 26, Teba is 30 years her husband’s junior and says she fell in love with him because “he was a man. Not like the boys my age.” They met in 2003, at the start of the Iraq war, when Teba’s family fled the bombing of Baghdad for Jalawla. They returned to Baghdad, but came back in 2006, when there was another crisis. “I said to my mother, Teba has become very beautiful,” Assam recalls, “I would like to ask for her hand.” They married 10 years ago, when she was 16.
Assam is unusual in being an Iraqi husband who has encouraged his wife to have a career. Teba has a salon, Hanin, named after their daughter, where women can have their eyebrows threaded, and their hair cut and coloured. There are posters of Britney Spears and Avril Lavigne on the walls, and a red, diaphanous curtain across the door that reads, “I love you, my darling husband.” Her husband has the shop next door, where brides come to hire elaborate wedding gowns.
Assam tells me they had never argued – until this year. The couple returned to find his shop burned and her salon trashed; Isis soldiers had tried to burn it but only succeeded in breaking the mirrors and window. There was a further, more traumatic provocation. “A friend who stayed behind called me and said, ‘Assam, your house has been taken by Isis. They are using it as a headquarters.’ Isis were sleeping and eating in our home.”
He suspects his home was chosen not because it is large and central, but because he is Shiite. Their house looks immaculate now – a shady courtyard, white walls, brightly coloured rugs and cushions – but it has taken a lot of work to get to this point. Teba opens a photo album and shows me a picture of a pile of plastic junk. “The children’s toys,” she says, “they broke them all. Hanin had a doll like a Barbie, dressed in Kurdish clothes. She played with it only once and it was wonderful; Aiman had a remote-controlled car.” There were piles of dirty pots and pans, an empty whisky bottle. Their TV, refrigerator, bed and Teba’s underwear had been taken.
Meanwhile, Teba’s salon has been repaired and refurbished with the help of Oxfam. The charity has given one-off payments of $2,000 to 12 shop-holders and will help a further 150. (Assam met the criteria, but asked the charity to prioritise Teba.)
Kurdish security forces estimate that around 400 fighters occupied Jalawla, and many moved their families in. “The women came from Lebanon, Syria, even Europe and Russia,” says a spokesperson. Two Jalawla women left their husbands, stayed behind and joined Isis.
Teba says she no longer feels safe here, and wants to return to Baghdad. Her parents recently came to visit, intending to stay for a few days, but after a night under curfew, packed their bags and went back to Baghdad the next morning.
Baghdad isn’t exactly trouble-free, I say. “I know,” Teba says, “but I will be with my parents and I will feel more secure.” She also worries about her children’s education, now that the schools are so overcrowded. Every weekday morning, she gives the children eggs and bread for breakfast. She plaits Hanin’s hair and gels Aiman’s fringe – it’s the trend at school. She packs their bags, kisses them goodbye and tries not to think of the bullet-pocked wall they have to walk past to get to school. But for Assam, Jalawla is home, and he wants to stay.
Jalawla lies at a crossroads where Iraq, Iraqi Kurdistan and Iran meet. The town was of strategic importance to Iraq’s former ruler, Saddam Hussein , who in 1988 subjected Jalawla to a campaign of ethnic cleansing, expelling its Kurdish inhabitants and replacing them with Arabs from the south. After Hussein’s arrest in 2003, the Kurds seized their opportunity to return.
The mayor of Jalawla, Yacop Yusef, recalls the years of conflict that followed. His office is a sprawl of marble floors and heavy carved furniture, in a building that has been turned into a fortress. An armed bodyguard in aviator shades and 10 soldiers stand outside. Yusef, who became mayor in January, sits with his hands folded at an enormous boardroom desk and tells me about the tensions that played out under the leadership of Nouri al-Maliki , prime minister of Iraq from 2006 to 2014. Al-Maliki favoured his own community, the Shiites, Iraq’s long-suppressed majority, and excluded the Sunni population from any meaningful role in government. Many Sunnis felt they faced a choice between pledging allegiance to a Shiite-led Baghdad or to armed groups led by Isis.
“There was a very large Sunni family in Jalawla, and half of them were working with Isis [before the occupation],” a spokesman for the security forces tells me. “They were a sleeper cell.” Isis also had support from former members of Hussein’s Ba’ath party, many of whom had converted to radical Islam in American prisons. “We have names and documents of people employed by the Ba’ath government who moved to places like Baqubah [an hour’s drive from Jalawla],” he adds. “They have assimilated themselves into the community.”
There were early warning signs in Jalawla: kidnappings; and on 8 June 2014, a suicide bomber who hit the security forces’ office. Three days later, Isis swept into Sadiyah, a 15-minute drive away, where Iraqi soldiers abandoned their positions and handed over their guns. On 14 June, the militants turned north towards Jalawla, driving pick-up trucks armed with machine guns appropriated from the Iraqi army. By 11pm on 11 August, they had taken full control.
Since its liberation last November, Jalawla has been claimed by the Kurdish government (previously, it was ruled by the Arab-dominated government in Baghdad). It even has a new name: Golahah. In the aftermath of the conflict with Isis, Iraqi Kurdistan has increased its territory by 40%.
Yusef tells me how he planned for the civilian return in March this year. “We saw what happened in Sadiyah [which was liberated in September 2015]. People got so scared, they left again. What we have done is move people back gradually, neighbourhood by neighbourhood.” The first area to be repopulated was the centre, because it was the quickest route to reviving the market. Wahda district, in south Jalawla, is still unoccupied, because the area has very limited supplies of electricity and water.
Maha Nabil Hussain shares a home with her parents and six brothers and sisters near the hospital. A dentist, she grew up in a town half an hour away, near the Iranian border; in 2005, Kurds forced their Sunni family out. They moved to Jalawla, but she is not happy here because “people here have closed minds. They are very traditional.”
Maha, 26, talks about the pressure she feels to wear a hijab when she’s at work. “And when I have a male patient, I have to take my brother into the clinic with me, because I don’t want to be alone.” Her worry is an attack, either physical or verbal.
The family returned from exile in Khanaqin in June, to find their home had been bombed to a pile of dust and smoke. I ask them about the most precious thing they lost. “Baby photos,” Maha’s mother says. “We used to have lots, and now we have no memories.”
The family are renting a place while their old home is rebuilt at a cost of $4,000. Their father, a retired builder, is contributing, as is Maha, who is the main breadwinner. She earns $700 a month at the hospital where she works mornings; and around $100 a day at a private health clinic. Their rent is $200 a month.
Maha’s mother thinks she should save more, and complains about her daughter’s latest purchase: a suite of ornate sofas bought for $3,500 from a shop in Khanaqin. “Why are you buying this furniture?” she asks, shaking her head in dismay. “Maybe we will be attacked again and lose everything again.”
I ask Maha if she feels safe. “We are Iraqis,” she replies. “My whole life is war.”
I meet Esmail Nordeen in the Jewish market not far from the centre of town. A relic of an older time, the market is a maze of narrow alleyways where stallholders stand motionless, waiting; purveyors of household goods with shelves of shampoo, makeup and deodorant; sellers of shoes and children’s clothing. Before the crisis, there were 400 stallholders; now there are only 30. Esmail, 42, dark and thin, is selling cigarettes from a shop called Natural Honey World; his old shop was damaged, and the honey-seller has gone out of business. “He can’t come back, because he used to buy on credit. Now no one is giving him credit, because he’s already in debt.” Esmail says he used to make $50 a day. Today, he barely clears $30 a week.
The town’s hopes are pinned on growth, but the returnees are victims of circumstance. Because Kurdistan now controls Jalawla, the Iraqi government has acknowledged only basic responsibility. The first group of returnees received a one-off incentive payment of $100-$200 per household. The Kurdish government, meanwhile, is in economic crisis. “Teachers don’t even have salaries, so can they help a damaged city?” points out Dalia Ahmed, 26, who is from Khanaqin and works for Oxfam in Jalawla. The charity is supporting the most vulnerable returnees, but the town is scrabbling to survive.
On my last day in Iraq, I go to meet Majada Abdul Rachman in Khanaqin. A former resident of Jalawla, she has been banned on the grounds of being an enemy to the peace: her son, Jamal, 34, stands accused of being an Isis informer. She insists it wasn’t him who cycled around Jalawla during the occupation pointing out to Isis which house belonged to whom. “There was a neighbour – he was a spy and it was his son who had a bicycle and was showing houses to Isis.”
Jamal tried complaining to the security forces. “They just said, ‘Complete your documents and we will review it.’ Every time he visited, they said the same thing.” He gave up and last month left for Egypt, en route to Europe, taking his wife and three of his children. His 10-year-old son, Abdullah, has stayed behind with his grandmother, because the two are so close.
Majada tells me that in some ways she’s happy Jamal has gone: he was lazy and workshy. But he has left his mother and sister with a lot of problems. Every time Majada visits Jalawla, her daughter, Amal Abbas Ahmed, has to collect her from the checkpoint and confirm that she is only visiting. Until she can prove she is not an enemy to the peace, she has no option but to live with her divorced daughter in a rundown outhouse with a tattered blanket over the broken windows. I asked the security services how many former residents had been banned. They would not confirm a number, but said that 1,300 families were still waiting to return.
Back in the mayor’s office, I ask Yusef about the biggest challenge he faces. “The conflict between Shiites, Kurds and Sunnis,” he replies. “Rebuilding, electricity, water – these things can be solved, but the rivalries need time to heal.” Married with seven children aged between 18 and 25, Yusef has his own problems: his home was razed to the ground. What is the most precious thing he lost? “A walking stick,” he says. It belonged to his grandfather – a mukhtar, a religious man and a community leader. And what about his wife? “She misses our wedding photographs,” he says. “There is an old Iraqi saying, ‘Whenever you get hurt or upset, look at your wedding photograph,’” he laughs.
Meanwhile, the battle for Mosul is entering its third month. What happens the day after Isis retreats will be just as significant as the battle itself. Liberation could leave up to 1 million people homeless. What will it be like for them to return to such a damaged city? In Jalawla, the future remains uncertain. The Iraqi government has warned the Kurds that they shouldn’t get too comfortable, and will have to give up captured territory once Isis is defeated. For thousands of families, this is not the end of the story.

Ruins of homes in Kirkuk a sign of divisions to come in Iraq
Ruins of Homes in Kirkuk a Sign of Divisions to Come in Iraq


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Yes, it snows in Hawaii: More than 2 feet of snow in forecast (2.06/17)

HONOLULU -- The summits of Hawaii’s Big Island could get more than two feet of snow, with a winter storm warning in effect through Saturday.
A Winter Storm Warning is in effect through Saturday evening for elevations above 11,000 feet. The summits could get 20 to 30 inches of snow through Saturday, CBS affiliate KGMB.
An upper level low pressure area has brought the sub-freezing temperatures and unstable conditions. The low will combine with moisture surging in from the southeast, which could result in bursts of heavy snow, especially above 12,000 feet.
The summits of two famous Hawaiian volcanoes are blanketed in snow and ice
Conditions on the summits are dangerous. Besides being cold, east to southeast winds of 10 to 20 miles per hour are expected with higher gusts. The strong winds also will cause drifting snow, and freezing fog will reduce visibility to as low as a quarter of a mile.
It may be a while before you can see the white stuff up close. The road to the summit of Mauna Kea is closed at the Visitor Information Station at the 9,200-foot level due to freezing fog, heavy snow and icy roadways. The summit of Mauna Loa is also closed due to high winds and heavy snow. This means hiking and overnight camping is prohibited. The National Park Service said a thick blanket of snow was visible as low as 10,000 feet.
Yes, it snows in Hawaii, Matthew Foster, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Honolulu, said he had to explain to some surprised out-of-state callers Friday. “Typically when we get these snow events, it does get a lot of attention,” he said, adding that he explains to curious callers that the snow is falling in a small, remote area where there are mainly telescopes and scientists. “We do have very high mountains here.”
Once they realize the heights of the mountains, snow in the island state makes a little more sense, said Ryan Lyman, forecast meteorologist with the Mauna Kea Weather Center. Mauna Kea is nearly 14,000 feet above sea level.
The weather service forecasts new accumulations of about a foot of snow Friday night through Saturday. An additional foot is possible Sunday. Temperatures are in the mid-20s to lower-30s.
That’s a significant amount of snowfall, but not uncommon for the summits, meteorologists say.
Lyman said there has been 30 to 36 inches in recent winters.
It’s enough snow to shut down operations on Mauna Kea, Lyman said. The mountain’s access road is expected to remain closed until next week, he said. The weather service doesn’t keep track of what the record amounts of snowfall are on the summits. Heavy snow is often accompanied by wind, which create drifts that make it difficult to accurately measure snowfall, Lyman said. Abundant snow on Mauna Loa’s 13,677-foot summit could be seen at sunset Thursday from parts of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, said park spokeswoman Jessica Ferracane. There was heavy rain in other parts of the state Friday, with a flash flood warning in effect for Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island.

Hawaii summits could get more than 2 feet of snow
Hawaii's Big Island summits could get more than two feet of snow in early winter storm


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AP PHOTOS: From a delicate flower comes a very pricy spice (2.06/17)

It's a brilliant patchwork of color. The women open the purple petals of thousands of crocus flowers and, from each one, separate out three deep crimson threads that are tiny,...

PICTURED: From a delicate flower comes a very pricy spice
AP PHOTOS: From a Delicate Flower Comes a Very Pricy Spice


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Syrian regime 'seizes new rebel district in Aleppo' (2.06/17)

Syrian troops and allied forces advanced overnight seizing Aleppo's Tariq al-Bab neighbourhood from rebels as they press an offensive to recapture all of the city, a monitor said on Saturday. ...

Syria army seizes new rebel district in Aleppo: monitor
Syria army seizes new rebel district in Aleppo


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Death toll from last month's IS bombing in Iraq rises to 92 (2.06/17)

Iraqi officials say the death toll from a Nov. 24 suicide bombing claimed by the Islamic State group has risen to 92, including about 40 Iranians.
The hospital and police officials said Saturday that another 105 people were wounded in the bombing at a gas station near the city of Hilla, south of Baghdad.
The latest death toll is an increase by 19 over the figure announced by officials a day after the attack, which targeted Shiite pilgrims returning home after marking a major religious occasion in the holy city of Karbala.
The officials attributed the rise in the death toll to the completion of the identification of bodies burnt beyond recognition.
They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Death Toll From Last Month's IS Bombing in Iraq Rises to 92
Death toll from last month’s IS bombing in Iraq rises to 92


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UPI Almanac for Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016 (2.06/17)

Today is Saturday, Dec. 3, the 338th day of 2016 with 28 to follow.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Jupiter and Saturn. The evening stars are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Neptune, and Uranus.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Sagittarius. They include presidential portrait painter Gilbert Stuart in 1755; Civil War-era Gen. George B. McClellan in 1826; U. S. Weather Bureau meteorologist Cleveland Abbe, who initiated daily weather bulletins, in 1838; English novelist Joseph Conrad in 1857; Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, in 1925; pioneer country singer Ferlin Husky, also in 1925; singer Andy Williams in 1927; French film director Jean-Luc Godard in 1930 (age 86); former race car driver Bobby Allison in 1937 (age 79); Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Ozzy Osbourne in 1948 (age 68); former race car driver Rick Mears in 1951 (age 65); Olympic gold medal skier Franz Klammer in 1953 (age 63); actors Mel Smith in 1952 and Daryl Hannah and Julianne Moore, both in 1960 (age 56); Olympic figure skater Katarina Witt in 1965 (age 51); and actors Brendan Fraser in 1968 (age 48), Brian Bonsall in 1981 (age 35) and Amanda Seyfried in 1985 (age 31).
On this date in history:
In 1818, Illinois was admitted as the 21st state in the United States.
In 1833, Oberlin College in Ohio, the first truly coeducational college in the United States, opened with an enrollment of 29 men and 15 women.
In 1929, the Ford Motor Co. raised the pay of its employees from $5 to $7 a day despite the collapse of the U. S. stock market.
In 1967, Dr. Christiaan Barnard performed the first successful heart transplant at Cape Town, South Africa.
In 1984, poison gas leaked at a Union Carbide pesticide factory in Bhopal, India, in the world's worst chemical disaster. Death toll estimates varied widely. Government officials said about 3,000 people died shortly after the leak and many thousands more in the months and years ahead.
In 1992, the U. N. Security Council voted unanimously to authorize sending a U. S.-led multinational force to Somalia .
In 1997, delegates from 131 countries met in Canada to sign the Convention on the Prohibition, Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines.
In 2006, Hugo Chavez, an outspoken critic of U. S. President George W. Bush and U. S. foreign policy, was re-elected for a third term as president of Venezuela.
In 2009, Comcast, the largest cable operator in the United States, bought 51 percent of NBC Universal from General Electric for $13.75 billion.
In 2012, White House spokesman Jay Carney, commenting on a U. S. warning that Syria must not cross a "red line" and use chemical weapons , said: "The [Bashar] Assad regime must know that the world is watching and that they will be held accountable by the United States and the international community if they use chemical weapons or fail to meet their obligations to secure them. "
In 2013, a federal judge ruled that Detroit was eligible for the largest municipal bankruptcy in U. S. history.
A thought for the day: Robert F. Kennedy said, "The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better. "

Georgia Nicols horoscopes for Dec. 3, 2016
Photo Gallery: Wendell Wonderland - Dec. 2, 2016


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Harden scores 20 in Rockets' runaway win over Denver 128-110 (2.06/17)

James Harden scored 20 points and the Houston Rockets led from start to finish in beating the Denver Nuggets 128-110 on Friday night.
Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson had 18 points each and Sam Dekkar added 17 points for Houston, which completed an impressive road back-to-back sweep that began with its 132-127 win over Golden State in double overtime on Thursday.
Wilson Chandler had 24 points to lead the Nuggets, who saw their three-game winning streak against the Rockets come to an end. The Nuggets have lost four of their last five and fell to 3-7 this season at home, the high-altitude venue they once routinely dominated.
Up by 10 points at halftime, the Rockets took a 99-84 lead into the fourth quarter and kept the pressure on the rest of the way as part of a sharpshooting display that included converting 17 of 37 3-point attempts against a listless Nuggets defense. Denver made 9 of 30 from beyond the arc.
The Rockets took a 73-63 halftime lead over the Nuggets, who allowed a season high in points over the first two quarters by an opponent.
Houston led by as many as 15 points in the first half, hitting nine 3 pointers, including four by Anderson, to gain early separation with its highest scoring output over the first two quarters this season.
The lack of defensive urgency by Denver was epitomized by Gordon's fastbreak layup at the halftime buzzer as he drove the length of the court virtually uncontested in the final 3 seconds of the period.
Rockets: F Trevor Ariza left the game in the final minutes with a leg injury, apparently after coming down awkwardly while going for a rebound. ... Houston has made at least 10 3-pointers in 19 consecutive games, the longest streak of its kind in league history. ... Houston's previous high for first-half points was 71 against the Los Angeles Lakers on Oct. 26. ... Houston is 7-2 on the road since beginning the season 2-3.
Nuggets: C Nikola Jokic missed the game because of a sore left wrist. ... G Gary Harris remains sidelined with a right foot injury. ... G Will Barton returned from an ankle injury that sidelined him for the previous two games.
Rockets: Completed a five-game trip and return home to host the Boston Celtics on Monday night.
Nuggets: Play at Utah on Saturday night in the first stop of a six-game trip.

NBA Capsules
Harden scores 20 in Rockets’ runaway win over Denver 128-110


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Hipster Santa returns to Portland mall (2.05/17)

PORTLAND, Ore. -- You may know Santa Claus as a jolly old man in a red suit, but in Portland, you’ll find a tattooed and pierced Santa with a man bun, CBS affiliate KOIN reports .
You can meet Hipster Santa at the Pioneer Place Mall Thursday evenings from now until December 22.
The trendy elf made his first appearance in 2015.

Mall of America Hires First Black Santa Claus Ever
Hipster Santa is apparently a thing and he can be found in Portland


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Mourners mark anniversary of SF police killing of Mario Woods (2.05/17)

One year ago, Mario Woods was fatally shot by five San Francisco police officers in the Bayview neighborhood, in a shooting that sparked outrage, national attention and unprecedented local police-reform efforts after it was captured on video.
Community members and Woods’ family marked the anniversary Friday afternoon with a vigil and march to the place where he died at Third Street and Fitzgerald Avenue.
Holding candles and red, black and white balloons — Woods’ favorite colors — mourners set up a makeshift shrine in front of the fence where one year ago, he staggered as officers surrounded him with guns drawn.
City attorneys have defended the shooting, saying the officers who killed the 26-year-old on Dec. 2, 2015 — after failing to subdue him with pepper spray and beanbag rounds — used lawful self-defense on a stabbing suspect who still had a knife, refused to obey commands and was under the influence of methamphetamine.
But activists said the video showed the officers using an excessive amount of force, firing at least 27 times, on a man who was posing no apparent threat to the officers and those around him.
The diverse crowd that gathered Friday fluctuated between shedding tears and shouting for justice. Rev. Ben McBride opened the proceedings with a prayer that energized the group with a chant that would ensure no one would allow Woods to fade from the public consciousness.
“Say his name!” McBride shouted. “Mario Woods!” the mourners shouted back.
“Say his name!” “Mario Woods!”
Woods’ mother, Gwen Woods , spoke about how, in disbelief, she finds herself partaking in this practice to remind herself of what she has lost.
“There are days I say, ‘I had a son. I had a baby son,’” she said, choking back tears. “I have to say his name out loud. He used to be here. And he mattered.”
As she spoke, Gwen Woods was surrounded by women who have lost children to law enforcement violence all throughout California, from Richmond to Stockton to Anaheim. Gwen Woods said the women were “just a fraction of the mothers who are suffering.”
“There are so many mothers you have to pray for, so many sleepless nights, so many dragging themselves out of bed,” she said. “This is our truth. Our babies are not platforms. They’re not agendas. They are our babies.”
Many of the women called for justice and accountability in these sort of cases, for charges to be filed against the officers involved in fatal shootings. Earlier in the day, activists protested at District Attorney George Gascón ’s office, demanding that the five officers who shot Woods be charged. The case remains under review.
“We believe, and the video evidence proves, that Mario Woods was gunned down like a wild animal in this city,” minister Christopher Muhammad of the Church of Islam told a crowd of about 20 people gathered at the Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant St. “Mario was judged by a jury of police and they became his executioner and now Mario is dead.”
Max Szabo , a spokesman for the district attorney’s office, said Friday, “We take these cases incredibly seriously, but as this is an ongoing investigation and we are unable to comment at this time.”
Officials with the police officers’ union, which typically provides legal representation for officers involved in shootings, did not return requests for comment. But Martin Halloran , union president, has long maintained that he believes the officers were justified in using deadly force as the “threat to life was imminent.”
The Woods shooting spurred an unprecedented push for change in how officers police the city. Within a week of his death, the Police Commission reopened the Police Department’s use-of-force policy for the first time since 1995, citing the need to put more of an emphasis on de-escalation.
The policy is stalled in negotiations with the police union, whose officials have filed a grievance regarding a section of the policy that prohibits officers from firing at moving vehicles in most cases.
Woods’ death prompted Mayor Ed Lee and others to ask the U. S. Justice Department to open a collaborative review of the city force that, months later, “found a department with concerning deficiencies in every operational area assessed.” Lee has pledged that every reform suggested by the Justice Department will be enacted.
In September, Gascón and the mayor’s office said they were working on a plan to give Gascón’s office the lead in police shooting investigations, which could ease concerns about cops policing themselves.
“We’ve changed our use of force policies, we’re embracing the sanctity of life, de-escalation, proportionality,” said Interim Police Chief Toney Chaplin . “We’re going to push the reforms we agreed to do through and I think there are going to be even more significant changes that we’ll see. I think the department is going to get better and we are going to be that model for the rest of the country.”
But on Friday, those reforms were not enough to Gwen Woods and many who gathered where Woods’ bullet-ridden body laid one year before. Before she released the red, white and black balloons into the night sky, into the heavens from where she said she hoped her son was watching, she beseeched the gathering to work together so that no one’s child killed by police violence would go forgotten.
“However we’re trying to get to where we are trying to get,” she said, “ultimately the goal is to get to where we all need to get. We need some type of justice. We need somebody to be held accountable.”
Staff writer Jenna Lyons contributed to the reporting of this story.

Police: Marksman killed gunman after child ran to porch
Mario Woods death anniversary sparks discussion on police reform


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Boy, nine, collapsed and died at a basketball tournament in Perth (2.04/17)

A nine-year-old boy has tragically passed away after collapsing on court while playing in a basketball tournament. The young boy was playing for the lakeside Under 11s basketball team on Saturday and was coming off the court during a scheduled break when he collapsed. He was provided medical support courtside until paramedics arrived to the Warwick Stadium in Perth at 10.50am to take him to Joondalup Health Campus where he tragically passed away. The tragedy has shocked the basketball community who expressed their condolences to the boy's family and those close to him. 'Our thoughts are with the family of the boy who died today after collapsing at Warwick Stadium. Stand together, WA basketball family,' the Perth Wildcats tweeted. It's believed the collapse was related to an existing medical condition. In a statement Basketball WA, offered counselling and support to volunteers, the Lakeside club and to any other members of the basketball community. 'Our focus is to do everything we can to support our volunteers, the teams and the rest of the Lakeside Community who we know will be in shock,' the statement read. 'At this point along with Lakeside lightning we really want to respect the privacy of the family and ask that the community does the same. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.' The incident is currently subject to a Coronial Investigation.

Boys' basketball: Crossroads, led by Shareef O'Neal, wins St. Monica tournament
Ten-year-old boy dies during basketball game in Perth


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Jamaican fugitive arrested day after making FBI wanted list (2.04/17)

Associated Press
Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016 | 12:02 a.m.
LOS ANGELES — The FBI says it has arrested a Jamaican fugitive a day after he was added to the agency's top 10 most wanted list in the deaths of four people at a Los Angeles birthday party in October.
Marlon Jones was added to the list Thursday, with a reward up to $100,000 offered for information leading to his arrest.
FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller says the agency's fugitive task force arrested Jones after a freeway pursuit following a tip from the public.
Los Angeles prosecutors have filed four counts of murder against Jones for a wild gun battle that erupted in a home after the FBI says Jones shot and killed a rival Jamaican gang member.
Three others were killed and 10 were wounded in the ensuing gun fight.

FBI captures a Top 10 Most Wanted fugitive in Los Angeles
Suspect in slaying of 4 in L.A. caught day after name is added to FBI Ten Most Wanted list


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Coming soon: Obama TV? Forget it, White House says (2.04/17)

WASHINGTON—US President Barack Obama’s frequent remarks on the spread of information in the social media age have fueled rumors about his life after the White House.
But his team quashed speculation Friday that he is going to launch a career in the media business.
“@POTUS is interested in the changing ways people consume info, but he has no plans to get into the media business after he leaves office,” White House Communications Director Jen Psaki said in a tweet, referring to Obama by his Twitter handle.
It was apparently in response to an article Friday on the Mic news site that the soon-to-be ex-president was considering working in digital media and “launching his own media company.”
READ: What Barack Obama could do for an encore
Numerous times during the bitter campaign to pick his successor, Obama expressed concern about how information is distributed and digested.
The current media ecosystem “means everything is true and nothing is true,” he told The New Yorker.
“The capacity to disseminate misinformation, wild conspiracy theories, to paint the opposition in wildly negative light without any rebuttal — that has accelerated in ways that much more sharply polarize the electorate and make it very difficult to have a common conversation.”
Asked by Rolling Stone about his transition out of the Oval Office, Obama explained that he wanted to set up his presidential center to focus on training and empowering up and coming leaders.
READ: Michelle Obama ‘never’ will run for White House–president
“How do we rethink our storytelling, the messaging and the use of technology and digital media, so that we can make a persuasive case across the country?” he asked rhetorically.
“And not just in San Francisco or Manhattan but everywhere, about why climate change matters or why issues of economic inequality have to be addressed.”
Obama also revealed his immediate plans for after the official January 20 handover to President-elect Donald Trump.
“You know, I’m gonna sleep for a couple of weeks when I get out of here, take my wife on a well-deserved vacation,” he said.
Obama confirmed plans to write a book in his first year out of office.

White House releases report on efforts to help Detroit
Barack Obama, incoming UN secretary-general meet at White House


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Evangel Christian wins Division I state championship (2.02/17)

Forcing three first-half turnovers, the Evangel Christian Academy Eagles defeated the Scotlandville Hornets 38-6 for the Louisiana High School Athletic Association Division I state championship in a game that ended early Saturday morning at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The championship for the Eagles (12-2) is the 14th in school history for Evangel, second only in Louisiana prep history to John Curtis.
Scotlandville took the opening possession of the game, driving all the way to the Evangel 5-yard line, before Ardarius Washington intercepted Levi Lewis. Jarrick Bernard intercepted Lewis on the next possession for the Eagles.
Scoreless after the first quarter, Evangel got on the scoreboard on its first possession of the second quarter, driving 75 yards on 11 plays, culminating with a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Connor Curry to take a 7-0 lead.
Forcing a Scotlandville punt late in the second quarter, the Eagles took only two plays to take a 14-0 lead when Curry hit Josh Walker for a 36-yard pass and then hit Tanner Ash for a 9-yard scoring strike.
Curry hit Ash for a 62-yard touchdown on the first possession of the second half to push the Evangel lead to 21-0.
Scotlandville (12-1) was making its first trip to the state championship game.

St. Thomas captures its first state championship
Evangel captures first-ever Division I title in win over Scotlandville


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Jones dubbed 'menacing clown' in Australian media (1.10/17)

SYDNEY, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Given England coach Eddie Jones already considered Australia's media "disrespectful" during last June's test series, he would probably not have enjoyed his depiction as a "malevolent clown" in a national newspaper on Saturday. Jones has been involved in a ding-dong row with Australia coach Michael Cheika conducted through the media this week as they prepared for Saturday's clash at Twickenham in the final test of the year for both teams. The half-page image in The Australian newspaper echoed a cartoon portraying Cheika as a clown that appeared in a New Zealand newspaper ahead of the All Blacks test against the Wallabies earlier this year. The accompanying article, headlined "Introducing the real clown of rugby", described how the row between the two former club mates had dragged out over the year. "Jones is no bumbling buffoon or jovial jester. He is a menacing clown with a dark side, terrorising poor Cheika as if he were part of the creepy clown craze that has swept the world," it read. "A Jones media conference is like a dark carnival where he dissects his victims with the sharpest of tongues. " While Cheika kept his counsel in June, he has gone on the offensive in London this week, suggesting former Wallabies coach Jones was spoiling his legacy in his home country and that England prop Dan Coles was a serial cheat. On Thursday, he suggested that Jones was not really upset by what he considered to be disrespectful treatment at the hands of the Australian media in June. "He's a good Australian coach who took Australia, in a World Cup (2003) that we didn't expect to go fantastic in, to the final," he told reporters in London. "He's respected for that by me as a former team mate of his and as a player. I think you saw when he was in Australia that he got a lot of respect. "He's always operated with a chip on his shoulder and now that there's not a chip because he's going really well, he's got to keep looking for it. " Central to Jones's complaints about his treatment in June were crass questions laced with innuendo directed at him in a post-match news conference by former Wallaby Stephen Hoiles, who was working on a segment for a television show. England swept Australia 3-0 in the June series and will be going for a 14th successive victory when they take on the Wallabies on Saturday, a winning streak Cheika would no doubt love his players to end. "Jones has had a lot of fun at Cheika's expense this year, but he who laughs last, laughs loudest," the article concluded. (Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

Cheika unimpressed by 'clown' attack on Jones


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Suspect Arrested In 2012 Murder Of 89-Year-Old Man Found Handcuffed Inside Corona Home (1.08/17)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Queens man has been arrested in connection with the 2012, murder of an 89-year-old man.
Harry Pacheco, 40, was charged with second degree murder on Friday.
Police say he killed 89-year-old Demaso Llano who was found dead and handcuffed inside of his Corona home in March, 2012.
Llano’s body was found by his caretaker.
Long-time friend and neighbor, Jose Heredia, said Ilano’s caretaker ran out of the home yelling and screaming.
“A fellow that I know came out from the house, screaming with his hands on his head, saying…’They killed Demaso, they killed Demaso.’ I said ‘Are you kidding?’ He said ‘No, I’m not kidding. I found him dead, ‘” Heredia said at the time.
Ilano and two partners established the El Mundo Supermarket on Junction Boulevard about 42 years ago after he arrived from Cuba.

Bank robber arrested in jail for cold case murder of elderly man


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Basketball-Highlights of Friday's NBA games (1.07/17)

Dec 2 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of National Basketball Association games on Friday: Raptors 113, Lakers 80 Kyle Lowry scored 24 points and dished out seven assists, DeMar DeRozan added 16 points with six assists and the Toronto Raptors defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 113-80 Friday night to extend their winning streak to five games. The Raptors (13-6) led from the outset as the Lakers (10-11) lost for the second time in three games on a four-game trip that ends Saturday. Spurs 107, Wizards 105 Kawhi Leonard capped his 23-point performance by drilling a game-winning 17-foot jumper with 6.1 seconds to play as San Antonio outlasted Washington in a furious finish at the AT&T Center. The Spurs ruled the final minute of the third quarter, stretched a six-point lead to as many as 10 in the first half of the fourth and weathered a final Washington run in the last two minutes. The Wizards' Bradley Beal poured in a 3-pointer to give Washington a 103-102 lead with 53.4 seconds remaining. San Antonio's Patty Mills missed a 3-pointer with 28.9 to play but LaMarcus Aldridge corralled the rebound to give the Spurs another chance. Bulls 111, Cavaliers105 Jimmy Butler scored 26 points, Dwyane Wade had 24 and Taj Gibson finished with 23 as Chicago used a balanced scoring attack to beat Cleveland at the United Center. Gibson hit on 10 of his 13 field-goal attempts for the Bulls, whose starters all reached double figures. Chicago also got a triple double from Rajon Rondo, who had 15 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds. Robin Lopez rounded out the strong effort from Chicago's starters with 10 points. LeBron James scored a game-high 27 points for the Cavaliers, who lost their third straight game. Kyrie Irving scored 20 points to go along with 15 from Kevin Love for Cleveland. Clippers 114, Hornets 96 Blake Griffin overcame a chilly offensive start to score 13 of his game-high 27 points in the decisive third quarter to lift Los Angeles to a victory over New Orleans at the Smoothie King Center. Griffin missed six of his first eight shots but wound up 12 of 22 from the field. He also grabbed 10 rebounds. Reserve guard Jamal Crawford added 21 points for the Clippers, who culminated their six-game road trip with a 3-3 record. Chris Paul added 17 points and 13 assists, including back-to-back passes that led to 3-pointers by Crawford and Luc Mbah a Moute that put the Clippers up 104-90. Paul also had eight rebounds, finishing two boards shy of a triple double. Pistons 121, Hawks 85 Detroit, which started the season 1-8 on the road, completed a 3-0 trip by handing slumping Atlanta its fifth consecutive loss. Former University of Georgia standout Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had a big homecoming with 23 points and the Pistons got over.500 for the first time since early November with a rout of the Hawks. The Pistons made 17 of 29 3-point shots, with Caldwell-Pope going 5-for-8 and Jon Leuer 4-for-5. Tobias Harris had 18 points and Leuer scored 16 as the Pistons put eight players in double-figures while tying a team record for 3-pointers made in a game. Knicks 118, Timberwolves 114 Carmelo Anthony popped in 29 points and Kyle O'Quinn posted his first double-double of the season to lead New York to a win over Minnesota at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks swept the home-and-home series. New York claimed a 106-104 win at Minnesota on Wednesday. O'Quinn, starting at center in place of injured Joakim Noah, had 20 points, 13 rebounds and two blocked shots. Justin Holiday, making his first start at point guard for injured Courtney Lee, added 13 points and seven rebounds. Derrick Rose chipped in with 24 points. Celtics 97, Kings 92 Al Horford scored a season-high 26 points and grabbed eight rebounds to help lead Boston past Sacramento at TD Garden. Horford's previous best this season since joining the Celtics on a four-year deal worth $113 million last offseason was a 20-point outing at the Minnesota Timberwolves on Nov. 21. Isaiah Thomas had 20 points and seven assists, Jae Crowder added 16 points and Avery Bradley contributed 15 points and nine boards for Boston (11-8), which had lost two of three coming in. DeMarcus Cousins totaled a game-high 28 points and nine rebounds, Rudy Gay added 13 points and eight boards and Matt Barnes chipped in 12 points and 16 rebounds off the bench for Sacramento. Magic 105, Sixers 88 Orlando was coming off a difficult loss. Philadelphia was coming off three days of rest. The Magic nonetheless beat the Sixers as Aaron Gordon scored a season-high 20 points to lead six players in double figures. Orlando also nailed a season-high 13 3-pointers in 26 attempts and limited Philadelphia to 37.9 percent shooting from the field. Rockets 128, Nuggets 110 James Harden had 20 points and seven assists, Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson scored 18 each, and Houston never trailed in beating Denver. Trevor Ariza had 16 points and seven rebounds before leaving after falling in front of the scorer's table with 4:03 left. He appeared to reach for his back and after a few minutes stood up and walked to the locker room. Seven Houston players scored in double figures.

NHL-Highlights of Friday's NHL games
Friday’s Women’s Basketball Scores


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Thompson’s up-and-down night ends with a MAC title (1.07/17)

Detroit — Carrington Thompson wasn’t about to let a couple of drops get in the way of helping Western Michigan win the Mid-American Conference championship Friday night at Ford Field before a record crowd of 45,615, dominated by Broncos fans.
After all, Thompson made the move from Division II Northwood to Western Michigan prior to last season, then made sure he would help the Broncos earn their first MAC championship since 1988 while playing on the big stage in a 29-23 victory over Ohio.
The No. 13 Broncos (13-0) became the first MAC championship team to go unbeaten since Marshall defeated Western Michigan in the 1999 game played in Huntington, W. V.
Thompson, a senior, had six receptions for 72 yards and scored on an 8-yard TD with 36 seconds left in the half to give the Broncos a 23-7 cushion. They led the rest of the way.
“It’s amazing,” Thompson said with tears flowing down his face during the postgame celebration. “I don’t know what to say. I love these guys, man. All the work we put in during the offseason, this is all what it came down to. It doesn’t get better than this.”
Thompson dropped a third-and-6 play at the Ohio 25, leading to a Butch Hampton 42-yard field to open the scoring in the opening quarter.
But Thompson made up for it by making two catches on a drive early in the second quarter to set up Hampton’s third field goal, a 21-yarder for a 9-0 cushion.
Thompson dropped another pass during the final minutes of the half with the Broncos holding a 16-7 lead.
Instead of hanging his head, Thompson came right back and had a 21-yard reception to the Ohio 8 on a second-and-20 play, then hauled in an 8-yard TD pass from Zach Terrell, just getting his feet inbounds near the right corner of the end zone to open up the 23-7 lead.
“My team was all behind me, saying let that go, just respond, just respond and then I saw the ball go up (on the TD catch) and we always talk about when the ball’s in the air it’s an elite ball and that’s my ball so I went and got it.”
Corey Davis has been getting the Heisman hype, and for good reason since he is the lone receiver in FBS history to have at least 300 receptions, 5,000 receiving yards and 50 TDs.
Davis had eight receptions for 144 yards, including a highlight 70-yard TD reception, just seconds after Ohio scored a TD to pull within 9-7 with 8:08 left in the second quarter.
Davis was named the offensive player of the game. He now has 91 receptions for 1,427 yards and 18 TDs this season.
Thompson also delivered and he’s needed to with Daniel Braverman departing to the Chicago Bears after a junior season in which he had 108 receptions, 1,371 yards and 13 TDs in 2015.
Thompson entered the night with 32 receptions for 533 yards and 5 TDs. He had an eight-catch, 117-yard, 2-TD performance in a 45-31 win over Eastern Michigan and grabbed a 9-yard TD pass in last week’s 55-35 rout of Toledo to clinch the MAC West title.
Thompson has teamed up with his cousin Michael Henry to fill the void.
Thompson might have been scared for his cousin when Henry took a vicious hit from free safety Javon Hagan near the Ohio 5, forcing an incompletion in the third quarter.
Henry was on the turf for several minutes while being treated by WMU trainers and doctors before walking off on his own.
Henry returned and made a big, 27-yard reception late in the third quarter.
“It was a blessing from God, it’s my last MAC game and I had to go out with a bang,” Henry said. “The feeling is just amazing. History has been made at Western Michigan. We’re going to always row the boat here, baby. We love Coach Fleck.”
Fleck’s name has been mentioned for openings at Oregon, Purdue and other schools. The Broncos were 1-11 in his first season in 2013, followed by consecutive 8-5 seasons and now this, a MAC championship with an unbeaten record. @DavidGoricki

College football: Broncos hold on to beat Ohio
P.J. Fleck emotional after WMU's first MAC title since 1988


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Donald Trump reportedly praises Pakistan's 'terrific' PM" (1.07/17)

We know that Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and US President-elect Donald Trump spoke on the phone Wednesday.
What was said during that call is what's at issue.
After the conversation, the Pakistan Prime Minister's Office put out a statement directly quoting Trump -- a violation of diplomatic protocol -- in which he glowingly praised Sharif.
The statement quoted President-elect Trump as telling Sharif "you are a terrific guy. You are doing amazing work which is visible in every way. I am looking forward to see you soon. As I am talking to you, Prime Minister, I feel I am talking to a person I have known for long. "
The President-elect's office put out a statement saying the two sides "had a productive conversation about how the United States and Pakistan will have a strong working relationship in the future. "
The Trump team did not answer inquiries from CNN asking whether the President-elect actually said what the Pakistanis claimed he had.
The danger
Readouts of phone calls between world leaders are usually summarized in order to protect leaders from incidental backlash -- like the one the Trump team put out.
They're dry and diplomatic statements recapping conversations using carefully chosen buzzwords.
And political insiders say the calls themselves are usually quite formal.
"A president wouldn't gush over a foreign leader the way that Donald Trump did. He wouldn't volunteer to do all these things," says CNN political analyst David Gergen, who has served as an adviser to four presidents.
"Our relationship with Pakistan is one of the most sensitive and difficult relationships in the world. It's an extremely important relationship. "
When making that call, a president would likely have a press aide and national security advisers at his side, according to Gergen.
"You'd carefully think through any call like that, you'd make your two or three points, [then] over and out," he said. "Especially don't leave them in a position where they could put out something so gushing that it hurts your relationship with India. "
Sadanand Dhume, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, said that in India, "as in many parts of Asia, people are very unsettled by a sense of uncertainty" about the Trump presidency. But he added that policy makers in Delhi "are taking that phone call with Nawaz Sharif neither seriously or literally, so talk of this potentially derailing India US relations are premature. "
"People are talking about that call," he said, "but basically it's a party joke. It's entertainment. It's unbelievable. No one doubts Trump really said it. "
The disconnect
In the past, the President-elect has been a vocal critic of Pakistan.
"Get it straight: Pakistan is not our friend," he tweeted in 2011.
"When will Pakistan apologize to us for providing safe sanctuary to Osama Bin Laden for 6 years?! Some 'ally,'" he tweeted in 2012.
And Trump said in October if he was elected , the United States and India -- Pakistan's longtime adversary -- would be "best friends. "
Speaking to reporters, a spokesman for India's Ministry of External Affairs said "we have only seen the one-sided version of that conversation. "
Referring to Trump's apparent willingness to tackle "outstanding issues," he said that India believes the most pressing issue is "Pakistan's continued support of cross-border terrorism. "
"To that extent we would welcome a dialogue between the US and Pakistan to resolve that issue," he added.
While the comments could have caused friction with Pakistan, they -- and the quotes the Pakistanis attribute to Trump -- fall in line with the President-elect's campaign pledge to employ the relationship-building skills he used in his business career in the diplomatic sphere.
It also could be another case of growing pains for a political newbie, if the quotes are accurate.
Some world leaders had trouble getting in touch with President-elect Trump immediately after his election .
The President-elect is traditionally briefed by the State Department prior to making these calls. But Trump, as he's proven throughout his campaign, isn't one to stick to traditional political norms.
The State Department said it was contacted after the Trump team had already spoken with several world leaders.
"Quite frankly, nobody knows what the protocol is with Donald Trump," CNN Politics Executive Editor Mark Preston said.

Pakistan PM's special assistant to meet team Trump


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Pistons thump Hawks, climb above.500 (1.06/17)

A link has been posted to your Facebook feed.
Winning all three was highly improbable.
Improbable but not impossible.
The Pistons completed their three-game gauntlet with a flourish, jumping out to a 19-point halftime lead and cruising to a 121-85 romp over the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night at Philips Arena.
BOX SCORE: Pistons 121, Hawks 85
“You never see that coming against a really good team like that,” Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. “We just had a great night.”
It’s the fifth win in the last six games for the Pistons (11-10), putting them back above .500 for the first time since Nov. 14.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope continued his scorching scoring stretch, with 23 points, including 5-of-8 on 3-pointers, and Andre Drummond added 14 points and 14 rebounds. Eight players scored in double figures and the starters were able to rest in the fourth quarter with the margin out of hand.
The Pistons are streaking at the right time, with point guard Reggie Jackson nearing a return from a knee injury after missing the start of the season. He hasn’t ruled out returning for Sunday’s game against the Orlando Magic at The Palace.
In his place, Ish Smith had another stellar game, with 11 points, five assists and a season-high 13 assists with just one turnover.
“His tempo is just incredible. He has such a great motor … and he’s scoring the ball when he needs to,” Van Gundy said. “He couldn’t play much better than he did tonight, but he’s played like that for quite a while here.”
The plummeting Hawks (10-10), who lost their eighth in the last nine games, played without All-Star forward Paul Millsap. They struggled offensively through the first half, shooting only 33 percent, and fell behind, 58-39, at halftime.
The Pistons’ calling card on the trip has been their improved defense and getting shots to fall — and it continued Friday. They tied a franchise record with 17 3-pointers and for the third straight game, set or matched their season high for points.
“Detroit did everything well tonight,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “There were times in the second half where at least there was some progress and better ball movement. Overall, Detroit was better than us in every way.”
Caldwell-Pope got things started in the first three minutes, with a pair of 3-pointers, following a hook by Drummond, for an 8-0 lead. Tobias Harris (18 points) also connected from beyond the arc for an 11-2 advantage, but the Hawks answered with a 15-4 flurry behind five points from Kent Bazemore and a 3-pointer from Thabo Sefolosha.
Caldwell-Pope came back with an answer, hitting his third 3-pointer and following with another jumper, to rerestore the lead, 20-16. That ignited a 12-2 spurt that put the Pistons up by nine, but the Hawks answered with a quick six points to trim the lead to 27-24 after the first quarter.
“I’m very confident. I’m out here just playing my game and controlling the things I can control,” Caldwell-Pope said. “Some night I’m not going to shoot that well. But I can get in on the defensive end and try to get myself going.”
Beno Udrih (11 points) provided a spark with seven straight Pistons points to open the period but they pulled away a minute later, with a decisive 20-2 run, spurred by Drummond.
Drummond started the streak with a lay-up on a pass from Darrun Hilliard and after jumpers by Udrih, Hilliard and Caldwell-Pope, Harris hit a turnaround jumper and Drummond had a lay-in and split a pair of free throws.
The Pistons finished the run with a hook by Drummond, another 3-pointer by Caldwell-Pope and a dunk by Drummond, for a 58-34 lead with 2:01 remaining.
Tim Hardaway Jr. (Michigan) scored on a drive and Taurean Prince added a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 19 at halftime, but by then, the Hawks’ enthusiasm — and the fans’ at Philips Arena — was waning.
The Hawks looked to make a run in the third quarter, but Marcus Morris scored all 12 of his points in the period and Jon Leuer (16 points, eight rebounds) had seven straight points, including a 3-pointer, a three-point play and a free throw, to make it a 31-point bulge.
The surge after halftime pleased Van Gundy, who didn’t want to see his team get complacent after building the big lead, especially when Budenholzer stayed with his reserves to start the third quarter.
“I was (pleased) because a lot of times you let up and (Budenholzer) started his bench and you worry about how your team is going to approach that,” Van Gundy said. “I was happy with the way we handled it.”
Smith continued his balanced play with a spinning lay-in, a 3-pointer and a driving basket in the final minutes of the period for a 90-57 lead after three quarters.
The Hawks never threatened the rest of the way, as the Pistons didn’t let the lead get under 24 in the fourth quarter.

Pistons 121, Hawks 85
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High school girls basketball: Alta pulls away from Skyline, remains undefeated (1.05/17)

SANDY — One after the other, Kemery Martin ’s outside shots kept missing on Friday night.
The confidence Alta’s coaches showed in the sophomore never wavered though. Even though she’d only made 3 of 20 shots through the first three and a half quarters against Skyline, Martin still had the green light to shoot.
“Any time I’m talking to Kemery, I’m encouraging her, and telling her she will knock down the next one,” said Alta coach Izzy Gustafson.
Martin eventually did knock down the next one. She buried a 3-pointer midway through the fourth quarter, a huge bucket that swung moment in Alta’s favor for good as it pulled away from Skyline for the 60-50 victory to improve to 3-0 this preseason.
Martin’s 3-pointer with 4:27 remaining stretched Alta’s lead to 48-44, and 20 seconds later Mattea Sete drained a three of her own to push the lead to 51-44.
“Once Kemery hit that three it just ignited the entire gym, you heard the crowd, our bench got all excited, all five of us coaches got excited. That was the game changer in the fourth that extended that lead big time,” said Gustafson.
Martin, who was Alta’s top 3-point threat as a freshman last season, only finished with one basket that wasn’t at the rim, but it proved to be the difference on Friday.
Until Alta’s clutch back-to-back 3-pointers, it appeared the game would be decided in the final minute. Thanks to poor free-throw shooting from both teams, neither squad led by more than five points through the first three quarters, which included seven lead changes.
The Hawks made a mini run early in the fourth quarter, stretching the lead to 45-39 with three quick lay-ups, but Skyline answered back on a 3-pointer from Hannah Anderl and a lay-up by Barrett Jessop , cutting the deficit to 45-44 with 4:49 remaining.
That set the stage for Martin’s heroics. She finished with 12 points for the Hawks, while Kacey Blackner led the way with 14.
After Martin’s 3-pointer, visiting Skyline only made one basket, which Gustafson attributes to the intensity the basket created.
“Our rotation, our intensity and our effort changed after that shot,” said Gustafson.
Deserae Falatea and Mariah Martin both added 11 points for the Hawks on another balanced scoring night, something Gustafson has been very pleased with.
“Team camaraderie. The notion that they understand they need to work together to be successful. It’s not one person trying to outplay others, it’s all five of them working together trying to get the open shot,” said Gustafson.
That camaraderie has led to double-digit wins over American Fork, Lone Peak and Skyline this preseason, and the schedule doesn’t let up, with Fremont, Sky View, Bingham and Judge coming up later this month.
“We tried to load up our preseason schedule to get us going for the season, we don’t just want to get going slowly,” said Gustafson.
Skyline had three players score in double figures in the loss, led by Jessop’s 13 points.

Friday’s girls’ high school basketball summaries


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LOOK: LeBron makes good on wager, wears Cubs kit to Bulls game (1.04/17)

CHICAGO—Cleveland star LeBron James made good on a World Series wager Friday, sporting a full Chicago Cubs baseball uniform upon arriving for the Cavaliers’ Friday NBA game at the Chicago Bulls.
In a bet with friend and former teammate Dwyane Wade, now with the Bulls, James agreed that he would turn out in the Cubs kit if the Chicago team beat the Cleveland Indians in baseball’s championship showcase this year.
The Cubs did indeed end their epic title drought, battling back from a 3-1 series deficit to do so.
READ: Cubs win first series title since 1908, beat Indians in game 7
James’s arrival at the Bulls’ United Center for the Cavs’ first game in Chicago since then drew an even larger crowd than usual.
Wade escorted him through the halls, tweaking him a little.
“You aren’t going to smile for my Snapchat,” Wade said, his cell phone aimed at James.
“Why are you following me — you already won the bet,” James said.
But before they headed to their separate locker rooms, Wade couldn’t resist a little more friendly teasing.
“Doesn’t he look good everybody?” Wade said. “Look at him — he looks great.”

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Small Brazilian City Prepares to Bury Remains of Soccer Club (1.04/17)

A small Brazilian city that was captivated by the rise of its modest soccer club planned on Saturday to bury the dead from a plane crash that claimed most of the team's players and staff.
A memorial service for the Chapecoense soccer club was expected to attract 100,000 people — half the city's population — to the area around the small, 20,000-capacity stadium.
The plane crashed into a muddy Andean mountainside on Monday as the club headed to the two-game final of one of Latin America's top club tournaments. Seventy-one of the 77 people on board — 19 of them players — died.
The staff at the Jardim do Eden cemetery, where some of the victims will be buried, said Friday they were used to the business of death; but not this kind tragedy.
"We bury two people every day. I've done this job for a long time, but this is different," said Dirceu Correa, caretaker of the cemetery. "It is a tragedy for the families, for the club, and also for us because we are a part of the city. "
Gravediggers prepared for interments at two cemeteries where 13 people associated with the club will be buried. The rest, including the 19 players, will be transported later to other cities around Brazil for burial.
In an emotional news conference Friday, the mother of one of the victims paused in between answering questions from reporters to ask one herself.
"How are you in the press doing after losing so many colleagues? " asked Ilaides Padilha, mother of the goalkeeper Danilo, referring to the 20 journalists who were killed in the crash.
The stunned reporter, Guido Nunes of Sportv, started crying, and Padilha hugged him. "We're all in this together," she said.
Of the 100,000 visitors expected around the stadium on Saturday, about 20,000 will be allowed inside. The rest will be able to watch the ceremony on screens set up outside.
Brazilian President Michel Temer is scheduled to greet the planes at the airport on Saturday, but is not expected to go to the memorial. He was jeered at the recent Olympics and has decided to avoid that humiliation at a funeral.
"He should come to the stadium. No one would boo," said Osmar Machado, father of dead defender Felipe.
Associated Press producer Renata Brito contributed to this report from Chapeco, Brazil.

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Dwyane Wade, Bulls Get Back To Their Basketball In Win Against Cavs (1.04/17)

By Cody Westerlund–
CHICAGO (CBS) – Friday evening at the United Center began with a playoff-like scene. More than a half-hour before the Cavaliers’ team buses arrived shortly before 5 p.m., dozens and dozens of cameramen, reporters, hangers-on, arena staffers and team employees crowded an entry corridor and hallway.
All the hubbub? They had gathered to watch Cleveland star LeBron James walk, oh, about 100 yards while dressed up in a Cubs uniform. James donned the look of a baseball player to repay a bet he’d lost with good friend and Bulls guard Dwyane Wade when the Cubs defeated the Indians in the World Series. It was all in good fun.
What followed was good-natured basketball.
In as entertaining of an early December game as you may find outside a contest featuring the Warriors, the Bulls (11-7) held off the defending champion Cavaliers, 111-105. It was no sort of statement game, Chicago star Jimmy Butler would say afterward, but it was taken seriously enough by Cleveland that James logged just shy of 45 minutes, Kevin Love played nearly 42 and James would say postgame that the “honeymoon is over” for the Cavaliers (13-5).
Most significantly, two nights after their worst performance of the season in a listless loss to the Lakers, the Bulls played the type of basketball they desire. They won the rebounding battle 49-33, with a defensive rebounding percentage of 84.6. They held the Cavaliers to 10 free-throw attempts, with James failing to get there once.
The fact that Chicago shot 3-of-18 on 3-pointers wasn’t of much concern as it recorded 78 points in the paint, sparked by Taj Gibson’s 23 points on 10-of-13 from the field and 11 rebounds.
“Tonight was all about finding a way to win,” Wade said. “No egos involved at all, just a total team effort, man, just a good way to win. No matter who you’re playing, the way that we played is the way we want to play to win.”
The subplot of the night was Wade facing former Heat teammate James for the first time with his hometown Bulls. A day prior, Wade acknowledged he couldn’t offer the cliché line that facing James was just another game. It did mean more, he said.
He played like it, scoring 24 points on 11-of-23 from the field and adding five rebounds and four assists. With a rest day for himself already planned for Saturday when Chicago plays at Dallas, Wade told coach Fred Hoiberg to ride him, so he logged 37 minutes.
For several long stretches, including late, Wade sought out the assignment of guarding James (27 points, 13 assists, eight turnovers), who’s usually shadowed by Butler. It allowed Butler some extra time to compose himself, and he went for a big night too, with 26 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
“That’s great – let D-Wade turn into 23-, 24-, 25-year-old D-Wade,” Butler said. “He can still guard, disrupt people’s shots, rebound and get out in transition. Like he was telling me back there in the cold tub, it’s a different game going up against a team like that. It brings out the best in everyone.”
It was in those final minutes that Wade sealed the contest. In consecutive sequences, he sliced through the Cavaliers defense for a layup and six-point lead, smothered James to help Niko Mirotic nab a steal and then had a putback layup to give Chicago an eight-point cushion.
“I could play against that guy 82 games a year,” Wade said of facing James. “He brings the best out of everyone.”
This Bulls’ win featured Hoiberg tinkering with the rotation. The Bulls played small for some significant stretches, with Niko Mirotic at center at one point and Butler manning some power forward minutes. Bobby Portis and Cristiano Felicio each took a DNP-coach’s decision. Chicago used nine players, but only seven played at least seven minutes in a game in which its starters scored 98 of its 111 points.
Amid all that, the Bulls still traced the win to their toughness more than anything.
“We’ve been poised, we’ve been humble, we’ve been putting the work in,” Gibson said. “Fred’s been doing a helluva job early in the season just figuring out how he wants to play.”
Added Butler: “We know what we’re capable of. And if we play basketball the right way and do what we’re supposed to do on both ends of the floor, if we play Chicago Bulls basketball, we win games. If we decide to get away from ourselves, you see what happens.”
Cody Westerlund is a sports editor for and covers the Bulls. He’s also the co-host of the @LockedOnBulls podcast, which you can subscribe to on iTunes and Stitcher. Follow him on Twitter @CodyWesterlund.

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LeBron James on Cleveland Cavaliers' 3-game skid: Honeymoon stage is over (1.04/17)

CHICAGO -- If there ever was a time to be sure that the Cleveland Cavaliers ' epic three-game win streak to finish the NBA Finals and beat the Golden State Warriors for the championship was a thing of a past, this week's three-game losing streak -- capped by a 111-105 defeat at the hands of the Chicago Bulls on Friday -- hammered that point home.
Editor's Picks Grin and wear it: LeBron arrives in Cubs uniform
LeBron James kept his word. The Cavaliers star arrived at Chicago's United Center in a custom-made Cubs uniform as payment for a World Series bet he made with former teammate Dwyane Wade.
"We've got to get out of the honeymoon stage," a visibly frustrated LeBron James said after he had a personal 30-game winning streak broken for his teams when he totaled 20-plus points and 10-plus assists. "That's y'alls headline for tomorrow. I know y'all going to use it. "
James finished with 27 points and 13 assists, but he also had a season-high eight turnovers -- giving him 20 turnovers during the three consecutive losses.
While he had a part in the Cavs' undoing, it was Chicago's 78 points in the paint that really stood out as the reason for their demise. This came after Cleveland was outscored 68-34 in the paint during the first loss of the skid against the Milwaukee Bucks and 30-18 in the second loss against the Los Angeles Clippers.
"You've got to play the game the right way," James continued. "You've got to battle every night like we ain't won nothing. Last year is last year, and after ring night, it's over with. Now it's a new season and everybody is gunning for us every night, and we have to understand that. The honeymoon stage is over, and it's time to play some real ball and be physical, especially in the trenches. Giving up 78 points is ridiculous. We've got to man up. Everybody. "
It's the first three-game losing streak of Tyronn Lue's tenure as head coach, after being elevated to the position at midseason last year.
"We've got to do better," Lue said after the Cavs' lead for the top seed in the Eastern Conference fell to just half a game over the Toronto Raptors. "Concerned, I wouldn't say that. We are a good team, but right now, we're not playing like it. We'll be better, and that's on me to make it better. "
Lue pointed to his responsibility to "come up with better schemes" defensively, while also mentioning his players' necessity to play "better one-on-one defense. "
Cavs forward Kevin Love , who finished with 15 points on 5 for 14 shooting with nine rebounds while often matched against Chicago's Taj Gibson (23 points, 10 for 13 shooting, 11 rebounds), joined his coach in shouldering the blame.
"I think myself, I was bad tonight," Love said. "I mean, just getting to those different rotations and being locked in. We needed to be more in tune with what we're trying to do and have that 'next man up' mentality. "
A night that started with a spectacle, as a pack of approximately 50 media members swarmed James with cameras to capture his pregame attire -- a full-fledged Chicago Cubs uniform to settle a World Series bet with Dwyane Wade -- ended with a despondent Cavs locker room.
"We don't want to drop three in a row, but it's happened," said Kyrie Irving. "And now we figure out where we can get better, things that we need to correct and we move forward. Obviously, all of us are competitive players, we're winners, and going forward we just got to be better. But there's no need for controversy or any of that or us overthinking it. It's just basketball.
"We've got to go out there and just compete at a high level and do it consistently over a 48-minute game. That's all. And I think right now, we're doing it in bits and pieces. We're getting out to a good start in first quarters, we're hitting guys [early], and sometimes the game can take a shift. But with that, we've got to keep playing and rely on one another. "
On Thursday, following the Cavs' second loss in a row, James downplayed the significance of the rut they had found themselves in.
"The best thing about this league is you kind of always get an opportunity right away to be better," he said, pointing to the second night of the back-to-back ahead of them in Chicago. "Now, three games in a row, that's something to talk about. "
Reminded of that quote postgame on Friday night, James simply quipped, "We've got to be better. "
Lue also was reminded of James' quote after the loss to the Clippers, which read like an invitation for the media to question the Cavs should they not get back on track in Chicago.
"Well, now you got something to talk about," Lue said. "And it's not going to get any easier. Going to Toronto, going to New York, so if we're not ready to play, we're not ready to compete and take the challenge one-on-one, it will happen again. "

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Duggan takes wait-and-see approach on Trump (1.04/17)

Washington — Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan expressed uncertainty about the future of Detroit’s partnership with the federal government as President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take office.
Duggan, who was in Washington Friday to tout city improvements that have been through by his partnership with President Barack Obama's administration, said “we’re going to see” if the Trump administration will take the same interest in working to better conditions in Detroit in part by providing more aid.
“When the president-elect gave his speech on election night, the first thing he talked about was rebuilding cities,” Duggan told reporters after an appearance in the Partnership for Public Service’s headquarters with outgoing Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan.
“He’s talked quite a bit about infrastructure,” he continued. “If the administration goes in that direction, we look forward to working with them and hopefully this will be a model. But I think it’s too early to know what direction they’re going in.”
The comments came as the Obama White House released a new report that highlighted the federal government’s work to boost Detroit between 2011 and 2016. Obama has maintained a senior adviser to serve as a liaison to Detroit since the city emerged from bankruptcy in December 2014.
The White House report showed about $388 million in federal money flowed to Detroit in addition to the technical assistance of federal agencies. The city also won a $140 million Defense Department research laboratory and $41 million in tax credits, according to the report.
Specifically, the report said Detroit demolished 10,000 blighted homes since 2011 with $260 million freed up from the Treasury Department’s Hardest Hit Fund for mortgage assistance and $13 million from the Department of Housing and Urban Development as part of a “neighborhood stabilization” plan.
The report also highlighted that Detroit’s progress included “resilience and stabilization” that saw the Department of Energy provide “technical assistance resulting in the city selecting a new lighting system that saves 46 million kilowatts of energy and $3 million annually.”
The U. S. Department of Labor awarded $5 million for job training and the Department of Transportation provided a $25 million grant for 80 new fuel-efficient buses and $37 million to support the QLine streetcar system that is under construction. The Treasury Department kicked in another $41 million for the M-1 rail system, according to the report.
Donovan, the OMB director, said Friday he hopes the Trump administration will continue to see the merits of investing federal resources into Detroit.
“The fundamental idea of this work is not a Republican or Democratic idea,” he said. “Our first step is to go in and say ‘what is the local vision for this community? What does this community want and how we do we orient what the federal government is doing around that vision.’”
Duggan said he was not surprised Trump performed so well in the election in states such as Michigan, although he supported Democrat Hillary Clinton.
“I could feel what was happening in Michigan coming,” he said in a reference to Trump’s surprising victory in Michigan. “There are a lot of people in this country, white and black, who are making no more money today than they were 10 years ago, even though we’ve come out of the recession. And people who are willing to work hard, add skills, make their lives better for their families don’t know how to do it. That was the frustration.
“You have, in our area, blue-collar white folks who turned to Donald Trump because they kind of figured he understood their problems, maybe he would do it,” he continued. “I was just amazed in this last campaign how little time was talked about workforce development and creating opportunities for people. So Donald Trump effectively tapped into the anger.”
Duggan expressed optimism about having good relations with the incoming Trump administration since the president-elect has offered the Department of Housing and Urban Development secretary’s nomination to Detroit native Dr. Ben Carson, although the retired surgeon has yet to accept it.
“I’ve got a relationship with Ben Carson,” Duggan said. “When I ran the Detroit Medical Center, the Ben Carson High School was established right next door, which he came in and dedicated. ... He never completely lost his connection with the city of Detroit, but we’ll see whether he actually is going to be taking this position or not.”

The Latest: Trump takes on another Indiana manufacturer


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NBA roundup: Bulls beat slumping Cavaliers (1.04/17)

CHICAGO — Jimmy Butler scored 26 points, Dwyane Wade had 24 and the Chicago Bulls beat LeBron James and the slumping Cleveland Cavaliers 111-105 on Friday night.
Taj Gibson added a season-high 23 points and 11 rebounds for Chicago. Rajon Rondo had 15 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds as the balanced Bulls handed the Cavaliers their third straight loss.
James showed up in a Cubs uniform to honor a World Series bet with his buddy Wade, then scored 27 points. Kyrie Irving added 20 points and eight assists, but the Cavaliers matched their longest losing streak in a year.
Chicago dominated Cleveland 78-60 in the paint and came out on top despite hitting shooting 3 of 18 on 3-pointers.
The Bulls used a strong third quarter to turn a one-point halftime deficit into an 88-80 lead. And they withstood several pushes in the fourth to knock off the defending NBA champions.
The Toronto point guard tied his season high for 3-pointers, going 6 of 9 from beyond the arc as the Raptors beat the Lakers for the fourth straight time with their biggest win of the season. The 33-point victory surpassed the 27-point win over Philadelphia on Oct. 28.
DeMar DeRozan and Norman Powell both added 16 points for Toronto.
Brandon Ingram had 17 points for the Lakers, while their bench, the top scoring unit in the NBA, chipped in with Jordan Clarkson’s 14 and former Raptor Lou Williams’ 13.
Serge Ibaka, Evan Fournier and Jeff Green all added 16 points for the Magic (8-12), who had lost five of six coming in. Bismack Biyombo had 13 rebounds.
The Sixers (4-15) lost their fifth straight despite 25 points and 10 rebounds from rookie Joel Embiid.
It was his fifth double-double of the season.
Jamal Crawford scored 21 points and Luc Mbah a Moute had 15 for Los Angeles, which capped a 10-day, six-game trip with victories on back-to-back nights on the shores of lakes Erie and Pontchartrain, having defeated Cleveland on Thursday night.
Anthony Davis hurt his right shoulder but played through it, scoring 21 points for New Orleans.
E’Twaun Moore scored 15 points and Terrence Jones had 14 for the Pelicans, who have lost three of four and saw their home winning streak snapped at five.
The Pistons, who tied a team record with 17 3-pointers, have won five of six and are 3-1 on a trip that included stops at playoff contenders Oklahoma City, Charlotte and Boston.
Andre Drummond finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds and Ish Smith had 13 assists as seven players scored in double figures for Detroit.
Zach LaVine scored 24 points and Karl-Anthony Towns had 20 for the Timberwolves.
LaMarcus Aldridge added 19 points for San Antonio, which won its 17th straight home game against Washington.
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Marksman fired deadly shot to Tacoma gunman after child ran out on porch (1.03/17)

SEATTLE -- The gunman had already shot a police officer, threatened to kill two children and barricaded himself upstairs in a house for 11 hours when one of the kids, a 6-year-old boy, escaped. As the suspect held a little girl as a human shield , his movements exposed him to a sheriff’s marksman who targeted him through a window and killed him with a shot to the head, allowing the 8-year-old girl to break free from his grasp and run to safety, authorities disclosed Friday about the killing of Bruce R. Johnson in Tacoma, Washington.
“Once we were able to assess that the kids were still alive, it went into play,” sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said of the SWAT team’s plan to end the standoff in a suburban neighborhood south of Seattle. “He had a choice to put the guns down. We weren’t about to let those kids get hurt.”
Law enforcement officers gather at Tacoma General Hospital, where a Tacoma Police officer was taken after being fatally shot while responding to a domestic violence call, Nov. 30, 2016, in Tacoma, Wash.
Johnson was the subject of an officer safety bulletin in mid-November after he was spotted walking through the Tacoma Mall armed and dressed like a plainclothes cop, CBS affiliate KIRO reports .
The bulletin obtained by KIRO shows Johnson walking through the Tacoma Mall Nov. 15 wearing a Sheriff’s Department hat, a set of handcuffs on his belt and carrying what appeared to be a soft rifle case.
A still picture taken from mall surveillance video shows the 38-year-old Johnson carrying the rifle case over his right shoulder as he walked past shoppers.
The bulletin states Johnson became irate when mall security tried to talk to him.
After a brief exchange with security Johnson purchased some coffee and left making obscene gestures and yelling, “See, see what they are doing to me?”
Tacoma police stopped Johnson as he drove away and spotted an unloaded 20-gauge shotgun in the front seat of his car.
Asked why he was attempting to look like a police officer the bulletin states Johnson replied that he “liked police and wanted essentially to fit in with law enforcement.”
The standoff began Wednesday night after Police Officer Reginald “Jake” Gutierrez, 45, was fatally shot when he and his partner went into the house to investigate a domestic violence call. Gutierrez’s partner returned fire and helped get Johnson’s wife safely out of the house. Other officers came under fire as they worked their way into the house and pulled Gutierrez out. He later died in surgery. Police escorted his body to a funeral home Friday as people lined the streets to pay their respects. The 17-year veteran officer is survived by three daughters and a granddaughter. A fund has been set up to help the children, and the department is overseeing another fund to help with memorial services. Police went to the house Wednesday after Johnson’s wife told animal control officers that he had locked her out of the house. The officers called police. Several adults and the two children had been in the home earlier in the day, but it was not initially clear whether everyone had escaped when the shooting started, Tacoma police spokeswoman Loretta Cool said. “Others were saying the kids went down to the park, but nobody could confirm where they were,” Cool said. “There wasn’t a sighting of them the whole time, no noise.” As officials negotiated with Johnson, the SWAT team moved into the basement and then to the main floor of the house, cornering him upstairs, Troyer said. That’s when they confirmed the kids were still inside. Johnson had threatened to kill the children, and officers heard screaming and gunshots during the standoff, but once the officers determined the children were still alive, they executed a plan to get them out. Before they could act, the 6-year-old boy bolted down the stairs and onto the porch. Johnson held onto the girl, but the activity exposed him to the marksman outside. It only took one shot, and Johnson was dead.

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Pennsylvania Santa Claus takes hobby, and season, seriously (1.03/17)

LEBANON, Pa. (AP) - Lebanon resident John Gable works in customer service for RR Donnelly, but around the holiday season, he becomes Santa Claus.
“Christmas has always held a special magic for me, and it gives me joy to bring that happiness and magic to children,” Gable said.
Gable started portraying Santa Claus in 2005.
“I wanted to both volunteer and have fun, so I was with Aseracare, a hospice group, and I dressed and went with them to American House and some nursing homes,” Gable said. “While I was doing that, somebody told me they were looking for a Santa Claus at a tree farm in Pottstown, so I went there and worked for two years.”
Since 2012, Gable has been portraying Santa at Misty Run Tree Farm, 2017 Brandt Road, Annville, and he was Santa at the Lebanon Valley Mall for six years before a scheduling change at the mall brought that to an end.
While Gable was a mall Santa, he wouldn’t just put on a fake beard and a store-bought Santa costume.
“When kids see a guy in a shabby suit and a beard hanging down past his face, it just isn’t believable,” Gable said.
Instead of a fake beard, Gable bleaches his own brown hair and beard, which he grows for a full year, to better look the part of Santa Claus.
“I bleach it, and I have to keep bleaching the roots throughout the season until it is over,” he said. “My wife helps me bleach - it is not her favorite thing to do since the bleach is messy and smells bad - but she is super about helping me with it.”
Gable is also a stickler for detail when it comes to his Santa suit.
“I actually learned how to do leatherwork so I could make the belt,” he said. “I’m also working on a full set of Saint Nicholas robes. That’s a project I’ve been working on for about two years, and it still isn’t finished.”
Typically, Gable works with others to design and make his Santa suits.
“Bianca Zidik made my latest Santa coat, which is based on a double-breasted, Civil War-era coat,” Gable said. “I gave her all the supplies and a picture, and she did a great job. Stacy Cravener, one of my coworkers, made my second suit for me.”
While bleaching his beard costs him time, the suits cost some money.
“It is expensive to create something like this. The new coat cost around $600,” Gable said.
Although the hobby is expensive, Gable is able to pay for it in part by doing “Santa & Me” photo sessions with Annville-based photographer, Courtney Haldeman.
“Working with Courtney has helped me make a little cash at it, which was not my intention at the beginning, but it helps me pay for the suit and everything,” Gable said.
Like the character he portrays, Gable is also active in charity.
“This will be the third year that we’ve selected a family to help out at Christmas time,” Gable said. “We don’t tell them. It’s an anonymous type of thing until we deliver it.”
Gable calls this “Operation: Be a Santa,” in which he collects donations from the community to help a family in need.
“Last year we were able to hook a family up with a used, but still in very good condition, washer and dryer, bunk beds, toys for the kids, groceries, household products - all through donations,” Gable said. “I don’t have a lot of money, but I am the point person for this, and people come and donate money, food and gift cards.”
Gable would like to help more families eventually, but has to keep it on a smaller scale for now.
“We keep it kind of small, but we do help one family per year,” he said. “I’d love to do more than that, but I can only do one. It always starts out slow, and then things pick up with the donations toward the end of the season.”
While collecting donations, Gable will occasionally ask for specific items for the chosen family via his Facebook page, Lebanon PA Santa.
“I know I posted these before, but (here are) specific gift ideas for our adopted kids, maybe one person or a group of people would like to help one of our kids,” Gable said in a Facebook post Nov. 26 before listing specific items for the children such as Legos and Miami Dolphins merchandise for an 11-year-old boy, an iPod for a 12-year-old girl and Barbie dolls for an 8-year-old girl.
Gable also does “Sensitive Santa” events that are specifically for autistic children and children with disabilities.
“We did two years of ‘Sensitive Santa’ at the Lebanon Farmers Market,” he said. “We set up in an empty space in what is now the Visit Lebanon Valley office, and there would be no music or bells or other distractions.”
This eventually led to Gable working directly with the Developmental and Disability Services of Lebanon Valley for “Sensitive Santa” events held at their office at 1126 Walnut St., Lebanon.
“This is the second year I’m doing it with them,” Gable said. “Children who have trouble walking, or who have trouble with sensory overload at the mall can come to a ‘Sensitive Santa’ event to get a picture. We have a photographer there who specializes in photos with autistic children.”
Gable also does a “Cookies with Santa” fundraising event at Lebanon High School, “Breakfast with Santa” at the Lebanon Country Club and visits the Lebanon branch of the Jack and Jill Nursery.
“I love to do all the events, but it can get a little overwhelming … I’m ready for a break by Christmas,” Gable said. “I usually take off from my regular job the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day just so I can relax with my family.”
Gable has two teenage sons and one teenage daughter, and they don’t seem to mind that their father is a Santa.
“I thought my kids would be embarrassed by the whole thing, but they’ve always been really good about it,” Gable said. “It’s more of a novelty to them now, but when they were younger, I had to hide it from them a little bit.”
While Gable enjoys portraying Santa, he does his best to keep his hobby separate from everyday life.
“I try not to play up me as Santa outside of the events I do,” he said. “I dress in regular clothes when I’m going about my daily life, but sometimes kids make the connection.”
Gable tells the story of how he may have saved a parent from a major headache at the mall even without having to be in his Santa suit.
“My son and I were at the mall one time, and some guy was having trouble with his child - the child was crying and fussing,” Gable said. “Then he turned around and saw me and stopped. I’d like to think I was the reason he stopped crying, but I don’t know.”
Despite his love for portraying Santa Claus, Gable says he is happy to keep it to just one season in the year.
“It is a Christmas thing, and that’s what makes it special,” he said.
Information from: Lebanon Daily News,

Mall of America Hires First Black Santa Claus Ever


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Kamiakin holds off O'Dea in overtime 14-7 to win 3A title (1.03/17)

Zach Borisch scored on a 15-yard run in overtime to lift Kamiakin to a 14-7 win over O'Dea in the Class 3A championship game on Friday night.
The Braves (12-2) upset Eastside Catholic in the semifinals then knocked off another private-school powerhouse from the Seattle area to win their first state championship.
After a scoreless first half, O'Dea took a 7-0 lead on Jamyn Patu's 20-yard run early in the third quarter. Kamiakin finally pulled even late in the fourth quarter when Borisch hit Darreon Moore on a 53-yard touchdown with 4:24 remaining. O'Dea missed field goal attempts on its final three possessions of regulation.
In overtime, Kamiakin got the ball first and had its possession kept alive by a defensive holding call on third-and-10. On the next play, Borisch scored to give the Braves the lead.
O'Dea (13-1) faced fourth-and-1 on its overtime possession but was stopped short on a run play ending its quest for a fourth state title.
Borisch was 12 of 27 passing for 172 yards for the Braves. Patu led the Irish with 99 yards rushing on 19 carries.

Akers leads Clinton past Pearl 49-35 for Class 6A title
St. Xavier beats St. Ignatius in double OT for D1 title


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Women's World Cup Downhill Results (1.02/17)

LAKE LOUISE, Alberta (AP) — Results Friday in a World Cup women's downhill: 1. Ilka Stuhec, Slovenia, 1:45.48. 2. Sofia Goggia, Italy, 1:45.70. 3. Kajsa Kling, Sweden, 1:45.79. 4. Lara Gut, Switzerland, 1:46.17. 5. Viktoria Rebensburg, Germany, 1:46.45. 6. Stacey Cook, United States, 1:46.54. 7. Stephanie Venier, Austria, 1:46.86. 7. Johanna Schnarf, Italy, 1:46.86. 9. Laurenne Ross, United States, 1:47.02. 10. Edit Miklos, Hungary, 1:47.07. 11. Breezy Johnson, United States, 1:47.08. 12. Elena Fanchini, Italy, 1:47.15. 13. Maria Tviberg Therese, Norway, 1:47.20. 14. Tina Weirather, Liechtenstein, 1:47.21. 15. Ramona Siebenhofer, Austria, 1:47.22. 16. Mirjam Puchner, Austria, 1:47.25. 17. Cornelia Huetter, Austria, 1:47.36. 18. Christine Scheyer, Austria, 1:47.47. 18. Mikaela Shiffrin, United States, 1:47.47. 20. Corinne Suter, Switzerland, 1:47.50. 21. Ester Ledecka, Czech Republic, 1:47.64. 22. Nadia Fanchini, Italy, 1:47.65. 23. Jacqueline Wiles, United States, 1:47.68. 24. Nicole Schmidhofer, Austria, 1:47.76. 25. Michaela Wenig, Germany, 1:47.82. 26. Jennifer Piot, France, 1:47.84. 26. Elena Curtoni, Italy, 1:47.84. 28. Valerie Grenier, Canada, 1:47.95. 29. Romane Miradoli, France, 1:48.04. 30. Elisabeth Goergl, Austria, 1:48.08. 1. Ilka Stuhec, Slovenia, 100 points. 2. Sofia Goggia, Italy, 80. 3. Kajsa Kling, Sweden, 60. 4. Lara Gut, Switzerland, 50. 5. Viktoria Rebensburg, Germany, 45. 6. Stacey Cook, United States, 40. 7. Stephanie Venier, Austria, 36. 7. Johanna Schnarf, Italy, 36. 9. Laurenne Ross, United States, 29. 10. Edit Miklos, Hungary, 26. 1. Mikaela Shiffrin, United States, 338. 2. Sofia Goggia, Italy, 185. 3. Wendy Holdener, Switzerland, 168. 4. Nina Loeseth, Norway, 165. 5. Petra Vlhova, Slovakia, 157. 6. Lara Gut, Switzerland, 150. 7. Tessa Worley, France, 140. 8. Veronika Velez Zuzulova, Slovakia, 130. 9. Marta Bassino, Italy, 110. 10. Ilka Stuhec, Slovenia, 100.

World Cup alpine skiing: Men's downhill at Val d'Isere


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Facing desertion trial, Bergdahl asks Obama for pardon (1.02/17)

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the former U. S. prisoner of war in Afghanistan who was freed in a 2014 swap for five Taliban detainees, has asked President Barack Obama to pardon him ...

Bowe Bergdahl requests pardon from Obama


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Chinese mine disasters kill at least 38 (1.02/17)

BEIJING, Dec 3 (Reuters) - At least 38 people have died in two separate coal mine disasters in China in the last five days, state media said, the latest accidents in a country with a poor record of industrial safety. In the first incident, authorities confirmed on Friday night that 21 people died after a coal mine blast in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, the official Xinhua news agency said. It happened at a private coal mine in Qitaihe city late on Tuesday, trapping 22 workers underground, it said. Rescue work continues to reach the one person left trapped. On Saturday, 17 people died in a coal mine explosion in northern China's Inner Mongolia region, Xinhua added. Many others remain trapped, it said, without giving details. Coal accounts for almost two-thirds of China's energy consumption, but its mines are among the world's deadliest, due to lax enforcement of safety standards. China has ordered all of the country's coal mines to conduct a safety overhaul in the past month, the deputy director of the country's work safety watchdog said on Friday. A flurry of accidents have alarmed regulators over the past month as China ramps up coal production to meet winter demand. Thirty-three people died in a gas explosion at a coal mine in the southwestern city of Chongqing on Oct. 31. (Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Richard Pullin)

China says has defeated "conspiracy" to stir up S.China Sea trouble


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66-year-old man was driver in Iowa Wal-Mart store crash (1.02/17)

PELLA, Iowa (AP) — A 66-year-old southern Iowa man was identified as the driver of a pickup truck that crashed into a southeast Iowa Wal-Mart, killing three and injuring himself and another man in what officials believe was an accident.
Witnesses have said the driver, Dennis Mockenhaupt, of Knoxville, Iowa, plowed through a glass front entrance of the Pella store at a high rate of speed. The truck was traveling fast enough to break through concrete posts intended to protect the entrance from vehicles, well into the grocery portion of the store before coming to a rest after hitting a refrigerated produce display.
Those killed in the Thursday morning crash were Carrie Zugg, 31, of Leighton, and Lindsey Rietveld, 29, of Bussey — both employees of the Pella store — and Ruth Jean DeJong, 76, of Pella, a shopper, officials said. DeJong’s 77-year-old husband, Robert DeJong, was injured in the crash and remained hospitalized Friday. Officials did not release his medical condition.
The only other person injured was Mockenhaupt, whom authorities said had been released from the hospital by Friday. A woman who answered his home phone Friday afternoon hung up when reached by The Associated Press.
An AP search of public records showed no traffic or criminal violations against Mockenhaupt.
Officials declined to comment on whether a medical condition or some other issue caused the crash Friday, citing the ongoing investigation. But State Patrol Sgt. Nathan Ludwig reiterated that investigators have no reason to believe it was anything other than an accident.
“Anything’s possible at this time,” Ludwig said when asked if charges against Mockenhaupt are possible. “That’s why this investigation might take some time.”
Toxicology reports have been ordered for Mockenhaupt, officials said, but it could take weeks for the results to be returned.
Autopsies on those killed will be conducted next week by the state medical examiner in Ankeny, Iowa, officials said.
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

66-year-old man 'killed three people, including two employees, when he crashed pickup truck into Iowa Wal-Mart'


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Report: Teachers at Pretoria girls’ school victimised black pupils over hair (1.02/17)

Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi on Friday revealed the findings and recommendations made in the report‚ which probed allegations of racism at the school.
In August pupils at the school protested against the instruction given to black students to straighten their hair.
Shortly after this‚ Lesufi visited the school to address the controversy when more than 4 500 people signed a petition calling for his intervention.
After listening to the pupils' complaints‚ the MEC resolved that the section school's code of conduct pertaining to hair be reviewed and called for the probe.
The report‚ which was given to Lesufi in October‚ said many of the allegations made by the students are true.
It found that teachers at the school enforced the school's policy without sensitivity‚ that black pupils were singled out in class to demonstrate ethnic origins during apartheid but white pupils were not asked to do the same‚ and that in one incident black pupils were called monkeys.
The pupils also complained that there were rules against using their mother tongues in private conversations. This could not be substantiated apart from one incident between a teacher and pupils.
The report recommends disciplinary action be taken against teachers where there is sufficient evidence of wrongdoing.
The report also said the practice of asking black pupils to "sort out their hair" must cease.
It also found that the school had not done enough to address pupils’ complaints when they were first raised. Lesufi apologised to the pupils for having suffered experiences of victimisation and said he hopes that schools countrywide learn from the report's findings.
“We now have a responsibility to transform Pretoria High School for Girls and any other schools in Gauteng that face challenges similar to or worse than those faced at this school.
The report has been sent to Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga.
“We want to be corrective rather than punitive‚” Lesufi said of the report's recommendations‚ which include diversity training and a culture survey to independently establish pupils’ attitudes and experiences.

Pretoria Girls High pupils were victims of racism - MEC


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Credit rating agencies decisions a ‘friendly warning‚ not a reprieve’ (1.02/17)

Cape Town City will not have to awake from their dream march at the top of the Premier Soccer League table just yet, on Friday night managing a 3-2 away win against one of the title favourites Bidvest Wits.

S&P ratings decision good news - for now


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Australia's Maxwell fined for disrespectful teammate comments (1.02/17)

Australia all-rounder Glenn Maxwell was today fined by his team for his "disrespectful" comments about teammate Matthew Wade on the eve of their opening one-day international with New Zealand in Sydney.

Australia's Maxwell fined for 'disrespectful' teammate comments


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Thai activist 'first to be arrested for royal insult' under new king (1.02/17)

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thai police arrested an anti-junta activist on Saturday for defaming the monarchy in what rights groups said was the first case of lese-majeste brought under Thailand's new king.

Thai activist "first to be arrested for royal insult" under new king


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Relatives of missing Flight MH370 passengers 'taking search into own hands' (1.02/17)

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Relatives of those aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 said on Saturday they were taking the search for the plane into their own hands to try to push governments to expand the search area along the east African coast.

Relatives of missing Flight MH370 passengers "taking search into own hands"


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Trump allies move to stop US election recount (1.02/17)

President-elect Donald Trump turned back to cabinet-building Friday after a victory rally in the Rust Belt, where allies of the billionaire were pushing to stop a vote recount in three states that were key to his victory. ...

Recount of Michigan's presidential election moves forward


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Fed-up MH370 relatives head to Madagascar (1.02/17)

Relatives of missing MH370 passengers were headed to Madagascar Saturday, harboring hopes of finding seaborne debris, 1,001 days since the mysterious disappearance of the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines jet. ...

Fed-up MH370 relatives head to Madagascar to seek answers


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U. S. casts watchful eye on Cuban crossings after Castro death (1.02/17)

Alan Diaz / AP
In this photo taken Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, Rodolfo Lledes talks to a reporter in front of his home, in Miami. Lledes departed Cuba and headed for Florida with 26 others on a motorized raft made of empty 55-gallon drums in September 1994. Many migrants like him make the journey because of what they call appalling conditions or political persecution, but also because of the U. S. “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy that shields Cubans from deportation if they make it to U. S. soil.
By Adrian Sainz, Associated Press
Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016 | 12:02 a.m.
MIAMI — Rodolfo Lledes departed Cuba and headed for Florida with 26 others on a motorized raft made of empty 55-gallon drums. Claudia Cruz Perez wound her way on buses, boats and planes through South America to the U. S.-Mexico border, eventually landing in Miami.
Many migrants like them make the journey because of what they call appalling conditions or political persecution, but also because of the U. S. "wet-foot, dry-foot" policy that shields Cubans from deportation if they make it to U. S. soil. Now, the death of longtime Cuban leader Fidel Castro and U. S. President-elect Donald Trump's hardline stance on curbing illegal immigration have cast new uncertainty over that decades-old policy.
Arrivals from the communist-ruled island already had surged in the past two years because of fears that the policy would be discontinued as President Barack Obama sought warmer relations, the U. S. Coast Guard has said, and now officials are on alert for another uptick in sea crossings.
While it's too soon to note a definitive trend, the U. S. Coast Guard intercepted 38 Cubans in the South Florida Straits and brought them back to Cuba on Thursday. Under "wet-foot, dry-foot," migrants intercepted at sea are returned to Cuba.
"It's not right to recommend that anyone leave by raft, because it's a trip that can lead to death," said Lledes, a Castro opponent who fled Cuba after being sent to a work camp and being blacklisted from getting a job. "But the reality of living in Cuba can lead to that, and much more. "
Lledes made his crossing in September 1994, during the so-called Cuban rafter crisis. The Coast Guard stopped the homemade vessel, and he was sent to the U. S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay. In all, about 30,000 rafters were held at Guantanamo during the crisis. Lledes was later flown to the U. S., where he worked as a truck driver in Miami. He became an American citizen, bought a house and is now retired at age 71.
Since Obama ordered restoration of diplomatic relations between Washington and Havana in December 2014, the U. S. Coast Guard has noted a significant uptick each year in the number of Cuban migrants who brave the dangerous Straits of Florida and arrive on the coast of South Florida, the islands of the Florida Keys or elsewhere.
During the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, U. S. authorities captured, intercepted or chased away 7,411 Cuban migrants — an increase over 3,737 in the 2014 fiscal year and 2,218 in 2013. An additional 827 tried to make the trip since October, the Coast Guard said. It's not clear how many others have died at sea.
Castro's death is unlikely to significantly change living conditions in Cuba, as Raul Castro continues the communist rule he took over from his ailing brother in 2008. That means migrants will likely continue to set sail, especially if there is even a perception that the "wet-foot, dry-foot" policy may be restricted.
"It's almost impossible to think that there's an improved future in Cuba under the current conditions," said Pedro Roig, senior research associate at the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami. "It's very feasible that any Cuban, man or woman, would want to seek another horizon under these laws. "
Cruz Perez made her circuitous journey in 2015, arriving in October of that year after what she said had been concern among those on the island about the future of U. S.-Cuba immigration policy.
But more important, she said, was daily survival in Cuba, where necessities like soap and toilet paper often are hard to obtain. She doesn't think Fidel Castro's death alone will have an immediate impact, given that Raul Castro has handled the nation's governing since 2008. People will still come to the U. S. to seek work and send money and goods to relatives left behind, or eventually bring loved ones to the U. S.
"If one has children, one almost has to leave the island to seek a better life and a better future for them," said Cruz, who works a night shift at a printing factory. "That is why people risk their lives to leave. "

US casts watchful eye on Cuban crossings after Castro death


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It’s the giving season. Would you like a radio station? (1.02/17)

Nathaniel Wood / The New York Times
Jason Wolff, a value investor who donated a whole radio station in San Luis Obispo to KCRW, the local NPR affiliate, and Jennifer Ferro, president of KCRW, at the station’s studios in Santa Monica, Calif., Dec. 1, 2016. Most donations are checks written to favorite causes, but some come in the form of orphan radio stations, junked cars, unwanted boats or collections of baseball cards.
By Paul Sullivan, New York Times News Service
Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016 | 12:02 a.m.
Philanthropically minded people regularly try to donate stuff — cars, catamarans, collections of all sorts — to nonprofits. In the best of circumstances, they believe that their donations will help a cause. Other times, they are just looking for an organization to take junk off their hands or validate their taste.
Then there is the case of Jason Wolff. At the end of 2007, Wolff, who considers himself a value investor, bought 16 radio stations in the greater Los Angeles area. He did very well with them, and this year he got an offer to sell them. But after the transaction was completed, he still had one left.
“My wife said, ‘Why don’t we just give it to NPR?'” Wolff said. “My first response was, ‘Because we can make a lot of money selling it.’ But then I thought about it. Intellectually, this felt good. This felt like a value donation — if there is such a thing.”
So he called the president of KCRW, the National Public Radio affiliate in Los Angeles, and asked if she wanted his radio station in San Luis Obispo, California.
“It was so weird,” said Jennifer Ferro, president of KCRW. “I didn’t understand what he meant.”
Radio stations are generally owned by conglomerates that are not in the business of giving them to public radio stations. But in this particular case, the offer seemed stranger still: Weeks before Wolff’s offer, KCRW tried to buy a station in the same area but was outbid.
Ferro called her board and explained what was happening. “They said, ‘Wait, you said we weren’t going to be able to buy this station.'”
The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve is the giving season, when Americans make the bulk of their charitable donations.
Most of those gifts are checks written to favorite causes. But some come in the form of orphan radio stations, junked cars, unwanted boats or collections of baseball cards.
And many charities are more than happy to accept gently used or even broken-down goods that can be sold, like old cars. The proceeds go toward their mission.
“We bring in $500,000 a year from cars,” Ferro said, adding that a station in San Diego gets more than $1 million from unwanted automobiles. “Normally on a pledge drive, you’d get $10 a month. But that same person would say, ‘I have this car.’ Someone may only give you $400 for that car, but that’s $400 to KCRW.”
According to a recent survey by U. S. Trust, a banking company that caters to the wealthy, only 10 percent of people make nonfinancial gifts — like works of art, land or collections of all sorts. More than 80 percent write checks, and half of those donations are made online.
Still, more than twice as many people, the study found, give items rather than appreciated securities.
“I have a client who gave over a whole building, a rental apartment building, in the downturn,” said Claire Costello, national practice executive for philanthropic solutions at U. S. Trust. “The charity ran the building and used the proceeds for its operations. It had nothing to do with social services.”
As with any gift, advisers caution, people need to know what they want to accomplish with their donation before they make it, no matter what form it takes. And they need to understand the needs of the nonprofit.
“We were involved once when someone wanted to donate a building to a small arts nonprofit,” said Melissa Berman, president and chief executive of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. “But the building needed so much work that it wasn’t clear they could remodel a building that had so much asbestos in it. In the end, it wasn’t in the nonprofit’s best interest to take the building without more support than was being offered.”
When the gifts and needs match, it works well. For potential heirs, it can also ease the worry about whether to keep something or sell it — and the speculation about what mom or dad would have done.
Costello thought of a client who had given a sizable collection of sports memorabilia to charity, a collection that probably cost the client more than it was worth. “The charity has zero investment in it, so what do they care what it’s worth?” she said. “They’re not looking to recoup their investment, like the collector was. It’s like the junk car. Who wants the junk car? But it’s valuable.”
Many of these donations are one-offs. You only have one radio station or so many junked cars to give.
But there are other helpful ways to give away unwanted items. Ken Shubin Stein, a doctor turned investor, started Crutches 4 Kids with his sister and brother-in-law, both orthopedic surgeons. The premise is straightforward: collect no-longer-needed crutches and send them to the developing world, where lack of mobility is a public health problem for 50 million children.
Shubin Stein started the charity after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, when he saw a wave of children having legs amputated. Since then, the foundation has collected and distributed about 10,000 pairs of crutches.
“One of the things about crutches is you can definitely solve the problem,” he said. “They’re low-cost, lightweight, and there’s no lucrative black market value, so they’re not likely to be stolen.” There are also schools and hospitals that serve as ready-made collection points for used crutches.
Shubin Stein said he and his family had been paying for the organization’s annual budget, which is about $100,000. They have also relied on groups like Americares and MedShare International to transport the crutches that last mile.
“Our landed-and-delivered cost for children’s crutches is about $10,” he said. “It seems like the ultimate return on investment.”
What has limited this effort, Shubin Stein said, is the logistics of collecting the crutches more widely and then getting them to places in need.
And this can be a challenge for anyone or any organization that wants to give or get: It’s a lot harder to get things from one place to another than it is to use a credit card to make a financial donation. This is often true in the case of a natural disaster, when people send care packages.
“Even if these places need things like tents or canned goods, it may often be easier for the groups that can reach the afflicted to get local merchandise than deal with customs to get goods off the plane,” Berman said. “You may be creating more of a headache than it’s worth when you send the canned sweet potatoes.”
That is not to say that small things aren’t appreciated. Berman said donating toiletries to local homeless organizations can be helpful.
James Dondero, the founder of Highland Capital Management in Dallas, came up with a solution for passing along all the gifts he receives: When his company gets expensive bottles of wine or the use of an event space as thanks for its $3 million in annual giving, it gives them to another organization in need.
The wine, for example, goes to the American Heart Association’s annual wine auction. The space, in places like the Dallas Zoo or the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, goes to smaller organizations that couldn’t afford to rent such space themselves.
“We make large gifts, so we have access to tables, admissions and golf tournaments,” said Linda Owen, director of Highland’s charitable giving program. “We’ve calculated that there is value in this, and we thought, ‘How can we give nonfinancial gifts to other organizations?'”
She said the firm supported Education Is Freedom, which helps underserved children finish high school and get into college. It took the access it had to the Dallas Zoo and gave it to the group for its graduation ceremony, which the company also underwrote.
This matchmaking is not always easy. “It is labor-intensive,” Owen said. “On one level, the easiest thing to do would be to decline these opportunities. But we try to be mindful and thoughtful about the access that we have.”
Wolff said the radio station donation was surely bigger than any other gift he had made. He said he was still waiting for the appraiser to give him the final value, though he sold an inferior station in the same market for $600,000.
And, like many people who get more involved in an organization, he said the gift felt different. “It’s like ‘The A-Team’: ‘I love it when a plan comes together.'” he said, quoting a line from the 1980s television show. “These guys are going to be able to fulfill their mission.”

The 10 biggest radio stations in SA


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Brewers sign Nieuwenhuis to one-year deal (1.02/17)

The Milwaukee Brewers pared their number of arbitration-eligible players from seven to six early Friday by agreeing to a one-year contract with outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis.
Nieuwenhuis, who batted .209 with 13 homers, 44 runs batted in and .709 OPS in 392 plate appearances in 2016, signed a split contract that will pay him $900,000 if he's in the majors and $257,000 if in the minors. His salary was $514,000 last season.
That deal left the Brewers with pitchers Chase Anderson, Wily Peralta, Tyler Thornburg and Carlos Torres, second baseman Scooter Gennett and catcher Martin Maldonado remaining in arbitration. The deadline is 7 p.m. Central to tender contracts for 2017 to those players.
First baseman Chris Carter was arbitration-eligible as well, but the Brewers designated for assignment the National League home run co-champion earlier in the week when they signed free agent Eric Thames to a three-year deal. The Brewers were trying to trade Carter before the tender deadline, when he will become a free agent.
The Brewers had other personnel moves as teams jostled rosters in advance of the winter meetings. Relievers Steve Geltz and David Goforth were sent outright to Class AAA Colorado Springs, and outfielder Adam Walker was claimed on waivers by Baltimore.
Walker, 25, a Milwaukee native, was claimed on waivers from Minnesota on Nov. 18 but designated for assignment 10 days later to open a roster spot when Geltz was claimed from Tampa Bay. So, instead of Walker on their roster, the Brewers have Geltz in the minors.
Goforth was designated for assignment to open a roster spot when the Brewers claimed reliever Blake Parker from the Los Angeles Angels on Nov. 23.
Nieuwenhuis, 29, was claimed from the New York Mets in December 2015 and served as a platoon player in center field and backup in the corners. He is a left-handed hitter, a commodity the Brewers need, who posted a.953 OPS at Miller Park and .460 OPS on the road.
He finished the season with a sports hernia that required a medical procedure.
The contract decisions are the final order of business for the Brewers before their contingent departs for baseball's annual winter meetings, which officially begin Monday at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Md.
With representatives of all the clubs under one roof, and a new collective bargaining agreement in place, the Brewers should get a better idea what the best moves will be to further their rebuilding process. In particular, they should be able to discern any serious suitors for leftfielder Ryan Braun, considered one of the top bats available on the trade market.
The Brewers came close to trading Braun to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Aug. 31 before the midnight deadline for postseason eligibility and there has been speculation those clubs would try again to do a deal. But word out of L. A. is that the Dodgers are trying to trim payroll to avoid a huge luxury tax bill, which wouldn't be easy to do with the acquisition of Braun unless the Brewers took on some contracts to lessen the financial blow.
Braun, 33, has four years and $76 million remaining on his contract, with $14 million deferred to future years. He has extensive no-trade protection that allows only six teams to which he can be traded without his permission.
Braun recently revealed he made one unspecified change to that list, which previously consisted of the Dodgers, Angels, Giants, Diamondbacks, Padres and Marlins. Despite having lower back surgery after the 2015 season, he had a productive year, producing a.903 OPS with 30 home runs and 91 RBIs over 135 games.
Because of Braun's stature in the organization, the understanding is that general manager David Stearns and principal owner Mark Attanasio will keep him apprised if any trade talks reach a serious stage. Obviously, if it involves a club on his no-trade list, it would require his approval to do a deal.

Pittsburgh Pirates, LHP Wade LeBlanc avoid arbitration


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San Francisco bicyclist injured in violent hit-and-run accident (1.02/17)

A bicyclist was hit by a car earlier this week and seriously injured in San Francisco. It happened on Portero Avenue between 22nd and 23rd streets, right next to San Francisco General Hospital. At first glance Dana Fernie looks like she's recovering from her injuries pretty well, but when you take a closer look, you notice her bruised eye and a serious head injury. "Unfortunately, I don't remember anything," Fernie said. "I remember getting on my bike, and then I don't remember anything until waking up in my overnight room at the hospital. "At about 10:15 p.m. Tuesday night she was bicycling home on Portero Avenue near 22nd Street when she was hit by a vehicle. The driver left the scene. Her boyfriend says a few good Samaritans found her and walked her to San Francisco General Hospital. "The negative thing about his is some person did something horribly selfish, but four people did something fantastic you know," said Fernie's boyfriend Dan Anderson. Unfortunately, investigators don't have many clues because no witnesses have come forward and there aren't many surveillance cameras, but there is an important piece of evidence-- a side view mirror found at the scene. It may have come from the suspect's car. Officials believe that the vehicle was a dark colored Mini Cooper. Fernie had been an avid bicyclist. She's thankful to those who helped her get to the hospital. "It's very rare that people stop to help other people," she said. "And i'm just very grateful that they stopped and helped me. "This is an ongoing investigation so anyone with information can call San Francisco police.

Foster leads San Francisco to sixth victory


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World Trade Center-climbing teen daredevil faces fresh charges (1.02/17)

New York – A teenage daredevil who climbed the World Trade Center's centrepiece tower in 2014 has surrendered to police after videos posted on social media showed him dangling from other New York skyscrapers.
Police say 19-year-old Justin Casquejo turned himself in on Friday and faces charges of reckless endangerment and trespassing.
Casquejo is from Weehawken, New Jersey. He was sentenced to community service for scaling the 541-metre-tall One World Trade Center.
The recent videos show him perched precariously on buildings and scaffolding near Central Park.
The teen's attorney says whether someone acted recklessly in the eyes of the law and whether he acted recklessly in the eyes of the average person are "completely different issues".
Attorney Jeremy Saland says there's more to Casquejo than "what you are seeing on YouTube or Instagram".

Not above the law: Teen daredevil who climbed World Trade Center turns himself in for latest stunts


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Malaysia hits out at Myanmar over 'ethnic cleansing' (1.02/17)

Tens of thousands of Muslim Rohingya have fled their homes since a bloody crackdown by the Myanmar army in the western state of Rakhine sparked by a string of deadly attacks on police border posts in early October.
"The fact that only one particular ethnicity is being driven out is by definition ethnic cleansing," Malaysia's foreign ministry said in an unusually strongly-worded statement.
Myanmar has balked at such criticism, saying the Rakhine crisis is an internal issue, but international pressure on the country is mounting.
Malaysia's statement noted that hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled to neighbouring countries in recent years -- including some 56,000 to Muslim-majority Malaysia.
That, the statement said, "makes this matter no longer an internal matter but an international matter".
On Saturday morning, a convoy carrying the former UN chief arrived outside the Rohingya village of Wapeik, which has seen signficant damage from fire.
Non state media journalists were stopped by police from coming close to the convoy or entering the village, an AFP photographer on scene said.
Annan is not expected to brief the media until Tuesday -- after his visit to Rakhine ends.
Myanmar has restricted access to the northern part of the state and says its military is hunting down the militants behind the attacks.
But rights groups and Rohingya refugees who have made it to Bangladesh have accused the military of killing civilians and razing entire villages as a form of collective punishment.
The Rohingya have long faced persecution and government restrictions on movement that many have likened to apartheid.
Much of Myanmar views the Rohingya as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh even though many have lived there for generations.
Before the latest violence broke out, Myanmar's de facto civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi formed a commission tasked with trying to solve the Rakhine crisis, headed by Annan.
That task has been made considerably harder since fighting broke out.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner has also been criticised for not defending the Rohingya.
Since winning a historic election last year, she has rarely spoken out on the issue.
But during a trip to Singapore this week she gave a rare interview in which she hit out at international criticism.
"I would appreciate it so much if the international community would help us to maintain peace and stability, and to make progress in building better relations between the two communities, instead of always drumming up cause for bigger fires of resentment," Suu Kyi told the state-owned Channel News Asia.
Her hands are somewhat tied by Myanmar's notoriously abusive military.
Under the country's junta-era constitution, the army still controls the key Home, Border and Defence ministries and has a parliamentary veto.

Malaysia says Myanmar violence against Muslim Rohingya 'ethnic cleansing'


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City officials accused of intentionally jamming up Manhattan traffic (1.02/17)

New York City traffic is reportedly being 'engineered' to create traffic jams in an effort to get drivers to ditch their cars and opt for public transportation and bikes instead. The effort is part of a long-term plan started under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and has continued under Mayor Bill de Blasio, sources told the New York Post. The sources claim pedestrian plazas, protected bike lanes and ordering agents to focus more on writing tickets are all part of the concerted effort to slow traffic down. Scroll down for video 'The city streets are being engineered to create traffic congestion, to slow traffic down, to favor bikers and pedestrians,' a former high-level New York Police Department official told the Post. 'There's a reduction in capacity through the introduction of bike lanes and streets and lanes being closed down.' Other efforts reportedly include implementing intersections where drivers have to wait for green arrows to turn onto avenues and having traffic agents focus less on directing traffic and more on writing tickets. 'Almost nobody's doing traffic direction anymore. Everybody's focused on enforcement of parking violations,' a former NYPD traffic-safety officer told the Post. Austin Finan, a spokesman for Mayor de Blasio's office, told the claims city officials are 'engineering' traffic are 'absurd.' 'The notion that we want or are somehow "engineering" traffic congestion is absurd,' Finan said in a statement. 'Economic growth, record tourism, construction activity and a growing population means our streets are overburdened like never before. 'DOT [Department of Transportation] and NYPD work extremely hard to keep New Yorkers moving on our streets safely and efficiently by foot, bus, car and bike.' The effort was also apparently supposed to lead to safer streets. However city officials have said that pedestrian deaths are on the rise this year even with the 45,000 fewer cars passing through Midtown every day than in 2010. The traffic problems reportedly began in 2003 under then-Mayor Bloomberg who also tried to massively cut traffic with a congestion-pricing initiative charging drivers entering Midtown. His other initiatives included installing redesigns that made main roadways narrow in Times Square, Columbus Circle, Broadway and Herald Square, the Post reported. Under de Blasio, efforts to continue slowing traffic down are said to include reduced speed limits and redesigned intersections. 'They're not coming out and saying it, but they're doing other things to cut down on traffic coming into city,' another source told the Post. 'Things such as taking streets that had four lanes and making them three by creating bike lanes, or putting a plaza in, creating pedestrian islands. The source also said de Blasio 'doesn't care about traffic' and that he would blame traffic problems on President-elect Donald Trump. Outside Trump's home, a phalanx of cops armed with assault weapons, bomb-sniffing dogs and concrete barricades causing congestion and other headaches. The measures, largely intended to fortify Trump Tower in a terror attack, have slowed motor and foot traffic outside and raised concerns among retailers it could hurt business during the holiday shopping season. They measures will remain in place at least until his inauguration in late January, city officials warned last month. What happens after the inauguration will depend on how the new president divides his time between his high-rise apartment and the White House, officials have said. Depending on the answer, the NYPD might create a new command assigned full time to securing Trump Tower.

New York City’s traffic is intentionally horrible


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NHL Capsules (1.02/17)

Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski scored in the first period, Martin Jones stopped 31 shots and the San Jose Sharks extended their mastery of Montreal at home by beating the Canadiens 2-1 on Friday night in a matchup of division leaders.
Jones won his third straight and the Sharks improved to 8-0-2 against the Canadiens in San Jose since November 1999.
Pavelski also had an assist, and Joe Thornton got two assists.
Carey Price made 28 saves for Montreal, and Andrew Lehkonen scored a power-play goal late in the third period.
The Atlantic Division leaders have gone consecutive games without earning a point for the first time this season. Meanwhile, the Pacific Division-leading Sharks have won three straight and six of seven.
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Sean Monahan scored the shootout winner in Calgary's victory over Minnesota.
Monahan waited out Devan Dubnyk before snapping a shot over the goalie's right pad. Calgary's Chad Johnson then stopped Charlie Coyle's attempt at the other end to seal the victory.
Kris Versteeg scored in regulation and the shootout, and Mikael Backlund also scored in regulation for the Flames. They have won two straight and are 4-1-1 in their last six to improve to 12-13-2.
Johnson made 26 saves for his second straight victory and fifth in his last six starts.
Chris Stewart and Mikko Koivu scored for Minnesota, and Dubnyk made 30 saves The Wild are 0-1-2 in their last three to drop to 11-8-4.

Jones stops 31 shots, Sharks beat Canadiens 2-1


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Tearful husband of Sherri Papini reveals harrowing details of her captivity (1.02/17)

At one point during her horrifying 22 days spent in captivity, Sherri Papini tried to find a moment of peace from just a piece of discarded cloth. The mother-of-two rolled the cloth up and pretended it was her two-year-old daughter Violet, rocking it as if it was her baby girl. This was just one of the emotional moments Papini's husband Keith shared during an exclusive interview with 20/20 that aired Friday, a week after his wife was found. Keith revealed new details about how his wife was held captive by two Hispanic women who kept her shackled in a basement, starving, beating and branding her. He said guns were involved, and that he believes the two women pulled over while Papini, 34, was out on a morning jog as she prepared for a Thanksgiving Day race. 'It makes more sense that Sherri approached a vehicle that pulled up with to women inside, asking for help,' he said. 'That makes more sense to me'. Keith said the women drove Sherri for two-and-half hours straight that day, speaking Spanish most of the time. Papini was then shackled in captivity, and Keith said she revealed that guns had been involved. She had little to comfort her, pretending to tuck her children in at night to feel closer to her family. Papini's head was covered with a hood the entire time, making it hard to see anything but the women's eyes as they abused her. Keith saw the extent of their beatings when he saw his wife for the first time in weeks on Thanksgiving Day. That morning the women had cut the restraint that bound Papini inside the car and pushed her out onto the road around 4am. There was still another chain around her waist, which one of her hands was cuffed to, but Papini managed to use her free hand to take off the bag over her head. She then ran to a house where she hoped to ask for help, but it 'didn't look inviting', Keith said. Papini then ran to a building but it was locked. That's when she decided that her best shot was standing on the side of the road of the freeway and waving down a car. 'People were driving past her and not stopping,' Keith said of the moment. 'In her mind, she's frightened and scared.' 'She's screaming so much she's coughing up blood.' Keith said his wife then realized the chain around her waist could be scaring people away, wondering if they believed she had escaped from a prison. So Papini tried to tuck the chain under her clothes. A woman named Allison was driving in the right-hand lane when she saw Papini frantically waving what she said 'looked like a shirt'. 'She had a wide-eyed panic look, it was dark, she came out of nowhere, I was startled to see her.' 'I figured if she was willing to risk being hit by a car, she must really need some help. I pulled over and called 911.' Emergency responders who first arrived on the scene said Papini was 'heavily battered' in what looked to be 'some sort of assault'. Keith said his wife was so disoriented she had no idea what time or day it was. 'The paramedics were the first to tell her happy Thanksgiving,' he said. 'And she said, "Oh, its Thanksgiving night? ". They say, "No, its Thanksgiving morning.'" Keith was shaving when his missed a call on his cell phone rang from a number he didn't recognize. Then, immediately after, his house phone began to ring. On the other line was Papini, screaming his name in the background while a police officer told her to stay calm. She was alive. 'I'm panicked but I'm happy because at this point this is the first time I've heard her voice,' said Keith. 'I know she's alive.' Keith then rushed to the hospital, where an officer said he needed to brace himself before seeing the extent of Papini's injuries. 'He put his arm around me and said, "Prepare yourself, she's alive and you just gotta be happy.'" The officer then added, 'and they branded her'. 'I just wanted to see her,' Keith continued. 'I ran past everyone, throw open the curtain and she was there, and I just hugged her, I felt like I hugged her for 20 minutes.' When Keith finally examined his wife's injuries, he said he felt 'nauseated'. Her face was covered in yellow and black bruises, the bridge of her nose was broken. She was emaciated, weighing just 87 pounds. 'It was so hard for me to see her like that. The bruises were intense. Her hair, she's always had very long blonde hair, chopped it all off.' Keith revealed that Papini's face was not branded, but would not say where it happened. Neither Keith nor Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko have shared details about what was branded on Papini's body. But Bosenko did tell that he believed Papini's captors branded her with some sort of message. 'I would think that was some sort of either an exertion of power and control and or maybe some type of message that the brand contained,' he said earlier this week. 'It is not a symbol, but it was a message.' As Keith visited his wife in the hospital, their community in Redding was releasing yellow balloons to wish for her safe return - unaware she had already been found. But before they would get to find out, Keith had the happy task of telling the couple's two children that their mom was finally back home. Keith fought back tears as he recalled grabbing his four-year-old son Tyler and sitting the boy down, saying: 'You know what buddy? I found mom.' Little Tyler sprinted '100 miles an hour' to hug his mother, who quickly burst into tears. 'She said, "I'm so happy", and my son said, "You don't cry when you're happy"', Keith recalled. Papini replied: 'When you're this happy, you cry.' It was then Violet's turn, and she screamed and 'took off running' into her mother's arm. The entire family then began to hug each other, all falling to the ground for 'big family snuggles', as they call them. 'It makes me smile,' Keith said. 'We're back, we're whole.' It was 'family snuggles' that Keith thought were waiting for him when he returned home from work on November 2 only to find an empty house. Keith said he remembers 'everything about that day', giving Papini a kiss around 6.50am on the way to check on their daughter before leaving for work. When he returned home, he saw her car in the driveway and had no reason to believe anything was amiss. But when Keith walked inside, he was greeted with silence. 'I thought, maybe they're outside. I thought they were all together,' he said. 'I had no reason to believe otherwise.' He turned on the Find My iPhone app and saw that Papini's phone was near their mailboxes a mile away. 'I wasn’t looking for a phone,' he said. 'I was looking for Sherri.’ But when he drove to their mailbox, she was nowhere to be found. Keith said he first called his mom, who said she hadn't spoken to Papini. Then he called the children's daycare center - and found out they were still there. That's when he realized something was very wrong. He began to search for his wife's phone, using the app to make it ring. Keith found it right off the road, blonde hair still tangled in the headphones. Keith took two pictures of the phone and then called 911. 'I knew she was taken,' he said adamantly. After consenting - and passing - a polygraph test, Keith is ruled out as a suspect. 'To me, I was like no problem,' he said. 'Let's hurry up and get this over with.' Investigators began to check with friends and family members to put together a timeline. They checked local area motels and hotels, looked into her finances. They even reached out to Papini's ex-husband, who lives in another state and told them he had not talked to her in at least six years. Keith began making TV appearances to keep his wife's face in the public eye, but inside he was constantly worrying about her. 'I'm just wondering about her health, are they feeding her, is she hot, is she cold, I thought about that,' he said. 'I thought about her being there, screaming my name, and that I wasn't there. That really got me.' One of the hardest days was during a search when Keith and a group of friends were heading back to the home and he saw a group of birds circling the sky. 'I just went to my knees and I thought, am I really hiking up here to look for my wife? I don’t want to find her right now, but I do want to find her,' he said. 'It was a very sad and a very emotional and angry moment for me,' Keith said as he begins to cry. 'That was a tough one for me, that day.' After a couple of weeks, Keith knew he had to tell something to Tyler. 'I picked him up, told him I had something important to tell him. He knew something was up. He said “Dad you can tell me anything. "' 'For a little four year old to say that, I wasn’t prepared for that.' Keith told Tyler that his mother had gone running and didn't come home. 'Are you looking for her?' he said Tyler asked. 'Everyone in the whole world is looking for her right now. And we’re gonna find her and we’re gonna get her back,' Keith promised his son. One day during the search, Keith saw his son standing in front of one of Papini's missing posters. 'He's just sitting there with tears in his eyes, hands on her face,' Keith said. He admits it was hard to here investigators said they weren't 100 percent sure if it was an abduction, but Keith said he never lost hope. The Shasta County Sheriff's Department is still looking for clues to determine why Papini was targeted and the motive of her kidnappers in their ongoing investigation. Bill Garcia, a private detective who has been looking into the case, said in an interview with Today on Thursday that he believes she may have been a sex trafficking victim. 'I suspect based on the types of injuries Sherri incurred, the beatings, the broken nose, the cut hair, especially the chains and the branding, indicate that most likely it was one of these sex trafficking groups,' said Garcia. When asked about sex trafficking being a possible motive Sheriff Bosenko would only say: 'We don't know if this was related to any cartel or sex trafficking.' Bosenko told on Wednesday: 'Right now we have no known reason why she was abducted, we do not know if she was specifically targeted or if this was a random abduction. 'It's still an active and ongoing investigation and we're still looking for the reasons or the motive for this abduction. 'Abductions are generally rare, especially in this area, but I mean in general an adult abduction is an unusual occurrence.' Police said the women may be traveling in a dark SUV and that the younger of the two has long curly hair and a thick accent. She also has pierced ears and thin eyebrows. The older woman has thick eyebrows and straight black hair with streaks of gray. The women are believed to be armed. Keith made his first statement to the media about his wife's disappearance earlier this week after spending the weekend alone with his family. In addition to describing her injuries, he also lashed out at those who have implied that his wife is lying about the kidnapping. 'Rumors, assumptions, lies, and hate have been both exhausting and disgusting. Those people should be ashamed of their malicious, sub human behavior,' said Keith in the statement, which was released just four days after his wife was found safe. 'We are not going to allow those people to take away our spirit, love, or rejoice in our girl found alive and home where she belongs.' He later stated: 'I do not see a purpose in addressing each preposterous lie. Instead, may I give you a glimpse of the mixture of horror and elation that was my experience of reuniting with the love of my life and mother of our children.' The family continues to live in a secret location to safeguard Papini's privacy and she continues to heal. Keith said he is just happy to have her back in his life. 'It made me sick that there is people out there that could do something like this,' he said. 'I just wanted to hold her. We just embraced each other and cried. I mean I was so happy though, you’re upset at what happened - but you’re happy.'

Chains and branded skin: Sherri Papini kidnap case baffles cops


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U-M's College Football Playoff chances dim after big Washington win (1.02/17)

Michigan entered Friday hoping for a little help in its outside chance for a College Football Playoff spot.
But No. 4 Washington’s 41-10 Pac-12 title game win over No. 8 Colorado surely made things harder on the 10-2 Wolverines.
The Pac-12 teams traded scores in the first quarter, but the Huskies began to pull away in the second, moving the ball comfortably on the ground, taking a 14-7 halftime lead.
Colorado struggled to keep pace, ironically because its star, quarterback Sefo Liufau, departed early with an apparent ankle injury. When the Buffaloes faced Michigan in Week 3, Liufau also left a close game with a leg injury and the Huskies pulled away after halftime.
The Huskies (12-1) losing was U-M’s best chance because, as the team immediately ahead in the CFP standings, and holding the coveted No. 4 spot, a Washington loss presumed that the next team – Michigan – would ascend.
Now, obviously that’s more difficult.
► Related : How to watch Sunday's College Football Playoff announcements
It doesn’t close the door but it doesn’t open it wider, either.
The remaining possibilities for the Wolverines:
• No. 3 Clemson loses to Virginia Tech in the ACC title game tonight at 8 p.m. A Washington loss seemed more probable and had the dual benefit of enhancing U-M’s resume with a team, the Wolverines beat by 17, Colorado, as a conference champion. The Tigers seemed less likely to lose, because they were playing a lesser opponent than Washington, No. 23 Virginia Tech. Also, U-M would compare far less favorably to the Tigers, whose resume includes a stronger strength of schedule and wins over No. 12 Florida State (on the road) and No. 13 Louisville.
► Related : Could U-M jump Washington even though Huskies won?
• Faith in the 12-member committee to think freely. Though Washington won, CFP selection committee chairman Kirby Hocutt said repeatedly last week that the difference between Washington and Michigan was “razor-thin” and there was “very small separation.” He even said some committee members were torn, given U-M’s resume with three top 10 wins. (Though likely two now that Colorado lost.) It would makes sense that Washington’s win would enhance its resume, but the members are permitted to vote as they wish. (If Wisconsin wins the Big Ten title and is in the discussion, only 11 members will vote as Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez will have to recuse himself.) The committee has shown a favorable bent toward the Wolverines this year, keeping them at No. 3 after the loss to Iowa and still at No. 3 after losing quarterback Wilton Speight for an undetermined period of time when he missed the Indiana game. They only dropped two spots after losing to No. 2 Ohio State on the road in double overtime.
► Related : Jamie Samuelsen's blog: Does Michigan 'deserve' a spot in the College Football Playoff?
Though Colorado couldn’t do the job to upset Washington, it wasn’t for lack of Michigan support.
A number of Wolverines, current and former, were on social media supporting the Buffaloes.
Former U-M All-American offensive tackle Jake Long : “Oh I'm driving the band wagon tonight. Go Buffs.”
Current U-M fullback Khalid Hill: “ @RunRalphieRun aye if y'all OC need some play callS DM me”
Current U-M fullback Henry Poggi: “Buff nation baby! Welcome to the fight! "
Contact Mark Snyder at Follow him on Twitter at @mark__snyder. Download our Wolverines Xtra app on iTunes and Android!

Big tension in Texas: College Football Playoff committee has a lot on its plate


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Walmart to pay out after gay couples were denied same benefits it offered straight spouses (1.02/17)

Walmart has agreed to pay out millions of dollars after a class-action lawsuit claimed the superstore denied spousal health insurance benefits to couples in same-sex marriages between 2011 and 2013. The company agreed to the payout on Friday to settle the suit brought forward by Jacqueline Cote in July 2015. Cote filed the lawsuit on behalf of other employees of Walmart who were also in same-sex marriages and denied the benefits, CNN Money reported. Walmart says it only expects a few thousand people to be eligible for a payout from the settlement. The company and Cote settled under tentative terms in a federal court in Massachusetts on Friday. If a judge approves the filing, people who were employed by Walmart between 2011 to 2013 and in legal same-sex unions will be able to receive a payout. However, it is unknown how many current and former Walmart employees will be affected by the $7.5 million settlement. It is estimated it could be able 1,100, according to the Wall Street Journal. Diana Smithson, who is married to Cote, was also a Walmart employee when she left the company to care for Cote's ill mother. During that time, Smithson was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012. The couple spent more than $150,000 on treatment after Smithson was denied coverage under Cote's plan. Cote argued that the policy discriminated against gay employees, which federal law prohibits based on sex, religion, race and national origin. On Friday, Cote expressed she was happy the case was settled. In a statement she said: 'I'm pleased that Walmart was willing to resolve this issue for me and other associates who are married to someone of the same sex. 'It's a relief to bring this chapter of my life to a close.' Walmart's senior vice president of Global Benefits Sally Welborn also said she was happy the company and current and former employees could reach an agreement. 'We're happy both sides could come together to reach a resolution,' she said. The company began offering benefits to same sex couples in 2014. Before that, it only offered benefits in states that legally required it to do so for people in same-sex domestic partnerships. Walmart employs approximately 1.5 million people in the U. S. and Puerto Rico

Walmart agrees to $7.5 million settlement in discrimination suit


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Police hunt man who shot at car with boy, 3, in back seat near Perth (1.02/17)

A mother has recalled the terrifying moment she was shot at while driving with three-year-old son sitting in the back seat. The 39-year-old mother, who did not want to be named, said she saw a man appear from bushes on the side of the road 100 metres in front of her as she was driving outside Dwellingup on Pinjarra-Williams Road, south of Perth, on November 4. He then aimed his rifle at her Mitishibishi Pajero and fired at close range when she drove past at 110 kilometres per hour, PerthNow reported. When she felt safe enough to stop 20 minutes later she discovered a bullet stuck in her rear passenger door- only centimetres below where her son was sitting. 'It wasn't until I got out of the car and saw the bullet hole in the car that I realised just how serious it could have been,' she told the publication. 'If he had shot a little bit higher or lower and hit my tyres or if he shot through the window, the bullet would have gone straight through my son.' The three-year-old boy was shaken up by the incident, his mother said. Police have released a composite image of a man they believe will be able to help with inquiries about the shocking incident. He is believed to be of Caucasian appearance with short blond or dark blond hair.

Police: Boy, 16, shot in the face in North Lawndale


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Castro's ashes return to cradle of revolution (1.02/17)

The convoy carrying the ashes of Cuba's late communist leader Fidel Castro ends an island-wide journey on Saturday in the cradle of his revolution for a big ceremony before his burial.
The flag-draped cedar urn left Havana on Wednesday, passing roads lined with people chanting "I am Fidel! " and making daily stops on the way to Santiago de Cuba in the eastern end of the country.
President Raul Castro, who took over when his brother fell ill in 2006, will deliver a much-awaited speech during a massive tribute with foreign dignitaries on Saturday evening.
Capping a nine-day mourning period, the remains will be interred during a private ceremony on Sunday at the Santa Ifigenia cemetery, where 19th century independence hero Jose Marti is buried.
Fidel Castro's death on November 25 at age 90 has fueled discussions about his divisive legacy and the direction that the country may take without the omnipresent leader who ruled for almost half a century.
Tearful supporters have cheered Fidel Castro for the free education and health care he spread in the island, while detractors call him a brutal dictator who imprisoned dissidents and ran the economy to the ground.
- 'Farewell, comandante' -
People put up posters of Castro as Santiago prepared to greet the convoy.
"He has been the father of all Cubans and all the people in need in the world," said Margarita Aguilera, the 54-year-old director of a state tobacco company who painted the words "farewell, comandante" on stone.
Enediel Rodriguez, 50, was helping to make preparations Friday in a public hall where people will be able to watch the arrival of the jeep with the ashes before they go out on the street.
"He will rest in Santiago de Cuba because Marti is our national apostle and this was his idea, to rest here next to him," Rodriguez said.
The government had already led a huge rally with two dozen foreign presidents in Havana on Tuesday, but Santiago holds a special place in Castro's life.
On July 26, 1953, the Castro brothers launched a failed attack on the Moncada military barracks in the city, some 900 kilometers (560 miles) east of Havana.
While the rebels were jailed, it put Castro on the map and he would eventually go into exile in Mexico.
"Condemn me, it does not matter," the trained lawyer had famously said at his trial. "History will absolve me. "
- Dissidents lie low -
Three years after the Moncada defeat, the Castro brothers and their band of bearded rebels returned to Cuba aboard a ship named Granma. On Friday, Cuba marked 60 years since the yacht landed in a southeastern beach.
The rebels fled into the Sierra Maestra mountains, launching a guerrilla war that would end in triumph against US-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista on January 1, 1959.
Following their victory, Castro celebrated by touring the island from Santiago to Havana. This week, the "caravan of freedom" took his ashes on the reverse route.
While hundreds of thousands of people have congregated along the road to bid farewell, the government has also encouraged Cubans to sign a pledge to defend his revolution.
Dissidents, meanwhile, have kept a low profile during the commemorations, calling of regular protests, though they plan to resume their demonstrations after Fidel Castro is buried.

Fidel Castro's ashes make final journey as Cuba says goodbye


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New York Knicks sweep back-to-back games with Minnesota Timberwolves (1.02/17)

NEW YORK -- Carmelo Anthony popped in 29 points and Kyle O'Quinn posted his first double-double of the season to lead the New York Knicks to a 118-114 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night at Madison Square Garden.
The Knicks (10-9) swept the home-and-home series. New York claimed a 106-104 win at Minnesota on Wednesday.
O'Quinn, starting at center in place of injured Joakim Noah , had 20 points, 13 rebounds and two blocked shots. Justin Holiday, making his first start at point guard for injured Courtney Lee , added 16 points and seven rebounds. Derrick Rose chipped in with 24 points.
Zach LaVine led Minnesota (5-14) with 23 points. Karl-Anthony Towns, who scored 47 points against the Knicks on Wednesday, tossed in 20 points.
The Timberwolves, who led just once, missed all seven of their shots from the field in a 3:30 span that ended with 29 seconds left to play on a 3-pointer from Nemanja Bjelica, who had 17 points in 20 minutes.
A steal and fast-break basket by Anthony pushed the Knicks' lead to 112-106 with 1:21 left.
The Timberwolves missed all seven of their shots from the floor in a 3:30 span that ended with 29 seconds left.
O'Quinn and Rose deposited four straight points each, helping the Knicks regain the lead at 109-104 with 4:31 to play.
Minnesota took its first lead of the game at 102-101 on a dunk shot from LaVine with 6:34 remaining.
A 9-2 run to start the fourth quarter enabled Minnesota to tie it at 100 on an alley-oop dunk by Shabazz Muhammad with 8:01 left.
After a sluggish first half, Towns erupted for 16 points in the third quarter, but New York maintained a 98-88 lead.
A block by Kristaps Porzingis led to a 3-pointer from Anthony and an 80-66 Knicks lead with 6:05 left in the third quarter.
Anthony and O'Quinn combined for 14 of the Knicks' 32 second-quarter points, helping New York build a 62-52 halftime edge.
Towns didn't score his first basket until 1:18 to go before the half.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from Anthony put the Knicks ahead 48-36 with 5:12 left in the second quarter.
The Knicks used a 15-3 burst midway through the first quarter to extend their lead to 23-8 en route to a 30-21 lead moving into the second quarter.
Towns was 8 of 8 from the floor in the first quarter when the teams met Wednesday but failed to hit any of his six shots in the first quarter in the rematch.
NOTES: Knicks PG Courtney Lee was out with a sprained left ankle. He was replaced in the starting lineup by Justin Holiday, who made his first start of the season. ... New York C Joakim Noah missed his second straight game with a sprained left ankle. Kyle O'Quinn started in his place. ... Minnesota C Karl-Anthony Towns became the fourth youngest player in league history to score at least 47 points when he achieved the milestone in Wednesday's 106-104 loss to the Knicks. ... Minnesota head Tom Thibodeau was an assistant coach with the Knicks from 1996 to 2003. ... New York's bench outscored the Timberwolves' bench 49-5 on Wednesday.

Anthony scores 29, Knicks defeat Timberwolves 118-114


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HS Girls Basketball Roundup: Berry upsets No. 16 North Meck (1.02/17)

Janelle Bailey, Providence Day: 24 points, 13 rebounds, six blocks in a 52-37 win over Raleigh Ravenscroft.
Jordan McLaughlin, Berry: Cardinals outscored Sweet 16 No. 16 North Meck 18-11 in fourth quarter of a 59-48 win. North fell to 6-1. Berry, which got 18 from McLaughlin, improved to 4-1.
Imani Payne, Vance: 23 points, eight steals, six assists, one block in a 60-20 win over Independence.
Shamani Stafford, Concord First Assembly: 26 points, three steals, 12-of-15 shooting in a 75-36 win over Freedom Christian.
Zaria Wright, Concord First Assembly: 21 points, five assists, four steals in Freedom Christian win.
No. 1 Mallard Creek 61, Garinger 4: Garinger didn’t score in the first three quarters. Mallard Creek led 55-0. Ahlana Smith (16 points) and E’mya Price (10) and Dazia Lawrence (10) led the Mavericks.
No. 4 Ashbrook 47, West Mecklenburg 42: The Green Wave got 16 points from Evonna McGill and avoided an upset in their season opener. West Meck (3-4) got 20 from Ty’she Washington and 12 from Alize’ Brooks.
No. 5 Davidson Day 64, Greensboro Day 44: Maya Caldwell had 27 points and Parker Tompkis 18 in an easy wiin. Davidson Day led 38-24 at halftime and 58-29 at the start of the fourth quarter.
No. 8 Hopewell 58, Lake Norman Charter 37: Lenzi Brown had 13 points for the Titans in an easy win. Hopewell led 25-7 after the first quarter.
No. 9 Weddington 59, No. 3 South Mecklenburg 52: Weddington’s Erin Addison had 17 points, four rebounds and four steals to help push her team to an upset. Remi Roberts added seven points, nine rebounds, six steals and four blocks, and Maggie Snyder had 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists. South Meck got 18 from Shariah Gaddy and 17 from Naomi Gilbert.
Hickory Grove 73, Gaston Christian 27: Makayla Smith had 22 points to lead Hickory Grove to an easy win. Niyah Porter added 18. Hannah Bonisa led Gaston Christian with 12.

Michigan Lottery for Friday, Dec. 2


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Democracy on the rise in Africa - ISS (1.02/17)

Cape Town - Democracy has been rising steadily in Africa because citizens are getting tired of autocrats and want to have a say in how things are done, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) has found.
"They want the ability to replace their leaders and the promise that this could translate into improved human development outcomes," the ISS said in a paper titled The Future of Democracy in Africa .
One of the measures of democracy has been the number of elections, with as many as 26 expected to be held across the continent this year alone, it said.
But, researchers caution, elections are not a sure sign that all is well, and increasingly, elections are associated with conflict.
It noted studies that found that incumbent African regimes had become "adept at interfering in the electoral process", such as in Zimbabwe, Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Angola and Mozambique.
Democratisation can also increase ethnic tensions during competitive elections, as has been seen in South Sudan or Kenya.
The paper drew on data provided by Freedom House, the Economist Intelligence Unit, the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) and Polity IV.
The ISS said democracy generally operated better above certain levels of income and education, where institutions and the rule of law could keep the misuse and abuse of state institutions at bay.
75% in favour of term limits
In countries where there is a lower level of income, democracy is often fragile because the institutions and norms relied on for effective functioning were either absent or insufficiently developed.
The ISS noted that, while regular elections were on the increase in Africa, there were "worrying trends" of incumbents clinging to power, or blocking executive rotation or replacement.
According to Afrobarometer, 75% of the African citizens they surveyed favoured executive term limits, but the continent boasts some of the longest serving leaders in the world. These include Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea (36 years) and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe (35 years).
The ISS noted that neopatrimonialism was still a feature in African politics, and was found particularly in countries where the leadership consisted of national liberation forces.
In South Africa, a liberal Constitution, active civil society and independent judiciary had been unable to contain the ANC's ability to dispense patronage, the report found.
But the recent intra-ANC fissures and the emergence of new parties had, however, started to whittle away the dominance of the governing party and put pressure on the solidity of governance institutions.
But democracy, in a number of forms, was rapidly becoming the dominant type of governance globally, the ISS said.

After 25 years, the triumph of the West is over


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Question Facing Keith Ellison: Could He Lead D. N. C. as Part-Timer? (1.02/17)

DENVER — Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota, whose pursuit of the chairmanship of the beleaguered Democratic National Committee has drawn growing skepticism over his views on Israel, faced questions of a less incendiary sort at a party forum on Friday: Could he do the job as a part-timer?
As the gathering began, Howard Dean, a former committee chairman who had been Mr. Ellison’s most prominent rival, announced that he was withdrawing his bid. But before making that announcement via video recording, Mr. Dean argued that the committee must be “rebuilt from the ground up” and that only a full-time chairman could accomplish that task.
More than two hours later, as the forum came to a close, Mr. Ellison offered an unexpected response. He revealed that he was considering resigning his seat in Congress, in answer to those on the committee who want the next chairman to focus exclusively on remaking a party shut out of power in Washington and many state capitals.
“I’m in the process of deciding this issue of whether I can perform both roles,” Mr. Ellison said at the gathering, a meeting of Democratic state chairmen that served as the first tryout session for the committee post.
But Mr. Ellison, a figure from the party’s liberal wing who had emerged as an early favorite after garnering support from high-profile elected Democrats and labor leaders, sounded torn over whether to step down from the House. He argued that life in the congressional minority was not all that time-consuming.
“All there is to do is to vote ‘no,’” said Mr. Ellison, vowing that he would spend “every other moment” working for the party.
One of his rivals, Jaime Harrison, the South Carolina Democratic chairman, seized on Mr. Ellison’s statement, contending that standing up to President-elect Donald J. Trump and congressional Republicans was “a full-time job.”
After Mr. Ellison pointed out that other elected officials, most recently Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, had held the post while serving in office, Mr. Harrison responded with barely veiled mockery.
“‘Debbie did it,’” Mr. Harrison said to scattered laughs and groans. “I’ll leave that up to you guys to make that determination.”
“No, she didn’t!” Bob Mulholland, a California committee member, shouted from the back of the room.
The tenure of Ms. Wasserman Schultz, as much as Hillary Clinton’s stunning loss to Mr. Trump, loomed over the session, the first major gathering of Democrats since the election. The candidates and committee members largely avoided directly criticizing the president who had installed Ms. Wasserman Schultz, but they left little doubt that they believed the committee needed a major overhaul — and that President Obama had been derelict in his position as party leader.
Mr. Harrison, recounting the large number of governorships and state legislative seats Democrats had lost in recent years, said the party had built “a beautiful house” but had “paid no attention to the foundation.”
Ray Buckley, another candidate for the top committee post, who is the party’s New Hampshire chairman, called for “radical change” that could “restore public trust.”
And Mr. Ellison was succinct: “We’ve got a lot of rebuilding to do.”
In a brief interview after the forum, Mr. Ellison said he had no “specific timeline” to decide whether to quit his House seat. The committee contest will not be decided until late February.
Democrats have not had an open-seat race for national chairman since 2005, after another excruciating presidential loss that led to a round of soul searching about how they could broaden their appeal. Then as now, the contest for chairman featured a figure from the party’s liberal wing who had taken on the Democratic establishment.
The liberal torchbearer then was Mr. Dean, and just as some more moderate Democrats were uneasy about making him the face of the party in 2005, many are now concerned about elevating Mr. Ellison, who was one of Senator Bernie Sanders’s most visible supporters this year.
Yet Mr. Dean focused chiefly on organizing, and his fiery brand of politics hardly impeded the Democrats from retaking both chambers of Congress and the presidency by 2008. Mr. Ellison’s defenders similarly argue that he would be no burden on the party’s candidates.
But he is facing significant challenges, including his ties to Mr. Sanders. Mr. Dean used his remarks to warn that the committee race should not devolve into “a proxy fight” between supporters of Mr. Sanders and Mrs. Clinton.
Perhaps more threatening, Mr. Ellison is facing growing criticism over his past comments about Israel and the power of Jewish leaders in America. Opening his annual foreign policy forum in Washington, Haim Saban, one of the biggest donors in the Democratic Party, called Mr. Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, “clearly an anti-Semitic and anti-Israel person.”
Mr. Mulholland, citing Mr. Ellison’s critique of Israel, said he had “too much political baggage.”
Many committee members predicted that additional contenders would enter the race. “I don’t see any reason why we should rush this thing,” Gilberto Hinojosa, the Texas Democratic chairman, said as he explained why be believed that the state chairmen should hold off on making a collective endorsement. “Most of us had tickets on January 20th to Washington, D. C., that we have to cancel. So maybe we can go somewhere else then and meet and have a discussion with all our candidates.”

Ellison may leave congressional seat for DNC post; Dean drops out – Twin Cities


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South Korea opposition introduces bill to impeach scandal-tainted Park (1.02/17)

South Korea’s three opposition parties introduced a bill on Saturday for parliament to impeach President Park Geun-hye who, tainted by a corruption scandal, could become the first democratically elected leader to leave office early in disgrace. The bill, signed by 171 members of the 300-seat unicameral assembly, said Park violated the constitution and criminal law by abusing her presidential power. “We hereby propose impeachment proceedings to protect the constitution and restore constitutional order by removing President Park Geun-hye from office,” it said. “The will of the people that President Park Geun-hye should be made to cease exercising the duty of president is clear. The sovereign will has been shown clearly through rallies and protests peacefully attended by countless numbers of the public regardless of generation, ideology or background.” Park has come under intense pressure to step down, with hundreds of thousands of people streaming into the streets demanding her resignation at successive weekend rallies, which have remained peaceful. Hundreds of thousands of South Koreans are expected to march in capital Seoul for the sixth straight Saturday calling for the removal of Park. The demonstration will come hours after lawmakers formally launched an attempt to impeach Park. Thousands were also expected to rally near the National Assembly to pressure parties, including Park’s conservative ruling party, to vote for her impeachment. Opposition parties controlling South Korea’s parliament waited until after the end of this week’s plenary session to register an impeachment motion early Saturday. It means the vote will take place next Friday. Park is accused of colluding with a friend, Choi Soon-sil, who has been accused of abuse of power, to put undue pressure on conglomerates to contribute money to foundations that were set up to promote her policy initiatives. Park has denied wrongdoing but has apologised to the nation. The three opposition parties said on Friday they will hold a parliamentary impeachment vote on Park on December 9. A bill once introduced is reviewed by the parliament secretariat, a formality, before it can be reported to the plenary session. The bill was expected to go to the session on Thursday, according to the parties. The three opposition parties have enough members to bring the impeachment but will need 28 members from Park’s Saenuri Party to bring the vote to the two-thirds majority required to pass the bill. It was not clear whether enough Saenuri members would support the vote. There are seven non-party affiliated members plus the speaker who are expected to give their backing. Some Saenuri members had earlier said they would join the opposition parties to impeach Park but changed their position after Park offered to quit, saying she should be given the chance to step down of her own accord by April. Hundreds of thousands of South Koreans are expected to march in capital Seoul for the sixth straight Saturday calling for the removal of Park. The demonstration will come hours after lawmakers formally launched an attempt to impeach Park. Thousands were also expected to rally near the National Assembly to pressure parties, including Park’s conservative ruling party, to vote for her impeachment. Opposition parties controlling South Korea’s parliament waited until after the end of this week’s plenary session to register an impeachment motion early Saturday. It means the vote will take place next Friday.

South Korea Opposition Introduces Bill To Impeach Scandal-Tainted Park


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Team11 highlights: Tattnall Square vs. ELCA (1.02/17)

Watch the #Team11 highlights for Tattnall Square vs. ELCA.
PHOTOS | #Team11
Team11 B2C MIC'D UP: Roswell vs. Westlake
Team11 highlights: Mary Persons vs. Cartersville
Team11 highlights: Jefferson vs. Thomson

Team11 B2C MIC'D UP: Roswell vs. Westlake
Team11 highlights: Jefferson vs. Thomson
Team11 highlights: Mary Persons vs. Cartersville


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Raptors beat Lakers 113-80 (1.02/17)

Even though it is Kyle Lowry currently shooting lights out for the Toronto Raptors, second-year man Norman Powell is only too happy to take the credit.
Lowry had 24 points and seven assists for the Raptors in a 113-80 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night, compared to Powell's 16. But according to Powell, it's his pre-game tradition with the All-Star guard that is powering his hot hand.
"We have a little shooting competition, the first to make five from five spots, and ever since we've started doing that he's been lighting it up, so I'm taking credit for it," Powell said jokingly after the game, Toronto's season-high fifth straight victory and a fourth consecutive win over the Lakers.
Lowry, who has scored 20-plus points in his last six games against the Lakers, averaging 24.8 points, was only too happy to back up his teammate's claim.
"He can take credit. My teammates, they can all have the credit," he said. "My teammates are the reason I'm able to do the things that I'm able to do. "
Lowry tied his season high for 3-pointers, going 6 of 9 from beyond the arc as the Raptors registered their biggest win of the season. The 33-point victory surpassed the 27-point win over Philadelphia on Oct. 28.
Still, coach Dwane Casey was more interested in his team's defensive performance, as Toronto held Los Angeles to an opponent season low of 80 points and .344 shooting from the field. The Raptors were particularly dominant in the second quarter, outscoring the Lakers 41-26 while shooting 75 percent from the field.
But it takes more than that to impress the Raptors' coach.
"Case don't say nothing about offense. Case don't care," said DeMar DeRozan, who had 16 points. "Everything that comes out of his mouth is defense. "
Even though the game was the Lakers' third in four nights, coach Luke Walton was not about to use that as an excuse.
"I felt like we weren't mentally ready to compete against one of the better teams in the NBA tonight," he said. "I don't know if that's just fatigue from the travel and the road trip so far. Even if it is it can't be an excuse in this league. "
Brandon Ingram had 17 points for the Lakers, who are 1-2 on their four-game road trip. Meanwhile their bench, the top scoring unit in the NBA, chipped in with Jordan Clarkson's 14 and former Raptor Lou Williams' 13.
The Lakers were held to just 14 points in the third quarter and 32 points in the second half, as Toronto successfully nursed a 21-point halftime lead all the way to the end, emptying its bench and giving minutes to some of its lesser lights.
"You have to give them credit, they played really good," former Raptor Jose Calderon said. "They kept making shots in the right moment and played good defense. We didn't find a guy today who was really hot or going. "
Lakers: G D'Angelo Russell (left knee) missed his seventh consecutive game and F Nick Young (right calf) sat out his second straight contest. ... F Julius Randle played his 100th NBA game Friday night. He has 39 double-doubles over that span. ... Williams has made a free throw in 29 straight games, the longest active streak for a Lakers bench player.
Raptors: Usual starting F DeMarre Carroll was rested in the opening game of Toronto's first back-to-back home games since the 2008-09 season as the Raptors continue to exercise caution after Carroll's knee surgery late last season. Powell started in his place. ... DeRozan's six assists extended his career-long streak with at least four assists to 11 games. ... Lowry has made multiple 3-pointers in 10 straight games, tied for the longest such streak of his career.
Despite leading the Lakers to a surprising 10-10 record over the first month of the season, Walton was passed over for Western Conference coach of the month in favor of his former boss, Steve Kerr of 16-2 Golden State.
"I'm furious that Steve Kerr won coach of the month," Walton said jokingly. "No, I'm happy for him obviously. It doesn't matter to me who wins coach of the month. We're trying to do something that's bigger than individual awards. "
The Raptors, who shot 41.4 percent from 3-point range, had double-digit 3-pointers (12) for the fifth straight game. Lowry led the way with six, and in his last four games is shooting 71 percent (20 of 28) from beyond the arc.
DeRozan's six field goals saw him pass Vince Carter (3,536) for second on the franchise's all-time list. Chris Bosh leads the way with 3,614.
Lakers: Will look to end a five-game losing streak in Memphis when they face the Grizzlies on Saturday.
Raptors: Aiming for sixth straight win when they host Atlanta on Saturday.

Lowry leads Raptors past Lakers for fifth straight win


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Magic hit their 3s and trounce Sixers 105-88 (1.02/17)

PHILADELPHIA — The Orlando Magic did not panic the day after one of their most painful losses in years.
Players did not call a team meeting, and coach Frank Vogel let everyone sleep in instead of having a morning walkthrough at the team hotel in Philadelphia.
But when the Magic arrived at the Wells Fargo Center , they took out their frustrations on the Philadelphia 76ers. They sank an avalanche of 3-pointers and received an efficient scoring night from Aaron Gordon as they trounced the hapless Sixers 105-88.
"It was big time, especially, I think, the way we won the game," swingman Evan Fournier said. "We showed character tonight. I thought it was very positive. "
Friday amounted to a test for the Magic: a test of their fortitude.
Just 23 hours earlier, they led the Memphis Grizzlies by 14 points midway through the fourth quarter but collapsed down the stretch and lost a heartbreaker 95-94. The defeat felt like a kick in the gut. It wouldn't have surprised anyone if the Magic had suffered from the aftereffects when they played the Sixers.
"It was a tough loss for us," point guard D. J. Augustin said. "We still think about it now even though we won this game tonight. But that's one game we feel like we let slip out of our hands, but we bounced back tonight with a big win. "
Orlando (8-12) needed to beat Philadelphia (4-15) after what happened in Tennessee.
But the Magic did more than simply beat the Sixers: They displayed the mental toughness and togetherness that they have lacked too often this season.
"It's really important to bounce back," center Nikola Vucevic said. "In this league, you have to be able to do that after tough losses. "
The Magic played their best when the Sixers threatened to do what the Grizzlies had done.
Orlando extended a third-quarter lead to 15 points, but Philadelphia responded with a 7-0 run, prompting Vogel to call a timeout.
The Magic didn't collapse this time.
Instead, they retaliated with a flurry of their own.
Vucevic and Serge Ibaka passed the ball back and forth as Vucevic stood on the right edge of the lane and Ibaka occupied the right corner — a rare bit of cohesion between them. Vucevic then hurled a pass to Gordon as Gordon made a baseline cut. Gordon finished the play with a layup.
Ibaka followed up a short while later with a putback layup. Augustin made a pair of 3-pointers. And Gordon stroked a trey from the left corner. The outburst, interrupted only by a mid-range jumper by Philadelphia's Jahlil Okafor, extended Orlando's lead to 76-57.
Game over.
Vogel had concerns whether his players would have a letdown following their loss in Memphis.
"It's tough to lose a game the way we did last night," Vogel said. "There's no other way to look at it. I've seen it go a lot of different ways. You come in the next night and you're still feeling disjointed a little bit because of it. But we talk about togetherness all the time, and nobody felt good about how that game went last night. So our guys banded together. "
It helped, of course, that Orlando sank 13 of its 26 3-point tries and received a jolt from Gordon, who added a team-high 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting.
The team also received an emotional lift from shooting guard Jodie Meeks , who made his Magic debut after he underwent right-foot surgery in mid-July. In 17 minutes, Meeks made two of his three 3-point tries and finished with 10 points.
In their happy postgame locker room, some players credited Vogel for not overreacting to the loss to the Grizzlies.
"Panic is contagious," Gordon said. "If our coach, our leader is panicking, it's going fall out to everybody else. "
Vogel did not panic.
Neither did his players.
On Friday night, they delivered one of their most satisfying wins of the season. Read his blog at and follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins.

Gordon powers Magic past slumping Sixers, 105-88


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Andrew Dodt preserves two-shot lead entering final round of Australian PGA Championship on Gold Coast (1.01/17)

Andrew Dodt will be looking to join the greats of Australian golf when he takes a two-shot lead into the final round of the Australian PGA Championship on Sunday. The 30-year-old has led the tournament since day one, taking a share of the first-round lead with an opening 65 and then establishing a two-shot advantage with a 67 on Friday. A third-round 70 containing five birdies and three bogeys was good enough to maintain that advantage as he moved to 14 under on day three, with fellow Australian Ashley Hall and American Harold Varner III his nearest challengers. World No 7 Adam Scott and John Senden were a further two shots back, and Dodt will be looking to join the likes of Scott, Peter Thomson, Kel Nagle and Greg Norman by lifting the trophy after round four. 'It would be one of my biggest achievements, for sure,' he told a press conference. 'I mean, I've thought about it a couple of times this week but you don't want to get ahead of yourself. You just want to play each round. 'It would be huge. All the top guys have won the Australian PGA, so it would be nice to put my name alongside them.' Dodt extended his lead to three shots on the first as he birdied from six feet but after Hall eagled the ninth, a bogey on the 11th saw him reeled in. Dodt edged back ahead only for a second Hall eagle on the 15th see him caught again but the cushion was re-established as Hall finished bogey-bogey. Varner also claimed a pair of eagles on the 15th and 17th and he will be looking to go one better than last season when he lost out in a play-off. England's Steve Webster equalled the lowest round of the week with a 65 to sit at six under, two shots clear of countryman Ian Poulter and Welshman Oliver Farr.

Dodt maintains advantage at Australian PGA
Dodt holds lead, Scott and Varner loom at Australian PGA


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Pawley's 4 TDs lead Bixby past Lawton (1.01/17)

Tucker Pawley ran for four touchdowns to help Bixby defeat Lawton 39-31 in the Class 6A-II final Friday night at Yukon High School.
It was Bixby's third consecutive state title, and Tanner Griffin has been the starting quarterback in all three wins.
Lawton led 19-7 in the first quarter of 2014 championship game rematch, with help from an 11-yard touchdown pass from Zack Hanna to Jayquan Lincoln and a 34-yard interception return for a score by Lincoln.
Bixby finally took the lead when Nic Swanson caught a 35-yard touchdown pass from Griffin to give his team a 29-25 advantage in the third quarter.
Lawton cut its deficit to 36-31 in the fourth quarter, but Jason Campbell kicked a 35-yard field goal late in the period to provide a cushion.

Akers leads Clinton past Pearl 49-35 for Class 6A title
Bizzell leads Carl Albert past McGuinness for 5A title


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Makeup-free Rebecca Judd continues with the baby spam by sharing a precious snap as she bonds with twins at a tranquil ranch (1.00/17)

She gave birth to twin boys Tom and Darcy in late September. And as a doting mother, Rebecca Judd has been non-stop with the baby spam, regularly taking to Instagram to share precious snaps. Another photo shared to the site on Saturday, saw the 33-year-old going makeup-free and cradling son Darcy at a tranquil ranch, with the caption: 'This is Darcy.' Scroll down for video The candid snap saw Rebecca positioned in front of a serene backdrop. Rebecca cut a casual figure in a sleeveless striped top that showed off her lithe arms, while her makeup-free face was concealed behind a pair of gold-rimmed Dior sunglasses. Cradling son Darcy in her arms, the Channel Nine presenter who styled her brunette tresses in loose waves, simply captioned the snap with the hash-tags #thisisdarcy and #ranchlyfe. The television presenter welcomed twins Tom and Darcy in Melbourne via emergency cesarean section on the afternoon of Thursday, September 29. The 'perfectly healthy' boys were born just a minute apart at 35 weeks gestation, Rebecca confirmed the following day. 'Tom and Darcy Judd are here!' the stylish WAG captioned a precious family snap, shared to Instagram. Rebecca and Chris also share son Oscar, 4, and daughter Billie, 2.

Rebecca Judd celebrates Channel Nine Postcards Christmas party... after giving up weather presenter duties


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Western AD basks in glory of undefeated season (1.00/17)

Detroit — Western Michigan athletic director Kathy Beauregard had been waiting 20 years to win a Mid-American Conference football championship and her dream finally came true Friday night at Ford Field.
Beauregard couldn’t be happier because a MAC title game record crowd of 45,615 — mostly WMU fans — watched the No. 13 Broncos (13-0) defeat Ohio 29-23.
“I don’t know if they get how special undefeated is, but it doesn’t just happen. You look all over the country and years and years of history and you just don’t find it,” Beauregard said. “It’s been a magical season, and just an incredibly passionate group of student-athletes that love one another, are family, are undefeated and getting ready for a bowl game.”
So does Beauregard feel the Broncos deserve to play in the Cotton Bowl, being the highest-ranked conference champion from the Group of Five?
“We belong in the Cotton Bowl,” Beauregard said.
And of the Broncos fans?
“I couldn’t be more proud of Bronco nation,” Beauregard said. “I will tell you for years we’ve tried to be in this game. We’ve had games over here. We’ve played in the Little Caesars Bowl (2011), played Illinois here (win in 2008), but never seen anything like a group of Broncos come out for so much pride and really be here on behalf of this group of student-athletes to support them and our program and our university, so extremely proud.”
Hampton sets MAC title game record
WMU freshman kicker Butch Hampton knelt down in front of the Broncos fans just outside the end zone in prayer, in shock or maybe just trying to get a couple of seconds by himself after setting a MAC championship game record by kicking five field goals.
Hampton accounted for the Broncos’ first nine points, kicking field goals of 42, 27 and 21 yards before Zach Terrell found Corey Davis for a 70-yard TD to open a 16-7 lead with 7:49 left in the first half.
Hampton also kicked field goals of 33 yards for a 26-13 lead in the third, and a 34-yarder with 1:24 left in the game. He has now made 18 of 23 for the season.
“No comment,” Hampton said, knowing no WMU true freshman is supposed to talk with reporters. “No comment, I’m just telling you row the boat and give glory to God.”
“He did what he did, he did his job and that’s why this is such an elite win,” redshirt junior linebacker Caleb Bailey said of Hampton.
Bailey wasn’t bad himself, getting in on five tackles, including one tackle for loss while also getting a quarterback hurry. @DavidGoricki

WMU AD Kathy Beauregard on P.J. Fleck's future


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Canadiens-Sharks Sum (1.00/17)

First Period_1, San Jose, Burns 10 (Pavelski, Thornton), 5:22 (pp). 2, San Jose, Pavelski 8 (Thornton), 19:03.
Second Period_None.
Third Period_3, Montreal, Lehkonen 3 (Shaw, Galchenyuk), 18:43 (pp).
Shots on Goal_Montreal 13-10-9_32. San Jose 16-7-7_30.
Power-play opportunities_Montreal 1 of 4; San Jose 1 of 3.
Goalies_Montreal, Price 13-3-1 (30 shots-28 saves). San Jose, Jones 13-8-1 (32-31).
A_17,562 (17,562). T_2:31.
Referees_Gord Dwyer, Jon Mclsaac. Linesmen_Brian Murphy, Vaughan Rody.
With the holidays approaching, here's a guide to fun events and happenings this month.

Canadiens-Sharks Sums


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Weddington overtakes Reynolds, moves to 3AA regional final (1.00/17)

Weddington continued its domination of Mountain Athletic Conference teams Friday night.
The No. 2 seed Warriors rallied from a 13-7 deficit for a 21-13 win over No. 1 seed Reynolds at Dalton Stadium to advance to the N. C. 3AA Western Regional final. Weddington (11-3) defeated the Rockets in the playoffs for the third straight year. The Warriors also have three playoff wins against Asheville — also of the MAC — since 2013.
Denzel Patton scored a touchdown on an 18-yard run and Matt Peterson added the extra point to give the Warriors a 14-13 lead with 11 minutes, 14 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
Later in the quarter Joey Hobbs intercepted a pass at the Reynolds’ 11 that set up the Warriors’ last touchdown, a 2-yard run by Wil Brunson with 2:59 to play.
Reynolds drove to the Weddington 25 in the final minute, but Hobbs broke up a pass on fourth-and-15 from the 30 to seal the win for the Warriors.
Weddington has won 10 straight games after starting the season 1-3.
Records: Reynolds finished 11-3. Wedington is 11-3.
Worth mentioning: Weddington’s Matt Peterson kicked a 51-yard field goal late in the first half, but it was nullified because of an offside penalty. The Warriors picked up a first down on the next play and moved inside the Rockets’ 15 before penalties moved the ball back. Peterson tried a 46-yard attempt on the last play of the half but was wide left. .... Weddington went three and out on its first two drives. Then the Warriors put together a 64-yard drive that ended with Richie Laughlin scoring on a 10-yard run with 3:50 left in the first half that tied the score. … The game was a defensive battle in the first half, which wasn’t a surprise. Reynolds had allowed just 30 points in its last five games; Weddington came into the game having allowed 73 (8.1). … Sophomore Whitner Litton took over at quarterback for Weddington in the third quarter and guided the Warriors to their game-winning drive. … Reynolds came in averaging 43.2 points during its 11-game winning streak.
What’s next: Weddington will host Hickory Ridge for the 3AA West Regional title Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Weddington 0 7 0 14 – 21
Reynolds 0 7 6 0 – 13
R – Nathan St. Onge 1 run (Ethan Blakey kick)
W – Richie Laughlin 10 run (Matt Peterson kick)
R – R’Mani Lynch 31 pass from St. Onge (kick failed)
W – Denzel Patton 18 run (Peterson kick)
W – Wil Brunson 2 run (Peterson kick)

Hickory Ridge goes 4 overtimes, beats Marvin Ridge


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Women’s Top 25 Basketball Schedule (0.08/17)

No. 6 Mississippi State at Iowa State, 2:30 p.m.
No. 19 Florida vs. Long Beach State at Wells Fargo Arena, Tempe, Ariz., 4:30 p.m.
No. 21 Colorado vs. Idaho State, 8 p.m.
No. 24 Oregon State vs. BYU at the Stan Sheriff Center, Honolulu, 11:30 p.m.
No. 1 Notre Dame vs. Valparaiso, 1 p.m.
No. 2 UConn vs. No. 14 Texas at Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Conn., 4 p.m.
No. 3 South Carolina at Duke, 2 p.m.
No. 4 Baylor at No. 22 Tennessee, 2 p.m.
No. 5 Maryland vs. UMBC, 2 p.m.
No. 7 Louisville vs. No. 17 Kentucky, 2 p.m.
No. 8 Florida State vs. Western Carolina, 2 p.m.
No. 9 Ohio State vs. Cincinnati, 2 p.m.
No. 10 UCLA vs. Hawaii, 5 p.m.
No. 11 Stanford vs. UC Davis, 5 p.m.
No. 12 Oklahoma vs. Oral Roberts, 3 p.m.
No. 13 Washington vs. Fresno State, 5 p.m.
No. 16 West Virginia vs. Mississippi, 4 p.m.
No. 18 Miami vs. Old Dominion, 2 p.m.
No. 19 Florida vs. Boston University or Arizona State at Wells Fargo Arena, Tempe, Ariz., 1:30 or 4 p.m.
No. 20 Syracuse vs. CCSU, 2 p.m.
With the holidays approaching, here's a guide to fun events and happenings this month.

Friday’s Women’s Basketball Scores
Women’s Top 25 Fared


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2 wounded in East Garfield Park shooting (0.07/17)

Two people were wounded — one critically — in a shooting early Saturday in the East Garfield Park neighborhood on the West Side.
A man, 25, and woman, 19, were sitting in a parked vehicle about 1:10 a.m. in the 3200 block of West Warren Boulevard when a silver vehicle pulled up and someone inside shot at them, Chicago Police said.
The man was shot in the head and the woman was struck in the left leg, police said. Both were taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where the man was in critical condition and the woman was in good condition.
Two people were wounded in a shooting early Saturday in the East Garfield Park neighborhood. | NVP News

4 wounded in weekend shootings across Chicago
Man seriously wounded in Lawndale shooting
Man wounded in Austin shooting


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Miami Dolphins vs. Baltimore Ravens: prediction, preview, pick to win (0.04/17)

Miami Dolphins (7-4) at Baltimore Ravens (6-5)
KICKOFF: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, M&T Bank Stadium: TV: CBS, Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon, Chris Fischer.
SERIES HISTORY: 12th regular-season meeting. Miami leads the series, 6-5. Miami won the last meeting, 15-13, last season when DE Derrick Shelby returned an interception 22 yards for a touchdown. This is the fourth consecutive season these teams have met, with all the games being in Miami, and the Ravens lead, 2-1. This is the third consecutive season they have met in December -- they've split the previous two.
KEYS TO THE GAME: Miami must be physical, above all, against Baltimore. The actual formula for winning has varied lately during the Dolphins' six-game winning streak -- sometimes it's been the running game, sometimes special teams, sometimes defense, sometimes the passing game.
But the Ravens are always a physical team with an aggressive pass rush. Baltimore has sacked quarterback Ryan Tannehill 13 times in three games, including six times in 2013 and six times in 2014.
The Dolphins have been physical during their winning streak, led by the running game, so that shouldn't be a problem. After that, the Dolphins must run the ball effectively, stay ahead in the turnover margin, make timely plays in the passing game and stay effective in third-down defense.
The Dolphins have one of the league's top running attacks, but the Ravens provide a huge challenge. Few teams have been able to run against Baltimore and Miami hopes to fare better with a potentially healthier offensive line. Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw for three touchdowns last week against San Francisco, so Baltimore will be prepared for him to take some shots downfield. The Ravens have an advantage with both of their top pass rushers, linebackers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil, back in the lineup.
Baltimore's offense continues to sputter, and the team has mainly relied on kicker Justin Tucker to provide points. The defense has been stellar, so Baltimore might try to play conservatively against Miami to avoid costly mistakes. This means more opportunities for running backs Terrance West and Kenneth Dixon. Quarterback Joe Flacco could primarily use checkdowns to pick up yards, especially against a Miami secondary that has played well. Baltimore has not showed enough explosiveness to put teams away.
--Miami DT Ndamukong Suh vs. Baltimore RG Marshal Yanda. These two All-Pros matched up last year and Suh seemed to get the victory. It'll be an interesting battle once again because Suh is so disruptive. If Yanda can limit Suh's effectiveness, Baltimore could have a great day up front. Miami is heavily reliant on Suh.
--Miami RB Jay Ajayi vs. Baltimore's run defense. If Ajayi (847 yards, 5.3 per carry) gets going, it could be a long day for the Ravens. But Baltimore is No. 1 in the league in run defense at 74.9 yards per game. This will be a huge matchup, although Miami has shown it can win with Ajayi having a small role; he has rushed for 201 yards in the last three games. Still, this is Miami's easiest path to victory; and, if the Ravens can limit the running game while playing a seven-man front, it'll be tougher for Miami to get its passing game going.
--Out: C Mike Pouncey (hip)
--Doubtful: CB Xavien Howard (knee)
--Questionable: T Branden Albert (wrist), LB Kiko Alonso (hamstring), T Jermon Bushrod (calf), RB Kenyan Drake (knee), LB Jelani Jenkins (knee, hand), DT Earl Mitchell (back), WR DeVante Parker (back), T Laremy Tunsil (shoulder)
--Out: TE Crockett Gillmore (thigh), T Alex Lewis (ankle), RB Lorenzo Taliaferro (thigh)
--Doubtful: RB Javorius Allen (non football injury)
--Questionable: WR Kamar Aiken (thigh), CB Jimmy Smith (back)
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Dolphins MLB Kiko Alonso. Alonso has become a top playmaker, perhaps alongside DT Ndamukong Suh and DE Cam Wake. Alonso has been making plays all over the field, with 91 tackles, two interceptions and four fumble recoveries. He was in on the game-saving tackle last week against San Francisco and has been constantly around the ball all season. Alonso hasn't specialized in making tackles behind the line of scrimmage, but he has been arguably their top defensive player.
FAST FACTS: Miami QB Ryan Tannehill has nine passing TDs and just one interception in the past six games. He threw for 285 yards and three TDs last week. ... Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi has 730 rushing yards (121.7 per game) and five TDs in his past six games. He is second among NFL rushers at 5.26 yards per carry. ... Miami DE Cameron Wake has 7.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in the past six games. ... Ravens QB Joe Flacco is 4-0 vs. Miami, with 1,036 passing yards, five TDs and two interceptions. ... Baltimore rookie RB Kenneth Dixon has 200 scrimmage yards in the past three games. ... Ravens LB Terrell Suggs had two sacks and two forced fumbles last week and has three sacks and three forced fumbles in the past three games. In his past six games vs. Miami, he has 8.5 sacks, seven tackles for loss and an interception for a touchdown.
PREDICTION: The Ravens' only loss in November was at Dallas, and they figure to put the clamps on the Dolphins, who have squeaked out six straight wins.
OUR PICK: Ravens, 23-17.
--Chris Cluff

San Francisco 49ers vs. Chicago Bears: prediction, preview, pick to win
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Cincinnati Bengals: prediction, preview, pick to win
Houston Texans vs. Green Bay Packers: prediction, preview, pick to win
Denver Broncos vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: prediction, preview, pick to win


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Donald Trump Unlikely To Push Back Against Pak: US Congressman (0.04/17)

In reference to Donald Trump's conversation with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, an influential US Congressman has said that the President-elect is unlikely to push back against Pakistan after...

Days after 'productive' Nawaz Sharif-Donald Trump conversation, Pakistan to send envoy to meet US president-elect team


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US warns crackdown in Myanmar could radicalize Rohingya (0.03/17)

It's a scene straight out of Myanmar's dark past: a military offensive waged beyond world view that forces ethnic minority villagers from the smoldering ruins of their homes. The U. S. ...

Malaysia says Myanmar violence against Muslim Rohingya 'ethnic cleansing'


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Jay County record (0.02/17)

State vs. Tyler Hough, 28, 900 block of West High Street, Portland, dealing in methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, possession of a narcotic drug.
State vs. Heather R. Richards, 26, 500 block of West Water Street, Portland, dealing in a look-alike substance.
State vs. Bobbi L. Watson, 24, 600 block of East Race Street, Portland, dealing in a narcotic drug.
State vs. Tab E. Bennett, 46, 200 block of Mount Auburn, Portland, driving while intoxicated.
State vs. Ronald L. Brown, 54, 500 block of North 12th Street, New Castle, driving while suspended.
State vs. Crystal D. Elliott, 29, Marion, check deception.
State vs. Donovan J. Hudson, 18, 100 block of South Elm Street, Redkey, possession of marijuana.
State vs. Charles Lee Lisby, 36, 900 block of West High Street, Portland, three counts of check deception.
State vs. Cody Alan Means, 22, Indianapolis, possession of marijuana.
State vs. Eric L. Phillips, 27, 900 block of West High Street, Portland, unlawful possession of a syringe.
State vs. Jonathon Travis Post, 29, Carmel, possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana.
State vs. Thomas J. Vanalst, 58, North Sycamore Street, Redkey, two counts of check deception.
State vs. Carl Brandon Walker, 41, 2200 block of South U. S. 27, Portland, driving while intoxicated.
Embrace Home Loans vs. Wade T. Wallace, 7491 N. County Road 650-W, Bryant, foreclosure.

Blackford County record
Henry County record


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Barcelona vs. Real Madrid Tickets: How Much Does It Cost to Attend El Clásico? (0.02/17)

It’s no surprise that the most popular club fixture on the planet is Barcelona vs. Real Madrid, or El Clásico. Over 400 million people worldwide tuned in when these teams last met in April, with only 1.9 million of those viewers coming from the United States. Inside the stadium, El Clásico shatters attendance records. The crowd at Camp Nou in April totaled 99,264, more than the EURO 2016 Final and Super Bowl 50.
It may have a larger audience than the Super Bowl, but the high capacity stadium means that tickets aren’t as expensive. Still, it’s not cheap if you want to see El Clásico up close. On ticket site viagogo , tickets in the far back corners of Camp Nou were priced at just over $150. For the lower-level areas, tickets started at around $420 with VIP packages priced as high as $1,349.99
On ticketbis , which is owned by Stub Hub, the cheapest seats listed were $246. At the other end of the spectrum, lower-level seats in the midfield area were going for over $5,300.
For comparison, tickets for Barcelona’s next home match against Espanyol is priced at just over $72 .

Barcelona vs. Real Madrid: Time, Channel & Lineup
Barcelona vs. Real Madrid Live Stream: How to Watch Online for Free


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UK's Supreme Court set for highly-charged Brexit case (0.02/17)

Britain's Supreme Court will Monday begin hearing the government's appeal against a ruling it must obtain parliamentary approval before triggering Brexit, in a constitutional showdown that has further inflamed political tensions. ...

What Next After Landmark UK Brexit Court Case?
UK's Supreme Court Set For Highly-Charged Brexit Case


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Australian championship results and standings (0.01/17)

Dec 3 (Gracenote) - Results and standings from the Australian championship matches on Saturday Saturday, December 3 Central Coast Mariners 1 Western Sydney Wanderers FC 4 Friday, December 2 Melbourne Victory 1 Perth Glory 1 Standings P W D L F A Pts 1 Sydney FC 8 6 2 0 18 3 20 2 Melbourne City FC 8 5 1 2 14 9 16 3 Melbourne Victory 8 4 2 17 10 14 4 Brisbane Roar 8 3 4 1 8 9 13 5 Perth Glory 9 3 16 17 12 6 Western Sydney Wanderers FC 9 2 5 2 13 16 11 ------------------------- 7 Central Coast Mariners 9 2 3 4 10 17 9 8 Newcastle Jets 8 1 3 4 9 12 6 9 Wellington Phoenix 7 2 0 5 6 12 6 10 Adelaide United 8 0 3 5 7 13 3 1-6: Championship play-off Next Fixtures (GMT): Saturday, December 3 Melbourne City FC v Brisbane Roar (0850) Sunday, December 4 Newcastle Jets v Sydney FC (0600) Adelaide United v Wellington Phoenix (0800)

European Tour Australian PGA Championship scores


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Cristiano Ronaldo All-Time El Clásico Statistics (0.01/17)

On Saturday the latest installment of El Clásico will be played at the Camp Nou, as Barcelona hosts Real Madrid with the home team sitting atop the La Liga table. Real Madrid, which currently has a streak of 31 consecutive matches without a defeat, is six points clear of Barcelona and a win for Los Blancos would tighten their grip on the top spot. Leading the way for Real Madrid is Cristiano Ronaldo , who along with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi rates as the best player in the world.
Here’s what you need to know about Ronaldo’s production in El Clásico.
Only Messi (21 goals) and the late Alfredo Di Stefano (18) have scored more goals El Clásico matches than Ronaldo, who has a total of 16 in all competitions. Just eight of those goals have been scored in La Liga matches, with the most recent coming in Real Madrid’s 2-1 win at Barcelona during Week 31 of the 2015-16 season. All three goals in that match were scored after halftime, with Ronaldo’s goal in the 85th minute being the match-winner.
Ronaldo’s goal came by way of a cross from Gareth Bale, with the three-time FIFA Ballon D’Or winner controlling the ball with his chest then firing a right-footed shot past keeper Claudio Bravo.
After failing to score in either El Clásico match during the 2009-10 season, his first at Real Madrid, Ronaldo opened his account in the rivalry on April 16, 2011 in a 1-1 draw at the Bernabéu. Ronaldo’s goal was a penalty scored in the 82nd minute, thus salvaging a draw for the home team. His first goal in El Clásico that would directly determine which club would win a trophy came just four days later, as his goal in extra time gave Real Madrid the Copa del Rey title. Ronaldo’s goal came in the 103rd minute, as he headed an Angel Di Maria cross into the net.
The two clubs would meet four times within a time span of less than three weeks as the 2010-11 season wound down, with Barcelona eliminating Real Madrid in the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League. Ronaldo did not score in either Champions League match between the two clubs.
While Messi holds the record for the most goals scored in El Clásico history, it’s Ronaldo who sits atop the chart for the longest scoring streak. Beginning with his match-winning goal in the 2011 Copa del Rey final, Ronaldo scored at least one goal in six consecutive El Clásico matches in Spanish competition (La Liga or Copa del Rey). During that run Ronaldo scored seven goals, which included two in the first meeting between the teams during the 2012-13 La Liga season (Messi also scored twice in the match).
The streak would come to an end in the next meeting between the two sides, which was the first leg of the 2013 Copa del Rey semifinals. Ronaldo would score two in the second leg to help advance Real Madrid to the final.
Of Cristiano’s 16 El Clásico goals, five have been scored in Spain’s Copa del Rey competition. After scoring the match-winning goal in the 2011 Copa del Rey final Ronaldo scored in both legs of the 2012 Copa del Rey quarterfinal tie, with Barcelona advancing by an aggregate score of 4-3. Barcelona, which won the first leg at the Bernabéu by the score of 2-1, managed to hang on after goals from Ronaldo and Karim Benzema erased a 2-0 lead in the second leg.
Ronaldo would score two more goals in the second leg of the 2013 Copa del Rey semifinals, leading Real Madrid to a 3-1 victory at the Camp Nou. Madrid advanced to the Copa del Rey final as a result of winning the two-legged tie 4-2 on aggregate. Los Blancos would drop the final to Atletico Madrid, 2-1 after extra time , with Ronaldo scoring their lone goal.
The visiting side won both meetings in La Liga play last season, with Barcelona winning the first 4-0 and Real Madrid gaining a measure of revenge with a 2-1 win at the Camp Nou. Ronaldo was one of the goal scorers for Real Madrid, which bounced back to take all three points after a Gerard Pique header in the 57th minute gave Barcelona a 1-0 lead. Real Madrid would pull level on a spectacular Karim Benzema goal five minutes later, and it would be Ronaldo who determined the outcome with his goal in the 85th minute as mentioned above. While Messi is the most prolific goal scorer in the history of El Clásico, Cristiano Ronaldo has been the more productive goal scorer in recent matches.
Messi will look to add to his record goal total Saturday in a match Barcelona needs to close the gap on Real Madrid.
Find out who's favored in Saturday's edition of El Clasico.

Leo Messi All-Time El Clásico Statistics


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Taliban hang student suspected over assassination: official (0.01/17)

KABUL (Reuters) - Taliban militants hanged a university student in public in a village west of Kabul after accusing him of involvement in the death of a senior Taliban official, a local government spokesman said on Saturday.

Taliban hang student suspected over assassination-official


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Merkel to chart 2017 election battle at party congress (0.01/17)

After Donald Trump's shock victory, Francois Hollande's decision not to seek re-election and populism on the rise, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is next up on the campaign podium to set out her strategy for winning in 2017 polls. ...

Angela Merkel To Chart 2017 Election Battle At Party Congress


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Tanderys propels Livonia Stevenson girls past Harrison (0.01/17)

A link has been posted to your Facebook feed.
Then senior captain and point guard Sarah Tanderys got hot.
Tanderys drilled back-to-back 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, propelling Stevenson to a 51-32 victory over Harrison (0-2).
“I can feel it. I know when I’m going on a good run. I like shooting,” Tanderys said.
Tanderys was laboring with asthma for much of the game, but it didn’t affect her rhythm. She put up an impressive 19 points, including a career-high five threes.
“We talked about how basketball is a game of peaks and valleys,” Stevenson coach Karen Anger said. “We had a valley there where they went on their little run, and then Sarah went on a little run of her own.”
After several years of coaching junior varsity, Anger is in her first year as Stevenson’s varsity coach, and on Friday night she notched her first win.
“I definitely had butterflies before the game, but my team actually had my back. They said, ‘We got it, Coach. Sit down. Take a breather. We’ll play hard for you.’ And that they did.”
Anger said that intensity is what separates coaching junior varsity from varsity. She stressed that the win and loss columns really mean something now.
Senior forward Kelly Newman had a standout game for Stevenson, finding the soft spot in Harrison’s zone defense to net 11 points.
Even more impressive? She did it all with three torn ligaments in her pinkie finger.
“Her pinkie was like a ‘Z’ in practice a couple weeks ago,” Anger said. “They did an MRI and found out she has three torn ligaments, but she taped it up, and she was huge for us tonight.”
Coach Shavon Caldwell highlighted turnovers as a particular problem for her young squad, which graduated its two best players after last season.
“We weren’t taking care of the ball. Even when we got through the press on our side of the floor, we forced things instead of running our regular offense,” Caldwell said. “We’re expecting a turnaround very soon.”
Harrison’s best player Friday was senior guard Teddi Pickens, who scored 12 points.
“She’s used to playing a fast-paced game. The majority of our team doesn’t have a lot of varsity experience, so they can’t always play at her speed,” Caldwell said.
Stevenson also beat Harrison on the boards, racking up 38 total rebounds.
Grace Lamerson had eight points, four rebounds, four assists and five steals for Stevenson. Casey Baldwin scored four points and had seven rebounds and three steals. Elisa Lebron and Jackie Green chipped in with two points and five rebounds each.
Stevenson plays Howell on the road on Tuesday.
Harrison’s next game is on Thursday at North Farmington.

Girls basketball: Livonia Stevenson 52, Farmington Hills Harrison 31


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How Hong Kong football is helping academics tackle questions of race and identity (0.01/17)

U nless you have been living on Mars, you are no doubt aware we now live in a “post-truth” world in which people can happily assert that which is untrue to advance an agenda simply by appealing to human emotion.
If that doesn’t trouble you, perhaps the fact that shape-shifting US president-elect Donald J. Trump is an arch-exponent of the art will.
But is this anything new? The facts certainly suggest not. A case in point is the relationship between organised sport and politics.
For as long as the two have existed, we have been told they should not mix. However, a quick glance at history swiftly debunks this notion. And far from being separate and distinct forms of human endeavour, they are inextricably linked and one could probably not exist without the other.
The connection between politics – in its broadest sense – and sport is at the heart of new academic research in Hong Kong that seeks to understand the identity crisis of a city through the prism of its professional football league.
A pilot study by assistant professor Lawrence Ho Ka-ki of the Department of Social Sciences at the Hong Kong Institute of Education and guest lecturer, Andy Chiu, is tackling the thorny issues of race, identity and ethnicity in the highly-politicised melting pot that is modern-day Hong Kong.
The opening phase of their work, entitled: Indigenous versus All-Stars: The Politics of Hong Kong Representation in International Soccer Tournaments, maps the attitudes of hundreds of Hong Kong football fans towards local, “naturalised” mainland Chinese and foreign-born players who are able to play for the city’s “national” team provided they give up their nationalities for Hong Kong citizenship.
In fact, it was a curious controversy over a poster published by the Chinese Football Association ahead of a FIFA World Cup qualifying match between Hong Kong and China in 2015 that spawned the research, Chiu said.
The Chinese FA warned fans not to underestimate Hong Kong because the city’s team had “black skin, yellow skin and white skin people”, and that “playing a team with such diverse backgrounds, you’d better be prepared”.
The Hong Kong Football Association responded in kind with their own poster, which read: “Don’t let other people look down on you. Our soccer team has black skin, yellow skin, and white skin. The goal is the same to fight for Hong Kong. You are Hongkongers so you must support us!”
“Hong Kong is a place where even before things became as heavily politicised as they are today, the notion of identity was extremely complex,” Chiu said. “Often sport allows us a window into what people really think about the ideas of race, identity and ethnicity – that’s why we chose Hong Kong’s ‘national’ football team.”
Hong Kong’s ‘national’ football team currently includes 11 non-locally-born players from Europe, Africa and South America. As part of their study, Ho and Chiu interviewed two black African players from the squad, who became naturalised Hong Kong citizens.
“It was interesting. When they were on the pitch, the fans embraced them fully. But off the pitch a much different and mutli-layered picture emerged,” Chiu said.
In the later stages of the study, the pair hope to explore how mainland Chinese players on the Hong Kong national team fit into the highly complex picture.
In 1997, the year China regained sovereignty over Hong Kong, Juan Antonio Samaranch, a late former president of the International Olympic Committee – an organisation with big politics at its core – said: “There can be no doubt that sporting contests, and the Olympic Games in particular, are a reflection of the real world, a microcosm of international relations.
“In the 1970s the ‘ping-pong diplomacy’ that followed the encounters arranged between American and Chinese players enabled the situation to be unfrozen, and paved the way to a dialogue between two countries that did not maintain diplomatic relations.”
Like FIFA, the IOC recognises Hong Kong and Macau – both Special Administrative Regions of China – as constituent, separate members that can compete as such in international tournaments.
“When the Crown Colony of Hong Kong was handed back to Chinese sovereignty, the IOC was able to negotiate an agreement whereby Hong Kong’s National Olympic Committee was able to preserve its independence and its status within the Olympic movement,” Samaranch said in 1997.
A full account of the pilot study will be published in the International Journal of the History of Sport in 2017

John Tsang will ‘fully consider’ joining race for Hong Kong’s chief executive job


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Mercedes begin search for Nico Rosberg's successor after Formula One world champion makes sensational decision to retire (0.01/17)

Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes team will begin their search for his new team-mate on Monday after Nico Rosberg sensationally announced he is quitting Formula One. Rosberg, who was crowned the sport's new champion only six days ago in Abu Dhabi, stunned the sporting world on Friday after revealing he is to retire with immediate effect. The 31-year-old German initially informed only a handful of people - including his great rival Hamilton - before telling the world of his stunning decision ahead of the FIA's annual prize-giving ceremony in Vienna. Rosberg's jaw-dropping move leaves Mercedes, the sport's all-conquering team who have won 51 of the last 59 races, with a vacancy for 2017. At this stage, it is unclear who Mercedes will choose to partner Hamilton, although they insist they are in no rush to reach a decision. Sebastian Vettel, the four-time champion of Ferrari and McLaren's double world champion Fernando Alonso have been mooted as mouth-watering candidates, but both drivers are under contract with their respective teams next season. Pascal Wehrlein, a protege of the Mercedes junior driver programme, and Valtteri Bottas of Williams are also in the frame. 'Now we have to consider all options, but it will be very hard to replace him,' Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said. 'We will start to look at this on Monday. 'For the team, this is an unexpected situation but also an exciting one. We are going into a new era of technical regulations and there is a free Mercedes cockpit for the seasons ahead. We will take the necessary time to evaluate our options and then find the right path for our future. 'This is a brave decision by Nico and testament to the strength of his character. He has chosen to leave at the pinnacle of his career, as world champion, having achieved his childhood dream. The clarity of his judgement meant I accepted his decision straight away when he told me.' Rosberg, who becomes the first reigning Formula One champion to retire from the sport since Alain Prost in 1993, has revealed he is now looking forward to the next chapter of his life with wife Vivian, and their one-year-old daughter Alaia. Rosberg emulated his father Keke, the 1982 world champion, after he crossed the line in second place following a tense season finale last Sunday. 'Since 25 years in racing, it has been my dream, my 'one thing' to become Formula One World Champion,' Rosberg, who started his career with Williams in 2006, said in a statement on Facebook. 'Through the hard work, the pain, the sacrifices, this has been my target. And now I've made it. I have climbed my mountain, I am on the peak, so this feels right. My strongest emotion right now is deep gratitude to everybody who supported me to make that dream happen.'

Mercedes to begin search for new driver after Nico Rosberg ends career


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Savour Sri Lanka: sights, sunshine and beaches – away from the crowds (0.01/17)

Sri Lanka is on the brink of a tourism boom with hotel chains rushing to open luxury resorts. But venture off the beaten track a little and you will find deserted shores, natural beauty and little-visited temples

8 Honeymoon Places In Sri Lanka That Will Make Tour Memorable


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Alan Shearer: Abused players must speak up (0.01/17)

Former England captain Alan Shearer has urged footballers to come forward with allegations of sexual abuse. Shearer, 46, said he was "shocked and deeply saddened" by recent revelations and appealed for victims to contact the NSPCC's football helpline, which has received 860 calls in a week. The former Newcastle United striker said anyone who has suffered abuse in the sport, or is still suffering, should come forward. He said: "I've been shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the abuse that colleagues, and in some cases former team mates, suffered. "All clubs now have dedicated people tasked with keeping kids safe but there's always more to be done. "Every club - from the grassroots up - must continue to look at what they're doing to prevent abuse happening to any kids today and in the future. " Current captain Wayne Rooney, 31, previously said no one should "suffer in silence" and praised Andy Woodward, 43, who first came forward to say he was abused as a young player. Meanwhile, Southampton Football Club became the latest team to receive information in relation to historical child abuse. The club said it would work with Hampshire Police as a major probe into historical child sex abuse in youth football continues up and down the country. West Midlands Police also said it was "investigating four historical allegations of child sexual abuse in football" and Kent Police said it had received reports of abuse within the county's football community. Former Chelsea star Alan Hudson, 65, said it was "common knowledge" that ex-coach Eddie Heath "was a danger to us youngsters". Hudson, a midfielder for the club between 1968 and 1974, spoke out on Facebook after it was claimed Chelsea paid off former striker Gary Johnson who alleged he was abused by Heath. Johnson, 57, said he was paid £50,000 not to go public with allegations that he was sexually abused by its former chief scout. Chelsea said on Tuesday that it had appointed an external law firm to carry out a formal investigation into a former employee, with the club refusing to comment on any of the details. Mr Heath, who was the club's chief scout from 1968 to 1979, died before the allegations were made. So far 10 suspects have been identified as the scandal continues to grow, and Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said it was investigating reports from 35 people, with its inquiry growing on a "daily basis". The National Association for People Abused in Childhood (Napac) said it had seen a ten-fold increase in the number of adult survivors of child abuse registering for their support groups - from 10 registrations a week to 100 in the past three weeks. The National Police Chiefs' Council said around 350 people across the country had reported abuse allegations. ::The NSPCC hotline is available 24 hours a day on 0800 023 2642.

Alan Shearer: "You don't need to suffer in silence anymore."


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MAP: Chicago weekend shootings tracker for Dec. 2 - 5 (0.01/17)

This map will update throughout the weekend as shootings in Chicago are confirmed. Click on a location for the time, address and other details about each attack.
6:15 p.m. Friday — 16-year-old boy shot in North Lawndale
8:30 p.m. Friday — Man shot in Gresham
8:30 p.m. Friday — Man wounded in Austin shooting
8:32 p.m. Friday — Man seriously wounded in Lawndale shooting

4 wounded in weekend shootings across Chicago


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Review: R. Kelly gets freaky for Christmas at the Fox (0.01/17)

Everything was ready for a visit from Santa Claus – or Santa Kells, as the evening’s merch branded the Chicago singer – with a Christmas tree and a fireplace with stockings as the show’s festive set. But this was a Kells Christmas, so of course there was also a functioning bar on stage, with several female patrons on stools to help set the mood.
They weren’t the only ones imbibing during the 90-minute show. “I’m drunk, so I’m gonna keep it real,” Kelly announced about a third of the way into his performance. “If you expected to just hear some Christmas songs tonight, you might as well leave right now.”
He had already made it clear the show would be a light on Christmas and heavy on Kells, running through renditions of sex jams “The Zoo” and “Strip for You,” and he was in the process of freestyling a song about how hot it was on stage in his blue fur coat. “I got this big ass fur on,” he sang, making up the words as he went along. “You know I’ll make a song about anything. Can I get a towel to wipe my face?”
We were far away from “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
It was unclear how much Christmas was originally intended to be in Kelly’s Christmas show, which followed the October release of Kelly’s “12 Nights of Christmas” album. The night followed a rather loose script and some songs seemed to be improvised on the fly, with other interludes and skits feeling incongruous to the flow of the show.
The night opened with two actors on stage following along the text to a giant holiday book set to a recording of Kelly’s “Once Upon a Time.” They seemed to be setting up a narrative for the evening but afterward they were never seen again. An R. Kelly mascot in a plush head then introduced Kells, who took the stage to “Step in the Name of Love” while smoking a cigar. “Snowman” came several songs in, but most of the 30-odd songs in the set were hits from Kells’ golden era, with occasional lip-service paid to the holidays.
It never got as randy as it did with the towel-wiping incident again, but Kells announced his inebriation several more times, and he both spent time at the on-stage bar and had its keepers bring him drinks while he performed.
It was sloppy and disorganized but fans didn’t seem to care all that much; for them, Kells himself was enough of a holiday treat. The singer, one month shy of his 50th birthday, played up all sides of his persona, mixing libidinous slow songs with party anthems, hip-hop joints and old school soul, switching styles and genres enough to induce whiplash.
His level of engagement wavered, but he showed how easily he could turn it on when he wanted. “When a Woman Loves,” with its classic, throwback R&B style, was an out-and-out stunner, with Kelly effortlessly running vocal scales like he was warming up his voice. And late in the show, Kelly sat down at a red velvet-trimmed piano and offered up a warm, faithful rendition of “The Christmas Song” as faux-snow rained down from above. It was a moment of simplicity and beauty, and it truly lived up to the evening’s billing.
How that Kelly is the same artist as the one who just minutes before had been repeating the cringe-inducing “toss your salad” line from “In the Kitchen” multiple times is anyone’s guess. But it goes to show Kelly remains a study in dichotomies, not only in his career, but even during the course of a single concert.
(313) 222-2284

R. Kelly performs his "The 12 Nights of Christmas" at the Fox


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Westminster basketball: Goodman leads Griffins past Mountaineers, 82-61 (0.01/17)

The Westminster men’s basketball team got 23 points and 11 rebounds from Dayon Goodman as it defeated Western State Colorado, 82-61, in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference opener on Friday night in the Behnken Field House.
Westminster (1-2, 1-0 RMAC) shot a season-high 50.9 percent from the floor and scored 30 points in the paint in the win. The Griffins hit a blistering 60.7 percent in the first half to lead them to a 43-30 lead at intermission.
“Our guys did a really good job tonight not letting their guard down with that big lead,” Westminster head coach Norm Parrish said. “We were able to take advantage of our size advantage tonight and maintain that lead in the second half.”
Goodman scored 12 of his 23 points in the opening 12 minutes of the game. He made 9-of-11 shots on the night and added three assists and one blocked shot.
With the game tied at 14-14 at the 11:06 mark of the first half, Westminster went on a 10-0 run to take a lead it never gave back. Jarred Laws hit a three with 5:39 left in the half that capped a 21-6 spurt and had the Griffins leading 32-18.
Western State (2-4, 1-1) got within nine early in the first half, but the Griffins put the game out of reach with a 20-6 run where they made 8-of-11 shots and held the Mountaineers to only one basket on nine shots.
The Griffins distributed 19 assists on 29 made baskets and committed just 11 turnovers. They had a 38-34 edge on the boards. Western State shot just 28.6 percent from the floor, the lowest percentage by a Griffin opponent since November of last season. The Mountaineers made just 5-of-19 from beyond the arc and had 13 turnovers.
“I thought we played really hard at the defensive end,” Parrish said. “That allowed us to make for any mistakes we were making.”
Sam Orchard added 12 points off the bench for the Griffins. He also handed out four assists and had two rebounds. Laws finished with 11 points and was 3-of-5 from deep. Zerrion Payton led the team with five assists and two steals. Marcus Bryce recorded three blocked shots.
Western State had seven players score at least six points, with Collin Smith leading the team with nine points off the bench.
Westminster is back in the Behnken Field House on Saturday when it hosts Colorado Mesa at 7:30 p.m. MST, in the final home game of the 2016 calendar year.

Westminster basketball: Griffins open RMAC play with 55-45 win


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Jacksonville Jaguars rule out Chris Ivory, Allen Hurns, others vs. Denver Broncos (0.01/17)

The Jacksonville Jaguars ruled out running back Chris Ivory and wide receiver Allen Hurns for Sunday's home game against the Denver Broncos.
Both Ivory and Hurns have been dealing with hamstring injuries and missed practice all week.
Ivory was injured during the Jaguars' 28-21 loss to the Buffalo Bills last Sunday. He is the Jaguars' leading rusher with 350 yards on 93 carries and has two touchdowns in nine games.
Running back T. J. Yeldon, who is dealing with an ankle injury and missed Wednesday's practice, is expected to start for the Jaguars (2-9) against the Broncos (7-4).
Hurns suffered a hamstring injury on his fourth-quarter touchdown catch against the Bills. He is the team's third-leading receiver with 35 catches for 477 yards and three touchdowns.
The Jaguars also ruled out wide receiver/punt returner Rashad Greene (Achilles) and defensive end Jared Odrick (shoulder).
Tight end Julius Thomas was listed as doubtful with a back injury and likely will miss his second straight game.

Denver Broncos vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: prediction, preview, pick to win


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Ndamukong Suh showing versatility, dominance once seen in Detroit (0.01/17)

DAVIE, Fla. – With the Miami Dolphins desperate to make a game-clinching stop in the closing minutes, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh moved around from snap to snap, even sliding his 305-pound frame to end for one play.
“The final series, I was all over the field,” Suh said.
That he was, flushing quarterback Colin Kaepernick out of the pocket on the last play Sunday and then running him down from behind 2 yards short of the goal line as time expired to give Miami a 31-24 victory.
Suh’s a four-time Pro Bowl tackle and former Lion who almost always gets double-teamed, so the Dolphins are doing what they can to free him up. And he’s doing what he can to make the strategy work.
► Related : Lions vs. Saints scouting report, prediction
Along with his normal left tackle position, he lined up at right end and even middle linebacker against the 49ers. Typically impassive, Suh grins when talking about how the Dolphins are making the most of his talents.
“Within the scheme, within the situation, we find the right time to switch,” Suh said. “I don’t really want to give you the ins and outs of why I do it. But yes, I have opportunities where I can put myself in a particular place.
“It comes from the trust and confidence your coaches have with you, and them agreeing and seeing the things that you can do.”
Left unsaid is that it wasn’t that way last year, Suh’s first with Miami, when the team went 6-10 and his impact went largely unnoticed. Suh clearly relishes his revised role under first-year head coach Adam Gase and new defensive coordinator Vance Joseph.
“Vance is one of those great coaches that allows his players to find ways to be successful,” Suh said. “He gives us freedom within the scheme.”
On the final series last week, for example, Suh said he came up with the idea of lining opposite left tackle Joe Staley on one play.
“There was a conversation on the sideline, and I was allowed to go and do that,” he said.
Joseph said he’s receptive to such suggestions because Suh’s a consummate pro who understands the game. The Dolphins’ plan for rushing the passer is based on Suh because he’s always the focus of the opponent’s blocking scheme, Joseph said.
“Every week, we try to do one thing different for him just to get him off the double-teams,” Joseph said. “It’s usually on pass rush downs. He enjoys it, obviously, and it helps us win.”
Suh’s unit hasn’t been dominant, ranking 20th in yards allowed and 30th against the run. The Dolphins gave up a season-high 475 yards against the woeful 49ers.
But the bottom line is that Miami (7-4) has six consecutive victories heading into Sunday’s game at Baltimore.
“Unfortunately this is the NFL, and we’re going to have bad times,” Suh said. “We’re going to give up plays. We want to be able to squash it and get an answer to the problem very quickly. Communication is key, and obviously it’s up to us as players to go out there and implement.”
Suh made the video highlights with his victory-clinching play last week, but often his contribution is difficult to measure as he draws two and even three blockers. His 51 tackles and five sacks may look like modest totals, but he ranks in the top three in both categories among interior defensive linemen.
Joseph rates Suh’s impact comparable to flashier defenders, such as Denver’s four-time Pro Bowl linebacker Von Miller.
“He has been a dominant force for us inside — run and pass game alike,” Joseph said. “He’s not going to have Von Miller’s numbers, but for us, he’s Von Miller. He’s that important to us.”
The coaching staff also praises Suh’s relentless effort, which was evident on the final play last week.
“When you get double-teamed all game, I’m sure that’s got to be frustrating,” Gase said. “And he never wavers.”
That’s the case wherever Suh lines up.

Holiday tours show off historic Detroit homes


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BYU women's volleyball: Howard leads the way for the Cougars in a straight set win over Princeton (0.01/17)

PROVO — The seniors led the way for the no. 10-ranked BYU women's volleyball team, helping forge a straight set win over visiting Princeton (25-21, 25-15, 25-23) and advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Senior Whitney Howard led the way for the Cougars, earning a team-high five blocks, which paired nicely with her team-high nine kills.
While solid throughout the match, Howard was never better than midway through the second set, when she scored five of the Cougars' six points during a key 6-1 run that put her team up 14-9. Howard's points were highlighted by four blocks, including three straight, which topped off the scoring run.
"She really changed momentum there with a couple of blocks right in a row, some of them solo blocks," said BYU coach Heather Olmstead. "And she really just owned her space well. She got over and into their space, and really intimidated them a little bit. "
As for her emotion's during the stretch, Howard was beaming in postgame, simply stating, "It was so much fun. I love blocking, so it was good. "
Howard's proficiency on Friday went well with fellow senior middle blocker Amy Boswell, who contributed four kills and five blocks, as the Cougars leaned heavily on their senior middles throughout the match.
"Amy took a bunch of a swings as well, and so, if people take something away, we'll score a different way," Olmstead said. "But I thought Princeton's defense caused us some problems, and so we adjusted throughout the match. "
What the Tigers tried to take away was the outside hitting of BYU's leader in kills, freshman McKenna Miller, who didin't record her first point until the second set. Miller did find some stride late in the third and finished with three kills, but was relatively kept in check throughout.
Picking up a lot of the slack for Miller on the outside was sophomore Veronica Jones-Perry, who matched Howard's kill total with nine. Jones-Perry's most notable stretch came at the end of the match, where she logged two straight kills to close things out.
"I felt like it was a complete team effort," Jones-Perry said of her final two points. "I just go out there, take a swing, get blocked and my team is there to cover off the block. So it just felt like we were just together fighting, and that I could count on my teammates it was just so fun. Those last two points of that set were just fun. "
While the Cougars dominated the second set, the first and third sets told a different story, with the Tigers keeping things close until the final moments, when the Cougars proved able to close things strong. The first set saw BYU score a 4-1 run to prevail at 25-21, along with another 4-1 run to close out the third by the score of 25-23.
"The whole match I thought our serving was pretty steady, and so especially at the end of sets — I thought we went back and served our zones and served the serves that we wanted," Olmstead said. "So I think that was key to go back with composure and serve tough in those tight moments. "
While BYU is no stranger to the NCAA tournament, Friday's match marked the first time Princeton has played in the tournament since 2007. Considering the spectacle, matched by BYU's always great environment, the Tigers' came away encouraged, despite the loss.
"Now we have a whole group of players who have been on this stage (who) know we can do well here," said Princeton coach Sabrina King. "So having that knowledge next year is going to be big for us through our regular season play and then hopefully back to the tournament. "
Princeton was led by freshman Maggie O'Connell, who scored a team-high 12 kills and senior Cara Mattaliano, who added 11.
With the win, BYU advances to the second round where it will take on UNLV Saturday at 7 p.m. MST.

UNLV embraces underdog status in upset of Utah in first round of the NCAA volleyball tournament


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WATCH: PlayStation Experience 2016 Keynote Live Stream (0.01/17)

Note: this live stream event will kick off on Saturday, December 3rd at 10am PST/1pm EST.
Sony PlayStation’s fan expo has turned into one of the biggest annual gaming gatherings.
Last year’s presentation brought us new footage of upcoming games, debut trailers for unannounced projects and more breaking news regarding the future of Sony’s console lineup. For 2016, another live stream keynote presentation is set and we’re expecting greatness once again. Big rumors are swirling around what we could possibly see (new Spider-Man footage, more God of War gameplay, another peek into Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding etc.), so we’re ready to be shocked as we watch it unfold. Fingers crossed that we see new Final Fantasy VII Remake and Shenmue III trailers!
So stay here and check out this live stream keynote event straight from the PlayStation Experience 2016.
Play. Station Experie.nce 201.6 Key.note Str.eam
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Barcelona vs. Real Madrid Live Stream: How to Watch Online for Free


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IAAF congress to vote on broad reforms

MONACO (AP) — Athletics officials from around the world are weighing broad reforms in the sport's governance, hoping to turn the corner on corruption and doping scandals that dragged its reputation to the gutter. Saturday's special congress of the IAAF is being asked to approve President Sebastian Coe's "Time for Change" proposals that notably will change the way doping cases are investigated and prosecuted. Ahead of the meeting in Monaco, Coe warned fans could switch to other sports if they believe cheats are winning. He has asked congress delegates to be "bold. " As many as 213 of the IAAF's member federations can vote. Russia is suspended for systematic, deep-rooted doping. Coe's reforms need a two-thirds majority to pass.


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Skye Wheatley sports large nose bandage and strategically covers face with her phone on Instagram... after confirming plans for MORE plastic surgery

She revealed her plans to have a nose job in a candid video blog last month, while also telling fans they 'don't need plastic surgery to feel good about themselves. And following her bold admission, Skye Wheatley has kept the results of her surgery a secret - hiding her nose from full view in a number of recent pictures posted to Instagram. In one snap posted on Thursday, the former Big Brother star was seen wearing a cast over the bridge of her nose and admitted she was in to see a doctor about 'bruising.' She wrote: 'Quick visit to @drzacharia's room for an LED sesh to help with my bruising (sic).' In another post, the peroxide blonde-haired beauty can be seen posing in front of a mirror in a cropped top and shorts - concealing her nose behind her phone. Skye has mentioned Dr Michael Zacharia, a facial plastic surgeon from Sydney, in a video posted to YouTube on Tuesday in which she revealed her nose job plans. The 23-year-old took to her video blog for the first time in three weeks to reveal that on Wednesday, she was going to finally 'crucify' her nostrils. 'Tomorrow, I'm going to Sydney to have my nose done by Dr Zacharia in Double Bay,' she started. Skye went on to explain to fans why she has decided to have a nose job while maintaining that what's inside is what really counts. 'By me getting my nose done doesn't necessarily mean I'm trying to spread the message that you need to have plastic surgery to feel good about yourself,' she said. 'I believe that if you're a good person on the inside and you have a good heart and you mean well and you don't change ... when you do change your physical appearance it's totally ok.' The reality star maintained that people don't need to get plastic surgery to feel happy but that if it does make you feel better about yourself it's fine to do. 'I think if it makes you feel better about yourself, If it's going to make you feel a little happier when you look in the mirror... It's totally ok,' she said. The blonde beauty, who appeared in the video with a raven-coloured wig, went on to tell fans that she hoped to share the whole experience with them. 'I want to be completely honest and up front about what I'm having done. I really want the nose just snatched just a little bit,' she finished. She promoted the honest video blog posting a picture of herself on Instagram with the caption: 'New YouTube video up guys!' 'It's a long one and I'm pretty sure I repeat myself 100 times over and over but moral of the story is you're beautiful no matter what! 'It's more important to have a kind heart then anything (sic) on another note it's time to crucify these nostrils.' Meanwhile, Skye is no stranger to going under the knife after having previously travelled to Bangkok to have her chest enhanced. Unfortunately Skye was left unhappy with the augmentation which was botched leaving her with a 'wonky' and 'uneven' result. Speaking to Daily Mail Australia about the ordeal, Skye warned young girls not to be lured by the promise of cheap plastic surgery and said: 'Don't, it's not worth it.' She added: 'If something goes wrong you have to pay for another flight to more costs to get it fixed. Do your research, I wish I had done mine better.' Skye is also a fan of hair extensions, teeth whiteners, laser hair removal, and collagen lip fillers.


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India, Afghanistan plan air cargo link over Pakistan

By Sanjeev Miglani AMRITSAR, India, Dec 3 (Reuters) - India and Afghanistan are likely to announce an air cargo service on Saturday to help increase trade that both say is stymied because of their tense political relations with Pakistan that lies between them. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi were meeting in the northern Indian city of Amritsar, a short distance from the Pakistan border, for the Heart of Asia conference aimed at stabilising Afghanistan. Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan have gone to war three times and remain bitter foes while ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan have become strained despite their shared religious and cultural identities. Officials say the focus of the air cargo service is to improve landlocked Afghanistan's connectivity to key markets abroad and boost the growth prospects of its fruit and carpet industries while it battles a deadly Taliban insurgency. Afghanistan depends on the Pakistani port of Karachi for its foreign trade. It is allowed to send a limited amount of goods overland through Pakistan into India, but imports from India are not allowed along this route. Afghan director general for macro fiscal policies Khalid Payenda said the potential for trade with India, the largest market in the region, was far greater than allowed by land and so the two countries had decided to use the air route. "That would be air cargo between Afghanistan and India. We have a lot of potential for trade on both sides. On our side, it's mostly fruit and dried fruit and potentially through India to other places for products like carpets and others. " He said that a joint venture involving an Afghan and an Indian cargo firm would be set up and that the two governments were working to set up infrastructure at Kabul and Delhi airports. An Indian government source attending the meeting in Amritsar said air cargo route details were still being worked out and could include Kandahar as a point of origin for shipping fruit directly to India. Indian foreign ministry official Gopal Baglay, who oversees Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran, said several proposals were being discussed to improve Afghanistan's trade and transport links. "There have been very many ideas on how to enhance connectivity, overcome current challenges and also expand the trade basket," he said. Pakistan's top foreign policy adviser, Sartaj Aziz, will be attending the conference on Sunday. Ties with India have deteriorated further in recent months after a series of attacks on Indian military bases in the disputed region of Kashmir, which New Delhi says have either been carried out by militants sneaking in from Pakistan or orchestrated by groups based there. Pakistan denies stoking violence in Kashmir and says India must open talks on the future of the revolt-torn Muslim majority region. Indian officials said no talks with Pakistan were scheduled on the sidelines of the Amritsar conference. Afghanistan's ties with Pakistan have also become strained after a series of violent attacks, several of them in the capital Kabul, that it said showed Pakistan had failed to rein in the militant groups operating from its soil. "Unless we take a collective measure to fight terrorism, to fight the breeding ground for terrorism, the safe sanctuary, we will not be able to bring peace and stability either to Afghanistan or to anywhere else in the region, including India," said Afghan ambassador to India Shaida M. Abdali. Pakistan says it is itself a victim of terrorism and says India is using its close ties with Afghanistan to stir trouble in its restive Baluchistan province. (Additional reporting by James Mackenzie in KABUL; Editing by Nick Macfie)


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Be. Bangles 'swamped with complaints' after Australia Post delivers $6,000 worth of their products BURNT and MOULDY to customers

A small business owner was left swamped with angry complaints after Australia Post delivered the company's packages burnt and mouldy to their customers. Chantelle Baxter, founder of Be. Bangles said it has been 'the most insane week' after a post office box in Preston, Sydney, was set on fire just after she dropped off thousands worth of Christmas orders. Ms Baxter claims a fireman informed her of the burnt packages rather than Australia Post. 'Just wanted to let you know we attended a fire at a Post Box in Preston, and most of the contents were your bangles and packages – just thought you should know,' a message from the fireman said. Ms Baxter said the day before the post office box was set on fire Be. Bangles dropped off packages to 80 customers which included 180 bangle, around $6,200 worth. 'We'd just spent an entire week sending out a tonne of Christmas orders, so we knew this was going to hit us pretty hard,' Ms Baxter said. Unaware of the extent of the damage to the packages her business partner, Lauren Markwell, contacted Australia Post for an explanation. 'On the first call they told us they had no record of a fire, and even if there was a fire all they could do was send us 10 stamps to replace what we'd lost,' Ms Baxter said. 'They wanted to give us $10 worth of stamps to replace $6,200 worth of bangles, plus $180 in postage, plus $40 in envelopes.' But Ms Baxter said compensation for the damaged good was the least of their worries at that stage. 'Given the time of a year we knew there was a good chance they'd be Christmas presents, and no one wants to give a half burned bangle as a gift,' she said. Australia Post informed Ms Markwell there was nothing to worry about as damaged packages are returned to the sender. Despite the reassurance from Australia Post,customers were sent the damaged packages and Be. Bangle was flooded with complaints. 'Uh Hi, this may sound odd, but I've just received my bangles in the mail – and they look like they've been burned?' one customer said. 'In all years I've been receiving mail never has this happened! So upset!' another said. 'It's really strange – everything seems waterlogged and also smells of smoke.' read a third e-mail. An Australia Post spokeswoman apologised for the inconvenience caused and noted steps will be taken to ensure this will not happen again. 'We sincerely apologise to Chantelle and her customers,' she said. 'We are arranging compensation and, as a gesture of goodwill, we will be reaching out to their customers who have been affected with a Load&Go card to enable them to repurchase a new item from Be. Bangle. 'We will also be speaking with our team to make sure this doesn't happen again.'


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Joseline Hernandez Shows Off Baby Bump In Delivery Special, Stevie J Has Something Nice To Say

#vh1 #Deliveryspecial #lahhatl #bonnie #GetMoneyBishhh
A photo posted by Management:JoselineHernandez (@joseline) on Dec 1, 2016 at 4:57pm PST
Considering the size of her baby bump in her Instagram feed, it looks like Joseline is ready to give birth very soon. Despite the birth of her baby girl looming, it is still unclear who the baby’s father is. The most likely candidate is Stevie J; however, he has refused to confirm whether he is the father or not. Joseline has requested a paternity test to prove he is the father and Stevie J made some shocking allegations.
I had so much fun yesterday filming the #Deliveryspecial for my daughter #bonnie omg! Can't wait til y'all see it #vh1 #GetMoneyBishhh #lahhatl #puertoricanprincess
A video posted by Management:JoselineHernandez (@joseline) on Dec 2, 2016 at 6:39am PST
“I’m just hopeful and I support her, as a friend or as the father of the kid, either way I’m going to support her cause there’s always going to be some love there.”
Aawh Stevie admits to missing Joseline! ????❤️ @Joseline #LHHATL #JoselineHernandez #StevieJ @UsWeekly *Everybody tag Joseline so she could see this????
A video posted by Love & Hip Hop Tea™ ️️️ (@vh1lhhtea) on Dec 1, 2016 at 1:19pm PST
“There’s a chance. As long as there’s a breath, there’s a chance. I never say never. You know what I’m saying? I’m not gonna say yes, but I’m not gonna say no but I never say never.”
The Grammy award winning producer and songwriter even confesses to missing Joseline but states that he is getting used to being alone, which I guess put to bed rumors that he is dating Faith Evans… or maybe ‘the good guy’ is saving that for his spin-off show? We must wait to find out.
Thank you @thestylist__ for getting my fave color fur from my favorite store in ATL @exclusivegameatl and shout out to the man @exclusivegame for making the best pieces ever????????????
A photo posted by Management:JoselineHernandez (@joseline) on Dec 2, 2016 at 2:35pm PST
When asked how he will co-parent with Joseline if the child is his own, Stevie responded that a child can change perspective and motherhood may change Joseline as a person. However, despite saying this Stevie J is still coy on whether the child is in fact his own.
Stevie gets asked how him and Joseline will be co-parenting since their not on good terms at the moment???? #StevieJ #JoselineHernandez #LHHATL @UsWeekly
A video posted by Love & Hip Hop Tea™ ️️️ (@vh1lhhtea) on Dec 1, 2016 at 12:53pm PST
#lahhatl #vh1deliveryspecial #Joselinebaby
A photo posted by Management:JoselineHernandez (@joseline) on Nov 29, 2016 at 3:00pm PST
#Tommie takes shots at #JoselineHernandez. Shares what she thinks a classy pregnant woman looks like
A photo posted by Baller Alert (@balleralert) on Dec 1, 2016 at 4:46pm PST
If you recall, Joseline allegedly called the police on Tommie and accused her of having relations with Stevie J. Clearly, they have not resolved their issues and Joseline is yet to respond to the jabs.
Joseline Hernandez confirms that she has started filming her deliver special; however, a trailer has not yet been released. Stevie, on the other hand, is expected to address the paternity issue in his spin-off show.
It looks like Stevie J is at the very least willing to work things out with Joseline.
Do you believe him?
Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
[Featured Image by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]


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Looking like a million dollars, baby! Hilary Swank flaunts her ample cleavage in a plunging purple gown at Munich ball

She was recently spotted cosying up to a mystery man four months after calling off her engagement. And Hilary Swank no doubt turned the heads of many potential suitors at the Mon Cheri Barbara Tag Ball at Postpalast in Munich on Friday. Clad in a plunging purple gown, the 42-year-old actress oozed glamour as she walked the red carpet. Scroll down for video Flaunting her impeccable figure, the plunging neckline showed off her ample bust, whilst the flattering material cinched in at her tiny waist, with lace panels further highlighting her svelte frame. Flaring out to full length, the garment skimmed past her lean legs, whilst intricate embroidery gave the gown some extra glamour. Layering up, the Million Dollar Baby star also donned a long black coat that she slung over her shoulders. Wearing her chestnut coloured locks in loose waves, she swept her glossy tresses over one shoulder, a nod to old Hollywood glamour. Keeping her make-up simple so as not to detract from the glamorous gown, she lined her cheekbones with a sweep of rouge whilst she painted her plump pout a glossy shade of pink. Injecting another burst of colour into her ensemble, she painted her nails a duck egg blue, whilst she opted not to wear any jewellery. Hilary was recently spotted out with a handsome male companion, but has not announced she is dating anyone since splitting from her fiance, Ruben Torres in June. The pair began dating in March 2015 and spent a year together before getting engaged. However, signs that their romance was on the rocks came about in May when she neglected to wear her engagement ring at the 2016 French Open. She also excised her engagement announcements from social media. Hilary has been married once: her ten-year legal union with Chad Lowe, brother of Rob, was officially dissolved in 2007.


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Rhys Chilton pens essay about dating in the age of technology... after helping fans overcome bullies with motivational online guide

He his the Bachelorette contestant-turned-blogger with a knack for dishing out dating advice. And Rhys Chilton, 30, gifted his fans with another essay this week, this time focussing on the negative impact of technology upon dating. The essay, titled 'Sorry, not keen...' focuses upon the instance where a potential suitor fails to respond to one's message as a means of rejection. Encouraging fans to communicate their feelings rather than hide behind their keyboards, Rhys wrote: 'Leading someone on with a glimmer of hope just to delay speaking the hard truth is just selfish.' 'It’s not saving them any heartbreak, its only saving yourself,' he explained. 'So if you’re into someone, show them by being proactive in your communication. However if you just aren’t into them, show some respect, be a decent human and just say so!' he concluded. It comes after Rhys shared a motivational guide titled 'For The Haters ' with his fans to help them overcome bullying. The topic of online abuse isn't new to the reality star, having experienced his fair share of online trolling himself since he appeared on The Bachelorette. 'I know what they’re going through and just how devastating it can be,' he wrote, encouraging younger fans to take note. Rhys explained that bullies are almost always insecure themselves, writing: 'For every unprovoked negative comment left by a stranger, there is a deep rooted insecurity or personal failing behind it.' He later provides tips and tricks for dealing with online abusers, including blocking the person or simply considering why the bully was driven to attack in the first place. Rhys himself has harnessed online vitriol in the past, having recently responded to backlash surrounding online photos of himself posing with photoshopped animals. Rather than slink away, Rhys chose to poke fun at his trolls by creating even more outlandish images featuring photoshopped beasts.


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'We knew he was a pervert': Chelsea legend Alan Hudson says it was 'common knowledge' that young players were abused while ex-chief scout Eddie Heath was at the club

Chelsea legend Alan Hudson said it was 'common knowledge' that players were abused while ex-chief scout Eddie Heath was at the club. Hudson, who played for the Blues in the late 1960s and 70s, called Heath a 'nonce' on social media and described his behaviour as 'despicable'. The 65-year-old wrote on Facebook: 'It was common knowledge that Eddie Heath was a nonce. He was a danger to us youngsters, but luckily for me, he never came near me.' Hudson, who came through the youth system at Chelsea before making a name for himself as an elegant and skillful midfielder, said he felt obliged to tell the truth about Heath for 'the future of our grandchildren.' He added: 'We must protect those children in a day that they are being signed by football clubs at the ridiculous age of 6/7/8-years-of-age. 'These paedophiles are taking coaching badges because it is an open door to those children who know nothing about such things.' Chelsea's role in football's child abuse scandal deepened on Friday as former players claimed boys were abused in showers by Heath on club premises in the 1970s. Derek Richardson, a goalkeeper who played for their youth team before going on to play for Queens Park Rangers and Sheffield United, said Heath preyed on youngsters at the club's old training ground in Mitcham, south London. The 60-year-old spoke out after it emerged that former player Gary Johnson received a secret £50,000 payment from Chelsea last year, believed to have been signed off by company secretary Alan Shaw, to 'keep a lid' on allegations he was sexually abused by Heath, who died in the mid-1980s. Richardson said: 'I got touched a couple of times on the backside when he (Heath) was rubbing me down after a shower at the training ground. He preyed on anyone he thought was vulnerable. 'He would look out for single mothers and offer to pick a boy up and drop him back home. He was very shrewd. 'The guy was always flicking the private parts of the boys when they were in the shower or changing. He would make out like it was a joke. It was sexual harassment. 'There were a load of people who knew what was going on. If anyone had come out and said anything they would have disappeared. You would never see them again at the club. He was responsible for either bringing you in or throwing you out. 'You had to be very careful back then. If you said the wrong thing you would end up not having a career.' Sportsmail has been told that Heath, a powerful, physically imposing man, was known by kids as the 'man in the van' as he used to drive youngsters around so regularly. However, club legend and former Chelsea captain Ray Wilkins said he was shocked by the allegations. Wilkins, who also played for Manchester United and AC Milan, was brought through Chelsea's youth system by the former chief scout. The ex-England international told the Telegraph : 'I knew Eddie very well. It makes no sense whatsoever to me. Eddie was a great guy. 'Eddie Heath was fantastic as far as I am concerned. I have never heard anything like this [about Eddie].' Southampton announced on Friday they are working with Hampshire Police as part of the major investigation into historical child sex abuse in football which continues up and down the country. West Midlands Police said they are investigating four historical allegations of child sexual abuse, and Kent Police said they had received reports of abuse within the county's football community. Current Chelsea boss Antonio Conte said he hopes the child abuse scandal does not ruin the 'fantastic' reputation of English football though he admitted he had never experienced anything to compare with the damaging revelations of recent weeks. Conte said: 'In Italy we are very good at creating scandals. But then I didn't hear about this situation, about historic abuse. 'I hope that in the present and in future, this type of situation can never happen. The players who have spoken showed a lot of bravery and I have a lot of admiration for them. 'English football is fantastic. It's important not to ruin football with this situation.' Chelsea have hired an external law firm to carry out an investigation 'concerning an individual employed by the club in the 1970s, who is now deceased'. They have also promised to provide the FA with information that might assist their inquiries. The FA released a film on Friday in which various England captains Wayne Rooney, Steph Houghton, Nathaniel Chalobah and Jack Rutter explain how parents and children can raise concerns they have about adults working in football. Andy Woodward, whose harrowing account of the abuse he suffered in the 1980s prompted former players to tell their own stories, is setting up an organisation to support other victims of child abuse within football. The Offside Trust will be launched in Manchester on Monday.


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Club Tropicana drinks aren't free! Juice brand becomes the latest to shrink its products as prices stay the same with a litre carton replaced by an 850ml version

A spokesman for the consumer campaign group Which? told the paper: 'Shrinking products can be a sneaky way for manufacturers and supermarkets to increase prices. 'We would like them to be upfront about shrinking products so consumers aren't misled.' premium Tropicana juices are still being sold in the larger, one litre cartons, such as the Pure Premium Orange Juice, Apple Juice and Grape Juice. A Tropicana spokesman told the Sun: 'We strive to provide high quality, competitively priced products. 'We changed the size of some of our Tropicana Creations packs in 2015 and we always ensure that our products are clearly labelled so the customer knows exactly what they are buying. 'We do not set the retail price of our products. Individual retailers determine the price at which they sell our products.' the gaps between Toblerone's iconic triangular peaks as a cost-cutting measure to reduce the weight. US-based Mondelez International, which owns Toblerone and Cadbury, also denied the change was made 'as a direct result of Brexit', but it pointed out the exchange rate was 'not favourable'. The move by the company, formerly known as Kraft, has resulted in the weight of the 400g bars being reduced to 360g and the 170g bars to 150g, while the price remains the same. Earlier this year Marmite producers Unilever caused a huge storm when it claimed Brexit meant it would have to put the prices of several brands up by 10 per cent. It caused Tesco to temporarily stop selling products made by the firm - including Marmite, Flora spread and Surf washing powder - from its website until Unilever withdrew the blanket increase.


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Legislature may curtail municipal retiree health benefits

A push to curtail health care benefits for current and future municipal retirees in Michigan is setting off a fight between Republicans and local governments who say billions in debt can no longer be ignored and Democrats, police and other public workers who contend it would cheat people out of their coverage.
The newly introduced, GOP-sponsored plan — which was the subject of an initial House hearing Thursday and could be enacted yet this year in the "lame-duck" session — has major components aimed at addressing $11 billion in unfunded health care liabilities.
Starting in May, newly hired municipal workers would no longer qualify for health insurance in retirement — which has applied to new teachers for four years. Local governments could instead contribute a maximum 2 percent of their base pay to a tax-deferred account such as a health savings plan.
In counties, cities, townships and villages that are not funding at least 80 percent of their liabilities, retirees would have to pay at least 20 percent of the cost of their benefit unless it is determined to be a "vested" benefit. Many public workers have had to pay 20 percent since 2012.
Retiree health benefits would be a prohibited subject of collective bargaining. Retirees who go work somewhere else could not get municipal health insurance if coverage is available for their new employer. And a law that provides for binding arbitration for police and fire departments in labor disputes would be amended to prohibit orders that include retiree health benefits.
The 13-bill package could result in "significant but indeterminate" savings for municipalities, according to an initial House Fiscal Agency analysis.
A lead sponsor of the plan is outgoing House Speaker Kevin Cotter, which signals it will be a priority in the final two weeks of the two-year term. He pointed to Detroit's bankruptcy, which resulted in retirement benefits being cut, as a reason to act now.
"While it will require some additional employee contribution, this is a step forward toward protecting pension benefits, toward protecting in this case (health) benefits," said Cotter, R-Mount Pleasant. "If we allow it to go unaddressed for a longer period of time, we're going to have that situation again where we have municipalities in bankruptcy. It is seriously that pressing. ... Let's do something proactively now to save the programs. "
But Rep. Jeremy Moss, D-Southfield, called the legislation "incredibly problematic" and said it should be dumped in favor of something else to help communities meet the "pervasive unfunded-liability problem.
"This is a cuts-only approach," he said. "It's very elementary. It's very lazy and it's very concerning to the many people it's going to impact. We have six days left of this legislative session where we're tackling an issue that could take a whole legislative session to get right. To tackle an issue this important under... duress, which impacts the checkbooks of so many retirees in our state, is wrong. "
The debate comes as another major retirement proposal — closing the pension system to newly hired school employees and giving them only a 401(k) instead — is stalled in the GOP-controlled Senate after narrowly clearing a committee on Wednesday. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, who opposes the move and favors a hybrid pension-401(k) system created in 2010, does want to tackle municipal legacy costs, either this month or in the 2017-18 session.
Unlike accrued pension benefits, which are protected by the Michigan Constitution, health coverage for current employees and retirees can be scaled back.
Eric Scorsone, senior deputy state treasurer for finance, said many municipalities have as many retirees as they do workers — making it "very difficult" from a budgetary standpoint. Unlike with pensions, which have been at least partially pre-funded for decades, most local governments did not account for their health liabilities until 2008 under changed accounting standards, he said.
Many spend as much as 20 percent of their revenue on retirees' health care, Scorsone said.
"It is one of the biggest financial risks we see as we're trying to maintain the fiscal health of our communities," he said. "The problem varies a lot. It's not everywhere, it's not every community. But it is quite a few. "
The bills face vigorous opposition from police, firefighters and others, including the Michigan AFL-CIO, a federation representing more than 1 million active and retired members of 59 unions throughout the state.
Rep. John Chirkun, D-Roseville, worked at the Wayne County Sheriff's Office for 29 years and was vice president of the union that represented deputies.
"You're attacking their health care," he told the GOP-led House Local Government Committee. "They spent a whole career serving the public, keeping them safe, trying to lock people up. "
House Bills 6074-86:


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Capping mainland capital outflows won’t strengthen yuan

On my first trip across the border in 1979, China had a dual currency system. There was yuan, which no foreigner could officially buy. There were also foreign exchange certificates (FEC), officially valued at one yuan each. Foreigners could use these at Friendship Stores that scorned yuan. On a whim I offered a street peddler 50 FEC for some trinket she priced at two yuan. Did her eyes light up? Did they just. A nanosecond later I was holding 48 yuan of worn-out greasy grey paper in change and the 50 FEC had vanished to be replaced by a great grin across her face. Winner! Her street stall neighbours, who had seen it all, grimaced in envy. Beijing had not told its own people about FEC, but the whole street in Guangzhou knew and there was instant recognition of my 50 FEC. And there you have the definition of funny money. The more restrictions you impose on your people to stop them from exchanging your country’s currency for another, the funnier your currency becomes and the more that your people want out. Beijing obviously does not like to see the yuan considered funny money and has gone to great lengths to erase this stain, gradually easing restrictions in recent years on cross-border investment flows. The crowning achievement was the recent inclusion of the yuan in the International Monetary Fund’s basket of Special Drawing Rights. And now things are going the other way again. The restrictions are being tightened as more people want out and the yuan’s exchange rate has slid. The spectre of funny money looms once more. But let’s set some things straight. There is actually no outflow of yuan. If anything there is an inflow. Yuan deposits in Hong Kong, for instance, have plummeted by more than 300 billion yuan over the last year, all of it money gone back across the border. Mainland bank demand deposits in yuan are growing at almost 30 per cent year over year. Foreigners also do not want to hold yuan. Why should they? There is nothing they can buy with it in their own countries and the only reason they ever held any is that they were speculating on a strong yuan. Now it’s weak. Even mainland exporters would rather be paid in US dollars just now, not yuan. It’s counter-intuitive, but it’s fact. Ask any economist. In the balance of payments there is actually no such thing as cross-border capital flow. There is only the preference of holding one currency over another and this is what moves the exchange rate. I know it sounds all wrong. But it’s true. When we talk of mainland capital flight, what we actually mean is exporters keeping the foreign currency proceeds of their exports abroad rather than using the money to buy import goods. We also mean the central bank running down its foreign currency reserves in exchange for local currency. Add those two together and you get a balance of payments negative position running at about US$700 billion a year at present, which is an enormous figure. This is what is pushing the yuan down. The simple fact is that, increasingly, more people are worried about the sustainability of the mainland economy’s growth and they want out. The more they are restrained from moving out, the more desperate they become and the funnier the money becomes. There is an easy way to stop it. Let the yuan drop to its natural level. This may be way down, but magic will result. The economy will bounce back. Every test of this remedy says so.


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Patton Oswalt details his struggles as a single father in heart-wrenching essay about the tragic death of his wife

He's known for his outrageous sense of humor. But on Friday actor and comedian Patton Oswalt struck a far more melancholic tone with an essay in GQ detailing his life as a single father to his seven-year-old daughter Alice. The 47-year-old became a widower when his wife Michelle Eileen McNamara died suddenly in her sleep back in April. He was remarkably articulate when it came to expressing how the absence of his wife has affected his life and ability to cope with being a single father. 'It feels like a walk-on character is being asked to carry an epic film after the star has been wiped from the screen. Imagine Frances McDormand dying in the first act of Fargo and her dim-bulb patrol partner—the one who can't recognize dealer plates—has to bring William H. Macy to justice.' The Emmy winner then revealed just how scared and overwhelmed he still is when faced with raising Alice without her mother. 'I can't do it. I can't do it. I can't do it. I want to tune out the world and hide under the covers and never leave my house again and send our daughter, Alice, off to live with her cousins in Chicago, because they won't screw her up the way I know I will. I can't. I can't. I can't.' He then described some of the nitty-gritty failures that have plagued him in day-to day-life, though he did manage to put a slightly positive spin on the observations. 'This is my first time being a single father. I've missed forms for school. I've forgotten to stock the fridge with food she likes. I've run out of socks for her. I've run out of socks for me. It sucked and it was a hassle every time, but the world kept turning.' Towards the end of the missive, he finally injected some of his trademark humor to lighten the mood. 'If I can persuade a comedy club full of indifferent drunks to like me, I can have my daughter ready for soccer on a Saturday morning.' The Ratatouille actor then reaffirmed his commitment to being a successful father to his daughter. 'I'm going to keep going forward, looking stupid and clumsy and inexperienced at first, then eventually getting it, until the next jolt comes, and the next floor drops out from under me, until there are no more floors.' While things have no doubt been a struggle personally, at least his professional life is still right on track. Patton stars in science fiction drama The Circle due out in 2017 and is set to assume a role in science fiction television series Dimension 404, which is still in development.


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Terry Biviano and Anthony Minichiello share heartfelt birthday messages to their three-year-old daughter Azura

The high-powered couple welcomed their first child into the world in 2013. And on Saturday, show designer Terry Biviano and former NRL great Anthony Minichiello shared their love for daughter Azura as she turned three. Terry, 41, took to Instagram to express her love and adoration for her daughter. The raven haired beauty shared a photo of the toddler sitting in her arms as she leaned in to kiss her on the forehead. 'I can't believe its been three years already since I was blessed with you,' she wrote. 'Not only did you change my life forever but you have made me into the person I am today. 'Watching you grow, it amazes me how smart & funny you are. 'You have such a big personality you brighten up my everyday. 'It's truly a privilege to experience life as your mother. I love you more than words could ever express.' Anthony also turned to the photo sharing network to express his love for his daughter. 'Happy birthday our little girl! Words can't describe what you mean to us,' he wrote. 'From the day you entered our world, you changed us forever... You bring us so much joy, love and light.' Terry and Anthony are known for throwing elaborate birthday parties for Azura. Last year, the tot enjoyed a pink flower wall and cut into a tiered cake wearing a designer tutu. A short clip shared by a photographer suggests Saturday's bash is another pink affair, with a Minnie Mouse balloon arch and rows of long tables, decorated in pink and white.


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Can South Africans be friends across ‘racial’ boundaries? Yes and no.

Some will argue that the question of friendship is frivolous. They will say we must be more concerned with matters of politics and economics than of emotion, and that we don’t need to be friends; we simply need not to interfere with one another’s destinies. Others will insist that we must indeed be friends. They will wring their hands and argue that to abandon the idea of friendship is to abandon an important national ideal and perhaps to abandon a peaceful future.
Perhaps counter-intuitively we must hold on to both instincts. On the one hand, our progress in improving the conditions of black people must be central and must be guided not by a desire for blacks and whites to be friends, but by the need for black people to live dignified and equal lives that are commensurate with those of their white compatriots.
In defence of this, we must be prepared to alienate whites (and for that matter blacks) who do not accept this as a fundamental reality. We must accept that they might leave and seek their fortunes elsewhere and this must not concern us.
On the other hand, we must accept that although the notion of interracial friendship has sometimes threatened to overshadow the importance of black dignity, it is crucial that we keep its possibility alive. This, even as we tend to the more urgent matters of preserving and elevating the meaning of black personhood because this is the basis upon which a genuine and robust culture of respect in contemporary South Africa will be built.
To even begin to talk about interracial respect in modern South Africa is difficult because so much unintentional damage was done by our country’s first iteration of reconciliation; what I refer to as Reconciliation 1.0. There were many laws in that first version.
Yet in light of palpable anger and discord on race in recent years, we have a new opportunity to develop a more honest code: call it the open source version. Indeed the seeds of this are evident in the activism that swept our country in 2015. South African students are at the forefront of designing the upgrade, and the next generation will owe them a debt of gratitude.
Ironically, perhaps, in thinking about how we deepen this new code we must stretch our minds back to ancient times, to the Greeks, to Aristotle in particular. For Aristotle, philia was the most perfect form of friendship. The great philosopher suggested that there are three kinds of friendship:
In this view: Between friends there is no need for justice, but people who are just still need the quality of friendship; and indeed friendliness is considered to be justice in the fullest sense.
In other words Aristotle argued that between real friends, there is seldom need for the interventions of outsiders; justice is made possible by the nature and depth of the relationship. In short, where there is trust, there is no need for strongly enforced rules. By extension then, those who consider themselves to be good and moral cannot be truly good or moral if they do not have the “friends” to prove it.
For the white South African, who is surrounded by millions of black potential “friends”, the implied question in Aristotle’s framing of the relationship between friendship and justice is, “Are you just?”
Because of our history, this moral and practical question is especially directed at white people. Friendship should and must be of great ethical and philosophical concern for whites. In general, white people in this country should worry and be pained by this matter in ways that black people need not be, for obvious reasons of demography and history.
If we are to replace the distorted and falsely optimistic vision of the rainbow with a more honest but no less aspirational vision of dignity and respect, whites will need to give up their ideological and practical specialness. They will also have to reject the increasingly irrelevant, weepy, and unhelpful mythology of “Rainbowism”. Those who are truly invested in the future of this country will also have to stop hiding behind their emotions and their tears whenever the subject of race comes up.
One of the tenets of the rainbow era was that those of us who extended our hands across the racial divides were thwarting racism. If the racist hates it when children play together, then surely those of us who encourage our children to interact are not racist?
Unfortunately it is not so simple. Friendships involving people who are more powerful than us have seldom served black people well. The power imbalances are too great, the possibilities for manipulation and domination even by those with good intentions are simply too high to assume that light friendship is the answer.
Friendship is not free of responsibility
Today, a generation into democracy, young black people raised to believe that friendship across the races is an indicator of progress are questioning this. They are asserting that friendship, if you want it, is not free of responsibility. Some of them are going further to say that friendship is simply not on the cards for them.
In a South Africa trying desperately to figure out a way forward these assertions are not easy to speak aloud. Yet they represent a recalibration of our aspirations. Some people are worried by this: They are scared of what they call “separatism”.
I am not, mainly because this sort of robust honesty does not mean that we have abandoned the idea that “race” is an empty construct that should neither bind nor divide anyone. We can both believe in the need for a just world in which race is meaningless, and accept that in this time and place, “race” is a term that is bursting with meaning.
Can we be friends across these “racial” boundaries? Yes, we can. And no, we cannot. It’s that simple and that complex. It is the struggle for understanding the complexity of this paradox that must enthuse and inspire us.
This was originally published as the Ruth First Memorial Lecture in 2015 and is an edited extract from “Ties that Bind: Race and the Politics of Friendship in South Africa” (Wits University Press), edited by Shannon Walsh & Jon Soske
Sisonke Msimang: Ruth First Fellow, Journalism, University of the Witwatersrand
This article was first published in The Conversation


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NRL bad-boy Todd Carney puts on a muscular display as he strips down to his board shorts for a sun-soaked day at the beach

He appeared to be in good spirits relaxed as he strode barefoot across the sand to join his family, who were enjoying a sun-baking session. Todd picked up his yellow-and-black beach towel to dry off after taking a dip, before throwing on a grey singlet and a pair of sunglasses. Earlier, he was seen enjoying a splash in the ocean with his friend's son. The cute boy giggled as he gripped tightly onto Todd's neck, with Todd in turn gripping the boy protectively under the arms. Todd made headlines earlier this year by announcing that he had expanded his expertise into the baking industry in Bali. He revealed that he is creating his own range of 'Carney' pies and 'Toddy's Turbo' sausage rolls in collaboration with a Balinese restaurant. The baked goods have been sold under the catch phase, 'Just like home,' referring to his Australian heritage. The investment into the Balinese market doesn't come as a surprise to fans, as Todd regularly visits the popular holiday destination during his off-season for football. His new business venture comes a year after he sent social media into a frenzy after announcing he had married a Balinese bikini model while holidaying in Bali - before denying it hours later. Todd announced he had tied the knot with the model in October while sharing an image of themselves cuddled up along with the caption 'Hitched in Bali'. But just hours later, the blonde revealed it was all 'a joke' and that she wasn't married to the former NRL bad boy. She and Todd both removed the loved-up snaps, with Lilian replacing it with an image of her and a girlfriend along with the hashtag 'never drinking again'. Todd's Balinese escape came after his 'bubbling' scandal, which showed the sportsman urinating into his own mouth in a lewd photograph taken in a hotel toilet. The 'bubbling' photo was and leaked on social media and led to him being sacked from his team. Despite being dropped by the Cronulla club following the very-public incident, Todd signed a three-year contract with France's Super League club Catalans Dragons.


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Government's ruling on negative gearing slammed by Labor

The federal government's decision not to change negative gearing tax concessions shows they are more concerned about investors than they are about housing affordability, says Labor. Treasurer Scott Morrison met with state and territory counterparts in Canberra on Friday to discuss how to help the 30 per cent of Australians who rent, half of whom are on low incomes. The treasurer adopted the recommendations of a new report into better ways to spend the $11 billion a year spent on public housing. But Mr Morrison has ruled out changes to negative gearing - which is understood to have been raised by state treasurers at the meeting. He says withdrawing negative gearing tax concessions would affect mum-and-dad investors and result in increased rents. Labor spokesman Chris Bowen said the government is ignoring the reality faced by people trying to buy their first home. 'Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison are oblivious of the housing affordability crisis that threatens to see a generation of Australian young people locked out of the housing market,' he said. Mr Bowen says the treasurer is 'more concerned at defending tax concessions for investors... than he is for a renter or young family saving for their first home.' Mr Morrison says negative gearing was good for the rental market. 'The government isn't revisiting its position on negative gearing and the reason we're not is because ... the mum and dad investors who actually provide the capital for the nation's rental housing stock, if we were to withdraw that, then that has the only outcome of increasing rents,' he told reporters in Canberra on Friday.


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Mariah Carey holds hands with new beau Bryan Tanaka as she performs at VH1 Divas Holiday in plunging leotard and fishnet stockings

They confirmed their relationship earlier this week, after weeks of speculation. And Mariah Carey looked on top of the world as she held hands with her new boyfriend, back-up dancer Bryan Tanaka, while hoisted onto the shoulders of her dance team during her performance at VH1 Divas Holiday: Unsilent Night in New York on Friday. Mariah's much younger new beau, 33, couldn't take his eyes off his leading lady, 46 - and for good reason too. The chart-topper wore an extremely eye-catching, sparkling red Nutcracker-inspired leotard complete with gold tassels and a plunging neckline. She was all dressed up in fishnet stockings, black ankle boots, and sensibly styled her hair back into an ultra high ponytail. Her back-up dancers wore similar ensembles, topped off with a white feather gold hat. Ever the crowd pleaser, Mariah had the audience on their feet as she kicked off the holiday season by singing a series of hits. All throughout the routine, Mariah's beau remained not far from her side. It's been a big few weeks for Mariah and Bryan lately. Not long after splitting from fiancé James Packer, Mariah began sparking rumours that she was romantically involved with Bryan. The couple finally confirmed the romance when they were spotted kissing on the beach in Maui, Hawaii earlier this week. But while speaking with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb for Today about her upcoming reality series Mariah's World, the star remained tight-lipped about her new romance. 'I refuse to answer under the grounds that it may incriminate me!' she said when asked about Bryan. The Fantasy singer has been spending plenty of time with Bryan recently and earlier in November they were spotted dining together at Berri's on 3rd Street in Los Angeles. Along with Anthony Burrell, Bryan has been touring with Mariah the longest out of all her dancers. Their bond is said to be one of the reasons for tension in Mariah's relationship with her Aussie ex. Mariah, meanwhile, wasn't the only star to dazzle the crowd that evening. Patti La Belle, Chaka Khan, Teyana Taylor, Vanessa Williams, JoJo, Bebe Rexha, and Serayah were all on hand to usher in the holiday season. VH1 Divas Holiday: Unsilent Night will air on the network December 5.


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Whatever works! Bachelor reject Noni Janur goes TOPLESS while posing with bikini-clad Keira Maguire as they promote fake tan

The wknd is hereeee Tan party with the girls @keiramaguire @glowbybeca coffee scrub time.' In a subsequent photo shared to the Glowbybeca Instagram page, the trio are once again seen posing outside, while still wearing the same barely-there outfits. Earlier this week, Noni celebrated her 26th birthday with yet another racy Instagram snap, this time The Bali-based bikini designer is known for her self-confidence and often flaunts her feminine curves when it comes to spending time on the beach. Noni is now living with fellow Bachelor reject Kiki Morris.


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Crowley Double Murder: Texas Teen Adopted From Russia Accused Of Killing Parents

Police in Crowley, Texas say a teenager adopted from Russia committed double murder after killing his parents prior to engaging in an all-night standoff with law enforcement.
9th grade yearbook photo of Carl Brewer,who was expelled from a Crowley school in 2014, now charged w/parents murder
— Alex Boyér (@AlexBoyerFox4) December 2, 2016
Carl Brewer accused of murdering parents who adopted him from Russia in Texas
— I am Trump (@I_AM_Trump4) December 2, 2016
Crowley Police arrest 17yo Carl Brewer charged w murdering 2 people in his family home. Taken into custody after SWAT standoff @wfaachannel8
— Bradley Blackburn (@BLBlackburn) December 1, 2016
During the news conference Thursday, Crowley Police Lt. Robert Gray said,
“As we finished up clearing that room, we heard what we believed to be footsteps coming from the second floor above us… I made the determination to back everyone out and contact a SWAT team.”
Family dispute led to killing of Troy, Mary Brewer: #CrowleyPD. Son Carl Brewer, 17, accused in the slayings
— domingo ramirez jr. (@mingoramirezjr) December 1, 2016
Crowley Police noted at the news conference that although Brewer is 17, under Texas law he is an adult with regard to criminal purposes.
Crowley PD says suspect Carl Brewer and his older brothers were adopted from Russia by the victims. Online:
— KRLD (@KRLD) December 1, 2016
Glidden added, “They did have outbursts from time to time from what the boys experienced before adoption in Russia… That seemed to really impact the choices they made here. This just wasn’t the right place for them.”
American Airlines, where Troy was employed as a pilot, released a statement saying the organization is “…deeply saddened” by his death and “…are focused on caring for his family and colleagues during this difficult time.”
[Featured Image by Crowley Police Department]


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Bus Carrying High School Cheerleaders in Texas Collides With 18-Wheeler, Some in Critical Condition

A school bus carrying a group of high school cheerleaders from a football game collided with an 18-wheeler in West Texas late Friday night, leaving some passengers in critical condition.
According to KMID, an ABC affiliate in Odessa, Texas, the Texas Department of Public Safety is investigating a collision on Interstate 20 in Howard County involving an Iraan-Sheffield Independent School District bus and an 18-wheeler. The DPS identified the passengers as cheerleaders.
A spokesperson at Scenic Mountain Center in Big Spring, told ABC News early Saturday morning it received 11 passengers, "a couple" of whom are in critical condition. The condition of the others was "undetermined. "
KMID reported that the westbound lanes of Interstate 20 are closed off as troopers investigate.
ABC News' Matthew Fuhrman, Matthew Foster and Brendan Rand contributed to this report.
This story is developing. Please check back for updates.


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Festive allure: Christmas markets attract home buyers - as long as they're not too tacky

How does your neighbourhood scrub up for the festive season? Does it make an effort and put on a good show? Or are you fobbed off with a stunted Christmas tree and a few flickering lights strung along the High Street? People in Cardiff are up in arms because, having been promised a huge 40m-tall Christmas tree from China, they have had to make do with a measly 40ft specimen. Grumbles have also been heard from Cinderford in Gloucestershire, where the verdict of one resident on the town’s 2016 tree is scathing: ‘I know it’s tall, but it hasn’t got a nicely shaped bottom.’ Not for the first time, the season of goodwill is being marred by nitpicking. Every neighbourhood approaches Christmas slightly differently, sometimes with consequences for local house prices. Market towns are well known for commanding a property premium, so it is not fanciful to suggest those that look magnificent at Christmas, and invest in a full-blown festive market, are likely to attract more house-buyers than ones that look tacky or lacklustre. ‘Christmas markets are a sign of a strong community,’ says Rupert Sweeting, head of Knight Frank’s country department. ‘They flourish in areas where people have cash to spend and the property market is also in good shape.’ Knight Frank’s research corroborates that view, with areas known for their Christmas markets — from London’s Southbank to cities such as Brighton — recording above-average price rises over the past five years. An historic city such as Bath will never lack visitors and, in PR terms, its Christmas market is the icing on the cake: a fitting showcase for local produce and crafts. But other areas have reaped a more tangible benefit. Exeter used to be derided as a ‘clone town’, with independent shops and businesses squeezed out of the centre by chain stores. Now, thanks in part to its popular Christmas market, held in the grounds of the cathedral, it has reconnected with its historic roots. House prices in the city have risen by 21 per cent over the past five years. Today, you do not need to travel too far to find a Christmas market of some description. But it is easy to forget that it was only quite recently that festive markets, long a fixture in many European countries, crossed the Channel. Birmingham’s Christmas market, which now attracts more than five million visitors, only dates back to 2001. The original 24 stalls have swollen to nearly 200. It is a similar story in Manchester. A small German-style Christmas market was first held in St Ann’s Square in 1999. Now there are mini-Christmas markets across the city. Arguably the best example of a town getting every last ounce out of Christmas is Rochester in Kent, whose Dickensian Christmas festival has been a fixture since 1988. Where other markets borrow ideas from the Continent, with stalls selling German sausages and gluhwein, Rochester pays homage to the author of A Christmas Carol, who lived nearby and did more than anyone else to shape the modern Christmas. It is all great fun, with actors in Victorian costume, and the magic seems to have rubbed off on the property market. In 2015, house prices in Rochester rose by 15 per cent, one of the biggest increases in the country. If there is a bonus for communities that make an effort at Christmas, there are penalties for ones that make too much effort. A survey in 2006 found that a quarter of house-hunters would be put off buying a property next to one with garish or over-the-top Christmas decorations. Those jolly seasonal displays can be killers. You may find Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer cute. But others could kick him back up the chimney. One man’s ‘Ho ho ho!’ is another man’s ‘I don’t believe it!’ In my neck of the woods, Oxford, Christmas would not be Christmas without the house across the street sporting a life-sized Santa shinning down the side of the house with a sack of presents on his back. I have got used to the Santa over the years. I would probably miss it if it was not there. But would I put my house on the market in late December? No way. I would wait until the neighbourhood looked a bit less like a suburb of New York. But we should not underestimate the power of the Christmas feel-good factor to shift properties. You can be sure that someone, somewhere, is probably already preparing to give their nearest and dearest a £1million studio in Chelsea as a Christmas present.


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BBC to reinvent Saturday night TV by bringing big drama back in place of family-friendly entertainment for the first time in years

Saturday night TV is to change on BBC1 with new high-profile dramas promoted to win ratings. Traditionally weekend drama was shown on Sunday evenings as a gentle wind down for families before the start of the working week. BBC1 Saturday evenings are dominated by favourites like Doctor Who, Casualty and entertainment programmes such as Michael McIntyre's Big Show. But BBC bosses will shake up the schedules from the New Year - beginning with Taboo, a dark new eight-part series starring Tom Hardy shown after the 9pm watershed. BBC director of content Charlotte Moore told The Telegraph at the show's launch: 'Taboo will follow from Tom Hardy, Ridley Scott and Steve Knight – re-inventing BBC drama in a new slot on Saturday nights. 'I have to say it's such a thrill that Hollywood talent like this choose to be on the BBC, we never take it for granted but it's a real honour to work with the best talent in the business.' Tom Hardy, star of The Revenant and Batman: The Dark Knight Rises, plays adventurer, James Delaney in Taboo which has been created with Ridley Scott as executive director. Set in 1814, the show follows Delaney, who returns home to London from Africa to inherit what is left of his father's shipping empire and rebuild a life for himself. But his father's crumbling legacy means there are enemies awaiting his every move. Gary Barlow's new entertainment show Let it Shine will launch on the same evening as Taboo.


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Barbara Palvin flaunts her washboard stomach in a cropped bralet and low-slung ripped jeans as she attends festive radio bash

She was linked to heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio earlier in the year. And Barbara Palvin proved just why she turned his head as she attended KISS FM's iHeartRadio Jingle Ball at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday. The Hungarian model, 22, flaunted her minuscule waist in a cropped top and jeans. Scroll down for video The low-cut bralet showed off her taut stomach to perfection, and she teamed it with a pair of low slung ripped black jeans. Opting for a casual look, she wore trainers and a khaki bomber, nailing relaxed chic. Showcasing her natural beauty she accentuated her bright blue peepers with winged black eyeliner, adding a touch of dark Gothic lipstick. Accessorising with a drop necklace choker and leaving her glossy tresses loose, her look was complete. Later on she changed a cropped woolly jumper emblazoned with an angry face and rainbow striped sleeves. Barbara had reason to smile at the event, after being recently named a brand ambassador for L'Oreal Paris - making her the youngest ever representative of the company. Speaking of her partnership, she said: 'What has happened to me is like a fairy tale. I am so excited to be part of the L'Oréal Paris family next to women as strong and iconic as Julianne Moore and Doutzen Kroes.' Formula 1 ace Lewis was first linked to Barbara in May, following rumours they fell for each other during the Cannes Film Festival. Yet during New York Fashion Week, Lewis was romantically linked to fellow model Winnie Harlow - partying with her until 5am just one day before Barbara was spotted leaving his hotel. However a representative for Lewis has since insisted that the two are just 'good friends'.


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Man, 46, who spent five years living with the mummified corpse of his dead mother is found hanged after his neighbours complained about a water leak

A Ukrainian man who was found hanged in his flat had spent the last five years living alongside the mummified corpse of his dead mother. The 46-year-old, who has not been named, was discovered dead after neighbours complained of a water leak coming from his property. The man, who is reported to have been a loner, had spent years living with his mother's corpse in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev. But earlier this week, several residents living in the same block of flats complained there had been a water leak. They then called the police when they tried to knock at his door and there was no response. When officers arrived they too tried to knock on the door and eventually forced their way into the flat. They then discovered the man's body and established that he had killed himself. But while searching the flat, they also found the body of his dead mother, underneath a blanket on the floor. Given her mummuified remains, officers believe she had died five years ago and been in the flat ever since. After the discoveries, neighbours said the man had always given different explanations to where his mother had gone when they stopped seeing her half a decade ago. He had told some of them had his mother had moved to the countryside. However, he later changed his story saying she had moved abroad to live with relatives.


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Commercial Dungeness crab season opens along coast of Marin, Sonoma counties

The commercial Dungeness crab season opens today between Point Reyes in Marin County and Salt Point in Sonoma County, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced Thursday.
The 50-mile area had been closed because of elevated levels of domoic acid, a naturally occurring toxin, and the fishery north of Salt Point to the Humboldt Bay entrance will remain closed until further testing of acid levels show it is safe.
Low levels of domoic acid can cause nausea, diarrhea and dizziness in humans and at higher levels can cause persistent short-term memory loss, seizures and in some cases can be lethal.
Last fall and winter, domoic acid along the coast from Santa Barbara and the Oregon state line closed the Dungeness and rock crab fisheries.
State and federal law prohibit the commercial distribution of seafood products that contain domoic acid levels above the federal level of 30 parts per million in the viscera, or guts. That caused a delay or closure on Nov. 8 of the Dungeness crab season north of Point Reyes and the rock crab fishery north of Pigeon Point 50 miles south of San Francisco.
The crab fishery between the north jetty of Humboldt Bay and the Oregon state line opened on Thursday, and the recreational Dungeness crab season opened Nov. 5 with a warning to avoid consuming the internal organs of Dungeness crab caught between Salt Point and the north jetty at Humboldt Bay.


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Richmond District looks to engage residents in neighborhood planning

West side neighbors are invited to a community strategy session next week to help develop future planning priorities for the Richmond District.
The community conversation will take place at the Richmond Branch Library from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 10. Residents, business owners and those who work in the neighborhood are encouraged to share their thoughts for strengthening the quality of life in the area.
This meeting will discuss the findings of a community needs assessment survey taken in October 2015. The survey yielded 1,400 responses by January, and those findings are now compiled into the Community Needs Assessment Survey Report.
City officials will share the survey report findings to solicit additional feedback to develop a shared vision that will help set priorities and policies to address neighborhood needs and objectives. The effort is part of a three-part analysis to create a planning guide for the district’s future.
City officials hope to finalize the Richmond District Strategy by early next year. The strategy will guide city officials for a series of solutions, policies and funding priorities to bring the objectives and goals to reality.


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Grandmother asks for holiday gifts for 3 young grandsons

A grandmother in southern Maine wrote to the Portland Press Herald Toy Fund about how she is struggling to raise her three young grandsons.
She cares for the boys on a fixed retirement income, she wrote, and would be lost without organizations that provide basics such as clothes for the fast-growing boys, the oldest of whom is 10. And at Christmas, she wrote, she knows she can rely on the toy fund to make sure the boys don’t go without presents.
“In the past, you have helped us and the boys are always so excited to see their gifts under the tree,” she wrote, asking for help again this year. “We all appreciate all the help and support we have gotten from you! God Bless and Merry Christmas.”
The Portland Press Herald Toy Fund in the Spirit of Bruce Roberts is using donations from readers to provide toys to thousands of Maine children who might otherwise not receive holiday gifts because of hardships faced by their parents.
The fund – now in its 67th year – is accepting applications for toys from needy families in Cumberland, York, Sagadahoc, Lincoln and Knox counties.
Applications can be downloaded at or picked up at the Welcome Center desk on the fifth floor of One City Center in Portland.
Call 791-6672 to have one mailed to you.
Donations to help buy the toys can be made on the website or by writing checks to the Portland Press Herald Toy Fund and mailing them to the fund at P. O. Box 7310, Portland, ME 04112.
For more information and to donate online, go to:
See more stories about the fund at .
Happy Holidays to All! – Jeff, Ellen & Connor Worthing $50
Joseph Kocknavate $3,000
Marge & Ed Hodges $75
In memory of Ann Waterhouse $50
Lucille Hatcher $25
John Lanenbach $100
In honor of our grandchildren, Emmerson and Elijah – John & Joan $50
In memory of Leroy Tucker – Eva Giro & Arnold Howe $100
To honor our grandchildren and great-grandson, Angela, Matthew, Andrea, Joshua, Jeremy, Jameson, Andre $50
The Brooks family $600
Anonymous $20
In loving memory of Susan M. Conroy – Alexandra Conroy Rodrigue $20
In memory of our sweet daughter Ginny, from Mary Murphy $50
Anonymous $40
Ho! Ho! $40
Brenda McIntyre $100
Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form
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Maine Public looks to raise $3 million for more broadcast equipment, programming

Maine Public is starting a $3 million public fundraising campaign to enhance the radio and TV network’s equipment and create more local programming.
The effort is the final phase of a $30 million campaign begun in 2013, when the network began “quietly” soliciting major donors and companies for money to help implement it’s long-term strategic plan, said Chief Executive Mark Vogelzang.
That money has already helped Maine Public launch its new Maine Public Classical radio network , which began in May with three stations and a fourth added a few weeks later.
Some of the money was used to buy transmitters for each of the seven Maine Public Radio stations that carry news and information programming, he said.
Reaching the $30 million goal is important because, if reached, a $1.2 million donation from an anonymous person will kick in. The donor pledged a total of $2.4 million, half right away and half when the $30 million is reached.
The money has already helped hire an education reporter for Maine Public Radio and add five people to help produce and research news programming, including the daily “Maine Calling” radio program.
The network, which includes five TV stations and 11 radio stations as well as a website and digital programming, has a total staff of about 80, Vogelzang said. The network was known as Maine Public Broadcasting Network until September, when it changed its name to reflect that much of its content is online.
Vogelzang said he’s asking the public’s help in raising the last of the $30 million to continue to broaden the network’s impact. He said Maine Public has just bought a fifth station for its classical network, which will be heard at 93.7 FM in the Bar Harbor and Ellsworth areas by mid-December.
The Maine Public Television network is creating a new program for high school students , called “Maine’s High School Quiz Show,” which will air in 2017. Already, about50 high schools have expressed interest, Vogelzang said. He hopes the fundraising will help with more new programming.
The $30 million is on top of the annual operating budget of about $12 million. Of that, more than 73 percent comes from membership and community donations, while the rest comes from the state, federal funding and grants.
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Declining bankruptcy filings in Maine reveal mixed messages

Personal bankruptcy filings in Maine have been declining steadily since 2010, but attorneys and consumer advocates say the drop-off in bankruptcies isn’t necessarily good news.
In fact, it might be an indicator that Mainers’ financial situations have worsened overall, they said, a reflection of increasingly squeezed households that can’t afford to file for bankruptcy, or people who have serious student debt that isn’t resolved through filing.
Maine bankruptcy filings reached their most recent peak of about 4,200 in 2010, according to the U. S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maine. Since then, bankruptcies in the state have declined steadily each year to fewer than 1,900 in 2015. As of Oct. 31, just over 1,300 Maine bankruptcies had been filed in 2016. The pattern mirrors a national trend of declining bankruptcy filings, which have been falling between 10 percent and 13 percent year-over-year since the 2010 peak.
Bankruptcy specialists in Maine agree that there is no simple explanation for the sharp drop-off in filings. Although low unemployment and more people with health insurance are likely factors, the decline in filings is not just a matter of post-recession economic recovery, they said.
“Historically, when the economy is improving, people tend to file for bankruptcy more rapidly,” said Peter Fessenden, the U. S. Bankruptcy Court’s Standing Chapter 13 Trustee in Maine.
A 2006 study by the U. S. Federal Reserve of St. Louis bears this out. It found that bankruptcies can increase during periods of economic growth “as people become more confident in the future and are willing to take on a greater debt burden and finance their increasing obligations based on current income.”
So what’s different about this economic recovery that has caused bankruptcies to decrease so significantly? There are no concrete answers, only theories.
Before attempting to understand the current decline in filings, it’s important to understand why people file for bankruptcy.
In the vast majority of cases, the road to bankruptcy is triggered by an event that dramatically changes the filer’s financial situation for the worse. The Federal Reserve refers to it as an “unexpected insolvency event.” Such events can include divorce, job loss, the death of a spouse, or a major medical expense that is not covered by insurance.
Still, most people don’t just run straight to their nearest bankruptcy court when such an event occurs. Usually, they try to weather the new financial situation for an extended period before ultimately turning to bankruptcy out of frustration, despair or anxiety.
“People file for bankruptcy because they can’t take it anymore,” Fessenden said.
The Federal Reserve found that the typical person who files for bankruptcy is a “blue-collar, high school graduate who heads a lower middle-income class household and who makes heavy use of credit.” In other words, a person who is in a financial position to obtain credit, but not in a financial position to overcome an unexpected insolvency event.
Job loss is of particular concern to Fessenden, an attorney whose job is to assist debtors in Maine and their attorneys with compliance and other issues when they file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves putting the debtor on a three- to five-year plan to reorganize their debt and pay off priority creditors. It differs from a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, in which the debtor liquidates all nonessential assets to pay off priority creditors but does not engage in a reorganization plan.
Fessenden said that in an age when finding a new job often involves relocating, many Mainers can’t afford to sell their homes and move because they are locked into mortgages that exceed the value of their homes. Home prices have been slow to recover from the recession: October’s median home sale price of $192,500 was still below the 2006 median of $192,519. Fessenden refers to such homes as “zombie properties.”
The only option for residents of zombie properties may be to declare bankruptcy if their financial situation becomes too dire, he said.
“There’s going to be this wave of Chapter 7 filings,” Fessenden predicted.
Another factor contributing to low bankruptcy filings is likely the expense. People who are struggling financially simply can’t afford the costs associated with it, said John Rao, an attorney at the National Consumer Law Center in Boston, noting that a lot of people probably should be filing for bankruptcy, but aren’t.
In 2005, Congress passed the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, which is designed to make it more difficult for consumers to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 is by far the most common form of personal bankruptcy in Maine and nationwide.
“As a result of the 2005 amendment, costs increased dramatically,” said Lois R. Lupica, Maine Law Foundation professor of law at the University of Maine School of Law. “There was a whole swath of the population that couldn’t afford to file.”
Fessenden said Maine is one of the most expensive states in which to file for bankruptcy, and the legal costs can climb as high as $8,000 for a typical case.
Bankruptcy attorney James Molleur of Molleur Law Office in Augusta said he doesn’t believe that filing bankruptcy in Maine is particularly more expensive than in other states, but he agreed that many Mainers can’t afford to file since the 2005 law made the legal process far more complex.
“People are so financially strapped that it’s a question of whether they buy groceries, or pay the rent, or file for bankruptcy,” he said.
Molleur acknowledged that bankruptcy carries a social stigma, and that it is important for people to honor their debts whenever possible. Still, he said, bankruptcy is a necessary “release valve” for those with no foreseeable means of repaying what they owe.
Molleur said he is hopeful that with the presidential election of Donald Trump, a businessman who has been involved in several bankruptcies, the stigma will diminish and it will become easier and less expensive to file for bankruptcy.
“I think Trump will be more practical about dealing with debt issues,” he said.
The attorneys said Mainers who are struggling financially because of heavy student loan debt also would be less likely to file, because most student debt cannot be discharged through bankruptcy.
“It’s possible that bankruptcy just doesn’t offer the remedy that people need,” Lupica said.
Alec Leddy, clerk of the U. S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maine, agreed, saying “filings would skyrocket” if the law were changed to allow student debt to be discharged easily through bankruptcy. Mainers who graduate from college have an average debt of nearly $30,000, according to federal data.
“Student debt is way up, but that’s not very helpful, because you can’t get rid of it in bankruptcy,” he said.
A few of the theories to explain the decline in bankruptcies suggest that Mainers’ financial situations have improved in some ways since bankruptcies spiked in 2010.
For one thing, a lot more Mainers have jobs. Leddy noted that the state’s current unemployment rate of 4 percent is about half what it was in 2010, adding that high unemployment correlates directly with increased bankruptcy filings.
“I think the unemployment rate has a lot to do with it,” he said.
Lupica said it’s also possible that fewer Mainers are getting hit with massive hospital bills – a leading reason for bankruptcy filings – because more people have health insurance now under the Affordable Care Act.
Home foreclosures are down considerably from 2010, and lenders are far less inclined to issue personal, mortgage or business loans to those with a relatively high risk of default, the attorneys said.
Fessenden said consumers’ attitudes about borrowing also have changed, to some extent, because of the 2008 financial crisis. “People are comfortable getting into debt, but they’re not comfortable getting into too much debt,” he said. “I think people are still using their credit cards, but I think they are using them less.”
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The future president is blocking people on Twitter like there's no tomorrow

Since winning this year's presidential election the talk of the 2016 Twitter-sphere, Donald Trump , is heavily utilizing the site's block feature.
It appears that the controversial tweeter has decided if he sees anyone badmouthing him or disagreeing with his policies on his favorite social media site, he will simply hit the digital "you're fired" button, dismissing the unwanted followers from his Twitter life.
Sick burn, Donald.
Now, as more and more people share their own personal "I've been blocked by the future President of the United States on Twitter" tales, it seems as though the blocking maneuver — normally reserved for extreme instances — is becoming second nature for The Donald.
A slew of Twitter users, ranging from baffled to amused, are announcing that they have been blocked by Trump's official account and including screenshots of Trump's inaccessible profile as proof. How this plays out once he is in the White House is anyone's guess.
As of Friday afternoon, Trump's Twitter account has 16.5 million follower. But who knows how many he'll have once he's done with his blocking spree.
Ah, politics.
More from Mashable : Activist's Twitter campaign prompts advertisers to flee Breitbart The Anti-Defamation League was surprised to find its ads appearing on Breitbart You're blocked! How to get The Donald to block you on Twitter


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Plant workers still losing jobs tell Trump: Don't forget about us

As Donald Trump held a victory lap touting a decision by Carrier to keep an Indianapolis plant open rather than move the facility to Mexico, workers at another of the company's Indiana plants said they are still losing their jobs.
Around 700 jobs will be lost when United Technologies Electronic Controls moves to Mexico sometime in 2018, workers told NBC News.
CNBC confirmed Thursday that the company still plans to close the Huntington plant and move it to Mexico.
"What about our jobs in Huntington," read a sign carried by Bob Breedlove, 60, who has worked at the facility for 11 years and was told layoffs will begin sometime in 2017.
Related: Trump Kicks Off Victory Lap by Touting Carrier Deal
Breedlove voted for Trump. "I still support him, I'm glad he is able to save some jobs," he said of the Indianapolis deal. "Obviously, I wish he would be able to save ours also. "
The deal to keep the Carrier plant in Indianapolis was visually an early success for Trump, who has made keeping jobs in the United States a central part of his campaign. The decision is expected to keep nearly 1,000 jobs in the U. S.
"Companies are not going to leave the United States anymore without consequences. Not gonna happen," Trump said in Indianapolis Thursday. He pledged to work to lower business taxes as part of a plan to keep businesses in the U. S.
The air-conditioning manufacturer had planned to move production at its Indianapolis plant to Mexico, where operations would be cheaper, taking some 1,400 jobs out of the state. Under the deal worked out by the Trump administration — which Vice President-elect Mike Pence took a leading role in shaping — Carrier will keep about 1,000 of those jobs in the state.
Carrier said the deal to keep its plant in Indianapolis involved Indiana offering the company "a $7 million package over multiple years, contingent upon factors including employment, job retention and capital investment. "
The company said in a statement Wednesday that "the incentives offered by the state were an important consideration. "
Carrier and UTEC are both owned by United Technologies. The union that represents workers at the Huntington plant did not return a request for comment Thursday. Huntington is city of around 37,000 a little more than 100 miles north of Indianapolis.
News of the agreement with Carrier to keep the Indianapolis facility in the U. S. filled workers at the Huntington plant with hope that their jobs might be saved also, said Mike Harmon, a 7-year employee and business manager for the local International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 983.
But calls to union leadership who contacted Carrier human resources returned gloomy news, he said. "Our plant's not going to be saved," Harmon said.
"We want Trump to look at our plant, not to forget about us," said Harmon, who voted for the president-elect.
"We feel like we've been forgotten, from the whole very beginning," Harmon said, adding that while Trump mentioned Carrier's Indianapolis plant on the campaign trail, he never heard Trump mention Huntington.
But Harmon also said he agrees with some of Trump's pledges to work to keep companies in the U. S.
"Trump put out a scare to the Carrier Corp.: If you want to take the jobs overseas we're gonna tariff you coming back — I feel that that's a start," Harmon said.
"To save a thousand jobs, I feel like is a good thing," he said. "Even though our jobs aren't being saved... I'd like to see 1,700 jobs. "
Since 2000 the U. S. has lost around 5 million manufacturing jobs, and Indiana alone has lost about 150,000 factory jobs since 2000 to about 500,000, Reuters reported.
Appearing on "All In With Chris Hayes" on Thursday night , Sen. Bernie Sanders said that what Trump promised on the campaign trail and had delivered were "very, very different. "
He suggested that it was "absurd... that the taxpayers of this country have to subsidize multi-billion dollar corporations who are making huge profits in order to beg them to keep jobs in this country. "
Sanders added: "What he's doing now is saying to these corporations, 'well, it's OK for half of the jobs to go to Mexico where people will be paid three bucks an hour and for the other half, well, we're going to give a very profitable corporation... a $7 million tax break in order to keep these jobs. "
Sanders said that United Technologies made $7 billion in preofits last year and gave its CEO a $172 million golden parachute two years ago.
He added: "United Technologies does not need a tax break. United Technologies today has $6 billion in defense contracts. And what Trump should tell them is, 'you're not getting a tax break, you're going to lose your defense contracts if you don't do the right thing and keep these workers, all of these workers, here in Indiana rather than sending half of those jobs to Mexico'... What we should be saying is, 'We demand of you to be a patriotic corporation. No, you're not going to throw American workers out on the street and move to other countries and then expect your products to simply come back into the United States tariff-free, no. Don't expect that you're going to get huge defense contracts from the taxpayers of this country. We want you to be a good corporate citizen.'"
Near the Indianapolis Carrier facility, workers at a Rexnord plant which is also slated to move to Mexico — taking 300 jobs with it — also wondered if Trump could intervene. "Do for us what you've done for Carrier," John Feltner, one of those to lose his job, said.
"I know they say something about the Trump train — I don't know what kind of train it is, but don't let it stop at Carrier," the father with two children in college said. "Keep on rolling. Get them all back. "
More from NBC News : Trump and Carrier Corp. reach deal to keep jobs in Indiana Trump to kick off victory lap by touting Carrier deal Trump is expected to name Mnuchin and Ross as Treasury, Commerce heads


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People spent $100K to dig a massive hole

As millions of people lined up to shop on Black Friday, others decided to spend their money on digging a giant hole.
Yes — a giant hole.
It was the latest Black Friday stunt from Cards Against Humanity , which is also known as "a party game for horrible people. "
SEE MORE: Turns Out Weed Is In High Demand On Black Friday
People from around the world chipped in money to keep the digging going. And they were generous. They contributed over $100,000, which was enough to make the dig last until Sunday afternoon.
In return, they got a bigger hole. Because as the website dedicated to the hole said, "What else are you going to buy, an iPod? "
So what was the point? The team said there wasn't "a deeper meaning or purpose to the hole. "
But we're not buying that — especially since the team described the donations as "money thrown in hole" and said the hole is located not just in America, but "in our hearts. "
Get it yet? If not, the website says "some time next year you'll chuckle quietly to yourself and remember all this business about the hole. "
Last year, the company called on its customers to pay $5 for absolutely nothing. The company raised over $71,000, which team members spent mostly on themselves, though they did donate some money to charity.
If you're wondering why the company decided to dig a hole this year instead of donating to charity, its answer is this: "Why aren't YOU giving all this money to charity? It's your money. "
More from Newsy : We're Trying To Use Gravitational Waves As Cosmic Tape Measures Tennessee Officials Say Deadly Wildfires 'Likely To Be Human-Caused' Ivanka Trump, Chief Climate Change Advocate?


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Shop this video: Ella Desiree chainlink ring

Chainlink jewelry has been seen on runways season after season because of the classic nature mixed with an edgy vibe. Designer styles go for around $900, so we decided to make ours a real steal. Watch Fashion Stylist Karla Cavalli show you why our exclusive ring will become a classic in your jewelry collection.
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Vladimir Putin wants to restore the Soviet Union, former secretary of defense says

Russian President Vladimir Putin's main interest is restoration of the Soviet Union, former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said Thursday.
"Let's not kid anybody," said Panetta, who also served as CIA director and White House chief of staff. "Putin's main interest is to try to restore the old Soviet Union. I mean that's what drives him. "
Panetta added of the current security environment, "This is a dangerous moment. "
Panetta's comments Thursday, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D. C., are an escalation of what he has said publicly previously, arguing that the Russian president wants restoration of the former Soviet arrangement.
"It's pretty obvious that his intent is to try to spread Russian influence, particularly over the former Soviet Union. He is clearly trying to prevent the countries of the former Soviet Union from joining NATO and working with the European Union," Panetta said in 2015.
Panetta, a Democrat, served as a U. S. Representative from California before serving in both the Clinton and Obama administrations.
He also condemned Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea , during the forum.
"The United States has to make very clear we're not going to stand for that kind of new aggression to invade independent countries. Those are countries are that ought to be able to determine their own future," Panetta said.
According to Russian officials, the vast majority of those living in Crimea backed union with Russia in a referendum vote in 2014. Some have criticized traditional U. S. policy as contradictory with its democratic values, for that reason.
Panetta's comments also come after a long political campaign season, in which President-elect Donald Trump suggested the U. S. accept Russia's annexation of Crimea , and argued the U. S. should work with Russia , if possible.
Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, echoed Panetta's remarks, arguing for an increase in defense spending and noting that there are "some particular areas of weaponry Russia is making investments in" that should be of concern to the United States.
Copyright 2016 U. S. News & World Report
More from US News : How Donald Trump Could Normalize Relations With Russia and Vladimir Putin Why There's a Globalization Backlash Leon Panetta: Not ‘That Worried’ About Donald Trump Tapping Too Many Generals


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Secret tape recordings‚ a racial slur‚ a strained relationship

Senior court reporter Kathryn Kimberley looks back at eight weeks of gruelling testimony.
Setting out his case on the first day‚ prosecutor Marius Stander said alleged trigger man Sizwezakhe Vumazonke was approached to kidnap and kill Jayde after negotiations with a man known only as “Happy Trigger” failed.
Stander also set out to prove that Christopher Panayiotou bought a second SIM card‚ used only to contact his mistress‚ Chanelle Coutts‚ and “middleman” Luthando Siyoni.
After Jayde’s murder‚ the SIM card was discarded.
Details of Jayde’s kidnapping and murder were revealed for the first time. A blunt-force injury to the back of her head was consistent with her being pistol-whipped before being shoved into the boot of a rental car.
Then‚ in KwaNobuhle‚ a bullet to Jayde’s back paralysed her before her killer stood over her and fired the fatal shot. She put out her hand in an attempt to shield herself.
Resident Rachel Windvogel said she heard three gunshots before 7am on April 21.
Colleague Cherise Swanepoel was the last to communicate with the Uitenhage teacher.
Jayde confided in Cherise and sister Toni Inggs about her loneliness. She also suffered from depression.
Clarishka Kapp said when Jayde was away‚ Coutts slept over at the couple’s Kabega Park home and he spoilt her with expensive gifts.
Meanwhile‚ Panayiotou and co-accused Sinethemba Nemembe and Zolani Sibeko pleaded not guilty.
While Nemembe and Sibeko did not give plea explanations‚ Panayiotou said he loved his wife and that they were happy.
Panayiotou also accused the police of using unlawful tactics to build a case.
Police began investigating Vumazonke when he visited a sangoma directly after the murder‚ allegedly still carrying Jayde’s bag.
Zoleka Zekani said Vumazonke asked her to “wash” him‚ but she refused‚ based on what he told her.
Because Vumazonke has since died‚ much of what he told the sangoma was ruled hearsay.
The Inggs family cried when a photograph of Jayde’s body was shown to court.
Warrant Officer Paul Franks‚ of the SA Police Service K9 Unit‚ said their search for Jayde in KwaNobuhle commenced on April 22‚ after Windvogel reported hearing gunshots.
Estelle Burger‚ of Nedbank‚ said Panayiotou phoned her the day of Jayde’s disappearance‚ asking her to track movement on Jayde’s account.
While she claimed she refused because Panayiotou did not have signing power‚ Advocate Terry Price said she was being untruthful because she was scared of getting into trouble with the bank.
The Infinity Cocktail Bar alarm was deactivated at 11.25pm on April 21‚ when the state claims Panayiotou fetched money to pay Siyoni.
OK Grocer employee Mawonga Ndedwa‚ who claimed Panayiotou used his phone numerous times to call Siyoni two weeks before the murder‚ emerged as a disgruntled employee fired for stealing.
Ndedwa claimed Panayiotou then paid him to destroy the phone. He also claimed his boss at the time told him to give R30‚000 (alleged hit money) to Siyoni.
It emerged in cross-examination that Ndedwa tried to extort money from Panayiotou’s mother‚ Fanoula.
While the police claimed Vumazonke sustained a swollen eye during arrest when he hit his head on a car door‚ Price accused them of assault.
Expert witness Lorenz Stoger explained how a tracker fitted to the Toyota Etios allegedly used to kidnap Jayde circled her Stellen Glen complex – going no faster than 25km/h – before suddenly stopping‚ then speeding off again. Later‚ the vehicle stopped where she was shot dead.
Siyoni’s girlfriend‚ Babalwa Breakfast‚ was arrested for perjury when she backtracked on her police statements to deny the R31‚000 found in Siyoni’s gym bag was payment for the hit.
Her testimony in court was also countered by Constable Yandiswa Kumla‚ who said he wrote down exactly what Breakfast told him.
The defence said Breakfast was considered legally blind and could not have read her own statement the way police claimed.
Panayiotou’s former business partner‚ Noxy Sokuta‚ said Siyoni visited Infinity after Jayde went missing‚ asking for R30‚000.
Brigadier Gary McLaren said he arranged for Siyoni’s confession to be recorded in Fort Beaufort as he wanted to hide it from the media.
Warrant Officer Phillip Bekker said Blue Star sprayed in the boot of the rental vehicle reacted positively to what he believed was blood.
Jayde’s father‚ Derick‚ became emotional as he told how he had been friends with his son-in-law. Price sympathised with him for his loss.
A number linked to the Facebook account of Nemembe was one of the ways in which police tied him to the alleged offence.
The defence fumed when Stander went against an earlier decision to abide by a trial-within-a-trial to determine the admissibility of Siyoni’s evidence and instead argued against the process.
Siyoni‚ who turned a Section 204 witness when he claimed Panayiotou approached him to arrange hitmen‚ recanted on his statement and said he knew nothing of the hit.
Siyoni changed his tune more than once‚ ultimately being declared a hostile witness.
While he continued to deny his involvement‚ he now claimed he became aware of the hit when Vumazonke told him afterwards.
He said Panayiotou gave him R80 ‚00 to pay Vumazonke.
Stander put cellphone evidence to Siyoni‚ where he inquired about a rental vehicle at the request of Vumazonke‚ and then asked Panayiotou for money.
Stander then showed him proof of an SMS sent to a contact on his phone by the name of “Happy Trigger” in which he described Jayde’s car.
Siyoni said police assaulted him‚ forcing him to implicate Panayiotou in the murder.
They then forced him to send text messages and to phone Panayiotou to get him to implicate himself.
Past cases in which the arresting officer‚ Lieutenant-Colonel Willie Mayi‚ was criticised came back to haunt him as he was forced to answer to allegations of assaults and threats to key witnesses.
Mayi said he received a call from an informant implicating Siyoni in Jayde’s murder.
He questioned Siyoni and Breakfast‚ whom he claimed quickly spilt the beans.
But Price said Mayi was the “enforcer” and that Siyoni was beaten and forced to implicate Panayiotou.
Secret recordings‚ made by Panayiotou’s family of conversations with ex-friend Warrant Officer Leon Eksteen‚ surfaced.
Siyoni had testified that police showed him graphic images of Jayde’s body – something Eksteen denied.
But in a recording played by Price‚ Eksteen was heard telling the Panayiotous about this.
Eksteen also referred to Siyoni and Vumazonke as dumb “k****rs”.
The same recordings revealed a rift between Panayiotou and his father‚ Costa‚ who did not approve of his affair.


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Donald Trump supporter allegedly caught with 4,500 child porn files

A man allegedly caught with child pornography files believes he was targeted by hackers because he was a supporter of Donald Trump. On Friday, police raided the home of a 36-year-old man from Nicholls, north of Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory, and found 4,500 explicit images and videos of girls aged three to nine-years-old on a hard drive and two USB drives, the ABC reported. He was charged with using a carriage service for child pornography material and possessing child pornography and refused bail by the ACT magistrates court, the Canberra Times reported. The man told police he did not know where the files came from, and suggested he may have been targeted by hackers because he supported Donald Trump. His defence lawyer applied for bail proposing a ban on internet and device use, but the prosecution said there was a risk he could tamper or delete the evidence. Senior constable Michael Harris said the man's use of TOR software, which allows people to communicate anonymously on the internet, suggested he has an understanding of the dark web. 'I find it difficult to be certain that he would not access internet from any other device he picks up,' he said. Magistrate Karen Fryar said there were enough security measures in place to stop him from accessing the internet. She refused the man bail, adding he would be a risk to the public if released. The man was remanded in custody until his next court appearance on December 20.


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The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills step out en masse for season 7 premiere party

The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills returns to Bravo for a seventh season on Tuesday. And on Friday night, the ladies who lunch gathered for a premiere launch party at a Beverly hills hotel. The seven excited doyennes went all out to try and upstage each other in their cleavage-baring ensembles. Joining stalwarts Lisa Vanderpump, Kyle Richards and Lisa Rinna were Eileen Davidson and Erika Jayne Girardi along with newcomer Dorit Kemsley and new cast friend Eden Sassoon. Kathryn Edwards and Yolanda Foster are not returning. The first trailer for the new season released last month showed the wealthy women traveling the globe to glamorous destinations although their personal feuds continue apace. Showing up to support her sister and the rest of the cast of the reality show was Kim Richards. Kyle's older sibling was part of the Bravo series until alcohol abuse and run-ins with the law forced her out of the show. But after a difficult period, Kim looked in fabulous form in a long-sleeved LBD with dark tights and black heels.


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Ansel Elgort packs on PDA with Violetta Komyshan as they smooch at NY Knicks game

They began dating in high school. And over two years following a brief five-month break, Ansel Elgort and girlfriend Violetta Komyshan are still going strong. While at a New York Knicks game on Friday, the lovebirds shared cuddles and a sweet kiss. Ansel looked handsome in a white T-shirt layered underneath a fitted, brown sweater. The 22-year-old was relaxed in a pair of light wash jeans and sneakers. Violetta was chic in a fitted black turtleneck, denim trousers and heeled booties. Last month, The Fault in Our Stars actor opened up to CBS News about his serious relationship. 'I’m kind of wifed up to be honest. I think of it like I’m f***ing married.' While he may be head-over-heels for his girlfriend, he feels zero affection towards President-elect Donald Trump. When asked how he thinks the country should move forward following his win, the Hollywood actor believes all is doomed. 'I think it’s hard to move forward because he’s already done a lot of damage. The Supreme Court is going to be really right-wing, and that’s not what we need,' said Ansel. 'Our country should be a progressive country -- that means moving forward and progressing -- and what Trump means is the opposite of that. He’s going backward, and what he stood for in his campaign was very blatantly racist and sexist and not what America stands for and not what it stood for these past eight years.' 'We need to move past racism, slavery, genocide -- things like what Shailene [Woodley] is doing, protesting at the DAPL. She’s protesting the disrespect of Native Americans.'


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Isla Fisher cuts a casual figure in double denim as she dines at vegan Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles

The Keeping Up With The Joneses star is usually seen in elegant figure-hugging outfits. But on Friday, Isla Fisher cut a casual figure as she stepped out of a vegan Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles. The flame haired beauty appeared to be out for lunch as she was spotted at the fashionable hole in the wall. She went for a classic denim look, pairing straight leg black jeans with a worn blue denim jacket with wool lining. The actress held the jacket together as it sat loosely over her shoulders, the sleeves hanging idly on each side. Underneath, the 40-year-old wore a purple t-shirt over a grey long-sleeved shirt. Isla pulled the outfit together with a statement leather-look red oversized tote bag. She acessorised with a pair of oversized cat eye sunglasses, which featured gold tips and shaped arms. The mother-of-three wore her signature copper locks straight and parted to the side. She held the long tresses in place by tucking them into her jacket. It's been a busy year for Isla, as she has released three movies to differing levels of success. While The Brothers Grimsby, which she starred in alongside husband Sasha Baron Cohen, received mixed reviews, Keeping up with the Joneses was poorly rated by critics. Reviews for Nocturnal Animals were mostly positive though, and the film picked up a number of awards and nominations.


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Leading African academics quiz Bill Gates on HIV/AIDS and the role of philanthropy

It has committed more than US$3 billion in HIV grants to organisations around the world and more than US$1.6 billion to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Gates answers questions from several African academics about HIV/AIDS on the continent. (Disclosure: The Gates Foundation is a strategic partner of The Conversation Africa).
Professor Francois Venter, Deputy Director of the Reproductive Health Institute in South Africa - HIV prevention continues to be a mixture of biomedical interventions, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), male circumcision and treatment as prevention, as well as so-called behaviour change interventions. Some, such as condoms and reductions in partner numbers, get mired in a messy moral debate about sex. How do we get these behavioural interventions better tested, and the policymakers to listen to the evidence?
Bill Gates: The truth is we still don’t know enough about the underlying dynamics that put people at risk of HIV. Social barriers – such as discrimination, stigma and structural inequality – work against biomedical efforts to address the epidemic. We have to better understand these barriers in order to develop more effective solutions.
And there are efforts around the world to do just that. For example, the PEPFAR DREAMS initiative should help us learn more about why adolescent girls and young women often face heightened risk of HIV infection. DREAMS programmes aim to deliver evidence-based tools that address barriers like poverty, gender inequality, sexual violence and lack of education.
It’s also important to learn more about the market factors – including supply and demand for new tools – that affect how people seek and use prevention options. Organisations like AVAC and the Clinton Health Access Initiative are working to understand how to reach people with products and services they will be most empowered to use.
Large-scale change will ultimately only be successful if it is driven from within communities that face the greatest burden of the HIV epidemic. Civil society and local advocacy groups are key to developing and implementing solutions that match needs on the ground. We can help expand access to evidence-based tools, but it will take community ownership and leadership to ensure people can use them.
Professor Adam Habib, Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa - Philanthropists like yourself have been enormously generous contributors to addressing societal challenges, including HIV/AIDS, in recent years. There is a criticism that philanthropy, while demonstrating generosity, suffers from the weakness of pouring resources into the projects of individual philanthropists. The net effect is that the resources are not deployed in a systematic manner that could have far more effect on the lives of the disadvantaged. How do you work with governments and other organisations to ensure your strategy is aligned with the needs of the people in the countries that you are working with?
Bill Gates: Solving the complex problems that affect the world’s poorest will only be possible with close collaboration between governments, NGOs, academic institutions, businesses and philanthropy. As only one part of this diverse community, we centre our approach on strong partnerships. We want to be sure that our work is informed at every stage by a broad group of experts, from high-level government officials and community leaders to local grantees and advocates.
One great example is our work with the Global Fund, which collects resources in a centralised pool that is then allocated based on local needs. Every project is planned, implemented and monitored with the guidance of a committee of local stakeholders, including local civil society and affected populations. We also work directly with a number of grantees in each country and depend on their invaluable on-the-ground insights and perspective.
While we’re proud of our contributions in the fight against HIV/AIDS, our resources represent only a small portion of worldwide funding to combat HIV. As a foundation, we can take on risks that governments and private institutions may be unable to take themselves. That’s why we concentrate our resources on areas where existing funds are insufficient or where our support can have potentially game-changing impact. This freedom lets our local and multilateral partners do their most ambitious work.
Dr Nelly Mugo, Principal Investigator at the Kenya Medical Research Institute - Your foundation has done tremendous work in working with communities with high burdens of disease to find novel solutions and innovative delivery tools. There are often fairly simple interventions which, if implemented, would make differences in maintaining healthy populations, but are unattractive to funding institutions. The gap in access often lies in service delivery. What top five strategies would you advise countries such as mine to implement to improve service delivery and health outcomes?
Bill Gates: There aren’t necessarily five specific approaches that will work in every country. It’s up to national governments and local communities to figure out what will work best for their specific needs. But there are some important general lessons that policymakers and health leaders can apply.
One lesson we’ve learned is that delivery of treatment and prevention is really important, and needs to be personalised. Not all patients require the same type of care. Tailoring delivery of services for people with different needs can improve outcomes, while saving health providers’ time and resources. This approach is called differentiated care.
Using data to reach at-risk populations faster and more effectively is also crucial. We’re excited to see this at work in Kenya, where the government is partnering with Jhpiego to develop new and creative ways to expand access to PrEP among adolescent girls, young women and other populations at risk.
Kenya’s HIV Prevention Road Map is also a great model for these types of efforts. The road map is a comprehensive, efficient government-led model for rolling out evidence-based programmes that reflect the needs of local populations. It also includes provisions to hold individuals and government agencies accountable.
Professor David Serwadda, former Head of the School of Public Health at Makerere University in Uganda - Many have made the point that South to South collaboration, in which countries get to understand each other’s problems and how they have solved them (or not), will do much more good for innovation, development and shared responsibilities. Do you agree? If so what is your organisation doing to facilitate that?
Bill Gates: I believe that South-South collaboration will lead to some of the most transformative changes in how we address global health challenges. Successful locally-driven programmes can serve as important models for communities that face similar challenges. The global reach of our foundation means that we can help ensure that lessons learned and best practices from one geography or issue can be adapted and applied to another.
Take for example, the Avahan programme in India. The programme provides services to almost 300,000 female sex workers, men who have sex with men and injecting drug users. It was developed to be driven by the communities it serves. We’re now seeing lessons from Avahan applied to a similar programme in Kenya.
We also know that one of the barriers to South-South collaboration is access to information. We now require that all research we support is made free for other scientists to find and build on. This approach, called “open access”, aims to reduce the hurdles that successful South-South partnerships must overcome, like paywalls and restrictions on the use of data. And we’re optimistic that it could help accelerate the development of game-changing innovations.
Professor John Idoko, Professor at the University of Jos, Nigeria - What can other global health issues learn from the impact of political leadership on goals – national and global – in the HIV response?
Bill Gates: Throughout the HIV response, we’ve really seen the power of an engaged and informed global community. Advocacy efforts that began during the early years of the HIV epidemic and continue today have been vital in expanding access to treatment and driving relatively rapid innovations in both prevention and treatment.
And national governments and donors responded to the passion of advocates. PEPFAR and the Global Fund, for example, have helped coordinate efforts and ensure that resources are used efficiently. Investment in research and development led to the development of revolutionary tools such as simplified antiretroviral treatment, voluntary medical male circumcision and PrEP.
But passion and funding alone are not enough. When I was in Durban for the AIDS conference in July I was reminded of how forward thinking national policies can change millions of lives. In South Africa, more than three million people now have access to treatment and far fewer babies are born with HIV each year. South Africa is also a leader on prevention, with its recent approval of PrEP and ongoing investment in the search for new tools.
The HIV response, beginning with the leadership of early advocates, has always been nimble and driven by evidence. Other global health movements can learn from this, and so can the current HIV/AIDS community. We know that reaching ambitious global targets will require us to be faster, smarter and more innovative, especially as we’ve seen the rate of new infections plateau. We’ll need to continue to be agile and let evidence guide our decisions.
Adam Habib: Vice-Chancellor and Principal, University of the Witwatersrand
David Serwadda: Former Head of the school of Public Health, Makerere University
Willem Daniel Francois Venter: Deputy Executive Director, Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute, University of the Witwatersrand
This article was first published in The Conversation


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Australian student Kaia Delaney threatened over gun laws opinion piece

An Australian student has come under fire for arguing the U. S. should ban high-powered guns like Australia did 20 years ago. Kaia Delaney's opinion article titled What Australia Can Teach America About Guns was published in Washington-based political newspaper The Hill and its website. The 22-year-old wrote that in Australia she felt safe walking alone at night or in a crowded area 'without thinking of people shooting me' but felt 'uneasy' in the U. S. 'There is something about America that makes the ownership of guns ordinary, and mass shootings normalized,' she wrote. 'To know there is a man walking around with the power to end my life, and those around me with a pull of a trigger is not safe.' The University of Queensland student, who is on exchange at the University of Richmond in Virginia, wrote Americans appeared to have learned nothing from their history of mass shootings. She said massacres in Orlando, Newtown, Charleston, San Bernardino, among others, had not made significant policy or cultural impacts. 'When twenty bodies of school children lay lifeless across an elementary school, and fifty people in a nightclub who were dancing one second and shot dead the next, we have to ask ourselves when is enough, enough?' she wrote. Ms Delaney, who has also studied abroad in Taiwan, said increased background checks for gun buyers, a hotly-debated topic in U. S. politics, would not be enough because of the volume of guns already in circulation. She said Australia's buyback of more than 640,000 weapons in 1996 after the Port Arthur Massacre, where 35 people died, made the country safe, but acknowledged Americans' cultural attachment to their guns made a similar scheme difficult. The article received more than 100 comments on The Hill's website, the vast majority of which were critical of her views, particularly as a non-American. 'You can take your opinion on guns and shove it down under son,' one reader responded. Another wrote: 'The AR 15 (assault rifle) is the musket of the 21st century and it's your right to own one should you choose to do so... just ask president Trump'. Other readers pointed out things they believed were wrong with Australia, such as its 'white Australia policy' and. treatment of refugees. Another said Australia was a 'socialist society' that 'only appears to work because they are isolated and tirelessly control their borders from any entrance of unwanted minority groups and uneducated immigrants'. 'You still have a woman 13,000 miles away as your head of state. 'When you grow up and become an independent republic, get back to us,' another said. Ms Delaney did have some support, with commenters calling the U. S. 'fundamentally an immature country' and branding its views on guns as 'gullible and moronic'. 'The stroppy red necked responses to a valid and reasonable question is the very reason she and millions of others around the world look at America with the same alarm and disbelief, and feel unsafe when they go there,' another wrote. 'When did Americans become so insecure?' a reader asked, but this was met with the curt reply of: 'When did foreigners become some arrogant as to feel they have the right to lecture us about our home?' Daily Mail Australia contacted Ms Delaney for comment.


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Craft store manager gets $32k from well wishers after she was subject to racist tirade from Trump supporter in viral video

and set up the fundraiser, writing: 'I’d like to show her that many people are horrified by how this woman treated her, and that we stand with her and appreciate her hard work.' Scroll down for video Grady decided to start the GoFundMe campaign on the store manager's behalf 'to try to make it up' to her and brighten up her holiday season after she had become the target of this 'racist attack.' She added: 'I’d like to show her that many people are horrified by how this woman treated her, and that we stand with her and appreciate her hard work. ‘She inspired me because despite the hateful words that were being hurled in her direction, she stood in that entrance way calm and unmoving to protect her staff and customers.' 'Her calmness calmed me and I saw a true leader, which in today’s world, is something to be rewarded.' Grady revealed the Michaels manager is trying to get her Master's degree in psychology so she could pursue her dream of becoming a guidance counselor, and she also has a small side business knitting scarves and hats for homeless teens. The manager received an outpouring of support, and the GoFundMe page surpassed the $32,000 mark in less than one week. Holli expressed her hesitation filming a video response, and wrote instead: 'I'll start with this. I am in utter shock. You have all single handedly changed my life. 'Each of you have shown me that this world is worth living in.... For some time now, I've felt this overwhelming sense of failure. I want to make a positive change in this world. 'I know what I'm here for and that's to help others reach their higher potential. With your support I have been blessed with the opportunity to live and not just survive daily. 'I can properly provide for my family and meet all our children's needs. I will now have the ability to get my business up and running in order to provide a better future for us. And I can still give back to my community even more now. 'You have personally contributed to SO much more than you could possible know.' She also spread a message of love, and said she hoped her supporters would find 'real fulfillment in life'. Boyle confronted Grady before directing her rage at Holli, accusing her of failing to reprimand the cashier, who is also black, for allegedly screaming at her. ‘I’ve been discriminated twice by you,' she screams. ‘This woman came around and screamed at me from across the goddamn store like an animal! An animal! Animal! ‘You screamed at me from across the store like you were in your own living room, you’re an animal!’ ‘I did vote for Trump, I did vote for Trump, you got a problem with that? What are you going to do about it? You all have a problem with it.’ According to Grady, the manager remained calm throughout the entire ordeal and never raised her voice as she told Boyle the cashier had merely said they did not have plastic bags that were large enough for her items. ‘Ma’am I have not discriminated against you,’ the manager can be heard telling her at one point. ‘You can’t talk like that, there are children around.’ ‘I came up to try and help you. I haven’t done anything to you, I just asked you not to talk like this.’ ‘You’re not my mother!' Boyle shoots back. ‘I have been discriminated twice by you!’ she shrieks. ‘Twice, this woman came around and screamed at me from across the goddamn store like an animal.’ People burst into laughter when Boyle yelled: ‘You are not going to tell me who I can vote for and who I cannot vote for,’ as both witnesses and the manager proclaim they not once brought up Trump or the election. Boyle then calls the cashier a ‘lying piece of s**t’ and a ‘goddamn liar’ before she begins screaming on the phone: ‘Where is the police?' 'Two African American woman…Two black women will not ring me up because, I don’t even know what,' she tells the dispatcher on the other line. She also can be heard referring to Grady as a 'creep' for videotaping her and muttering something about wanting to bring ‘a lawsuit so big, so big, so big!’ Grady said it took police 45 minutes to respond to multiple calls from several customers. By the time officers arrived, the raving shopper had left. But she said at least 10 Michaels customers stayed behind and waited for officers to arrive so they could support the manager. 'That is what shocked the manager and myself the most, that people actually spoke up,' Grady said. 'You had to be there to see how the people united.' After the video went viral, Boyle was identified through social media. She worked as a human resources business partner at Sinai Health System, according to her now-deleted LinkedIn page. The hospital has since distanced itself from Boyle, revealing in a statement that her employment had 'ceased in September'. Another clip surfaced, showing Boyle launching a similar tirade against two employees at a Peet's Coffee and Tea. The undated video shows Boyle yelling at the manager, who she claims called her a 'b***h' after she allegedly treated one of his employees rudely.


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Angels Romee Strijd, Lais Ribeiro and Josephine Skriver show their heavenly legs in flirty dresses for Victoria's Secret event

On Wednesday, they graced the Victoria's Secret catwalk in Paris. But come Friday, the ladies were back in New York promoting the holiday collection of the brand that made them famous. Romee Strijd, Lais Ribeiro and Josephine Skriver dazzled in Christmas dresses while at the lingerie line's new Fifth Avenue location. Romee wore a silver, sequin gown complete with a strapless neckline. The 21-year-old added extra height to slender frame with a pair of silver, strappy heels. The stunning blonde wore her long locks down and in soft curls. For make-up, the model stayed true to the go-to Victoria's Secret look; natural glam. Lais Ribeiro, 26, posed in a flared, spaghetti-strap dress, while Josephine Skriver, 23, was reminiscent of the '90s, in a long-sleeve, velvet mini. Among Victoria's Secret's holiday collection, a portion of the items paid tribute to clothing of Christmas' past. In addition to traditional undergarments, one bra took on a more modest take with a turtleneck neckline. On Wednesday, the girls, along with Angels such as Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio, walked the annual Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in Paris. The event is set for air on CBS next Monday. Lady Gaga, The Weeknd, and Bruno Mars provided the night's entertainment.


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Father-of-three Scott Stallman run over by Uber driver in his own driveway

A man has been killed after falling asleep in his driveway and being run over by an Uber as it dropped his wife home from a night out. The tragic accident which lead to the death of father-of-three Scott Stallman has sent shockwaves through the city of Toowoomba, south-west of Brisbane in Queensland. The 44-year-old father died at the scene in front of his wife of 22 years, Monique. Scroll down for video As the Uber brought Mrs Stallman home the driver reportedly failed to see him lying in his driveway and ran him over, trapping him under the car. Emergency services were called and tried to free the man but were unable to save him. Friends from across Queensland expressed their grief and shock over hearing of the 'top bloke's' sudden passing. 'Can't believe. Only talk to Scott couple days ago,' Brian Poulsen said. 'Lost a good mate over night. Rip Scott Stallman, rip mate,' said another. Another friend, Paul Farmer, said he felt 'honoured to have spent time with this champion of a man'. 'You leave a huge hole in the lives of those privileged enough to have known you mate,' he added. Mr Stallman was also a well-loved boss who has received tributes from employees since his death. 'Deeply saddened of tragic news today, A mate, an ever generous Boss who gave us a hand to permanently stay here in AU. and help changed life on lot of individual .. rest in peace,' Dante Dioneda said. The father-of-three appeared to have a strong relationship with his children who shared family snaps on frozen mountain tops in Switzerland and in front of the Eiffel Tower in France. Police told Daily Mail Australia a 38-year-old man was driving the Uber at the time. Queensland police Senior Sargent Jamie Deacon said a drop down from the road into the driveway meant the driver didn't see Mr Stallman. 'Tragically when they've entered the driveway they haven't been able to see him,' he said. An investigation is currently underway into the accident and police have not yet laid any charges. A spokesperson for Uber told Daily Mail Australia their 'thoughts are with the woman and her family at this difficult time' and they would assist police with their investigation.


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Erupting geysers, dramatic waterfalls and epic fjords: Stunning drone footage captures the breathtaking beauty of Norway and Iceland

Incredible drone footage has captured the breathtaking beauty of Norway and Iceland from a unique aerial perspective. The enthralling video shows the dramatic landscape of the two countries, from enormous craggy craters bearing no sign of life to beautiful waterfalls cascading down grass-covered cliffs. Dmitry Bubonets, from Moscow, Russia, used a Phantom 4 drone during his trip in August and has called the final film Nord. The stunning footage records a plethora of beautiful landscapes, many of which wouldn't seem out of place in a Lord of the Rings film. Amazing rock formations tower above lush green grass, a road snakes between miles upon miles of apparent nothingness and an enormous geyser erupts as a small group of excited tourists eagerly look on. Nord evokes a great sense of space and the wilderness of both Iceland and Norway. Squawking birds and the occasional human visitor seem to be the only living beings present. No one landscape is focussed on for long in the film, giving viewers an impressive snapshot of the beauty of the two countries in just four minutes. However, according to Bubonets, he still didn't have enough time to capture everything he'd hoped to. The amateur filmmaker wrote on video sharing site Vimeo: 'Nord is an aerial adventure that was captured entirely on Drone. All footage was captured during a summer trip to Norway and Iceland in August 2016. 'I'm looking forward to a second trip to enjoy the sunsets, auroras, take some hikes in the mountains, shoot some timelapses and make a selfie with a puffin.' Viewers have been quick to praise the film: 'Absolutely stunning, Dmitry. A cut above!' one admirer wrote online, while another commented: 'A piece of art, a peace of mind, just wonderful! Thank You.'


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Regret Brexit, not the decision to hold referendum: Cameron

Defending his decision to hold a referendum which led to Britain's exit from the EU, former Prime Minister David Cameron today said there are issues that go above Parliament and not taking people's consent on vital subjects is a "potential


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On new album, John Legend considers love and darkness

NEW YORK—John Legend has become known as a modern master of the ballad, probing the emotional depths behind love and discovering the darkness that lurks nearby.
Releasing his fifth studio album on Friday, Legend stretches into new musical territory as he subtly broadens his conception of ballads, injecting elements of funk and rap.
The new album is titled “Darkness and Light” but instead of representing some sort of tug-of-war between the two forces, Legend sees them as intertwined — no love song is spared from a touch of melancholy.
The first single off the album, “Love Me Now,” is among the most rocking on the album, with a beat bringing uplift — in contrast to Legend’s biggest hit, 2013’s heartrending “All of Me.”
Yet “Love Me Now” also has an undercurrent of loss, even as Legend implores the listener to celebrate the joys of the moment.
“I don’t know who’s gonna kiss you when I’m gone / So I’m gonna love you now like it’s all I have,” Legend sings.
The album comes at a new stage of life for the 37-year-old Legend.
A musical prodigy whose talents brought him an Ivy League education and a steady ascent through the music business, Legend recently became a father with his wife, the model Chrissy Teigen.
READ: John Legend, Chrissy Teigen welcome baby daughter
Legend dedicates “Right By You,” a piano number with a smoky jazz backdrop, to his daughter Luna as he promises to care for her but wonders about her future and that of the world.
“You see, love contains a meaning of despair,” Legend warns his daughter, his mellifluous voice backed by strings.
“Will we do right by you? Will you have what you require to make your days on this Earth be not so dire?”
Subtle politics
The reflective tone of “Darkness and Light” may come as a surprise to those who know Legend more for his politics.
Long active on global anti-poverty efforts, Legend in the past two years has emerged as one of the most prominent artist advocates of the Black Lives Matter movement and has been a vociferous critic of President-elect Donald Trump.
Legend shared an Oscar last year with rapper Common for co-writing the song “Glory,” the theme to the civil rights movement drama “Selma.”
READ: ‘Underground’ snares John Legend for slave drama’s music
Legend’s latest album is political only on a close reading. Legend — raised in humble surroundings in working-class Springfield, Ohio — portrays a struggling city that finally makes the television news on “Penthouse Floor.”
“Once you’re above the city lights / Won’t want to spend another night down there on your own,” Legend sings, casting escapism as the American dream.
“Penthouse Floor” brings in an all-star cast including a lengthy passage by Chance the Rapper. Legend co-wrote the song with Greg Kurstin, the producer best known for Adele’s blockbuster single “Hello.”
Also credited on “Penthouse Floor” are Sia and Beck, the alternative rock icon who can be felt on the song’s funky bass line and guitar licks.
Other collaborators on “Darkness and Light” include Alabama Shakes frontwoman Brittany Howard, who refines her famously forceful voice to complement Legend’s falsetto on the title track.
Legend is at his most introspective at the very start of the album on “I Know Better.”
To the sound of church organs, he vows never to forget his roots.
“Legend is just a name,” sings the man born as John Stephens. “I know better than to be so proud.”


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For Russia, Trump presidency offers hope of sanctions relief

Russia 's government staunchly denies reports that it tampered in the U. S. election or supported either candidate, but once the results were in, members of President Vladimir Putin 's United Russia party didn't hold back.


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Parents act fast, disarm son who brought guns to Utah school

Police are applauding two fast-acting parents, who disarmed their 15-year-old son at a Utah junior high Thursday after they realized the teenager had taken the family’s shotgun and handgun, The Associated Press reported.


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Scribe Turin Film Review

The political thriller genre gets a very timely infusion of life with Thomas Kruithof ’s debut “ Scribe ,” a lean, edgy drama about an outwardly bland middle-aged factotum hired to transcribe taped conversations that may or may not have been recorded by the French secret service. Set during an election clearly intended to elicit parallels with current right-wing campaigns from Marine Le Pen to Donald Trump, the film, at one time given the unwieldy English title “The Eavesdropper,” boasts an ace cast and the kind of skillfully crafted script that keeps audiences tensely guessing the outcome until the delicious “did that just happen?” denouement. The movie is likely to do strong home business on its January opening, and should be enjoyed by Francophile art houses worldwide.
When we first meet bookkeeper Duval (François Cluzet), he’s on the verge of a nervous breakdown, precipitated by a nasty boss and a weakness for alcohol. Two years later he’s a teetotalling AA member, unemployed and needing a job, not just for the money but to give his life a sense of structure. After a few unsuccessful interviews, he gets a call from Mr. Clément (Denis Podalydès), proposing they meet the next day; in a spare office, Duval is offered a job transcribing phone-tapped conversations which, according to the coldly intimidating Clément, are vital to the nation’s interests.
The whole set-up is peculiar: an empty apartment has been rented, where Duval is to go every workday strictly between 9 and 6. Each morning numbered tapes will be waiting for him, which he’s to transcribe on a typewriter, not a computer, so there’s no risk of hacking. Duval protests he’s not the right person for the job, but Clément counters he’s ideal, and so he seems: older, not especially adapted to computer systems, apolitical, lives alone, and has no friends outside of AA. Besides, he needs the work, so he allows himself to think that perhaps Clément is part of French national security.
Duval develops a routine mindlessly typing out the phone conversations until he hears what seems to be the murder of a Libyan businessman acting as go-between with the government to release some French hostages. Shaken, he wants to throw in the towel, but suddenly Clément’s lackey Gerfaut (Simon Abkarian) shows up, recklessly running his mouth and literally strong-arming Duval into breaking into the offices of the Libyan’s lawyers to steal notebooks meant to contain important information. The operation is a failure, Gerfaut kills the janitor, and the next day the traumatized Duval is interrogated by Major Labarthe (Sami Bouajila) from the Secret Service.
In the manner of the best political thrillers, Duval is sucked into a nightmare of uncertain loyalties, forced to play sides against each other in a game he doesn’t understand. The mild-mannered bookkeeper with a fragile core must develop a steely quick-wittedness, especially after his AA buddy Sara (Alba Rohrwacher) is threatened. As a character, Sara is almost superfluous, patently designed to provide Duval with a slightly more developed emotional trajectory, and Rohrwacher, giving life to the weakest plot point, has little to do of any consequence.
Otherwise, the cat-and-mouse game becomes increasingly gripping as viewers put the pieces of the puzzle together one step ahead of Duval himself until the corker of an ending. In the backdrop – but not so far back – is an election campaign in which conservative candidate Philippe Chalamont touts his slogan “France is back.” Surely it’s no coincidence that the phrase has a similar ring to “Make America Great Again” (though such nativist mantras are the stock-in-trade of all right-wingers). Nor is it likely to be mere chance that the hostage situation referred to, on the eve of an election, recalls the 1979 hostage crisis when Ronald Reagan was campaigning against Jimmy Carter. One of the strengths of “Scribe” is how it plays on the notion that conspiracy theories don’t always have to be far-fetched, bringing a frightening plausibility to the film’s deadly game of manipulation.
Duval’s age is a nice detail, making the chain of events far more believable than if he were some young office worker with a drinking problem: Cluzet’s lived-in mien allows the character credibility as well as depth, wordlessly adding layers not spelled out in the tight screenplay, co-written by the director and Yann Gozlan (who delivered another enjoyable thriller last year, with “A Perfect Man”). In his first feature, Kruithof boldly exhibits a fine sense of control and a mature understanding of how to build scenes. Visuals are uniformly crisp, suitably cold when required, and matched by ace editing.


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Say no to 'blessers' and unsafe sex for material goods – Health MEC

Polokwane – Limpopo health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba says 'blessers' and 'blessees' must fall.
Ramathuba was speaking during World AIDS Day celebrations on Thursday in Mhlava Willem, outside Giyani.
The MEC said the so-called blessers (older men dating young girls in exchange for money) are infecting young girls with HIV/AIDS. She said education was the safer way to gain material goods.
"These elderly men are the ones who are spreading this incurable disease. You must learn to say no to them, and focus on your education so that you can buy yourself Carvela shoes and a KFC Streetwise Two. Blessers and blessees must fall," said Ramathuba.
She also urged young men to get tested for HIV/AIDS because they are dying from denial.
"Most young men are dying because of this incurable disease because they are afraid to go for testing and they are in denial as soon as they find out that they have it. "
False prophets, traditional healers
She also took a swipe at false prophets, pastors and traditional healers who claim that they can heal HIV/AIDS.
"You must stay away from these false prophets and traditional healers who claim that they can heal this incurable disease. As far as we know there has been no cure for HIV/AIDS but it can be treated [with] ARVs," said Ramathuba.
She said HIV infection in the province, at 1.5%, was low compared to other provinces.
"I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate people who are living with HIV in the province for taking their treatment, because the spread of the HIV in the province is very low compared to other provinces," she said.
Limpopo AIDS Council Deputy Chairperson, Makhomisani Mlambo urged people to go for testing and lambasted health workers for spreading rumours.
"Health workers in our clinics and hospitals, you must stop going around talking about other people's status in our communities. This leads to people being stigmatised, and some being afraid to be tested," he said.


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Quality healthcare still mostly benefits the rich - health minister

Johannesburg - Universal access to quality healthcare can work as an equaliser between the rich and the poor, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said on Friday.
“The financing of healthcare is not dedicated to those who need it. Healthcare financing is in favour of the well-to-do. The time for that to change has arrived,” Motsoaledi said.
He was speaking at the unveiling of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital in Parktown, Johannesburg, after two-and-a-half years of construction.
Work on the R1bn facility began in April 2014. It has 200 beds and will be a referral-based hospital, a training centre for specialists, and a centre for research into childhood illnesses.
The hospital has pledged not to turn away any child in need of care.
Motsoaledi said he and many others across the world, including members of the United Nations, believed that if universal healthcare coverage was amended, it would be one of the biggest equalisers between the rich and poor.
“If there is no universal healthcare coverage, all the dreams we have will not be realised. No matter how sick you are, the type of assistance you get depends on the depth of your pocket.
“Generally in South Africa, 80% of specialists serve 16% of the population. It is therefore obvious that when it comes to specialised needs for children, there is a great unmet need that needs to be addressed.”
Most people loved children, regardless of their nationality, race, or gender. However, there were millions of children around the world who were not being cared for.
1.3 million children without parents
He said that in South Africa 1.3 million children had either lost one or both parents.
The Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital was only the fourth such hospital on the continent, besides the Red Cross Children’s Hospital in the Western Cape and two more in Egypt. It was the most technologically advanced of the lot, he said.
These numbers compared dismally to the first world.
“There are 23 such hospitals in Canada, 19 in Australia, 20 in Germany, and 157 in the United States.”
He said the wealth of the world lay in the well-being of its children.
South Africa, like most countries in Africa, was in need of specialised medical staff, especially nurses, he said.
The hospital had 48 critical care beds, which was 16% of the required number of such beds a hospital should have, according to international guidelines.
Globally, most hospitals had between 8% and 12% of their beds dedicated to critical care. In South Africa it was 4%.
“The hospital will assist us to fill many gaps. The only way all children of the region can have access to this hospital is when government supports it,” he said.


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MLB off-season tracker: Catcher Derek Norris back with Nationals

The Washington Nationals have reacquired catcher Derek Norris from the San Diego Padres for minor league right-hander Pedro Avila.
Norris, a 2007 first-round pick of the Nationals, hit .186 with 14 home runs and 42 RBIs last season for San Diego. The 27-year-old is a career.233 hitter in five major league seasons with the Oakland Athletics and Padres.
Washington sent Norris to Oakland for left-hander Gio Gonzalez in 2011. He returns to the Nationals, who avoided arbitration with catcher Jose Lobaton on Thursday.
All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos is a free agent who will miss the start of the season after knee surgery.
Avila, 19, went 7-7 with a 3.48 ERA in 20 starts for Single-A Hagerstown last season.
The Chicago Cubs and left-hander Brian Duensing have agreed to a one-year contract, giving manager Joe Maddon a versatile new reliever for the bullpen.
The reigning World Series champions also offered 2017 contracts to right-handed pitchers Jake Arrieta, Justin Grimm, Hector Rondon and Pedro Strop.
Duensing’s contract is for $2 million, according to a person with knowledge of the deal. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team did not disclose terms.
Duensing went 1-0 with a 4.05 ERA in 14 relief outings for Baltimore last season. He pitched the previous seven seasons with Minnesota.
For his career, he is 42-37 with a 4.13 ERA in 368 appearances, 307 of which have come in relief.
Chicago has holes to fill in the bullpen this offseason, and Duensing could help. Left-hander Travis Wood and righty Trevor Cahill, two effective relievers with starting experience, became free agents along with right-hander Joe Smith and closer Aroldis Chapman.
Left-handed pitchers Gerardo Concepcion and Zac Rosscup, right-handed pitcher Conor Mullee and infielder Christian Villanueva were non-tendered on Friday.
Chicago’s 40-man roster stands at 35 players.
The St. Louis Cardinals traded left-hander Jaime Garcia to the Atlanta Braves for a trio of prospects, including second baseman Luke Dykstra, the son of former All-Star Lenny Dykstra.
The Cardinals also got right-handers John Gant and Chris Ellis on Thursday.
Garcia has spent his entire injury-interrupted career with the Cardinals, going 62-45 with a 3.57 ERA and helping St. Louis win the World Series in 2011. But the 30-year-old was just 10-13 with a 4.67 ERA last season, and jettisoning his $12-million contract for next season gives the Cardinals some flexibility in free agency.
• Live: MLB rumor mill
The Oakland Athletics have found their potential new right-fielder, agreeing to terms with former Tiger Matt Joyce on an $11-million, two-year contract.
The 32-year-old has played 140 games in each of three of the last four seasons, batting .242 with 13 home runs and 42 RBIs this year for Pittsburgh. A regular pinch-hitter, he started 30 games in rightfield.
He will earn $5 million in 2017 and $6 million the following season.
The Baltimore Orioles reunited with right-handed pitcher Logan Verrett, who was one of the team’s Rule 5 picks two years ago, acquiring him from the New York Mets for cash considerations.
Verrett was 3-8 with a 5.20 ERA in 35 games (12 starts) for the Mets last season. He opened the season as a swingman with New York, posting a 0.93 ERA in his first nine games (two starts), but saw his most success pitching out of the bullpen. Verrett pitched to a 2.84 ERA in 31 2/3 innings as a reliever last season.
Verrett, 26, still has one minor league option remaining.
A person familiar with the negotiations tells the Associated Press that outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and the New York Mets have agreed to a $110-million, four-year contract.
The 31-year-old Cespedes gets a full no-trade provision as part of the agreement. The deal’s $27.5-million average annual value ties former Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez for the second-highest among position players, trailing only Miguel Cabrera’s $29.2 million with Detroit.
Acquired by the Mets from the Tigers at the July 31 trade deadline in 2015, Cespedes became a free agent a year ago, agreed to a $75-million, three-year deal with the Mets and then opted out after one season and $27.5 million.
The Chicago Cubs and outfielder Jon Jay have agreed to an $8 million, one-year contract, likely signaling the end of Dexter Fowler’s time with the World Series champions.
Jay batted .291 with two homers and 26 RBIs in 90 games with San Diego last season. He made his major league debut with St. Louis in 2010 and is a.287 hitter in 847 career games over seven seasons.
The Cubs have an opening in center after Fowler turned down a $17.2-million qualifying offer two weeks ago. Jay could platoon in center with righty-hitting Albert Almora Jr., or manager Joe Maddon could move Jason Heyward over from right for Chicago’s first title defense since it won it all in 1908.
Injured pitcher Nathan Eovaldi has been released by the New York Yankees along with right-hander Nick Rumbelow and lefty Joe Mantiply. The trio had been designated for assignment on Nov. 18.
Eovaldi will be sidelined next season as he recovers from Aug. 19 surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon and partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. Acquired from the Miami Marlins in a December 2014 trade, Eovaldi was 9-8 with a 4.76 ERA this year.
Rumbelow, a seventh-round draft pick of the Yankees in 2013, tore a ligament in his pitching elbow while pitching for Triple-A Scranton in his season debut on April 10, an injury that required Tommy John surgery. Now 25, he was 1-1 with a 4.02 in 17 relief appearances in 2015.
Mantiply was claimed off waivers from Detroit on Nov. 8.
A person familiar with the situation says right-hander Edinson Volquez has agreed with the Miami Marlins on a $22-million, two-year contract.
An All-Star in 2008 with Cincinnati, Volquez helped pitch Kansas City to the World Series title in 2015, when he went 13-9 with a 3.55 ERA. He slipped to 10-11 with 5.37 ERA with the Royals this year.
Volquez has a 89-79 record in 12 major league seasons. He’s 33 but has pitched at least 189 innings each of the past three years.
The Los Angeles Angels have signed outfielder Ryan LaMarre (Jackson Lumen Christi) and designated infielder Gregorio Petit for assignment.
The 28-year-old LaMarre has 26 games of major league experience with the Cincinnati Reds and Boston Red Sox, who signed him last December and used him in five games. He has appeared in 646 minor league games over his first seven pro seasons, batting.267.
Petit batted .245 with two homers and 17 RBIs in 89 games this year for the Angels, his fourth big-league team. He served as the Angels’ utility infielder and took over at second base late in the season.
The Milwaukee Brewers have signed free agent Eric Thames, who spent the last three seasons in Korea, and designated slugging first baseman Chris Carter for assignment.
Carter tied for the National League lead in home runs with 41 in 2016, his one season with the Brewers. He is eligible for arbitration.
Carter apparently will be replaced by Thames, a first baseman-outfielder who signed a three-year contract with a club option for 2020. The 30-year-old Thames hit.348 with 124 home runs, 379 RBIs and 64 steals in 388 games with NC Dinos of the Korean Baseball Organization.
The Seattle Mariners have acquired right-handers Rob Whalen and Max Povse from the Atlanta Braves for outfielder Alex Jackson and a player to be named.
The 20-year-old Jackson was the sixth overall pick in the 2014 amateur draft. He has hit.233 in three minor league seasons, including .243 with 11 homers and 55 RBIs for Class A Clinton of the Midwest League this year.
Walen, 22, was 1-2 with a 6.57 ERA in five starts with Atlanta this year and was Double-A Mississippi’s pitcher of the year. Povse, 23, had a 3.36 ERA at Mississippi and Class A Carolina.
Right-hander Ryan Weber was designated for assignment to clear a spot on Seattle’s 40-man roster. He was claimed off waivers from Atlanta on Nov. 2.
A person familiar with the situation says the Atlanta Braves have agreed to an $11.5-million, two-year contract with utility player Sean Rodriguez.
Rodriguez, 31, provides depth with major league starts at every position except catcher. He hit.270 with 18 homers and 56 RBIs for Pittsburgh in 2016. He has a.234 career batting average in nine seasons with the Los Angeles Angels, Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh.
Rodriguez has his most career starts at second base but saw more time at first base with the Pirates last season.
The Seattle Mariners traded right-handed pitcher Taijuan Walker and shortstop Ketel Marte to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for shortstop Jean Segura and two prospects.
Walker was considered one of the top young pitchers in the American League, but struggled with consistency. Yet he’s shown flashes of having the potential to become an ace during his young career. Marte had many of the same problems with consistency but had also become a liability in the field.
Walker, 24, was 8-11 with a 4.22 ERA and 119 strikeouts in 25 starts last season.
Segura is an immediate upgrade at shortstop for Seattle. He hit.319 with 20 home runs and 63 RBIs last season for the Diamondbacks and will provide Seattle with a legitimate leadoff hitter. Arizona also sent outfielder Mitch Haniger and left-handed pitcher Zac Curtis to Seattle.
Pitcher Jimmy Cordero has been acquired by the Washington Nationals from the Philadelphia Phillies for a player to be named.
The 25-year-old right-hander is 10-12 with a 3.80 ERA in 110 relief appearances and five starts over five minor league seasons.
He was obtained by Philadelphia at the 2015 trade deadline in the deal that sent outfielder Ben Revere to the Blue Jays. Cordero had been designated for assignment by Philadelphia.
The Minnesota Twins have signed free agent catcher Jason Castro, who played six seasons for the Houston Astros, to a three-year contract for $24.5 million.
Castro was an American League All-Star in 2013, when he batted .276 with 18 home runs and 56 RBIs. He has struggled to make contact since then, batting.215 over the next three seasons, including .210 last season.
Castro is considered a strong defensive catcher, particularly in pitch framing. He had 96 more strikes called last season than expected, according to Baseball Prospectus.
A person familiar with the negotiations tells the Associated Press that free agent outfielder Josh Reddick has agreed to a four-year, $52-million contract with the Houston Astros.
The 29-year old Reddick played for the Oakland Athletics from 2012 until he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers this summer. Reddick, who spent his first three seasons with the Boston Red Sox, is a career.255 hitter with 96 homers and 346 RBIs.
He adds a much-needed bat to a Houston outfield that had trouble last season in a year where outfielder Colby Rasmus struggled at the plate and missed significant time with injuries.
The St. Louis Cardinals signed reliever Brett Cecil to a four-year, $30.5-million contract, filling a massive void in their bullpen following injuries to Zach Duke and Tyler Lyons.
Cecil had a 3.93 ERA in 36 2/3 innings for the Blue Jays last season. He was slowed by a torn lat muscle but dominated down the stretch, tossing 3 2/3 scoreless innings in the playoffs.
He had a 2.90 ERA in four years as a full-time reliever in Toronto.
Duke is expected to miss all of next season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and Lyons has had off-season knee surgery that leaves him questionable for the start of the regular season.
The Toronto Blue Jays have finalized a three-year, $33-million contract with free agent Kendrys Morales, and say the deal lowers the chances that slugger Edwin Encarnacion will return next season.
The 33-year-old Morales hit 30 home runs with 93 RBIs while batting .263 for Kansas City last season.
Toronto also claimed right-hander Leonel Campos on waivers from San Diego. The 29-year-old pitched 25 times for the Padres over three seasons.
A person familiar with the decision says free agent right-hander Andrew Cashner has reached an agreement on a $10-million, one-year deal with the Texas Rangers.
Cashner finished last season with the Florida Marlins after the San Diego Padres traded him July 29. He was 5-11 with a 5.25 ERA in 28 games combined.
Cashner is a Texas native and 2008 first-round draft pick by the Chicago Cubs out of TCU, a campus about 20 miles from the Rangers’ ballpark.
The Royals signed veteran catcher Drew Butera to a $3.8 million, two-year contract, keeping him as the primary backup to four-time All-Star Salvador Perez. Butera will make $1.5 million this season and $2.3 million next season.
The 33-year-old Butera appeared in 56 games last season, setting career-bests with a .285 average, four homers and a .480 slugging percentage. He was at his best down the stretch, when the Royals were out of the playoff hunt, hitting.355 in the final 12 games of September and October.
The New York Yankees released utilityman Dustin Ackley and announced that injured pitcher Nathan Eovaldi was designated for assignment.
New York also traded left-hander James Pazos to the Seattle Mariners for minor league right-hander Zack Littell.
Right-hander Nick Rumbelow and lefty Joe Mantiply, recently acquired from the Detroit Tigers, were designated for assignment. Right-hander Branden Pinder was sent outright to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Ackley, the No. 2 pick in the 2009 amateur draft, batted .148 with no homers and four RBIs in 28 games last season. He tore the labrum in his right shoulder May 29 while diving back to first base on a pickoff attempt and needed season-ending surgery.
Eovaldi was expected to lose his roster spot because the right-hander will be sidelined next year as he recovers from major elbow surgery and can become a free agent following the 2017 season anyway.
The 25-year-old Pazos was 1-0 with a 13.50 ERA in seven relief appearances covering 3 1/3 innings last season. Littell, 21, went a combined 13-6 with a 2.66 ERA in 28 games (27 starts) with two Class A clubs. He had 156 strikeouts and 34 walks in 165 2/3 innings.
The Minnesota Twins have cut longtime third baseman Trevor Plouffe, the first significant move by new front office leaders Derek Falvey and Thad Levine.
Plouffe cleared waivers and has elected to become a free agent. The 30-year-old was a first-round draft pick of the Twins back in 2004. After struggling to earn a spot as a shortstop, he turned himself into a reliable third baseman with solid power.
Plouffe hit .247 with 96 home runs and 357 RBIs in seven seasons with the Twins. The move appears to open a spot at third base for young slugger Miguel Sano, who bounced around between designated hitter, third base and the outfield last year.
The Twins also outrighted catcher Juan Centeno off the 40-man roster. The team says outfielder Adam Brett Walker has been claimed off waivers by the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Tampa Bay Rays have traded infielder/outfielders Taylor Motter and Richie Shaffer to the Seattle Mariners for minor leaguers Dalton Kelly, Andrew Kittredge and Dylan Thompson.
Motter made his major league debut this year, batting .188 in 34 games over two stints with the Rays. Shaffer appeared in 51 games over the past two seasons, hitting.213.
Kelly is a 22-year-old first baseman who spent the past season with Class-A Clinton, where he hit .293 with 30 doubles, seven home runs and 58 RBIs. Kittredge, 26, and Thompson, 20, are right-handed pitchers.
Right-handed reliever Steve Geltz, who split last season between the Rays and Triple-A Durham, was designated for assignment. Left-hander John Lamb, acquired this month from the Cincinnati Reds for cash, was released.
The Texas Rangers have received left-hander David Rollins on a waiver claim.
Rollins was received by the AL West champion Rangers from the Chicago Cubs four days after the World Series champs had gotten the pitcher on a waiver claim from Seattle.
In 11 relief appearance for the Mariners last season, Rollins allowed eight runs over 9 1/3 innings. He spent the rest of the season with Triple-A Tacoma, going 5-0 with two saves and a 3.77 ERA in 37 games.
The New York Yankees traded veteran catcher Brian McCann and $11 million to the Houston Astros for a pair of young minor league pitchers.
Houston sent right-handers Albert Abreu and Jorge Guzman to the Yankees.
McCann is a seven-time All-Star, but his playing time diminished in the second half of the season as rookie Gary Sanchez emerged as a power hitter behind the plate. Sanchez hit 20 home runs in just 53 games.
The 32-year-old McCann hit .242 with 20 homers and 58 RBIs this year.
The Houston Astros have agreed to a two-year deal with free agent pitcher Charlie Morton.
The right-hander made just four starts last season for the Philadelphia Phillies before a torn left hamstring ended his year.
The 33-year-old has spent his entire nine-year career in the National League, where he played for the Atlanta Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates and Phillies.
Morton is 46-71 with a 4.54 ERA in his career. His best season came in 2011, when he pitched a career-high 171 2.3 innings in 29 starts and won a career-best 10 games.
New York Mets second baseman Neil Walker and Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Jeremy Hellickson have accepted $17.2-million qualifying offers, giving up free agency to stay with their teams.
Eight other free agents did not accept the offers by Monday’s deadline: outfielders Jose Bautista (Toronto), Yoenis Cespedes (Mets), Ian Desmond (Texas), Dexter Fowler (Chicago Cubs) and Mark Trumbo (Baltimore), designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion (Toronto); closer Kenley Jansen (Los Angeles Dodgers); and third baseman Justin Turner (Dodgers).
Walker and Hellickson still could be eligible for free agency again after next season.
Chris Heisey has agreed to a $1.4-million, one-year deal to return to the Washington Nationals.
A favorite of Nationals manager Dusty Baker, Heisey hit nine home runs in spot and pinch-hitting duties during the 2016 regular season. The 31-year-old hit a pinch-hit, two-run home run in Game 5 of the NL Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Heisey, a corner outfielder, has played six of his seven major league seasons for Baker, five with the Cincinnati Reds. He’s a.242 hitter with 61 home runs and 173 RBIs in his career.
The Seattle Mariners have acquired utility player Danny Valencia from the Oakland Athletics for minor league pitcher Paul Blackburn.
Valencia, 32, played four positions for Oakland last season and hit .287 with 17 home runs and 51 RBIs in 130 games.
Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto said Saturday that Valencia’s ability to play first and third base and left and right field gives manager Scott Servais a “welcome level of flexibility.”
Blackburn, 22, was 9-5 with a 3.27 ERA in 26 games in Double-A last season. Blackburn was acquired by Seattle in July as part of a trade with the Chicago Cubs that sent Mike Montgomery to the Cubs.
A person familiar with the situation says the Atlanta Braves have added another 40-year-old to their starting rotation, agreeing to terms with Bartolo Colon.
The one-year deal is reportedly is worth $12.5 million and is subject to a physical.
It comes one day after the Braves announced an agreement with 42-year-old R. A. Dickey.
Colon, 43, went 15-8 with a 3.43 ERA for the New York Mets in 2016. He was picked for the All-Star Game and became the oldest player in baseball history to hit his first career homer when he went deep at San Diego on May 7.
Dickey agreed to a one-year contract with an $8 million guarantee. The Braves have an $8-million option for 2018 for the 42-year-old right-hander. He was the first of the 158 free agents to switch teams this off-season.
Dickey is 110-108 with a 4.01 ERA in his career. He logged at least 200 innings five straight seasons from 2011 to 2015.
The Braves earlier re-signed righty Josh Collmenter (Central Michigan).
Lourdes Gurriel Jr., the younger brother of Houston Astros infielder Yulieski Gurriel, has agreed to a $22 million, seven-year contract with the Toronto Blue Jays.
According to the Blue Jays, the 23-year-old, primarily a shortstop and centerfielder, hit .344 with 17 doubles, 10 homers and 59 games in 2015, the last of his six seasons in Cuba’s Serie Nacional.
Gurriel became a free agent in August.
Yulieski Gurriel agreed to a $47.5 million, five-year contract with the Astros in July. The 32-year-old made his big league debut Aug. 21.
The Los Angeles Angels have re-signed right-handed reliever Andrew Bailey, 32, to a one-year deal. The Angels also designated outfielder Shane Robinson for assignment.
Bailey revitalized his career last season with the Angels, posting six saves with a 2.38 ERA in 12 appearances. He became Los Angeles’ closer after Huston Street’s season-ending injury.
The Angels also signed right-hander Jesse Chavez to a $5.75 million, one-year contract and designated outfielder Rafael Ortega for assignment.
Chavez went 2-2 with a 4.43 ERA in 62 games last season for the Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Dodgers. He pitched exclusively as a reliever at the start of his career and again last season, but also started 47 games over the 2014 and 2015 seasons for Oakland.
The Southern California native is joining his seventh team of a nine-year career in the big leagues.
Chavez is likely to compete for a spot in the Angels’ starting rotation, which has lost depth due to injuries. Matt Shoemaker (Eastern Michigan), Tyler Skaggs and Ricky Nolasco are also in the rotation along with ace Garrett Richards.
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Swiss sensation! See real snow from the comfort of a first-class seat aboard the thrilling Glacier Express train

Stuck in the middle of one of our drab, drearily mild winters I became desperate to see some real snow. Not a short sleety shower, but mountains of it, gleaming under clear blue skies. The Alps were calling and one trip had been beckoning for years — the Glacier Express, which climbs through the heart of Switzerland. Armed with two compact suitcases and an experienced tour guide, my wife and I set off with three dozen other travellers from the Eurostar terminal at St Pancras. Now, I've been nervous about group holidays ever since taking a safari where I was squeezed into a Jeep with a woman who provided a booming commentary of everything we saw. 'That lion's so cute! Ooo, look at the little elephant swing his darling trunk!' After two days, I was ready to eject her in front of a herd of stampeding buffalo. Fortunately there have been no recorded sightings of elephants on the Alps since Hannibal crossed them 1,800 years ago. So I felt reasonably safe embarking on this nine-night trip with Great Rail Journeys. And what a journey it was. After an overnight stop in the picturesque Alsace town of Colmar, we headed to our base for four nights, Brig in south-west Switzerland. Our first expedition was to fashionable Zermatt. We bypassed the clanking jewellery for the altogether more alluring prospect of a trip on the Gornergrat rack railway. At the 3,120-metre summit we ate lunch while looking out towards the Matterhorn — that intimidating white shard which has claimed the lives of more than 500 climbers. The next day it was Interlaken and then, via three trains which wended up through and beyond the clouds, to Jungfraujoch — at 3,454 metres the highest railway station in Europe. We stepped on to the viewing platform to be battered by bitter winds. The temperature was minus 12c and wind chill pushed that down to minus 24. Foolishly, I removed my gloves to take a couple of photographs and my hands began to go numb; my wife's phone shut down in protest at the cold. But nothing could take away the thrill of seeing snow-covered mountains peaking through the tops of the candyfloss layer of cloud to stand proud against the deep blue skies. The air was pure, the views breathtaking. Sensibly, the trips up Jungfraujoch and Gornergrat are optional extras, as with less favourable conditions there would be nothing to see. And so on to the highlight of our holiday — a first-class trip on the Glacier Express. The full length of this line takes you from Zermatt in the west to St Moritz or Davos in the east in a leisurely seven hours crossing 291 bridges and entering 91 tunnels on the way. Our journey on the world's slowest express train would take four-and-a-half hours from Brig to Switzerland's oldest town, Chur. The train is built for viewing the full panorama of the Alps scenery through extensive and beautifully clean windows (this is Swiss Railways, after all). As we rose through the mountains our carriage was permeated by sighs of joy as fresh sights unfolded each time we turned a corner or emerged from a tunnel. We were, our guide assured us, experiencing this journey at its very best. After weeks of overcast and dull weather, the clouds had cleared to cast the snow in stark relief against the blue skies. Blown snow crystals floated in the breeze twinkling magically in the bright sunlight. In the distance we could see huge icicles hanging precariously from rocks. It was over all too soon. The following morning we were off again, this time on the equally spectacular Bernina Express southwards to Poschiavo. The route took us over the Landwasser viaduct which stands 65 metres high and runs for 136 metres. Then up to more than 2,100 metres over the Bernina Pass. Here our guide alerted us to the watershed, where the Rhone heads in one direction towards France and the Rhine in the other towards Germany. Cue a cacophony of camera shutters as we sought to capture the exact moment our carriage passed the landmark. At this point, seeing the clear frozen lake Mrs Hazell squealed excitedly: 'Look! There's liquid ice!' Bemused glances were cast in our direction. Our holiday came to a perfect conclusion when snow arrived allowing us to use our free final day to trek through Christmas card woodland scenery. I not only survived a group holiday, I found it a sheer delight. We were blessed with experienced travellers and were not held up once by a straggler. From my fellow passengers I learned about photography and the dangers of taking a massage to alleviate skiing pains when you don't share the language of your host — think hot cups, acupuncture and cultural misunderstandings. A couple of tips. If you're a keen photographer, it's worth investing in a polarising filter to avoid reflections from the train windows. And pack light. You'll be hauling your case on and off trains to Switzerland. Once there, you'll have casual dinners with laidback people so can do without that party dress and dinner suit. Lastly, enjoy every minute.


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Moscow refutes criticism over aid for Syria — RT News

“It seems that the UK government has lost an objective view of what is happening in Syria, including Aleppo, due to Russophobia,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said on Saturday, noting that the UK has not sent “a single gram of flour, any medicine or blankets to help” civilians in Aleppo during the whole Syrian conflict.
“If the UK government really wants to send humanitarian aid to residents in the eastern neighborhoods [of Aleppo], it has all conditions for doing this, just tell us where it [the aid] has been held up. "
“If there is no such British humanitarian aid for Aleppo, then don’t obstruct others from helping,” he added.
According to Konashenkov, since November 28, Syrian troops have liberated almost half of Aleppo’s neighborhoods from terrorist and rebel militants.
More than 90,000 civilians have been rescued in these areas, he said, presenting statistics from the Russian Defense Ministry. Over 28,000 civilians, including 14,000 minors, have fled the rebel-controlled neighborhoods of east Aleppo, he added.
“All this time, the residents of the eastern neighborhoods [of Aleppo] have been receiving humanitarian aid, medicine, and warm clothes from the Russian Centre for Reconciliation and the Syrian government on a daily basis,” Konashenkov said.
On Wednesday, the Daily Mail reported that British Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokeswoman had claimed that Russia is, in effect, blocking aid intended for Aleppo’s civilians.
“The Syrian regime and their influencers [be it Russia, or others] are preventing aid” from reaching the city, she said, alleging that they are doing this in two ways.
“One, they [the influences], in a sense that the Syrian regime backed by Russia are not agreeing to a halt or a cessation of hostilities so that you can get aid in, so by that they are stopping it. Two, if you look at the actions they have taken at the UN Security Council, they vetoed a resolution that called for aid to be brought into Aleppo and to end the bombardment of Aleppo,” she said.
The Syrian army is currently engaged in a major operation to liberate eastern Aleppo from rebel militants and terrorists from Al-Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria that has recently renamed itself Jabhat al-Nusra.
This week saw a breakthrough for the Russian-backed Syrian operation to free eastern Aleppo, which has allowed tens of thousands of civilians in the recaptured districts to get access to humanitarian aid, Russia’s Defense Ministry reported on Tuesday.


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Zuma’s refusal to quit puts South Africa’s economy on an even weaker footing

Most recently calls for him to go were debated at the National Executive Committee of his governing party, the African National Congress (ANC). This is the body that runs the party between its five-yearly elective conferences.
This came after the country’s former public protector’s report on state capture carried allegations that Zuma may have known about the alleged abuse of his name by the Gupta family and may have actively sought to help the wealthy businessmen benefit from state procurement. He also faces allegations of corruption – some stretching back more than a decade. And the Constitutional Court earlier this year found that his conduct was “inconsistent” with certain sections of the constitution.
The fact that a bid to remove Zuma was staged in the NEC confirmed that there are differences of opinion within the ANC about the fate of the president. While the decision was blocked, the faction that wanted Zuma to go have made a powerful point. Things will never be the same again.
The ANC’s failure to remove the president or outline a plan to bring him to book suggests that the party is not serious about fostering accountability and fighting corruption even though these feature prominently in its official documents and manifestos. This does not bode well for confidence in the South African political system and economy.
The economy is the weakest link in the present situation. I believe the key focus post the NEC debate is going to be the battle over the control of the National Treasury, and secondly control over the economic cluster. This is a group of ministries that most acutely affect economic policies. They include the ministry of finance, trade and industry, economic development, tourism, small business development, public enterprises, public works, labour, energy and mineral resources, among others.
The first real danger is that Zuma chooses to purge ministers who were behind this week’s bid at the NEC to ask him to step down. These reportedly include Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, his deputy Mcebisi Jonas, tourism minister Derek Hanekom and public works minister Thulas Nxesi.
If Zuma wrests control of the National Treasury, and other ministries key to the economy, fiscal policy recklessness is expected to become the order of the day.
While the secretary general of the ANC Gwede Mantashe has said that the ministers who spoke against Zuma would not be purged, succession politics and attempts to control resources may result in unilateral presidential decisions to fire ministers without consultation. In South Africa, executive authority to chop and change the cabinet is vested in the president. As such, the president may act unilaterally without consulting his party, although the convention has been that the president first discusses cabinet positions with the ANC’s top leaders.
Zuma has acted unilaterally before. His decision a year ago to fireNhlanlha Nene as finance minister and replace him with someone who was virtually unknown shocked everyone including colleagues in the ANC. The decision, dubbed Nenegate, sent markets into a tailspin and Zuma was forced to backtrack.
The National Treasury is particularly vulnerable because so much rides on fiscal policy decisions. All cabinet positions are closely linked with control over resources. But control over the national fiscus – including budgeting and spending – is the most important because changes, or drift in fiscal policy invariably affect markets. The country should expect volatility. At best traders and investors might simply choose to remain on the sidelines. At worst the country could experience capital flight. There may also be risky speculation on the currency.
The question is: can anything be done? I believe so.
It’s time to engage. Politicians have proved again and again that the future and stability of the country cannot be left entirely to them. The ANC has said that it does not want to “hand over its comrades to ‘the enemy’”. This is close to defining the rest of society as its enemy. It is not clear how a governing party elected by the people on the basis of fighting corruption can trivialise as mere “negative narratives” serious allegations of misconduct and possibly corruption on the part of a president it has elected to the position on behalf of the nation. Is that not blatant abdication of responsibility?
South Africans need to safeguard the continuity of democratic principles. At the centre is impartiality and distribution of economic benefits on the basis of merit as well as the fundamental values of accountability and equality before the law as enshrined in the country’s constitution.
South Africans should not legitimise a system of “neopatrimonialism” where economic gains are linked to kinship or close relationships with rulers. It’s time for society wide renewal.
The real danger is that Zuma feels compelled to weaken the relative strength of the forces opposing his appointed successor in 2017.
As the saying goes in isiXhosa, ikhwelo lityala (“hearing the battle cry and remaining unresponsive is tantamount to treason”)!
This articles was first published in The Conversation


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Glorious English grapes! Spend a weekend tasting award-winning wine at the 40-acre Sussex vineyard that rivals Champagne

Row after row of lush green vines stretch as far as the eye can see. However, I'm not in Spain or South Africa, but a sunny vineyard in West Sussex. The Bolney Wine Estate was set up in the Seventies as a two-acre experiment. Four decades later, Bolney is still run by the same family, but now spans 40 acres on the edge of the South Downs near Haywards Heath, turning out 160,000 bottles per year. You may have tasted Bolney's produce. Last year, its pinot gris became the first English wine to be served at Wimbledon, and it made it into BA first-class cabins. But the estate has a charm that can't be bottled — and, thanks to a spectacular new visitor centre and growing programme of tours, tastings and masterclasses, there's never been a better time to visit. We are shown around by managing director and master winemaker Sam Lintner, whose parents founded the estate in 1972. We see the grapes being picked, and follow them on their journey to the sorting table and fermenting room. Then it's on to the visitor centre for a tasting under the tutelage of expert Nick Hutchinson. Sussex is best known for its sparkling white wine, which has just been granted protected regional status, putting it on a par with Champagne in France. But Bolney is one of the few English vineyards brave enough to produce reds, which tend to require warmer climates. We sample its award-winning pinot noir as well as sparkling white, sparkling rosé and even sparkling red, which apparently pairs well with Christmas pudding. All are accompanied by platters of local meats and cheeses. Tastings include everything from afternoon tea to chocolate and wine matching, or you can opt for a simple vineyard tour. And to extend the experience beyond the estate, head down the road to Ockenden Manor, a characterful Elizabethan hotel where you can sip Bolney wine in the cosy bar and Michelin-star restaurant, or simply watch the sun set from the spa. Of course, while West Sussex may officially be England's sunniest county, you can't always rely on the weather. Fortunately, the Bolney visitor centre includes a viewing platform offering a panorama of the vineyards come rain or shine. And you won't be able to leave without a few bottles from the well-stocked shop. You don't need to be a wine connoisseur to enjoy a visit to Bolney, but you'll certainly feel like one when you leave.


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Guest lineups for the Sunday news shows

Guest lineups for the Sunday TV news shows:
ABC's "This Week" — Vice President-elect Mike Pence; Gen. David Petraeus, former CIA director.
NBC's "Meet the Press" — To be announced.
CBS' "Face the Nation" — Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich; House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi; former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
CNN's "State of the Union" — Kellyanne Conway, former campaign manager for Donald Trump; Robby Mook, former campaign manager for Hillary Clinton.


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A glimpse into Jozi's rising street art culture

Cape Town - Street art is popping up all over Jozi, and the rest of South Africa for that matter. Durban, Cape Town and Joburg are street art hot spots and street artists and appreciators are fond of areas like Woodstock, Newtown and Troyville to name a few.
Drawing concern to the street art culture in Johannesburg is newly elected mayor Herman Mashaba's decision that street art bylaws should be redrafted in a fair and transparent process. This has caused negative reaction from street artists who believe street art excites, and if done correctly, should be encouraged.
For the time being, however, the city's current public arts policy encourages legal public street art, providing a valuable asset to Johannesburg that attracts tourists, empowers artists, generates business opportunities and even gains input and awareness from global brands like Strongbow.
A tourist attraction
Apart from creating a refreshed look for the city and empowering local artists, travellers get to explore the city in an authentic way. Jo Buitendach from Past Experiences explains Johannesburg as jam-packed with graffiti and street art making it 'the epicentre of the South African graffiti scene' with 'big, bright and colourful characters and letters snaking their way across the walls'.
Stencils, stickers and smaller scale street art projects can be seen throughout Joburg, but the majority of works in the city centre are tags, throw-ups and large scale murals. Suburban Johannesburg is filled with smaller scale graffiti, but the city centre takes pride in large scale masterpiece and promotes it as an attraction.
Past Experiences is Joburg's original walking tour company and is passionate about the growth of street art in Joburg. Statues, sculptures and murals can be found throughout Jozi and Soweto, breathing colour and life into the streets and its people.
Johannesburg attracts South African and international street artists to make their mark on the streets, creating a trendy bucket list item on the typical Jozi itinerary - a walking graffiti tour! Buitendach, who also writes a monthly for Street Art Global , distinguishes between two forms of street art. Public art is formal, paid for and commisioned by the government or corporates, and street art and graffiti are sometimes commisioned by precincts or people like Maboneng.
Taking a tour
Past Experiences do walking tours of both street art and public art in many different areas throughout the city centre. They also partner with a few graffiti artists who guide graffiti tours.
The most popular spots to scout for street art is Newtown, Jeppestown, Fairview, Maboneng, Braamfontein, Westdene and Troyeville. This can be explored by taking the Past Experiences walking tour.
You will see work by Myza420, Mars, Rasty, Tyke, Curio, Mein, Bias, Ryza, Riot, Drake and Tapz. International artists, Shepard Fairey, ABOVE, Atomik, TASSO, ROA and HERAKUT have also left their mark on the Jozi streets.
On special request, walking tours can be guided by street artists Mars and Bias - providing the real inside scoop of the art by the artists themselves.
Prices will vary based on duration and number of people. Keep an eye on Past Experiences for the January schedule.
Street Art festivals
Two major festivals decorate the street art calender. ' Back to City ' is a hip-hop and street culture festival which sees the Underpass pillars in the Newtown precinct painted by Joburg and Soweto’s leading and upcoming crews and artists. The next 'Back to City will take place on 27 April 2017.
The ' City of Gold Festival ' is an urban arts festival attracting local and international artists to produce large scale artworks. The festival takes place in October, but the 2017 festival date is yet to be confirmed.
What you can expect during a Past Experiences walking graffiti tour:
Click here to view full gallery
Commercial potential
In light of the rise of graffiti in Joburg, the apple cider drink Strongbow has teamed up with six talented local graffiti artists to add a bit of nature to the city walls.
Strongbow says their "passion for urban rejuvenation and their belief that nature is the ultimate refreshment" has led to the implementation of this project where four graffiti walls, three bridge pillars and seven high definition air-brushed walls have been refreshed by the team.
Local artists ranging from 25 to 35 years in age, who are 'serious about taking on the streets at all costs' were chosen. By partnering with Kabelo Kale, Managing Director of Keys Communications artists from townships and urban communities are empowered.
"It has been amazing to see our local artists bring their unique vision of natural beauty to life. I’m sure the local residents will agree that it has brought something new to the neighbourhood and has made these streets a pleasure to walk through,” says Kabelo.
Take a glimpse at some of the streetart that Strongbow has added to Jozi streets.
To see what Strongbow does next, keep an eye on the hashtag #NatureRemix
What to read next on Traveller24 :
- INFOGRAPHIC: Find your favourite street art spot
- PICS: Why every South African should visit Constitution Hill
- #UnlockYourCity: Unlocking Joburg


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Fidel Castro, Nico Rosberg the and the Standing Rock protest – the 20 photographs of the week

The mourning for Fidel Castro, Nico Rosberg’s triumph and retirement, the protests against the Dakota Access oil pipeline, the Colombia plane crash – the news of the week captured by the world’s best photojournalists


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Many CEOs believe technology will make people 'largely irrelevant'

Although artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and other emerging technologies may reshape the world as we know it, a new global study has revealed that the majority of CEOs now value technology over people when it comes to the future of their businesses.
The study was conducted by the Los Angeles-based management consultant firm Korn Ferry that interviewed 800 business leaders across a variety of multi-million and multi-billion dollar global organizations. The firm says that 44 percent of the CEOs surveyed agreed that robotics, automation and AI would reshape the future of many work places by making people "largely irrelevant".
The global managing director of solutions at Korn Ferry Jean-Marc Laouchez explains why many CEOs have adopted this controversial mindset, saying: "Leaders may be facing what experts call a tangibility bias. Facing uncertainty, they are putting priority in their thinking, planning and execution on the tangible -- what they can see, touch and measure, such as technology instruments".
According to Korn Ferry's study, a number of CEOs have allowed technology to occupy anywhere from 40 to 60 percent of their priorities when it comes to strategic focus, financial investment and their time. The firm also compiled a list of the top five assets of companies according to these CEOs which did not even list human talent as an asset and instead included Real Estate, Brand, Product / Service, R&D/ Innovation and Technology as the number one asset.
Laouchez offered his view on why human talent was not considered an asset by the CEOs surveyed, saying: "Putting an exact value on people is much more difficult, even though people directly influence the value of technology, innovation and products".
While artificial intelligence and robotics will play a huge role in the future of business, Korn Ferry believes that CEOs should not undervalue the creativity and influence that people can bring to a business.
Published under license from, a Future plc Publication. All rights reserved.
Photo Credit: pockygallery / Shutterstock


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Iggy Azalea flaunts VERY ample cleavage and womanly curves in velvet jumpsuit... as she braves FREEZING weather conditions for Minnesota concert

Temperatures were below freezing when Iggy Azalea hit the stage in Minnesota on Friday night. But that didn't stop the Australian rapper from flashing a generous amount of skin in a plunging velvet jumpsuit as she performed at the Mystic Lake Casino Hotel. The 26-year-old cut a striking figure as she showcased her curvaceous frame and ample assets in the revealing blue one-piece. Iggy wowed in the statement number, leaving very little to the imagination as she braved the -2 degrees Celsius (28.4 Fahrenheit) conditions. With more than a hint of cleavage on display, Iggy showed off her surgically-enhanced assets, the result of a boob job she underwent last year. The figure-hugging number showcased her sizeable derriere to perfection and drew attention to her enviable legs. Her long blonde tresses were worn in loose curls and left to cascade down her back to better showcase her physique. She kept her makeup dewy and natural as she belted out her top hits for the vying admirers. Iggy gave fans just a slight glimpse of her new sleeve tattoo, which was first unveiled last month. The abstract piece seems to feature a bird as the focal point, possibly a Kookaburra, which is native to Australia and New Guinea. Fans previously took to social media urging Iggy to fully reveal her new ink. 'Please show the other side of your tattoo,' one said, while another wrote: 'Take a picture of your new tattoo please.' The 26-year-old is yet to give any clues as to what inspired the latest addition to her growing number of tattoos.


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Britney Spears shines as she celebrates her 35th with a dazzling performance at the Jingle Ball

It’s her birthday and she will wow if she wants too. Britney Spears showed she is like a fine wine and getting better with age at the iHeartRadio Jingle Ball. The songstress was dressed to impress as she marked her 35th birthday with a stellar performance in Los Angeles, California. The pop star closed out a partially star-studded leg of the national tour - and looked amazing while doing it. While most people would chose to have a party or a nice meal to mark their birthday, Brit decided to celebrate it by working it for thousands of screaming fans. The Slumber Party star stepped out onto the Staples Center stage in a pair of short shorts, a bedazzled jacket with dramatic feather sleeves and a lace high neck top. Adding some extra sexiness to the outfit, the hitmaker also added some saucy fishnets and thigh high boots. Despite the rather intimidating footwear, the birthday girl danced across the stage with her male backup dancers doing their best to keep up. But while her presence already had fans screaming, they went into to overdrive as the star stripped off her jacket to reveal an even saucier look. Underneath was a cropped lace top which the feathered sleeves were actually connected to. The star also wore a corset like belt around her waist which helped to highlight her incredibly flat abs. The new look proved that while she is another year older, she is some of the best shape of her life. Perhaps in an ode to where it all began, the songstress wore her blonde locks up in a half up, half down 'do with two buns come pigtails on top. The style was very reminiscent of her Baby One More Time hair style back in the Nineties. While she had to work on her birthday, Britney appeared to be having a blast. Elevating her mood - literally and figuratively - was her hunky male dancers. During the performance the muscle-bound dancers lifted the star up as she hit her high notes. In addition to her little boost, the songstress gave the dancing her all, even rolling across the stage at one point. Fortunately Britney closed out the show as no doubt most stars would not have wanted to follow her performance. Earlier in the eveving Brit wore another look as she posed backstage DJ JoJO Wright. She was looking sensational in a sheer black lace top over a black bra and tight black pants. Britney wore a black fedora over her long blonde hair and rocked a smoky eye look and coral lip color. Also performing was Meghan Trainor who continued her sartorial festive theme on Friday. The singer, 22, wore a sparkly dark red dress with white cuffs as she channeled Santa Claus for the holiday concert. The dress featured a silver sparkly high collar. The singer paired the number with knee-high black boots. The All About That Bass hitmaker wore her long dark red locks loose and cascading in waves down her chest and falling almost to her waist. She wore a matching shade of lipstick and penciled in her brows with color that matched her hair. She completed her look with black mascara and a hint of blusher. Megan wore her look on stage as she belted out her hits. Joining Trainor and Spears at the event was One Direction's Niall Horan. The singer had mad his solo Jingle Ball the night before and seemed at ease on stage. The 23-year-old boybander cut a dash in dark skinny jeans with the bottoms rolled up, a button down shirt and a black zip up jacket left unfastened. He wore his hair styled in a front quiff and sported some designer stubble. He changed things up for his performance wearing a lightwash denim shirt. Singer Tinashe opted to put her substantial cleavage on display in a plunging black body suit. The corset-style bodice was paired with sheer tight-like shorts and over-the-knee black boots. The 23-year-old added a dark green plush jacket and a sparkly choker. Girl group Fifth Harmony joined in the fun evening en masse. The girls put their best feet forward as they posed for photos wearing an eclectic mix of costumes. Joining them on the red carpet were reality stars Nick Viall and JoJo Fletcher. Also on hand was model Barbara Palvin. Performer Daya, 18, rocked a black boob tube and black mini skirt covered with sheer black fabric. She added a long pale blue distressed denim jacket and embellished slip-on shoes. Her hair was worn scraped back from her face into a tight topknot and she was made-up with lashings of kohl and mascara around the eyes.


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Fugitive Ukrainian MP says he handed proof of Poroshenko ‘buying votes’ to US Justice Dept — RT News

Aleksandr Onyshchenko , a former MP in the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, known as a billionaire oligarch and professional showjumper who was going to represent the Ukrainian team at the 2016 Rio Olympics, fled the country this summer a week before being stripped of parliamentary immunity due to an investigation into a gas fraud scheme that he allegedly organized. He has been charged with embezzling tens of millions of dollars.
However, Onyshchenko, who insists that he is innocent and that there is no proof implicating him, has now responded with a bomb-shell leak that he claims proves there are enormous levels of corruption in Poroshenko’s government, with the sums involved dwarfing those he is accused of embezzling.
The leak, which Onyshchenko says he handed to American investigators on November 29, allegedly describes the inner workings of the Ukrainian parliament and Poroshenko’s cabinet. He accuses the president of bribing dozens of deputies in every key swing vote, with the sums sometimes exceeding $2 million per vote.
Some 70 MPs from different parties are selling their votes, Onyshchenko claims, with price tags varying from $20,000 to $100,000 per vote.
(Caption says: “There are three ways to influence a deputy’s vote. The first one is commercial (for cash). The second is crony-oligarchic (by agreement and exchange), and then there is criminal, when a deputy faces criminal charges as blackmail.” )
Ukrainian outlet, which ran an investigative piece based on Onyshchenko’s story and separate interviews with Ukrainian MPs, describes the MP as Poroshenko’s trusted ally and a key figure in the scheme. He allegedly acted as an intermediary, negotiating with the MPs, who would “sell” their votes to pass laws, approve nominations, draft budgets, or sack high-profile officials.
The oligarch says that he meticulously collected emails, and even secretly recorded Poroshenko giving detailed orders with his hand watch. Onyshchenko also seems well-prepared for a legal battle, claiming that his email and phone exchanges have already been verified by British experts.
“You will hear the voice of the guarantor [of the Constitution] so that all your illusions on [his] love for the state, Ukraine, the people, disappear. After all, I walked hand in hand with [Poroshenko] for two years, and know him well,” Onyshchenko was quoted as saying by the newspaper Ukrainian Pravda.
While the runaway MP said that he handed the evidence over to “US special services” at a meeting in Europe without elaborating, an image posted by the outlet shows several piles of printed pages, one of which has been signed by the US Department of Justice and another by its German counterpart. One paper relates to a November 29 meeting between Onyshchenko, his lawyer, a prosecutor from the US Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and several agents from Homeland Security Investigations, where the supposed handoff of documents took place.
Kiev has dismissed the allegations, soon accusing Onyshchenko of working for Moscow. The Ukrainian security service SBU claims that he prepared “a massive information attack on [Ukrainian] authorities as part of a strategy developed by the Russian side,” KyivPost reported.
Ironically, the MP, who is seeking British asylum, has also been accused of trying to gain Russian citizenship.
On Thursday, the SBU said that it has launched a pretrial investigation to see if there are grounds to charge Onyshchenko with high treason.
While the oligarch did not explain in detail why he chose to hand the evidence over to US investigators, Onyshchenko told the Ukrainian Pravda the following:
“[I’ll] let them [the investigators] deal with Poroshenko. That’s why, unfortunately for Poroshenko, these are American special services and not Russian.”
In an additional plot twist, Onyshchenko is said to be friends with Donald Trump, whom he vocally supported in the run-up to the US election and personally congratulated after the US President-elect’s win.


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Colombian town bans catcalling after women fed up with wolf whistling and lewd comments take a stand against the unwanted attention

Catcalling has been banned in a town after fed-up women took a stand against being constantly harassed. Authorities in the Colombian town of Timbio, in the south-western department of Cauca, issued bizarre signs calling for an end to unwanted compliments, whistling and rude comments to the female residents following a number of complaints. Mayor Libardo Vasquez approved the move to place signs in strategic places around the town including the local park, the market, football fields, taxi ranks, and around the police station. Scroll down for video These places are where the majority of the catcalling is said to have taken place. One sign warns that: 'The phrases you call compliments are actually street harassment which attacks and intimidates women.' Another adds: 'A gallant gentleman does not harass women in the street, please make Timbio a safe place for them.' The decree, number 120, was issued on November 25, and states: 'These measures are taken to prevent forms and types of violence and discrimination against women such as street harassment,' adding that this includes 'whistles and phrases said in bad taste '. It is reported that of the 33,833 inhabitants of Timbio, 51.7 percent are women. Reports were optimistic about the effects of the signs, suggesting that it would lead to 'pedagogical corrections' instead of fines and possible jail sentences.


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Counter: Vegan new school, Casa Vega old school

How it got to be December is anyone’s guess, but here we are, in the lull between one holiday and the next. Which means it’s a great time to take a break from baking cookies and figuring out what to get Luke Walton for Christmas, and get back to exploring this town’s complex and glorious restaurant scene.
If you need a break from heavy holiday food, maybe try Erven, the subject of Jonathan Gold’s latest review. It’s vegan, it has things called “slurpables,” and it has sauerkraut-stuffed doughnut holes. Yeah, yeah, I know, but Jonathan really liked them. Beer-battered tofu sandwiches not your thing? Then head to Casa Vega, where you can get the kind of old-school Mexican cooking that the Vega family has been making for 60 years. Or go over to the mall, yes the mall, for a fantastic bowl of ramen. Or to a new food truck from a haute cuisine chef. Fun times.
– Amy Scattergood
Chef Nick Erven is maybe not the guy you’d expect to open a vegan restaurant — one of his popular dishes at Saint Martha was steak tartare with oysters — but here he is in Santa Monica at Erven , a plant-based restaurant that, writes our restaurant critic, may be the best vegan place in town. “Los Angeles is at the moment smack in the age of vegetable-focused cooking,” Gold writes. Order the savory doughnut holes.
When you can get a taco with uni or confit duck hearts at your favorite taco truck, sometimes it’s easy to overlook the old-school Mexican restaurants in this town. Food writer Jo Stougaard opens the doors of Casa Vega, which has been making enchiladas and margaritas in the San Fernando Valley for six decades. Christy Vega Fowler and her father, 82-year-old Rafael “Ray” Vega, have made sure that their family restaurant isn’t going anywhere.
Among the many chefs from other cities, particularly New York, who are making their way to our horizontal town? Daniel Humm, the celebrated chef from Eleven Madison Park and NoMad, which Humm is opening in L. A. sometime next year. But before that happens, Humm is already cooking here in L. A. — he’s opened a NoMad food truck , and is making fancy burgers and hot dogs. Of course he is.
In her weekly restaurant news column , Jenn gets details on the latest expansion of Tsujita, the great Hakata-style ramen shop on Sawtelle Boulevard. The new Tsujita is opening in Glendale’s Americana at Brand. Fantastic news for those of us who love noodles way more than shopping. (Maybe the crowds will split between Tsujita and Din Tai Fung.) In other news, chef David Lentz is closing two of his three Hungry Cat seafood restaurants; happily for us all, the original in Hollywood isn’t going anywhere.
Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurants , the authoritative annual guide to local dining, is online for subscribers and now features his 2016 Best Restaurants. If you didn’t get a copy of the booklet, you can order one online here.


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Hot Property: Now you see it, now you don't

Say what? We’re shaking our heads this week over some Southern California real estate offerings, which is OK because we needed the post-Thanksgiving exercise. In an “Is that Photoshopped?” moment, we stumbled across the listing for actor Bob Newhart’s old address — except we couldn’t recognize the place.
And one of our lingering fears was realized: We should have shunned newspapering for sports talk radio — apparently there’s better money there. Check out the $14-million home in Irvine one host just listed.
– Neal J. Leitereg and Lauren Beale
The site of comedian Bob Newhart’s former Bel-Air home is for sale at $25.95 million. That’s it, just the more than one-acre lot. The 9,169-square-foot house, which he sold earlier this year for $14.5 million, is gone.
Designed by noted architect Wallace Neff and built in 1941, the French country-style house had five bedrooms, seven bathrooms and five fireplaces. The formal gardens, lagoon-style swimming pool, outdoor entertaining areas and a pavilion also were removed.
The razing of older homes to erect modern mansions is happening all over the Westside, where location and acreage often exact higher prices than a structure — no matter how storied. But $10 million more for tearing the house down? Wow.
Jim Rome, host of the syndicated sports radio show bearing his name, has put his home in Irvine on the market for $13.995 million.
The Italian villa-style mansion, built in 2007, sits on nearly an acre in Orange County’s Shady Canyon community.
Among noteworthy features: Rows of French doors reveal a panoramic golf course and mountain views, the formal living room is topped by a barrel ceiling and a wood-paneled lounge area holds a game room, a gym and a speakeasy-style bar. There’s also a six-car garage.
Sketch comic and actor Keegan-Michael Key, of Comedy Central’s “Key and Peele” fame, has sold his home in the historic Los Feliz neighborhood for $1.48 million.
The eye-catching rust-colored house sits up from the street and is entered through a gated courtyard. Sliding glass doors off the living room open to a balcony that spans the length of the second floor. The top-floor master suite has a glass-enclosed shower and a soaking tub.
Outdoors, there’s a swimming pool with a spa and a waterfall.
The house previously sold a decade ago for $1.255 million.
Before “Mission Impossible” became a movie franchise, it was a 1960s and ’70s television show. Veteran television, theater and film actress Barbara Bain, who played sexy Cinnamon Carter on the hit series, just sold her home in the Mid-Wilshire area of Los Angeles for $1.675 million.
The Spanish-style house, built in the 1920s and since updated, has a contemporary feel with dark wood and polished concrete floors, white walls and coffered ceilings. Within more than 1,750 square feet of interior space are a living room with a fireplace, a formal dining room, an eat-in kitchen, three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
Tropical landscaping, a swimming pool and spa and a detached guest house complete the grounds.
Bain, 85, won a trio of Emmy Awards for her role in the “Mission: Impossible” television series. This year, she appeared in the film “Silver Skies” and the medical TV drama “Code Black.”
Richard Riordan, who served eight years as L. A.’s 39th mayor, has bought an estate in Ojai for $5.7 million.
The nearly 60-acre site includes a Spanish-inspired main house, a second home, a foreman’s cottage, a studio and orchards.
A wine vault has a tasting room, and a separate entrance opens to the patio. A two-stall barn and three horse corrals are among the equestrian features.
Riordan, 86, was elected mayor of Los Angeles in 1993, succeeding Tom Bradley.
Former San Diego Chargers Coach Norv Turner sold his three-bedroom condominium in the Mission Beach area for $1.35 million.
Set on the top floor of a beachfront building, the condo has a kitchen with a breakfast bar, a family room and a dining room. Most impressive, however, are the views from the two beach-facing decks.
Turner, 64, coached the Chargers to a 56-40 record during his time with the team. He bought the property four years ago for $1.2 million.
Ten years ago, singer Ashlee Simpson sold her Encino home for $5.7 million. Of note, the 2,200-square-foot master suite contained a 700-square-foot closet. She had bought the 9,000-square-foot place a year earlier for $4.5 million.
Twenty years ago, Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks and his wife, actress Rita Wilson, bought a 4,000-square-foot fixer-upper in Pacific Palisades for its asking price of $3.2 million.
Also 20 years ago, the Brentwood townhouse of Nicole Brown Simpson went into escrow for its asking price of $595,000. The townhouse had been on and off the market since before Simpson and Ronald Goldman were murdered on the walkway in June 1994.
Thirty years ago, actor and comedian Richard Pryor purchased a home in Bel-Air for slightly less than $3.5 million. The newly built Santa Fe-style house had a walk-in fur and jewelry vault. The property had rolling lawns, a sunken tennis court, a one-bedroom guest house and a swimming pool.
— About 20,000 people and businesses own property on Palm Springs’ Agua Caliente Indian Reservation. Rosalie Murphy of the Desert Sun looks at what could happen when their lease agreements begin to expire.
— U. S. housing prices have fully recovered from their steep plunge during the housing bust and Great Recession, according to Standard & Poor’s CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index. And while overall they are slightly above the peak set in July 2006, prices have not fully rebounded in all cities.
— Be careful when leaving property to heirs that you don’t trigger extra taxes. L. A. Times columnist Liz Weston looks at options to consider in her Money Talk column. When in doubt, consult an experienced estate planning attorney.
For more luxury real estate, visit us at the Hot Property blog and follow us on Twitter and Instagram .


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Casino opening marks start of NY's bet on upstate gambling

NICHOLS, N. Y. (AP) — The first of four planned casinos opened with a flurry of balloons, confetti and uncertain visions of economic resurgence on Friday as New York ushered in a new era of state-sanctioned gambling aimed at reversing decades of upstate decline.
Big questions remain, however, as to whether the state’s bet on gambling will lead to the jobs and economic activity hoped for by state and local officials.
With 944 slot machines, 33 table games and an adjacent 161-room hotel under construction, Tioga Downs Casino is the first casino to open in New York since voters authorized state-regulated gambling facilities in 2013. It will soon be joined by gambling halls in Schenectady, the Finger Lakes and the Catskills. New York’s Indian tribes already operate five Vegas-style casinos.
Republican state Sen. Fred Akshar said more money is going to flow into local schools.
“We’re creating jobs, hundreds of jobs,” Akshar said at Friday’s ribbon-cutting at Tioga Downs, located in the small town of Nichols, in the state’s Southern Tier.
Thanking the casino’s owner, he said, “You have planted the seed of hope.”
But with dozens of similar facilities liberally sprinkled around the U. S. Northeast, casinos are no longer the economic silver bullet they once were considered. And more are coming, not just in New York: Casinos are opening in Maryland, Massachusetts, Delaware, Rhode Island and elsewhere, leading some gambling analysts to question whether the market is saturated.
“The days of really large facilities that attract from a very wide market have left us,” said University of Nevada-Reno Professor Mark Nichols, who researches the economics of casinos. “They’re certainly not going to bring those areas back to their former glory.”
Tioga Downs has a racetrack and operated an electronic gambling hall before state regulators awarded it a license to expand into a resort casino with Las Vegas-style table games like poker and blackjack. Projections are that it will create 800 jobs and generate $32 million in annual government revenue.
Owner Jeff Gural said that it will primarily serve customers from within 50 miles and that building a larger casino wouldn’t have made financial sense given the market. The state board that recommended Tioga for a casino license cited its more modest size as a benefit.
The Southern Tier is a broad swath of rolling hills nestled against Pennsylvania. IBM, military contractors and the Endicott-Johnson shoe company once employed tens of thousands of people in the area, but government contracts dried up, factories moved out and between 1980 and 2005 manufacturing jobs in Binghamton, 30 miles east of Nichols, dropped more than 55 percent.
Dozens of local residents and business owners came out to celebrate Tioga’s opening Friday. Radio station owner Dave Radigan said one casino can’t reverse decades of economic decline. But to an area tired of hearing bad economic news, he said, it comes down “jobs, lots and lots of jobs.”
Opponents who lost the fight to stop the state’s gambling expansion say casinos aren’t a strategy for revitalizing struggling areas because they tend to cater to area residents who would otherwise spend money on local restaurants and entertainment options.
Stephen Shafer, chairman of the Coalition Against Gambling in New York, said gambling addiction is also a serious concern.
“Society loses in the long run,” he said, “when a casino comes to town.”
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Wastewater leaks at plant destroying chemical weapons

PUEBLO, Colo. (AP) — About 450 gallons of hazardous wastewater leaked from a tank at a Colorado plant where chemical weapons are being destroyed, the Army said Friday.
There was no threat to workers or nearby communities from the Nov. 20 spill at the Pueblo Chemical Depot, officials said. The wastewater was confined to a containment area and cleaned up, site project manager Gregory Mohrman said in a written statement.
The wastewater was primarily salty water called hydrolysate, produced when mustard agent is neutralized with hot water and a caustic chemical, said Sandy Romero, a spokeswoman for Bechtel Corp., the lead contractor on the project.
The waste contained no mustard agent, she said.
The wastewater leaked when seals on a tank failed, Mohrman said. The plant shut down while the cause of the failure is investigated, and no startup date has been set.
The highly automated, $4.5 billion plant is destroying about 780,000 shells filled with 2,600 tons of mustard agent under an international treaty. The plant began operating this year and is expected to finish in 2020.
Mustard agent can maim or kill by blistering skin, scarring eyes and inflaming airways.
It is a thick liquid, not a gas as commonly believed. It is colorless and almost odorless but got its name because impurities made early versions smell like mustard.
Separately, officials said they were investigating how rainwater leaked through a liner in another containment area at the plant on Nov. 23. The area was not in use at the time.
The rainwater did not get into the plant’s neutralization process, Romero said in an email.
Mohrman said state officials were notified at the time of each incident.
Asked why the broader public was not notified until Friday, Romero said officials initially thought the plant would resume operations sooner.
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Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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General Tso's Chicken inventor dies at 98

NEW YORK -- The chef credited with inventing General Tso’s Chicken, a world-famous Chinese dish smothered in a sweet sauce that was never a staple in China, has died in Taiwan at 98. Peng Chang-kuei died of pneumonia last Wednesday in Taipei, his son, Chuck Peng, told The Associated Press. He was still cooking in the family’s Taipei restaurant kitchen just a few months ago. Peng first brought the sticky, sweet and spicy dish to New York about 40 years ago.
The inventor of General Tso's chicken died at age 98. CBSN's Kristine Johnson has more on the iconic dish and the man behind it.
It’s now on Chinese restaurant menus across the United States, exploding in popularity after President Nixon visited China in 1972. The dish also reportedly became a favorite of famed statesman Henry Kissinger, who with Nixon helped open the communist country to the West, spotlighting its culture and food. But General Tso’s chicken was never part of the Chinese culinary tradition. The chef created the dish in the 1950s in Taiwan, where he fled in 1949 with Chiang Kai-shek after the communists took over, said Chuck Peng, speaking from his home in Taipei. In Taiwan, the chef helped welcome the commander of the U. S. Navy’s 7th Fleet in the Pacific with a banquet that included the new culinary creation named after a 19th-century Chinese military leader from Peng’s native Hunan Province.
The U. S. is home to more than 40,000 Chinese restaurants, but what's in your local take-out order bears little resemblance to the many types of c...
By the 1970s, he was in New York running a restaurant named after himself near the United Nations on Manhattan’s East Side. Kissinger was a frequent guest, said Chuck Peng. “General Tso’s Chicken is so famous because of Henry Kissinger, because he was among the first to eat it, and he liked it, so others followed,” said Peng. Americans quickly took to what is now a mound of deep-fried chunks of floured chicken, smothered in sweetness that usually includes soy sauce, sugar, ginger and other spices. In the dish’s first incarnation, the chicken reportedly was not fried, and its unsweetened flavor came from garlic, soy sauce and chilis. The story of the delicacy is told in a 2014 documentary called “The Search for General Tso,” which traces the roots of Chinese food in America through the iconic dish. Chuck Peng runs the family’s chain of 10 restaurants in Taiwan, all called Peng’s. Until he was hospitalized a few months ago, his son said Peng was a daily presence at their flagship Taipei restaurant which opened after the chef left New York in 1983. The restaurant space on East 44th Street was later occupied by a steakhouse that also is gone. “My father thought other people’s cooking was no good,” his son said, chuckling. “The way he cooked was different, it was much better.” While he was “very good to other people, he was very hard on his family” - seven children from three mothers. “He was very demanding, he didn’t want us to make any mistakes.” Some of Peng’s hundreds of students plan to attend his funeral on Dec. 15 in Taipei.


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Air Products' first employee turns 100

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) - Many know that Air Products began with one man’s vision and energy. Not so well known is that a young college graduate’s willingness to work for peanuts also played a role in the company’s success.
That young man was Frank E. Pavlis - Air Products’ first employee. He turned 100 on Oct. 29 and with that milestone came a flood of memories about Air Products’ founder, the late Leonard P. Pool, and the legacy he would leave.
Pavlis was completing his master’s degree in engineering at the University of Michigan when Pool, an entrepreneur about 10 years his senior, shared with him a big idea about selling industrial gases.
“He said, ‘When are you going to come to work for me?’” Pavlis recalled during a recent visit at the South Whitehall Township home of Pool’s niece, Anne Pool Miller, and her husband, Clair Miller.
Pavlis, who already had a job offer at Shell Oil Co. that fit well with his studies in petroleum engineering, was startled by Pool’s recruiting pitch.
“I thought to myself, if somebody wants to hire me so vigorously as this Leonard Pool, maybe it’s a good idea that I should accept the challenge,” he said.
So in 1940, Pavlis became chief engineer at the newly christened Air Products in Detroit. And he came at a bargain, agreeing to work for $3 day.
“Mr. Pool,” as Pavlis then called him, wanted the young engineer to design an affordable oxygen generator.
“I said, ‘Who’s going to build this plant that I design?’” Pavlis recalled. “He said, ‘You will.’”
Invested in Pool’s vision, Pavlis worked with him on what would become the foundation of the company’s product line. He essentially implemented Pool’s idea, which was to derive pure oxygen out of ordinary air and store it in cylinders that could to be transported for hospital and military use.
From those humble beginnings, Air Products would grow to become one of the world’s biggest producers of industrial gases. And Pavlis would launch a successful and fulfilling career with the only company he would ever work for.
The Pool family never forgot Pavlis’ contribution.
“If it hadn’t been for him,” Pool Miller said, “I don’t think there would have been an Air Products.”
The company started as the Great Depression was receding and World War II raged overseas. A year later, the United States joined the Allies, and the oxygen Air Products produced was needed for high-altitude flights. To meet the aviation demands, the government paid for the company’s move to a much larger facility in Chattanooga, Tenn.
From Tennessee, Air Products made its final move to the Trexlertown area of Upper Macungie Township after the war. That proved beneficial for Air Products because of the close proximity to New York City and Washington, D. C., and a large customer in Bethlehem Steel Corp.
Pool, Pavlis and others who started the company could not have predicted such a robust future, with Air Products becoming one of the Lehigh Valley’s two Fortune 500 companies (PPL Corp. is the other). As of its last earnings report, the company boasted annual sales of $9.5 billion, assets of $18.1 billion and a worldwide workforce of 18,600 in 50 countries, including about 3,000 in the Lehigh Valley.
A collage in Pool Miller’s home holds portraits of Pool; his first wife, the late Dorothy R. Pool; Pavlis; and Carl R. Anderson, an early Air Products executive who died in 1994. Pool Miller said the three men and her father, the late George F. Pool, Leonard’s younger brother, were known as the “Big Four” at Air Products.
The Pool brothers “thought the world of Frank and also Mr. Anderson,” Pool Miller said.
Because neither Leonard and Dorothy Pool nor Pavlis and his wife, Ethel, who died in 2002, had any children, “Air Products was their baby,” Pool Miller said.
Pool, who died in 1975, left a legacy not only in Air Products but with his philanthropy.
He spearheaded formation of Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest in Salisbury Township in the 1970s with a $5 million donation and a vision of a regional hospital that would keep people from having to leave the Lehigh Valley for cancer treatments, as Dorothy had to do. The Pools’ spirit also remains alive in two nonprofit organizations, the Rider Pool Foundation and the Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust. Air Products has carried on that tradition, earning a reputation as a good and generous corporate citizen.
In the office, Pool had a different reputation, according to Pavlis. He was the boss workers could love and hate in the same day.
Before approaching Pool, employees would often stop by Pavlis’ desk and ask, “What mood is the boss in today?”
“So I’d say, ‘Well, he’s in a good mood so far,’” said Pavlis, who learned to read his boss over the years.
Pool could be helpful but also grouchy.
“He was a strange man to work for,” Pavlis said, adding that he appreciated Pool’s confidence in him.
One of the more unusual moves Pool made was to name Pavlis company treasurer during Air Products’ early years. Pavlis questioned the appointment, because he was a man of science, not finance.
“I asked him, ‘Why do you want me to be a treasurer?’” Pavlis recalled. “He said, ‘Anybody who can live on $3 a day can be a treasurer.’”
During his 40 years with the company, Pavlis rose through the executive ranks, joining the board of directors in 1952. He became vice president for engineering and finance, retiring in 1980 as vice president for international/world trade.
These days, Pavlis lives in an assisted living facility near Allentown. He said he doesn’t keep close track of his old company, though he’d welcome a chat with Seifi Ghasemi, who was named Air Products’ chairman, president and CEO in 2014.
“I’m surprised that the new president hasn’t made arrangements to have a conversation with me, because of my historical background,” Pavlis said. “But since I retired, I don’t have any acquaintances with the modern people.”
Pavlis said he still holds Air Products stock and donates to his alma maters, Michigan and Michigan Technological University, where he earned his undergraduate engineering degree. In 2014, Michigan Tech opened a new school named for him: Pavlis Honors College, where students are “inspired to lead, create, and travel their own path,” and to “become the next generation of scholars who make a difference.”
As a centenarian, Pavlis is finding it more difficult to walk, see and hear. But he is blessed with a sharp mind, a positive outlook, and fond memories.
“I traveled the world five times,” he said, noting that his globe-trotting came during his Air Products’ days and in retirement. Those miserly wages he agreed to in 1940 paid off exponentially.
Information from: The Morning Call,


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Orthodox monastery adds specialty coffee roastery

SOUTH CANAAN, Pa. (AP) - Faintly at first, a crackling sound leaks from the roasting drum as green coffee beans turn a light amber color behind a small, round window.
Father Innocent Neal, a Russian Orthodox priest who looks the part with a full brown beard and gentle eyes, draws a short, narrow scoop from the churning drum and inhales, seeking sensory milestones from the beans.
Wet grass, then hay, then bread, he explains, are the scent stages that lead to a perfect roast. The beans in the metal scoop smell more like wet grass, so he slides it back in place to continue roasting.
The clergy at St. Tikhon’s Bookstore in Waymart, Wayne County, the nation’s largest Orthodox bookstore, and printing press, started Burning Bush Coffee Roasters in January. Since then, the monks embraced roasting and became experts.
The name Burning Bush Coffee Roasters derives meaning from the Old Testament story of Moses and the burning bush that Christianity says signaled the eventual holy conception in Mary - both perfect vessels unconsumed by the fire inside them.
Father Innocent, who like other orthodox clergy prefers to be called by first name only, manages the bookstore. A longtime coffee aficionado, he roasted coffee in small batches long before considering it could supplement the bookstore sales - a business to support the ministry of 12 monks who live and work at the Monastery of St. Tikhon of Zadonsk and teach at the affiliated St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary across the street.
Founded in 1905, St. Tikhon’s is the country’s oldest orthodox monastery.
“Father Innocent was roasting at home, and he’d share it with us every now and then,” said Father Daniel Armstrong.
The monks and the priest began stewing up a way to convince their abbot, Father Igumen Sergius, to green-light a commercial roastery in the already-busy bookstore and printing press operation.
It was easier than expected.
“Somehow, it all just fell into place,” said Father Daniel, who had the initial task of pitching to the abbot.
With the abbot’s blessing, they needed a hand up to get the roasting started.
Enter Father Alexis Baldwin, a priest who grew up in southeast Mississippi and graduated from St. Tikhon’s seminary in 2013. During his schooling, Father Alexis ran the seminary kitchen and catered events for the monastery.
He also spent more than a decade working in the coffee business, and even now at his ministry post in Aiken, South Carolina, near the Georgia border, he works part-time roasting for an independent chain of coffee shops.
After learning about St. Tikhon’s newest endeavor, Father Alexis lent his expertise and visited for a day and a half to help Father Innocent get familiar with the roaster and hone their style.
Their de facto roastmaster, Brother Stephen Lindell, tracks each 10-minute roast with a MacBook Pro laptop, watching temperatures drop when he introduces the beans, then slowly rise to the optimal temperature determined by where the coffee grew.
Tracking each roast helps them tweak the process, he explained.
Burning Bush roasts 10 pounds at a time, and just 80 to 100 pounds per week. The monks sell hot coffee from the bookstore for $1 a cup, and also in 12-ounce, one-pound and five-pound packages from the store and online at The coffee costs around $15 for a one-pound package, depending on variety. Burning Bush also has its own Monastery Blend roasted with South American and African beans.
Using a scale and a filter in a ceramic cone, Father Daniel pours water from a long-necked kettle over freshly ground coffee weighed to the gram. A timer ticks off the seconds, keeping his pour on pace for single, perfect cup.
“We don’t roast dark,” Father Innocent said, just before Brother Stephen opens the hatch to let a fresh batch of Ethiopian beans pour from the drum. “What we’re really trying to do is bring out the characteristics of the bean.”
This particular batch, from the Hambela Farm in the south central part of the African country, has a clean taste with notes of berry, citrus and baking cocoa.
“It’s really fun working with them,” said Ricky Balzac, of the Balzac Brothers and Co., Burning Bush’s importer in Charleston, South Carolina. “They’re happy to do business and buy responsibly.”
Balzac’s brother, Brendan, handles the Burning Bush account.
Ricky Balzac described an extensive sampling process in which he, his brother, sister, father and other staff first roast a sample from a courting grower.
Then, if they like the coffee and agree on a price, they receive and roast a second sample before shipment. When their full order arrives, they again roast another sample to taste.
Balzac’s great-grandfather started the company in New York in 1917.
“They would literally get on a boat, go to Columbia, pick up some coffee and bring it back,” he said. “It was a little bit simpler in some ways back then.”
Now, they import coffee from around the world for a more demanding market.
“We sort of see the industry moving more toward specialties,” Balzac said. “It’s kind of like the brewing industry in that there’s all these micro-roasteries popping up everywhere, and they all want different coffees, and they all want to know the different stories of each of those coffees.”
Burning Bush is the only orthodox roastery among their 200 or so customers that include coffee shops and home roasters, he said.
Specialty coffee is a natural muse for orthodox clergy.
Father Alexis and his wife, a self-employed music therapist, both work multiple jobs. They have four boys, all under age 7. The sounds of their sons playing echoed in the background as he spoke on the telephone.
“Coffee is a very important part of our lives,” he said. “It’s such a joyful thing.”
Information from: The Citizens’ Voice,


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Pittsburgh's noisy rooster doing great with St. Louis family

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The story of the Wylie Avenue rooster ended happily on the afternoon of Nov. 20. Frank Cantone and his two daughters returned to the scene in the Hill District after all the media folks had left.
The rooster had been oddly absent in the morning, but he was right there on Henry Gaston’s property at 4 p.m. It’s where inspectors have seen him - citing Mr. Gaston multiple times for violating a city ordinance prohibiting roosters. It’s where neighbors fed him, where he could be spotted almost any given day. But he had always evaded capture.
The Cantones were there to relieve Mr. Gaston of his legal burden and to save the rooster from possible harm. They run a chicken rescue operation in St. Louis and read about Mr. Gaston’s appearances in District Judge Oscar Petite’s courtroom in my stories published in July and September. At the Nov. 2 hearing, Mr. Gaston had run out of time. He was to have been fined. But a phone message to the court from Mr. Cantone saved the day. Judge Petite called him back and told him that if he could catch the bird, Mr. Gaston could avoid a fine.
The Nov. 20 story of the capture lacked details. When Mr. Cantone texted “We got him” at 4:30 p.m. I called him, got the essence and called the newsroom, informing the editor that Felicity, the 10-year-old, had made the catch after a four-block chase. That’s what I had understood Mr. Cantone to say. But here’s how it really went down:
“He was on the property, and Lindsey (who is 12) and I went to get him and he got away,” Mr. Cantone said.
The rooster headed across Roberts Street, then north, with the Cantones in pursuit. On the other side of Webster Avenue, Lindsey and her dad ran ahead of Felicity, who saw the rooster dart under a bush.
“I heard Felicity yelling, ‘Daddy, Daddy, he’s right here!’ If she hadn’t seen where he went, we’d have lost him,” Mr. Cantone said.
“He was under the bush, worn out. That’s one of the keys to catching a chicken is to wear them out. When I reached in to get him he moved and I scooped him up.”
The Cantones first arrived at the property Saturday evening along with TV crews and reporters. Mr. Cantone thinks the rattling of the cage spooked the bird high into a tree, and by Sunday morning, when everyone returned, it was either smart enough to lie low or someone was harboring it. The Cantones decided to try again later, alone.
Sometimes, when I talk to journalism students, they ask how I find stories. Sometimes, they fall into your lap.
Last July, I was interested in a particular case in Judge Petite’s court, and while waiting for it, I was focusing on my Sudoku app. I heard a woman mention “that rooster” on the property across the street from her. I put my phone away and listened, and when the hearing was over, I got that rush every reporter feels when she has a delightful, oddball story that will have everyone talking.
In September, Mr. Gaston was back in court. He was supposed to have caught the rooster. He said he couldn’t. He said he doesn’t even own the bird, that it just hangs out there. He said even Animal Control couldn’t catch it.
Apparently it takes people who know something about roosters to catch one.
The St. Louis Chicken Rescue now has nine chickens. Its second rooster will remain Rudy, the name Mr. Gaston’s neighbors gave him. So far, Rudy isn’t showing much interest in the hens. He has eaten a bit of an apple, but he doesn’t like chicken feed, Mr. Cantone said.
“He’s so used to human food from all the people who fed him,” he said.
Rudy is a Chantecler, Mr. Cantone thinks, and about 2 years old.
“He is a precious bird, so well behaved. He loves my girls. He’s very protective of them,” he said.
While the Cantones were here, they visited the Strip District. Mr. Cantone found a cool cigar shop; the girls found a cool candy store. The Hampton Inn in Green Tree agreed to let them stay overnight with the rooster.
“We had so much fun,” Mr. Cantone said. “What a beautiful city. The girls want to move there. They didn’t want to leave. There’s such a positive vibe.
“We’ll definitely come back. I can see us bringing Rudy back on a leash and letting him walk in the old neighborhood and say hi to the neighbors.”
Information from: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,


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Anti-theft jewelry, seller database called underutilized

GREENSBURG, Pa. (AP) - In 11 years of operating a Greensburg pawn shop, Ashley Nicklaus prides herself on the good relationships she has built with police who occasionally call when they suspect customers may be selling stolen merchandise.
When her license to buy and sell gold, silver and precious metals at Pawn & Jewelry Exchange on East Pittsburgh Street changed to require her to enter those transactions and information about sellers into a regional database, she and other gold buyers around the region complied. But as the database’s founder works on plans to expand its reach, Nicklaus said its adoption by local police is lagging.
“If it’s used in the right way, it can be a great tool,” said Nicklaus, who also uses a separate program to track goods coming and going from her shop. “But I haven’t come across any law enforcement agency that has access to it or uses it. … I’m still getting police officers calling in asking me to check my own database.”
Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. spearheaded the creation of in 2015. Licensed dealers in gold, silver, platinum and other precious metals are required to upload photos and descriptions of merchandise people sell them, along with information on the seller. Investigators, in theory, can check the database for jewelry reported stolen and track it to whomever sold it.
The regional database was established under state law that gives sheriffs the authority to license and regulate businesses that buy and sell precious metals and jewels. It covers businesses in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Lawrence, Washington and Westmoreland counties.
A grant from Zappala’s office, used to launch and operate the database for its first year, expires Dec. 31.
Westmoreland County commissioners this month added $200 to the annual $50 fee paid by 52 precious-metal dealers here to support the multi-county database.
Allegheny County passed a similar fee hike on its 125 dealers in December, raising nearly $10,000, Zappala said.
He did not rule out using more grant money from his office if fees are not enough to cover costs for the database.
“We’ll look at the effectiveness of the program. And, if the program continues to operate, we’ll find the money to get it done,” he said.
On the surface, Zappala said it appeared to be accomplishing its goal of helping to tackle the issue of stolen jewelry being fenced across county lines.
Instead of visiting individual shops to go over paper records or check recent acquisitions, investigators and insurers can check the database to see who is selling what - usually drug addicts fencing personal items or stolen goods not far from where they were taken, Zappala said.
“Within 24 hours, you have the transaction in the system,” he said. “On paper, if you say ‘gold chain’ or ‘class ring,’ that doesn’t help me. But having the seller’s (identification) in the database and pictures of the merchandise, that gives you all kinds of tools you didn’t have before.
“It’s been a success, and we’re looking to expand it.”
Zappala said he would like to establish a way for the public to be able to search the database and notify police if they see that someone has pawned or sold their stolen property.
About 1,000 officers in 16 Western Pennsylvania counties have signed up to use the system, Zappala said. Other agencies in York County, parts of Virginia and Ohio also have used the system, and Zappala hopes to expand it to counties in the central and eastern parts of the state.
Store owners say they would rather see more local police use the database and enforce compliance from all stores to keep it fair.
“(Police) will still come in here and do inquiries, even though I’m putting it online,” said Rachelle Timarac, manager at GoldNGals on Freeport Road in Natrona Heights. “I’m telling them about the website. … It’s better than them coming into the store when I have customers here.”
Information from: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,


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Mass anti-Park protest in Seoul ahead of impeachment vote

SEOUL : Hundreds of thousands of protestors gathered in Seoul for the sixth-straight week on Saturday to demand the ouster of scandal-hit President Park Geun-Hye ahead of an impeachment vote in parliament.


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Ads follow users to websites the marketer would rather avoid

By Sapna Maheshwari, New York Times News Service
Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016 | 12:02 a.m.
The Vanguard Group does its best to stay away from politics when advertising, going so far as to have a policy against marketing on overtly partisan websites. So it was a surprise to Vanguard, an investment management company, when it found its ads on Breitbart News, the hard-right site that has become closely tied to President-elect Donald Trump.
An email from a client alerted Vanguard to the issue last week, prompting it to pull its ads from the site. Breitbart had been inadvertently included on a list of preapproved websites the company and its ad agency use to try to reach people who have visited Vanguard’s site, said Emily Farrell, a spokeswoman.
Vanguard is one of at least a dozen companies, including prominent brands like Allstate, Kellogg and Warby Parker, that have said recently that they will stop advertising on Breitbart. The brands have attributed their appearances on the site to the automated nature of online advertising, in which a complicated system of third-party networks and agencies are used to place ads. That has cast a spotlight on how the zeal to capitalize on consumer data and advanced targeting technologies has resulted in some companies being associated with sites they want to avoid.
It is increasingly rare for marketers and their agencies to place ads directly on websites. Unlike advertising on television or in magazines, where brands often choose placements in advance based on content, marketers online deploy sophisticated technologies to target and personalize ads in real time for the people who are most likely to be interested in their products or services, wherever they may be roaming on the web.
Kris Charles, a Kellogg representative, said that while the company reviewed sites for potential ad placements “using filtering technology to assess the words and phrases that make up a site’s content,” there is also “a very large volume of websites, so occasionally something is inadvertently missed.”
All of this has resulted in the kind of publicity — and political repercussions — brands were hoping to avoid. After Kellogg said it would stop advertising on Breitbart because the site was not “aligned with our values as a company,” pointing to publicly available marketing guidelines, Breitbart started a #DumpKelloggs boycott campaign. Larry Solov, Breitbart’s chief executive, said in an editorial that the cereal maker “has shown its contempt for Breitbart’s 45 million readers and for the main street American values that they hold dear.”
A spokeswoman for Breitbart did not respond to requests for comment for this article.
Allstate responded to one consumer’s complaint about its appearance on Breitbart by saying, “Unfortunately, the nature of internet media buys is such that we are not always able to receive full disclosure with regards to all of the websites on which our advertising may run,” though it would exclude Breitbart from its ad buys in the future. The eyeglass company Warby Parker blamed “third-party ad networks or ad exchanges,” and affirmed its commitment to diversity and inclusivity. Other brands, including Nissan, have said they aim to reach as many customers as possible and do not plan to change their advertising strategy based on complaints from some consumers.
The nuances of how a brand ends up on a website, however, are often meaningless to consumers who may associate the two regardless of whether they have a direct relationship — which is being highlighted anew as tensions run high after the election.
About two weeks ago, a Twitter account called “Sleeping Giants” was created with the goal of choking off ad dollars going to Breitbart, urging people to screenshot ads on the site, then post those pictures and flag the advertisers. (The New York Times is among companies that have been criticized for advertising on the site.)
Workable, a startup that sells recruiting software and champions diversity, was flagged by the account, which has roughly 6,000 followers, for having a banner ad on Breitbart above the headline, “There’s No Hiring Bias Against Women in Tech, They Just Suck at Interviews.” A screenshot of the ad was posted and sent to Nikos Moraitakis, Workable’s chief executive, who said he “nearly had a heart attack” when he saw it.
Workable’s ad ended up on the site through one of the Google companies that brokers web ads, and Workable has now added Breitbart to an “opt out” list, Moraitakis said in an interview. But even as it has blocked Breitbart, “there’s probably another 10 sites we haven’t excluded,” he said.
“We rely on our ad networks to keep the networks clean, and then obviously, the big ethical question is what clean means,” he said. “Unfortunately, these hate speech sites and fake news sites are a new breed, and I don’t think Google has caught on to them.”
He added, “The unfortunate side effect of this is that to the consumer, it looks like we are directing our advertising dollars to a specific media site.”
Most ads are placed based on data about the user rather than the content of the website, and limits are set after the fact — say, ensuring that brands do not show up next to pornography or neo-Nazi literature. This process is known as blacklisting, and because of the sheer number of websites, brands tend to value its efficiency over any qualms they may have about appearing in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“The blacklist approach starts with 500 billion impressions a day across the globe in real time across all screens and all formats, the white list approach starts with zero,” said Joe Zawadzki, chief executive of MediaMath, a marketing technology company. “So it’s, do you start with the universe, then filter, or start with nothing, then build up?”
To some, that illustrates the underlying problem. Joe Marchese, president of advertising products for the Fox Networks Group, said that while audience profile “matters first and foremost,” there “has to be a better standard set for the environment” where an ad will appear.
“When you buy so many sites that you don’t know them all, there’s almost no way to kind of guarantee you’re not going to be supporting something fraudulent, sensationalist or alt-right or whatever the content happens to be,” he said.
The uproar about Breitbart with the separate issue of fake news sites has sent advertisers to online ad verification companies like DoubleVerify and Integral Ad Science. On Thursday, DoubleVerify added an “Inflammatory Politics & News” category to a list of more than 75 categories that advertisers can choose to avoid. If selected, it will block ads from appearing on sites including Breitbart,,, and, the company said.
“With the surge in these new sites that are living on unsubstantiated stories that are oftentimes very politically charged, large brands are coming to us and ensuring that their ads don’t appear on those kinds of sites,” said Wayne Gattinella, chief executive of DoubleVerify.
Breitbart said in its editorial that Kellogg’s move would have “virtually no revenue impact” on the site. While at least one ad tech firm, AppNexus, has barred Breitbart from using its tools, citing a violation of its hate speech rules, data from Ghostery, a data governance company, shows the site works with many ad tech companies. And while select brands have pulled away from the site, plenty of others remain.
Still, John Montgomery, executive vice president for brand safety at the advertising giant WPP’s GroupM, predicts that the price of ads on Breitbart could decline, affecting the company’s revenue, if enough “venerable brands” act.
“Since the Breitbart issue came up, we’ve obviously been talking to our people internationally and making sure they have their clients understand if they don’t want to be on political sites, we need to put them onto the blacklist,” Montgomery said in an interview. “Particularly after the publicity of the election there are many big brands who are having these discussions with agencies right now.”


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More than cookie sellers, Girl Scouts enter music industry

Associated Press
Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016 | 12:02 a.m.
NEW YORK — The Girl Scouts of the USA are used to making you smile with sweet cookies, but now they're hoping to soothe your ears with sweet music.
The organization announced Thursday that they've recorded an original song for the first time, featuring backup vocals from actual Girl Scouts.
"Watch Me Shine" was written by Liz Rose, who has won Grammys for her work with Taylor Swift and Little Big Town, and Emily Shackleton, who sings lead on the song.
The track is being used in a Girl Scouts PSA called "I'm Prepared," which praises girls for being leaders, problem solvers and innovators.
It's available on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon Music. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Girl Scouts organization.


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Dirty money from Nigeria seized by Britain should help Boko Haram victims

The United Nations on Friday launched an appeal for $1 billion to fund a 2017 aid plan seeking to help some seven million people hit hardest by the jihadist group's seven-year insurgency.
Much of this target could be met if hundreds of millions of dollars in ill-gotten gains laundered through Britain were returned to Nigeria, said a report by Save the Children.
"Large sums of illicit finance from Nigeria are laundered through banks and the property markets in the UK," Save the Children said.
The charity's report cited the example of James Ibori, the former governor of Nigeria's oil-rich Delta state, who was jailed for 13 years by a British court in 2012 after he pleaded guilty to embezzling 50 million pounds ($63 million).
The two countries signed an agreement in September to return criminal assets stolen from Nigeria and seized in Britain, and for the money to be used by the Nigerian government for projects for the nation's poorest, according to Save the Children.
"It is difficult to think of any project more deserving of support against this criterion than the aid effort in northeast Nigeria," read the report, which said that the British government should speed up the return of seized cash to Nigeria.
Boko Haram militants have killed about 15,000 people and displaced some 2.6 million in Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria, and the group still launches deadly attacks despite having been driven out of much of the territory it held in 2014.
Some 4.6 million people are going hungry across northeast Nigeria, of whom two million need food aid urgently, according to the U. N. World Food Programme (WFP).
Around 400,000 children are at risk from famine in the states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, 75,000 of whom could die from hunger within months, said the U. N. children's agency (UNICEF).
"There is still a window of opportunity to prevent a full-blown famine - but that window is closing fast," Helle Thorning-Schmidt, chief executive of Save the Children, said in a statement.
"The international aid response for 2016 has been inadequate," Thorning-Schmidt said. The $484 million appeal has only been 45 percent funded, the U. N.'s Financial Tracking Service shows.


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Japanese eco-warriors hit Hong Kong’s polluted beaches

After hearing about Hong Kong’s coastal pollution crisis in the summer, Toma Kondo, a 10-year-old Japanese boy, spent all of his savings on booking a flight to the city to clean up the beaches. Kondo was one of 32 tourists who flew in from Japan to clean the city’s coastlines last week. The group, which calls itself the Beach Clean-up World Tour, spent four days from Friday to Monday picking up rubbish strewn on beaches around Lantau Island and Lamma Island. The group was led by Hiromasa Suzuki, an international eco-warrior who has been taking groups of Japanese to help reforest barren land in Inner Mongolia since 2009. Suzuki, who is also the founder of environmental organisation Open Earth, first visited Hong Kong in August for a clean-up operation. “I became friends with several Hongkongers and Japanese expats during the clean-up event [in August],” he said. “They immediately decided to help me launch an event here in Hong Kong, which is similar to what I do in Inner Mongolia.” He said the team of 32 Japanese all paid for themselves to come to Hong Kong. They collected more than 135 full 64-gallon bags of garbage over the course of three days. “I am extremely touched by how so many people were willing to pay over HK$10,000 just to come here to protect the environment,” he said. “And half of the group have also joined me before in the reforestation programme.” He said the participants were from all walks of life and the cost of the tour was “not an easily affordable amount for most of the people”. He said the group had to raise funds to finance the trip in addition to collecting the tour fees from each individual. While Kondo was the youngest of the group, the oldest volunteers were in their 60s. Saori Ishioka, a medical researcher, said she hoped the event could show people that protecting the environment should be “a cause without border”. “Japan and Hong Kong have always enjoyed very close ties thanks to trade and finance,” she said. “But I hope the love [for nature] can also [bind] us together.” She said she was shocked at the extent of the pollution on Hong Kong’s beaches. “We saw a lot of small plastic and styrofoam waste on the beaches. And this smaller waste is the hardest to remove.” Satoko Matsuoka, one of the organisers of the event, said she was thrilled to see so many people taking part and amazed by how everyone genuinely enjoyed being part of the clean-up. She said the vibe throughout the journey was always “vibrant and colourful”. “We turned the simple task of collecting trash into a fun activity. We even held a prayer session before the event. We weren’t praying to any god but just to nature itself.” The tour group also did some celebration dance parties at the end of each day’s clean-up. Members were encouraged to put on cosplay costumes to liven up the activity. Matsuoka and her husband dressed as Peter Pan and Tinkerbell. Philip Pun Wai-kwong, the husband of Matsuoka, said he felt ashamed as a Hongkonger when he realised how much more passionate the Japanese visitors were than many locals about preserving the beaches. “Hongkongers should really learn from this. We have to take initiatives to take care of our own mess,” he said. “We promote these food tours and shopping tours in our city. Why can’t we encourage people to clean up the environment?” Christine Loh Kung-wai, undersecretary for environment, and 10 other Hongkongers joined in on Sunday to show their support. “When I read from the news that [Suzuki] was here by himself [in August], I decided that I had to find a way to thank him,” Loh said. “Hopefully, in the longer term we will have more collaborations.” The 31-year-old founder of Open Earth from Okinawa is known as the Son of Universe among his fans. He quit his job in a food packaging factory about eight years ago to dedicate himself to protecting the environment. In 2012, Suzuki set out as a lone crusader who travels around the Pacific, cleaning coastlines to raise awareness of ocean pollution. He has more than 2,000 supporters online who help finance his trips and activities. His adventures to Hawaii and Bali have been filmed by a Japanese television channel and will be shown in a six-part documentary online. In 2009 Suzuki helped to organise the Fifth China, Inner Mongolia Reforesting Tour. So far he has been to 14 reforesting tours in Inner Mongolia and planted over 480,000 trees. He has also taken part in reforesting programmes in South Africa since 2009. In 2013 he started the “Big Ocean Cleaning” campaign to clean the beaches of Okinawa. Since then he has collected 200,000 items of rubbish weighing 6.5 tonnes. He has recently extended his campaign to Hawaii, Bali, Hong Kong and India.


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This SA dentist is quickly becoming just as famous as his A-list clientele

Cape Town – Jozi dentist Alexander Faizi Rawhani, known as " Dr Smile " or "Lexleo", has a list of celebrity clientele so long it would put Santa’s naughty and nice list to shame.
In an interview with , Dr Smile tells editor Dylan Muhlenberg all about the local A-listers that have taken a seat in his dentist chair.
From Pearl Thusi to Bonang to Nasty C and even Cassper Nyovest, Dr Smile has worked on some pretty famous choppers.
It all started with a hand-crafted set of grillz for Scoop Makhathini three years ago.
Read more about Dr Smile's famous friends and all his other many talents here!
( Photos: Andile Phewa/Superbalist )


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Fertilizer company announces new water testing plan in Polk

MULBERRY, Fla. (AP) - The Mosaic Co. has announced a new, limited water well testing program in an effort to reassure Polk and Hillsborough county residents about the safety of their drinking water following a major environmental accident in September.
The Lakeland Ledger ( reports the company has sent out letters to more than 200 residents near its fertilizer plant with an offer to test wells every three months next year and twice in 2018.
Mosaic has provided free bottled water to testing participants until they receive results.
It will continue providing bottled water for new requests within the 4-mile limit.
The massive sinkhole at the fertilizer plant should be plugged by spring, months after contaminated water and waste began flowing into Florida’s main drinking water aquifer.
Information from: The Ledger (Lakeland, Fla.),


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Woman gets 13 years for fatal DUI crash

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) - A Florida Panhandle woman has been sentenced to 13½ years in prison for a fatal drunken driving crash.
The Panama City News Herald ( ) reports that 33-year-old Chelse Renee Dorman was sentenced Friday. She pleaded no contest last month to DUI manslaughter and DUI causing serious bodily injury.
Authorities say Dorman was driving in April when she crossed into oncoming traffic and hit another vehicle head-on. The other vehicle’s driver, 26-year-old Cory Harrison, died at the scene and his passenger, 22-year-old Chelsea Jordan, was seriously injured.
Dorman also sustained serious injuries. Her blood alcohol content was 0.269 percent. Florida law considers a driver impaired at 0.08 percent.
Information from: The (Panama City, Fla.) News Herald,


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Slow progress despite efforts to fix Orange Lake pollution

ORANGE LAKE, Fla. (AP) - The surface of Orange Lake is often as smooth as a mirror, disrupted only by the occasional boater’s wake or a duck skidding to a watery landing. But the calm is deceptive. The lake is polluted and, despite attempts to fix it, there isn’t much to show for the effort.
The popular fishing and recreational lake is impaired. Florida environmental agencies officially designated it so nearly 15 years ago. Its main problem: high concentrations of polluting nutrients that have flowed in from the watershed and from neighboring waterways.
The main culprit is phosphorus, much of it coming from residential and agricultural fertilizers. The pollutants also come from Newnans Lake, making their way to the Orange through River Styx, Prairie Creek and Camps Canal; and from Lochloosa Lake by way of Cross Creek, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
In 2003 the FDEP set a total maximum daily load for phosphorus entering Orange Lake. In 2007 it created the Orange Creek Basin Management Action Plan (known as a BMAP, for short,) which covers Orange Lake and its neighboring water bodies. The BMAP is a blueprint to manage and improve the basin’s lakes, including a nutrient-reduction effort for Orange Lake. The Orange Creek Basin covers Orange Lake, Newnans Lake, Lake Wauberg, Hogtown Creek, Sweetwater Branch, Tumblin Creek and Alachua Sink.
The FDEP continued and updated the plan in 2015, took stock of its progress, and created new restoration projects. The plans call for a total phosphorus level of 0.031 milligrams per liter (mg/l,) in Orange Lake. That’s equivalent to a 45 percent reduction of the nutrient currently present in the lake. The strategies focus on improving stormwater treatment and control programs; identifying the sources of nutrient discharges and then working to reduce them; and educating the public.
But despite the FDEP’s efforts for the past several years to make the lake healthier for the fish and wildlife that depend on it, progress has been incremental at best: Phosphorus levels have remained the same some years and even gotten worse in others.
“Water quality in Orange Lake has been declining since 1985,” according to the FDEP. “Annual average (total phosphorus) and (total nitrogen) concentrations have increased between the 1993-2000 total daily maximum daily load data period and the post-BMAP period of 2008-2013.”
Several requests to speak to an FDEP official went unmet. Agency spokeswoman Dee Ann Miller e-mailed a reporter excerpts from its BMAPs and cited the agency’s restoration efforts and projects to reduce nutrient flow into the lake.
“In the case of the Orange Creek Basin BMAP, the total number of projects identified in the two phases adopted to date is 205; total completed projects to date 115,” Miller wrote.
Asked why water quality hasn’t improved, Miller e-mailed back: “Natural systems take time to respond to reductions in pollutant loading, and for some lakes the impacts from interconnected waters or in-lake processes will continue to be seen even after successful completion of restoration projects.
“Setting water quality restoration goals and accompanying restoration plans is an inherently adaptive process,” she continued. “The department continues to work with stakeholders not only to monitor progress toward achieving restoration goals in the lake, but also to identify and implement additional projects as needed to improve water quality.”
Area environmentalists, residents and scientists say the state’s efforts are not enough. FDEP’s own data shows its efforts don’t appear to be panning out.
Orange Lake’s phosphorus level between 1995-2000 was an average of 0.5mg/l, nearly twice the goal, according to FDEP. Between 2007-2013, the total phosphorus level was three times the goal amount. It was even worse - about four times the goal amount - between 2008-2014.
The higher-than-desired phosphorus levels lead to unwanted vegetation, which congests boat ramps and parts of the lake and makes boat passage sometimes impossible. Vast portions of the lake are marred by tussocks: a mix of floating mud, soil and decaying vegetation. These floating islands, home to vegetation, animals and birds, often cover much of the lake. The lake’s size fluctuates depending on drought conditions. In dry times it can shrink to 3,000 acres; at its height it can swell to more than 15,000 acres.
People dispute whether the tussocks occur naturally or form because of the lake’s overabundance of unwanted nutrients.
The health of the lake matters because it is a popular destination for fishermen and boaters. People who live in the Orange Lake area, and businesses that make their trade from the tourists and sportsmen, want the lake restored and grumble about the slow progress. Orange Lake also is a visible sign of how the state’s larger environmental protection efforts are progressing.
While phosphorus levels aren’t diminishing, FDEP says at least it knows where the pollutants are coming from. About 49 percent of the total phosphorus in Orange Lake comes from Newnans Lake and Lochloosa Lake, according to FDEP data. Phosphorus from upland, wetland areas and the atmosphere account for another 32 percent. FDEP estimate that 21.5 percent of the phosphorus entering Orange Lake’s watershed comes from agricultural land. Because Orange Lake, Newnans Lake and Lochloosa Lake are so interconnected, reducing phosphorus levels in Orange Lake is complicated.
FDEP estimates that more than half of the Newnans and Lochloosa lakes’ phosphorus comes from internal recycling of their nutrients. The agency says that since so much of the lakes’ phosphorus is internally recycled, it makes it difficult to reduce the levels.
Consider these modest improvements, which are the most recently recorded:
+ An estimated 27,889 pounds of total phosphorus enters Orange Lake annually. FDEP wants to reduce that to 15,262 pounds per year. In 2015, FDEP reported its efforts had resulted in reducing the lake’s phosphorus by 54 pounds annually.
+ Newnans Lake sees 25,732 pounds of phosphorus entering its waters annually. The state wants to reduce that to 10,924 pounds annually. In 2015, FDEP reported its efforts had resulted in reducing phosphorus entering that lake by 655.7 pounds annually.
+ Combined, Lochloosa Lake and Cross Creek receive 21,640 pounds of phosphorus annually. The state wants to reduce that to 12,330 pounds. In 2015, FDEP reported it reduced phosphorus 1,032 pounds annually.
Robert Knight, director of the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute (FSI) in Gainesville and a frequent critic of the FDEP, said the agency should set priorities and make a political commitment to see them through.
“You cut off the (pollutant) sources first,” he said. “Then you deal with the internal loads.”
Knight said most of FDEP’s efforts are a waste of time and money, and the lack of meaningful nutrient reduction is proof.
“The BMAPS are ineffective for the most part. That’s what we’re seeing. The BMAPs don’t have any teeth,” he said.
Knight also said that a key part of FDEP’s strategy - getting farms to follow “best management practices” to reduce their polluting nutrients from entering the soil and nearby waters - is folly. Best management practices are procedures tailored to individual farms to best reduce the amount of pollution entering the aquifer and surface waters.
Most of the 58,500 acres of agricultural land in the Orange Creek Basin are in the Orange Lake watershed. Of that, more than 38,000 acres are pasture and mixed range land; another 7,500 acres belong to horse farms.
Agriculture uses too much fertilizer, which ends up in the lakes, Knight said. And horse farms and cattle ranches produce too much waste. Despite efforts to get farms to follow best management practices to reduce polluting nutrients, best management practices just aren’t working, Knight said.
Knight said FDEP is using smoke and mirrors to make people think it’s making progress. “The proof is in the pudding,” he said. “If you don’t see some improvement in 10 years.the process isn’t working.”
Knight said that the FDEP touts a long list of projects meant to improve the basin’s water quality, but skims over the fact that there’s no real progress.
“And the public is just not aware of it,” he said.
Robert Palmer is the former staff director for the U. S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Science, Space and Technology. He was also a member of the Alachua County Environmental Advisory Committee. These days he’s an active environmentalist and speaker who often participates in the FDEP’s BMAP process.
Asked whether the BMAPs were working to reduce Orange Lake’s harmful phosphorus levels, he replied, “In a one-word answer: No.”
He said that much of the BMAP strategy for Orange Lake depends on getting area farmers to sign up to follow best management practices. The problem is whether state officials are checking to see if farmers are following those practices. If the farmers aren’t, will the state force their hand?
Palmer said he doesn’t hold out much hope for FDEP getting it right. “I would seriously doubt if every farmer followed best management practices, Orange Lake would return to health.because it’s still being overwhelmed by (nutrient) input,” Palmer said.
He wrote FDEP in 2014 warning its BMAP had problems and likely wouldn’t help to meet the agency’s goals of reducing nutrients in the lakes.
He warned that the BMAP plan wasn’t focused on new and effective projects.
“Our fundamental concern is that this five-year plan update is not an action-oriented document, nor does it move us forward beyond the remedial actions proposed in the original 2008 BMAP,” he wrote on behalf of the Alachua County Environmental Protection Advisory Committee.
“The plan proposes ‘an additional 32 management strategies,’ of which 11 deal with nutrient reduction in the lakes. But these 11 strategies are neither ‘new’ nor ‘additional. In fact, they are old and rather toothless,” he wrote.
Despite the criticism, FDEP is doubling down on its efforts. It reported in its 2016 BMAP update that Marion and Alachua county governments continue in their plans to reach out and educate farms about best management practices. Many of the farms are horse farms.
Marion County took other steps, such as cancelling street sweeping in the Orange Creek Basin portion of the county. Experts found it was not effective at removing debris from roads without curbs and gutters.
Alachua County made about 7,700 acres in land purchases for conservation in the Alachua Sink and Newnans Lake watersheds. The county is researching ways to remove muck from Newnans Lake and ways to reduce the lake’s external phosphate sources. The county also is working to convince residential property owners to use Florida friendly landscaping and not high-maintenance turf grass.
While FDEP and environmentalists debate what will fix Orange Lake, many who live in the area or fish and boat the waters agree the conditions are getting worse.
“Years ago any (vegetation) stayed out there,” said Henry Latson, a former equipment operator who lives in Reddick. “There wasn’t enough to come in. You never had problems going out.”
As he lowered his boat into the lake on a recent day, the 72-year-old retiree said he has fished Orange Lake for at least the past 40 years.
“It (the pollutant) is probably coming from the farms and cow pastures. They should chop up all that stuff (unwanted vegetation) in the lake and drag it out,” he said. “But they’re not going to do it. They won’t listen.”
Another area resident, Troy Abner, said his family once owned a grocery store that catered to tourists. The business started in the 1940s and attracted customers by displaying a pet monkey and a chicken that pecked at a miniature piano.
He said FDEP doesn’t take good enough care of the lake.
“These floating islands.the vegetation. They don’t manage it,” said the 54-year-old construction worker. “If they kept it up more, more people would come and generate more revenue.”
Roger Reid, a retired truck driver who often visits the lake, said it isn’t fair to blame current farmers for Orange Lake’s problems.
“Before the horse farms it was all orange groves.and they used fertilizers and when it rained it all washed into the lake,” Reid said. “People didn’t know what they know now.”
John Reid, no relation to Roger Reid, bought the Sportsman’s Cove RV Resort next to Orange Lake a year ago. He said he needs the lake kept clear if he wants to attract people and to rent space in his park. He has 100 RV and mobile home sites, and current occupancy is just 35 percent.
He blames area runoff for the high nutrient content of the lake.
His solution: “You come in here with equipment and get rid of all these floating islands and all that edge grass,” he said. “People need to enjoy it.”
If the vegetation is removed and the state works to keep nutrients out, Reid said, he could rent all his park spaces. But when vegetation obstructs efforts to boat or fish, “it kills us,” he said. “It stops us right in our tracks.”
Information from: The Gainesville (Fla.) Sun,


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Miami mega-mall plan: economic miracle or mirage?

MIAMI (AP) - American Dream Miami sees its plan for a massive retail theme park in Northwest Miami-Dade as a historic boost to the county’s economy, employing nearly 15,000 people and providing enough over-the-top attractions to rival Orlando.
But opponents call the pitch less of a dream and more of a mirage, arguing that the six-million-square-foot mall would swamp traffic while sapping jobs from existing retail centers.
“There’s no net economic benefit from this project for the county,” Robert Weissert, head of research for Florida Tax Watch, told a local zoning board this week. “The jobs that are created are being destroyed in other places. They’re being cannibalized, they’re being displaced. Jobs leave from one area and go to this project.”
Economics helped frame the opening skirmish Nov. 29 between American Dream Miami and its would-be retail rivals in Miami-Dade, with the two sides facing off in the community council hearing held in a middle school auditorium less than two miles from the proposed project site.
“You get to create an engine that will drive this economy,” Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, a land-use lawyer and lobbyist representing the project, told board members. “American Dream Miami is an economic-development project, first and foremost.”
On the one side: American Dream Miami developer Triple Five, the Canadian company that owns Minnesota’s Mall of America and Alberta’s West Edmonton Mall; and the Graham Cos., the Miami Lakes developer that provided land to the 200-acre project and wants to build residential and commercial on about 340 acres just south of the proposed retail theme park.
On the other side: the South Florida Taxpayers Alliance, a group backed by the owners of the Dolphin Mall (Taubman Centers), Miami International Mall (Simon Property Group) and Bayside Marketplace (General Growth Properties).
“What we’re talking about today is one gigantic project,” said Jeffrey Bercow, a land-use lawyer and lobbyist representing the Alliance.
The community council, a county zoning board, voted to forward American Dream’s proposal on to the county commission for a preliminary vote in January. A final decision is expected in May, provided the project survives the initial vote.
Tuesday’s hearing offered a glimpse at the bitter, behind-the-scenes confrontation under way between Triple Five and its would-be competitors in Miami. Before the vote, Triple Five head Eskandar Ghermezian lashed out at the idea of existing mall operators coming to the public hearing to oppose the $3 billion proposal.
“If you are a homeowner, you have all the rights to be here,” said Ghermezian. “But if you are a developer, or a shopping-center owner,” he said, his voice rising to a shout, “standing in the back there, to oppose me, they have no right to be here!”
From the start, Triple Five positioned its Miami venture as a milestone moment for Miami-Dade. It wants to build an even bigger version of the Mall of America near Miami Lakes and Hialeah, a 150-acre wedge of undeveloped land between I-75 and the Florida Turnpike.
Along with 3.5 million square feet of retail, American Dream would build a portfolio of rides and attractions unlike anything south of Central Florida. Those include a domed water park, a 16-story artificial ski slope, an indoor roller coaster and a lagoon with submarine rides.
Backers of the project say it could fill a void in the county’s tourism landscape, which lacks large, regional attractions.
“We have a great hole in Miami-Dade’s economy,” Joe Goldstein, a lawyer for the Graham Cos., told council members. “Now is the time to fix the loss of Disney.”
While American Dream says its entertainment offerings make it more of an attraction than a shopping destination, the coalition of existing malls in Miami-Dade are trying to deflate that argument. Alex Heckler, a lawyer and lobbyist representing the Taxpayer Alliance in Miami-Dade, identified the retail companies backing the group. He also represents Turnberry, owner of the Aventura Mall, but said that firm is not part of the alliance.
The alliance hired Florida Tax Watch to study American Dream Miami’s economic claims and produced a critical study by the county’s former chief economist.
Robert Cruz, who lost his county job in 2015 and now is Tax Watch’s chief economist, wrote that department stores outside the Mall of America, Triple Five’s flagship property in the Minneapolis suburb of Bloomington, saw “paltry” employment growth after the massive facility opened in 1992.
Cruz wrote that department stores elsewhere in Minnesota saw stronger growth (1.2 percent versus 0.3 percent in Minneapolis), confirming the views of Mall of America critics “who worried that hiring at the mega-mall was almost assuredly displacing jobs” instead of creating new ones.
In his report, Cruz also noted that Miami-Dade already enjoys status as “a shopping ‘Mecca’ ” for tourists, particularly international travelers. He wrote American Dream Miami “would not likely have any unique economic benefits as the applicant’s analysis suggests.”
The report was a rebuttal to American Dream Miami’s own economic analysis, which predicts the project would add $1 billion worth of real-estate value to the county’s tax rolls and pay more than $35 million a year in local taxes. The study by Miami Economic Associates predicted 14,530 full-time jobs at the property, with about 60 percent earning less than $25,000 a year. Building the massive theme park would produce 23,000 jobs, with almost all of them earning more than $40,000 a year, according to the December 2015 study for the developers.
A study by Miami-Dade’s planning department found that American Dream Miami could add up to $1.7 billion to the region’s economy - roughly the size of South Florida’s production industry, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The report also said American Dream Miami could fulfill a longstanding county goal of creating a new entertainment district to help “solidify” Miami-Dade’s “place as a destination center.”
But the report also noted the American Dream site will eventually produce jobs, since the county’s growth plans already call for the land to be developed with warehouses and other industrial uses.
“There is no doubt that, when completed, the American Dream Mall will create jobs and infuse money in the economy of Miami-Dade,” the report stated. “Yet development of the same site for industrial acres would, most likely, provide higher-salary jobs.” The report noted that the industrial uses would take longer to materialize, while American Dream Miami wants to open in 2019.
Ghermezian declined to answer questions after Tuesday’s hearing, and Triple Five representatives were not available for interviews Wednesday.
Sean Snaith, an economist at the University of Central Florida not involved in the project, backed Triple Five’s assertion that creating a theme park in Miami-Dade would boost the county’s retail and tourism sectors.
“This is not just the Gap and Banana Republic,” Snaith said in an interview. “If it becomes a destination, a Mall of America-type thing, that pulls people from outside of the area, that’s a bonus to the economy.”
Information from: The Miami Herald,


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‘Conspiring with our punters makes us accessible’ – Paddy Power’s head of social on why it's hiding cheeky Snapchat ‘easter eggs’ in its TV ads

Paddy Power is renowned for its PR stunts. From sending a Mexican Mariachi band to welcome Trump to Scotland to floating a 63ft pair of y-fronts over Cheltenham races its marketing is always mischievous, and often controversial.
Its latest initiative, however, is a little more subtle and harnesses the power of social to increase the value of its recently launched TV campaign, ‘You Beauty’. The concept will see some of Paddy Power’s regular Twitter gags and Snapchat characters pop up traditional ads, giving a nod to the brand’s online presence and letting loyal social fans in on the joke.
Created by incumbent agency Lucky Generals, ‘You Beauty’ uses re-worded pop classics to celebrate the ridiculous optimism of real sports fans. The first iteration, ‘Steward’ tells the story of a football steward who must face away from the match to manage a particularly unruly crowd. Although he is depicted as missing all the action going on behind him he gets the last laugh after he wins a bet he placed against the home team’s fixture. On the boarding around the pitch behind the main character there’s a placard which reads ‘Fan Denial’ in reference to the bookmaker’s weekly Twitter series which showcases tweets from perturbed supporters.
With a total of five TV spots poised to go live, eagle-eyed viewers can expect plenty of the same. The second film, 'Horse Racing' (below) features a special appearance from its recurring Snapchat Stories character ‘Office Bellend’.
“We’ve wanted to bring the sharp-witted humour from our social channels to TV for a while now and this seemed like just the right opportunity,” Michael Nagle, Paddy Power’s head of social and digital content, told The Drum.
The digital lead noted that viewers are currently “divided by multiple forms of media,” and acknowledged that the brand is in no way guaranteed to reach everyone through TV. As such the ads will also be run as paid Facebook slots to reach the “right people at the right frequency".
He also hinted that the campaign will run on Snapchat itself, with Paddy Power hoping to host user-generated karaoke competitions in conjunction with the ads; an idea which would be similar to Sainsbury’s recent ‘The Greatest Gift’ Snapchat extension .
Paddy Power is one of the many marketers that are still figuring out how to marry TV and social campaigns to get the best results; a challenge that will undoubtedly come to affect how the wider industry approaches media planning and buying.
While it’s not yet clear how this particular campaign will come to inform the brand’s media strategy going forward, Nagle asserted that decisions about future media planning and buying will come when the team gets a sense of how its social campaigns are boosting reach in comparison to TV.
Interestingly, Paddy Power will measure the success of the TV campaign by examining the sentiment on social, with Nagle noting: “We feel that our long-standing social customers will believe that they’re ‘in’ on the joke, it will give them a little kick and put a smile on their face.”
Social already plays a major role in Paddy Power’s mix thanks to round-the-clock Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat posts and when it comes to creating content the betting shop prides itself in thinking like a publisher. Speaking to The Drum last year the brand’s head of engagement Paul Mallon said he was studying the methods of top publishers to see how he could adapt.
“I can’t think of many brands who produce the standard of in-house social and editorial content that we do, but that’s not to say we can’t be smarter about what we produce, with even clearer measurement of the impact it has on customers,” he said at the time.
With these easter eggs, its clear the brand doesn’t want to leave behind smaller audiences and loyal fans, instead choosing to harness their power as potential influencers rather than just appealing to the masses. “It’s a nice little reward to the early adopters to our Snapchat channel. Conspiring with our punters, makes us accessible and grounded as a brand,” finished Nagel.


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Heart Healthy Foods In Your Healthy Heart Diet

By Lisa Rapaport (Reuters Health) - Plant-based diets are tied to a lower risk of health problems like heart disease, diabetes, obesity and certain cancers - and pretty...
Image Credit: Many people use coconut oil because it is really popular. Recently, as a nutritionist, I have been asked a lot about the health benefits of...
(Source: OhioHealth Corporation ) Vegetarian diets are healthy for people of all ages, as well as the environment, according to a new update of the Academy of Nutrition and ...
Hypercholesterolemia is when the levels of cholesterol in your body are above the desired levels. I'm sure all of us know that cholesterol is nothing but a fat-like...
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu season peaks around December and again in February. Help beat the flu by staying healthy year round: Eat right,...
Holidays are fun, exciting and joyous. Family gatherings, festive shopping, dolling up our homes and the scrumptious meals add to the holiday spirit! Squeezing in some down-time during your Christmas break is a far cry; leave alone your exercise routine. Given the festive and cheerful spirit in everything and everyone around, almost all of us end up overindulging in food and...
Are you trying extremely hard to lose those extra pounds yet again? You are not alone. In fact, 50% of the people complain that within six months they gain back the weight that they have managed to ditch. Not to worry, we have got some best solutions for you to ditch that weight once and for all. Here are some of the best dieting tips to lose weight and keep it off: 1. Weigh...
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 3 American adults (about 70 million people) have high blood pressure.1 About half have uncontrolled high blood pressure, which increases your risk for a number of serious health problems, including: Heart disease Stroke Kidney disease2 Cognitive decline, dementia and Alzheimer's disease3,4 Globally, more ...
(Source: FAO - Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations ) Chef Zubaida Tariq selecting pulses at a grocery stall at Empress Market, a famous market in downtown Karachi, Pakistan. 2 December 2016, Rome - A high-level international symposium on nutrition ended here today with a resounding reminder of the importance of promoting healthy diets and ensuring adequate ...
A family already struggling to make ends meet will have to spend more than one-third of their entire weekly budget on food if they want to eat a healthy and balanced diet, according to a report from food safety and nutrition agency Safefood. A family of two adults and two children will need to spend between €121 and €160 a week to eat a healthy balanced diet, a figure which...


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Can Scotland be part of Brexit-Britain and the EU at the same time?

A s a Berliner travelling from London to Edinburgh and strolling along the streets of the old and new towns one feels unexpectedly at home in a way one never feels at home in London. Why is this? The realisation comes suddenly. It is the dominance of tenements.
Instead of living next to each other – a tremendous waste of land in Berlin eyes – the inhabitants of Edinburgh live mostly one on top of the other like people in mainland European cities do.
According to Robert Hodgart, an urban geographer and retired lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, this phenomenon is a “visibly conspicuous facet of Scotland’s distinctiveness, which gives it a stronger affinity with continental Europe”.
It’s not only the architecture that contributes to the impression that crossing the invisible border from England to Scotland is like crossing the border between two separate states – one on an island, the other on the continent.
The federal states in Germany have their own governments and parliaments and even their own school systems like Scotland. And some, such as Bavaria or Saxony, which call themselves “Freistaat”, are highly aware of their own cultural identity highlighted by dialect, dishes and customs.
But still no federal state in Germany prints its own money like the Scottish do or has its own “national museum” with the Declaration of Arbroath taking up a whole wall. The Germans having formed a common nation only in 1871 are not struggling against it while the Scottish who joined the Union in 1707 still do.
And after the EU referendum the union is called into question again. The majority of Scottish people voted for remain. Scots seem to feel at least as close to the EU as they feel to the UK. Do they have to take a decision now to which side they belong?
Part of the reason the referendum for independence launched in 2014 by the SNP failed was because a lot of Scots were convinced they would enjoy the benefits from the UK and the EU by voting no. However, that argument ceased on 23 June.
Barbara Flynn, a community developer who lives with her Spanish husband in Glasgow, says she voted against the Scottish independence because at the time the common fear was that Scotland would have to leave the EU after becoming independent. In light of the EU referendum result she regrets her decision. “I wish I had voted yes two years ago,” she says.
Both Diane Stewart and Kallum Corke, who are in their 20s and work in Edinburgh also voted for “Better together” two years ago. The Brexit vote felt like a “punch in the face”. They hope the Scottish government can persuade Downing Street “to leave us in”.
Flynn is more determined. “The government should now push another independence referendum,” she says.
I met all of them at the end of October attending a conference in Edinburgh on the issue: Scotland after Brexit.
Can Scotland be a member of Brexit-Britain and the EU at the same time or have the Scots to leave the Union? That is the question and there is no evident answer.
Dominic Hinde, a journalist based in Edinburgh who lived and worked also in Berlin, Stockholm and the US, is convinced. “The option for Scotland is now to become independent or to stay in the UK and leave the EU and the single market.”
He is also clear that the second option is the more probable at the moment: “Although the majority of the Scottish support the EU they are reluctant about the idea of independence. And a failure of a second referendum would kill the idea of Scottish independence for a long time.”
Immediately after the Brexit vote, the first minister of the Scoland, Nicola Sturgeon, said a second Scottish independence vote was highly likely.
Five months later she does not sound so resolute.
Although the government published a new independence bill in October, Fiona Hyslop, the cabinet secretary for culture, tourism and external affairs, is reluctant about a second independence referendum happening so soon. “It’s not our starting point,” she says.
“The first is trying to persuade the UK as a whole to take a position as close to the EU as possible. From our perspective that means remaining a member of the single market as a whole. If that’s not possible we will be setting out in a few weeks time the mechanism by which Scotland could have a different model within the United Kingdom where we might retain membership of the single market. If these two are not possible then independence is not off the table.”
Another independence referendum is the least desired option and looking at recent polls it is easy to tell why: a new poll published by YouGov this week finds that the support for a yes campaign was dwindling.
Ask Hyslop how probable a special deal for Scotland is and she appears optimistic. “A flexible Brexit is possible,” she says and refers to the case of Germany after 1990. “We have seen how flexible the EU was particularly to East Germany in the view of the reunification and the challenges there. So we know the EU can be flexible if there is the political will to do that.”
Does Hyslop, who was recently in London to meet the ambassadors of the 27 remaining EU members, see the political will? “Well, we will not only be engaging with the EU 27 but also with the institutions in Brussels. As we understood there is a great deal of support and sympathy for the position Scotland finds itself in,” Hyslop says.
But there is still the British government which has to concede special rights to Scotland. “There has been a lot of activity between the UK, Scottish and other devolved administrations”, the Scottish government states in its newsletter on Friday.
The conference in Edinburgh in October heard from academics and politicians from six northern European countries including the Faroe Islands and Greenland, who told of their experiences of dealing with the EU as well as with bigger nations.
While Denmark is an EU member, Greenland as an autonomous realm left the EU in 1979. This was possible as Greenland was awarded the status of an overseas territory.
“The EU isn’t legally rigid but flexible and pragmatic,” said Ulrik Pram Gad a Greenland-born adviser to the Danish government. He proposed the opposite case for Scotland: England and Wales could leave the EU whereas Scotland and Ireland could remain. Gad named his idea “Engwaxid”.
Although not very likely, this is at least a new idea. And fresh ideas are highly welcomed by the Scottish government. “Leaving the EU is uncharted territory. And because it is uncharted territory we have to be creative and flexible”, says Hyslop.
At the moment nobody can tell how the Scotland-British border will look like after 2020. Whether it remains merely cultural or will become a factual one will depend on how much will and creativity the UK and Europe can summon up to avoid a hard Brexit.


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Was the Richmond Park byelection the start of the Brexit fightback?

T he Richmond Park byelection held its last hustings on Tuesday, and afterwards the Labour candidate, Christian Wolmar, and some of the audience went across the street to the pub. A most interesting-looking figure followed us: a tall man dressed from head to foot in shades of brown – a brown felt hat which he didn’t remove, brown tweeds, brown shoes – as though he’d stepped out of a Patrick Hamilton novel or a prewar play: “Ma’am, there’s a police inspector waiting in the hall.” In his 70s, I guessed, with a soft and amiable face, and on his own. He looked like a man who knew how to do this kind of thing – that is, to go into a pub, buy a beer, ask the barman if he’s having one himself, and then settle into a conversation with an equally respectable stranger. In some ways, Richmond feels more like a county town than a London suburb, and this may be one of those ways.
I asked him how he’d vote. Maybe for the Lib Dem, he said, but not for Labour and not for Zac. “I voted for him last time. What I want to know is, what promise did he make to Sheherazade?” Sheherazade was Zac’s first wife : jeweller, environmental campaigner, author of A Greener Christmas, daughter of the financier John Bentley and the actor Viviane Ventura. She and Zac married in 1999, had three children and divorced in 2010.
I didn’t understand the man in brown’s question, but it turned out that he meant the marriage vows, the implication being that a man who broke his marriage vows couldn’t be trusted with other vows, an astonishingly exacting standard given that we had just attended a meeting that had happened only because Goldsmith had kept his vow – that is, to resign as an MP if the government approved a third runway for Heathrow airport, unusually upright behaviour that has turned out to have bigger and, for him, sadder consequences than he expected. “This election is happening because I kept my word,” Goldsmith told Tuesday’s hustings. “If you think I’ve been a good MP over the last six years, give me your vote.” But this hadn’t washed with the man in brown, for peculiar reasons that had at their roots a general one: that all politicians are suspect and perhaps never more so when they come across as a goody two-shoes.
The obvious explanation of Goldsmith’s defeat lies elsewhere. He was a pro-Brexit candidate in an anti-Brexit constituency with a remain vote of 72%. His rivals shared his antagonism to Heathrow expansion – what could he say that they couldn’t? The Lib Dems poured resources into the fight that he, as an independent with covert support from the Tories, couldn’t match. By deciding not to run, the Greens and the Women’s Equality party increased the Lib Dem share of the vote, which at 6% for the Greens in 2015 wasn’t risible; bigger, after all, than the 4.5% margin of Sarah Olney’s victory. All these things are true, but there was also something else – a sense of disenchantment with the Goldsmith persona.
He was an hour late arriving at the hustings on Tuesday. His trousers had been ripped in an encounter with his car and he’d needed, he said, to go home to change his clothes and “present” himself. People cheered when he turned up, but the cheers were almost as loud when Wolmar went off in a little riff about Goldsmith’s niceness. “Nice guys don’t vote to cut people’s housing benefit – how many spare bedrooms do you have by the way, Zac? Nor do nice guys have a campaign like yours against Sadiq [Khan, the London mayor].”
It felt unusually personal and aggressive in a big church hall that was filled with an audience who looked to have an average age of 60, for whom the phrase “well-modulated tones” might well have been invented, and yet there was little obvious disapproval. During audience questions, a Muslim woman and her daughter invited Goldsmith to apologise for suggesting during the London mayoral contest that Khan had “legitimised” extremism. He wouldn’t – he said he absolutely rejected the charge of Islamophobia – and again the audience seemed more against him than for him (though a man behind me whispered rather savagely, “Integrate, for Christ’s sake!”). He gave off a sense of entitlement and rectitude, which has surely contributed to his political failure.
The next morning I followed his Labour opponent on a canvassing round of Mortlake. Transport journalist, railway enthusiast, cyclist, environmentalist, former London mayoral prospect, shouter: for all these reasons, Wolmar seemed a far stronger candidate than the Lib Dems’ Olney, an accountant by profession whose interest in politics is all of 18 months old and who measures every word.
I’ve known Wolmar for 20-odd years, originally as a newspaper colleague, and what I find hard to understand is why, at 67, he wants a new career in politics. “Because I love it,” he said. “I enjoy it all – knocking on doors, arguing the case, speaking at meetings, maybe changing a few minds.” In the old days, he said, he’d be sick before every television interview, but now the nerves had gone.
Nerveless, we patrolled the cold but sunny terraced streets, some with railway level-crossing gates at the end. Like the man in brown, they gave the misleading impression that London and modernity were far away. I asked how he would feel as Richmond’s Ralph Nader , supposing he took away enough votes from Olney to let Goldsmith in, and he said that it slightly worried him, but the much-vaunted notion of a progressive alliance was a trickier proposition than its advocates pretended. How happily, for instance, would Labour activists work for a Lib Dem candidate, and vice versa?
As it turned out, his worry was needless. A canvasser spoke of Labour’s vote being “squeezed”. It meant that when he went to an address marked “Labour voter” he sometimes found a Lib Dem poster in the window. Tactical voting: a progressive alliance brought about from beneath. The next day only 1,515 people from an electorate of 77,243 and a turnout of 41,367 voted Labour – fewer voters, in fact, than the constituency Labour party has members (now said to number 1,600). At 3.7% the party returned its lowest share of the vote since it began contesting the seat in 1924. My friend Wolmar lost his deposit.
Nothing could be more electorally ignominious, but it would be foolish to read too much significance into the result. Did the electorate vote on grounds of hard Brexit v soft Brexit? Do they believe, in the words of Bob Geldof, that “the fightback starts here”. I watched Geldof at his photo-opportunity in the forecourt of Richmond station. Another tall man in brown: a slender velvet coat and corduroy cap made him somewhere between folk singer and a City gent, or at least how those types looked 40 years ago. He was fluent, amusing and friendly, and apparently sincere in his commitment to Europe. Passers-by stopped to be photographed with him. A homeless man removed his leg plaster to show him a suppurating wound. His attempt to start a chant, “Zac is crap, Zac is crap”, was a failure – the young Lib Dems who gathered around him with their placards weren’t brazen or vulgar enough. But his progress down Richmond High Street was a triumph that few politicians could have matched.
Of course Geldof didn’t win it for the Lib Dems either. If I had to put money on the biggest single factor, I’d bet on a piece of Lib Dem propaganda that had the same size, shape and typography as the Daily Mail. It called itself the Richmond and Kingston Gazette. “Sarah surges ahead”, was its headline on the day before polling, which was a piece of cunningly written wishful thinking that made itself true.


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Has Ukip killed its golden EU goose? Has Ukip killed its golden EU goose?

F or Paul Nuttall, Ukip’s latest leader, the strategy is clear: Brexit needs to be clean, decisive – and rapid. What that means for Ukip itself, however, is another matter.
Of all the paradoxes about the British insurgent party, the biggest is this: Ukip was made by Europe, bankrolled by Europe. The European parliament gave the party its springboard and its voice. If Ukip was a political start-up, the EU provided the venture capital. Without the parliamentary seats, and the money that went with them, Ukip would never had have the platform. Europe made Nigel Farage a star.
“It gave him a platform he couldn’t get at home,” one former EU official says, adding that the European parliament was “absolutely indispensable” for Farage and his party.
Robert Ford, a politics professor at Manchester University, agrees: “Essentially it was the European parliament that gave Ukip the springboard to become a force in domestic politics” by providing money, staff and legitimacy.
With the letters MEP after their names, Ukip leaders such as Farage and Nuttall, who won his seat in 2009, were invited on to Question Time and other primetime programmes. “Some junior councillor from Clacton probably wouldn’t be able to get a national platform that way,” Ford says.
Ukip was not the first to tread the path of EU success to national prominence. In 1984, France’s far-right Front National made a breakthrough in European elections, winning 10 seats, which helped propel it to national attention.
The party’s fortunes ebbed and flowed but in 2002 its leader, Jean-Marie Le Pen, beat the Socialists to become a contender for the French presidency. Now his daughter, Marine, looks likely to make the final two in next year’s elections.
Britain’s smaller parties initially struggled to make an impact in Europe. The UK was wedded to the first-past-the-post system that punished small parties. That changed in 1999 when Tony Blair introduced proportional representation for European elections, a consolation prize for the Liberal Democrats, who had expected more sweeping electoral reform after Labour’s 1997 landslide.
PR had an immediate effect: in the 1999 European elections, Labour and the Conservatives lost votes, while Farage and two Ukip allies were on their way to Brussels.
Elected office was the gateway to EU funds. By 2005, Ukip and their allies were getting €2.2m (£1.9m in current prices) per year to run their operations in Brussels and Strasbourg. In the same year, Ukip raised £677,000 in donations and membership fees, according to Electoral commission records.
Few questions were asked about how this money was spent, according to the former official. “It is all very murky,” he said, with relatively little control on any political groups, including the centre-right, socialists and liberals. “It is difficult to see what the money was spent on in all cases.”
Wealthy donors and party members are important to Ukip’s balance sheet. But the party gained €3m in EU funding in 2015, although it has recently been ordered to pay back €173,000 (£148,000) as the parliament tightens controls.
Simon Usherwood, politics researcher at Surrey University, says EU funds are more reliable than the whims of the party’s best-known donors: “It is not an Arron Banks [Ukip donor] ‘how do I feel today’ kind of proposition.”
And Ukip proved to be highly effective in using the money and platform to attack the EU. The party’s MEPs shunned the day-to-day lawmaking of the parliament and its committees. No serving Ukip MEP has ever been responsible for amending an EU law, a position known as a rapporteur in EU jargon.
Ukip has more MEPs than any other British political party – and the second worst attendance. According to VoteWatch data shared with the Guardian, Ukip MEPs have attended 75% of rollcall votes in the current parliament, compared with Labour’s 91% attendance record, the Conservatives’ 81% and the SNP (worst attenders) on 71%. Farage lowers his party’s average: he has attended only four in 10 votes.
For Ukip MEPs, this is the best way to represent the constituents: “I do not want to be involved in this rapporteur thing, it is important to attend the plenary and vote no,” John Stuart Agnew, one of the party’s longest serving MEPs, once told researchers.
Usherwoods adds: “Ukip MEPs tend to have relatively low attendance. They ask a lot of questions and they use the time they have in the plenaries to make speeches, which are not really aimed at the plenaries but are there for external consumption.”
The parliament’s web streaming service, which started in 2008, has been a gift to Ukip, allowing the party and Eurosceptics to create countless YouTube clips, drawing hundreds of thousands of viewers the EU’s official channels can only dream of.
A subset of YouTube, mainly Eurosceptic and Russian propaganda TV, is devoted to the Ukip leader: Farage insulting the then European council leader, Herman Van Rompuy, as “a low-grade bank clerk” ; or attacking the EU hierarchy as “very very dangerous people”.
Soon the stunts and the rants will come to an end. If the UK leaves the EU in 2019, the unofficial deadline in Westminster and Brussels, Ukip will lose its best platform, most reliable banker, and its big idea. “Once we get to Brexit they haven’t got an answer to what is the party for,” says Usherwood.
Rob Ford thinks that Ukip can survive, even without the crutches provided by the European parliament. “The structural divisions that opened up the space for the party in the first place aren’t going away. Brexit may even intensify them.”
Ukip is also now firmly lodged in the public mind: “Whenever there are arguments about immigration or Brexit betrayal, or possibly national identity, which might be where it goes next, Ukip are going to strike voters as an obvious place to go.”