DC5m United States mix in english 383 articles, created at 2017-04-16 12:12


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Pence lands in South Korea after North's failed launch (15.99/16)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — U. S. Vice President Mike Pence arrived in South Korea on Sunday to begin a 10-day trip to Asia that comes amid turmoil on the Korean Peninsula over North Korea's threats to advance its nuclear and defense capabilities, and just after a failed missile launch by the North.
Pence arrived in the region a day after North Korea celebrated the birth anniversary of the country's late founder with a military parade showing off missiles and military hardware.
A North Korean missile exploded during launch Sunday, U. S. and South Korean officials said, a high-profile failure that comes as a powerful U. S. aircraft supercarrier approaches the Korean Peninsula in a show of force.
Pence, joined by his wife, Karen, placed a wreath at Seoul National Cemetery during a brief ceremony. He was expected to join U. S. and South Korean troops for Easter Sunday church services and a dinner later in the day.
President Donald Trump has suggested that the U. S. will take a tougher stance against North Korea, telling reporters last week: "North Korea is a problem. The problem will be taken care of." He has repeatedly said if China, North Korea's dominant trading partner, is unwilling to do more to pressure the North, the U. S. might take the matter into its own hands.
Along with the deployment of the Naval aircraft carrier and other vessels into waters off the Korean Peninsula, thousands of U. S. and South Korean troops, tanks and other weaponry were also deployed last month in their biggest-ever joint military exercises. That led North Korea to issue routine threats of attacks on its rivals if they show signs of aggression.
Despite North Korea's provocations, U. S. officials have said that the U. S. doesn't intend to use military force against North Korea in response to either a nuclear test or a missile launch.
After a two-month policy review, officials settled on a policy dubbed "maximum pressure and engagement, " U. S. officials said Friday. The administration's immediate emphasis, the officials said, will be on increasing pressure on Pyongyang with the help of Beijing.
The officials weren't authorized to speak publicly on the results of the policy review and requested anonymity.
Pence will be tasked with explaining the policy in meetings with leaders in South Korea and Japan at the start of his trip, which will also include stops in Indonesia and Australia. He will also aim to reassure allies in South Korea and Japan that the U. S. will take appropriate steps to defend them against North Korean aggression.
Pence's first trip to South Korea will carry personal meaning as well. His late father, Edward, served in the U. S. Army during the Korean War and was awarded the Bronze Star on April 15, 1953 — 64 years to the day of the vice president's departure for South Korea. Pence displays in his office his father's Bronze Star and a photograph of his father receiving the honor.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

North Korean missile explodes on launch, US and S. Korea say
Pence lands in South Korea after failed missile launch by North
The Latest: Pence arrives in South Korea to start Asia trip
North Korea's missile launch 'threatens whole world', says South Korea – video
North Korean medium-range missile test fails, US says
Pence lands in South Korea after North’s failed launch
'High-profile failure' - North Korea missile explodes during launch as US tensions rise
North Korean missile 'blows up' on test launch


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North Korea missile launch 'no surprise, no need to expend resources, ' says White House advisor (12.99/16)

North Korea's latest missile launch came as no surprise and there was no need to expend resources against it, a White House foreign policy advisor said on Sunday.
"We don't need to expend any resources against that.. We weren't surprised by it, we were anticipating it, " the advisor travelling with U. S. Vice President Mike Pence told reporters, adding initial reports said it was a medium-range missile and failed four to five seconds into the launch.
Pence arrived in South Korea on Sunday to kick off his Asia trip, hours after North Korea launched the missile off its east coast.
Read more about the failed missile launch here.

North Korean missile explodes on launch, US and S. Korea say
Pence lands in South Korea after failed missile launch by North
North Korea's missile launch 'threatens whole world', says South Korea – video
'High-profile failure' - North Korea missile explodes during launch as US tensions rise
North Korean missile 'blows up' on test launch
North Korea's missile launch: What we know
US: North Korean test missile explodes on launch
North Korea's missile launch threatens whole world, South says


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Melissa McCarthy returns as Sean Spicer in Easter bunny suit on 'SNL' (7.41/16)

Spicey is back -- and this time, dressed like the Easter bunny.
“Everybody shut up so I can apologize, ” McCarthy’s Spicer said. “Yes, you all got your wish this week. Spicey finally made a mistake.”
After butchering the name of Syria’s leader, he explained his controversial remarks.
“Yeah, I know they’ re not really called ‘Holocaust centers’ -- Duh, I know that, ” McCarthy’s Spicer said. “I clearly meant to say, ‘concentration clubs,’ ok? Let it drop.”
Of course, a Spicey skit wouldn’ t be complete without the use of some fun props to explain a story.
This week, the presentation was a one-of-a-kind illustration of Passover, or “aka, the Jewish Easter.”
As McCarthy’s Spicer started to compare the story’s pharaoh to Hitler, he stopped himself, learning from his "mistake " from earlier this week: “Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, shame on Jews.”

'I clearly meant to say concentration club': Melissa McCarthy ridicules Sean Spicer's Hitler comments and gives a Passover lesson dressed as Easter bunny on SNL
Melissa McCarthy returns to 'Saturday Night Live' as Sean Spicer, Alec Baldwin reprises Donald Trump
Melissa McCarthy’s Sean Spicer returns to SNL, dressed as the Easter Bunny, to explain Passover
'SNL' brings out Fallon's Kushner and McCarthy's Spicer as the Easter Bunny
‘SNL:’ Sean Spicer As Easter Bunny Apologizes For Holocaust ‘Concentration Club’
‘SNL': Melissa McCarthy’s Spicer Returns in Easter Bunny Costume to Tell the Story of Passover (Video)
‘Saturday Night Live’: Melissa McCarthy Returns as Press Secretary Sean Spicer


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Fugitive Mexican ex-governor detained in Guatemala (7.39/16)

GUATEMALA CITY – Javier Duarte, the fugitive former governor of Mexico's Veracruz state who is accused of running a corruption ring to pilfer from state coffers, was detained in Guatemala on Saturday.
A statement from Mexico's federal Attorney General's Office said Duarte was detained with the cooperation of Guatemalan police and the country's Interpol office in the municipality of Panajachel, which is a picturesque tourist town on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala's highlands.
It said he is wanted on suspicion of money laundering and organized crime, and prosecutors directed the Foreign Relations Department to request Duarte's extradition via its Guatemalan counterpart.
Photos published in Mexican media showed a bespectacled Duarte, clad in a gray shirt and black jacket-vest, being escorted by Interpol agents.
Manuel Noriega, deputy director of Interpol in Guatemala, said Duarte was located at a hotel where he was staying with his wife. He was asked to leave his room, did so voluntarily and then was arrested without incident in the lobby.
Noriega said Duarte would be presented before a judge to consider his possible extradition.
Duarte was governor of Veracruz from 2010 until he left office Oct. 12, 2016, two months before the scheduled end of his term, saying he was doing so in order to face the allegations against him.
At the time he denied having links to phantom businesses that allegedly won state contracts, and said he had not stolen a single peso of state money or diverted government funds overseas.
"I don't have foreign accounts, " he said last year. "I don't have properties anywhere."
Duarte promptly disappeared and had been sought by Mexican authorities ever since. Earlier this year Interpol issued a notice for his capture.
The Mexican government has found millions of dollars purportedly linked to Duarte, frozen more than 100 bank accounts and also seized property and businesses tied to the former governor. A reward of $730, 000 had been offered for his capture.
The detention comes a week after Tomas Yarrington, the former governor of Mexico's Tamaulipas state, was arrested in Italy, also on allegations of organized crime and money laundering.
Another ex-governor, Cesar Duarte of Chihuahua state, is also wanted on suspicion of corruption and is believed to have fled to El Paso, Texas. He is not related to Javier Duarte.
All three ex-governors were members of the ruling Institutional Revolution Party, or PRI, of President Enrique Pena Nieto.
Javier Duarte became a powerful symbol of alleged corruption during mid-term elections last year in which the PRI lost several governorships, including Veracruz, that it had held uninterrupted since its founding in 1929.
Duarte has also been widely criticized for rampant violence in the state as drug cartels war for territory, and for the killings of at least 16 journalists in Veracruz during his six years in office.

Fugitive Mexican ex-governor arrested in Guatemala
Mexican governor accused of embezzling billions detained in Guatemala
Fugitive Mexican ex-Gov. Javier Duarte detained in Guatemala
Fugitive Mexican ex-governor wanted for graft arrested in Guatemala
Former Mexican governor, on the run for six months, captured in Guatemala
Fugitive Mexican politician wanted on organised crime charges held in Guatemala
Mexican governor on the lam from corruption charges arrested in Guatemala


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The Latest: Turkish prime minister casts vote in referendum (6.35/16)

ISTANBUL (AP) - The Latest on the referendum in Turkey, set to decide whether more power should be concentrated in the hands of the president (all times local) : 11 a.m. Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has cast his vote in the western province of Izmir, saying the outcome of the referendum is for the nation to decide. Speaking to reporters outside the polling station after casting his vote, he said: "Whatever the result is, we will hold it in high esteem. The decision of our nation is the most beautiful decision." The crowd in the polling station chanted, "Turkey is proud of you." Both Yildirim and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have led the campaign for a "yes" vote in the months leading up to the referendum. Voters are deciding on Sunday whether to approve constitutional amendments that would replace the parliamentary system with a presidential one, scrapping the office of the prime minister and handing its powers to the president. ___ 10: 20 a.m. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has lambasted foreign countries for attempting to influence Turkey's historic referendum as he cast his vote in the southern province of Antalya. Cavusoglu said some "from abroad" ''tried to tell the Turkish nation what to do. They took sides but today the decision belongs to our nation." He did not specify who he was referring to, but tensions have been high between Turkey and some European countries, particularly Germany and the Netherlands. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan branded both countries Nazis for not allowing Turkish ministers to campaign for a "yes" vote there. The Netherlands withdrew Cavusoglu's landing permission in March, barring him from addressing expatriate Turks there. Turkey said it would impose sanctions and halted high-level political discussions. Polls opened Sunday in a crucial referendum on whether to increase presidential powers. ___ 9: 40 a.m. People were already lined up at an Istanbul polling station before it opened for Turkey's historic referendum on whether to grant sweeping powers to the president's office. "We are here early to say 'no' for our country, for our children and grandchildren, " said retired tax officer Murtaza Ali Turgut. His wife Zeynep agreed, saying: "I was going to come sleep here last night to vote at first light." Another "no" voter, Husnu Yahsi, said: "I don't want to get on a bus with no brake system. A one-man system is like that." In another Istanbul neighborhood, a "yes" voter expressed full support of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. "Yes, yes, yes. Our leader is the gift of God to us. We will always support him. He's governing so well, " Mualla Sengul said. ___ 7 a.m. The first polling stations have opened in Turkey's historic referendum on reforms that would concentrate power in the hands of the nation's president. The 18 constitutional changes would convert Turkey's system of government from parliamentary to presidential, and abolish the office of the prime minister. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who called the referendum and has championed the "yes" campaign, says the proposed "Turkish style" presidential system will ensure the country no longer risks having weak governments. Opponents fear the change will lead to autocratic one-man rule, ensuring Erdogan, who has been accused of repressing rights and freedoms, could govern until 2029 with few checks and balances. Polls in the east opened at 7 a.m. (0400 GMT) , while those in the west are to open an hour later. Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Turks vote in historic referendum on expanding Erdogan's power
The Latest: Turkish foreign minister criticizes Europe
Polling stations open in Turkey's crucial referendum on reforms
Polls open in Turkey's historic referendum on reforms
Polls open in Turkey’s historic referendum on reforms
Erdogan faces referendum test as Turkey votes on sweeping reforms bill
Turkey goes to polls in referendum on expanding president Erdogan’s powers


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Twitter reacts to Jazz star Rudy Gobert's knee injury in the first seconds of Game 1 vs Clippers (4.53/16)

The Jazz lost their defensive star Rudy Gobert within seconds of the tip due to a knee sprain. Here's how folks on Twitter reacted to his injury:
Jazz fans had to wait until almost the end of the first quarter to get the official word:
Here's more reactions after the official word:
But late in the second quarter the Jazz were able to go on a run and even take the lead at points. Utah and L. A. ended the half tied 52-52.

Rudy Gobert of Utah Jazz helped off court with apparent knee injury
Twitter reactions: Joe Johnson pulls the chair from under the Clippers as Jazz win Game 1
Jazz center Rudy Gobert exits Game 1 vs. Clippers with left knee sprain
NBA-Jazz lose Gobert early in playoff opener


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Salt Bae went to vote in Turkey's referendum and you need to see the photo (4.28/16)

Salt Bae is not only an incredible chef – he is also a responsible citizen.
Salt Bae visited the ballot box to vote in Turkey’s referendum on Sunday, displaying signature style.
One of Turkey’s most famous exports, Salt Bae (real name Nusret Gokce) found fame with his unusual food videos which always end with a dash of salt.
Now he’s turned that famous salt sprinkle to voting. On Sunday, he shared a picture to his Instagram in the polling station, placing an envelope into the ballot box in signature style.
A bemused official looks on as Salt Bae pulls his arm into that recognisable pose.
The accompanying caption roughly translates as “process complete”. We don’ t know how he chose to vote though.
Voters all over Turkey are visiting polling stations to vote on a referendum which, if approved, would concentrate power in the hands of Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turks vote in historic referendum on expanding Erdogan's power
Turkey votes in historic referendum on expanding Erdogan's power
Tense Turkey votes in crunch referendum on Erdogan powers
Erdogan faces referendum test as Turkey votes on sweeping reforms bill


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Maple Leafs beat Capitals for 1st playoff win since 2013 (4.27/16)

WASHINGTON (AP) - Kasperi Kapanen scored his second goal of the game 11: 53 into the second overtime and Frederik Andersen made 47 saves as the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Washington Capitals 4-3 Saturday in Game 2 to even the first-round NHL playoff series.
Kapanen also scored in regulation for Toronto along with James van Riemsdyk and Morgan Rielly, and Andersen made several big stops to keep the Maple Leafs alive.
Alex Ovechkin, John Carlson and Nicklas Backstrom scored for the top-seeded Capitals, who are now feeling the heat going into Game 3 Monday in Toronto. Braden Holtby made 48 saves before being beaten on the overtime winner.
Not unraveling in a tough atmosphere, the young Maple Leafs showed they belonged on the same ice with the Capitals after losing Game 1 in OT.
Brian Boyle made a slick backhanded pass to Kapanen, who put the puck into a wide-open net to give Toronto its first playoff victory since 2013.
OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) - Dion Phaneuf scored at 1: 59 of overtime and Ottawa rallied for a victory over Boston.
The Senators rallied from a 3-1 deficit with a two-goal third period to force overtime. The Eastern Conference series is tied 1-1 and Game 3 is Monday night in Boston.
Clarke MacArthur, Chris Wideman and Derick Brassard also scored for the Senators and Craig Anderson made 26 saves.
Drew Stafford, Tim Schaller and Patrice Bergeron scored for the Bruins. Tuukka Rask stopped 25 shots.
The Senators started the overtime with the man advantage as the Bruins took a delay of game penalty with 12.5 seconds remaining in regulation.
Trailing 3-1 to start the third, the Senators scored twice in a span of 2: 20 to tie the game.
CHICAGO (AP) - Pekka Rinne made 30 saves in his second straight shutout and picked up two assists, helping Nashville pound Chicago for a 2-0 lead in the first-round playoff series.
Ryan Johansen had a goal and two assists as Nashville added a dominant performance to its taut 1-0 victory in Game 1 on Thursday.
Chicago coach Joel Quenneville shuffled his lineup, inserting rookie Vinnie Hinostroza and Dennis Rasmussen and benching veteran Jordin Tootoo and John Hayden. But it was more of the same for the Blackhawks, who once again looked out of sync against the Predators' active defense.
Ryan Ellis, Harry Zolnierczyk, Colton Sissons and Kevin Fiala each scored their first career playoff goal.
Game 3 is Monday night in Nashville.
ANAHEIM, California (AP) - Ryan Getzlaf scored the tiebreaking power-play goal with 4: 46 to play on a bizarre deflection off Lance Bouma's skate, and Anaheim took a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.
Getzlaf's attempted pass across the high slot banked off Bouma's foot and somehow arched through the air and past Calgary's Brian Elliott for the Anaheim captain's second goal of the series.
Jakob Silfverberg and Rickard Rakell scored first-period goals and John Gibson made 35 saves in the Ducks' 29th consecutive victory over the Flames at Honda Center since April 25, 2006, extending the longest such streak in NHL history.
Mikael Backlund scored a short-handed goal and Sean Monahan had a power-play goal for the Flames.
Game 3 is Monday in Calgary.

Maple Leafs pull even in series with Capitals with double-overtime win
NHL Playoff Capsules
Kapanen scores double OT winner as Leafs beat Capitals 4-3
Toronto Maple Leafs earn an upset
Predators Pound Blackhawks 5-0 For 2-0 Series Lead


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NHL-Highlights of Saturday's NHL games (4.19/16)

April 15 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Saturday's NHL games.
Predators 5, Blackhawks 0
Goaltender Pekka Rinne stopped all 30 shots he faced to earn his second shutout in a row, and the Nashville Predators pulled away for a 5-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.
Rinne has made 59 saves without allowing a goal in the past two games to help Nashville grab a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinal. The series will shift to Nashville for Games 3 and 4.
Maple Leafs 4, Capitals 3 (double overtime)
Kasperi Kapanen scored his second goal of the game at 11: 53 of the second overtime and Toronto defeated Washington to even their best-of-seven series at one game apiece.
Toronto's Brian Boyle, skating behind the net, backhanded a pass out to Kapanen, who beat Braden Holtby to the short side. Game 3 is Monday night in Toronto.
Ducks 3, Flames 2
Anaheim center Ryan Getzlaf again captained his team to a victory over the visiting Calgary Flames, scoring the game-winning goal in the Ducks' 3-2 victory on Saturday night.
Anaheim took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, which shifts to Calgary for Games 3 and 4 beginning Monday night.
Senators 4, Bruins 3 (overtime)
Defenseman Dion Phaneuf scored from the point at 1: 59 of overtime to give Ottawa a series-evening victory over Boston at Canadian Tire Centre. (Compiled by Peter Rutherford)

Pekka Rinne, Predators defense frustrating futile Blackhawks
Predators Pound Blackhawks 5-0 For 2-0 Series Lead
NHL playoffs: Predators blank Blackhawks again
Preds pound Blackhawks 5-0 for 2-0 lead in 1st-round series


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Jimmy, you're hired: Fallon plays Jared Kushner - complete with his fashionable war zone outfit - as Alec Baldwin fires Steve Bannon in hilarious SNL cold open (4.14/16)

Jimmy Fallon donned a flak jacket and fashionable blazer to mock Jared Kushner's war zone wardrobe on SNL on Saturday night in a hilarious cold open skit.
The late-night host payed Donald Trump's son-in-law who is reportedly locked in a bitter power struggle with Breitbart founder Stephen Bannon - and the two faced off in an reality show-style contest hosted by Alec Baldwin's Trump.
Baldwin called both Kushner and Bannon, who looked like the Grim Reaper, in to the Oval Office following reports the two advisers were feuding.
Fallon, who wore a replica of Kushner's outfit when he visited Iraq earlier this month, appeared in the cold open with the chief strategist in a showdown that mimicked the hit reality TV show America's Next Top Model.
The cold open started with Trump and Mike Pence - played by comedian Beck Bennett - reviewing the president's accomplishments in the Oval Office.
Pence's list started and ended with 'Nominated Neil Gorsuch, ' before Trump said: 'You forgot all the bombings that I've been doing.'
Baldwin, with his now-iconic pout and furrowed brows, lampooned the president and said: 'I just got the mother of all bombs on ISIS. It's the biggest, fattest bomb they've ever seen.
'It's so big and fat, it almost looks like me when I'm in my golf clothes.'
He went on to list all the memories they've had in the Oval Office thus far, before Pence dutifully interjected after each event to remind Trump they actually took place at his Mar-a-Lago resort.
Pence then informed Trump that Bannon and Kushner had been 'at each other's throats' and suggested he talk to them both.
That's when Bannon appeared in the form of the Grim Reaper and Fallon made his grand entrance looking uncannily like the president's son-in-law.
Baldwin followed the script often used by reality show host Tyra Banks, and said: 'Jared, Steve, standing before me are my two top advisers. But I only have one photo in my hand. That's right, tonight is elimination night.
'There has been a lot of drama in the house and that's why one of you must go. But who gets to stay?
Joking the winner would go on to advise the president and secure a $100, 000 prize courtesy of L'Oreal, Baldwin went on to say: 'If you do not see your photo, you must immediately leave the Oval Office and join Kellyanne Conway in the basement.
'But don't worry, your journey doesn't end tonight because you will get to come back when the whole thing is over and decide if I go to prison.
Baldwin, as Trump, chose his son-in-law and said: 'Jared you're such an inspiration. You showed everybody that if you were born rich and married my daughter, you can have anything you want.'
Trump then invited Kushner to sit at the Resolute Desk, saying, 'Please have a seat at your new desk' before the president took a seat behind a much smaller version and played with a Hoberman sphere.
Comedian Melissa McCarthy donned a bunny suit for a special rendition of Sean Spicer's press conferences this Easter weekend.
The sketch highlighted the press secretary's suggestion that Adolf Hitler was a lesser evil than Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad when he said on Tuesday that the Fuhrer 'didn't even sink to...using chemical weapons.'
Spicer also characterized concentration camps as 'holocaust centers' and later issued a groveling apology for his statements.
On Saturday, McCarthy skewered Spicer yet again, saying: 'Everybody shut up. Shut up so I can apologize. Yeah, you all got your wish this week. Spicy finally made a mistake....
'Now, in defending the president's decision, I said... at least Hitler never used chemical weapons and everybody freaked out.
'They were like boo-hoo, what about the Holocaust centers? I know they're not called the Holocaust centers. I clearly meant to say concentration club. It would be great if the nit pickers didn't focus on every slur and lie I say.'
McCarthy then said, 'I am particularly sorry this happened during Passover, aka Jewish Easter, ' before breaking out her boxes of stuffed animals to give a questionable history lesson as Spicer.
Using dolls from the Christian animated series Veggie Tales, she described the pharaoh as a 'bad, bad hombre'.
She started to say: 'He's doing some really bad stuff to the Jews. Not even Hitler- ' before quickly backtracking and saying: 'You know what, not going to do that. I'm not going there again. You fool me once, right? Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, shame on Jews.'
McCarthy concluded by wishing everyone a Happy Easter, adding: 'Oh, by the way, the president is probably going to bomb North Korea tonight. Okay, Spicey's gotta go. Wrapping it up.
'Let's go, kids, eat all the candy you want, cause it's probably the last Easter that we will ever have on Earth.'

Fallon plays Kushner, Steve Bannon is a skeleton during ‘SNL’ cold open
‘Saturday Night Live’: Jimmy Fallon Plays Jared Kushner Opposite Alec Baldwin’s Trump
‘SNL’: Donald Trump Fires Steve Bannon & Keeps Jimmy Fallon As Jared Kushner
‘SNL': Baldwin’s Trump Gives Bannon and Kushner the ‘Apprentice’ Treatment (Video)


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Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks, 84, despite rough start for Kenta Maeda (4.12/16)

LOS ANGELES – There were bookend celebrations in Dodger Stadium on Saturday, the team unveiling a statue of Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson outside the left-field reserve plaza in the afternoon and closer Kenley Jansen recording the final four outs of the Los Angeles Dodgers' 8-4 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks to cap the evening.
In between, two early exits were cause for concern. Neither hot-hitting second baseman Logan Forsythe nor struggling pitcher Kenta Maeda made it past the fourth inning, Forsythe leaving because of right hamstring tightness and Maeda departing with a bloated 7.07 earned-run average after three starts.
On the plus side, the Dodgers, who lost four of their first five games against left-handed starters, throttled left-hander Patrick Corbin for five runs and nine hits in six innings.
Dodgers left-hander Alex Wood was dominant in 3 1/3 innings of hitless relief in which he struck out three batters, and left-hander Luis Avilan struck out Jake Lamb for the second out of the eighth inning.
Utility man Enrique Hernandez, who moved from left field to second base in the fifth, preserved a 5-4 lead when, with a runner on second base, he raced into shallow right field to snag Brandon Drury's pop-up – and avoid what would have been a nasty collision with right fielder Yasiel Puig – to end the eighth.
Puig is thick and muscular, 6-foot-2 and 238 pounds. Hernandez is 5-11, 200. It is a collision Hernandez might not have walked away from.
"If it were me, I would have probably ran away from the ball, " said manager Dave Roberts, a former outfielder. "But (Enrique) was fearless. It was a huge out, and it could have changed the game."
Puig then gave the Dodgers some breathing room in the bottom of the eighth when he capped a three-hit night by lining a three-run homer to left field, his team-leading fourth, to drive in Corey Seager, who had doubled with two outs, and Justin Turner, who was hit by a Fernando Rodney high-and-tight pitch.
"There were a lot of good things tonight, " Roberts said.
And some not-so-good things. The injury to Forsythe, who doubled and singled twice to raise his average to.450 (nine for 20) against left-handers, will sideline him at least Sunday.
"My level of concern is not very high, " Forsythe said. "It feels fine right now."
Maeda gave up four earned runs and four hits in four innings, striking out five and walking one. The velocity of his fastball dipped from 94 mph in the first inning to 90-92 mph in the second.
Maeda gave up a three-run homer to Nick Ahmed in the second and an RBI single to Ahmed in the fourth. He threw several fat breaking balls. With the top of a predominantly left-handed-hitting order due up in the fifth, Roberts went to the bullpen.
"The hope is for guys to go deep into games, but as I see how the game is playing out, I have to make certain decisions, " Roberts said. "My eyes told me tonight that it was time for Woody to relieve Kenta."
The offense made sure Maeda didn't take a loss. Three straight hits by Forsythe (double) , Seager (single) and Turner (double) and Puig's sacrifice fly gave the Dodgers a 2-0 lead in the first. Austin Barnes' first big-league homer, off the left-field foul pole in the second, tied the score, 3-3.
The Dodgers tied it, 4-4, in the fourth on Seager's sacrifice fly and were gifted the go-ahead run on a fifth-inning error.

Puig has HR, 4 RBIs to help Dodgers beat Diamondbacks 8-4
Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks despite another rough start for Kenta Maeda
Baseball-Dodgers unveil statue to trailblazer Robinson
Los Angeles Dodgers again find inspiration on Jackie Robinson Day


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Leonard drops 32 as Spurs rout Grizzlies in game 1 (4.08/16)

SAN ANTONIO — Kawhi Leonard matched his postseason high with 32 points and the San Antonio Spurs rolled to a 111-82 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night in Game 1 of the first-round playoff series.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 20 points, and Tony Parker added 18 to help San Antonio win its ninth straight over Memphis in the postseason.
Marc Gasol had 32 points, but only seven in the second half as the Grizzlies fell behind by as many as 36 points. Mike Conley was the only other Grizzlies player in double figures, finishing with 13.
Memphis was without defensive lynchpin Tony Allen. He’s out indefinitely with a calf injury, and Leonard took advantage for his fourth career playoff game of 30-plus points.
Game 2 is Monday night in San Antonio.
Leonard has emerged as the Spurs’ primary offensive threat and they needed his ability to score in traffic against the Grizzlies.
Amid chants of “MVP! MVP!” Leonard scored 15 points in the third quarter as the Spurs built a 20-point lead. His pull-up jumper off an isolation against James Ennis III gave San Antonio an 84-64 lead to close the third, erasing a 13-point deficit in the first half.
Leonard was 4 for 5 from the field in the third quarter and made all seven of his free throws in the third.
The Grizzlies made their first five shots and first four 3-pointers in racing to an 18-7 lead. Gasol hit a turnaround jumper and 3-pointer on Dewayne Dedmon to open the game.
San Antonio would not take its first lead until there was 8: 53 remaining in the second quarter, but raced to victory once it did.
After falling behind 28-15 with two minutes left in the first quarter, the Spurs outscored the Grizzlies by 42 points over the next two quarter, including a 19-0 run to bring the third and fourth periods.
Grizzlies: Allen is out indefinitely with a strained right calf. The 13-year veteran suffered the injury when he was kicked in the calf during the first quarter of Memphis’ regular-season finale against Dallas.… The Grizzlies last postseason victory over the Spurs was a 99-91 victory April 29, 2011. The victory knocked the then top-seeded San Antonio out in six games in the opening round.… Gasol’s previous high against the Spurs was 28 points in a 107-101 loss on Dec. 15, 2014.… Vince Carter has played in 83 career postseason games over 11 seasons, starting 61 times. He has played in four games or less in four of those postseasons.
Spurs: San Antonio is 15-4 against Memphis in the postseason.… Manu Ginobili suffered a small cut under his left eye late in the first half that forced him to the locker room, but he returned for the second half.… The Spurs have opened the postseason on the road just twice in 15 years since moving into the AT&T Center in 2003.… Ginobili has 309 3-pointers in his postseason career, third behind Ray Allen (385) and Reggie Miller (320) in league history.

Leonard has 32 points, Spurs rout Grizzlies 111-82 in Game 1
Predators Pound Blackhawks 5-0 For 2-0 Series Lead
NHL playoffs: Predators blank Blackhawks again
Calkins: After fast start, Grizzlies crushed by Spurs
NBA News 2016-2017 Southwest Standings


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Failed missile launch still a defiant move by Pyongyang, analysts say (3.55/16)

The failed ballistic missile launch by North Korea on Sunday was still a defiant move that could further push China into a corner as tensions on the Korean Peninsula reached an alarming level, mainland observers said. China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had a phone conversation on the situation in the Korean peninsula on Sunday, after the reportedly failed missile launch. The two diplomats discussed the implementation of agreements reached by the two sides during the first summit of President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Donald Trump at the Mar-a-Lago estate earlier this month, state-run Xinhua reported, giving no further details. The missile, which was fired from the Sinpo area on its east coast shortly before 6am local time, exploded almost immediately, according to military officials in South Korea and the US. Intelligence agencies in South Korea and the US were attempting to extract more details about the missile, including its exact type. The test, which was launched from the same site as a KN-15 medium-range ballistic missile on April 5, came hours before US Vice-President Mike Pence arrived in Seoul on Sunday afternoon on his first stop of a 10-day Asian visit, during which he is expected to shore up US support for its allies as Washington steps up pressure on Pyongyang. Lu Chao, director of the Border Studies Institute at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, said the latest test, despite its failure, could be another defiant message from Pyongyang that it will not change its tough stance in the face of US pressure even amid a growing threat of military action, even though the failure showed that Pyongyang missile technology was flawed. Such a defiant move was likely to draw even more pressure from the US which ordered its nuclear-powered USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group to the region, Lu said. China would also face greater pressure from the US to take further action, including ratcheting up its sanctions against Pyongyang, he added. It was widely speculated that the North, which has a history of celebrating important anniversaries by conducting nuclear tests, would carry out its sixth nuclear test on Saturday for the 105th anniversary of the birthday of Kim Il-sung, the country’s late founder and the grandfather of Kim Jong-un, the impoverished nation’s third-generation leader. It did not, however. Instead it staged a massive military parade to show off its new advanced missiles, including, the first time, multiple Pukkuksong submarine-launched ballistic missiles, which have a range of more than 1, 000km, and are likely to be developed further.
On Saturday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said there would be no winner in a war between the US and North Korea, and said Beijing was ready to cooperate with Moscow to reduce tensions following a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Liu Ming, from the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said Beijing was unlikely to take further action at this stage unless Pyongyang carried out its sixth nuclear test or long-term ballistic missile test as Beijing insisted that talks, not military action, were the only solution to the North Korea issues. “China needs to create conditions and the right atmosphere to draw different parties back to the talks table, ” Liu said.

Pence lands in South Korea after failed missile launch by North
Kim Jong Unremarkable – North Korea missile launch fails
Attempted North Korean missile launch fails, U.S. confirms


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Millions of Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter (3.23/16)

Millions of Orthodox Christians around the world have celebrated Easter in overnight services and "holy fire" from Jerusalem.
This year the Orthodox churches celebrate Easter on the same Sunday when Roman Catholics and Protestants mark the holy festival. The Western Christian church follows the Gregorian calendar, while the Eastern Orthodox uses the older Julian calendar. The two Easters are often weeks apart.
In predominantly Orthodox Romania, Patriarch Daniel urged Christians to bring joy to "orphans, the sick, the elderly the poor... and the lonely." Late Saturday, Orthodox cleric transported the holy light from Jerusalem by plane and it was then flown to other churches around the country.
There are Orthodox churches in Greece, Russia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Moldova and elsewhere.

Easter 2017: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
Easter 2017: Is Easter a Pagan Holiday?
Easter 2017: Bible Verses, Passages, & Readings
‘He Is Risen’ 2017: Best Bible Quotes, Passages, & Memes
Easter 2017: All the Memes You Need to See
Easter 2017: Quotes, Bible Verses, Sayings, And Poems To Share With Others
What are celebs up to this Easter?


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Johnson’s drive at buzzer helps Jazz beat Clippers (3.22/16)

Joe Johnson has seen a lot in his 16 years in the NBA. So the veteran didn’ t flinch with the clock ticking down and the game tied.
All that experience is why the Utah Jazz brought him in this season.
It paid off when Johnson drove the lane and hit a floater at the buzzer, giving the Jazz a 97-95 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers after Utah lost Rudy Gobert 17 seconds into their playoff opener on Saturday night.
“I just wanted to get as close as I could to the basket, and it was a good thing it went down, ” Johnson said.
Johnson, who scored 21 points, was left isolated against Jamal Crawford on the final play. He powered his way inside and lofted a shot over Crawford and DeAndre Jordan that bounced around the rim before falling in. A video review confirmed it was good.
“I just try to be patient, get to a sweet spot, and make the right play, ” Johnson said.
He’s made an NBA-best eight game-winning buzzer-beaters in the past 10 years.
“That’s what he’s been doing all his career, ” Utah’s Boris Diaw said. “So when he gets the ball at the end of the game, we are pretty confident.”
The Jazz were dealt a blow before either team had settled into the game.
Gobert sprained his left knee on the game’s first play when he banged knees with Clippers forward Luc Mbah a Moute, leaving the Jazz without their 7-foot-1 center who averaged 14.0 points and 12.8 rebounds during the regular season.
“We felt and knew that a lot of people probably were counting us out when he went down, but man, we stuck together, ” Johnson said.
Utah steadied itself behind Johnson and fellow veteran George Hill, both of whom were brought in to balance the inexperienced Jazz. Johnson finished with 21 points off the bench and Hill added 16 points.
Gordon Hayward had 19 points and 10 rebounds for Utah.
Blake Griffin scored 26 points and Chris Paul added 25 points and 11 assists for the Clippers, whose seven-game winning streak ended with their first loss since March 26 against Sacramento.
A driving Paul banked in a floater with 13 seconds to go, tying the game at 95.
The Jazz didn’ t call a timeout.
“We just wanted to have it where they couldn’ t set up on us, ” Hayward said, glancing at Johnson. “We just wanted to get it and go and let this man go to work.”
Making their first playoff appearance in five years, the Jazz outshot the Clippers and narrowly controlled the paint, owning a 42-40 edge.
The teams tied with identical 51-31 records in the regular season. The Clippers earned the No. 4 seed and home court by virtue of winning the season series 3-1.
“We fought until the end of the year to get it, and now we’ ve given it right back, ” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said.
Utah withstood Paul’s offensive outburst in the fourth after the Jazz led by eight on Hill’s 3-pointer. Paul rattled off 10 straight Los Angeles points, drawing the Clippers to 90-89 on a 3-pointer.
Hayward and Johnson scored, keeping the Jazz ahead 94-91. But Johnson lost the ball and Hill fouled Griffin, who made both free throws to get the Clippers to 94-93 with 23 seconds left.
After a timeout by the Jazz, Griffin fouled Derrick Favors, who missed the first and made the second after it hit the rim and went in for a 95-93 lead with 18 seconds left.
“We’ ve got to be better, ” Paul said. “They played harder, they were more physical.”
Gobert was setting a screen when he and Mbah a Moute made contact and Gobert fell to the court clutching his left leg.
He had to be helped off by Diaw and Hill. A team spokesman said X-rays were negative, and Gobert was taken from Staples Center to have a precautionary MRI.
“We felt a little bit stunned out there, ” Diaw said, “but then we regrouped and got back on the horse.”
The matchup between Gobert and Jordan was expected to be a key in the best-of-7 series. Jordan finished with 10 points and 15 rebounds and got called for a technical in the fourth with the Clippers down six.
“We have the rule, no fourth-quarter techs, and he got one, ” Rivers said. “It didn’ t make a huge difference, but it could have for sure.”
Utah outscored the Clippers 16-10 to open the third before Crawford’s jumper put Los Angeles ahead 70-68. Hayward singlehandedly outscored the Clippers 6-0 to send the Jazz into the fourth leading 74-70.
Neither team led by more than six points in the first half. The Clippers were ahead by six when the Jazz outscored them 14-2 in the second quarter to take their own six-point lead. Griffin got stripped under the basket by Hayward, but he hit a 3-pointer and made a layup on the Clippers’ next two possessions to key a 14-8 spurt that ended with the half tied 52-all.

Johnson's drive at buzzer helps Jazz beat LA 97-95 in Game 1
Joe Johnson's buzzer-beater gives Utah Jazz Game 1 win over L.A. Clippers
Johnson's drive at buzzer lifts Jazz over Clippers in Game 1
Twitter reactions: Joe Johnson pulls the chair from under the Clippers as Jazz win Game 1
Blake Griffin a bright spot for Clippers in Game 1 loss


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22 killed in Sri Lanka as massive mound of garbage collapses (3.13/16)

The death toll from the collapse of a massive garbage mound near Sri Lanka's capital rose to 22 on Sunday, and activists said some 20 more people could still be buried underneath the debris.
Maj. Gen. Sudantha Ranasinghe, who is heading the rescue efforts, said authorities were struggling to determine exactly how many people were trapped under the debris due to a lack of information from the residents.
Lawyer and activist Nuwan Bopage, who had worked with local residents in their protests to have the garbage dump removed, said about 20 people were buried under the debris.
Military personnel were still searching the site in Meetotamulla, a town outside Colombo, the capital, and speaking to survivors to determine how many were missing.
The tragedy occurred Friday evening as people were celebrating the local new year.
A resident who identified himself only as Sanjaya said that he and others were searching for three neighbors — an elderly man, his daughter and granddaughter — who were buried under the collapse.
Twelve people who were injured in the disaster remained in the hospital.
Ranasinghe said 78 houses were destroyed and more than 150 were damaged.
The site has been used to dump Colombo's garbage for the past few years as authorities sought to give the capital a face-lift. But residents living in tiny homes in the area have protested against all the waste being dumped there because of health hazards.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said Saturday that the government would soon remove the garbage dump from the area.
He also said 625 people whose homes were either destroyed or under threat from the collapse were being housed in nearby schools.

Death toll rises in Sri Lanka rubbish heap collapse
Hope fades for Sri Lanka missing, garbage toll hits 21
20 killed in Sri Lanka as massive mound of garbage collapses


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Winning numbers drawn in 'Lotto' game (3.13/16)

The winning numbers in Saturday evening's drawing of the Florida Lottery's "Lotto" game were:
(twelve, nineteen, twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-six, twenty-nine)
Estimated jackpot: $3 million

Winning numbers drawn in 'Powerball' game
Winning numbers drawn in 'Cash 5' game
Winning numbers for April 15, 2017


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Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson Asks For Seven Figure Payout Following 10th Successful UFC Title Defense (3.11/16)

Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson successfully defended his flyweight championship belt for the 10th time, and he wants the UFC to pay for it. Johnson tied the UFC record for consecutive title defenses. Considered to be the No. 1 pound for pound fighter in the UFC, Mighty Mouse now thinks he should be paid like he’s No. 1.
Mighty Mouse ties Anderson Silva for ten straight title defenses. Chasing history! Congrats to the CHAMP. #AndStill
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) April 16, 2017
Johnson took on Wilson Reis at UFC Fight Night in Kansas City for what was supposed to be a five-round battle. Demetrious nearly finished the fight at the end of Round 2 but Reis was spared by the clock. In round 3, Wilson Reis wasn’ t so fortunate. As Johnson worked the ground and pound with just seconds left, he transitioned to an arm bar that had Reis tapping.
Inside the octagon during his post-fight interview, Johnson gave the standard thanks to his coaches and love to his family before ending his moment of glory with a call out to the UFC.
“I need seven figures, ” Demetrious said. “I’ m out here whooping [guys] and cleaning it up.”
Johnson has proven he is a well-rounded fighter. And Saturday night, Mighty Mouse came out firing on all cylinders, outclassing Reis in both stand up and ground control. So what is keeping Demetrious from getting paid the big money? Simply put, fans and other fighters have complained that while Johnson is incredibly talented in the octagon, he lacks personality outside of it. In short, they say Demetrious Johnson is too boring to sell fights.
Fellow fighter Geane Herrera brought it up following his surprise victory as a stand in for TUF 22 Finale. At the time, Herrera was on top of the world and thought he would be giving Demetrious Johnson a run for his money in the near future, so he felt so inclined to comment on what keeps Mighty Mouse from the big show.
When it comes to making the big bucks, it appears that there is more than sheer talent involved in the decision. The UFC is paying more money to the fighters with big egos and even bigger personalities. The biggest purses of $3 million each have gone to Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey. Ronda Rousey, in fact, was paid that much to return to the octagon after losing her belt.
In a past press conference for UFC 191, Johnson tried to keep his chin up about those who didn’ t seem to appreciate what he had to offer.
At the end of Saturday night’s fight, Demetrious Johnson’s victory and request for seven figures followed by an unintelligible rant might have shown he has some personality after all, especially considering if Johnson successfully defends his title again, he will make his own way in UFC history.
[Featured Image by John Locher/AP Images]

Demetrious Johnson ties UFC record for title defense
Best of Demetrious Johnson vs. Wilson Reis at UFC on FOX 24
Demetrious Johnson ties Anderson Silva's UFC title-defense record after defeating Wilson Reis


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April The Giraffe Gives Birth At Animal Adventure Park: The Excitement Isn’ t Over Yet, What’s Next? (3.11/16)

April the giraffe’s most anticipated baby calf was finally born. The celebrity mother giraffe finally welcomed her newborn male calf on April 15 at Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, New York, with millions of people tuning into the zoo’s live feed. Now that April’s birth is over, what’s next? One would think that people will finally leave the live camera showing April and her baby, but apparently, the internet is still hooked. This time, they are enjoying watching the mother and her new calf bond.
People are now curious as to when they can see April the giraffe’s yet to be named calf. Animal Adventure Park is not done with the April hype just yet. The park immediately started a contest for the best name for April’s baby. Fans of the mother-son tandem can now visit the website to start voting for different names. Each vote costs $1 each with a minimum of five different name choices.
The funds raised from the contest will go to conservation efforts for giraffes found in the wild, help Animal Adventure Park’s owner’s daughter, who suffers from a rare form of epilepsy and continue with the improvement of the zoo’s facility and services. The park will reveal the top 10 name choices at the end of the first phase of the contest.
The next excitement at Animal Adventure Park should be the naming of April the giraffe’s newborn. It is expected that the hype won’ t die down just yet and this is not just because people will be helping out with the names, but also because the calf itself is a wonderful sight. People continue to watch the zoo’s live feed, especially the adorable moments when the mother and calf bond together.
For now, Animal Adventure Park is temporarily closed but will reopen on May 13. Furthermore, it was reported that there are still visitors who are taking chances just to see the mother giraffe and her newborn. Sadly, the park cannot let anyone in for now. They instead gave visitors stuffed giraffe toys and Lego sets.
Animal Adventure Park staff is letting April and her calf bond naturally. April will wean her baby the natural way and this process could take between six and 12 months. After the baby has weaned off from the mother all by itself, it would be time for them to separate. April’s baby will be moved to a different facility to avoid inbreeding.
Meanwhile, there are also questions about April the giraffe’s mate, Oliver, and how will he be part of this family. According to the zoo, Oliver will not be really involved in all of this because naturally, male giraffes are only interested in mating and fighting other males.
Patch had initially hoped that when April first came to Animal Adventure Park, she and Oliver would have a good relationship that will, later on, result in a birth of a calf. Apparently, Patch’s hope has turned into a reality. Oliver and April’s baby will be formally introduced eventually, but at this point, it’s going to be her and her baby spending some quality time. The park now hopes that someday, when the weaning process is done, there would be another announcement from Oliver and April.
If you have missed the biggest moment when April the giraffe gives birth to her fourth calf, check out the video below.
[Featured Image by Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images]

It's a boy! April the giraffe has a son, park confirms
He's a fast learner! April the giraffe's world famous newborn son is on his feet within 30 minutes of being born in fornt of 1.2million people
Wait is over for April the giraffe, YouTube star and new mom


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Tax March turns into demand for Trump's IRS filings; 20 reported arrests (3.09/16)

Thousands of protesters turned out Saturday in events across the country to demand President Trump release his full IRS returns, mostly large-but-peaceful events with several arrests reported in California.
That the events were held on the deadline for hundreds of millions of Americans to file their federal returns was largely coincidental. Their intent was to pressure Trump to release his tax documents and to help Trump opponents stake out their position ahead of the president’s pending tax reform plan.
“Today, across American we are taking the gloves off to say it’s time to knock off the tax rip-off, ” Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden told a crowd of several hundred people gathered at the base of Capitol Hill.
“No more Cayman Islands tax breaks… no more Wall Street tax breaks, ” he roared before the crowd marched several miles to the National Mall. “It’s time to knock off the secrecy Mr. President and release your own tax returns.”
Twenty people were reportedly arrested when Trump protesters clashed with supporters in Berkley, Calif.
Several fights broke out and police in riot gear purportedly had to use pepper spray to subdue the crowd and confiscate fireworks that were set off at the event, according to The Mercury News.
Trump supporters were reportedly holding a free speech rally in a downtown park when they were met by opponents of the president and his policies, according to the newspaper.
About 150 protests were held across the county, largely organized by the group, whose executive committee includes a former Occupy Wall Street protester.
“The Tax March is a movement gaining momentum around the country to demand transparency and fairness from our commander in chief, " the group says on its website.
That Trump will cave to the pressure and release his full tax returns appears unlikely, considering the president has said he won’ t amid an ongoing IRS audit and the White House saying recently that he will not.
"Their whole message is they want to see the president's tax returns. I care far more about his policy than his tax returns, " Trevor Dierdorff, El Paso County Republican Party chairman, told the Colorado Springs Gazette, ahead of a pro-Trump event there Saturday.
Two of the largest events are in Seattle, site of the World Trade Organization protests of the 1990s. In addition to the expected 25, 000 marching in “Tax March Seattle, ” as many as 7, 000 Black Lives Matter activists plan to come out for their own rally focusing on Trump's tax returns.
Other events were held in Chicago, Florida and New York City.
Trump was met by protesters in south Florida, going from his golf club to his Mar-a-Lago resort home, as hundreds of people along his motorcade’s path demanded that he release his returns.
"Pay your taxes, " several people, including some holding signs, yelled as they marched toward Mar-a-Lago.
One sign read, "Twinkle Twinkle Little Czar, Putin Put You Where You Are, " further making clear that Trump critics think his returns will finally reveal conclusive ties to the Kremlin, as they suspect.
Others helping organize events Saturday included labor unions and activist groups such as and Common Cause.
The idea for the march has its roots in the response to a January appearance by White House counselor Kellyanne Conway. Asked her thoughts on an online petition demanding Trump release his tax returns, Conway replied that the White House would not release his tax returns and the issue was of little concern to Americans.
“We litigated this all through the election. People didn't care. They voted for him, ” she said on ABC News’ “This Week.”
The comments lit up social media and grassroots organizers began circulating plans for this weekend’s events.
Voters may be split on the tax return issue. An April Bloomberg/Morning Consult poll found 53 percent of voters want Trump to release his tax returns, and 51 percent believe his returns are either very or somewhat important to them.
Whether it resonates beyond Tax Day -- which is typically April 15, though the IRS is pushing the deadline to Tuesday -- is unclear. But Democrats in Congress continue to use tax returns as a wedge issue.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N. Y., said not releasing the returns would make getting bipartisan agreement on tax reform “much harder.”
In a much-hyped segment, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow also recently aired a leaked copy of part of an old Trump tax return.
But it wasn't exactly damning. The files showed Trump paid $38 million in federal income tax in 2005 on more than $150 million. The effective rate of 25 percent was higher than the rate paid by former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

Raleigh 'Tax March' protesters demand release of Trump's tax returns
Tax Day demonstrators demand Trump release taxes
Trump Fan Sucker Punches Woman In Face, Named As White Supremacist Nathan Damigo, Report Says [Video]


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2017 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs results, schedule (3.06/16)

The 2017 NHL playoff schedule:
*If necessary
New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens tied, 1-1
Game 1: N. Y. Rangers 2, Montreal 0
Game 2: Montreal 4, N. Y. Rangers 3 (OT)
Sunday, April 16, 7 pm: MTL @ NYR, NBCSN
Tuesday, April 18, 7 pm: MTL @ NYR, NBCSN
Thursday, April 20, TBD: NYR @ MTL, TBD
*Saturday, April 22, TBD: MTL @ NYR, TBD
*Monday, April 24, TBD: NYR @ MTL, TBD
Boston Bruins, Ottawa Senators tied, 1-1
Game 1: Boston 2, Ottawa 1
Game 2: Ottawa 4, Boston 3 (OT)
Monday, April 17, 7 pm: OTT @ BOS, CNBC
Wednesday, April 19, 7: 30 pm: OTT @ BOS, USA
Friday, April 21, TBD: BOS @ OTT, TBD
*Sunday, April 23, TBD: OTT @ BOS, TBD
*Wednesday, April 26, TBD: BOS @ OTT, TBD
Washington Capitals. Toronto Maple Leafs tied, 1-1
Game 1: Washington 3, Toronto 2 (OT)
Game 2: Toronto 4, Washington 3 (2OT)
Monday, April 17, 7 pm: WSH @ TOR, NBCSN
Wednesday, April 19, 7 pm: WSH @ TOR, NBCSN
Friday, April 21, TBD: TOR @ WSH, TBD
*Sunday, April 23, TBD: WSH @ TOR, TBD
*Tuesday, April 25, TBD: TOR @ WSH, TBD
Pittsburgh Penguins lead Columbus Blue Jackets, 2-0
Game 1: Pittsburgh 3, Columbus 1
Game 2: Pittsburgh 4, Columbus 1
Sunday, April 16, 6 pm: PIT @ CBJ, CNBC
Tuesday, April 18, 7: 30 pm: PIT @ CBJ, CNBC
*Thursday, April 20, TBD: CBJ @ PIT, TBD
*Sunday, April 23, TBD: PIT @ CBJ, TBD
*Tuesday, April 25, TBD: CBJ @ PIT, TBD
Nashville Predators lead Chicago Blackhawks, 2-0
Game 1: Nashville 1, Chicago 0
Game 2: Nashville 2, Chicago 0
Monday, April 17, 9: 30 pm: CHI @ NSH, CNBC
Thursday, April 20, TBD: CHI @ NSH, TVA Sports
*Saturday, April 22, TBD: NSH @ CHI, TBD
*Monday, April 24, TBD: CHI @ NSH, TBD
*Wednesday, April 26, TBD: NSH @ CHI, TBD
St. Louis Blues lead Minnesota Wild, 2-0
Game 1: St. Louis 2, Minnesota 1 (OT)
Game 2: St. Louis 2, Minnesota 1
Sunday, April 16, 3 pm: MIN @ STL, NBC
Wednesday, April 19, 9: 30 pm: MIN @ STL, NBCSN
*Saturday, April 22, TBD: STL @ MIN, TBD
*Monday, April 24, TBD: MIN @ STL, TBD
*Wednesday, April 26, TBD: STL @ MIN, TBD
Anaheim Ducks lead Calgary Flames, 1-0
Game 1: Anaheim 3, Calgary 2
Saturday, April 15, 10: 30 pm: CGY @ ANA, NBCSN
Monday, April 17, 10 pm: ANA @ CGY, NBCSN
Wednesday, April 19, 10 pm: ANA @ CGY, USA
*Friday, April 21, TBD: CGY @ ANA, TBD
*Sunday, April 23, TBD: ANA @ CGY, TBD
*Tuesday, April 25, TBD: CGY @ ANA, TBD
San Jose Sharks, Edmonton Oilers tied, 1-1
Game 1: San Jose 3, Edmonton 2 (OT)
Game 2: Edmonton 2, San Jose 0
Sunday, April 16, 10 pm: EDM @ SJS, NBCSN
Tuesday, April 18, 10 pm: EDM @ SJS, NBCSN
Thursday, April 20, TBD: SJS @ EDM, TBD
*Saturday, April 22, TBD: EDM @ SJS, TBD
*Monday, April 24, TBD: SJS @ EDM, TBD

2017 NBA playoffs results, schedule
NHL Playoff Capsules
NHL play-offs 1st round results


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Harry Styles Performs New Single ‘Sign Of The Times’ On ‘SNL’ [VIDEO] (2.17/16)

The episode opened with an impromptu dance number in the opening sequence, with host Jimmy Fallon leading a group of guests through an interpretation of David Bowie’s classic hit “Let’s Dance.” Styles’ 15-second appearance was enough to set Twitter alight, with fans gushing over the star’s dancing and “irresistible smile.”
The track list is as follows.
HARRY. STYLES //12. MAY.17//
A post shared by @harrystyles on Apr 13, 2017 at 4: 52am PDT
In addition to seeking advice from Sheeran, Styles has opened up about the support he had received throughout the recording process from fellow Brit Adele. Speaking to Grimshaw, Styles explained that “I’ ve spoken to her a little bit, she knows one of the guys that I wrote it with a lot. But I don’ t think so much advice, I just like how she does stuff.”
Harry Styles’ self-titled debut album is out May 12, with pre-orders now open.
[Featured Image by Star Max 2/AP Images]

Harry Styles Slays First Performance Of ‘Sign Of The Times’ On ‘SNL’ — Watch
'Why would anyone go solo?': Harry Styles does HILARIOUS Mick Jagger impression on first coast-to-coast SNL
Harry Styles Debuts Surprise Single ‘Kiwi’ On ‘Saturday Night Live’ — Watch
‘SNL’ : Jimmy Fallon Honors David Bowie Singing ‘Let’s Dance’ With Harry Styles


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As unheralded Preds score, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane struggle (2.16/16)

Whether it was frustration or desperation, it looked like Patrick Kane picked an odd time to lose his cool Saturday night.
Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews tries to get a shot off under pressure from Predators forward Ryan Johansen (92) in the Hawks 5-0 loss in Game 2 of their first-round series. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Predators Pound Blackhawks 5-0 For 2-0 Series Lead
NHL playoffs: Predators blank Blackhawks again


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It's a fresh postseason but Clippers give a stale effort in Game 1 loss to short-handed Jazz (2.14/16)

The raucous Staples Center was filled by roaring fans wearing T-shirts that read, “It Takes Everything.’ ’
These being the Clippers, and this being the playoffs, even that wasn’ t enough.
In their postseason opener against the Utah Jazz on Saturday night at Staples Center, the Clippers were given everything and lost.
They were handed the game in the first 10 seconds, and spent the next two hours giving it back.
They benefitted from a major Utah injury, a powerful home crowd, a game-tying tying bank shot by Chris Paul in the final seconds, and still didn’ t get it done.
They were given everything and wound up with nothing, in the shape of a 97-95 loss on a buzzer-beating floater by Joe Johnson .
“It was kind of a struggle to find our footing,’ ’ said a quiet Jamal Crawford after being beaten by Johnson’s drive down the lane for the winner.
No, sadly, this is their exact footing. This is how they stand. This is what they do. For the last five springs, this is how this team has rolled — and been rolled — with three of the most exciting players in the game producing some of this town’s most disappointing sports moments.
We’ ve seen this against Houston. We’ ve seen this against Oklahoma City. We’ ve seen this so much the team has become defined by the sight, which reappeared Saturday with Paul screaming, and Griffin muttering, and DeAndre Jordan trudging.
This probably being the last ride for that trio — and with the Clippers ending the regular season with a seven-game winning streak — some thought this spring might be different.
At first-game glance, think again.
“We didn’ t play great,’ ’ said Coach Doc Rivers, a regular-season orator who has become the master of the postseason understatement.
You know who actually did struggle to find their footing? Rudy Gobert, the Jazz’s leading rebounder and third-leading scorer who has missed only one game all season. He crumpled to the court in the first 10 seconds after knocking knees with Clippers forward Luc Mbah a Moute.
Gobert, one of the best shot-blockers in the game, required teammates to drag him to the bench. He was initially diagnosed with a sprained knee, he was placed in an MRI machine somewhere during the second half, and it would be surprising to see him on the court again in the next couple of weeks.
“We took a hit,’ ’ said the Jazz’s ancient Boris Diaw .
But somehow, instead of being deflated with Gobert’s departure, the Jazz were inspired. In other words, they were everything the Clippers were not.
“I think we felt and knew that a lot of people probably were counting us out when he went down, but man, we stuck together, fought hard for 48 minutes,’ ’ said Johnson.
And man, once again, the Clippers didn’ t stick together, and didn’ t fight hard enough.
“We’ ve got to be better,’ ’ said Paul, who scored 25, including a dozen points in the fourth quarter. “You know, they played harder. They were more physical.’ ’
How could that be? Knowing what is at stake for the future of a team that could lose Paul, Griffin and J. Redick to free agency, how could the Clippers not play harder than everyone during what could be their last spring together?
“It ain’ t great, obviously,’ ’ said Paul. “Now we’ ve got to see what we’ re made of.’ ’
Just watching Saturday’s meltdown, during which the 15-turnover Clippers sloppily fell behind late in the third quarter and never led again, one could only surmise that they are still entirely composed of the worst three words in the team’s dictionary.
Same Old Clippers.
Start with Jordan, who didn’ t see the ball nearly enough after Gobert’s injury, taking only seven shots, and doesn’ t this team always seem to have trouble finding him when he’s most needed?
Compounding Jordan’s offensive inaction was his complaining that led to a damaging technical foul with 4: 20 left in the fourth quarter and the Clippers trailing by six. Of course Gordon Hayward made the free throw, the Clippers bad behavior never seems to go unpunished.
“We have a rule, no fourth-quarter techs, and he got one,’ ’ said Rivers. “It makes a difference, they really do. Like our emotions and our frustration, that’s got to be something we have to control.’ ’
Then there was Griffin, whose game-high 26 points were overshadowed by another playoff fourth quarter in which he completely disappeared. He missed both of his shots from the field after making six earlier turnovers, several when losing the ball on drives to the basket.
“Turnovers, mainly myself,’ ’ said Griffin when asked what went wrong. “It’s tough to win a game when you turn the ball over so much.’ ’
Then there was the Clippers’ defense, which made the Jazz look like the San Antonio Spurs with perfect executed play after play after play. Where was the help? This is going to sound like something from a youth-league handbook, but where was the teamwork?
“I just thought they scored easier than I would like, and that’s just my visual watching the game,’ ’ said Rivers.
That was surely everyone’s visual who watched the game, visions that grow truly terrifying when realizing exactly what this loss could mean for the Clippers’ immediate future.
Without having to face Gobert, the Clippers should still be favored to win the series. There’s six more games beginning Tuesday night at Staples Center, and the Clippers should still be favored to win four of them. But what does the lengthening of what should have been a short series do for their health and energy in the next round against the Golden State Warriors? That is, of course, if they even advance that far.
Before Saturday’s final stirring sequence, the Staples Center video juiced up the crowd by showing Kurt Russell’s pep-talk scene from “Miracle.’ ’
Then, somehow, the short-handed, outmanned, overwhelmed Jazz raced down the court and won the game.
These being the Clippers, and this being the playoffs, it was no miracle.

Jazz stun Clippers on Joe Johnson's last-second shot in playoff opener
Utah's Gobert leaves game after getting hurt on 1st play
Twitter reactions: Joe Johnson pulls the chair from under the Clippers as Jazz win Game 1


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Brad Rock: Jazz show maybe it's the Clippers who are cursed (2.10/16)

LOS ANGELES — This is how hot the Jazz are lately: Even the Curse of Los Angeles didn’ t divert them.
At least for a day, they put to rest the long-held suspicion they would never be winners in Los Angeles. Following a perfectly blue day in the City of Angels, the Jazz beat a team in the playoffs for the first time since 2009. And they did it without emerging star Rudy Gobert.
Talk about a curse-smasher.
Joe Johnson sank a driving shot at the buzzer in the Jazz’s 97-95 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.
Before that, Utah had lost eight consecutive playoff games and hadn’ t had a postseason win over an L. A. team since 2009. But that was the other L. A.
The Jazz haven’ t faced an L. A. team since 2010. The Lakers swept them in 2010, stretching their postseason win streak to six over Utah.
Old history, says coach Quin Snyder.
“It’s been seven years since we won a (playoff) game, five years since we’ ve been in there, ” he said. “I don’ t know how many people currently that were on that team. Just a couple. I certainly wasn’ t.
“I guess what I’ m saying is whatever the history is, I don’ t know that that’s something we’ re conscious of.”
Note to Curse: Boo!
Meanwhile, there’s the Gobert issue. Following the Jazz’s first playoff game in five years, the hex lingers, like L. A. smog and traffic. It only took 13 seconds to appear.
Gobert left with a sprained knee, sustained on a freak play. It went like this: introductions, center-jump, gasp. Gobert planted for a screen on the game’s first possession and almost immediately crumpled in pain. He crawled a few inches, tried to get up, then limped off with teammates propping him up.
The Hotel Roosevelt allegedly is haunted by the ghost of Marilyn Monroe, and the Jazz, well, they’ re hearing bumps in the night.
All those years of bad luck — and Kobe Bryant — in L. A. suddenly seemed a ways removed.
In a way, the injury to Gobert was business as usual for the Jazz. Though he only missed one game all year, the Jazz had the sixth-most injury absences in the league. Their preferred starting line-up was together just 13 of 82 games.
Snyder didn’ t blink. He’s been shorthanded since October.
Even after Gobert left, the Jazz got 21 points from Johnson off the bench.
When Johnson’s buzzer-beater went in, it was obvious that, curse or no curse, the Jazz aren’ t an easy opponent anymore.
While no current Jazz players were on the team when the Jazz last met an L. A. team in the playoffs, it’s still a sore point with Utah fans. For a while, the Lakers blocked every attempt the Jazz made at advancement. They beat the Jazz in the second round in 2008 in six games. They beat them 4-1 in the first round of 2009. By 2010, it was a conditioned response. The Lakers passed the Jazz like a cop car on the 405.
But that was the other L. A. This time it’s the oft-ignored Clippers that are the Jazz’s problem. The last time the Jazz met the Clippers in the postseason, though, was 1997.
Back then people called them the “Paper Clips.”
“I remember back in the days of the Lakers when the Clippers didn’ t get that big a lift from the fans and supporters around, but that’s changed a lot, ” said Jazz forward Boris Diaw.
They had the flash (Laker Girls, Jack Nicholson) , the dash (remember the “Showtime” Lakers?) and the cash — $2, 750 for a courtside seat in 2016, according to Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Paschke. But things are changing quickly. The same article said tickets to a Clippers’ regular-season game can cost $2, 840 (parking and food included) .
The Clippers have sold out 276 consecutive games.
Yes, L. A. is superficial.
The city’s chippy kid brother has hit puberty, its voice deepening. The team only Billy Crystal could love — he’s still a regular — now has given way to a new clientele that includes Anthony Anderson, Adam Devine, Eric Stonestreet, Jason Sudekis and Olivia Wilde.
At the last regular-season game, Reece Witherspoon and Fred Savage showed up.
But while this is the sixth consecutive postseason appearance for the Clippers, it hasn’ t always been smooth. They have been ousted three times in the conference semifinals and twice in the first round since 2012.
Maybe the pressure in a city of glamour got to them.
“It is very different in the playoffs than regular season, ” Diaw said. “One reason is because the media is overblown, too. But, yeah, it’s part of it — part of the experience. Everything is amplified.”

NBA-Jazz lose Gobert early in playoff opener
Rudy Gobert of Utah Jazz helped off court with apparent knee injury


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On night Jazz lose Gobert, 'Iso Joe' comes through in the clutch (2.09/16)

LOS ANGELES -- The element of surprise is a razor-sharp weapon, so when LA Clippers guard Chris Paul tied the score with a leaning layup high off the glass with 13 seconds left in regulation, Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder tossed the whiteboard aside.
"We wanted just to get it and go and let this man go to work, " Jazz forward Gordon Hayward said.
The man in question was Joe Marcus Johnson, professional scorer, manufacturer of points, and the NBA player who has drained more buzzer-beaters than any other over the past decade. The conditions for his eighth on Saturday night (no other player has more than four) were favorable. Thanks to a sturdy screen from teammate Joe Ingles, Johnson drew Jamal Crawford, a sharpshooter with a less-than-esteemed defensive reputation and the matchup the Jazz wanted to see.
"I remember Joe Ingles setting a pick, got Jamal Crawford on me, and I just seen the clock going down, " Johnson said. "I knew I had to make a play, I just wanted to get as close as I could to the basket, and it was a good thing it went down."
During his prime seasons in Atlanta, Johnson earned the nickname "Iso Joe" for his propensity to play one-on-one basketball outside of a set offense. The tag was affixed as somewhat of a backhanded compliment. But Saturday night, after driving through the lane to close range to launch a running layup that went rim-glass-rim before falling through for the 97-95 win, Johnson explained the secret of Iso Ball through the mind of the poor defender opposite him.
"In those moments of the game, guys are not going to help, " Johnson said. "It's kind of like you're on an island by yourself and they expect for you to get that stop. Nobody wants their man to score, so I just try to be patient, get to a sweet spot, and make the right play."
The win was improbable and all the more gratifying because the Jazz played all but 17 seconds without center Rudy Gobert, who suffered a hyperextension of his left knee and a bone bruise on the game's very first possession.
The blow seemed cruel but almost fateful. The team estimated to have lost more wins this season due to injury watched their defensive anchor and the league leader in blocked shots and defensive real plus-minus crumple to the court.
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"I think we felt and knew that a lot of people probably were counting us out when he went down, " Johnson said. "But man, we stuck together, fought hard for 48 minutes, we had ups and downs, but at the end of the day we came out with a win."
The Jazz have been held together with duct tape this season as their starting backcourt of George Hill and Rodney Hood, as well as big man Derrick Favors, have all missed significant time. Gobert has been a constant, as Utah wins basketball games behind the strength of its stingy third-ranked defense.
The absence of Gobert presented serious challenges for a scheme etched around Gobert's presence in the paint. But the Jazz summoned up a season's worth of resilience to problem-solve. Favors, a "4-point-5" as the Jazz staff is fond of calling him, lives closer to the ground than Gobert but provided strong interior help. Utah's wings bottled up J. Redick, who managed only six shot attempts Saturday.
"They were more aggressive for [Redick] coming off screens, " Clippers forward Luc Mbah a Moute said. "They were almost trapping every time. They never let him come off and get his rhythm. It's part of what I said, they were really aggressive defensively."
That aggressiveness included blitzing Blake Griffin in the post after the Clippers' forward abused the Jazz in the first half. And late in the fourth, Johnson picked up Paul, affording the Jazz the flexibility to switch high screens.
Paul dominated the fourth quarter for the Clippers, as he personally kept the team close with 12 points in the final six minutes. The shocking Game 1 loss to a Jazz team absent its most dominant defender and arguably most indispensable player adds to the Clippers' collection of playoff heartbreaks. Paul, Griffin and Redick enter free agency this summer. Whispers of "Do they blow it up?" will grow louder the closer the Clippers inch to mortality this postseason.
Check out the team site for more game coverage
For all the talk of the Clippers' core facing a reckoning this summer if they don't exorcise their playoff demons, the Jazz enter the offseason at their own treacherous crossroads. Hayward will almost certainly opt out of the final years of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent for the first time. Hayward will certainly draw plenty of attention, be it from his beloved college coach Brad Stevens in Boston or a team with money to spend.
Hill, Utah's starting point guard and a catalyst on both ends of the floor, passed on a contract extension this summer. The Jazz will have to work hard to retain his services, as he has become a front-office favorite around the league for his professionalism and versatility as a lanky point guard who can defend multiple positions and provide double duty in the backcourt as a spot-up shooter.
The Jazz have plenty to sell their free agents -- rock-solid ownership and management, an exceptional coach, strong infrastructure and a professional culture. But small markets always face an uphill battle against sexier destinations and franchises who can point to fabric in the rafters.
An organization like the Jazz has to be able to sell a little magic, and on Saturday night they brewed a healthy dose.

Watch Joe Johnson’s clutch Game 1 game-winner
Utah's Gobert leaves game after getting hurt on 1st play


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At least 20 arrested after Trump supporters and opponents clash in car park (2.08/16)

A commotion erupted on Saturday in a Berkeley, California park where supporters and opponents of President Donald Trump were holding competing rallies, resulting in at least 20 arrests as police struggled to keep the two camps apart.
As fist fights broke out between the two sides and people threw bottles and cans over a barricade separating them, police resorted to using to an explosive device at one point in a bid to restore order.
Several people were observed by a Reuters reporter with bloodied faces and minor injuries, but there was no official word on casualties from authorities. Media, citing police, reported that at least 11 people were injured.
Police said more arrests could follow after video shot during the melee was reviewed.
The trouble unfolded when hundreds of Trump opponents staged a counter-rally alongside an event billed as a "Patriots Day" free-speech rally and picnic, organized by mostly Trump supporters.
Between 500 and 1, 000 people were in the park as the rallies peaked, according to an estimate by a Reuters reporter.
Among the Trump opponents were some counter-protesters dressed in black and wearing masks. The other side included self-described "patriots" and "nationalists", Trump supporters, free speech advocates, and other groups.
Daryl Tempesta, 52, who said he served in the U. S. Air Force near the end of the Cold War, went to the rally to show his support for Trump.
"As a veteran, I like the track America is on, and that Trump is willing to stand and say we are still America and we are not going to be globalist, we're not going to be a communist country, " Tempesta said. "That's a message I can get behind."
A weekly farmers market was canceled ahead of the rally due to concerns about violence. Even so, a stall selling fresh vegetables was open for business amid the fist fighting, explosions from firecrackers and smoke wafting through the air.

20 arrested in California pro and anti-Trump rallies
The Latest: 13 arrested in pro and anti-Trump rallies


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Boy, 14, shot in Pilsen (2.08/16)

A 14-year-old boy was shot in the right bicep early Sunday in the Pilsen neighborhood on the South Side.
Shortly after midnight, he was walking on the sidewalk in the 1100 block of West 18th Street when two males approached him and fired shots, according to Chicago Police.
He was taken to Stroger Hospital, where his condition was stabilized, police said.

15-year-old boy shot in the face in Uptown
Man shot, seriously wounded in Longwood Manor
19-year-old woman grazed by bullet in Rogers Park
3 men shot in Chatham
Woman shot in East Garfield Park
2 shot near 31st Street Beach
3 men shot in Back of the Yards
Boy, 14, trampled by crowd during fight at Morgan Park carnival


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Three keys to the Ducks' 3-2 victory over Calgary (2.08/16)

Three keys to the Ducks' 3-2 victory over Calgary in Game 2 of their playoff series:
1. Luck. An intended cross-ice pass by Ryan Getzlaf glanced off the right skate of Calgary forward Lance Bouma and changed its trajectory, rising and eluding Brian Elliott for the winning goal.
2. Not only did the Flames hold the Ducks scoreless on two power plays, the Flames scored on the second of those advantages. Michael Frolik took advantage when Ducks defenseman Shea Theodore ventured too deep into the offensive zone and passed the puck to Mikael Backlund, whose shot flew above John Gibson’s leg at 18: 24 of the second period for Calgary’s first goal.
3. Ducks defenseman Kevin Bieksa took a hat trick’s worth of penalties in the second period as the Flames pushed back and erased the Ducks’ early 2-0 lead. Bieksa took minor penalties for high-sticking and roughing, sandwiched around a five-minute fighting penalty.

Ducks down Flames at home for 29th straight time
Ryan Getzlaf's fluke goal lifts Ducks to 2-0 series lead over Calgary
Getzlaf's good bounce sends Ducks past Flames again, 3-2


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Syria evacuees bomb attack death toll rises to 112 (2.07/16)

The death toll in a suicide car bomb attack on buses carrying Syrians evacuated from two besieged government-held towns has risen to at least 112, a monitoring group said Sunday.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that 98 evacuees from the northern towns of Fuaa and Kafraya were killed when an explosives-laden vehicle hit their buses at a transit point west of Aleppo on Saturday.
It said the remainder of the dead were aid workers and rebels tasked with guarding the buses.
It warned the death toll may rise further as "hundreds" more were wounded in the blast.
Dozens of buses carrying thousands of refugees had been stuck by the roadside in the rebel-held town of Rashidin after leaving Fuaa and Kafraya on Friday under a deal reached between the government and opposition groups.
Fuaa and Kafraya have been under rebel siege for more than two years. As part of the deal, several hundred people including armed rebels will be transported out of Madaya and Zabadani, towns near Damascus, which are surrounded by pro-government forces.
Syria's six-year civil war has seen several similar deals, which the government of President Bashar al-Assad says are the best way to end the violence. Rebels say they are being forced to relocate through bombardment and seige.

Death toll from Aleppo bomb attack at least 112 - Observatory
Death toll rises in Sri Lanka rubbish heap collapse


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We have important updates about April the giraffe's calf (2.07/16)

We know whether it’s a boy or girl… and we know you’ re curious. Just admit it.
The private New York state zoo where internet sensation April the giraffe lives have revealed her newborn calf is a boy.
Yep, we know the highlight of your weekend was probably finding out April the giraffe had finally given birth – and maybe even watching the live stream from Animal Adventure Park – so we thought it was only fair we gave you some updates.
The Baby Merch is up! Grab while you …
The Baby Merch is up! Grab while you can!!
April has become so famous since the zoo started filming from her enclosure in February that you can even buy merchandise about watching her give birth. *buys every T-shirt available*
ICYMI somehow, she gave birth on Saturday morning at Adventure Park in rural Harpursville, about 130 miles north-west of New York City. At least 1.2 million people watched the zoo’s YouTube livestream during the birth.
Adventure Park owner Jordan Patch says mother and calf are both doing fine. The calf was walking and nursing not long after its birth. Just look at him go…
Dad Oliver is in an adjacent pen and said to be checking in frequently on his calf, which is basically the cutest thing ever.
The contest to name the calf will be up and running by the end of the day, according to a comment from Adventure Park on their Facebook.
The zoo is currently closed to the public and will open in mid-May. Until then, people will just have to make do with cute pictures like this.
data-card-chrome=”0″ All is well
All is well

It’s a boy! Zoo confirms April the giraffe’s calf is a male
Wait is over for April the giraffe, YouTube star and new mom


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Harry Styles’ Mick Jagger Skit Has Fans Going Wild — But Did He Shade One Direction? (2.07/16)

Oh, the irony! Harry Styles’ impression of Mick Jagger on ‘SNL’ has fans going wild, but did they catch the part where he makes fun of any musician who quits their successful band to go solo? Was he shading One Direction? Watch the hilarious skit below!
Does Harry Styles, 23, regret leaving One Direction? We can’ t say for sure, but his Saturday Night Live skit performance definitely pokes fun at his solo career. Playing the part of Mick Jagger, 73, on Family Feud, Harry questions why any musician would ditch their successful group to go off on their own and risk failing. “Solo? Why would anyone in a successful band go solo?, ” he jokes. “That is insane!” The funniest part of the skit though is when the musician waves his hands in the air like the crazy rockstar Mick is!
We’ re a little upset that we didn’ t get the see the “Sign Of The Times” hitmaker in a stripper skit, but we’ ll settle for this. Prior to tonight’s episode, there was buzz that Harry might actually strip down to his birthday suit on stage (either that or play a drunk bum living on the street) . Nonetheless, the former One Direction singer totally stole the show tonight with his musical performances of “Sign Of The Times” and “Kiwi” — a brand new song off his forth-coming album, set for release May 12.
Fans had a feeling that “Kiwi” would be Harry’s second performance of the night, seeing as his team passed out slices of kiwi to everyone waiting in line to get into the show. That should show you just how much he cares about his followers! They were not only treated to fruit, but to entire boxes of hot pizza as well! Honestly though, there were SO many standout moments from tonight’s episode that we just can’ t pick a favorite. Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer in an Easter Bunny costume was flawless, and then of course there’s Jimmy Fallon who rocked as host!
HollywoodLifers, what did YOU think about Harry’s Mick Jagger impression? Comment below!

'Why would anyone go solo?': Harry Styles does HILARIOUS Mick Jagger impression on first coast-to-coast SNL
WATCH: Harry Styles as Mick Jagger On ‘SNL’ Tonight


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NBA Players Union complains about Jackson’s Carmelo comments (2.06/16)

NEW YORK — If players can’ t publicly ask for a trade, management shouldn’ t be able to encourage one.
That was the message from the National Basketball Players Association to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver following New York Knicks President Phil Jackson’s comments regarding Carmelo Anthony.
Jackson said Friday that the Knicks haven’ t been able to win with Anthony and that maybe the All-Star forward would be “better off somewhere else.”
Players risk being fined if they lobby for a trade in the media.
“If players under contract cannot, under threat of league discipline, speak openly about their desire to be employed elsewhere, we expect management to adhere to the same standards, ” NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts said in a statement.
Jackson and Anthony met Thursday, a day after the Knicks finished a 31-51 season. Anthony has a no-trade clause, but Jackson made it clear he hoped Anthony would waive it and accept a deal so the Knicks could get younger and more athletic.
“We have not been able to win with him on the court at this time and I think the direction with our team is that he is a player that would be better off somewhere else and using his talent somewhere he can win or chase that championship, ” Jackson said.
The relationship between Anthony and Jackson fell apart this season but Anthony has refused to make any public criticisms of the team’s president of basketball operations and has said he wants to stay in New York.
“The door swings both ways when it comes to demonstrating loyalty and respect, ” Roberts said.
Anthony is an NBPA vice president.
Jackson was fined by the NBA shortly after he was hired for expressing his interest in Derek Fisher as a coaching candidate. Fisher was still under contract to the Oklahoma City Thunder as a player at the time.

NBA players union complains about Jackson's Anthony comments
NBA players' union fires back at Knicks' Phil Jackson for Carmelo comments


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Sister of Celtics star Thomas dies in road accident (2.06/16)

Boston Celtics star Isaiah Thomas’s sister Chyna Thomas was killed Saturday in a single-car road accident, the Tacoma News Tribune reported.
The Celtics confirmed the death with the release of a statement later in the day.
“We are terribly saddened by the tragic loss of Chyna Thomas, ” the NBA team said. “The thoughts and prayers of the entire Celtics organization are with Isaiah and his family.”
The Washington State Patrol said Chyna Thomas, 22, died at the scene of the accident at around 5 a.m. in Federal Way, Washington, located between Tacoma and Seattle.
Witnesses told authorities that her car was moving normally before drifting into a barrier then hitting a post head-on.
Isaiah Thomas was instrumental in Boston’s emergence as the top seed in the NBA’s Eastern Conference playoffs.
It was not immediately clear if he would be available for the team’s first-round series opener against the Chicago Bulls in Boston on Sunday.

Celtics star Isaiah Thomas’ sister dies in car accident, police say
Boston Celtics Player Isaiah Thomas’ Sister Perishes Following Washington Car Crash


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Panama international footballer dies after being gunned down leaving his home (2.05/16)

Panama international footballer Amilcar Henriquez has been shot and killed in the country's Colon province.
The 33-year-old midfielder was leaving his home on Saturday when a gunman shot him several times.
Two other people were wounded, and Henriquez was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died.
President Juan Carlos Varela condemned the killing on his Twitter account and called for the authorities in Colon to hunt down those responsible.
Henriquez was a member of Panama's national team which is participating in qualifying rounds for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
He played in the last 20 minutes of a recent game in Panama with the United States which ended in a 1-1 draw.

International soccer player shot and killed in Panama
Amilcar Henriquez was shot and killed in Panama's Colon province


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Oil well in Alaska shut down after oil spill (2.05/16)

Prudhoe Bay - Federal regulators are preparing to shut down an oil well on Alaska's North Slope near Deadhorse tonight. The wellhead cracked Friday and sent up a plume of crude oil before it froze and the initial leak stopped. It is still spewing natural gas. "No people were in the vicinity of the well at the time of the release and there are no injuries, " said Brett Clanton, with BP U. S. Media Affairs on Friday. "Crews have secured the site, the fire department is on the scene and crew members are now working to safely shut in the well." There is no estimation of the volume of oil spilled or the amount of natural gas that is still coming from the wellhead. "Based on an overflight with infrared cameras, the release (of oil) appears to be contained to the gravel pad surrounding the wellhead and has not reached the tundra, " Clanton said Saturday. PRUDHOE BAY-DEADHORSE, Alaska (March 12, 2007) – At the northern end of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, Prudhoe Bay-Deadhorse, Alaska, also serves as the beach detachment for the Applied Physics Laboratory Ice Station (APLIS) which has been established on a drifting ice floe about 180 nautical miles north in support of arctic testing for U. S. and U. K submarines. The well is too dangerous at this time for a response team made up of state and federal energy officials and BP employees to get near the well. The second leak is still leaking natural gas, as well as a small amount of crude oil said BP. Out of an abundance of caution, because no one really knows how much oil and gas has been vented, BP employees were evacuated and native Alaskan villages for dozens of miles around have been notified, according to the No injuries have been reported and the DEC says approximately 1.5 acres may have been affected. No wildlife has been impacted by the spill as of Saturday night. Anchorage-based BP Exploration Alaska Inc., a subsidiary of BP PLC, is the owner of the well in the Prudhoe Bay oil field. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) says employees discovered the "uncontrolled gas release" from the top of a well house at 7: 30 a.m. Friday."No people were in the vicinity of the well at the time of the release and there are no injuries, " said Brett Clanton, with BP U. S. Media Affairs on Friday. "Crews have secured the site, the fire department is on the scene and crew members are now working to safely shut in the well."There is no estimation of the volume of oil spilled or the amount of natural gas that is still coming from the wellhead. "Based on an overflight with infrared cameras, the release (of oil) appears to be contained to the gravel pad surrounding the wellhead and has not reached the tundra, " Clanton said Saturday. The well is too dangerous at this time for a response team made up of state and federal energy officials and BP employees to get near the well. Fox News is reporting there are actually two leaks - one near the top and one further down the well assembly, says BP. The upper leak was the one leaking crude oil and hazardous natural gas, but a safety valve activated and shut that leak off. The second leak is still leaking natural gas, as well as a small amount of crude oil said BP. Out of an abundance of caution, because no one really knows how much oil and gas has been vented, BP employees were evacuated and native Alaskan villages for dozens of miles around have been notified, according to the Associated Press No injuries have been reported and the DEC says approximately 1.5 acres may have been affected. No wildlife has been impacted by the spill as of Saturday night.

Nation briefs: Oil well is leaking gas in Alaska
Alaska oil well leaking gas in northern part of state


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Emma Morano, world's oldest person, dies at age 117 (2.04/16)

She was 117.
The Italian was born on November 29, 1899. She held the Guinness World Record titles for oldest living person and oldest living woman.
"She joined our celebrated hall of fame with her amazing achievement when she was announced in 2016 as the oldest living female, and was officially confirmed as the last person to be born in the 1800s, " Guinness World Records said in a statement on its website.
It said it will announce a new oldest person after reviewing evidence.
Morano credited her longevity to ending her abusive marriage, and a diet of raw eggs and cookies.
"I didn't want to be dominated by anyone, " she told The New York Times of her 1938 separation from her husband.
And despite her age, Morano had a childlike love of cookies, her doctor Carlo Bava said. So much so, she routinely hid them under her pillow so no one would eat them.
Morano became the world's oldest living person last year after American Susannah Mushatt Jones died at age 116.
She was three years younger than Jeanne Calment, the 122-year-old who held the title for oldest person ever.

World briefs: World’s oldest person dies at 117
Emma Morano, last known survivor of the 19th century, dies aged 117 in Italy


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UPI Almanac for Sunday, April 16, 2017 (2.04/16)

Today is Sunday, April 16, the 106th day of 2017 with 259 to follow.
The moon is waning. Morning stars are Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Venus. Evening stars are Mercury, Mars and Jupiter.
Those born this date are under the sign of Aries. They include French writer Anatole France in 1844; aviation pioneer Wilbur Wright in 1867; movie legend Charlie Chaplin in 1889; British actor Peter Ustinov in 1921; writer Kingsley Amis in 1922; composer/conductor Henry Mancini in 1924; Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in 1927 (age 89) ; actor Edie Adams in 1927; football Hall of fame member Dick "Night Train" Lane in 1928; jazz flutist Herbie Mann in 1930; singer Bobby Vinton in 1935 (age 82) ; singer Dusty Springfield in 1939; basketball Hall of Fame member Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1947 (age 70) ; actor Ellen Barkin in 1954 (age 63) ; actor Jon Cryer in 1965 (age 52) : actor Martin Lawrence in 1965 (age 52) ; actor Peter Billingsley in 1971 (age 46) ; Tejeno singer Selena (Quintanilla) in 1971; singer Akon in 1973 (age 44) .
On this date in history:
In 1862, the U. S. Congress abolished slavery in the District of Columbia.
In 1912, as crowds gathered outside its New York City offices, the White Star Line denied that it was withholding information on the sinking of RMS Titanic.
In 1947, a fire aboard the French freighter Grandcamp in the Texas City, Texas, port on Galveston Bay ignited ammonium nitrate and other explosive materials in the ship's hold, causing a massive blast that destroyed much of the city and killed nearly 600 people.
In 1963, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote "Letter from Birmingham Jail" while imprisoned in Alabama for protesting segregation .
In 1972, Apollo 16 blasted off on an 11-day moon mission with three astronauts aboard.
In 1990, Dr. Jack Kevorkian helped in his first assisted suicide.
In 1991, the first Jewish settlement under the Israeli government opened in the occupied territories, defying a U. S. request to stop settlement activity in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
In 1999, hockey legend Wayne Gretzky announced his retirement from the NHL after 21 years.
In 2002, Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok and members of his government resigned after a report faulted them, along with the United Nations, for failing to prevent the 1995 massacre of 7, 500 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica, Bosnia.
In 2007, Seung-Hui Cho, a senior at Virginia Tech, went on a campus shooting rampage, killing 32 people before killing himself.
In 2009, President Barack Obama announced plans for a high-speed rail system connecting U. S. cities, with $8 billion in stimulus funds set aside for the effort.
In 2011, a vicious rash of tornadoes tore through 14 U. S. states, leaving more than 40 people dead and many others homeless.
In 2014, Milwaukee Bucks owner Herb Kohl said he would sell the team to two executives of a New York investment firm. He made the announcement before the team was to end its season with the worst record in the NBA.
A thought for the day: "Each one of us has a fire in our heart for something. It's our goal in life to find it and keep it lit." -- Mary Lou Retton

Georgia Nicols horoscopes for April 16, 2017
'Everyone rose to the occasion.' Hospital staff recalls Va. Tech shooting


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Car Bomb Kills 100 Evacuating Siege In Syria: “The Air Filled With The Screams Of People Staggering On Fire” (1.14/16)

Sounds like ISIS.
Excerpted From The Washington Post: A car bomb in northern Syria killed more than 100 people Saturday when it ripped through buses evacuating residents from a town besieged by rebels for more than two years.
Syrian state television showed bodies strewn across the ground, the charred vehicles still packed with their passengers’ possessions. By late afternoon, the road was lined with body bags.
The attack served as a bloody reminder of the human stakes for regional powers as they broker a complex population swap, moving some 30, 000 Syrians between government- and rebel-held territory.
The buses had left the northern town of Fouaa on Friday as part of a long-awaited first phase of that agreement. Those on board had spent years under siege by extremist rebels, living in fear and without access to regular food or medicine.
Eyewitnesses to the attack said the air filled with screams as passengers, some of them on fire, staggered out of the cloud of dust.
A man who gave his name as Ali described watching a frail old woman stumble and fall. “We reached her too late, her leg had snapped and there was nothing we could do. What did she do to deserve this? She was just someone’s mother.”
The White Helmets rescue group said its volunteers had recovered more than 100 bodies from the wreckage, and that another 55 people had been injured. The death toll was expected to rise.
In one video from the site, a shaken reporter said the dead included civilians as well as rebel fighters from the area where the blast occurred. Using a cellphone camera to capture the devastation, his video showed the charred bodies of two small children dangling from vehicles.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, and its implications for the broader transfer deal were unclear.
Overseen by Qatar and Iran, the negotiations had negligible input from the Syrian government, underscoring the extent to which President Bashar al-Assad has lost control in certain areas.
The population shift is an attempt to alleviate the hardships of residents of towns under siege by both rebel and government forces.
Each side has used the civilians it surrounded as bargaining chips to gain leverage over the other.
Some 2.3 million Syrians lived under complete siege or in areas at risk, according to Siege Watch, a Washington-based monitoring group.
Opposition officials have accused the Syrian government and its Iranian allies of using siege tactics to force demographic changes across the country, mostly along sectarian lines.
The mostly Shiite towns of Fouaa and Kefraya have been reliant on government airdrops since rebel forces cut their supply lines in May 2015.
Also part of the deal were the southern towns of Madaya and Zabadani. Madaya in particular had endured a siege so tight that dozens of people starved to death. Medics say others were killed by the snipers and land mines that surrounded the town.
Frustrations were already mounting among evacuees when Saturday’s explosion occurred: Thousands of people from pro-government and opposition areas were stuck on opposite sides of the edge of Aleppo city as rebels and the government bickered over the terms for evacuating fighters.
The attack sent shock waves through Madaya’s convoy, also traveling under the terms of the deal. Inside those buses, the rebels, activists and doctors warned they could become “sitting ducks” in the face of retaliatory violence.
“Everyone is tense here; we feel like the attacks could start at any time, ” said one man, speaking on the condition of anonymity to protect the security of family members still in Madaya. Keep reading

Car bomb kills more than 100 during Syrian evacuation


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US ‘politicians, bureaucrats & academics’ caught in Turkey’s failed coup attempt probe (1.10/16)

The Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office launched the probe into 17 individuals including US politicians, bureaucrats, and academics after a number of Turkish attorneys filed a criminal complaint against these persons, local media report.
Former CIA Director John O. Brennan, New York Senator Chuck Schumer, US attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara, and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) President David Cohen are among the suspects, Anadolu reports.
Other American residents caught in the probe include Henri Barkey, Director of the Middle East Program at Wilson Center former CIA figure Graham E. Fuller, and President of the Turkic American Alliance (TAA) Faruk Taban.
Schumer, for instance, is being suspected of receiving millions of dollars from Gulen’s movement and representing his organizational interests in the US.
Fuller, a former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA, allegedly was a sponsor for Gulen when he applied for a US residence permit.
The individuals are being accused of conspiracy to overthrow the Turkish government and are suspected to have links with FETO. Alleged evidence of their involvement with the Gulen movement has been submitted to the prosecutors, Turkish media report.
Gulen leads the popular Islamic transnational religious and social movement called Hizmet, believed to be funding numerous businesses, think tanks, private schools, and publishing houses around the world. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused the prominent cleric and his group of masterminding the failed coup in Turkey on July 15, 2015.
Gulen, once an Erdogan ally, is now living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania. Ankara has repeatedly demanded his extradition to investigate his alleged participation in the coup attempt, as well as that of Hizmet, known as FETO in Turkey, and considered a terrorist organization by Ankara. The 74-year-old has denied any involvement in the failed coup plot.
Suspected Gulen followers, known as Gulenists, allegedly infiltrated all layers of Turkish society and have been persecuted and hunted down in Turkey in a massive crackdown on Erdogan’s opposition which followed the events in July 2016.
More than 100, 000 people were fired from their jobs and around 30, 000 detained, including teachers, journalists, security personnel and army officers.

Schumer, Bharara being probed for alleged ties to failed Turkey coup cleric


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Taxes, IKEA, eggs, gardens – Orange County Register (1.09/16)

Hi, Happy Easter! It’s me, Marla Jo, your columnist and deals maven. Check out my Cheapo Travel column in the Sunday Travel section. If you know a great deal, let me know at You can also find me at Deals Diva on Facebook and Twitter. And don’ t forget to read my humor columns on Wednesdays in the Register.
Restoration Hardware is holding a warehouse sale on “not quite perfect” luxury furniture, rugs and outdoor items today, April 16, April 21-23 and April 28-30.10 a.m.- 7 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. sundays. A good chance to get deals on this pricey store’s goods. Location: 16181 Lake Forest Dr. Irvine. Just off the 5 freeway.
Do you make less than $64, 000 a year? This free tax prep website walks you through how to file online at home, and it’s sponsored by the United Way. There’s a free hotline you can call, too. Learn more here: or see if you can still get a free last-minute appointment with a certified preparer here:
If you like eggs, you definitely want to stop by your local grocery store today, April 16, and pick up a carton or more. They’ re on sale everywhere for Easter, but that doesn’ t mean you have to dye them – an omelet or two will do just as well. And, while you’ re at it, chocoholics will like the fact that all that extra Easter candy is going on sale Monday. Call me, I’ ll be over.
While we’ re on the subject of Easter, I hope you didn’ t go buy a bunny this year, but if you already have one, take note: Rabbit poop pellets make excellent and free garden fertilizer. Just keep in an old coffee can and use as is, or make fertilizer “tea” out of it. Your plants will thank you. And, since rabbits are vegetarian, you don’ t have to worry about composting it as you would if they were meat eaters.
Want to learn how to go mountain biking? Take this free Introduction to mountain biking class 8: 30 a.m. to 10: 30 a.m. on April 23, taught by volunteers at Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park. Volunteer mountain bike trail assistants will help you ride on a scenic eight-mile trail (with a 400-foot elevation gain) on uneven terrain. You’ ll learn the basics and also etiquette. Bring a suitable bike, sturdy shoes, helmet, gloves water and a snack. Location: Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, Ranger Headquarters, 28373 Alicia Pkwy. Register online at Class is free, parking costs $3. For questions, call 949-497-8324 Monday-Friday or 949-923-2200 Saturday and Sunday.
If you like resale shopping, you’ ll want to check out the quarterly clothing sale Saturday put on by Deja New, the upscale resale boutique operated by Women Helping Women. Everything is on sale, nothing over $5. They promise hundreds of high quality brand-name clothing, shoes and accessories. The next sale is 8 a.m. to noon, Saturday, April 22. Get there early, people start lining up at 6 a.m. Address: 1800 E. McFadden, Santa Ana.
Armstrong Garden Centers are throwing their annual Garden Party on Thursday, April 20, from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Stores will be open an extra hour, offering special deals and discounts, and complimentary wine and light appetizers. Stop on by.
There will be a free preview of HBO & Cinemax on many cable and satellite networks from Friday to Monday, April 21-24, so tune on in and record some free movies to watch later! I saw this on FreePreview. TV
If you shop at this massive store, you should definitely join their free IKEA Family loyalty club, which includes special members-only discounts, an extra half-hour of fun for your child in the free play land, free coffee or hot tea any time in the restaurant, 90-day price protection and more. And note they’ re going to hold a “Sustainable Living Your Way” event on Saturday, April 22, from 9: 30 a.m. to 6 p.m. with giveaways, discount meals, bargain prices and more. You can join IKEA Family online, ask a sales associate or use a kiosk near the checkout. Sign up at the store’s page or in person. Location: 1475 South Coast Drive, Costa Mesa (Harbor exit) . Learn more:

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populism or corporatism – Orange County Register
Lady Gaga blazes through performance with typical confidence – Orange County Register


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UFC president Dana White: 'Hard to not' call champ Demetrious Johnson greatest ever (1.08/16)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – UFC President Dana White had just done an interview and was on his way to UFC on FOX 24’s post-fight press conference when he overheard UFC flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson ask his coaches what he did wrong.
“I stopped and said, ‘Hey, coach, let me answer this for you – nothing, '” White said.
Indeed, Johnson was flawless, as evidenced by a third-round armbar victory over Wilson Reis (22-7 MMA, 6-3 UFC) at Saturday’s event at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.
When you systematically dismantle your opposition, it appears Johnson is left to nitpick. But White sees no need for that any more.
White said he’s comfortable with calling Johnson the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, and so is just about everybody else. But with his 10th consecutive title defense to tie Anderson Silva’s record, is “Mighty Mouse” the greatest fighter ever?
“He’s already the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world, and he strives to be better each time, and he gets better each time, literally destroying people, ” White said. “Yeah, this kid could be considered the G. O. A. T. right now, or to give Anderson Silva the true respect, you wait until he actually breaks the record. It’s hard to not call this guy the greatest of all time.”
Like Silva, it’s been tough to find challengers for Johnson while he’s beaten just about everybody else. The only logical contender for his title that’s ready to go and deserving right now is Joseph Benavidez, who’s on a six-fight win streak – and already has lost twice to Johnson.
“When you run through guys as long as these two have run through guys, yeah, (it’s hard to find opponents) , ” White said. “But I promise you, we’ ll find somebody.”
Left unsaid at the presser was what happens if Johnson is able to beat Silva’s record for the most consecutive title defenses. Does a superfight with bantamweight champ Cody Garbrandt linger? Will the UFC shell out the money Johnson said he needs to make the jump happen?
Like the opponent who will attempt to deny Johnson his record, that remains to be determined.
For more on UFC on FOX 24, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Best of Demetrious Johnson vs. Wilson Reis at UFC on FOX 24


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Lady Gaga headlined Coachalla on Saturday and here's what it looked like (1.07/16)

Anchored on Saturday by Lady Gaga, who steps in for expectant superstar Beyoncé, this year's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival features headliners Kendrick Lamar on Sunday and Radiohead on Friday. Lorde, DJ Khaled, Hans Zimmer and more are also set to perform. Wait... Hans Zimmer? Stay tuned for updates from the desert throughout the weekend.

Coachella: Lady Gaga Headlines Saturday Night With Greatest Hits Mashup
With Future, Gucci Mane and Schoolboy Q on Saturday, Coachella got hip-hop right.
Beer pong not politics: The outrage at Coachella so far is limited to crowd size and technical glitches


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Iraq: The battle for Mosul (1.07/16)

Six months since Iraqi forces launched a vast operation to oust the Islamic State group from second city Mosul, they have recaptured its east and are battling for the west.
Here are key dates in offensive:
- The battle begins -
- October 17: Iraqi forces launch the assault. The jihadists had declared an Islamic "caliphate" there in June 2014 after seizing much of northern and western Iraq.
Tens of thousands of army, police and counter-terrorism troops are thrown into the long-awaited offensive with air and ground support from a US-led coalition.
Kurdish militias also take part in operations north and east of the city.
By late October, the army is within 15 kilometres (10 miles) of Mosul.
- Entering Mosul -
- November 1: The army says it has entered Mosul city for the first time since 2014.
- November 3: IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi breaks a year-long silence, urging followers to fight to the death for Mosul. The Iraqi advance begins to slow.
- November 13: Iraq says it has recaptured Nimrud, an ancient city southeast of Mosul.
- November 23: Shiite-dominated paramilitary units known as the Hashed al-Shaabi say they have cut IS supply lines between Mosul and the jihadists' Syrian stronghold Raqa, 400 kilometres (250 miles) to the west.
- Change of tactics -
- December 29: Government troops end a two-week pause and launch the second part of their assault on east Mosul.
- Tigris River bank -
- January 8: Iraqi units reach the Tigris River that divides Mosul and take up positions near one of the city's five bridges, all now destroyed.
- January 14: Elite Counter-Terrorism Service forces seize Mosul University.
- East Mosul taken -
- January 18: The head of special forces announces the "liberation" of Mosul's east bank, but sporadic fighting continues for several days.
- January 24: The Joint Operations Command coordinating the fight says the east has been "fully liberated".
- Battle for west begins -
- January 24: As Iraqi forces prepare to attack Mosul's west, the UN warns that 750, 000 civilians there are at "extreme risk" and a quarter of a million Iraqis could flee their homes.
Western Mosul, home to the densely populated Old City and a traditional jihadist bastion, is expected to offer stiffer resistance than the east.
- February 19: Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announces the start of the campaign for western Mosul, with Iraqi forces backed by coalition air power and increased support from coalition advisers.
- February 20: New Pentagon chief James Mattis makes his first visit to Baghdad as Iraqi forces retake Al-Buseif village overlooking the airport and south Mosul.
- February 24: Iraqi forces seize full control of Mosul airport and enter their first west Mosul neighbourhood.
- February 27: They take control of the fourth bridge over the Tigris, the southernmost of the five bridges partly destroyed by air strikes or IS.
- March 7: Government forces take key buildings including the Nineveh province headquarters and Mosul museum.
- March 12: More than a third of the city's western side has now been retaken, a top military official says.
March 25: Iraqi officials say air strikes in west Mosul killed scores of civilians. The coalition says it bombed an area where civilians were reportedly killed, later saying it "probably" played a role in the civilian casualties.
March 28: The UN says more than 300 civilians have been killed since the start of the west Mosul operation.
April 11: An Iraqi military spokesman says IS now controls less than seven percent of the country, down from 40 percent in 2014.

The battle for Mosul
Iraq forces make Mosul gains, but anti-IS war far from over


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If North Korea Were To Strike The US With A Nuclear Weapon, Experts Say This Would Be The Most Likely Target (1.06/16)

As tensions continue to mount between the US and the rogue nation of North Korea, experts have debated the full extent of North Korea’s nuclear capabilities. One question of utmost importance is whether or not the regime could launch a nuclear strike capable of reaching the continental United States.
Should such an attack occur, one location above all others would seem to be the likeliest target of North Korea’s aggression. Richard Ellings, the President of the National Bureau of Asian Research, argues that Seattle, Washington stands as the “ultimate target.”
One reason for this is Seattle’s location. It’s position at the northwest corner of the continental United States makes it much easier to reach than a city situated further inland. And although many experts agree that Seattle currently remains outside North Korea’s range, some have warned that by the end of Donald Trump’s first term in office, North Korea will have upgraded their missile program to the point where delivering a nuclear warhead to the west coast would be an entirely concrete possibility.
Among those sounding the alarm is General Michael Hayden, the former head of the NSA and CIA. As he described the threat, “one of the things coming at us…are the North Koreans.”
I’ ve famously written, to be provocative, that by the end of this term for Mr. Trump, North Korea will be able to reach this city, as in Seattle, with an indigenously-produced (intercontinental ballistic missile) .
But in addition to its locale, Seattle also appears an attractive target for the regime for other reasons as well. As Ellings suggests, the city represents a mark of symbolic significance for North Korea.
“We, the shining city on the hill, with all these amazing companies, ” he explained in an interview with KUOW’s Bill Radke. “We have Boeing, one of the most critical defense contractors. We have Joint Base Lewis-McChord, whose main purpose down there, I-Corps, is to reinforce…the Korean Peninsula in the case of invasion. We are the ultimate strategic and symbolic target.”
#Expert says: #Seattle is ‘Ultimate Target’ for #NorthKorea https: // #nucleartests #bomb #nuclearweapons
— Cameron Lewis (@yoURDATAisyours) April 15, 2017
Add to the mix a large population, along with the cultural and economic significance of the city, and it becomes quite apparent the degree of devastation a nuclear bomb dropped on Seattle would bring. This is precisely why these experts consider it the prime target of North Korea.
The US has no easy options when it comes to preventing North Korea from launching such a cataclysmic attack. It may attempt a pre-emptive strike of its own, but there’s reason to believe such a move may back-fire dramatically, especially as it concerns the wellbeing of two US allies, South Korea and Japan. Both of these countries lie within the range of North Korea’s missiles, and could possibly suffer colossal damage as a result of American military action.
Heavy sanctions have proven ineffective in reigning the country in, and China has offered little indication that it plans to suspend the economic support that sustains the rogue regime.
North Korea threatens pre-emptive nuclear attack, says its “on the brink of war” with the U. S. https: //
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 16, 2017
Should the US do nothing, and North Korea widen the range of its missiles to threaten Seattle and other west coast cities, an anti-missile defense system that the Pentagon developed would nonetheless remain a last-resort for these American locales. The Ground-based Midcourse Defense system (GMD) , as it’s called, has the potential to intercept incoming warheads and knock them out of the sky. The test trials, however, have yielded underwhelming results.
In the event that North Korea deploys a handful of nuclear warheads intended for Seattle, there’s no guarantee this system could intercept all of them in time. This emphasizes the difficult position America finds itself in regarding North Korea. There are no great options on the table for preventing an attack, or stopping one in mid-progress. We can only hope that the situation meets with a happy resolution, and will have to stand alert and monitor how it plays out in the days and weeks to come.
[Featured Image by Wong Maye-E/AP Images]

North Korea flaunts long-range missiles in birthday parade


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Quiz: Which famous bunny are you? (1.04/16)

Easter’s not just about chocolate: it’s also about rabbits, obviously.
Easter means many different things for different people, but if you’ re anything like us it’s an opportunity to celebrate all of our favourite rabbits.
In honour of this, take our personality quiz to find out which famous bunny you really are.

What are celebs up to this Easter?


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PHOTOS: Kayla Wallace, Isaiah Thomas’ Wife (1.04/16)

Isaiah Thomas makes one thing clear on Instagram: He loves his wife, Kayla Wallace. And he thinks she’s beautiful. Kayla returns the favor, gushing about Thomas on her own social media site.
Both Kayla and Thomas are prolific posters on social media. Below you can find some of Kayla’s best photos. Thomas married Kayla Wallace in August 2016, and he described the wedding as “by far the best day of my life” in a social media post.
Thomas’ family was in the news on April 15, after his younger sister, Chyna Thomas, died in a car crash in Washington state.
Isaiah Thomas is a point guard for the Boston Celtics. The team is scheduled to play against the Chicago Bulls in the NBA playoffs in Boston.
Although she’s certified as a teacher, according to her social media posts, Kayla frequently posts beauty shots of herself on Instagram.
She’s frequently described as his long-time girlfriend.
Kayla has a strong sense of fashion.
She sometimes posts photos of herself wearing glasses.
She also likes to post photos of herself in cocktail dresses.
Social media comment writers frequently remark on Kayla’s beauty.
“You know I got that sauce, ” she wrote under one flirtatious photo.
Kayla sometimes wears her hair curly.
Isaiah Thomas does not hesitate to share photos and love for his wife on social media. He frequently posts photos of her on Instagram as well.
“My life is complete now! #Blessed, ” the basketball star wrote on another wedding photo of the couple that he posted to Instagram. He wrote on a post about his wife, “If it isn’ t love, why do I feel this way? Why does she stay on my mind? I’ m on my New Edition flow today lol.” Thomas frequently posts photos of Wallace on social media.
In August 2016, Thomas married Kayla, who was described as his “long-time girlfriend” by .
Thomas wrote on a wedding picture of the couple, “This was by far the best day of my life.” She wrote, “Yesterday was absolutely magical! There is no better feeling than to be surrounded by so many people we love!! Thank you to everyone who came to celebrate our special day!! 😘😘😘”
The couple has also posted honeymoon photos.
The couple married at Experience Music Project Museum in Seattle. The couple’s first dance was to Sade’s “By Your Side, ” according to Essence Magazine.
The magazine called the wedding “star-studded” because it was attended by other NBA players and athletes like Floyd Mayweather and noted that the couple’s wedding hashtag was “#littlepeoplebiglove” (Thomas stands 5 feet 9 inches tall.)
Kayla has referred to Thomas as her “other half, ” writing, “Happy Birthday to my other half! I am so proud of you & so lucky to call you my husband! You are an amazing father and continue to keep God first! Xoxo love you 🖤” She posted this shot of him bringing her roses on Valentine’s day:
Thomas is just as loving on Instagram to Kayla. On Kayla’s birthday, he wrote, “Happy birthday to my beautiful wife! You are getting old as hell lol. This is a Special day for a special person even though you think everyday is your birthday lol. Big twenty 29 (my voice) lol. I love you baby!”
They often post pictures of themselves out on the town or at awards shows.
She captioned this photo, “Squad.”
On this photo, she wrote, “Mr. and Mrs.”
The couple frequently attends sporting events together.
Thomas and his wife were already the parents of a boy before they wed. According to Essence Magazine, their son is named Jaiden. Thomas also has another son, named James, who lives with his ex-girlfriend, according to Player Wives. Both boys attended Thomas’ wedding to Wallace. Wallace repeatedly posts photos of both boys on Instagram. She’s chronicled the life of Jaiden from his birth in 2012 to present.
Jaiden dressed as a lion for one Halloween.
Here’s a photo of both boys:
She refers to them as her “squad” on Instagram:
Kayla expresses love for both Jaiden and James routinely on social media.
Thomas has written about the importance of fatherhood. His Instagram profile says, “Proud Father! If all I’ m remembered for is being a good basketball player, then I’ ve done a bad job with the rest of my life.”
Kayla has posted about her mother (above) , father, and sister on social media.
She called her father a hero because of his military service.
The sister of the Boston Celtics star player has been killed in Washington.

Kayla Wallace, Isaiah Thomas’ Wife: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
Chyna Thomas Photos: Pictures of Isaiah’s Sister
Isaiah Thomas Family: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know


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Real Salt Lake stuns Colorado with 2 late goals (1.04/16)

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — The Mike Petke honeymoon continues for Real Salt Lake .
In Petke’s second game as manager for the Cobalt and Claret, RSL (2-3-1) won its second-straight game as two goals in the final 10 minutes propelled it to a 2-1 win against Rocky Mountain Cup rival Colorado (1-3-1) on Saturday night.
It marked a triumphant homecoming for the RSL coach, who appeared in 70 games (69 starts) for Colorado as a player from 2005-08.
“Obviously ecstatic, ” Petke said postgame. “Not just for the win but for the guys.”
The visitors weathered the storm early, with Nick Rimando tested by Rapids striker Kevin Doyle’s breakaway effort in the fifth minute, which the RSL keeper sent away with a fingertip save. The Irish international eventually did put Colorado in front with a headed effort in the 29th minute, assisted by midfielder Marlon Hairston.
Salt Lake produced multiple chances to equalize for the remainder of the half, including Yura Movsisyan’s lone on-target effort in the 38th minute, but still found itself down a goal entering halftime, despite outshooting Colorado 5-2 and controlling nearly 62 percent of the first-half possession.
“They knew coming into halftime that it wasn’ t good enough, ” Petke said of the first-half effort. “I laid into them a little bit, but I didn’ t need to. They laid into each other.”
Colorado carried momentum into the second half, controlling the tempo and eventually evening the shots between the two sides.
“Coming out into the second half, again it wasn’ t beautiful, but they had a little more urgency, ” Petke continued. “They pushed the play and they wouldn’ t stop until they got it. That, to me, is impressive.”
With a late-game push, RSL quickly found itself level in the 85th minute when Rapids defender Jared Watts was sent off with a red card for a hand ball in the box. Movsisyan took the ensuing penalty for RSL, burying the effort to level the score at 1-1.
“These are the games where you wait, ” Movsisyan said of the late offensive spark. “It’s a 90-minute game. You stick to it and you wait for your opportunity.”
Just under three minutes later, RSL academy product Brooks Lennon propelled the visitors in front with his goal in the 88th minute, giving Salt Lake a 2-1 lead that it wouldn’ t relinquish. It marked the debut goal for Lennon, who joined RSL on loan from Liverpool back in February.
“Obviously it’s a big rivalry, ” Lennon said of his Rocky Mountain Cup debut. “It was my first time playing in it and it felt different. I was glad I had the opportunity to play in it and get the win.”
Prior to the game-winning goal, the 19-year-old guaranteed Petke that he would score when given the opportunity.
“I told him about 10 minutes before the goal that when I got my shot, I was going to bury it, ” said Lennon.
It was a tangible display of the kind of confidence that has reinvigorated the Salt Lake locker room since Petke has taken over.
“It shows they have the desire, the energy, and they compete until the last whistle, ” the RSL head coach explained. “In a league of parity like this, it comes down to not giving up and pushing until that last second.”
With the win, Salt Lake not only found its first road win of 2017, but also gained an early jump on retaining the rivalry trophy.
“We knew we hadn’ t won away in a long time, ” said Movsisyan. “Especially with the Rocky Mountain Cup and what it means to our fans, we knew it was important. We’ re coming back here again, so it was great to get ahead in the Rocky Mountain Cup.”
RSL returns home to Rio Tinto Stadium next weekend to face expansion franchise Atlanta United in the debut meeting between the two sides.
“It’s another opportunity for us to get points and to improve as a team, ” said Petke. “It’s about getting back on track and playing the style we want to play.”

Real Salt Lake scores 2 late goals to beat Rapids 2-1
Real Salt Lake player ratings: Brooks Lennon seals the comeback with a late goal for a 2-1 victory


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'The president has no further comment': Trump brushes off Kim Jong-un's failed ballistic launch as he and Melania mingle with guests at Mar-a-Lago (1.03/16)

President Donald Trump was uncharacteristically quiet about the failed launch of a North Korean missile from the country's east coast.
In a statement, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said: 'The president and his military team are aware of North Korea's most recent unsuccessful missile launch. The president has no further comment.'
Meanwhile, Trump, his wife Melania, son Donald Trump Jr. and his wife Vanessa were spotted mingling with guests at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida .
Trump has been leaning on China to put pressure on North Korea, but has also threatened to take on the country alone if necessary.
'I have great confidence that China will properly deal with North Korea. If they are unable to do so, the U. S., with its allies, will!' he tweeted Thursday. 'U. S. A.'
A North Korean missile exploded during launch Sunday from the country's east coast, U. S. and South Korean officials said, a high-profile failure that comes as a powerful U. S. aircraft carrier approaches the Korean Peninsula in a show of force.
It wasn't immediately clear what kind of missile was fired from the city of Sinpo, but the failure will sting in Pyongyang because it comes a day after one of the biggest North Korean propaganda events of the year- celebrations of the 105th birthday of late North Korea founder Kim Il Sung, the current leader's grandfather.
Washington and Seoul will try hard to figure out what exactly North Korea fired. This matters because while North Korea regularly launches short-range missiles, it is also developing mid-range and long-range missiles meant to target U. S. troops in Asia and, eventually, the U. S. mainland.
South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff says that North Korea has attempted to launch a missile from an eastern coastal city, but the launch appeared to end in failure.
The statement Sunday said it wasn't clear what kind of missile was involved.
North Korea launched a long-range rocket and conducted two nuclear tests last year, including its most powerful to date, and there have been a slew of shorter range missile firings.
North Korea's goal is a long-range nuclear missile that can strike the continental United States.

AP News in Brief at 12: 04 a.m. EDT
Trump sabre-rattling on North Korea has a flaw: Kim Jong-un has nothing to lose


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Trump's day in tweets: Saturday, April 15 (1.03/16)

His tweets have the power to shape international relations, send stock prices up — or down — and galvanize the American public.
We're watching how Donald Trump is using this platform of unfettered communication now that he’s commander in chief. Here is everything Trump has tweeted since he was sworn in as 45th president of the United States. In many cases, we look at what he was reacting to and whether what he said was accurate. And, as much as possible, we'll relate what else was going on at the time. Check back for more as Trump continues to tweet.
Nothing, marking just the second time since his inauguration that his Twitter account showed no activity for an entire day.
Trump's uncharacteristic silence came as North Korea attempted a new missile launch from an eastern city on the Sea of Japan, but the operation ended in failure shortly after launch.
The president, staying the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, spent much of Saturday at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, according to pool reports.

Michigan Lottery numbers for Saturday, April 15


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Terrorism jokes no laughing matter for Spain's judges (1.02/16)

Madrid - When she posted jokes on Twitter about a 1973 assassination committed by Spain's Basque separatist group ETA, Cassandra Vera never for one moment thought they would land her a one-year jail sentence.
But last month, one of Spain's top criminal courts found the 21-year-old guilty of "justifying terrorism" and humiliating its victims - the latest in a series of such convictions for social media pranks that has the country divided, and partisans of free speech worried.
"They ruined my life, " Vera tweeted about the 13 posts about the 1973 murder of Luis Carrero Blanco, the prime minister and heir-apparent of dictator Francisco Franco who was killed in an ETA bomb attack that sent his car hurtling into the air.
"ETA combined a policy against the use of official vehicles with a space programme, " read one of her posts.
Another said: "Did Carrero Blanco also go back to the future with his car?"
Vera is unlikely to spend time behind bars, as offenders of non-violent crimes with a sentence of under two years do not serve time in jail.
But she now has a criminal record that will prevent her from getting a scholarship for her studies.
The National Court that sentenced her, which specialises in terrorism cases, ruled that her jokes did not form part of a "healthy humoristic environment" and that her attitude was "disrespectful" and "humiliating."
But Carrero Blanco's own granddaughter, Lucia, said in a letter sent to the El Pais daily that she was "scared of a society in which freedom of expression, however regrettable it may be, can lead to jail sentences."
'Cult of hate'
Luis Conde, a historian of comic books, told AFP he remembered more lenient times, even under Franco's dictatorship when people would sing a song that featured the lyrics "Carrero flew, " in reference to the attack.
"And now, we can't say it anymore?" he asked.
But Consuelo Ordonez, head of the Covite association for victims of terrorism, said laughing at the expense of Carrero Blanco - a man associated with Franco's iron-fist rule that ended after he died in 1975 - was a big mistake.
"If we had been serious about that fact that nothing justifies violence, we wouldn't be talking about more than 800 ETA deaths, " she told AFP, referring to the 829 people killed during the group's four-decade campaign for Basque independence.
"The cult of hate that always moved terrorists has not been defeated, " she warned.
'Sensitive issue'
The number of court rulings involving alleged acts of "justifying terrorism" has risen from a dozen a year to 26 in 2015, 37 in 2016 and 12 for the first quarter of this year, according to judicial authorities.
Most of them are linked to organisations that are now inactive, such as ETA, which declared a permanent ceasefire in 2011.
In January, for instance, Spain's Supreme Court sentenced rocker Cesar Strawberry to a year in prison for tweets, including one that joked about the 1996-7 ETA kidnapping of a right-wing politician.
"Terrorism is the most sensitive issue, " acknowledged Jose Luis Martin, a former editor at satirical weekly "El Jueves", in a country still reeling from decades of violence brought about by ETA and other extremist groups.
"It doesn't compare to criticism of the monarchy, the Church, " he added, which the magazine targets on a regular basis.
Black humour 'therapeutic'
Ignacio Gonzalez Vega, spokesperson for the "Judges for Democracy" professional association, pointed to a new 2015 anti-jihadist legislation as a possible explanation.
Among other things, the law provides for tougher sentences for "justifying terrorism" online.
But "in a democratic society, there are genres such as comedy, black humour" that should be exempt, he said, calling for the law to be modified.
Martin said black humour often played a "therapeutic role, " which he believed Spain still needs as it tries to heal the wounds of its bloody 1936-9 civil war and ensuing dictatorship.
For his part, Cesar Strawberry chose to exorcise his conviction with a song.
"Inquisitor!" he sings to hard-rock music.
"Keep harassing those who disturb you, but you won't shut us up."

In Spain, a joke about terrorism on social media could land you in jail


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Hunting in Maine: Too many turkeys is simply a perception (1.02/16)

Once upon a time, Turkey Little was traveling through the forest, scratching the leaves, and pecking here and there in search of some morsel to munch on. Overhead there was a rush of wind through the treetops when suddenly and without warning, Turkey Little was struck on the head by a falling acorn.
Taken by surprise and panicked, Turkey Little went rushing off to tell the other forest creatures that the sky was falling.
Regular readers of this column may recall another parable I presented early last winter about another turkey, one that laid golden eggs. As any good story must, it contained some element of the eternal battle between good and evil. For those who missed it (the story or the point) , the evil presented itself in the form of a proposal before the Maine Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to dramatically liberalize turkey seasons and bag limits. This proposal, if approved and signed into law, potentially could have devastating effects on the state’s turkey population. I felt a little like Turkey Little later last winter when I learned the committee had given a favorable recommendation to this proposal. It did indeed appear that the sky might indeed be falling.
The impetus behind this proposal was a perception that Maine’s turkey population had grown too large and was becoming a legitimate problem. But like a mirage, perceptions can be misleading. One of the more popular propaganda philosophies employed by Axis forces during World War II was that if you repeat something often enough people will begin to believe it is true. And proponents of the proposal to thin Maine’s turkey population may have unwittingly fallen into that trap.
The reintroduction of turkeys into Maine is one of the pre-eminent wildlife conservation success stories of the last century. In addition to bringing back a species that had been extirpated from all of New England, we also introduced a new type of hunting to the state (when turkeys last occurred here they were hunted strictly in the fall) , and Maine’s first generation of spring turkey hunters is just now passing this new tradition on to the next.
Meanwhile, the economic benefit of having an entirely new species to hunt in both spring and fall seasons should ruffle more than a few feathers. In addition to license and permit sales, it has generated millions of dollars in revenue from the sale of firearms and ammunition, camo clothing, calls, decoys and all manner of turkey hunting paraphernalia, to say nothing of gas, food, lodging and guide fees – all golden eggs that could perpetually be available to the people of Maine if this resource continues to be carefully and conservatively managed. Unfortunately, some are pushing a far more liberal agenda.
I do not dispute that turkeys may have become abundant enough in certain localized areas that they are perceived as a nuisance. Again, much of that is perception. They’ re more noticeable to some because they’ re new. Less than 40 years ago there were no turkeys in Maine and they’ ve only shown up more recently.
They’ re also hard to miss. You don’ t see the deer, coyotes, foxes and skunks that visit at night, and you may not even notice a few thousand blackbirds dropping in to visit the local blueberry barren, but you’ ll sure pick out a half-dozen turkeys in that same patch. And they’ ll get all the blame if a few berries are missing. I’ ve even heard some folks say that turkeys are a problem because they help the spread ticks that carry Lyme disease. Guess what? Turkeys eat ticks.
Our statewide turkey population has indeed grown, but so have season lengths, bag limits, hunting efforts and total harvest. Ironically, detractors often use the annual kill totals – the very mechanism that keeps turkey populations in check – as evidence the population is too great. If that’s the case should we not also try to reduce deer and bear populations?
Probably not, because perception and reality don’ t coincide. For the last 28 years I have resided and hunted turkeys in the same area of southern Maine, an area reported to have among the densest turkey populations in the state. The population around my home has indeed grown in that time, but not as much as you may think.
It grew quickly at first but the growth leveled out nearly as fast. There have been minor fluctuations from one year to the next, but in general there are no more turkeys now in the 10 or 12 towns I hunt than there were 20 years ago, at least not after hunting season ends.
It turns out the legislative committee voted that the bill “ought to pass as amended, ” and the amendment basically handed authority for adjusting seasons and bag limits over to the commissioner of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. That means the decision-making is left up to trained professionals who, though they can be influenced by legislators, are mandated to manage wildlife resources in the best interest of their constituents – you and me.
Not only is the sky not falling but the clouds are dissipating and the ceiling lifting. And if we continue to manage our turkeys responsibly, Turkey Little will stick around long enough to start laying more golden eggs.
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VIRAL: Vice Ganda, Karla Estrada’s ‘puberty challenge’ entry


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Deeper EPA cuts pose a particular menace to Maine (1.02/16)

The deeper cuts proposed by the Trump administration would slash funding for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund cleanup activities and eliminate its support for monitoring and cleanup efforts in Casco Bay and for beach water testing across Maine.
When taken in conjunction with previously reported proposals to eliminate federal funding for the University of Maine’s Sea Grant program and the Wells Reserve at Laudholm Farm via the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, critics say the president’s budget proposals are a serious threat to Maine’s coastal economy, which is dependent on maintaining a clean environment.
Environmental advocates and Maine’s entire congressional delegation are expressing grave concern about the cuts.
“Our coastal and island communities rely overwhelmingly on the marine environment both for natural resource harvesting and tourism, and they have worked for a really long time to ensure that their water quality is improving, that they have safe places to swim and that the marine environment is healthy for the marine species fishermen rely on, ” says Rob Snyder, president of the Island Institute, a Rockland-based nonprofit that works to maintain vibrant coastal communities. “These proposals undermine those efforts and threaten their future economic vitality.”
Pete Didisheim, advocacy director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine, says Trump’s rationale – that environmental regulation threatens jobs – is wrongheaded. “Almost every aspect of what we are seeing in this EPA cut is bad for Maine, ” he says. “What jumps off the page is that this is such 1950s thinking: ‘Let’s get rid of all these environmental programs so we can make jobs.’ But in the state of Maine, so many jobs rely on a clean environment.”
Earlier in the budget process, the White House proposed to cut EPA’s budget by 25 percent, including slashing nearly a third of state grant funds for cleaning up abandoned industrial sites, mitigating radon in homes, and protecting air and water quality. But a detailed, 64-page March 21 EPA memo obtained by The Washington Post revealed even deeper cuts: a 31 percent budget cut, layoffs of a quarter of the agency’s staff and the elimination of additional programs.
The EPA did not respond directly to the Maine Sunday Telegram’s questions about the program cuts, instead replying with same general statement it has been using for more than a week: “EPA is evaluating different approaches to implementing the president’s budget that would allow us to effectively serve taxpayers and protect the environment.”
The confidential memo from the agency’s chief financial officer, David Bloom, revealed the administration is seeking to eliminate the $20.5 million National Estuary Program, which provides about three-quarters of the budget of the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership, which funds research and fosters collaboration and data sharing among 50 organizations and municipalities seeking to maintain the health of the bay. The program, the memo said, was a “lower priority” activity to be eliminated so the agency could focus on “its highest national priorities.”
The Casco Bay Partnership – one of 28 similar organizations nationwide funded through the estuary program – funds environmental and ocean acidification monitoring sites in the bay, training for citizen scientists who help monitor and evaluate the health of the bay, and partnerships and data sharing among scientific researchers, environmental groups, sewer district boards, landowners and town governments. It has helped restore alewife and smelt runs, track and evaluate pollution sources, and gotten people from different sectors to sit down together.
“They really get us all together so that our efforts are coordinated and we’ re sharing information, ” says Ivy Frignoca, the Casco baykeeper at the Friends of Casco Bay. “This impacts not just the health of the bay but human health.”
The partnership’s director, Curtis Bohlen, says that if the cuts go through it would be hard to maintain its staff of four or keep the doors open. “There’s no clear path because most of the other places we would likely go for money are also being cut, ” says Bohlen, whose organization has a budget of about $700, 000. “You’ d be cutting the capacity statewide to do this kind of work, and our state is very dependent on the coastal environment.”
Another program Trump seeks to eliminate – beach protection grants – provides all of the funding for the beach water quality testing in Maine and for the governmental organization that conducts the tests, the Maine Healthy Beaches Program.
The program, created in 2002, built and maintains a monitoring system for 60 public beaches from Kittery to Bar Harbor, issues advisories when disease-causing microorganisms become a health risk, and helps track pollution sources so they can be addressed. A collaboration among the state Department of Environmental Protection and the University of Maine’s Cooperative Extension, it is entirely funded by an annual $242, 000 EPA grant.
Esperanza Stancioff, a professor with the UMaine cooperative extension and an adviser to the program, says the system would be unlikely to survive if the cuts go ahead. “There is no way the state of Maine could ever run this program, and I don’ t know how these beach areas would afford the monitoring, ” she says. “We have three labs set up that process samples and give reports. They don’ t have any.”
That will have health implications, says Dora Anne Mills, former director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “Without this ongoing testing, people don’ t know when the beaches are unsafe, so they just assume they are from a sanitation standpoint, ” says Mills, now a vice president at the University of New England. “When it gets very warm and the beaches get very crowded, they become much more susceptible to bacterial contamination.”
The EPA memo described the $9.5 million beach protection grants as a “mature program” that would be eliminated to transfer funding responsibilities back to state and local governments.
In early March, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt stated his support for the agency’s premier contaminated site cleanup programs: Superfund, which manages cleanup of the most serious toxic sites, and the Brownfields program, which provides grants to towns and cities to remediate old industrial sites so they can be redeveloped. The Brownfields program has helped many Maine communities clean and redevelop old mill sites, including the Pepperell and Lincoln Mill complexes in Biddeford, the Prime Tanning mill in Berwick, and the former Old Town Canoe site in Old Town, while Superfund is helping remediate 16 Superfund sites in Maine, including the former Callahan Mine in Brooksville, the Loring Air Force Base in Limestone and Brunswick Naval Air Station.
But the March 21 memo shows severe cuts are still on the table for both programs, with the Brownfields’ grant program cut from $47.7 million to $33.3 million. Superfund’s enforcement budget would go from $31.8 million to $1.9 million under the proposal, while its remediation budget is reduced from $372 million to $219 million.
These cuts would undermine the Maine’s ability to clean up and reuse hazardous waste sites, says Maine Attorney General Janet Mills, who joined 12 other state attorneys general in a March 30 letter to the Senate and House appropriations committees opposing the EPA cuts, which are the most severe of any agency.
“When we know who the polluters are and they are available, we can bring them to the table and negotiate payment of cleanup costs of these sites, ” Mills says. “It’s the cases where they disappear, file bankruptcy and have gone belly-up where we expect the federal Superfund and Brownfields to help.”
The proposed Superfund cuts will slow down cleanup efforts at places like the Callahan Mine site on a Penobscot Bay estuary. “That’s a festering, contaminated, submerged mine and studies have sown contaminated fish and sediments that need attention, ” says Didisheim. “Superfund is a notoriously slow program because these cleanups are complex, but if you cut funding, you’ re just going to slow it down further, and that’s not in the interests of anybody.”
Sean Mahoney of the Conservation Law Foundation said that would not only be bad for public health and natural resources, but that it also doesn’ t make sense economically. “Superfund has been successful not just in cleaning up sites but in spurring redevelopment in communities that had an industrial presence, ” he says. “You can always make government programs more efficient, but you don’ t do that by just cutting its budget. That’s not governing; that’s just political ideology.”
Maine’s congressional delegation has repeatedly expressed unanimous concern with many aspects of the proposed EPA cuts, and reiterated those concerns in written statements Friday to the Maine Sunday Telegram.
In a joint statement, representatives of Republican Sen. Susan Collins and independent Sen. Angus King said the senators had seen the benefits and “understand the vital role that EPA programs and funding play in supporting a clean and safe environment and in encouraging economic development of once hazardous sites.” They would “continue to advocate for the continuation of these programs during the appropriations process in the Senate.”
Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, said the cuts to the beaches, estuary and Superfund grants “are shortsighted and especially harmful for Maine.
“All these programs are on the front lines of EPA’s mission to protect human and environmental health, ” Pingree wrote. “I think there’s wide support for these kinds of initiatives and I will certainly be fighting for them on the Appropriations Committee.”
Brendan Conley, spokesman for Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin, who represents Maine’s 2nd District, said “the Congressman opposes extreme cuts to Superfund and the Maine Healthy Beaches program and the full elimination of the National Estuary Program.
“The Congressman knows Maine’s environment is important, not only for our families to grow and thrive but also for Maine’s economy, especially our tourism economy, ” Conley added. He “will thoroughly review all proposals with an eye toward efficiencies and policies which work in achieving the goal of a safe environment.”
The Maine DEP declined to comment for this story, and Gov. Paul LePage’s office has said it won’ t comment on proposed budget cuts before receiving formal notice of them from Washington.
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EPA budget cuts would hit Michigan hard


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Moustakas hits game-winning homer as Royals hand Angels another loss (1.02/16)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Los Angeles Angels trailed by one run with two outs and nobody on base in the ninth inning Saturday at Kauffman Stadium. Up strolled their No. 2 hitter, the spot where many baseball analysts and observers now believe a team's best hitter should bat.
But Mike Trout hits in the traditional No. 3-hole for Mike Scioscia's Angels, so he stood on deck. At the plate was Ben Revere, the Angels' fourth outfielder, and the least likely hitter in all of baseball to hit a home run. He struck out looking on three pitches, and Trout reverted to the dugout as the Angels finalized their 3-2 loss to Kansas City.
"I obviously wanted to hit, " Trout said. "But we had some chances, just couldn't capitalize."
Trout said he did not mind the predicament presented by Saturday's finish.
"I like hitting third, " he said. "Some games I come up, some games I don't. But, obviously, with Scioscia, it doesn't matter. I'm just happy I'm in the lineup."
An eighth-inning home run by Mike Moustakas supplied the Royals' winning run. The Angels have lost four consecutive games.
It was a tight game throughout, and the Angels took an early lead. With one out in the first inning, Revere tapped a grounder through the left side, and took third base when Trout singled to right field. Trout then swiped second base, which eliminated the double-play possibility, a factor that came into play when Albert Pujols grounded to shortstop. Instead of the inning coming to an end, the Angels scored their first run.
With two outs in the sixth, Trout battled back from an 0-and-2 count to work a nine-pitch walk. Pujols followed with a single, then Royals right-hander Nathan Karns uncorked a wild pitch. At that point, Kansas City manager Ned Yost opted to intentionally walk Kole Calhoun, to Calhoun's surprise, and load the bases for Andrelton Simmons.
Simmons drove a fastball deep to left field, but it was caught 15 feet short of the wall, and the inning was over. The Angels threatened again in the seventh, when Cameron Maybin looped a single into short center field and Danny Espinosa drove a fastball to the warning track in left for a long out. After Martin Maldonado walked, Revere stroked a two-out single into right field to tie the score 2-2.
Yost then ordered an intentional walk of Trout. Pujols stepped up with the bases loaded and hammered a baseball foul. In a 3-and-2 count, Pujols watched a 93-mph fastball travel through the inside of the strike zone without swinging and home-plate umpire Ed Hickox called him out on strikes.
Angels starter Matt Shoemaker required 33 pitches to finish the first inning, making a lengthy stint unlikely. But he needed only 10 to get out of the second and 13 to get through the third, thanks to a double-play ground ball by Eric Hosmer on a 3-and-1 pitch. Shoemaker retired six of seven Royals he faced in the fourth and fifth innings, but the one man to reach base, Brandon Moss, hit a home run on a hanging splitter.
"It was just a battle today, " said Shoemaker, who lasted 5 1/3 innings. "That's the best way to put it."
In the sixth, Shoemaker struck out Lorenzo Cain, then walked Hosmer on 10 pitches and shouted at Hickox for several seconds. The penultimate pitch appeared to be within the zone, and Shoemaker seemed to let Hickox know that.
Scioscia then came for Shoemaker, and right-hander Bud Norris finished the inning. Blake Parker pitched a scoreless seventh. To begin the bottom of the eighth, left-hander Jose Alvarez served up the solo shot to Moustakas.
That was the game's difference. To begin the top of the ninth against Royals closer Kelvin Herrera, Scioscia opted to pinch-hit utility man Cliff Pennington rather than C. J. Cron or Jefry Marte, who have more power.
Scioscia said he wanted Pennington up to spark a rally with his on-base ability.
Pennington grounded out, leadoff hitter Yunel Escobar flied out, and Revere was called out on strikes.
The Angels were 6-2 on Wednesday afternoon, on top of the unsuspecting baseball world. Now they are 6-6, back in the middle of the pack, where most thought they always belonged. It is still early.

Moustakas' homer gives Royals 3-2 win over Angels


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K. C. Johnson: NBA playoffs truest test of champions in major North American sports (1.02/16)

Breaking news: The Bulls won't win the NBA championship.
If they do, they will break the history book. No eighth seed ever has captured the Lawrence O'Brien trophy. In fact, since the NBA expanded the playoffs to 16 teams in 1984, No. 1 seeds are 61-5 against No. 8 seeds in the first-round series.
Since 2003, when the NBA expanded the first round from best-of-five to best-of-seven, only three No. 8 seeds have advanced. That included, of course, the 2012 76ers when Derrick Rose's left ACL betrayed him and Joakim Noah also went down with a severe ankle sprain.
No. 1 seeds have won 51 of the last 70 NBA titles. Ten No. 2 seeds have prevailed.
And this lack of upsets is a good thing.
The one-and-done drama of the NCAA Tournament is great for memories. Go back and watch Jim Valvano running around looking for somebody to hug after North Carolina State shocked Houston's Phi Slamma Jamma or David slaying Goliath when Villanova upset Patrick Ewing's Georgetown team. They were better teams for a night.
Think Villanova could shoot 78.6 percent three more times? Over the course of a seven-game series, "ball don't lie." And the best team wins.
The NBA playoffs are the purest form of competition from the four major North American sports. No hot goalie standing on his head can steal multiple 1-0 victories en route to Lord Stanley's Cup. No hot pitching staff can deal multiple 1-0 pitching duels en route to a World Series title.
Even the Super Bowl and its one-game nature can give Tom Brady a platform for a miraculous comeback. Could he do that three more times? (OK. Maybe he could.)
The NBA playoffs, and ultimately, the NBA Finals are a 16-victory test of the best team. And it never fails.
So the Warriors' record-setting, 73-victory regular season didn't produce a title and they were the better team than the Cavaliers? Maybe with Draymond Green. But he got suspended for kicking LeBron James, who, as the best player on the planet, led the best team over the Green-less Warriors.
Tom Thibodeau served as Jeff Van Gundy's assistant when the 1998-99 Knicks advanced to the NBA Finals from the No. 8 seed. They lost to the Spurs to cap the shortened lockout season.
Bulls associate head coach Jim Boylen served as Rudy Tomjanovich's assistant when the sixth-seeded Rockets became the lowest-seeded team to win a championship. That the Rockets repeated while Michael Jordan ended his baseball experiment suggests that, even as the sixth seed, they were the best team.
"We never talked about that we were an underdog as a sixth seed, " Boylen said. "We did have some confidence that we won it the year before. That always helps.
"Rudy was unbelievable at compartmentalizing every game to every possession. His big thing was if you make a mistake, win the next possession. We never looked at the totality of it."
Boylen made one NCAA Tournament appearance while going 69-60 in four seasons coaching Utah. He thinks both stages are great. But he has a preference.
"Here's where I think the NBA playoffs is really special, and I've been in both: You get home games. So the whole city is locked in, " Boylen said. "As great as the NCAA Tournament is, you play at a neutral site. It's not the same vibe."
NBA playoffs also feature slower, more physical games in which defense and rebounding are so critical. So for those claiming the NBA is a run-and-gun league where only the last two minutes of each game need to be viewed, just watch a first-quarter playoff possession. There will be enough contact for a football scrimmage.
"I think the average fan thinks at this time of year, you get creative or add this. You don't. You do the basics better, " Boylen said. "Rebound, guard, communicate, get back in transition. The games slow down."
And they always produce the most worthy champion.
Even if the Bulls knock off the Celtics, not as much of a long shot as a typical No. 1 versus No. 8 meeting given how well the Bulls match up, they won't win a championship.
James likely will be lurking at some point. And the "ball don't lie."

College Notebook


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Cook Co. detainees try to set uniforms on fire, 4 officers hurt (1.02/16)

Four Cook County Jail correctional officers were taken to hospitals Saturday evening after a group of detainees tried to light their uniforms on fire.
The detainees were in Division 9, the jail’s super maximum security division, in a tier designated for “problematic detainees who engage in sexual misconduct, ” according to a statement from the Cook County sheriff’s office.
The detainees in that division are given specially designed jumpsuits, which they tried to destroy by using a microwave to ignite a wick and set the uniforms on fire, the sheriff’s office said. Smoke then billowed in the living unit.
Two officers were taken to a hospital for smoke exposure, and two officers were taken to a hospital for injuries they suffered while securing the tier, according to the sheriff’s office. None of the injuries were thought to be life-threatening.

4 officers injured in Cook County Jail incident


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Florida lawmakers want manatees listed as 'endangered' (1.02/16)

Some Florida lawmakers want manatees back on the endangered species list.
Last month, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the large marine mammal was now considered "threatened" instead of "endangered" because its population had increased. The status upgrade didn't change any federal for manatees.
U. S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Florida, wrote Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke last week, asking him to overturn that decision. According to a statement from the Sarasota Republican's office, 10 other representatives from Florida from both parties also signed the letter.
The letter said the wildlife service's decision was "potentially very harmful to the survival of the iconic Florida animal." It also said state and local officials could consider weakening manatee protections such as slow-speed boating zones because of the wildlife service's decision.
There's an estimated population of 6, 620 manatees in Florida.

Florida lawmakers want manatees listed as ‘endangered’


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PNG to investigate 'drunk rampage' at Australia refugee camp (1.02/16)

Drunk soldiers "went on a rampage" and fired shots in the air at an Australian asylum-seeker camp in Papua New Guinea, police said Sunday, in the latest violence to rock the scandal-hit facility.
PNG police announced an investigation into the unrest at the Manus Island facility, an offshore processing centre reopened in 2012 to detain people who try to enter Australia by boat.
The incident was sparked by an altercation at a football game played by asylum-seekers at a navy base outside the compound late Friday, according to detainees and refugee advocates.
Later, "drunken soldiers in retaliation for one of their colleague who was allegedly assaulted by an asylum-seeker" entered the detention centre, shouting and throwing objects, the Royal PNG Constabulary said in a statement Sunday.
It said the military personnel "went on a rampage... firing several shots into the air and indiscriminately assaulting policemen, PNG immigration officers, other service providers and asylum-seekers".
One senior immigration officer and an asylum-seeker were treated at a medical centre, the statement added, without giving further details.
Manus Provincial Police Commander Senior Inspector David Lapu said he "will leave no stones unturned" in his investigation into the incident.
"Someone will answer for what happened, " he added.
Australia's immigration department said one man was injured by a rock thrown into the centre, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.
"There are reports PNG military personnel discharged a weapon into the air during the incident, " the department told the ABC. "No one was injured."
- 'Living in constant fear' -
The violent scenes came just over three years after Iranian asylum-seeker Reza Barati died and 69 people were injured in a riot at the facility.
The camp is set to close by October after a PNG Supreme Court ruling declared that holding people there was unconstitutional and illegal.
But Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has said they would not be moved to Australia and instead relocated to third countries such as the United States and Cambodia, or resettled in PNG.
Even so, the latest violence sparked renewed calls from refugee advocates for detainees to be removed -- and possibly brought to Australia -- from the camp, which currently houses more than 800 asylum-seekers.
"Even if the arrangement with the United States continues, we must act to create safety and security for those who have languished in offshore detention for too long, " the Very Reverend Peter Catt, the Anglican Dean of Brisbane and head of an Australian coalition of churches in support of refugees, said.
"By bringing people to Australia, the US deal may continue."
Daniel Webb from the Human Rights Law Centre, which has challenged offshore detention in court, said he was witnessing continued fear from the men being detained at Manus.
"I first visited the camp just after Reza Barati's murder in 2014 and I saw how terrified and tired the men were back then, " he said in a statement.
"Yet more than three years later those men are still trapped behind the same fence and living in constant fear."
Canberra has long defended its policy of denying asylum-seekers resettlement in Australia, saying it has prevented deaths at sea.

PNG to investigate 'drunk rampage' by soldiers who fired shots at Manus Island refugee camp


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Family friends identify 5-year-old boy killed in freak accident at Atlanta rotating restaurant (1.02/16)

The Sun Dial Restaurant sits atop the Westin Hotel in downtown Atlanta. A 5-year-old boy died on April 14th after getting stuck in the restaurant’s rotating wall.
The five-year-old boy killed in an downtown Atlanta rotating restaurant has been identified as 5-year-old Charlie Holt, family friends said.
CBS affiliate WBTV reports that a spokesperson for the Charlotte, North Carolina family released this statement Saturday asking for “prayers and privacy.”
“No words can express their loss, ” the statement read. “If you have a loved one, please give them an extra hug today.”
Atlanta Fire Department spokesman Sgt. Cortez Stafford told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the little boy got his head stuck between two tables at the Sun Dial restaurant, which is atop the Westin Hotel. He suffered a head injury, and was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
According to police, Charlie wandered off a few feet from his parents and got lodged between the rotating floor and a wall, WBTV reports .
“Just very tragic, ” said Sgt. Warren Pickard of the Atlanta Police Department. “I simply think he lost sight of his parents and panicked, and found himself in that situation. A small child doesn’ t know what to do in those moments.”
As soon as Charlie got stuck, the restaurant’s employees jumped into action and tried to save him, WBTV reports.
“They immediately tried to administer first aid when they saw what was happening, ” Pickard said.
The rotating floor automatically shut off, and an ambulance was called, but it was too late. Charlie died in the hospital.
A terrorist attack in Texas by two U. S. citizens shows how hard it is to prevent such an attack -- even when one of the terrorists is well-known to the FBI
A popular football coach convicted of murdering his wife gets a chance at freedom -- can evidence withheld from his trial prove him innocent?

Child crushed to death in freak accident at Sun Dial revolving restaurant


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How Nepal’s powerful ‘bus mafia’ keeps capital Kathmandu dirty (1.02/16)

Nepal’s government is trying to tackle rising pollution levels in the smog-choked Kathmandu Valley, but standing in the way is a powerful bus mafia that controls the capital’s roads. The rulers of Kathmandu’s streets are a web of transport syndicates made up of private bus owners who have repeatedly blocked official attempts to modernise the highly inefficient bus network. Critics say these associations have managed to win control over the roads and ensure laws stay favourable to them by making payments masked as political donations to key political figures. “There is no regulatory mechanism that is strong enough to control them, ” said Kanak Dixit, chairman of Sajha Yatayat, a cooperative bus company trying to break the hold of the transport mafia. “This sector has so much cash liquidity that they are able to influence the politicians and therefore they get their way.” A $30 million six-year programme mostly funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) aimed at cleaning up the system, by introducing larger buses in busy areas and redrawing overlapping routes, is gathering dust. Meanwhile more than 10, 000 buses and minibuses in varying states of disrepair ply the streets of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur - three cities that bleed into each other, making up the largest urban area in the country. “We prepared a very excellent report with the help of donors, but when it came to the implementation phase we failed to materialise it, ” Bimal Prasad Subedi, deputy director of the Kathmandu Sustainable Urban Transport Project (KSUTP) , said. “They (the bus syndicates) protested against our plans... They are private entities and don’ t want to lose their profit.” Corruption in Nepal has flourished during the political instability that followed the end of the decade-long civil war in 2006 and seen the country cycle through nine governments since then. The impoverished Himalayan nation is currently ranked 131 out of 168 countries in watchdog Transparency International’s global corruption perception index. Experts say the ADB plan would significantly reduce congestion and emissions in gridlocked Kathmandu where levels of PM 2.5 - microscopic particles harmful to human health - regularly surpass 150. Th at is far above the maximum threshold of 25 recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for a 24-hour exposure. But Dharman Rijal of the National Federation of Nepal Transport Entrepreneurs - an umbrella group for the bus operators - said the modernisation plans amounted to “bullying small investors”. “I stopped going to these fruitless meetings, ” he said. “We have urged the government and KSUTP to enter open competition with us, but replacing our buses with their new buses is injustice.” Bus routes are allocated by the Department of Transport Management, but only on the recommendation of an association, and competition between operators over fiercely guarded routes has on occasion turned violent. Under pressure to be seen to be acting on pollution, which regularly makes the headlines of local newspapers, the government introduced a ban on public vehicles older than 20 years in February. So far the government says only four minibuses and one bus of an estimated 2, 500 that fail to meet the new age requirements have been taken off the road. Most bus owners have refused to retire their old vehicles without compensation, accusing the government of bringing in the ban at the behest of the new vehicle lobby. The deeply entrenched political patronage system that has been allowed to thrive will make it difficult for the government to now bring the bus mafia to heel, observers warn. “If you allow private sector to go unregulated on something that is supposed to be a public service then they will run amok for sure, ” Dixit said. “There is no way to put that genie back in the bottle.”

The bus mafia controlling Nepal's smog-choked capital


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83-year-old thought the phone call was a scam. Instead, it led to a new career (1.02/16)

Plantation Estates resident Gerry Schmitt continues to connect the dots of a life she’s lived in creative pursuit.
At age 83, she’s now added fashion designer to her resume, working with VIDA, an online company that markets clothing, accessories and home accent pieces designed by artists from all over the world.
“I had no idea about designing, not one, until I was sitting in my apartment one day and was contacted by the VIDA company. They said ‘one of our colleagues has seen your work on Facebook and thought your artwork would translate well into women’s apparel,’ ” said Schmitt.
She quickly dismissed the call.
“I assumed it was a scam. People are coming after our age group all the time, so I just brushed her off, ” said Schmitt.
But her curiosity got the better of her and she looked up the company online. She found that it seemed legitimate and was backed by some pretty heavy hitting investors. Finding a VIDA article in Women’s Wear Daily, and getting encouragement from her daughter, Claudia Micare, who works for Getty Images in Manhattan, sealed the deal for her.
“Claudia said, ‘Mom, this looks like it could be a lot of fun.’ And those were the magic words, because at this stage of my life, that’s what I want – fun, ” said Schmitt.
“Now I’ m a designer. I never thought I would be able to add that to my handle!”
But no one seems surprised that the vocal musician turned secretary turned artist turned photo restorer is continuing to plow new ground, least of all her husband of 60 years, Stan Schmitt, age 87.
“She can’ t sit still. Sitting and resting for no reason is not in her DNA. She has to be creating something, ” said Stan Schmitt.
When their six kids were younger, Gerry Schmitt took a “temporary” secretarial job at DuPont that turned into a permanent temporary position.
“They said I had a good phone voice. I credit my musical training, ” said Schmitt.
Informally trained on an IBM Selectric typewriter, she watched with envy as another secretary used a cutting edge Apple 2 computer to produce the same amount of work in a quarter of the time.
“I told them I would stay on if they would get me a computer and teach me how to use it, “said Schmitt.
Dupont agreed, and her infatuation with technology has only grown stronger over the years.
Once her last child left for college, Stan bought her a set of Windsor-Newton oil paints and some brushes to help ease the loneliness of the empty house. She immersed herself in art for the next two years, and even had a one-woman show at Christina Cultural Arts in Wilmington, Delaware, before moving to Charlotte 20 years ago.
After relocating, she kept creating amazing art. One of masterpieces, “Healing, ” a striking 3-foot by 5-foot modern oil piece she painted just after her mastectomy six years ago, hangs in the chapel of Plantation Estates with a copy hanging in the Novant Breast Center.
But she also became an expert in Photoshop after watching Stan manipulate the pictures he took on his daily walks around the grounds. Several years ago she started her own photo restoration business for Plantation Estates residents.
Now she is combining her artistic talents and her computer skills for her newest endeavor.
“To do this kind of design, you have to have a lot of computer savvy and you have to have an eye for design. I had both things necessary to become a good VIDA person, ” said Schmitt.
She spends a few hours most days designing scarfs, tote bags, wraps and more on her computer with either pictures of her original art, or Stan’s original photos, beside her for inspiration.
Still, while she’s having fun in her new career, she won’ t be particularly surprised if another opportunity comes along.
“When you have a repeat of cancer, you have to take life one day at a time. I’ ve learned to go with the flow, ” said Schmitt.
“It’s been a wild ride. It really has. I have no idea what will come next, but I’ m always open to new experiences.”

Pa. teen sentenced for stabbing, sexual assault of 83-year-old woman


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Man wounded in South Side shooting (1.02/16)

A man was wounded in a shooting late Saturday on the South Side.
About 11: 50 p.m., the 21-year-old was sitting in the front passenger seat of a vehicle in the 1800 block of South Western when someone in a gray SUV fired shots, striking him in the right leg, according to Chicago Police.
The man later showed up at Mount Sinai Hospital, where his condition was stabilized, police said.

Man shot, seriously wounded in Longwood Manor
3 men shot in Chatham
3 men shot in Back of the Yards


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Survivor contestant who outed rival as a transgender man is FIRED from his real estate job (1.02/16)

Survivor contestant Jeff Varner has revealed he was fired from his job after he outed rival Zeke Smith as transgender on Wednesday's broadcast of the CBS show.
The Charlotte-based Allen Tate Realtors sacked 50-year-old Varner because he was 'in the middle of a news story that we don't want anything to do with, ' the Greensboro News & Record reported.
The 50-year-old reality show star was also booted from the show after the shocking revelation.
The controversial reality star, who has a background in broadcast news, had not been with the realty company for very long.
His only online house listing was posted in a tweet on April 7.
On the show - which was filmed last June on Fiji's Mamanuca Islands - Varner was looking to convey to the cast that there was deception going on in the ranks.
He subsequently asked Smith, 'Why haven't you told anyone you're transgender?'
Smith gave no response.
The other contestants appeared shocked, and did not say anything either.
'What I'm showing, is a deception, ' continued Jeff, before the other survivors chimed in citing that it 'was personal' information.
The outing caused the cast to come down on Varner, who was subsequently booted from the competition when host Jeff Probst told him, 'We don't need to vote, just grab your torch.'
Later, the former contestant issued an apology.
Yep. I did that. And I offer my deepest, most heartfelt apologies to Zeke Smith, his friends and life allies, his family and to all those who my mistake hurt and offended, ' Varner began.
'I recklessly revealed something I mistakenly believed everyone already knew, ' he continued. 'I was wrong and make no excuses for it. I own responsibility in what is the worst decision of my life.
Clearly understanding the gravity of what he did, Varner continued, 'Let me be clear, outing someone is assault. It robs a strong, courageous person of their power and protection and opens them up to discrimination and danger, ' he wrote.
'It can leave scars that haunt for a lifetime. I am profoundly sorry. Zeke is a wonderful man and I will forever be amazed and inspired by his forgiveness and compassion. I thank God for that and the gift of being an example as to why you should never do what I did.'
He ended his note by saying that he was 'deeply saddened' at what his 'mistake' caused, appearing regretful.
Varner noted that he's undergone extensive therapy and been in touch with 'several LGBT organizations' in the wake of filming.
Probst, speaking with Entertainment Weekly, condemned Varner's actions, saying the incident was unprecedented in the 17 years he's hosted the program.
'I cannot imagine anyone thinking what was done to Zeke was okay on any level, under any circumstances, and certainly not simply because there was a million dollars on the line, ' Probst told the publication.
'I think the response from the tribe, as it so often does, mirrors what the vast majority of society will feel. You just don't do that to someone.'

'Survivor' contender who outed rival as transgender loses his job


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You Are Saving Enough For Retirement If…. And More (1.02/16)

Last week I suggested that the market might be ready for some real news—corporate earnings. That is still a key topic, but attention is focused on world events. Pundits will be asking:
How Should Investors Respond to Geopolitical Risks?
Last week the economic news was good, but mostly ignored.
In my last WTWA I predicted that attention would shift to corporate earnings reports. Little did I know that a passenger dragged from a United Airlines flight would dominate the news cycle for the week. Just as that was losing interest, the Trump military actions grabbed the spotlight. So much for my expectation (and hope) of returning to news focused on financial markets.
I always start my personal review of the week by looking at this great chart from Doug Short via Jill Mislinski. She notes the small daily moves and the 1.13% loss for the week.
Doug has a special knack for pulling together all the relevant information. His charts save more than a thousand words! Read his entire post for several more charts providing long-term perspective, including the size and frequency of drawdowns.
Each week I break down events into good and bad. Often there is an “ugly” and on rare occasion something very positive. My working definition of “good” has two components. The news must be market friendly and better than expectations. I avoid using my personal preferences in evaluating news – and you should, too!
There was not much economic news last week, but it was pretty good.
The Good
The Bad
The Ugly
Fraudulent LIBOR trading went far beyond those on the front line. This story should have gotten more attention because so many swaps and variable interest rates (perhaps your own mortgage?) were linked to this rate. Perhaps that is not a good idea.
The Silver Bullet
I occasionally give the Silver Bullet award to someone who takes up an unpopular or thankless cause, doing the real work to demonstrate the facts. No award this week, but nominations are always welcome. There are many bogus claims and charts out there!
I am disappointed that so many of my blogging colleagues agree with this concept – on a theoretical basis – but do not join me in highlighting these posts. While I do not compete for my own award, I had a post this week that illustrates what I am looking for. There are plenty of “mystery charts” that are unclear, poorly sourced, or cannot be replicated. Sadly, these optical illusions fool many readers.
The Week Ahead
We would all like to know the direction of the market in advance. Good luck with that! Second best is planning what to look for and how to react. That is the purpose of considering possible themes for the week ahead. You can make your own predictions in the comments.
The Calendar
We have a normal week for economic data.
The “A” List
The “B” List
The schedule is back to normal on FedSpeak, with something every day. Earnings season ramps up. World events may well grab attention. Friday is options expiration, which can have the effect of exacerbating big moves.
I would say “fasten your seat belts, ” but enough of that already!
Next Week’s Theme
In a normal week, the Q1 earnings season would be the theme. The geopolitical stories are more dramatic, better both for TV clips and online posts. That is certainly an important story, but at WTWA we focus on financial markets. At least some of the punditry will be doing the same. The key question?
How Should Investors Respond to Geopolitical Risks?
There is not a lot of complexity in this week’s theme.
The facts:
Fear is back in the market.
Credit Suisse updates their fear gauge .
CNN shows an even more dramatic result.
Earnings expert Brian Gilmartin notes that whatever is bothering the market, it is not earnings !
FactSet’s John Butters agrees .
Those conclusions are important. The data helps us to isolate the market concern: geopolitics, not earnings.
Can investors do better than these three alternatives? As usual, I’ ll have a few ideas of my own in today’s “Final Thought”.
Quant Corner
We follow some regular featured sources and the best other quant news from the week.
Risk Analysis
Whether you are a trader or an investor, you need to understand risk. Think first about your risk. Only then should you consider possible rewards. I monitor many quantitative reports and highlight the best methods in this weekly update.
The Indicator Snapshot
The Featured Sources:
Bob Dieli: The “C Score” which is a weekly estimate of his Enhanced Aggregate Spread (the most accurate real-time recession forecasting method over the last few decades) . His subscribers get Monthly reports including both an economic overview of the economy and employment. (see below) .
Holmes: Our cautious and clever watchdog, who sniffs out opportunity like a great detective, but emphasizes guarding assets.
RecessionAlert: Many strong quantitative indicators for both economic and market analysis. While we feature his recession analysis, Dwaine also has several interesting approaches to asset allocation. Try out his new public Twitter Feed.
Georg Vrba: The Business Cycle Indicator and much more. Check out his site for an array of interesting methods. Georg regularly

Saving Florida’s landscape


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Jakarta election exposes deep political, religious divide (1.02/16)

Surveys have shown the race tightening to a statistical dead heat, with incumbent Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, an ethnic Chinese Christian, closing in on rival Anies Baswedan, a former education minister.
Purnama is standing trial on blasphemy charges stemming from the divisive campaign that also featured mass rallies led by Islamist hardliners and alleged plots to overthrow President Joko Widodo, who is popularly known as Jokowi.
The Jakarta election is viewed as a larger choice ahead of a 2019 presidential poll between the secular policies Indonesia has practiced since its post-World War Two independence and a hardline political Islam that has strengthened in recent years.
"This is a test case for Indonesian pluralism, if it can withstand the pressure of the religious groups, the populists, " said Wimar Witoelar, a political analyst and an adviser to former Indonesian president Abdurrahman Wahid.
"Indonesia is at a crossroads, and I mean Indonesia, not just Jakarta."
A survey conducted April 12-14 by polling firm Indikator showed Anies with 48.2 percent support versus 47.4 percent for Purnama, with 4.4 percent undecided.
The business community is worried about a possible violent backlash from the losing side in the election, which could affect the investment climate and endanger Widodo's fit-and-start economic reforms.
Southeast Asia's biggest economy grew 5.2 percent in 2016 and the government expects a repeat of that this year. Indonesian stocks are up 12.6 percent on the year, making the Jakarta market one of Asia's best performers.
Kartika Wirjoatmodjo, chief executive officer of the country's largest state bank, Bank Mandiri, said in an interview that whoever won "we (should) make sure it doesn't affect any of the long-term policies, especially on the openness and ... ease of doing business and attracting investment."
Purnama, who replaced Widodo in 2014 as Jakarta governor after serving as his deputy, saw his popularity soar as he tackled decrepit infrastructure, chronic flooding and endemic corruption in the traffic-clogged city of over 10 million.
His support plunged after an edited video circulated last September suggesting Purnama had mocked a verse in the Koran used by his opponents to argue Muslims should not vote for a person holding different religious beliefs.
Amid two rallies last year that drew hundreds of thousands of protesters, Purnama was charged with blasphemy, forcing him to make regular appearances in court during the campaign.
The hardline Islamists behind the rallies - led by the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) , a group known for attacks on religious minorities and extorting money from nightclubs - were cultivated by Purnama's rivals. Baswedan was accused of betraying his moderate Islamic roots when he met and sang with FPI leader Habib Rizieq, who was twice imprisoned for inciting violence in 2003 and 2008.
Purnama recovered to win the first round on Feb. 15 with 43 percent of the vote, compared to 40 percent for Baswedan and 17 percent for Agus Yudhoyono, son of former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who drew support from conservative Muslims.
The FPI was among groups circulating hoax news stories on social media during the campaign of a pending invasion of Chinese workers and Chinese plots to decimate Indonesia's crops with contaminated chili
The FPI has vowed to stage further protests and a "revolution" if Purnama wins, according to flyers circulated by the group.
A senior government official said a victory for Purnama could reignite religious tensions and China-baiting at a time when the government is chasing Chinese investment for much-needed infrastructure.
"I worry that if a sizeable portion of the electorate feels cheated there could be a very serious backlash, " said the official, who asked for anonymity to speak freely about the political climate in Indonesia.
However, political analyst Tobias Basuki also saw risks for the national government and its reform agenda if Baswedan won, given plans by his political patron Prabowo Subianto to challenge Widodo in the 2019 presidential poll.
Baswedan was Widodo's campaign manager in the 2014 presidential election, when he beat Subianto. But Widodo sacked him as education minister last year.
"Anies and Prabowo controlling Jakarta would impede Jokowi every step of the way, " Basuki said.
(Additional reporting by Eveline Danubrata and John Chalmers; Editing by Bill Tarrant)

Indonesia's capital to vote amid religious tensions


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‘SNL': Cecily Strong’s Ex Jimmy Fallon Tries to Win Her Back After Causing United Airlines Debacle (1.02/16)

“SNL” surprised with a gag about United Airlines dragging a man off a flight this week as the punchline on a seemingly non-topical sketch involving Cecily Strong’s ex-boyfriend, Jimmy Fallon, tried to win her back.
While Strong was in the middle of a date with a character played by Beck Bennett, Fallon appeared at her door with a boom box and flowers in an attempt to win her back.
“Hey, what? What’s going on?” Fallon asked, seeing Bennett on Strong’s couch. “We just broke up five days ago.”
“You know what, I don’ t need to defend myself, Doug, ” Strong responded. “Okay, you know what you did.”
Instead, Fallon brought in two friends to (poorly) sing “Truly, Madly, Deeply” by Savage Garden.
“So what do you say, Jen?” Fallon asked as he finished the song. “I know I made one of the biggest mistakes a person can make, but I’ m sorry. And I’ m asking you to take me back — forever. What do you say?”
But Strong was having none of it.
“No, Doug! You dragged a man off a plane this week!” She shouted, referencing United’s massive public relations debacle this week. United passengers used their smartphones to film airport security officers dragging a randomly chosen man off a flight he’ d paid for to make room on the flight for four United employees.
Strong forced Fallon and his two friends out of the apartment, then turned back to Bennett to apologize.
“All right — I’ m so sorry about him, ” Strong said when they were finally alone again.
“That’s okay, ” Bennett returned, smiling.
“Anyway, back to us, ” Strong said. “Tell me more about yourself. What do you do?”
“Well, I actually just directed a huge Pepsi commercial, ” Bennett responded, prompting Strong to scream. The sketch ended with a punchline that referenced last week’s episode, in which Bennett played the writer and director of Kendall Jenner’s much-maligned, and immediately pulled, Pepsi commercial that referenced Black Lives Matter and anti-Donald Trump protests.
Read original story ‘SNL': Cecily Strong’s Ex Jimmy Fallon Tries to Win Her Back After Causing United Airlines Debacle At TheWrap

United Airlines outcry, host Jimmy Fallon give 'SNL' a bump


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New Disney Star Wars land details revealed at Star Wars Celebration (1.02/16)

New renderings and details about the Star Wars-themed lands coming to both Walt Disney World and Disneyland were revealed at a panel discussion at Star Wars Celebration in Orlando.
The creative minds from both Disney Imagineering and Lucasfilm came together on stage at the Orange County Convention Center for the panel titled, “Star Wars and Disney Parks: A Galaxy in the Making.” Included on the panel were Disney executives Scott Trowbridge, Wendy Anderson, Asa Kalama and Chris Beatty as well as Lucasfilm creative executive Pablo Hidalgo and film designer Doug Chiang who has worked on four “Star Wars” films.
The six creative personalities shared details about the back story of the new Star Wars land as well as some of the experiences that will be available when it opens in 2019.
Construction images and renderings of the "Star Wars"-themed lands coming to both Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disneyland.
When it opens, the 14-acre area at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, as well as its counterpart in California, will take guests into a new planet in the Star Wars universe.
“We wanted to build new Star Wars stories, new Star Wars destinations, but this time you could be in that story that required us to go to a new place, ” Trowbridge said. “It's a new planet. It's a new place. It's this remote frontier outpost.”
Hildalgo added, “With every new Star Wars story it's like coming back home but finding a new corner of that home you've never explored before. When it came to developing this location...not only figuring out where this place is on the galactic map but what its history has been throughout galactic history.
“It's been there for thousands and thousands of years, ” Hidalgo explained, “You're going to discover that. You're going to be able to get a sense of the history of the place when you go there.”
While some of the details about the location had previously been revealed, the panel put it more into focus. The planet is in the Star Wars universe’s Outer Rim in the Unknown Regions.
“This used to be a vibrant trading port back in the old sub-lightspeed days, but now with advent of hyperspace, its prominence has kind of fallen and faded a little bit which has made it a great spot for those who didn't want to be on that kind of mainstream path, ” Trowbridge said. “The smugglers, the bounty hunters, the rogue adventurers looking to crew up, the people who don't want to be found — basically all the interesting people.”
One other aspect of the land that was delved into was how interactive the characters will be.
Kalama explains there will be opportunities for guests to take part in storylines while visiting.
“For those who are looking to delve a little but deeper, lots of opportunities circling about, ” he said. “There are going to be a ton of opportunities to help out and support the Resistance, lots of smugglers and bounty hunters who are looking for a little bit of help and might be willing to offer you up a side job, and for those of you who are interested in supporting The First Order, that will absolutely be an opportunity as well.”
Kalama is working on one of the two rides that will be featured as well, a ride in which visitors can pilot the Millennium Falcon. He explains that the ride experience depends on the visitors.
“It's entirely up to you and your flight crew. Chances are you're going to make it to your destination on the other end. The ship just may be a little more damaged than when you begin, ” he said. “It's really up to you. You can bring her in without a scratch on her or if you want to — you know if you're a practitioner of bumper bowling and you want to try to maneuver off a couple of those rock faces.”
This is where Kalama explains that sometimes the ride doesn’ t end when you land the ship.
“There are consequences to your actions in this world so you know if you bring a ship pretty heavily damaged, chances are you know somebody's not going to be too happy about that, ” he said. That someone may in fact be Chewbacca, as colleague Anderson did her best Wookiee impression.
“So again for those who are really interested in delving a little bit deeper, we're excited for opportunities where you know an experience might begin on board the Millennium Falcon and follow you right out the door of the attraction and into the local watering hole, ” Kalama said.
Disney Parks put together this half real-half animation tease to construction of Star Wars Land at Disneyland. A version is also being created at Walt Disney World's Hollywood Studios.
The other ride coming to the Star Wars land will be one that puts visitors in middle of the action between the Resistance and The First Order. Williams is working on that one, and was excited about the level of involvement visitors will have when experiencing the ride.
“We're using rooftops, we're using ladders, ” she said. “It's all kinds of fun stuff that we'll be able to talk about in more detail later. Man, you're going to feel like you're in the thick of it. You're not going to sit in a chair and watch it happening. You're going to be standing right in front of it. You're in the Star Wars.”
Construction images and video released by Disney in March showed progress on the building that will house this particular ride, and a big part of it is the presence of life-size AT-AT walkers — the same kind that first appeared in the battle on Hoth in “The Empire Strikes Back.”
“It's the most epic attraction we've ever undertaken, ” Trowbridge said.
These renderings show what the Star Wars-themed lands will look like at Walt Disney World and Disneyland when they open in 2019.
The new renderings shown were of what people would find when exploring the shops around this village. One of the more interesting ones was of what was most likely a meat vendor using a pod racer engine to heat the meat, according to Beatty.
“We're going to let you actually go and explore these streets and these markets and buy strange meat concoctions and hold up in you know weird vessels that you can walk around and eat and of course have to have a glass of blue milk, ” he said. “That might have been a pod race engine that we've rigged up and you know maybe that's cooking the meat in this market. We're really trying to make sure there's something in this land for everyone that no matter where you come in to the story or into this saga that there's something there that will resonate with you.”
He said Star Wars fans are big on the details, and they will not be disappointed.
“You just never know like little details like you might hear things scurrying through the sewer systems so when you go to the restrooms, be careful what you drink out of, because the water fountains might have a familiar face or an eyeball, ” he said. “We're making sure those details are in there.”
One other detail from the panel was the confirmation that there will be droids.
“Droids are such an important part of the Star Wars universe, ” Kalama said. “They add so much heart and humor and they're so great for fans of all ages and our little corner of the galaxy is no different. We are going to see some droids that we know and love from screen as well as get the opportunity to meet some brand new droids we've never seen before, each with their own unique sort of personality and character. They're going to be really sort of bustling around this village… and bringing it to life in a fun and exciting way.”
Panelist Chiang, who worked on “Episode I: The Phantom Menace” and “Episode II: Attack of the Clones” as a design director and returned as a concept artist for “ The Force Awakens ” and production designer on “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” mirrored other executives enthusiasm about bringing the worlds from film into real life.
“It's been really fun because I approached this as just another film and we design it like that because it has to be as expansive as that, ” he said. “With the park what i really like about this is you're going to be able to live it. The great thing about this is this is going to be a like 14-plus-acre movie set that's real - the rocks are real, every detail is real and so the approach was that let's do some real world building where we actually can have the tools and abilities with the talented team here to make it pretty authentic.”
It's the largest expansion of any theme park Disney has ever undertaken.
“You're really going to feel like you're really there. The illusion is going to be completely immersive and just amazing.”

The biggest 'Star Wars' reveals we learned at Celebration 2017 Video


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Utah gymnasts finish fifth at NCAA championships, Oklahoma wins third title (1.02/16)

ST. LOUIS — Five teams entered Saturday’s NCAA Super Six gymnastics championship as underdogs behind favorite Oklahoma. And five gymnastics teams watched the Sooners run away with their second-straight, and third overall, title at 198.3875.
Oklahoma’s night was outstanding all around, highlighted by a 49.7 beam set that included a 10.0 by Maggie Nichols. The Sooners really had no blemishes on their night with their lowest event score on vault still at an impressive 49.4875 mark.
LSU finished second (197.7375) , followed by Florida (197.7) UCLA (197.2625) , Utah (196.5875) and Alabama (196.0) .
The Red Rocks couldn’ t muster much in regards to high scores, finishing with only two in the 9.9 range. Those came from freshman MyKayla Skinner on floor (9.925) and senior Baely Rowe on bars (9.9) . Skinner’s score was lower than her title-winning floor effort of 9.9625 Friday, while Rowe’s bars was an improvement on her 9.8375 from the semifinal.
“I have always loved bars and beam, so it was incredible to hit that bars routine tonight, ” said Rowe.
The senior capped her night with a fall on beam, which was her first of the season. But she took it in stride for a couple of reasons. First, she finished with an outstanding career that will be remembered over the fall, and second it gave sophomore Shannon McNatt a chance to experience a pressure situation. If McNatt had fallen off the beam in the anchor position, Utah would have finished sixth behind Alabama.
“My coaches reminded me that I’ ve had a great career and that trumps the fall, ” said Rowe. “I really have loved every minute at Utah and am so proud of this team because we faced a lot of adversity this season and still made it back into the Super Six.”
Utah was written off by many after Sabrina Schwab, the 2016 Pac-12 freshman of the year, and newcomer Kim Tessen were lost for the season early on. And maybe even more so when standout Kari Lee was limited to one event after suffering a high ankle sprain before regionals.
“The sum of the season was it was a great year, ” said co-head coach Tom Farden. “We were down three gymnasts and still made the Super Six.”
Farden admitted his team went big early, with Tiffani Lewis trying to land her epass full in, back out in Utah’s opening event of floor. The coach knew Utah needed to go for broke in a meet with this much talent. Lewis normally lands the epass in practice, but unfortunately she and MaKenna Merrell both stepped out of bounds in their routines. That meant the Red Rocks counted a 9.65 and finished up with a 49.0625 on floor compared to their 49.4875 in the same event on Friday. In the semifinal, it was their final rotation.
“We just had too much adrenaline, which is a tricky part of floor, ” said Farden. “Our other challenge was we needed to be more aggressive with our landings on floor and vault.”
Utah matched its floor score on vault before posting its best set of the night on bars (49.3125) .
“Tom and Megan (Marsden) told us all season this team has grit, passion and dedication, ” said Rowe. “We were goal-oriented all year, and our goal was to get back to the Super Six, which we did.”
Event winners
Two of Saturday’s events were won by perfect scores. Nichols and UCLA’s Peng Lee hit 10.0s on beam, while Florida’s Alex McMurtry recorded a 10.0 on bars. Nichols had the best vault score at 9.9625, and McMurtry and teammate Alicia Boren, along with Nichols and her teammate AJ Jackson, hit 9.95s on floor.

LSU falls behind early, rallies to finish second again in NCAA gymnastics championship meet


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Kurdish militants kill guard in attack on Turkish politician: sources (1.02/16)

They said the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants carried out the attack on Saturday night in the Muradiye district of the southeast's Van province. A second of the AKP official's guards was wounded in the attack.
(Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

Kurdish militants kill guard in attack on Turkish politician - sources


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Mariners' Paxton gets scoreless streak to 21 IP, beats Texas (1.02/16)

SEATTLE (AP) - James Paxton extended his season-opening scoreless streak to 21 innings, Taylor Motter hit a three-run homer and the Seattle Mariners beat the Texas Rangers 5-0 on Saturday night. Paxton (2-0) threw eight innings of two-hit ball, walking one and striking out nine. He hasn't allowed a run yet in three starts this year, and his scoreless stretch is a team record. He's the 10th pitcher in the majors ever to open a season with three scoreless starts of at least six innings. Paxton walked Carlos Gomez to lead off the game, but he followed by getting Elvis Andrus to ground into a double play. That was the last baserunner Paxton allowed until Joey Gallo doubled with one out in the sixth inning. Gallo advanced to third on a wild pitch but was stranded when Gomez popped up a bunt to end the inning. Kyle Seager added a two-run single as part of a five-run sixth inning for Seattle, which won back-to-back games for the first time this season. Andrew Cashner (0-1) made his first start for Texas and pitched into the sixth inning, giving up four runs and five hits. Cashner missed most of spring training and the start of the season with soreness in his right bicep. He was activated from the disabled list before the game and made his first start since signing as a free agent this winter. Cashner held Seattle scoreless through the first five innings, but the Mariners broke through in the sixth with the help of an error. With one out and a runner on first, Robinson Cano hit a grounder to short that looked like a double-play ball, but Andrus bobbled it and rushed an off-target flip to second. Cashner then walked the bases loaded before Seager's two-run single. Motter followed with his second home run of the season, a shot to right field off reliever Mike Hauschild to put Seattle five runs ahead. HOT START Mariners OF Mitch Haniger singled twice, extending his hitting streak to nine games. Haniger also scored to give him 11 runs in Seattle's first 12 games, and he has reached base safely in each game. RANGERS MOVES In addition to activating Cashner, before the game Texas optioned right-hander Nick Martinez to Triple-A Round Rock and also activated Tanner Scheppers and assigned him to Round Rock. UP NEXT Rangers: LHP Cole Hamels (0-0) will make his third start. In his previous outing, he allowed one run and four hits over seven innings against Oakland. Mariners: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (0-1) will start in the series finale against Texas. In his last start, against the Angels, he gave up one run on two hits in six innings. Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

James Paxton extends scoreless streak to 21 innings in win over Rangers


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‘One Tree Hill’ still draws attention in Wilmington (1.02/16)

WILMINGTON, N. C. (AP) - It’s right there in the name. There is only “One Tree Hill.”
The singular teen soap turned adult drama remains a defining - if not, the definitive - Wilmington TV production, one that continues to have an impact unparalleled by any other project.
Tuesday will mark the fifth anniversary since the series aired its series finale, simply titled “One Tree Hill, ” on April 4, 2012. The episode was the 187th the show produced in the Port City over the course of nine years.
According to the Wilmington Regional Film Commission, “One Tree Hill” spent an estimated $300 million locally to bring to life the teens and adults of the fictional town of Tree Hill, North Carolina. As the show gained prominence and its cast of young actors became stars, the perils of high school gave way to the challenges of adulthood - a journey accentuated by fights, tears, laughs, weddings, existential crises, car crashes, deaths, births, a crazy syringe-wielding nanny and a heart-snatching dog.
Even in the face of its more outlandish plot twists, “One Tree Hill” cultivated a loyal audience that - in defiance of a traditional trajectory for a concluded series - has persisted as the show aged.
“I think it is our storylines, ” said Beth Crookham, who was part of the producing team for much of the show’s run. “It is the characters and the world they lived in. While it is certainly not reality, there was a heart and soul to the characters that just universally resonated and continues to do so years later.”
Next generation
Despite increasingly lackluster ratings on The CW and season-to-season fears of cancellation, the show has retained a popularity aided by television reruns, international followings and - most importantly - its entire run made available on Netflix, the popular online video streaming service.
“People in their 30s and older who grew up on the show can rewatch it, and now these kids 12 and up are getting to experience it for the first time, ” said Cullen Moss, a local actor who recurred as John “Junk” Moretti for the entire run.
With the advent of Netflix, Tree Hill has lived on, Crookham said.
It’s evident in the steady stream of devoted fans who still make the pilgrimage to Wilmington each year.
Although change has swept through some of the filming locations - the Rivercourt at Battleship Park is gone and the Karen’s Cafe storefront on Front Street is now Outdoor Equipped - Tree Hill as fans know it on screen remains largely intact.
On any given day, a group of fans can be seen huddled outside the spots made famous by the show, namely the Sixth Street bridge now immortalized in the opening credits. Crookham said the way the show used Wilmington as a small town has preserved it for fans.
“If this show had existed in Los Angeles or some big city, it may not have survived in the same way, ” she said.
In the past three years, the numbers of visiting devotees has skyrocketed thanks to fan conventions that reunited the stars, with whom fans can pay to brush shoulders, get autographs, take pictures and ask their long-held questions. EyeCon conventions started the profitable trend in 2015 and has hosted three since, each attended by more than 1, 000 fans. EyeCon will hold its fourth local “Return to Tree Hill” convention next month and a fifth in October.
Crookham also organized an event last summer called “Inside OTH, ” which she planned alongside several cast and crew members with whom she remains close.
Moss said the conventions, where he is a favorite for pictures, serve as a reminder of how important the show is for fans.
“When you talk to kids, it’s not just a teen drama for a lot them, ” he said. “A lot of these young people and even adults talk about how it saved them, in very literal terms.”
Looking back
With the stars moved onto other projects - Sophia Bush can be seen on “Chicago P. D., ” Chad Michael Murray on “Sun Records” and Bethany Joy Lenz on “Colony” - and the crew has been scattered to the winds due to stifling state legislation dampening local production prospects, looking back on the final days of filming seems like another time for those involved.
The final episode shot in November 2011, meaning the show’s presence in Wilmington was already deconstructed by the time fans saw it.
“A lot of life happened between the final episode shooting and it airing, ” Crookham said. “By that time, we were all on to other things. I don’ t think it even registered with me that the final episode was airing.”
Bill Vassar, executive vice president of EUE/Screen Gems Studio in Wilmington, remembers the throngs of fans who would line up outside the gates of the lot on spring break while the production was filming.
“You would look out there and they were two and three deep outside the fence, ” he said. “We put up (netting) and they would bring SUVs and stand on the roofs just to get a glimpse.”
Vassar said he understood the show’s reach when his mother, a former guidance counselor, watched the show and expressed an appreciation for how aptly it captured teenage life.
“She told me, ‘Nothing changes but the music and the fashion,’ ” Vassar said. “This show just lives on.”
Now half-decade removed his Tree Hill days, Moss said the local conventions have given he and his former cast mates time to reflect on the phenomenon of which they are a part.
“We talk about how lucky we are to be part of something that has stuck with people this long and only finds new fans every day, ” he said. “It has staying power.”
Information from: The StarNews, http: //

'One Tree Hill' still draws attention in Wilmington


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Selena Gomez Finally Posts First Official Photo With The Weeknd During Coachella (1.02/16)

After months of dating, Selena Gomez has finally shared a photo taken with The Weeknd to social media. Selena and The Weeknd, real name Abel Tesfaye, have been photographed together by paparazzi, but Saturday’s post marks the first time the singer shared an official relationship photo.
Selena posted the selfie on Saturday evening as she and Abel enjoyed the 2017 Coachella festival in Indio, Calif. Her intimate look into their romance comes one week after The Weeknd shared a photo of the couple to his Instagram for the first time.
In just two hours, Gomez’s post received over 2.2 million likes from her whopping 117 million followers. The number will only increase and may be one of the most liked Instagram photos of all time as Selena’s posts are known to earn the title.
A post shared by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) on Apr 15, 2017 at 6: 04pm PDT
Gomez didn’ t add a caption to the image, but fans didn’ t need one as they took to leaving comments on her latest post. Most of her followers are happy to finally get a glimpse into the dating life of Selena and Abel as the couple pose together during the festival.
“This makes her so happy.”
“The frikin’ cutest so much love.”
Selena looks smitten as she gives a subtle grin to the camera as Abel wraps his arm around her chest. Both singers sport sunglasses as they pose for the casual photo. Gomez opted for a knee-length blue dress with white flowers as The Weeknd traded in his signature black look for jeans and a plaid shirt.
Fans also captured the couple sharing an intimate moment while listening to music as they stopped for a quick kiss on Saturday in the same outfits seen in Selena’s photo.
Sel and Abel at Coachella!!!❤???? #abelena #perfect
A post shared by Marianne Gioumes (@marianne14052) on Apr 15, 2017 at 7: 56pm PDT
“Selena Gomez and The Weeknd are having too much fun at Coachella!”
The article goes on to state what some fans have witnessed in person as both Gomez and Tesfaye are unable to keep their hands to themselves as they roam around Coachella.
Of course, the PDA-filled fan photos are no match for the selfie shared by Selena as the public has been anxiously awaiting to see her first relationship post.
“Selena posted the most adorable Instagram selfie of The Weeknd wrapping his arm around her.”
coachella vibes ????????
A post shared by g l a m h e a v e n (@glamheaven_) on Apr 15, 2017 at 9: 34am PDT
Gomez placed her hands on her boyfriend’s shoulder as they made their way to a performance Friday evening in a gesture that has been common throughout their months-long romance. The couple’s Coachella trip comes on the heels of several other vacations Gomez and Tesfaye have taken together since going public in January.
“Selena and The Weeknd’s trip to the Indio, Calif., music festival—where every other celeb seems to be this weekend—comes after they traveled to Toronto, Colombia and Argentina together. Selena has been joining her boyfriend as he continues his world tour.”
Gomez is attempting to take more personal time during her busy career, and therefore traveled to watch her new beau perform in several countries. She also took a trip with him to his hometown in Canada during a break in his tour. It seems the romance is only heating up between the pair whether fans like it or not.
[Featured Image by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]

The Weeknd Holds Selena Gomez Close in Adorable PDA Pic At Coachella


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Photos of the bands and their fans on Saturday, Weekend 1 – Press Enterprise (1.02/16)

Southern California band Quitapenas kicked off the festivities on the second day of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio with a dance party inside the festival’s newest stage, the Sonora Tent.
The weather was warmer than Friday, but fans still came out in droves to have fun and dance.
More stories, photos from Coachella 2017:

Beer pong not politics: The outrage at Coachella so far is limited to crowd size and technical glitches


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Kerr wins LPGA Lotte Championship (1.01/16)

American Cristie Kerr capitalized on a back nine stumble by Jang Su-Yeong to come-from-behind and capture the Lotte Championship on Saturday.
The 39-year-old overcame a three-shot deficit heading into the final round to fire a bogey-free 66 for her first US LPGA Tour win since 2015.
"It's been an epic day, " said Kerr, who finished with a 72 hole total score of 20-under par 268.
"It didn't start out so hot, but I knew if I just hung in there and made a couple birdies I would get it going, and the back nine was magic for me this week."
The same could not be said for unheralded Jang, who needed a sponsor's invite to get into the tournament.
Jang, who held a three-shot lead at the end of the third round and led for much of Saturday, made double bogey on the par-three No. 8 and had a bogey on the par-five 14th to drop to 17-under.
Kerr vaulted into the lead for good with three straight birdies on the back nine, beginning at No. 13 to get to 20-under.
Also tied for second were Kiwi Lydia Ko, and South Korean Chun In-Gee.
Alena Sharp, a 35-year-old Canadian trying to win her first title on the US LPGA Tour, finished another stroke back in fifth after she bogeyed the final hole for a 70.
Jang entered the final round with a big lead, but closed with a par 72. Ko made a run in a bid for her first title since last July, closing with a 64, and Chun finished with a 67.
Third-ranked Ariya Jutanugarn and Stacy Lewis tied for seventh, six strokes behind Kerr. Ariya shot a final-round 69 and Lewis a 66.
Ariya's fellow Thai Nontaya Srisawang fired her second straight 71 to finish in a tie for 23rd with six others.

Cristie Kerr wins LPGA Lotte in Hawaii for 19th tour title
Kerr credits lucky turtle for Lotte triumph


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Police: 2 killed in motorcycle crash in Batavia (1.00/16)

Two people were killed in a motorcycle crash Saturday afternoon in west suburban Batavia.
Officers responded about 5: 25 p.m. to the crash between the motorcycle and a vehicle in the 1200 block of Wind Energy Pass, according to a statement from Batavia police.
The male driving the motorcycle was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. The female passenger of the bike was airlifted to Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, where she died. Their identities have not been released pending notification of their families.
The Kane County sheriff’s office and the Kane County Accident Reconstruction Team were investigating the crash.

Police: Motorcyclist dies in crash on I-57


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‘SNL': The 20 Very Best Sketches of Season 42 So Far, Ranked (Photos) (1.00/16)

Each week, “Saturday Night Live” is like a comedy fire hose. Some “SNL” sketches are hilarious and memorable; others don’ t really land. And still others get overshadowed because of the speed of the show, with audiences not realizing how great a sketch was until later, or maybe never.
With plenty more “SNL” to go and some undoubtedly great sketches in the future (at least a few of which will involve Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump) , we’ ve compiled the very best sketches of Season 42. These are all the high points you might have missed, and some you definitely didn’ t, of the season so far.
16. “Stranger Things” (Host: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Oct. 8)
“SNL” answers a very important question of “Where is Lucas’ family in ‘Stranger Things?'” When they show up looking for their son, they turn out to be the only sane people in the whole supernatural Midwestern story. The standout of this one is Melissa Villaseñor’s Winona Ryder impression. You can watch the sketch here.
15. “Haunted Elevator (featuring David S. Pumpkins) ” (Host: Tom Hanks, Oct. 22)
Of everything that aired during Tom Hanks’ ninth episode hosting “SNL, ” his David S. Pumpkins character resonated the most for some reason. The dancing skeletons gag can’ t sustain laughs for as long as it’s dragged out, until the final punchline redeems the whole thing. You can watch the sketch here.
14. “The Librarian” (Host: Margot Robbie, Oct. 1) Margot Robbie is Ms. Dalton, the sexy librarian all the high school guys ogle. And then Yello’s “Oh Yeah” kicks on and you think it’s going to be some crazy adolescent fantasy — except it becomes horrifying. Robbie as the gross, hairless, murdering librarian continually tops herself as the sketch goes on. You can watch the sketch here.
13. “Live Report” (Host: Margot Robbie, Oct. 1)
At first, a newscast where Kenan Thompson can’ t believe Mikey Day’s nerdy guy is married to Margot Robbie draws a light chuckle. Then Leslie Jones gets in on the act and suddenly it’s a multi-pronged conspiracy like investigation. And then Thompson drives it home when he realizes Matt Shatt is wearing crocks with socks. You can watch the sketch here.
12. “Whiskers R’ We” (Host: Kristen Wiig, Nov. 19)
It’s the Thanksgiving for “Whiskers R’ We, ” so Kate McKinnon’s Barbara DeDrew is joined by Furonica — a cat-lover more intense than she is. Kristen Wiig and McKinnon are hilarious together here. It would be worth it for the descriptions of the cats, but Barbara and Furonica’s implied attraction adds its own great layer. You can watch the sketch here.
11. “Trump vs. Clinton: Round 2” (Host: Emily Blunt, Oct. 15)
The weirdest debate made for the funniest “SNL” debate sketch. Moments like Alec Baldwin’s Trump fidgeting in the background and his scary flyby when Hillary Clinton (Kate McKinnon) has her back turned perfectly capture the actual event. It’s been tough to make election jokes that were funnier than what actually happened in real life, but this sketch manages. You can watch the sketch here.
10. “Pizza Town” (Host: Aziz Ansari, Jan. 21)
Cops discover a suspect in a closed kids pizza restaurant, where the animatronics keep switching on. Aziz Ansari absolutely kills as the Chuck E. Cheez-esque character, but everyone in the sketch is hilariously convincing as the stilted, incredibly unfun-looking robot band. You can watch the sketch here.
9. “Through Donald’s Eyes” (Host: John Cena, Dec. 10)
A first-person look at how Donald Trump sees the world is funny in a goofy way, as he watches super-simplified news reports or Kellyanne Conway runs in to calm him. But then it turns the corner into hilarious as Trump looks in a mirror — and what he sees is John Cena. You can watch the sketch here.
8. “A Day Off” (Host: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Oct. 8)
During the election, it seemed like Trump Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway couldn’ t catch a break. Even on her day off, Conway (Kate McKinnon) is explaining way the ridiculous things Trump has said. Everything here is great, from Conway’s increasingly care-free activities to the nonsense on-the-fly explanations she gives for Trump’s comments. You can watch the sketch here.
7. “Donald Trump Press Conference” (Host: Felicity Jones, Jan. 14)
Right after the infamous, unverified memo supposedly including compromising information about Trump from Russian intelligence, we get Trump’s first press conference. It was ridiculous in real life but insane on “SNL” Alec Baldwin playing Trump and delivering a beautifully fast succession the repeated line “You’ re in.” You can watch the sketch here .
6. “Donald Trump Calls World Leaders” (Host: Kristen Stewart, Feb. 4) With two weeks of executive actions and plenty of news, “SNL” channels everything (and animosity toward Steve Bannon) in one sketch. And it manages to exceed reality as Baldwin’s Trump goes off the rails calling world leaders, and even channeling Hitler. You can watch the sketch here.
5. “Five Stars” (Host: Aziz Ansari, Jan. 21)
Riffing on an episode of “Black Mirror, ” Aziz Ansari and his Uber driver (Bobby Moynihan) are both struggling in increasingly ridiculous ways to impress the other to earn a five-star rating. The best “SNL” sketches are the ones that feel a shade away from real life and this one taps something fundamental about the social media-infused world. Also, Moynihan gives Ansari a foot rub on the highway. You can watch the sketch here.
4. “White House Press Briefing 2 (Host: Alec Baldwin, Feb. 11) Returning for a second spin as Sean Spicer, Melissa McCarthy riffed on her own best moments from her first turn a week earlier. The sketch’s high point was when Spicer used a doll of Disney’s Moana as a visual aid, saying the Trump Administration would send her to Guantanamo Bay. That is, until McCarthy as Spicer started chasing the White House press corps around on a fully motorized podium. You can watch the sketch here.
3. “Black Jeopardy” (Host: Tom Hanks, Oct. 22)
In a charged national moment approaching the election, this sketch gets at an essential truth: We’ re all a lot more similar than we are different. More than that, every answer in “Black Jeopardy” is hilarious and feels spot-on. Doug’s right, giving Apple your fingerprint is how they get you. You can watch the sketch here.
2. “Easter Message from Sean Spicer” (Host: Jimmy Fallon, April 15)
After White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer made comments comparing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Hilter, Melissa McCarthy appeared on “SNL” as Sean Spicer to apologize. Donning an Easter Bunny costume, Spicer wrongly explained the story of Passover and made a few more Assad-related gaffes. Watch the sketch here.
1. “White House Press Briefing (Host: Kristen Stewart, Feb. 4) Melissa McCarthy made a surprise guest appearance as White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, and absolutely killed it. Yelling at reporters, spraying them with Super Soakers, pulling out stuffed animals as visual aids — it was all hilarious. And then Spicer rushed the press with the podium. You can watch it here.
Read original story ‘SNL': The 20 Very Best Sketches of Season 42 So Far, Ranked (Photos) At TheWrap

Every ‘SNL’ Alec Baldwin Donald Trump Sketch Ranked, From Least to Most Retweetable (Photos)


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Baby, 3 others drown in Pangasinan on Black Saturday (1.00/16)

DAGUPAN CITY — A baby boy and three other people drowned on Black Saturday in separate incidents in Pangasinan province, police said.
The youngest victim was a 1 year and nine-month-old baby who drowned in a river in Barangay (village) Malasin in Pozorrubio town at 1: 20 p.m.
Mario Sandoval, 46, was carrying his baby in the Malasin River, but lost hold of the boy when Mario slipped and fell in the water, which was 2 to 3 feet deep.
The baby was taken to a hospital but a doctor there pronounced him dead on arrival.
In San Fabian town, 81-year-old Desimprado Garcia of Barangay Labuan in San Quintin town was swimming in the waters about 20 meters from the shore of Barangay Nibaliw in San Fabian when his companions realized he was unconscious at 11 a.m.
Garcia was taken to the Region 1 Medical Center in Dagupan City but he did not reach the hospital alive.
Relatives believe Garcia may have suffered a heart attack.
In Alaminos City, the body of Kenneth Camba, 15, was found submerged in the waters off Bagbag Beach in Barangay Victoria at 11: 30 a.m.
Camba was with relatives for a Black Saturday outing. But as they frolicked in the water, his companion noticed he was missing. Investigators said Camba suffered from epilepsy, and may have had a seizure in the waters.
Camba was pronounced dead by a doctor of the Western Pangasinan District Hospital, where he was brought.
In Anda town, Darwin Castrence, 31, was found floating in the waters off the Tondol White Sand Beach in Barangay Tondol at 4: 05 p.m.
Police said Castrence plunged into the water to swim following a drinking session with his friends.
When he failed to return after several minutes, Castrence’s companions decided to look for him until they found him floating.
Castrence did not reach the hospital alive. JE

5 die in Black Saturday drownings in Isabela


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Tucson restaurant shooter identified as city fire captain (1.00/16)

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Authorities say the shooter in a murder-suicide inside a restaurant at an upscale Tucson mall was a Tucson Fire Department captain.
The Pima County Sheriff's Department said 60-year-old Frederick Bair fired multiple rounds in the Firebirds Wood Fired Grill Friday night, killing one man and wounding a woman before turning the gun on himself. Sheriff's department spokesman Cody Gress late Saturday said the woman was Bair's ex-wife, 57-year-old Mary Jo Bair. She was shot in the leg and was expected to recover.
Gress identified the other man as 65-year-old Eliot Cobb.
Deputies said Bair and Cobb were already dead when they arrived at the busy restaurant in the La Encantada mall.

Tucson restaurant murder-suicide gunman identified as a city fire captain


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A giant paper mache cat named ‘Big Grumpy’ showed up at Tax March Philly (1.00/16)

The protest drew an estimated 2, 000 people to City Hall on Saturday. It was organized by Gwen Snyder of Philadelphia Jobs with Justice as one of 150+ nationwide that called on Trump to release his tax returns — something every US President has done for the past 40 years.
Grumpy made it to the tax march! #biggrumpyphl #phillytaxmarch #taxmarchphilly #protestart
A post shared by Big Grumpy (@biggrumpyphl) on Apr 15, 2017 at 10: 19am PDT
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Tax Day demonstrators demand Trump release taxes


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Bon Iver gives a winning performance on the Coachella mainstage. (0.03/16)

Anchored on Saturday by Lady Gaga, who steps in for expectant superstar Beyoncé, this year's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival features headliners Kendrick Lamar on Sunday and Radiohead on Friday. Lorde, DJ Khaled, Hans Zimmer and more are also set to perform. Wait... Hans Zimmer? Stay tuned for updates from the desert throughout the weekend.
On Saturday night, less than 24 hours after Radiohead encountered a rare technical difficulty with the high-level sound system at Coachella, Bon Iver gave a knockout of a main-stage performance that showed how powerful that system can be when it's working. Frontman Justin Vernon's processed vocals, thunderous bass tones, the massed textures of a five-person saxophone section -- each hit your ears as though you were wearing headphones.
But it wasn't just Bon Iver's good luck that made its performance more satisfying than Radiohead's. Playing songs from last year's "22, A Million" album, Vernon and his bandmates seemed engaged -- stimulated is the word -- in a way the British group didn't.
They earned their perfect sound.

Beer pong not politics: The outrage at Coachella so far is limited to crowd size and technical glitches


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Yellow warning up in some Visayas provinces; rains in NCR, nearby areas (0.02/16)

The state weather bureau on Easter Sunday afternoon issued a yellow rainfall warning over some provinces in the Visayas due to heavy rains spawned by a low pressure area (LPA) .
At 2 p.m., the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) hoisted the yellow rainfall warning over Capiz, Aklan, Antique, and northern part of Iloilo.
This means that flooding is possible in low lying areas and landslides in mountainous areas.
Pagasa also advised the public as well as the disaster risk reduction and management councils concerned to take appropriate actions, monitor the weather condition, and watch for the next advisory to be issued at 5: 00 p.m.
In its 11 a.m. bulletin, Pagasa said the LPA that was formerly tropical depression “Crising” would continue to bring rains over northern Cebu, Northern Negros island, Capiz, Aklan, Romblon, Masbate and Mindoro.
At 2: 27 p.m., Pagasa said a thunderstorm is affecting portions of Batangas, Quezon, Laguna, Cavite, and Bataan which may persist within 2 hours. Light to moderate rains were also affecting portions of Metro Manila, Rizal, Zambales, Tarlac, NuevaEcija, Pampanga, and Bulacan which may persist for 1-2 hours.
“All are advised to take precautionary measures against heavy rains, strong winds, lightning and possible flash floods, ” Pagasa added.
“Crising” weakened into an LPA overnight after making landfall over Samar on Black Saturday, stranding about 4, 500 passengers and 400 sea vessels in the Bicol and the Visayas regions. JE

Floods kill six in Cebu
Rainy Easter Sunday in Visayas, southern Luzon due to LPA


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Future brings out former Coachella headliner Drake (0.02/16)

Anchored on Saturday by Lady Gaga, who steps in for expectant superstar Beyoncé, this year's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival features headliners Kendrick Lamar on Sunday and Radiohead on Friday. Lorde, DJ Khaled, Hans Zimmer and more are also set to perform. Wait... Hans Zimmer? Stay tuned for updates from the desert throughout the weekend.
Drake, who headlined Coachella in 2015, returned to the fest this weekend — this time courtesy of his touring mate and collaborator, Future.
The Times' Gerrick Kennedy was on the scene:
"Can we have a real Coachella moment and sing one song together, " Drake asked after popping up at the tail end of Future's set for the pair's collaboration, "Jumpman."
He then launched into his smash hit "Fake Love, " from his recently issued collection of music titled "More Life, " which he's promoting as a "playlist."

Beer pong not politics: The outrage at Coachella so far is limited to crowd size and technical glitches


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After 50 years, an Easter reunion for father, child (0.02/16)

He’ d last seen her 50 years ago.
Back then she was a newborn, the daughter of his white girlfriend in Port Huron.
He’ d been a young man, a young black man, threatened by the girl’s mother with arrest. Marriage was impossible, and so was keeping their baby girl. She was sent off to adoption. And he never saw them again.
Since then, half a century separated dad and daughter — half a century of longing and loss, of racial and romantic hurt — until Saturday, when they reunited in a long, healing embrace at Detroit Metro Airport.
“Dad! I can’ t believe it!” his daughter said, giving her new-found father a hug that wouldn’ t stop. William Daniels, now 73 and living in Rochester Hills, stood like a rock in his suit and tie. Finally, he had to speak.
“I remember holding her a short time, when she was just a baby. Now I’ m holding her again and it feels exactly the same, ” Daniels said. Beaming beside him was his daughter, Joy Myree-Mainor, 49, who flew in from Baltimore to spend Easter weekend with the father she’s never known.
She was born in June 1967, the same month and year that the U. S. Supreme Court struck down all state laws against interracial marriages, in the famous case of Loving v. State of Virginia, portrayed in the 2016 film “Loving.” But a decision in Washington, D. C., didn’ t instantly make such marriages accepted.
Daniels saw his baby daughter on the June day when she was born, but then for only a few days afterward, he recalled. He wouldn't see her again until this weekend. Nor his daughter’s mother, Pauline Givensal, 72, who worked feverishly Saturday afternoon to prepare a reunion meal at her home in Port Huron. On the way there from the airport were Daniels, his Michigan family, Myree-Mainor, and also the granddaughter that Givensal had never seen — 11-year-old Makaela Mainor, who has been growing up in Maryland.
Givensal had her own first reunion with Myree-Mainor more than a year ago.
“When I picked her up at the airport, I was ‘Joy, where are you?’ And she goes, ‘I’ m looking right at you, Mom.’ She’s so attractive!” Givensal said, in a telephone interview Saturday from Port Huron.
Givensal's parents are gone, including the mother who threatened William Daniels, back then called “Billy, ” with arrest, she said. She added: "Things were a lot different then, " covering in six words the immeasurable change since 1967 in American racial attitudes.
When Givensal's mother sent Daniels packing, in that emotionally and racially wrought time 50 years ago, Daniels recalled feeling torn but also bereft of choice. Whatever he did would hurt. He sensed then, at age 23, that an interracial marriage would’ ve been a challenge, he said.
“If you recall’ 67, there were riots in Detroit. That was not a good time to have a mixed marriage, ” Daniels said. He moved on with his life, got a bachelor’s degree in economics from Oakland University, then a master’s in social sciences from the University of Detroit, leading to a 33-year career teaching high school economics in Detroit.
He also moved on romantically, marrying Donna Daniels and fathering three children with her.
American history is filled with countless other examples of interracial romance gone wrong, said Katherine Temple, a sociologist who teaches at Wayne County Community College District in Detroit.
“Sometimes it ended up with the African American being arrested, or tarred and feathered, or even lynched, ” Temple said.
Michigan early on had a law stating that “no white person shall intermarry with a Negro, ” although legal historians said the state later became a hotbed of abolition and was widely known before the Civil War as being hostile to bounty hunters from the South who chased slaves escaping to the North.
Still, many of those who moved north to work in the state's factories brought with them seething intolerance. And interracial marriage was taboo virtually nationwide in 1967. Since then, it’s become far easier though still not painless for black and white Americans to marry and raise children together.
After half a century of a nation’s healing, Daniels and his extended family are healing, too — beginning with the airport reunion of Daniels, a retired teacher from the Detroit Public Schools, with his biracial daughter, who is an assistant professor of English at Morgan State University near Baltimore.
“I didn’ t even know I was adopted until I was in my 40s, ” she said. Her adoptive parents had been loving and kind, yet emotionally distant while raising her on a farm in Alabama.
“I knew my parents who raised me were older. I finally asked my uncle and he said, ‘Your mother couldn’ t have kids so she adopted two girls.’ That’s when my sister and I started talking and we realized, we don’ t look anything alike.” So they found an adoption search agency.
“You pay a fee and they did a search. I found my mother and she told me she’ d been looking for me all my life. It took about six months. It was funny because she’s real short and I’ m tall. I cried when I found her.”
Finding her father was harder, in part because William Daniels is a common name. But, persevering, and with help from her birth mom’s family members and acquaintances in metro Detroit, she scored a hit, a palpable hit in Rochester Hills. She called, daughter and dad talked, and onto their calendars went this weekend’s airport reunion.
“Your hands are cold, just like mine. That’s where I get that from, ” Myree-Mainor cried exuberantly, as other airline passengers stared. She was encircled by Daniels’ family — including wife Donna, 62, who said she was at first hesitant about having her husband reunite with his illegitimate daughter and a former fiancée. But her husband assured her that nothing between them would change, she said.
Today, Easter Sunday, they will share the healing they’ ve found at last. At Bethel AME Church in Detroit, where Daniels is a member, he planned to attend with his daughter Joy, his first grandchild, Makaela, and the rest of his family — including his wife, his sons and another daughter.
They will stand to be recognized by the congregation for the healing and renewal that this Easter Sunday weekend has brought them, he said.
“Now we can start over, ” he said.
Contact Bill Laitner:

Adopted child's long-awaited reunion? 'That's me!'


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WWE Rumors: The Shield Reuniting Soon? Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins Are All ‘Raw’ Superstars (0.01/16)

It’s a testament to the run Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns had as The Shield that the WWE Universe still wants to see them reunite even for just one match. The success all three members of the stable have had as singles stars since the group disbanded is the greatest achievement of the group’s dominance.
The reunion of The Shield will happen someday whenever WWE officials believe the time is right. On paper, the trio has the potential to go on another long term run, which could do a lot for a performer like Reigns to earn some favor with the WWE Universe. The brand extension will make another run more challenging to be long term, but The Shield will have more matches over the next several years on WWE television. It’s just a question of when the careers of all three men will line up to give the WWE Universe what they want to see.
[Featured Image by WWE]

WWE News: Real Reason Why Roman Reigns Didn’ t Move To ‘SmackDown’ Revealed


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Happy birthday, Mr President (0.01/16)

“You’ ve got to give the man what he wants, ” an organising staff member said, when asked why the invitation to President Jacob Zuma’s 75th birthday party on Wednesday did not come with a note for attendees to brush up on their isiZulu.
The Zulu theme was palpable and included a line-up of traditional Zulu-clad maskandi artists.
Even DJ Siyanda was flown in from KwaZulu-Natal to join the event in Kliptown in Soweto.
Zuma occasionally joined the artists on stage and dropped his own Zulu dance moves, notably when maskandi artist Mroza performed Van Damme, SABC’s designated Summer Song of the Year 2016, which most people heard for the first time only when it was announced as the winner.
An ANC stalwart I met earlier this week would have been concerned seeing these images as he told me that many in the ANC were “upset” that every time Zuma had to answer difficult questions over his conduct, his reaction was to “run” to his home turf in KwaZulu-Natal and rally his supporters behind him.
Opposition parties have also decried the notion that KwaZulu-Natal is a “no-go area” for those unhappy with Zuma’s recent Cabinet reshuffle and the subsequent credit downgrades of the country to junk status by two international ratings agencies.
Insiders said Zuma did not have as firm a grip on KwaZulu-Natal as previously because of factional divisions that had sprung up since the ANC’s provincial conference in November 2015.
But on Wednesday, the ANC brought KwaZulu-Natal to the doorstep of Gauteng in DA-run Ward 17 to celebrate Zuma’s birthday.
Not only did Zuma get what he wanted, as per the organiser’s assertion, he was also told what he wanted to hear.
Speakers told the crowd that because he was born in April, he was in the same league as ANC luminaries OR Tambo, Chris Hani and Solomon Mahlangu because the party commemorates their passing in April.
Even Sdumo Dlamini, the president of labour federation Cosatu, which wants Zuma to leave office, pledged loyalty.
“As you are my leader, we continue to tackle those difficult issues and I need you to be strong all the time, ” he told Zuma.
When Zuma took to the stage at 17: 30, it seemed to hit him that he was celebrating without some of his comrades on the ANC’s national executive committee and most of the top six leaders, namely Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, chairperson Baleka Mbete and treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize.
Only deputy Secretary-General Jessie Duarte was present.
Zuma said stones were more trustworthy than some of his comrades, whom he did not mention by name.
Ramaphosa, Mantashe and Mkhize had initially spoken out against the Cabinet reshuffle, but later retracted, saying it was “a mistake that should never happen again”.
But the crowd had already been whipped up into a frenzy against racists and white monopoly capital, and its so-called lackeys in the ANC – narrowly identified by their support for calls that Zuma should step down.
Zuma told everyone that he was among the best of the best.
“I have seen those who came to the ANC being taught politics, but they are useless, ” he said in a speech delivered in isiZulu.
There was an air of invincibility about him. He has earned it.
After all, Zuma’s presidential terms in the ANC and government have been a jol: He has always got, and heard, what he wanted.

Factional: That's why Gauteng snubbed Zuma's birthday bash


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4/16 CBS2 Easter Sunday Morning Weather Headlines

By Mark McIntyre, CBS2 Meteorologist/Weather Producer
Good Sunday morning everybody, and Happy Easter! It’ ll be a very warm day across the area with many spots into the low 80s! Expect a few patchy clouds this morning with some patchy fog as well, so be wary of that if you’ re heading out for early morning services.
(Credit: CBS2)
We’ ll have mostly sunny skies through the day with temps soaring to levels 10-20 degrees above normal! We don’ t expect any records, but it’ ll still be a nice holiday treat!
(Credit: CBS2)
There will be a few showers and thunderstorms moving through this evening and it will stay mild with temps around 60.
(Credit: CBS2)
Monday will be a sunny and “cooler” day, but still quite mild with temps reaching the 70 degree mark.


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Thousands Of Snapchat Users Uninstalled The App — #BoycottSnapchat Trending

The image messaging and multimedia mobile application Snapchat is facing a very tough time in Central Asia region. After an alleged statement released from Snapchat’s CEO Evan Spiegel, thousands of India users, who were active on this mobile application, have uninstalled the application from the android and ios mobile phones and currently #BoycottSnapchat has over 24, 000 tweets.
“The app is only for rich people. I don’ t want to expand into poor countries like India and Spain, ” Mr. Spiegel reportedly told Mr. Pompliano.
Following the release of the above-mentioned statement, thousands of Snapchat users from India has uninstalled the application and showed their disdain on the application’s page. A few of the reviews follow.
“First of all, I didn’ t even want to give any freakin’ star to this app. Evan (CEO of Snapchat) shows how stupid he is by saying this. I bet 3/4th of his company is run by Indian employees. If he didn’ t want to expand it to poor countries then why is this app free? Why didn’ t he put any charges on it? And his app is only running because of the millions of people in India use it and doing a favor for his company. This craze of Snapchat is going down for sure now in India. He will then understand how his low mentality thinking cost him a loss of million making him a millionaire from a billionaire. I hence delete my Snapchat and won’ t be using it ever in my lifetime for insulting my country and showing the ugly side of this entrepreneur. Worst App ever.”
Another user went on to suggest that even though India’s economy is not as booming as America’s, but the Asian country is rich in culture and values and “in India not everyone comes from a family like the Kardashians but not all are poor. Plus India is the second largest country in the world, if all the Indian users uninstalled your app then you’ ll be the one poor, not us. So please think before you speak. Your own words and actions can land you in trouble.”
#Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel Calls India poor Now if u r indian. 1. Uninstall snapchat 2. Rate it 1 star on play store 3. RT #boycottsnapchat
— Viner Aniket (@viner_aniket) April 15, 2017
I guess #Snapchat is too poor for India. #boycottsnapchat
— Aman (@TheAlteria) April 15, 2017
I assure you Mr. CEO, that 4.0 wont last for a long time. . #Snapchat #UnInstallSnapchat
— देवन परब (@Devanparab) April 15, 2017
Dear "Rich" @Snapchat, Good Bye from my "Poor" mobile. I love my country more than this app. #boycottsnapchat
— Humanity (@ThisOnlyForMe) April 16, 2017
There is another reviewer who actually took the road of sarcasm to show his disdain towards the company. The user, pjtango, wrote on the iTunes store that as soon as he installed the application on his phone, it directly went on into his bank account and checked how much money he has.
“Today it sent a message to my bank asking them to close my account because I’ m an Indian and really poor by birth, ” he further added.
Headquartered in Los Angeles, California, Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat raised a whopping $3.4 billion through an IPO. Despite the backlash and the net loss rising to a total of 38 percent in 2016, the IPO helped the company to secure a market valuation of $24 billion. Anthony Pompliano has filed a lawsuit in a U. S. court citing that Snapchat inflated user data and “misinformed about key metrics.”
Keep calm and delete #Snapchat
— Siva (@sivatalks) April 16, 2017
“The simple fact is that he (Mr. Pompliano) knows nothing about Snap’s current metric. He and his lawyers are — not to put too fine a point on matters — just making things up.”
[Featured Image by Carl Court/Getty Images]


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Ebrahim Raisi, tipped as future supreme leader, wants to be Iran’s next president

Ebrahim Raisi, the leading candidate for Iran’s hardliners in next month’s presidential election, has left many wondering whether the country’s fragile opening to the West could be under threat. The 56-year-old judge and cleric registered on Friday for the May 19 vote and his candidacy is being closely watched by foreign investors and diplomats who fear the return of a hardline administration that could threaten the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and efforts to open up trade. So far, Raisi has given little indication of his views on foreign policy, keeping his comments vague and predictable. He filed his candidacy after Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani ended weeks of speculation by signalling his intention to seek a second term. Rouhani’s predecessor is also a credible challenger. “Our relations will be ongoing with every country - except the occupying regime of Israel - but on condition of respect, ” Raisi said. Analysts describe Raisi as utterly loyal to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, meaning he would likely remain deeply suspicious of engagement with the West but unlikely to backtrack on the nuclear deal, which had the boss’s tacit consent. “He has no experience in foreign policy, so at least initially he will have to follow the system’s grand strategy of preserving the nuclear deal and shifting any blame of undermining it to the US, ” said Ali Vaez, Iran analyst for the International Crisis Group. Raisi is entrenched in the conservative establishment, having served as attorney general, supervisor of state broadcaster IRIB and prosecutor in the Special Court for Clerics. Press reports indicate he has recently been elevated to the status of “ayatollah”. His father-in-law leads Friday prayers in Mashhad and both have seats on the Assembly of Experts that will choose the next supreme leader - a position for which Raisi himself is often rumoured to be in the running. There is little chance he will ease social restrictions or release opposition leaders held under house arrest since the 2009 protest movement, known to conservatives as “the sedition”. “The Islamic System has treated the heads of the sedition with mercy. Those who sympathise with the heads of sedition must know that the great nation of Iran will never forgive this great injustice, ” he said in 2014. Crucially, Khamenei picked him in March 2016 to head Astan Qods Razavi - the centuries-old foundation that looks after the Imam Reza shrine in Mashhad - placing him at the intersection of political, religious and economic power. The foundation hosts 20 million pilgrims a year at the shrine, and has also developed into a sprawling, multi-billion-dollar conglomerate that runs everything from farms and power plants to brokerages and IT firms. One big question is why Raisi would risk a run for the presidency if he has ambitions to become supreme leader as many speculate. “If he loses, his status will be damaged, so it seems like a big risk, ” said a Western diplomat on condition of anonymity. “Moreover, all presidents end up facing criticism from the supreme leader - that’s how the system is set up - so why put himself in that position?” The presidency could provide a stepping stone to the top - as it was for Khamenei in the 1980s. “But if he loses to the incumbent, who has no rivals in his own camp and has remarkable executive credentials, Raisi’s future rise to the peak will be in question, ” said Vaez. For now, Raisi has focused on domestic economic issues, playing to the conservative base among poorer, more religious voters. “Despite four decades of the Islamic system and many promising achievements, people are still suffering chronic problems, ” he said when announcing his bid last week. The 12 per cent jobless rate and slow trickle down of benefits from the nuclear deal are seen as Rouhani’s weak spots. “Raisi’s lifestyle is modest and he regularly stays with the poor sections of society, while Mr Rouhani has more of an aristocratic, comfort-seeking spirit, ” said Hamid Reza Taraghi, a member of the conservative Islamic Coalition Party. His opponents are unimpressed. “Mr Raisi has absolutely no plan to manage the country. Even (former hardline president Mahmud) Ahmadinejad had more experience and he was disastrous for the economy, ” said reformist Tehran-based economist Saeed Laylaz.


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Inside the Carnival ships that made cruising history

Nostalgic for the early days of cruising? Our latest Cruise Ship Tour, in the carousel above, looks back at cruise giant Carnival's first three vessels — the Mardi Gras, Carnivale and Festivale.
Originally built in Britain as ocean liners and converted by Carnival into floating fun zones, the now-legendary ships helped revolutionize the cruise industry in the 1970s and put Carnival on a path to global dominance.
Created by veteran cruise writer and ship photographer Peter Knego, the tour combines rare archival exterior and interior photographs of the vessels from the periods before, during and after their ownership by Carnival with Knego's own images from shipboard visits to tell their story from beginning to end. All three ships were scrapped in recent years.
The tour is part of our ongoing series of cruise ship galleries. For an inside look at dozens of other passenger vessels sailing on the world's oceans and rivers, click on the links below:
Adventure Canada: Ocean Endeavour AmaWaterways: AmaViola; AmaCerto American Cruise Lines: American Eagle American Queen Steamboat Company: American Queen; American Empress Azamara Club Cruises: Azamara Quest Avalon Waterways: Avalon Myanmar; Avalon Passion Carnival Cruise Line: Carnival Imagination; Carnival Miracle; early icons of the Carnival fleet; Carnival Vista Celebrity Cruises: Celebrity Solstice Costa Cruises: Costa Diadema; Costa Atlantica; Costa Luminosa CroisiEurope: Elbe Princesse Cruise & Maritime Voyages: Discovery Crystal Cruises: Crystal Symphony Cunard Line: Queen Mary 2 Disney Cruise Line: Disney Wonder; Disney Fantasy; Disney Magic; Disney Dream, Fantasy compared Emerald Waterways: Emerald Sky Hapag-Lloyd: Europa 2 Hebridean Island Cruises: Hebridean Princess Holland America Line: Amsterdam; Koningsdam; Westerdam Hurtigruten: Midnatsol; Lofoten; Nordstjernen; Fram Norwegian Cruise Line: Norwegian Getaway; Norwegian Escape Oceania Cruises: Nautica; Sirena Paul Gauguin Cruises: Paul Gauguin P&O Cruises: Britannia Princess Cruises: Regal Princess; Diamond Princess; early icons of the Princess fleet; Star Princess; Golden Princess Regent Seven Seas Cruises: Seven Seas Mariner; Seven Seas Explorer; Seven Seas Voyager Royal Caribbean International: Quantum of the Seas; Anthem of the Seas; Freedom of the Seas; Harmony of the Seas Scenic Cruises: Scenic Gem; Scenic Sapphire Seabourn Cruise Line: Seabourn Encore Silversea: Silver Galapagos; Silver Cloud; Silver Muse Tauck: Inspire; Savor Un-Cruise Adventures: Safari Endeavour Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection: S. Maria Theresa; River Countess Viking River Cruises: Viking Skirnir Viking Ocean Cruises: Viking Star; Viking Sea; Viking Sky Windstar Cruises: Star Breeze; Wind Spirit
Retired ocean liners, cruise ships and yachts: SS Rotterdam; Royal Yacht Britannia Theme galleries: 10 cruise ship suites that will blow your mind; the last of the great ocean liners; ship christenings with Queen Elizabeth II; Royal ship christenings through the years; 9 most amazing megaships; 25 most beautiful cruise vessels


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Musicians chase fame on west Africa's musical islands

Every April, the tiny island capital of Cape Verde is taken over for a week by musicians of all stripes, trailing dreams of record deals and sold-out stadiums.
Two events, the Atlantic Music Expo (AME) and the more established Kriol Jazz Festival, draw talent from as far away Haiti and Brazil, intent on showing what they have to offer to international producers on an archipelago famed for its own rich musical heritage.
"During this fifth edition of the AME, foreign producers showed a lot of interest towards Cape Verdian artists like Lucibela and Os Tubaroes, " said Jose da Silva, the festival's executive director, as the week drew to a close.
Da Silva knows the world music industry better than most, having spotted the talent of Cesaria Evora, Cape Verde's "barefoot diva", who made the island nation's bittersweet "morna" ballads internationally famous.
He describes Lucibela, a young artist who has been likened to Evora, as the hottest ticket at the festival so far, along with South Africa's Tribute "Birdie" Mboweni, whose honeyed tones blend seamlessly with a jazz/soul vibe.
"I want to continue what Cesaria started, " Lucibela told AFP. "I want to sing Cape Verde's own musical styles like "morna" and "coladeira" all over the world, but I want to be known for my own talent."
No style is discounted at the Atlantic Music Expo, but its African roots are proudly out front, with more than 500 music professionals attending, among them Afrojazz, soul, R&B, rap and traditional folk artists.
For many, it is a unique opportunity to perform and network in the beautiful island setting of Praia, the ordinarily sleepy capital.
"We hope to meet tour organisers, because they are the ones who will allow us to show our music all over the world, " said Pamela Byesadjogo, a Gabonese Afrojazz singer who also made waves at the event.
- 'Full of joy' -
Singing, drumming and dancing are not limited to the performers in a nation that prides itself on producing some of world music's biggest stars, despite being home to fewer than 500, 000 people miles off mainland Africa.
"Normally I play behind closed doors because jazz concerts are usually intimate affairs, " said Sylvain Luc, a French guitarist performing at the Kriol Jazz Festival.
"But what I see here is a public which is full of life, full of joy, and that's great, " he said.
Local heroes of international renown such as Lura and Bulimundo were also present to play old favourites to the crowds.
After giving birth just months ago, traditional Cape Verdean artist Lura said the crowds and new motherhood had electrified her performance.
"I have more energy in my body since I became a mother, " she said following a show where the applause barely stopped.
"My new album will continue my mission -- to sing about Cape Verde, everyday life here and its traditions, blended with sounds from across the world."
Hybrids come naturally to a nation that has historical links to Portugal and Brazil, and has long been a stopping point for traders on their passage across the Atlantic.
What remains is to export more of its artists for audiences who cannot make it to see them on the archipelago, said Culture Minister Abraao Vicente.
"The intention of the government is now to work on ways of facilitating, in terms of costs, travel for these artists abroad, " he told AFP.


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A Saudi woman's plea for help exposes risks runaways face

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - A young Saudi woman's plea for help after she was stopped in an airport in the Philippines en route to Australia where she planned to seek asylum has triggered a firestorm on social media and drawn attention to the plight of female runaways.
For runaway Saudi women, fleeing can be a matter of life and death, and they are almost always doing so to flee male relatives.
Under Saudi Arabia's conservative interpretation of Islamic law, a male guardianship system bars women from traveling abroad, obtaining a passport, marrying or even leaving prison without the consent of a male relative.
The mystery around what triggered Dina Ali Lasloom's cry for help has only added to concerns for her safety. In a video that has gone viral, the 24-year-old says her passport was taken from her at an airport in the Philippines on her way to Australia last week.
"If my family come, they will kill me. If I go back to Saudi Arabia, I will be dead. Please help me, " she pleads in the video.
Wearing a beige coat, the woman does not show her face in the video. Most women in Saudi Arabia cover their face with a veil known as a niqab. Many do so believing it is a religious obligation, in addition to covering their hair and body. Some also cover their faces due to social pressure.
"I am kept here as a criminal. I can't do anything, " Lasloom says in the video. The Associated Press could not independently verify the video's authenticity.
Women's rights advocates in Saudi Arabia say Lasloom was ultimately forced to board a plane to the kingdom with two of her uncles, who flew from Riyadh to stop her. They said authorities then took her to a women's shelter because of the attention around her case.
She cannot leave, however, without a male guardian's permission. Activists say only officials and relatives can contact her there.
Although there are no public statistics on how many Saudi women attempt to flee abroad, the issue has gained attention through a number of publicized cases. This despite gains made in recent years for Saudi women, including the right to run in, and vote in, local elections in 2015 and a government effort to increase women's participation in the workforce.
Women who have managed to flee abroad say they were barred from marrying or forced into marriages. Others have told rights groups that male relatives were abusive and confiscated their salaries.
"Many of them, they just want to be free, " said Moudi Aljohani, who fled last year and is seeking asylum in the U. S.
Aljohani, 26, says her family felt she'd become "too Americanized" after a year of study in Miami. What was supposed to be a week-long visit home turned into months of confinement, she says.
"The eight months of being locked in Saudi Arabia has created an angry, rebellious person inside of me that I don't want to be silent anymore, " she said. "What happened to me in Saudi Arabia created a person who just wants to speak out."
For the past 15 years, four of the late King Abdullah's daughters, Princesses Jawaher, Sahar, Hala and Maha - all in their 40s - have allegedly been held in a royal compound in Saudi Arabia. Their mother, who lives in London, has spoken out in the British press to try and bring attention to their plight. Two of the princesses managed to release videos in recent years pleading for help.
Saudi courts have heard numerous cases of women asking for a transfer of their guardianship to more sympathetic male relatives - in some cases to their own sons.
A Saudi women's activist reached by phone in Riyadh said Lasloom was apparently trying to flee relatives in Kuwait who threatened to send her to live in Saudi Arabia.
"There have been a lot of Saudi girls who sought asylum abroad, but now it's a trend. A lot of younger girls in their 20s are seeking asylum, " she said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.
"When they say honor killings do not exist, it's not true. It's just invisible, " she said, referring to the killing of daughters in the name of family honor.
Middle East director at Human Rights Watch Sara Leah Whitson says Saudi women fleeing their family can face so-called "honor" violence if returned against their will. She called on Saudi authorities to protect Lasloom from her family.
According to the Philippines' Inquirer news website, Lasloom was barred from her Australian-bound flight by Saudi Embassy officials in Manila who asked airport officials to stop her.
The Saudi Embassy in the Philippines wrote on Twitter that what occurred was "a family matter in which a girl was returned with her family to the homeland."
When asked by The Associated Press whether Saudi diplomats in the Philippines had requested that authorities in Manila stop Lasloom from boarding a flight to Australia, as she allegedly claims in the video, Foreign Ministry official Osama Nugali said: "Saudi embassies abroad respect the institutions and laws of host countries and do not interfere in their affairs."
Manila Airport General Manager Eddie Monreal told the AP he had no knowledge about the case. An immigration official reached by the AP said the airport's immigration officers neither detained nor held any passenger under that name.
In Saudi Arabia, activists tracking her plea for help attempted to meet Lasloom at Riyadh airport overnight Wednesday. They say instead, another activist Alaa al-Anazi was detained by security officials at the airport and transferred to a girl's detention center in the capital.
The Interior Ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
A Human Rights Watch report released last year on guardianship laws in Saudi Arabia found that even with greater opportunities for women in the kingdom, a woman's life rests largely on "the good will" of her male guardian.
Powerful clerics in the kingdom support male guardianship based on a verse in the Quran that says men are the protectors and maintainers of women. Other Islamic scholars argue this misinterprets fundamental Quranic concepts like equality and respect between the sexes. Most Muslim-majority countries do not have similarly restrictive guardianship laws.
Associated Press writer Teresa Cerojano in Manila, Philippines contributed to this report.
Follow Aya Batrawy on Twitter at


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Will ABC Cancel ‘Once Upon A Time’ Season 7? Creators Not Certain About Series Renewal

Happy Birthday to the amazing @JenMorrisonlive!
— Once Upon A Time (@OnceABC) April 12, 2017
Last month, Vancouver-based viewer Larry Andreutti posted on his Twitter feed that Jennifer Morrison had finalized her new contract, but she has signed as a part-timer, which means she was not going to appear in all the episodes next season. Moreover, Colin O’ Donoghue had signed his new contract, while Lana Parrilla had agreed to sign but with some conditions, Andreutti also posted.
ABC, series executive producers or the cast have yet to officially confirm or deny the social media posts regarding some of the original cast members.
Oh, what a tangled web!???? #OnceUponATime
— Once Upon A Time (@OnceABC) April 10, 2017
We planned this finale from the beginning of the year, so whoever stays and whoever goes… all those questions have already been dealt with. The audience does not have to fear [anything feeling] incomplete.
[Featured Image by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images]


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40 dead as massive floods hit Iran (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

The ground was apparently washed out under a road in the area, causing its collapse. Slabs of asphalt are seen crumbling into mud and water on the video.
A man and woman are seen trapped on the roof of a truck as they are swept downstream, with several other cars stuck in the mud.
Fortunately, the truck with the couple washed ashore, where they were helped to safety.
Another dramatic clip shows several cars with their lights on sinking in the waters under a bridge and being swallowed by a heavy waterfall. Some of the cars then resurface and are swept down the river.
Seven Iranian provinces, including East and West Azerbaijan, Kurdistan, Kermanshah, Qazvin, Zanjan, and Mazandaran, have been hit since Friday. Rescue operations are ongoing in 52 towns and villages.
5, 100 people have received assistance and 410 people have been provided with temporary shelter, according to Iranian Red Crescent officials, cited by MEHR.


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A Real Housewife, a property agent... and one Hollywood superstar: What happened to the stars of 1990s soap 'E Street' (including Father Bob and Wheels) ?

Airing on Network Ten from 1989 and set in a fictional inner-city suburb called Westside, E Street was a soap opera lauded as 'grittier' look at Aussie life.
The show lasted only four years, but at one time surpassed both Neighbours and Home and Away in the ratings.
It spawned some fascinating careers too, with a Hollywood star, a real estate agent, a former Australia's Funniest Home videos host and a Real Housewife of Sydney among it's alumni.
E Street was a cult favourite from the start thanks to it's collection of interesting characters featuring all manner of street wise and eccentric urban folk.
Where A Country Practice was set in a rural area, Neighbours in the suburbs and Richmond Hill by the sea, E Street, centrered on a local city pub.
By far the program's most thrilling and long-running plot featured serial killer Mr Bad, played by Vince Martin, who slowly offed a raft of characters.
Viewers tuned in week after week to see which of their beloved cast members would get the knife.
The soap's popularity led to short lived pop careers for Melissa Tzautz, Toni Pearen and even Bruce Samazan, who, with his adorable dimples, became a beloved 90s pin-up boy.
By 1993 E Street hit a steep decline thanks to the departure of some of it's most adored characters, including wheelchair bound rocker Stanley "Wheels" Kovac played by Marcus Graham.
The plots got silly, including a gangster subplot and a confusing dream sequence where cop Max Simmons, played by Bruce Samazan, turned into a werewolf.
The show was cancelled in 1993 and cast have all moved on, but where some of them have ended up is surprising.
Bruce Samazan: Constable Max Simmons
E Street was the first major role for the Madagascar born actor and launched him into an absolute 1990s poster boy.
Bruce's starring role on the show, in which he played a hapless policeman, also lead to a short rap career.
In mid-1993, he released a single titled One of a Kind under the name B-Man Samazan however it flopped, coming in at No. 80 on the ARIA charts.
Now 46, Bruce appears to have now left acting and is now a real estate agent living with his wife and two kids.
Melissa Tkautz: Nikki Spencer
In 1990 at age 16, Melissa Tkautz was cast in the role of Nikki Spencer and was a such popular character that she released a single that was promoted on the show.
The song, Read My Lips, was used in the soap as part of a dream sequence, where Nikki imagines she is a pop star.
Her debut album, Sexy (Is the Word) was released in 1991 and peaked at No. 3, however Melissa had limited success as a pop star after that.
She concentrated instead on acting, attending NIDA to study the craft.
Melissa, now 42, is married to Kwesi Nicholas, has a son and daughter, Ayla and Cuba, and stars on The Real Housewives of Sydney.
Toni Pearen: Toni Windsor
Toni Pearen joined the soap at the start in 1989 and played a character who shared her first name.
She left the role in 1992 when she left to pursue her music career releasing two ARIA hit singles, In Your Room and I Want You.
However, her 1994 album Intimate was not a hit, and she left Australia for Los Angeles, picking up some small roles such as on the TV show JAG.
Upon coming home in 2002, she took up the hosting gig on Nine's Australia's Funniest Home Videos.
She left the program in 2008, has continued acting in small roles in shows such as The Pacific and Band of Brothers.
Toni, now 44, is married to Will Osmond and has a son, Lucky, and daughter Ever.
Marcus Graham: Stanley "Wheels" Kovac
Marcus played perhaps the show's most iconic character, a wheelchair bound, street wise rocker type nicked 'Wheels'.
Wheel's romance with X played by Alyssa Jane Cook was an epic plot point that included a risque nude bath love scene.
Marcus left the soap after just one year in 1989 but returned to his role between 1991 and 1992.
He went on to start in a slew of roles in All Saints, The Secret Life of Us and US show Charmed.
Marcus is well known as a stage actor, appearing in productions including The Rocky Horror Show and The Blue Room.
In 2016, he starred in the mini-series Jack Irish and is currently starring in the stage production of Cabaret in Sydney.
The 53 year old, who lives in Sydney’s Kings Cross and has dated Nicole Kidman and Asher Keddie, has never married or had children.
He tells The Sydney Morning Herald that he's still 'wearing the scars of past relationships'.
Simon Baker: Constable Sam Farrell
Simon Baker joined E Street it's final year to become the show's intended heartthrob as several major characters had left.
While the soap tanked a year after he began he get to work with his future wife Rebecca Rigg on set.
The pair married in 1996, are still together today, live in Australia and have three children.
Simon headed to America in the mid-90s and went on to incredible success after being cast in his breakthrough role in crime drama L. A. Confidential in 1996.
On 14 February 2013, Simon, now 47, was honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
He is best known for his lead role as Patrick Jane in the crime series The Mentalist, which concluded in 2014.
Rebecca Rigg: Amy Preston
Working alongside her future husband Simon Baker playing nurse Amy Preston, Rebecca Rigg starred on E Street between 1992 and 1993.
Now married to Simon, the mum of three appears to have largely retired from screen acting, last appearing in The Mentalist in 2009 and the film Fair Game in 2010.
The 49-year-old lived in Los Angeles with husband Simon since 1996, but the pair moved back to Sydney with their family in 2005.
Melissa Bell: Janine
Melissa Bell's role on E Street was short lived lasting just two episodes as she was better known for her appearance on Neighbours as Lucy Robinson.
She went on to star in a series of soaps including Paradise Beach, movies such as Housos vs. Authority and reality shows such as Celebrity Overhaul.
Now a mother of four, the 44-year-old has relaunched herself as a designer, selling caftans at a Double Bay boutique.
Tony Martin: Rev Bob Brown
Tony Martin is beloved for a series of classic characters including Detective Bill McCoy in Wildside and Bill Southgate in Heartbreak High.
He has continued acting, starring in the 2014 film Healing with Hugo Weaving and Xavier Samuel.
The 64-year-old is married to actress Rachael Blake and the pair have a son, Justin, who is also an actor and appeared in Blue Water High.
Brooke Mikey Anderson - Clare Fielding
The youngest cast member on E Street, Brooke Mikey Anderson was just eight years old when she joined the soap.
She was written out of the soap at age 13 and tried to launch a pop career with the single Step Back (Peace not War) .
In 2006, after appearing in shows such as Water Rats and Ocean Girl, Brooke landed the role of Charlotte Malkin on Lost.
Now 35, the actress has since starred in a series of independent films over the past few years and started the Australian production company Gala Films.
Alyssa-Jane Cook: Lisa Bennett
Alyssa-Jane Cook played the beloved Lisa Bennett on the soap between 1989 and 1992.
Her character experienced some of the show's most dramatic story arches, including being rendered mute due to the trauma of a sexual assault.
She went on to co-host a series of TV shows including Sex/Life, Australia’s Funniest People and Beauty and the Beast.
Now 50, Alyssa lives in Sydney with her husband Gary Davies and their three children.
She is now a presenter on the Australian shopping network, TVSN.


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Peace along the border despite N. Korean threats

One soldier enjoys a cigarette, another sits reading quietly on the riverbank: seen from the Chinese side of the border, North Korea's army does not appear to be on a war footing despite all the bellicose language.
Dandong city is the main crossing point to North Korea, and every day hundreds of tourists embark on small boats for a cruise on the Yalu border river and a fleeting glimpse of another world.
The boats approach within a few metres (yards) of the Korean shore, giving residents of the world's second largest economy a view of their impoverished and sanctions-hit but nuclear-armed neighbour.
Further south, the border between North and South Korea is one of the world's most heavily fortified. But the atmosphere is a great deal more relaxed along the Yalu river, even though the North's ally China enforces a range of UN sanctions intended to curb its nuclear and missile programmes.
The sanctions have had a limited effect. After a huge military parade in Pyongyang on Saturday, the North Sunday defied international condemnation to test-fire another missile.
Tensions have been rising for weeks and the US has sent a naval strike group led by an aircraft carrier to the region. The North has reiterated it is ready for war with the US, and its army Friday vowed a "merciless" response to any provocation.
But the soldiers seen Sunday appeared notably relaxed -- whether sitting on a bicycle, immersed in their reading or puffing on a cigarette next to women busily washing clothes in the river.
It's a world away from the thousands of goose-stepping troops and missiles which packed Pyongyang's Kim Il-Sung Square Saturday to mark the 105th anniversary of the birth of the nation's eponymous founder.
Unconcerned at the prospect of provoking an incident, one Chinese tourist uses a slingshot to shoot a stone into the river as the boat approaches Sinuiju, the North Korean frontier town linked to Dandong by the Friendship Bridge.
From a green wooden observation post, a North Korean soldier placidly watches the tourists through binoculars.
The river cruises are an important money-spinner in Dandong, where dozens of boats offer trips for a modest 70 yuan ($10) .
The cruise vessels stop off at a boat where an enterprising trader sells North Korean products: eggs, cigarettes and alcohol.
In the wider world the tensions persist. Sunday's missile test was a failure, according to South Korea and the US military.
But it came hours ahead of a visit by US Vice President Mike Pence to the South, where the North's weapons programme will top the agenda.


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U. S. Military Says They Can’ t Keep Up With The Amount Of Drugs Flowing Into The Country

For some time, it has been known that drugs from out of the United States have been flowing in managing to get away from the Coast Guard and now it appears that the military or the U. S. cannot keep up with the amount. For years drugs have been coming in from various places, mostly from places like Cuba and South America. Numerous types of drugs come through such as cocaine and every pain killer type you can think of.
For years, marijuana was a popular import for the drug cartels, but due to the legalization of it happening across the U. S. it is now more uncommon for them to push in. The problem with stopping drugs has been a major issue for years, as mostly the United States Coast Guard are the ones in play to stop it. However, of all military branches it appears the Coast Guard is given the least amount of money and support. The Coast Guard is simply under-resourced.
According to Business Insider, both U. S. Southern Command, which oversees all military operations beyond Mexico’s southern border, and the U. S Cost Guard, have been hurting a lot by the scope of their duties. The main issue is the limitation on budget, and more is needed. Sadly it does appear that despite billions being added to the armed forced by President Donald Trump with his congressional budget, he actually plans to cut some of the funding from the Coast Guard.
As a result of being under-resourced, the Coast Guard units can only confront one-third of the drug shipments that make their way through to the United States. Admiral Kurt Tidd, who is the SouthCom Chief, told the Senate Committ on Armed Services in a testimony last week….
“We continue to have these shortfalls We continue to be able to see a significant amount of traffic towards the Central American peninsula. Unfortunately we only have the resources to be able to intercept about 25%.”
When Tidd was asked by Committee Chairman Senator John McCain what he needed to boost the number to 100%, Tidd laid it all out for him. He said that the Coast Guard needs “simply put: more ships, more aircraft.” This certainly would help them get the job done faster and more efficiently. It is obvious that more to use on their end, and especially more Coast Guard members would only be useful in the end to helping end drug trafficking to the United States.
What Tidd said was not abnormal. It echoes the remarks he made last year on the very same subject. He told lawmakers then that his units did not have the resources to have interdict their goal of 40% of the illegal traffic coming in from Central and South America to the United States. He told them at the time …
“I do not have the ships, I do not have the aircraft, to be able to execute the detection-monitoring mission to the level that has been established for us to achieve.”
Of course, Tidd is not the only one who believes there is a problem. Vice Admiral Charles Ray, the Coast Guard’s deputy commandant for operations, said a lot of the same things recently. Ray told the House Homeland Security Committee in mid-February of this year…
“However, resource constraints and a lack of capable surface assets allow the US Coast Guard to only attack our target [in] 30% of the known cases that we have good intelligence, really high-confidence intelligence. As a result of the lack of resources, last year, we were prevented from getting after 580 known smuggling events, and those shipments made their way north.”
Money going into the Coast Guard has become quite a political process. Commanders have an interest in underlining in stark terms the challenges they face in order to secure resources. This is especially true in the case of Southern Command, which vies with other high-profile units out there, like Central Command. They clearly are doing a lot and yet cannot ever do enough to stop problems totally, no matter what do. More men and material could certainly help however.
Tidd’s naval elements and the Coast Guard are facing an especially active challenge when it comes to drug trafficking. In 2012, around 80% of the drugs smuggled into the United States were thought to have come via maritime routes, according to the U. S. Foreign Military Studies Office data. Out of that amount, 30% was thought to have come in aboard very difficult to detect narco submarines. It is not as if the Coast Guard is not stopping big amounts of drugs either.
Last year, they actually set a record for both the amount of cocaine seized, which was about 208 tons, and the number of suspects apprehended, which was 585 people. The Admirals face a lot of constraints when it comes to men and material and it has left both Tidd and Ray’s commands at a huge disadvantage. Tidd told the Senate Committee…
“We’ re seeing some significant improvement on the part of some of our partner nations in their ability to be able to intercept [drugs] , but we still watch far more go by than we can actually act on.”
Due to the major lack of sustained Navy presence in the Caribbean and eastern Pacific over the last four years, the Coast Guard has really struggled when it comes to stopping drug trafficking into the United States. Ray claimed…
“Our Coast Guard has doubled down our presence in the region, and we are the armed force in the maritime approaches to the US…. [And] as I’ ve said, we just don’ t have the assets to address all the intelligence that we have.”
It’ ll be interesting to see if the United States continues to see a rise in drugs coming into the country. If this continues, one has to wonder if Congress will put more money into the Coast Guard in an effort to stop this. Most do not assume much of the Coast Guard due to what others do, but their service is quite valuable and they want to help. They just need the funds in order to make that happen, and if they don’ t get it, the U. S. will have a big drug trafficking problem soon.
[Featured Image By Arnulfo Franco/AP Images]


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Michigan targets deadly opioid rise

Mike Hirst is someone who knows the heartbreak of losing a loved one to a drug overdose.
The Jackson man's son, Andy Hirst, died of a heroin overdose in 2010. During the time his son battled addiction with prescription drugs and heroin, Hirst got numerous calls about his son being unresponsive and unconscious. The last time he got the call, his son died with the needle still in his arm.
"So I get there, and there's nothing like seeing your kid on the ground while the paramedics try to pump air in their lungs, trying to make their heart beat, " Hirst said. "I don't wish that on anybody."
Opioid abuse and deaths from it are on the rise in the U. S., and Michigan is one of the states seeing a significant increase. Almost 2, 000 people died from drug abuse in 2015 in Michigan, a 13 percent increase from 2014, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Drug Enforcement Agency. Michigan also saw a 13 percent increase the previous year as well.
Gov. Rick Snyder and state legislators are working to combat the problem with several measures.
Republican Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker of Lawton is proposing legislation that would require schools to include education on opioids and the potential for addiction in the health curriculum because she said she wants young people to learn how easy it is to become addicted. She also sponsored legislation that would require doctors to obtain reports from the updated Michigan Automated Prescription System, a database that monitors prescriptions, and discipline prescribers if they are not obtaining reports. Under the old system, it took up to 10 minutes for practitioners to search for patient-specific reports on drug history, but now it takes less than five minutes to get information.
Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren, is sponsoring legislation aimed at improving the relationship between patients and doctors before prescribing an opioid drug. The measure is designed to prevent doctor shopping and keep people from obtaining multiple prescriptions, possibly to use or sell. Bieda said he lost a friend who died of a drug overdose and that this epidemic affects many people.
David Neff, clinical assistant professor for osteopathic medicine at Michigan State University, said the rise in opioid use and abuse is complex. He said it partly goes back to the late 1990s and 2000s when there was a more aggressive focus on treating pain. He also said there also was some misinformation that underemphasized the potential risk of opioids, coupled with people looking to use opioids as a hedonistic experience.
The DEA last year released a drug threat assessment that showed 53 percent of people who obtained prescription opioids got them from a friend or relative. They in turn got them from a doctor.
A danger of prescription drug abuse is that it can lead to use of more dangerous drugs such as heroin. Prescription drug use may be more prevalent, but heroin is cheaper and easier for users to get. Some drug dealers lace it with carfentanil, a more powerful opioid, which is used to put down large animals such as elephants.
Hirst said a first step to addressing the problem is getting rid of the stigma, engaging the public and talking about it as a serious issue.
He said his son initially admitted to him that he was hooked on prescription drugs.
"Little did I know 'til he told me later on, he had already went from OxyContin to heroin, " Hirst said. "But he said, and this is something that all relates to the stigma, he said, 'Dad when I told you prescription drugs, didn't that sound a lot better than saying I was on heroin?' I said absolutely."
"He hated this drug, he hated addiction, he hated what it made him become, " Hirst said. "In that little urn, those are my son's ashes, now that's the reality of where this all ends."


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‘Dutertenomics’ seen to usher in ‘golden age of infrastructure’

If former president Benigno Aquino III had “Aquinomics” that cemented the Philippines’ status as “Asia’s rising star” under an administration that sustained robust economic growth by fighting graft and corruption, make way for “Dutertenomics” under President Duterte’s watch in the next six years, which is seen ushering in a “golden age of infrastructure.”
In a statement Sunday, the Department of Finance (DOF) said it, together with the Presidential Communications Operations Office, will hold a forum Tuesday on “Dutertenomics” and the administration’s 10-point socioeconomic agenda ultimately aimed at reducing the poverty incidence to 14 percent by 2022 from 21.6 percent in 2015.
The Duterte administration’s 10-point agenda also targets to make the country a middle-income economy by the end of the President’s term, the DOF said.
The upcoming “The Dutertenomics Forum” will “showcase the government’s unprecedented infrastructure program as a tool of eradicating poverty and realizing the other goals spelled out in the President’s 10-point reform strategy, ” according to the DOF.
The Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022, which serves as the administration’s development blueprint, took off from the 10-point socioeconomic agenda.
The PDP 2017-2022 targets 7-8 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the medium term, with economic expansion seen trickling down and benefiting more Filipinos, state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) had said.
As for job creation, the PDP 2017-2022 wanted to reduce unemployment to as low as 3-5 percent by 2022 from 5.5 percent at present, according to Neda.
During the forum, economic managers led by Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III will launch the website, which the DOF said will contain “information on government infrastructure contracts as well as drone images showing the progress of big-ticket infrastructure projects.”
Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno had said that part of the plan to make the six years of the Duterte administration a so-called “golden age of infrastructure” was spending P847.2 billion or 5.2 percent of GDP on infrastructure this year.
The budget for infrastructure expenditures in 2017 accounted for a fourth of the total and was 13.8-percent biggest than last year’s program.
By 2022, the infrastructure spending-to-GDP ratio had been programmed to reach 7.4 percent.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia had said that Duterte administration had programmed to spend up to P9 trillion on public infrastructure from 2017 to 2022.
Pernia, who heads Neda, last month unveiled the plan to pitch for President Duterte’s approval a list of 55 flagship, “game-changing” projects that the administration aims to rollout and complete before 2022.
The Duterte administration “will change the landscape with game-changing infrastructure, ” Pernia said last month.
By “flagship” projects, Pernia had said that Neda was eyeing those that will encourage additional other projects in the localities. “These will be catalytic projects.”
Neda officials had said these proposed flagship projects will also focus on spurring development outside of Metro Manila to “encourage moving out of Manila-centric development.”
While Neda officials had declined to name specific projects pending the President’s approval, they had said Neda was eyeing “big” projects, including bridges that will connect islands across the archipelago, airports and ports, among others.
The comprehensive list will cover projects to be funded not only by development partners such as the Chinese and Japanese governments as well as multilateral lenders including the Asian Development Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the World Bank but also by the annual national budget, according to Neda officials.
These projects will be submitted for confirmation and potential approval by the Neda Board chaired by President Duterte, Pernia had said.
Also last month, Dominguez said the Duterte administration will roll out P326-billion worth of infrastructure projects this year.
“On the part of this administration, we want to reshape our nation’s development so that it is investments-led. When growth is investments-led, it tends to be more inclusive, more sustainable and more effective in bringing down poverty rates, ” Dominguez said in a speech before members of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
To achieve investment-led growth, Dominguez had said it was important to “bring up the quality of our infrastructure backbone to match those of our neighbors.”
“As we improve on those factors that made our economy unattractive to investments–namely: costly energy, poor infrastructure, restrictive economic policies, corruption and uncertainty over contracts–we expect investments to play the driving role in our economic expansion. The administration envisions P1 trillion a year in infrastructure investments. This alone should help sustain our growth momentum, ” Dominguez had said.
As the Philippines pivots more to its neighbors, the government expects “substantial” investment inflows, especially from China and Japan, to be poured into big infrastructure projects in the coming months, according to Dominguez.
“This year, we expect to start big railway projects such as the Clark-Subic Rail, Tutuban-Clark Rail, the 581-kilometer south line of the North South Railway Project connecting Tutuban, Calamba, Batangas and Bicol. We already began construction of the Panguil Bay Bridge. And this year, we will also see the groundbreaking of the Clark International Airport, the Metro Manila Bus Rapid Transit, and three bridges across Pasig River, two of which will be built under Chinese grants. We are also closely working with our Chinese partners to finally start the construction of the Kaliwa Dam and Chico River Dam this year, ” Dominguez had said.
The Finance chief had assured that infrastructure development will reach the countryside.
“After 2017, President Duterte’s administration will start the construction of long-span bridges between Bicol and Samar, between Leyte and Surigao and finally make land travel between Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao possible. The construction and rehabilitation of key regional airports will also ease travel among our regions. Projects like the Mindanao Rail, an almost 2, 000-kilometer railway that will connect key Mindanao cities will be a big boost to the economy of those regions which need it the most, ” Dominguez had said.
“While we plan to invest more outside Mega Manila, we will address the congestion here through projects such as the Mega Manila Subway, almost a dozen more bridges across Pasig River, and the development of Clark Green City to attract businesses and people out of the Mega Manila area, ” according to Dominguez.
“This is a long list because we have a lot of catching up to do with our neighbors. But you can count on this administration to be aggressive in building these infrastructure, ” Dominguez had said.
Unlike the previous administration, the Duterte government will fast-track infrastructure rollout, the Finance chief had said.
“When I said we will start these projects, we do not mean just bidding out projects, signing contracts, or attending opening ceremonies. In this administration, ‘start’ means groundbreaking and actual construction. We will no longer tolerate the wishy-washy promises that implementing agencies have been accustomed to making in the past, ” Dominguez had said.
Dominguez had noted of the big value-added to the economy of improved infrastructure. “Acceleration of our infrastructure program will translate into more financing opportunities for our banks, more work for our outstanding construction companies and certainly more business for our insurance companies as well. With the new highways and railways to be built over the next few years, there will be many opportunities for property development.” JE


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Fear and grief mar Easter Mass celebrations in Egypt

Cairo - Easter Mass celebrations were held amid fear and grief in churches across the country on Saturday after twin bombs killed 45 people in churches in Alexandria and Tanta earlier this week on Palm Sunday.
At least eight security agents could be seen surrounding Coptic Christian Pope Tawadros II as he entered St. Mark's Cathedral in Cairo, the seat of the Coptic Orthodox Pope, where he lead prayers with several ministers in attendance.
Pope Tawadros had earlier announced during his Good Friday sermon that, as mourning for the attack's victims was ongoing, the celebratory aspects of Easter would be canceled this year, including the Easter morning reception.
Egypt's Interior Ministry heightened security measures on the day, creating 400-meter radius security cordons around churches barring vehicles. Additionally, bomb squads scanned churches across the country for suspicious objects, according to an official who spoke on the condition of anonymity as he was not allowed to brief the media.
On Sunday, a suicide bomber was able to make his way to the front rows of a church in the Nile Delta City of Tanta before blowing himself up.
While in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, another attacker detonated his suicide vest at the church gate's metal detector after being stopped by security.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the bombings after vowing in an earlier statement to continue targeting the country's Coptic Christian minority.


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Swansea University intelligent gauze trials ‘within 12 months’

Bandages that can detect how a wound is recovering and send messages behind to doctors could be trialled within a subsequent 12 months, scientists have said.
The bandages would use real-time 5G record to guard what diagnosis is indispensable and also keep lane of a patient’s activity levels.
The work is being led by Swansea University’s Institute of Life Science.
It forms partial of a £1.3bn Swansea Bay City deal that aims to emanate a 5G exam heart for digital innovation.
Prof Marc Clement, authority of a Institute of Life Science (ILS) , said: “5G is an event to furnish resilient, strong bandwidth that is always there for a purpose of healthcare. ‘Tailor treatment’
“That intelligent sauce uses nano-technology to clarity a state of that wound during any one specific time.
“It would bond that wound to a 5G infrastructure and that infrastructure by your write will also know things about we – where we are, how active we are during any one time.
“You mix all of that comprehension so a clinician knows a opening of a specific wound during any specific time and can afterwards tailor a diagnosis custom to a particular and wound in question.”
He added: “Traditional medicine competence be where a clinician competence see a studious and afterwards allot a diagnosis proceed for a month or 3 months.
“What a destiny binds is a universe where there’s a ability to change a diagnosis to a individual, a lifestyle and a settlement of life.
“Sometimes we worship doctors so most that we tell them all is good though all of a justification is there before them in this 5G world, so a clinician and studious can work together to residence a challenge.”
Experts in nano-technology would rise a little sensors while 3D printers during ILS would be used to furnish a bandages that would move down a cost.
Prof Clement pronounced experts during a Welsh Wound Innovation Centre are also concerned in a plan and trials would go by a Arch wellness and creation project in south west Wales where there is a “honey pot” of one million people to lift out such tests.
“What we’ re formulating within this city deal, is an ecosystem that can infer concept, infer business, make locally and take creation to a tellurian marketplace.” he added.


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Green groups advise of ‘race to a bottom’

Environmental groups have urged a primary apportion to equivocate watering down legislation on meridian change and wildlife insurance after Brexit.
The letter, sealed by WWF, Greenpeace and others, says movement is indispensable to hindrance ongoing environmental decline.
The UK supervision formerly pronounced it would leave a sourroundings in a improved state for destiny generations.
But a minute expresses regard that Brexit could force ministers to backtrack on this promise.
Number 10 pronounced it would investigate a minute before responding.
Newspaper reports formed on leaked documents have suggested that trade and expansion would be prioritised during a responsibility of efforts to tackle tellurian warming and a bootleg trade in wildlife.
The minute says: “We are dumbfounded by new media reports suggesting that a UK’s commitments to rebellious meridian change and finale a bootleg wildlife trade could be watered down to secure post-Brexit trade deals.”
It added: “To be a great, tellurian trade nation, a UK contingency broach on a promises for a sourroundings and a meridian and honour a general commitments.
“In doing so we will assistance build a greener, improved and some-more moneyed destiny for everyone, rather than pushing an environmental competition to a bottom.”
Campaign groups that have sealed a minute embody WWF, a Born Free Foundation, Cafod, Friends of a Earth, Greenpeace and Oxfam.
A series of high-profile people are also signatories: they embody Andy Murray, Anna Friel, Will Young, Lord Stuart Rose and environmentalist Sir Crispin Tickell.
“A infancy of environmental protections get from a EU – we’ ve substantially got a world’s heading environmental framework. So as a UK leaves a EU, a risk is that some of those protections don’ t get brought over into UK law, ” Trevor Hutchings, executive of advocacy during WWF-UK, told BBC News.
These protections embody a package of legislation to safeguard a EU meets meridian and appetite targets for 2020. He pronounced a EU institutions also supposing a despotic complement of accountability, so that fines could be invoked if member states did not broach on their obligations to a environment.
“We, on a one hand, acquire a government’s joining to inlet and to bringing these laws over by a Great Repeal Bill… yet in new weeks a series of things have happened that doubt that commitment, ” Mr Hutchings explained.
He pronounced this enclosed not usually a leaked memo, yet also a delayed recover of a government’s 25-year plan for inlet in England and a Clean Growth Plan on shortening CO emissions, that Mr Hutchings pronounced was approaching before Mar this year.
“Things like entrance to environmental information, a ‘precautionary principle’ , a ‘polluter pays’ element are all determined in EU treaties. The clarity is that those competence not come opposite [into UK law] , ” he explained.
Spokespeople for Number 10 and a Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) pronounced officials would demeanour during a fact of a minute before arising a response.
But sources pronounced a government’s joining to immature issues remained as clever as ever.
Nevertheless, some observers within a environmental village have voiced concerns that immature issues could turn negotiate chips in a bid to secure trade deals.
“Environmental regulations and standards do make adult supposed non-tariff trade barriers – as some people competence understand them, ” pronounced Mr Hutchings.
“It substantially doesn’ t come as a warn that some of these non-tariff barriers could turn a executive negotiating indicate for trade deals with countries that have reduce standards. That’s a fear, yet we don’ t have any transparent justification of that.”
Follow Paul on Twitter.


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The racing motorist who became a ballerina

Sophie is one of a initial transgender students to lay a prestigious Royal Academy of Dance exam.
She was a racing motorist for scarcely a decade before withdrawal motorsport behind and following her childhood dream of apropos a ballerina.
After 3 years of lessons, she’s about to find out if she upheld a test.
Filmed and constructed by Andrew Silke for BBC 5 Live


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Herb Wilson: You can just wing it, or use this app

Spring is a wonderful season for naturalists. The earth is awakening after a winter’s slumber.
Our eyes and ears are tuned to the sound of the first spring peepers, the first ruby-throated hummingbird, the first blooming trillium in the forest, the first leaves on red maples, and even the first black fly.
The documenting of these firsts in spring has a formal name, phenology. But being aware of phenological events is not just an academic exercise. Even in the 1700s, British farmers judiciously waited to plant their crops until particular species of migratory birds arrived. The farmers sowed their seeds according to an ornithological calendar.
For 23 years, I have been coordinating a volunteer-based phenology study to document the first arrival of over 100 species of Maine migratory breeding birds. Observers are asked to report their first sighting of as many of those species as they see along with their geographic location. The project has taught us much about the timing and variability of the arrivals of the various migratory species that nest in our state.
To make this information available to any birder, I have created a web app that allows viewers to explore the data (
A drop-down menu allows you to choose a species and slider bars permit you to select a year and display features. Clicking on the Data Summary tab will give the average, median and other summary dates for a species/year combination.
Tracking changes in phenological events is important in the face of global climate change. Although some people deny the role of human activities in leading to global temperature increases in the face of overwhelming evidence, the fact that the earth is warming is undeniable. The polar ice caps are melting, sea levels are rising and average temperatures are rising around the globe.
Many phenological events are driven by temperature. We have good evidence that the arrivals of migratory birds are earlier now than in past years. One such study compared arrivals of migratory birds in Worcester, Massachusetts, and Ithaca, New York. Both of these areas have long-standing bird clubs with records of arrival dates extending back into the 19th century. Virtually all of their migratory species are now arriving earlier than they did 50 years ago and more.
Numerous such studies have corroborated the pattern of earlier arrivals. Several bird banding stations that have been operative for 60 years or more reveal the same patterns.
You can explore the Maine data for trends of earlier arrivals over the past 23 years at my web app. Just choose “year” with the radio button at the bottom left and click on “scatterplot.”
Although the graphs for most species show a downward trend, indicating earlier arrivals, most of those relationships are not statistically different. For perhaps multiple reasons, Maine migratory birds are not responding as strongly to climate change as birds nesting in states to the south of us.
Some of our migratory breeding birds spend the winter within the continental U. S. (short-distance migrants) , while others winter in tropical areas of the Caribbean, Central America and South America (long-distance migrants) . Short-distance migrants seem to be more responsive to springtime temperatures. When a northeastern spring is mild, the birds continue their migrations and arrive in Maine relatively early. In cold springs, the birds rightly delay their migrations until conditions improve, resulting in a late arrival.
The web app can be used to investigate these patterns. Choose a species and click on “temperature.departure.from.mean.” Negative values indicate a colder than average spring; positive values indicate a mild spring.
Click on scatterplot to see the relationship. Red-winged blackbird shows a particularly strong effect.
Lastly, clicking on the NAO. Index radio button allows a user to see the effect of this hemispheric weather phenomenon (analogous to the El Nino effect in the Pacific) .
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Panthers' Ekblad confident he can return to All-Star form next season

For most of his hockey life Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad has only been showered with accolades and awards.
But this past season, Ekblad, the No. 1 overall draft pick in juniors and NHL, faced adversity.
Ekblad has already played in two NHL All-Star games and was the Calder Trophy Rookie of the Year recipient in 2014-15. He entered this season brimming with confidence on the heels of his first trip to the playoffs, and signing an eight-year, $60 million contract extension before his 20th birthday.
The troubles began before the season started in the inaugural World Cup when Finland's Leo Komarov shouldered Ekblad into the boards. First diagnosed as a concussion, it was later altered to whiplash. Either way, the combination of his second serious head injury in nine months and playing with a host of new defensive partners, led to the worst start of Ekblad's three-year career.
Gone were the end-to-end rushes that emulated his longtime mentor and agent Bobby Orr, a former NHL great. His rushed tape-to-tape passes were off line and his turnovers were ending up in his own net which led to just 2 goals and no assists in his first 15 games with a minus-7 ice rating.
"The first part of the season I wasn't skating back quickly to get the puck, (I was) worried about getting hit, making too quick of a play, not holding onto the puck and analyzing my outs and making the good, right option, the simple pass, " Ekblad said on Tuesday. "That's what I mean by not being 100 percent mentally (ready) and that's what ultimately led to me not playing great halfway through."
After chats with Panthers president of hockey operations Dale Tallon, former teammate Willie Mitchell and team psychologist Derek Anderson, Ekblad was his 'old' self again in mid-January, firing pucks on net and piling up assists.
But then came another concussion on a hit from behind by Tampa Bay's Gabriel Dumont, which forced him to miss 13 of the final 14 games of the regular season.
"It was amazing to feel like you can just do things again, break through those barriers of the mental state that hockey is; it's a mental sport, " said Ekblad, 21. "I had to break through that and I felt great from then on until when I got hit; I felt unbelievable out there. It felt like Year 1 and 2."
Ekblad said that despite at least four head injuries since his final junior season, he felt 100 percent after the season ended and won't have any lingering effects when he steps back on the ice next season.
"I'm a hockey player. I like to think I'm a warrior, " he said. "I can take anything and bounce back."
Ekblad finished with a career-low 10 goals and 21 points in 68 games with a team-worst minus-23. Despite missing 14 games, Ekblad still posted 88 hits and 62 blocks, both more than last season. He led his defensive mates with four power-play goals and was tied for third among NHL defensemen with 225 shots on goal.
"Whether it was injuries or the coaching situation or any number of other things it was definitely hard, " Ekblad said. "We're a team after a win we have a lot of fun and enjoy ourselves to the point where momentum builds and we feed off that like on the western trip when we won five in a row.
"You don't want to draw back on that too much considering what we did after it, but there's positives to look back on. We have a lot of talent in that dressing room. A lot of will and a lot of ability. When those two mesh together and chemistry builds, once we play together for a few more years we have a chance to do amazing things in this league and it's going to be real cool."


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Canoeing in Maine: For beauty, check out Alna and Head Tide

It’s April, and time to get the canoe out and go exploring near the coast while we wait for inland lakes and rivers to shed winter ice.
Like Opening Day for the Red Sox, the first time we step into the canoe we are excited to turn the page on the seasons. Fenway Park has the Opening Day fighter jet flyover; we have the osprey and bald eagle flyover.
The Sheepscot River in Alna provides many fine spring paddling options. Park adjacent to the Garrison Hill Grange on the east side of the Cross Road Bridge, four miles north of downtown Wiscasset. Depending on the tide, wind direction and how much time you have available, you can explore for a few miles up the cozy Dyer River to the east. Or you can follow the Sheepscot along the shoreline to the ledges at the Sheepscot Reversing Falls to watch whitewater enthusiasts.
We chose a third option, heading north upriver to the village of Alna. We paddled for an hour before high tide, four miles upriver to the Newcastle-Alna Baptist Church rising above the river on Route 194. The river current strengthens considerably from this point up to the historic village of Head Tide, so we turned around here and headed back. It had taken two hours to reach the church, but it only took a leisurely hour to paddle with the current back to our vehicle.
The river is wide at the Cross Road Bridge, bordered by brown grassy mats of flattened marsh grass. As we started out from the grange, 10 Canada geese feeding on a grassy islet ahead of us lifted off in a crescendo.
There are no homes along the river until you reach the Dock Road bridge a few hundred yards before the Baptist Church. For the first mile, old apple trees dot the waterside margins of the hillside pastures sloping down to the river. One of Alna’s most famous residents was Fred Albee. As a young man he learned the art of apple tree grafting from his uncle. He became a pioneer in bone grafting surgery in the early 1900s.
Gradually the river narrows to a protected ribbon of water cutting through dense stands of hemlock and pine. Persistent shelf ice clung to the shaded banking at water’s edge.
A large hawk flew out of a tree on our left, followed by two aggressive crows nipping at its tail feathers. Crows will take on any perceived threat. No creature is too big when they get annoyed. For the next 15 minutes the hawk flew ahead of us settling into tree after tree as we paddled into its comfort zone.
Later on our return, we spied two large hawks in about the same area circling in the wind above the river. We were delighted to come across wood ducks, identifiable by their telltale squeals as they arced around the next bend in the river.
Before heading home we drove up to Head Tide to check out the whitewater action. It’s not easy carrying a canoe through trees and boulders to get into the river below the concrete Head Tide dam, but one family managed just fine. The husband and a friend carried a canoe down to the river. A woman got in the stern with her two girls in the front and they masterfully glided down through the turbulent Class I-II water. They gave us a cheery wave as they hurtled under the village bridge and down toward calmer water.
Head Tide village has many historic old homes. Crocus beds were in full bloom with daffodils soon to erupt. A closed antique shop had a clever name: Wizard of Odds and Ends. The gleaming white Head Tide Church up on the hill above the river might be one of the prettiest church locales in Maine.
Consult the Delorme Maine Atlas and Gazetteer (maps No. 7 and No. 13) for help in getting to the put-in spot at the Garrison Hill Grange. Be careful getting your canoe down over the banking; footing can be awkward.
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Maine faces its annual football question: Who’s the quarterback?

ORONO — The trash-talking began even before the hitting. After two weeks of noncontact drills, the University of Maine football players were about to hit.
“It felt good to fly around with the team, just set the tone, ” said cornerback Najee Goode. “The one thing I wanted to do was bring my intensity all day, let it rub off on the younger guys, so they can see how you’ ve got to play it all the time. You can’ t act like they’ re your friends out there.”
The Black Bears brought their second week of spring practice to a close Saturday. Maine will practice three more weeks, ending with the annual Jeff Cole memorial spring game at 4 p.m. May 6 at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.
By that time the annual quarterback challenge will be in full swing. With Dan Collins graduated, Maine’s quarterback position is open again.
Junior Drew Belcher and freshman Chris Ferguson are joined by transfer grad student Max Staver, who began his career at Florida, and also played at Tyler Junior College and Houston Baptist.
The three pretty much evenly split the 51 snaps the Black Bears took Saturday, with Belcher stepping in with the first group, followed by Ferguson and Staver.
Liam Coen, Maine’s offensive coordinator, said not to read anything into that progression.
“We will evaluate after this scrimmage and probably adjust their reps off this scrimmage, ” he said. “Next week might be similar rotations but different number of reps. All three have done nice things throughout the last two weeks.”
Staver, a 6-foot-5, 240-pounder, made the day’s most eye-opening throw – a touchdown pass to Jared Osumah that traveled about 60 yards in the air – and made some other good reads.
“He was impressive, ” said Harasymiak. “And Drew and Chris were solid, too.”
“Max made some nice plays, which was good to see, ” said Coen. “I’ ve seen Chris and Drew compete in those situations. It was the first time seeing Max in this competitive situation and I think he took a step forward.”
Staver, 22, said he’s getting a better grasp of the offense each day – it’s similar in terminology and principles used at Florida. He also said playing full contact brings out his best.
“That’s when my adrenaline takes over, ” he said. “I have my best periods in practice during team drills.”
Staver also is trying not to put any pressure on himself.
“Whenever there’s a transfer quarterback there’s always a little bit of awkwardness and I think we understand that, ” said Staver. “I think we’ re all just out here competing against ourselves, trying to be the best we can be, controlling what we can control. That’s all you can do.”
Belcher, who redshirted last season and has two years of eligibility remaining, has been through quarterback battles with Collins the last three years.
“When you get to this level of football you’ re going to have to compete each and every spring; you’ re going to have to compete each and every fall, ” he said. “Someone’s trying to get your job so you’ ve just got to bring it every day. It’s a good thing. It makes everyone sharp.”
They all know the quarterback competition will go deep into training camp. And they’ re thriving on it.
“You’ ve got to stay locked in every day, ” said Ferguson. “Each one of us is trying to out-work the other to be the guy. At the end of the day it will be the guy who works the hardest and commands the huddle the best.”
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Maine’s a haven for asylum seeker from Russia

Once, as a young man in 1991, Pavel Sulyandziga hid in the trunk of a car to catch one minute on an airport landing strip with Boris Yeltsin, who would soon become the first freely elected leader of the Russian Federation.
Sulyandziga’s efforts earned an appointment with Yeltsin the next day in the Russian city of Vladivostok and a follow-up meeting with top officials in Moscow.
He asked them to block a South Korean logging operation near his home – Far East Russia, where his Udege people live among Siberian tigers and the largest forest in the Northern Hemisphere. Prominent environmentalists and international organizations such as Greenpeace also came to Russia to advocate for a halt to logging in this area.
Eventually, it worked.
Sulyandziga has spent his life advocating for indigenous people like the Udege and the lands where they live. Once a math teacher in his small village, he is now a leading international voice on these issues and a member of a United Nations working group on human rights and business.
He is no stranger to political pressure, but in recent years, he believed the lives of his family and friends were also threatened by officials with the Russian government under President Vladmir Putin. Other critics of the government, including journalists, have been killed, and Sulyandziga said several of his associates or family members reported being detained, questioned or, in the case of one of his sons, assigned by his military superiors to a more dangerous location.
So Sulyandziga brought his wife and five youngest children to Yarmouth, where he has longtime friends. Earlier this year, they filed for political asylum in the United States. Through a translator, Sulyandziga told the Maine Sunday Telegram about the experiences that brought him to Maine.
Ten-year-old Anna Sulyandziga speaks English well and often serves as an interpreter for her parents. Staff photo by Derek Davis
“The thing is that they are not threatening just me, ” Sulyandziga, 55, said in Russian. “They are also endangering the lives of those that are close to me.”
Sulyandziga grew up in a remote mountain village called Krasny Yar.
About 600 people live in the village, where the local economy is rooted in hunting and fishing. Like Sulyandziga, many residents belong to an indigenous tribe called the Udege. Krasny Yar is located in one of the largest uncut forests on Earth, and the surrounding Bikin River basin is rich in wildlife and natural resources.
“They talk about the lungs of the planet, and they think about the Amazon and the rainforests because they capture a lot of carbon so they are very good for the air, for the environment, ” Sulyandziga said. “In the same way, the boreal forests in the Northern Hemisphere also act as the lungs of the planet.”
Sulyandziga originally had no intention to enter politics. He was a respected young math teacher in his region, however, and local hunters asked him for help when their lands were being taken away by people with wealth from big cities. Sulyandziga challenged elected officials who said they could not help, and the KGB, the intelligence and security agency in what was then the Soviet Union, began to circulate false rumors about him.
He planned to move to another village, but a colleague changed his mind as he was preparing to leave.
“She said, ‘Pavel, you are the person who can help around here,’ ” Sulyandziga remembered.
He unpacked.
Sulyandziga was elected to lead the village council, and soon after the South Korean logging operation began to threaten native lands. In addition to lobbying Russian leaders, Sulyandziga helped marshal international opposition.
David Gordon traveled to the region in the early 1990s with a California-based organization called Pacific Environment, one of the groups that joined Sulyandziga’s cause. He recalled Sulyandziga’s friendly wave from across the river as he waited for a boat to Krasny Yar. Gordon spent time in the village with Sulyandziga, his brother and their father.
“I remember just spending time at their house with the three of them, listening to their stories, and especially listening to them talk about how they wanted to improve life in the village, ” Gordon said.
Tom Bell, a former reporter with the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, also visited Krasny Yar in 1992 and 1993 when he was a reporter in Russia for the Anchorage Daily News. There he met his future wife, Svetlana, who grew up in the village with Sulyandziga.
“He wants the forest to be wild not just for us, ” Svetlana Bell said. “He wants people later – our children, our grandchildren – to know how to live here.”
Their efforts derailed the South Korean logging operation, but Sulyandziga continued to advocate for the Bikin River basin and the Udege people. He said government officials and wealthy executives often take advantage of the indigenous people, who have to fight for access to their traditional hunting and fishing grounds.
“They feel as though they are outcasts on their native land, ” he said.
Sulyandziga served as an adviser to the regional governor. His work took him to larger Russian cities such as Vladivostok and Moscow. He traveled to American Indian reservations and attended international conferences. He became involved with the Arctic Council and the United Nations.
“One thing that Pavel realized pretty quickly was if he really wanted to advocate for his people, his Udege people, he had to do so based not just in his village, but he had to walk the corridors of power, ” said Gordon, who is now the executive director of the Goldman Environmental Foundation, which administers a prestigious award for grassroots environmental activists.
Dr. Dalee Sambo Dorough, a professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage, first met Sulyandziga several years ago in New York when he contributed to the U. N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. International politics and a lack of resources have prohibited Russian indigenous people from coming to these gatherings in years past, she said, so she made a point to meet Sulyandziga.
Later, he came to Alaska to participate in a small gathering of native leaders. They discussed how to encourage indigenous people to be more involved in economic development, an issue of particular interest for Sulyandziga.
“He’s made a contribution in terms of really bridging the gap between indigenous peoples and corporate entities as well as governments, ” Dorough said.
In 2015, the land Sulyandziga has long sought to protect became a national park. The Russian government has said the Udege people will have access to the land and a role in its management.
“He has demonstrated over 25 years or more a deep commitment to indigenous people’s rights, ” Gordon said. “ (At first) , he was deeply committed to indigenous people’s rights in his village in his one watershed. What has changed is that now he understands these issues literally across the world.”
As Sulyandziga’s profile increased, so did the pressure he felt from the Russian government.
“Over the years, the situation in Russia has changed, ” Gordon said. “I think there’s become less openness to organizations, including both civil society organizations and indigenous people’s organizations, to expressing a point of view that is different from the Russian president’s point of view.”
Paul Josephson, a professor at Colby College in Waterville and an expert in Russian history, said the country’s Federal Security Service, or FSB, seems to be growing more powerful under Putin’s leadership. Putin himself was an agent in the KGB, and the FSB is the modern successor of that agency.
“They are resorting to the kinds of tactics that secret police have used in the past, which is relying on opaque laws and innuendo to track people down and surveil them and perhaps even bother them or frighten them into silence, ” Josephson said.
Critics of the Russian government often fear they will be arrested – and in some cases, killed, he said.
“Over the past 15 years in Russia, a number of journalists have been murdered, ” Josephson said. “A number of well-known political figures like Boris Nemtsov have been assassinated.”
While Josephson does not know Sulyandziga, he said the deaths of people like Nemtsov are sure to strike fear in Russians who would speak out against their government. A Russian opposition leader, Nemtsov was a vocal critic of Putin and the war in Ukraine at the time of his death in 2015. He was killed in Moscow near the Kremlin, and his friends and family believe his murder was ordered by the Russian government.
“They have reasons to be fearful looking around them at journalists and political figures who have been murdered, ” he said.
Sulyandziga was the founder and chairman of the International Development Fund for Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East of the Russian Federation, also called the Batani Fund. The organization sponsored cultural events, promoted economic development in indigenous communities and lobbied for the protection of their lands. Then, in March 2016, the fund was added to a list of “foreign agents.”
Established by a 2012 law, the term technically designated organizations that receive international funds. But Human Rights Watch reports it has been used to silence non-governmental agencies that are critical of the Russian government. Since its designation as a foreign agent, the Batani Fund has become inactive.
“In Russia, the term ‘foreign agent’ is widely understood to mean traitor or spy, ” said Rachel Denbar, the deputy director for Europe and Central Asia at Human Rights Watch. “The subtext is that you are somehow an enemy. We strongly believe this law undermines an open civil society.”
By that point, however, Sulyandziga was already feeling threatened in his personal life.
The wife and child of a leader in another indigenous community narrowly escaped a fiery attack on their car. One of Sulyandziga’s older sons had earned praise in his military post near Moscow, but his supervising officer received an order from the FSB to transfer the young soldier to a more dangerous assignment in the Caucasus. Another son said the police searched his friend’s apartment after he visited. A first-time acquaintance who picked Sulyandziga up at an airport was detained and questioned for two days. Sulyandziga’s assistant was forced to flee the country after he refused to sign a statement declaring him an anti-government rebel. A friend with connections to law enforcement warned Sulyandziga not to talk politics at home with his wife, and then recounted the topics they thought they had discussed in private.
Sulyandziga filmed a video statement to be released if he was found dead.
“That’s how they intimidate people and make them feel as hostages, by sending a message that if you try and speak up or do something they dislike, then we can put pressure on people that you care about, ” Sulyandziga said.
In 2015, he arranged for his family to travel to the United States on a tourist visa. They came to Maine because of their connections to the Bell family.
“My wife told me that they keep watching and they keep pressure on your older children, ” Sulyandziga said. “Do you want our younger children to suffer, too?”
Earlier this year, Sulyandziga applied for political asylum in the United States. A national backlog means asylum seekers typically wait years for interviews with immigration officials. According to RadioFreeEurope, a broadcasting service funded by the U. S. Congress, the number of Russians seeking political asylum in America has reached its highest level in two decades. The report said 1, 912 Russian citizens filed applications for asylum in 2016 – a 164 percent increase since 2012, when Putin was most recently elected president.
Sulyandziga has an easygoing nature and a quick smile, but he plainly worries about his family still in Russia, including two of his older sons and his brother Rodion.
A former English teacher in Krasny Yar, Rodion Sulyandziga is also an advocate for indigenous people, and has felt similar pressures from the government. In 2014, the FSB seized his passport at a Russian airport and barred him from attending a U. N. forum in New York. In 2016, his home was searched and he was questioned by police on the same day he was scheduled to attend a forum in Moscow.
Rodion Sulyandziga still lives in Moscow and continues his international work for indigenous people. But in a Skype interview from his home, he said he is trying to avoid making open political statements for his own safety.
“Many human rights defenders, they already left the country, ” Rodion Sulyandziga, 50, said. “They already completely closed their activity. I should personally be also very careful.”
As Sulyandziga opened the front door of his apartment in Yarmouth, his 1-year-old son teetered toward him with outstretched arms.
“Papa, ” Andrey said happily.
In the kitchen, the smell of beef was thick and warm. His wife, Irina Shafrannick, was making a dish similar to meatballs. As she dished out rice and salad at the dinner table, she talked about a recent parent-teacher conference at the children’s school. A teacher promised to help her find a chess partner for her 7-year-old son, Alyosha.
Pavel Sulyandziga swings his youngest son, 1-year-old Andrey, in the living room of their apartment in Yarmouth. Staff photo by Derek Davis
“I like the school, ” she said. “I saw my kids included very quickly.”
Tom and Svetlana Bell helped the family find an apartment and start their new life in America.
“He’s a person with a lot of courage, ” Tom Bell said. “That’s my big impression. For him to be someone who would stand up and speak his mind where there’s consequences for doing that, I think he’s a very strong person.”
Sulyandziga laughed and played with his children in the living room. In one corner was a box of Russian and English storybooks. On the walls were school photos of the children and souvenirs from Sulyandziga’s professional travels – an honorary medal from the 2015 World Indigenous Games, a silver feather from his recent trip to the anti-pipeline protests at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. He plans to continue his travels and advocacy for Russia’s indigenous people from afar.
“For him to make this decision to move to a foreign country when he is so deeply committed to his landscape and his community and his country, that’s an incredibly hard decision for him, ” Gordon said. “It’s one he did not make lightly. It’s because of how afraid he is now for his family and himself.”
A drawing by 10-year-old Anna hangs on the wall in the dining room – a boat flying the Russian flag. But many of the same trees and plants grow in Yarmouth and the Bikin River basin, and the natural environment of their new land reminds them of their old one.
When Shafrannick talks to her friends, she jokes that the weather in Maine makes her feel at home.
“It’s like Siberia, ” she said.
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omg … r u driving?!?!?!?

Trish Malloch sees it all the time. She’ ll be driving on the Maine Turnpike between the Kennebunk area and her home in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and spot another driver tapping away on a hand-held device, barely paying attention to the road.
“Some people sit in their cars and think they’ re in the living room, ” Malloch said.
Since Maine passed a law prohibiting texting and driving in 2011, the number of citations issued each year by the Maine State Police for that offense has skyrocketed. In almost five years, the number of tickets increased from 48 violations to 866 in 2016.
But the number of texting and driving tickets accounts for only 3 percent of all traffic citations state police issued last year. Public safety officials say prosecuting drivers for that violation is difficult – although new enforcement efforts and a legislative push to ban hand-held devices in cars are underway – and they are annoyed by a lack of data that prove distracted driving is a serious safety problem.
In 2016, an estimated 750 drivers in Maine got into crashes blamed on texting, using an electronic device or talking on a cellphone, representing 1.4 percent of all drivers involved in crashes, according to state data. Of those 750 drivers, only 365 were texting or dialing on their cellphones at the time of the crash, the highest number since 2010, but still less than 1 percent of all operators in crashes.
Those figures don’ t reflect the extent of the problem, say law enforcement officials, noting that distracted drivers are everywhere, easy to pick out by their bowed heads as they scan cellphones, GPS devices and other electronics.
It is a frustrating disconnect for law enforcement and policymakers, who believe the state’s own data are incomplete.
“The bottom line, those numbers you see in Maine crash data, it doesn’ t reflect the whole story, ” said Duane Brunell, manager of the Maine Department of Transportation’s safety office. “We clearly believe it is underreported. To what degree, I don’ t know.”
Evidence that distracted driving, especially distraction from cellphones, is a major hazard has been piling up for years. Nationwide, distracted driving was involved in 14 percent of all traffic accidents in 2015, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Approximately 3, 500 people were killed in distracted-driving crashes, about 10 percent of total traffic fatalities.
A driver checks her phone while navigating Temple Street in Portland. Staff photo by Derek Davis
Experts say texting or using a device is especially dangerous because it involves cognitive, visual and manual distractions that take a driver’s attention off the road. A recent report from Cambridge Mobile Telematics, based on data from hundreds of thousands of drivers, showed phone distraction occurred during 52 percent of trips that resulted in a crash. In 2013, researchers in New York reported texting was a greater hazard to teen drivers than drinking alcohol. In late March, a 20-year-old driver admitted to texting when he crashed a pickup truck into a church bus in Texas, killing 13 people, according to news reports.
Under Maine law, people under age 18 are not allowed to use a cellphone while driving.
Despite awareness of the danger, lots of drivers acknowledge taking risks. In a 2015 survey, AAA found that 80 percent of drivers said texting and emailing when driving was completely unacceptable, but 42 percent reported having read a text or email in the past 30 days and 31 percent reported typing one while driving.
To address the growing problem, the Maine Legislature in 2011 outlawed texting and driving, but enforcement of the ban has been difficult.
Although the law forbids drivers from writing or reading texts or emails, it doesn’ t prevent them from using devices to scroll through music, look up directions or dial a phone number, said Lt. Bruce Scott, head of the Maine State Police traffic safety unit. First-time violators of the ban are fined at least $250, and repeat offenders risk a $500 fine and license suspension. It’s easy to avoid that hefty fine, though.
In many cases, when a driver is pulled over on suspicion of texting and driving, he or she can claim to have been using the device for something else. Unless an officer has solid proof that texting was involved, the driver gets off or maybe gets a ticket for distracted driving, a lesser violation that carries a penalty of about $137, Scott said.
“We’ ll pick another violation, but we are not going to get texting without really solid evidence or a confession, ” Scott said. Police don’ t have the right to seize a driver’s cellphone without a subpoena, and those are most often issued only in the cases of fatalities or severe accidents.
To overcome the problem, state police are experimenting with new tactics to catch offenders. Those include using two-officer details in unmarked vans and SUVs, one to drive and the other to survey nearby cars. State police also plan to station troopers in tractor-trailers, school buses, and in road construction crews to spot violators and radio them in to other troopers for apprehension. The new programs are funded with a $180, 000 federal grant, Scott said.
“Everyone is trying to figure out how to make this work, ” Scott said. “The real struggle is that they can use their phone for legal reasons that is not a violation of the texting statute.”
Lawmakers are pushing to close that loophole and toughen penalties on texting drivers.
Sen. Bill Diamond, D-Windham, who championed the texting ban, has sponsored L. D. 1089, which would outlaw using a hand-held device while driving, with a $75 fine for a first offense and $150 fine for subsequent offenses. The ban would not apply to dashboard-mounted devices, Diamond said. A 2015 bill restricting cellphone use in vehicles to hands-free devices was defeated in the House. Fourteen states, including New Hampshire and Connecticut, have bans on using hand-held devices while driving.
“I think it is obvious that more and more people are texting, ” Diamond said. The problem isn’ t confined to teens and young adults; it seems people of all ages are hooked on their phones, he added. “It really is everybody now. The only way to stop the texting is not to allow a device to be held while driving.”
It’s one hand on the wheel, one hand on the phone for this motorist on Temple Street. Staff photo by Derek Davis
A bill that would have imposed a three-month license suspension for texting and driving was unanimously voted down by the Legislature’s Transportation Committee last week. Committee members felt the penalty for a first violation was too extreme, said the panel’s House chairman, Rep. Andrew McLean, D-Gorham.
Dan Burke, a Freeport resident who testified in favor of the bill, said he was disappointed by the committee’s vote. Once an avid motorcyclist, Burke sold his Harley-Davidson after a couple of near-misses with drivers who were talking on cellphones.
“This isn’ t fair, ” Burke said. “It is too damned dangerous on the roads.”
He’s since deeply researched distraction behind the wheel, and is appalled by the scale of the problem.
“When someone gets creamed by someone talking on the phone or texting, it is just as bad as getting hit by a drunk driver, ” he said.
There is scant evidence from crash reports to prove distracted driving from hand-held devices is putting Maine drivers in danger.
In 2016, 50, 450 drivers were involved in crashes, and roughly 7 percent were distracted, the vast majority by something other than a cellphone.
About 2, 700 drivers were found to be distracted by something inside or outside the vehicle, almost four times the number of drivers who reported being distracted by an electronic device. Only 21 drivers were talking on a cellphone or using a hands-free device when they crashed, two-tenths of 1 percent of the total number of drivers.
Public safety officials believe the data are skewed because, with the exception of fatal or serious injury accidents, distracted driving is self-reported.
“The issue is, distracted driving is always going to be underreported, ” said Sgt. Darren Foster, who oversees the Maine State Police crash analysis unit. “Unless they tell us what they were doing, we have no way to know. The only cases where it can be proven will be in fatal or severe injury crashes when we can get a subpoena for cell (phone) records.”
State police believe distracted driving is responsible for closer to 40 percent of all crashes in the state. That is what crash data showed before the state changed how it reported crashes in 2011.
Prior to the change, officers would report distraction in a crash if they suspected it was a causal factor, said Scott, from the Maine State Police. The new form asks officers to pick a specific kind of distraction, like talking on a cellphone or interacting with a passenger. The intent was to create more complete and detailed data by adding categories of distraction, but the change has had the opposite effect, he said.
Now officers are reluctant to pick a specific category if they can’ t prove a driver was distracted, which masks the true extent of the problem, Scott said.
Self-reporting by drivers has also declined, he said. Now that there are hefty penalties for driving while distracted, people are less likely to admit it.
“The statistics don’ t back up what we know, and we are trying to figure it out, ” Scott said.
Underreporting is a national problem, said Deborah Trombley, a senior program manager with the National Safety Council, a health and safety nonprofit. A nationwide 2013 council study of crash reports from 2009-2011 in which there was strong evidence of cellphone use found that distracted driving was underreported in half the cases in 2011, and distraction was coded in only 8 percent of cases in 2009.
“What Maine is facing is not unique to Maine, it is happening all over the country, ” Trombley said. “We all know it is happening, we don’ t know how bad it is, ” she added.
“Just because there is an absence of data doesn’ t mean there is an absence of a problem.”
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Bill Nemitz: Justice removes blindfold that masked facts in Portland murder case

If it weren’ t true, it would be the punch line to a bad joke: Have you heard the one about the guy who served 27 years for a murder in which the sole eyewitness was legally blind?
Yet it’s true. Right here in Portland, Maine.
And now that Tony Sanborn, 44, is a free man out on bail, the state has some explaining to do.
Thursday’s bail hearing in Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court would have been stunning enough had it ended simply with the bombshell revelation about Hope Cady’s eyesight.
The state’s star witness testified way back in 1992 that she saw Sanborn, then 16, viciously kill Jessica Briggs, also 16, on the Portland waterfront while Cady watched from a distance.
One problem: Cady suffered from a progressive eye disease that rendered her legally blind, meaning her vision likely was too poor to match her story.
But then this happened:
“Were you down at the pier that night?” asked Amy Fairfield, the attorney who has worked doggedly for the past year to get Sanborn a long-overdue fair shake.
“Not that I can recall, ” testified Cady, who was a 13-year-old ward of the state at the time and lived mostly on the streets.
“But you’ re certain that you did not witness the murder, ” said Fairfield.
“Certain, ” replied Cady.
And why, asked Assistant Attorney General Donald Macomber in follow-up questioning, did Cady not come forward sooner?
“I was scared, ” she said.
Scared of whom?
“Those detectives, ” Cady replied.
That would be retired Portland police Detectives James Daniels and Daniel Young, who helped then-Assistant Attorney General Pamela Ames put Sanborn behind bars all those years ago.
The same detectives who, along with Ames, now owe Sanborn, the court and the people of Maine some answers about how they did – or failed to do – the job society expected of them.
To read Fairfield’s 102-page motion to grant Sanborn’s bail – the precursor to her motion to have his conviction thrown out entirely – is to witness a process in which an at-all-costs guilty verdict now appears to have trumped the truth.
It describes how Cady and other witnesses, mostly street kids already known to police, were cajoled, coerced and outright compelled to implicate Sanborn or else they too might find themselves charged with a crime.
Evidence favorable to Sanborn, which by law must be turned over to the defense in its entirety and without delay, was surrendered in dribs and drabs. Or, when it came to Cady’s documented history of vision and hearing problems, it was withheld altogether.
Take, for example, this tidbit involving Gerard Rossi, another witness who claimed Sanborn had confessed to him multiple times. Or did he?
Rossi, older than Sanborn and already on the police radar for allegedly having sex with underage girls, made his claim about Sanborn confessing in an unrecorded interview with Detectives Young and Daniels in March of 1990.
But the day before that, Rossi told a Florida deputy sheriff in a taped interview – over and over and over again – that Sanborn had made no such confession to him.
“He never told me nothing outright, ” Rossi told the deputy while the recorder rolled. “Listen, I’ m telling you the truth. He never told me.”
And what happened to that tape?
“I put the tape in a box with other case files, ” said Daniels in an affidavit submitted to the court last week. “I had never listened to it.”
Nor would the prosecution turn the transcript of the tape over to the defense until February of 1992 – almost two years after the interview took place.
Why the delay?
“It was an oversight and housekeeping issue with case management for which I take complete responsibility, ” Daniels said in his affidavit.
Right. Just like Daniels failed to listen to the tape the moment the Florida detective gave it to him because “I did not take it as relevant.”
According to Fairfield, Rossi ultimately fingered Sanborn for one very good reason: In exchange for his testimony against Sanborn, the prosecution team promised, he’ d be off the hook when it came to any charges involving sex with the young girls.
The detectives’ response?
Daniels: “Det. Young and I have both made it a personal policy not to make any promises to anyone.”
Young: “I have never made a deal in any criminal case and in fact often tell defendants that only the prosecution can talk to them about a deal.”
Young went on to say he did not recall “the facts about Gerry Rossi or any other witness, however, any issue of threats to a witness are not true and never occurred.”
How convenient. He can’ t remember all of the facts involving Rossi, but he hereby swears that any and all allegations of coercion are not true.
The unraveling goes on and on. More than a dozen times in their affidavits, the two detectives use the phrase “I don’ t recall” or the equivalent.
But trust them, they now tell us, their investigation was by the book and virtually flawless.
And where is former prosecutor Ames in all of this?
Assistant AG Macomber, who served as her second in the Sanborn trial, told the court last week that Ames, now a private attorney in Waterville, hadn’ t had time to prepare an affidavit of her own in time for the hearing.
(When I called Ames’ law office on Friday, the woman who answered the phone told me to “Have a nice day” and hung up.)
So where does this go from here?
Well, Macomber cryptically claimed in court last week that he may have to recuse himself from further proceedings because he has firsthand knowledge that Cady’s recantation is false and he thus may have to so testify as a witness.
But even if she is now lying, Cady’s credibility is shot. Ditto for two other prosecution witnesses whose affidavits were submitted to the court by Fairfield last week – a woman who says she “lied on the stand” and a man who says his statement to police, made under duress, was “99-percent false.”
All of which adds up to one inescapable conclusion: This case stinks to high heaven. And the sooner the court vacates Sanborn’s conviction and offers him a full apology, the better.
Perhaps more astounding than last week’s courtroom drama, after all, was the grace – and utter lack of bitterness – that Sanborn displayed as he wiped away his tears, embraced his family and supporters and traded in his jail jumpsuit for a set of everyday clothes.
In all his time in prison, even as he steadfastly maintained his innocence, not once did Sanborn commit a disciplinary violation.
Rather, as Fairfield told the court, he’s served almost half of his 70-year sentence as a “model prisoner, ” tutoring his fellow inmates, counseling those in crisis, even volunteering to train at-risk shelter dogs in need of a second lease on life.
In short, Fairfield told the court, the man convicted of murder has behaved like a “saint.”
Back in 1993, before Sanborn was sentenced, Nicholas Trout, a volunteer at the then-Maine Youth Center, wrote a letter to the court expressing how “shocked and deeply saddened” he was at the guilty verdict.
Trout had met weekly with Sanborn for more than two years. Throughout it all, he wrote, Sanborn “displayed an uncanny optimism that the truth would see him out of jail.”
Now, more than a quarter-century later, the truth is finally emerging.
Anyone can see that.
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Dave Hyde: Whiteside rose from big-money question to Heat MVP

In the back of Hassan Whiteside's locker a series of photos were taped of him playing defense. In one, the 7-foot center is at the top of the key, guarding Charlotte's 6-foot guard Kemba Walker.
"See, I'm as low as he is, " Whiteside says, meaning his textbook defensive stance.
In another, he's again out top, having switched on pick-and roll defense, the primary NBA play.
"Look at all that area behind me, " he says, tapping the empty space in the lane to the basket. "I've got to get back to cover that, too."
There are a few other pictures of Whiteside on defense, covering someone, extending himself. All show a different facet of him fitting into a team concept. No pictures of him blocking shots. No muscle-flexing.
Maybe somewhere in these pictures is a clue of how Whiteside took the leap to being the Heat's most valuable player this year. Or maybe it's in another photo he keeps just below those of Ivan Drago, the crew-cutted villain of Rocky IV.
That remains Whiteside's favorite movie, the one where Rocky rises up and knocks out Drago.
"That's who I battle every game, " he says looking at Drago. "Everybody's Drago I meet out there, every day."
There's this playfulness in Whiteside you don't want to disappear. Or maybe considering how he came out of "The Jungle, " as these Heat players called their personal trips to the NBA, his taking on the Rocky persona is his truth.
"I'm getting there, " Whiteside says of his game after this season. "I felt, personally, I look back and see myself getting where I want to be."
There were others who changed their narratives more. Goran Dragic went from trade bait to building block. Dion Waiters went from a disappointing fourth overall draft pick to a centerpiece. James Johnson went from a five-team, nine-year journeyman to a 6-9 playmaker.
But on a team without a central star, Whiteside was more important player of all. He allows them to play without a trademark power forward. He went from the center of a debate on the worthiness of a maximum contract to the center of wherever the Heat go now.
Don't listen to me on that.
Listen to opposing coaches.
Charlotte's Steve Clifford set up his defense to, "contain Whiteside from having his way." Washington's Scott Brooks said while the 3-point shooting was the Heat's offensive catalyst, "Whiteside is the guy you've got to keep an eye on."
A year ago, he led the league in blocks, only the question is without playing team defense. This year, he led the league at 14.1 rebounds a game.
"He does things you don't see a big man do very often, " an Eastern scout said. "His footwork is pretty amazing, but his hands are what I keep coming back to. He probably saves two turnovers a game just with the passes he brings in."
The scout then added, "If he can just grow to be more consistent ..."
That's the difference between good and great in any pro league. But Whiteside was Exhibit A on why the Heat were right to play to win. They didn't make the playoffs. They have the 14th overall draft pick. They'll hope for a player to fit in their rotation.
But does Whiteside or anyone else make these strides on a team going nowhere in the second half of the season?
"Being more vocal was where I improve the most, " he said. "I've always been a guy who tries to lead by example. But being more vocal this year. On the court, on defense, talking to guys. Off the court, too, getting to know them more – be a better teammate."
It's another summer of questions for Heat president Pat Riley. A year ago the big question was Whiteside. Could they give him the big money? How would the big money change him?
Yeah, it changed him.
"Made it matter even more, " he said.


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Sideline Chatter: No word on if the driver will find his job getting chopped

Talk about a chopping block.
Two lanes of Interstate 75 near Atlanta's new ballpark had to be closed to traffic for nearly an hour after a truck spilled several boxes of the Braves' souvenir foam tomahawks onto the highway.
Braves fans, predictably, were up in arms.
–At "Middle East promises sustained peace after U. S. threatens to send Skip Bayless."
–At "LeBron demands front office acquire more scapegoats."
Cougar gold
Police in Spokane arrested Treshon Broughton after the ex-Washington State cornerback allegedly tried to buy a cigarette lighter with fake currency.
An alert store clerk said Mike Leach's face on a $20 bill was a dead giveaway.
Next up: flying pigs?
The only NFL team that hasn't had a player arrested in the past three years? The Oakland Raiders.
Somewhere, the Matuszak-Stabler era Raiders are weeping.
Unfriendly Skies Dept.
Wouldn't you like to be a fly on the cabin wall when United Airlines discovers that its flight full of MMA fighters is overbooked?
Hockey-puck alert
Just wondering: Why isn't there a moment of silence at NHL playoff games in honor on Don Rickles?
Lots of ice, please
A playoff hockey game in Norway went eight overtimes.
"Amateurs, " said the Yankees and Red Sox in unison.
Gravy train
Defensive tackle Terrance "Pot Roast" Knighton, 30, is retiring from the NFL to try his hand at coaching.
In other words, the Pot Roast is cooked.
Talking the talk
–Jim Barach of WCHS-TV in Charleston, W. Va., after Cubs players were awarded their first World Series rings in 108 years last week: "The team has been waiting for a ring longer than Oprah."
–Times reader Larry Maloney, on Washington women's basketball star Kelsey Plum going 9 for 9 in winning major postseason awards: "What does she think she's doing, shooting free throws?"
–Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg, after ex-Lions receiver Titus Young was sentenced to four years for assault: "The worst part? They're flying him to prison on United Airlines."
–Jerry Jones Cowboys meme making the internet rounds: "I saved 15 percent or more on health insurance, just by switching from Romo."
Maim that tune
If pro golfers ever make like baseball players and approach the first tee accompanied by walk-up music, here's guessing that "Stairway to Heaven" won't be Dustin Johnson's song.
Excuse of the Week
The lawyer for Kirk Merritt is blaming the Texas A&M receiver's 2016 arrest for allegedly exposing himself to two female tutors on "a bad case of jock itch."
More headlines
–At "United announces plans to add trained NHL enforcers to all domestic flights."
–At "Romo torches Nets for 53 points in NBA debut."
Tweet of the Week
Brogan Probert, son of late Red Wings enforcer Bob, on his mother's unusual tribute in Detroit: "Mom spreading dad's ashes in the penalty box at The Joe ... Can't think of a better place for him. So much love."
Sports quiz
Tiger Woods won't return to the PGA Tour until:
a) his balky back stops acting up.
b) he can get in as many practice rounds as President Trump.
Pass the scalpel
A report says Americans spent $16 billion on cosmetic surgery last year.
Which doesn't even include the Jaguars' recent $168 million in free-agent signings.
Quote marks
–Brad Dickson of the Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald, after a dog in Calgary set a world record by popping 100 balloons in just over 36 seconds: "I've grown so cynical, my first reaction was, 'Are the PED test results back?' "
–RJ Currie of, on Packers star Aaron Rodgers' breakup with actress Olivia Munn just months after their rumored engagement: "Or as quarterbacks call it, a fail marry."
– Reader Mike H., to The Plain Dealer, on reasons for NFL optimism in Cleveland: "Browns are forecast to win AT LEAST 5 coin tosses this season!"
–Comic Torben Rolfsen, after Jerry West said it's time somebody else should be depicted on the NBA's iconic logo: "LaVar Ball agreed, and said it should be him."
–Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star, on playoff beards posing a problem for the Maple Leafs' young roster: "The Leafs could play till July and I doubt there'd be more than peach fuzz."
Natural reaction
A Marlins-Braves game was delayed 30 minutes when a bank of lights went out.
Conspiracy theorists suspect Tim Tebow hit it with a tape-measure drive while taking BP with his new bat, Wonder Boy.


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Arab populists also blame foreigners as Gulf austerity sets in

The angst against foreigners that's sweeping the globe isn't skipping the oil-rich Middle East.
Safa Al-Hashem, the only woman in Kuwait's 50-seat parliament, is capitalizing on a growing resentment of foreigners to build support for a movement that's taking shape as the nation's ruling al-Sabah family withdraws some handouts in an era of cheap oil.
"Before asking citizens to pay, the government should reform the population mix by levying taxes on foreigners, " said the 52-year-old former investment banker, whose salt-and-pepper pixie-cropped hair and attire of smart business suits make her stand out among exclusively male counterparts in white gowns and headdresses. "The citizen feels that our entitlements lack social justice."
Voices of discontent in Kuwait's legislature, the most independent in the Gulf, provide a rare glimpse into how locals are reacting as cash-strapped monarchs from Saudi Arabia to the United Arab Emirates risk their legitimacy by overhauling social contracts that cemented decades of largely autocratic rule.
Kuwait's rulers "have to manage a very delicate transition, " said Graham Griffiths, an analyst at global risk consultancy Control Risks in Dubai. "The issue for them is managing the economic reforms they see as necessary, while placating populist pressures amid broader demand for political reform and accountability."
Al-Hashem's brand of populism is unique to the nation of 4.4 million sandwiched between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, where migrant workers outnumber locals 3-to-1 and, unlike elsewhere in the Gulf, get subsidized health care and education. It's all the more striking because the nation exists only because more than two dozen countries came to its rescue 26 years ago to force out Saddam Hussein.
She wants the Egyptians, Syrians, Indians and Bangladeshis who do the plumbing and teach students to be deported – or get taxed for "walking on the roads" if they stay.
"They're sucking up the state's resources, " said the Harvard Business School graduate, who won her seat in a November election that saw Kuwaitis oust more than half of the incumbents to protest the first gasoline price hike in decades, which took the cost of premium fuel to 165 fils (55 cents) , up 83 percent according to local press.
The message is gaining traction. Al-Hashem, who has more than 400, 000 followers on Twitter, has been elected three times since late 2012.
Meanwhile, pressure is intensifying for Kuwait to cut a subsidy bill that mushroomed five-fold to 5.1 billion dinars ($17 billion) in the decade to 2015. Reluctant to deplete its $592 billion wealth fund meant to preserve cash for future generations, the nation borrowed from the international debt markets for the first time last month, raising $8 billion.
Regular clashes between lawmakers and government officials appointed by the Al-Sabahs have delayed investment projects in recent years, leaving Kuwait behind peers in weaning its economy off oil. While parliament can make laws, veto state decisions and hold ministers to account, Emir Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah regularly dissolves it when tensions run too high.
It last happened in October after ministers came under fire for the subsidy cuts. But the election weeks later bolstered an opposition united in blaming foreigners for deteriorating public services.
Among them is Abdulkarim Al-Kandari, who holds a doctorate in commercial law from University of Strasbourg in France.
One evening last month in Kuwait City, he convened with nearly two dozen citizens for a traditional diwaniya, a gathering where Kuwaiti men sit on wall-to-wall sofas to discuss the issues of the day. The banner hanging above them in Arabic read "the population imbalance, " a telling indication of a pressing worry.
"We are not setting up a Trump wing here, " Al-Kandari said, refuting the idea that developments in Kuwait resemble the anti-immigrant sentiment that catapulted Donald Trump to the White House and boosted Marine Le Pen's popularity in France. "But dealing with a deficit means we must rethink our policies."
Speaking as two Egyptian kitchen staff served tea and Arabic coffee, Al-Kandari said his beef isn't with the guest workers who build skyscrapers, drive cabs or work in services. Kuwaitis don't want those jobs anyway. But he doesn't think foreigners should fill professional jobs like administrators and teachers when official unemployment among locals is 4.7 percent.
Part of the issue is pay since migrant workers accept a fraction in wages. University-educated Kuwaitis earned a median of 1, 350 dinars ($4, 426) a month in 2015 versus 490 for similarly qualified expatriates, according to official statistics. The overall wage discrepancy was even starker: 1, 113 dinars versus 120 dinars.
A recent survey of several Kuwaiti nationals showed opinion is divided on the urgency of change. Khalid Bouaraki, a government employee, said compatriots upset over subsidy cuts are "overreacting" because they can afford it. Perks exclusive to citizens include free land plots to build homes, interest-free loans, university and marriage grants and the occasional state write-off of consumer debt.
On the other hand, Yousef Mohamad, a 49-year old state employee, is suffering because his salary hasn't gone up in years. "Not all of us are rich, " the father of four said, while sipping tea in a local cafe. "Many of us are struggling to land secure jobs."
Along with lowering its dependence on oil and modernizing infrastructure, Kuwait's 2035 development plan envisions reducing the proportion of foreigners to 60 percent from the current 70 percent, according to local media.
But appeasing dissidents like Al-Hashem, who wants businesses to take the burden from the state for funding benefits for foreigners, will take more than that. Since securing her seat, she's won support for a bill to overturn the gasoline price increase, lobbied vigorously to make migrant workers buy medical insurance and proposed an expat-only road tax to ease traffic congestion.
"I won't remain silent just to keep our boat sailing, " Al-Hashem said. "Citizens would be willing to pay their fair share, but not when they know their money will go to pay for the others."


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Matt Calkins: If Marshawn Lynch comes back to NFL, don't expect happy return

The rumors began last month, and the reality remains hazy.
Marshawn Lynch is talking to the Raiders. Marshawn Lynch has signed with the Raiders. Marshawn Lynch has not signed with the Raiders. Will Marshawn Lynch sign with the Raiders?
There is no other manner in which this saga could unfold. Keeping people guessing is the Beast Modus Operandi.
And though I can't offer specifics as to how this will all turn out, I can give a prediction.
Not well. For anybody.
The NBA fan in me can't help but think back to the 1998-99 season, when the Lakers signed a five-time champion destined for the Hall of Fame. In fact, he was just a few months removed from his third straight title when Los Angeles picked him up.
His name was Dennis Rodman, an enigmatic celebrity with a red-carpet resume. The Lakers released him after 23 games.
In L. A., a past-his-prime Rodman joined a burgeoning team when his star power was near its peak. And with no Michael Jordan to keep him in line, he could brush off authority and point to his rings as justification for doing so.
So would Lynch in silver and black be like The Worm in purple and gold? Not necessarily. But not necessarily, either.
Here are three things we know about Marshawn, who turns 31 next Saturday.
1) He hasn't been dominant since February of 2015.
Yes, the last time Beast Mode looked truly Beast Modeish was in Seattle's Super Bowl loss to the Patriots. Some might point to the 122 yards he gained on 27 carries vs. San Francisco in 2015, but let's be real – every running back carves the 49ers up, including Christine Michael, who tallied 106 yards and two touchdowns against them last year.
The truth is, Lynch's final, albeit injury-riddled season with the Seahawks lacked any real "wow" moment. Is it realistic to think he'll recover his prowess at his age after a year off?
2) He is just not that into authority.
Lynch probably didn't care what the Seahawks' front office thought when he left the team to rehab in Oakland after surgery in 2015. The notion of irking Pete Carroll probably wasn't high on his list of concerns when he mocked the team's Super Bowl play calling on an episode of "The League, " or opted out of the playoff game vs. Minnesota at the very last minute.
Perhaps the only thing harder than bringing Lynch down during his prime was telling him what to do. That works when you're one of the best running backs in football, but it doesn't when you're just another guy.
If Lynch's indifference to structure persists with the Raiders, it could be more problematic than it ever was with the Seahawks. Not just because of a diminished skill set, either, but because. ...
3) He has had zilch to do with the Raiders' success.
Let's make one thing clear: Lynch's teammates loved him in Seattle. As my co-worker Jayson Jenks revealed in a must-read-if-you-haven't-yet feature, myriad Seahawks see Marshawn as one of the most compassionate, inspirational and downright coolest people they know.
But Lynch was also the most important player in transforming the Seahawks into the regular title contenders they've come to be. That gave him locker-room clout that might not await him in Oakland.
The Raiders very well could have made the Big Game last season had quarterback Derek Carr not gone down before the postseason. And Las Vegas considers them one of the top 10 teams in the NFL heading into next season.
But would they jell with a potentially unproductive running back if he acted like he owned the place? And if not, would the music-blaring, mountain-of-a-presence that is Lynch be willing to just blend in?
Despite the generally-held perception to the contrary, Marshawn seems to enjoy attention. He does television spots galore, stars in videos from Scotland, and occasionally puts velvet rope around his Lamborghini.
Is it great entertainment for us? Of course. Might it be distracting in a new environment? That's a yes, too.
Trust me, I would love to be wrong about all of this. A dominant Lynch would be good for football, good for Oakland, and great for fans lamenting their team's imminent move to Vegas. And he is joining a franchise that desperately needs a running back.
Besides, wasn't it Jordan who, at 32, returned after a season off and won three straight Finals MVPs with the Bulls? I'm just saying – you never know.
But you also don't know how prepared Lynch is for the grind that might await him. Shooting fadeaway jumpers is far less taxing than absorbing hits from 290-pound nose tackles. I imagine it's a bit like a runner who hasn't trained for a year. A marathon might sound enticing while sitting on the couch, but by mile 14, he is ready to keel over.
Lynch doesn't have the perfect legacy, but he has a great one. He didn't go out on top, but he is generally revered.
The photo of hanging cleats he tweeted is one of the most iconic retirement announcements for an athlete to date. Probably best to keep those cleats hanging.


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Week in review: Golf to go on at Sunday River amid lawsuit; lawmakers may raise gas tax, charge electric car owners

Sunday River Golf Club in Newry will open for business this summer under new management. A Maine Business and Consumer Court judge ruled Wednesday that Portland-based Newry Holdings LLC has the right to operate the award-winning golf venue until a pending ownership dispute is resolved between Newry Holdings and the club’s developer, Bath-based Harris Golf Inc.
Judge Richard Mulhern also ruled that Harris Golf must turn over to Newry Holdings assets in its possession associated with the club, including customer information, course equipment, computer passwords and web domains. Among the assets Harris Golf was to turn over by Friday afternoon is information about customers who already have paid for club memberships this year. However, the ruling says Newry Holdings is under no obligation to honor those memberships.
Harris Golf President Jeff Harris has said the company will provide refunds to any paid members who are denied access because of the ownership dispute. A lawsuit is pending in Cumberland County Superior Court to determine whether Newry Holdings or Harris Golf is the club’s rightful owner. Read the story.
Lawmakers seeking ways to plug a hole in the state’s highway maintenance budget are considering measures that would raise the state’s gas tax by 7 cents a gallon and place an annual surcharge on hybrid and all-electric vehicles.
Members of the Legislature’s transportation committee heard hours of testimony Tuesday from transportation advocates and trade groups in favor of increasing fees and taxes to improve the state’s deteriorating infrastructure, and from environmental groups opposed to imposing a charge on owners of alternative-fuel vehicles.
State officials predict the state’s highway fund, which pays for the maintenance of roads and bridges, will have an annual shortfall of $159 million from 2017 to 2019, out of a $375 million annual goal. The Maine Department of Transportation expects to receive $100 million in general obligation bonds annually to help cover those costs.
About 91 percent of Maine’s gas tax is directed annually to the state highway fund, said David Heidrich of the state Department of Administrative and Financial Services. Besides increasing the gas tax, one bill proposes imposing a $200 surcharge on annual registration of hybrid, all-electric and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, raising some fees charged by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, and allocating 10 percent of the sales tax paid on motor vehicles and transportation-related items to the highway fund. Read the story.
The Eastern Mountain Sports store on Marginal Way in Portland will close as part of its parent company’s bankruptcy. Staff file photo by Gordon Chibroski
The only Eastern Mountain Sports store in Maine will close in a deal to resolve the bankruptcy of its parent company. Eastern Outfitters, the parent company of Eastern Mountain Sports and Bob’s Stores, received permission from a bankruptcy court to close 48 of its 86 stores as part of a plan for UK retailer Sports Direct International Ltd. to acquire the company.
There was no information released about what will happen to the staff or inventory at the Marginal Way store in Portland. Eastern Outfitters filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Delaware on Feb. 5, citing more than $7 million in unsecured claims by creditors. The order means Eastern Outfitters can now enter into an agreement with Hillco Resources LLC and Gordon Bros. Retail Partners to liquidate the stores. The Portland store occupies 8, 000 square feet. Read the story.
After six years of covering southern Maine’s nightlife, music scene, cultural events and at one point staging a giant outdoor pillow fight, Dispatch magazine has gone out of business. Former editor Nick Schroeder said Thursday he was told of the decision to cease publication of Dispatch in February by the publication’s owner, Camden-based Down East magazine. Schroeder was editor of Dispatch from February 2015 through the last issue in December 2016. Schroeder, who now works as cultural editor for the arts and news weekly The Portland Phoenix, posted a “eulogy” for Dispatch on his Facebook page late Wednesday night.
When Dispatch stopped publishing, Schroeder said he was the only full-time editorial employee and that most of the listings, articles and pictures were provided by freelancers. The Portland-based magazine published 10 times a year and had a website. Read the story.
The lobster wharf next to Cook’s Lobster & Ale House on Bailey Island in Harpswell will be sold at bankruptcy auction this month. The quarter-acre property at 66 Garrison Cove Road includes a 187-foot commercial pier built around 1950, a bait shed and a small office leased by Eastern Traders, a lobster dealer based in Nobleboro that serves about two dozen local fishermen.
The property will be auctioned April 25 to satisfy debts owed by owner Norman “Curt” Parent, an island resident who also used to own the adjacent restaurant. Parent still owes about $373, 000 to creditors after the $1.25 million sale of the longtime eatery to Nick and Jen Charboneau of Lewiston in 2015. At the time, Parent had hoped to keep the wharf, but court records show that earlier this month, a court-appointed trustee persuaded a judge to sell Parent’s last big asset to satisfy his remaining creditors. Parent could not be reached for comment. Read the story.
A bill that would clamp down on gifts and speaking fees from drug companies to doctors in Maine has attracted bipartisan support, and only one person – representing the pharmaceutical industry – testified against it during a public hearing Tuesday. Rep. Scott Hamann, D-South Portland, said the bill so far is attracting wide support because it’s tied to the issue of opioid prescribing, which many now realize has fueled the heroin epidemic.
The bill would prohibit gifts of more than $50 annually to doctors by drug companies, and limit speaking and consulting fees to genuine research. Some medical ethics experts are critical of the cozy relationship between pharmaceutical companies and physicians, and say practices such as unnecessarily costly speaker’s fees and lavish dinners influence prescribing patterns.
Hamann said he was inspired to write the bill – modeled after a 2005 law in Minnesota – by a Maine Sunday Telegram article in December that spotlighted how some doctors who prescribed opioids were receiving thousands of dollars from drug companies that manufacture opioids. Read the story.
Nearly 1, 500 economists have signed a letter to President Trump and top congressional leaders stressing the importance of immigrants for economic growth.
Thirteen economists from the faculties of Maine colleges and universities signed the letter, including six from Colby College, four from Bates, two from the University of Maine and one from Bowdoin. The letter sent Wednesday notes that immigrants start businesses, are clustered in math, science and engineering and can offset any economic drag from baby boomer retirements. It notes that “the benefits that immigration brings to society far outweigh their costs, and smart immigration policy could better maximize the benefits of immigration while reducing the costs.” Read the story .
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Michelle Singletary: Hating debt can be good for financial health

When it comes to your personal finances, you have to play mind games. Because the road to financial success starts with how you think about money.
When buying anything, repeat to yourself, “Is this a need or a want?” It’s a question that will give pause before a purchase and slow down your spending.
And when you’ re thinking about getting a loan, live by the mantra, “Cash is better than credit.”
I was on NPR’s 1A with Joshua Johnson discussing student loans and caller after caller talked about their crushing debt. You could hear the stress and agony in their voices. David from Texas said every time he logs into his loan servicer’s website he cringes.
A doctor from Michigan is carrying $493, 000 in loans. His monthly payments under a standard repayment plan are $4, 700.
Mary from Florida says her daughter ended up with about $30, 000 in debt and she’s so overwhelmed with the obligation she isn’ t making any payments. Mary described her daughter’s life as “stagnant and on hold.”
Johnson asked what advice I would give to high school students and their parents who are about to finalize colleges choices, many of them paying with education loans.
Hate debt. If debt were a person, I’ d slap it.
Following the NPR segment, I received a direct message through my Twitter account from Jared Bernstein, former chief economist to Vice President Biden and senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. He had been listening and asked, “Do you really hate all debt? Isn’ t there good debt and bad debt?”
Pressing in, Bernstein said, “Suppose a kid who could have reached 10 on her potential scale reached seven because she didn’ t take out a loan for (University X) , a loan she could have handily serviced?”
Look, I know my views are extreme, almost unAmerican, in a nation that relies so heavily personally and politically on borrowing money. But when it comes to money, what you tell yourself matters.
Student loans and mortgages are marketed as good debt. But having credit card debt is considered bad. The conventional wisdom is that it’s OK to take on debt that has the potential to either increase your net worth or boost your earnings potential.
Yet, are the various forms of debt really that different emotionally?
Do you feel agreeable or pleasant when you make your mortgage or student loan payment?
There is now $1.3 trillion in outstanding student loan debt.
“The percentage of bachelor’s degree recipients graduating with excessive student loan debt has been growing for the last three decades, ” according to research by Mark Kantrowitz, publisher and vice president of strategy at, a free website about college admissions and financial aid.
Kantrowitz believes a borrower has excessive student loan debt when 10 percent or more of the person’s gross income is devoted to the loan payment.
The Consumer Federation of America released a study last month reporting that $137 billion in federal student loans are in default, up 14 percent from 2015.
Last year, 1.1 million federal direct loan borrowers defaulted. I doubt any of those borrowers would say their debt is good.
To Bernstein’s point about a young adult with potential, Gallup and Purdue University have developed an index to measure the relationship between the level of student debt used to attend college and a graduate’s well-being. The index includes a survey of more than 30, 000 graduates.
“The type of school alumni went to – public or private, small or large, very selective or less selective – was far less likely to be related to the quality of alumni’s lives after they graduated than specific experiences they had in college, ” Gallup and Purdue found.
Researchers published a paper last year in the journal Children and Youth Services Review that found people who left college with education loans – large or small – had a lower net worth and fewer assets.
I know people have to borrow to buy a home. Most can’ t purchase a car to get to their job without an auto loan. And while I discourage people from taking on any debt for college, I understand some feel they won’ t get a degree without some borrowing.
But when we use positive adjectives to describe debt we minimize the financial bondage it creates.
If people hated every dollar borrowed just maybe they wouldn’ t overextend themselves. A healthy hatred of debt leads to a more cautious borrower.
So, I stand by what I said. I hate all debt.
And no, there is no such thing as good debt and bad debt. There is only debt.
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Where are the most distracted drivers? Where are the safest?

Midwesterners are the safest drivers, while Northeasterners speed the most and Southern drivers are most likely to use cellphones while driving.
Or so new results from a mobile application carried by drivers on their smartphones over millions of miles between April 2016 and March 2017 suggest.
The differences in regional and even state-by-state driving habits cast new light on recent statistics that show the most dramatic two-year increase in road-related fatalities in decades, and add fuel to the debate over the effect state laws and enforcement play in making travel on streets and highways less dangerous.
Everquote, an online insurance marketplace, drew its conclusions on regional driving habits from information gathered during 2.7 million car trips over 230 million miles by users of its Everdrive app, for customers who want to gauge and improve their safety habits. The app uses smartphone components to detect speeding, as well as signs of distraction such as phone use and sudden stops, turns and acceleration, said CEO Seth Birnbaum.
Birnbaum said he suspects Everdrive users are safer than average, because downloading the app shows an interest in safe driving habits. That even those people speed on 36 percent of their trips and use phones on 38 percent of them is a sign that "we have even further to go as a nation in addressing these issues than we thought, " he said.
Almost everyone breaks the rules sometimes, even when they know an app is recording what they do. But some do it more than others.
Mississippi drivers use their phones, either for talking or texting, on almost half their trips. Drivers from Rhode Island, Connecticut, Hawaii and New Hampshire break the speed limit by 10 mph or more on more than half their trips. California and New Jersey drivers stop short the most, and also do the most risky accelerating. West Virginia and North Carolina drivers make the most abrupt turns.
Some of the differences may be explained by state laws. Few Southern states, for example, have blanket laws that ban the use of cellphones while driving, according to an assessment of state laws this month by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Lower speed limits in the Northeast may make it easier to get caught speeding.
In its March report on a projected record 11 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities for 2016, the Governors Highway Safety Association pointed to an increase in driving after the recession, as well as more distractions from growing cellphone use by drivers and pedestrians, as the likely causes.
Local driving habits and even engineering can make a difference in safety, some traffic analysts say. States that developed after World War II are more dangerous to pedestrians because roads were often built for the convenience of drivers, said Peter Norton, a technology historian at the University of Virginia.
That could help explain why Florida has a high rate of pedestrian fatalities. Florida drivers also seem to be a talkative bunch when behind the wheel, which can be distracting. They rank second on Everquote's list of states with the largest proportion of drivers using phones while driving. Florida also has a high share of elderly drivers – 22 percent are 65 and over, second only to West Virginia, according to national figures.
"Florida is a state built around driving, which means pedestrians are unexpected intruders from an alien planet, " Norton said. "In places where roads are older than cars – especially the Northeast and the Midwest – driving hasn't taken over to the same degree. You expect people on sidewalks and crossings more, and walkers have better and safer conditions."
Beyond Florida and Mississippi, drivers in the Southern states of Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina and Tennessee also use their phones more on the road than do drivers in other parts of the nation – on 41 to 44 percent of their trips, according to the Everquote data.
Like cities in Florida, many in the South are surrounded by suburban sprawl. And Norton said long commutes from the exurbs can tend to force people to do more in their cars.
"When you design worlds around driving, where you can't do anything without driving, you're implicitly telling people that they have to do everything in the car – eat, groom themselves, cancel appointments, " he said.
The Midwest may appear to be a safer place to be on the road because populations there are older, which means they may be more experienced drivers and less likely to be cellphone-dependent, Norton said.
And in big, wide-open spaces where speed limits are high and drivers few and far between, there appears to be less speeding. Montana drivers, for instance, had the lowest rates for speeding at 17 percent, followed by Alaska and North Dakota at 20 percent. Montana and North Dakota drivers also had the lowest rates for abruptly braking and speeding up.
Hard braking – one sign of distracted driving – is highest in California and New Jersey, two states known for traffic-clogged roads. There, drivers displayed hard braking in about two out of five trips. Yet abrupt turns – another possible sign of inattention – were most common in rural West Virginia (26 percent) and North Carolina (20 percent) .
West Virginia banned all use of hand-held cellphones while driving in 2012, and the state credited a drop in fatalities in subsequent years to it. North Carolina, however, has no blanket ban.
There are indications that increased regulation may play a role in diminishing some bad driving habits.
Vermont had the lowest rate of cellphone use on the road at 27 percent. Dick Mazza, Democratic chairman of the state Senate's transportation committee, said that's no accident. The state banned all hand-held cellphone use while driving in 2014, and has since extended it to cars stopped at lights. It's also increased fines for using phones in roadwork zones.
"We even put police officers up on snow plows so they can look down and see who's got phones on their laps out of view, " Mazza said. "It got to be a very serious problem in our small state, and we're putting a big emphasis on it." Still, fatalities are up in the state as nearly everywhere else, albeit slightly.
In contrast, state police in Mississippi have complained that anti-texting laws in their state lack teeth. The state has no ban on talking on the phone while driving, except for school bus drivers.
Kansas, one of several states that launched a crackdown on speeding in late 2016, had the largest drop in speeding rates, down from 27 to 23 percent of trips from 2017 to 2016, according to Everquote's findings. But Everquote also warns that its 2016 data may not be comparable to the newest data because fewer people were using the app then.
Not everyone agrees that distraction from new technology is to blame for the recent spike in road-related deaths. Russ Rader, spokesman for the industry-funded Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, said other factors are more likely to blame.
"Other things are happening that make driving riskier, " Rader said. "Teens, the riskiest drivers, are coming back into the driving force, and many states are raising speed limits. Study after study shows that increased speeds make crashes more likely, and the crashes that happen are more severe."
The biggest regional factor, Rader said, is that rural roads are deadlier because they're often two lanes and have high speed limits.
The auto group AAA says there is a "do as I say, not as I do" culture among many drivers when it comes to risky behavior.
A survey from AAA released in February said most drivers see texting on the road as completely unacceptable, and support laws against the practice. Yet, a third admitted to typing a text or email while driving in the last month. Similarly, many drivers admit to speeding although they consider it unacceptable.
One in three respondents told AAA they use cellphones regularly when behind the wheel, and almost half said they had exceeded the speed limit by more than 10 mph in the last month.
The Governors Highway Safety Association said through its communications director Kara Macek that states need more regulation and policing for all unsafe behavior.
"We've got to get these laws on the books and we've got to get the police on the street enforcing them, " Macek said. "These things only stop when people know they're going to get caught."


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Cruise ship tour: Viking River Cruises' Viking Herja

At the confluence of the Rhine and Mosel rivers in Germany, the two latest ships from Viking River Cruises were christened on March 7, 2017. British composer-conductor Debbie Wiseman handled the duties for Viking Herja, with a bottle of Champagne smashing against the bow of the ship.


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Elizabeth Warren Is The Ninth-Most Unpopular Senator, And This Is Why [Opinion]

The Democratic leadership seems to be oblivious, but the people have been shouting it from the rooftops and their Twitter feeds.
We expected Senator Warren to join us in backing Bernie Sanders.
That day never came though. She never endorsed him. She never stood up for him. It’s like she spent the near-entirety of the presidential nominating season unsure of what to do while her Progressive constituents were on the streets, fists in the air, feelin’ the bern.
“I’ m ready. I am ready to get in this fight and work my heart out for Hillary Clinton to become the next president of the United States — and to make sure that Donald Trump never gets anyplace close to the White House, ” Warren said. And literally, thousands of progressives wept.
Angry tears.
@ringoffireradio @SydneyMkay Sad to see Warren endorse the corporate Clinton.
— walt seely (@walcath1) June 10, 2016
That was it for the Berniecratic side of the Left. Warren would, from that day on, be known to Progressives as the senator who not only failed to support a like-minded candidate when it mattered, but also endorsed the Wall Street candidate before the primaries were even over.
It was a punch in the gut out of the clear blue sky, and the Progressive Left will never forget it.
Warren isn’ t the absolute most unpopular Democratic senator though. There are still a few Democratic senators even less favorable in their ratings than Senator Warren.
Democrats in power should take note that these unpopular Democratic senators all have a few things in common: their own constituencies wanted a President Bernie Sanders. They endorsed Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders during the primary season or earlier. Last, but certainly not least, they were superdelegates.
Michigan’s Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow is even less popular than Warren. Stabenow heavily supported Hillary Clinton’s presidential run right from the start.
Schriock, Hassan, Gillibrand, Klobuchar, Stabenow, Shaheen, Clinton, Ledbetter
— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) February 5, 2016
Stabenow was a superdelegate in Michigan. Bernie Sanders won the Michigan primary, despite Clinton’s attempt to create a false image of Sanders’ history on trade agreements immediately before the primary voting began.
Michigan loves Bernie Sanders, and Debbie Stabenow fully backed Hillary Clinton every step of the way.
Through the primaries and with her superdelegate vote at the convention, Stabenow was “with her.” Michiganders felt betrayed. They wanted Stabenow with them.
Debbie Stabenow Reflects On Hillary Clinton B… https: // via @Msjonesn | https: //
— Gwen Jones (@MsJonesn) August 1, 2016
From Wisconsin, Tammy Baldwin ties for sixth-least popular senator in the United States. Baldwin joined Clinton on stage at a Hillary Clinton rally in April of 2016. Wisconsin loved Bernie Sanders. Following the rally where Baldwin suggested that Clinton could bring about America’s greatest days, Baldwin’s state voted for Sanders in its primary. Sanders held a huge lead over Clinton in Wisconsin, and Baldwin really screwed up her chances by not representing the people of her state as a superdelegate.
Baldwin defended her superdelegate vote against Sanders.
Using your superdelegate vote against the will of your state – against Bernie Sanders – will tank a senator’s popularity every single time.
“America’s greatest days could be forward of us: ” Hillary Clinton joined by Tammy Baldwin… https: //
— Correct Dude (@CorrectDudeNews) April 3, 2016
It’s really no wonder why McCaskill is the most unpopular Democratic senator.
McCaskill says Clinton nomination made her think of her own mother https: //
— Political Fix (@stlpolitics) June 8, 2016
There you have it. Democratic lawmakers who disassociate themselves from large portions of their own constituencies and undermine the most popular senator in the United States are not very popular. Shocking, isn’ t it?
[Featured Image by Steven Senne/AP Images]


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150 Filipinos granted exit from Saudi, to arrive in PH Monday

DOHA — A total of 150 Filipinos, 14 of them children, had been granted exit from Saudi Arabia under the government’s repatriation program.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the repatriated Filipinos were expected to arrive in Manila before dawn Monday, in time for President Rodrigo Duterte’s arrival there from here.
Bello said the repatriated Filipinos were considered undocumented and had been granted amnesty by Saudi Arabia. JE


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Fans Spot Potential ‘No Man’s Sky’ Update With Big Changes

And finally, there was the simple notion that production company Hello Games was trustworthy. Every interview with founder and director Sean Murray portrayed him as a genuinely honest man who did not have the same ill-intentions as more corporate companies like EA. This image was so ingrained in the media that he even attracted the attention of legendary industrialist Elon Musk.
Unfortunately for would-be fans, this all ended up being for naught. The first sign of trouble people should have seen was the constantly shifting release date. When a company has to keep pushing back their schedule, it creates pressure among the distributors to get the product out to consumers regardless of condition, patching having nullified the desire to create a bug-less title. However, the second and arguably more important omen was the reveal that Hello Games would be doing a dual PS4 and PC release. It is hard enough for AAA developers to pull this off in advance, but when you have an indie studio that literally has less than 20 employees, it was evident that something was going to go wrong.
[Featured Image by Jakub/Sketchport]


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‘The Walking Dead’ EP Scott Gimple Not Happy About Major Spoiler Leak

Which moments from #AllOutWar do YOU want to see in #TheWalkingDead Season 8? Help us add to fans’ wish list: https: //
— The Walking Dead (@TheWalkingDead) April 16, 2017
“We were hoping to [keep her casting on the D. L.] , but it didn’ t happen, which was kind of a drag, ” Scott Gimple said. “It seems like they did try, it just got out. But that just put it on us to tell a great story. The episode is the most important thing.”
Carl’s stepping up while Andrea…well, isn’ t looking so hot. See our latest #WalkingDead comic #PowerRankings here: https: //
— The Walking Dead (@TheWalkingDead) April 15, 2017
[Featured Image by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for AMC]


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US tourist arrested near Kinneret claims Jesus told him to travel to northern Israel

A 31-year-old American tourist was arrested Thursday, after he attacked the guard of the Almagor community near the Kinneret, in northern Israel, with a metal bar, police reported. The tourist, who was traveling in Israel with his wife and son, arrived shortly after midnight to the community. Police were called after the man injured the guard and ran off to a nearby grove.


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"Groundhog Day" show will go on despite star's injury, producers say

Actor Andy Karl at the 2014 Tony Awards
NEW YORK -- Producers of the Broadway musical “Groundhog Day” say it will open as planned, but injured star Andy Karl’s status is unclear.
Karl hurt himself during a preview performance Friday, forcing the cancellation of Saturday’s matinee. Understudy Andrew Call was to fill in for Karl at the Saturday night performance.
Have a great show tonight @AndrewCall1! You're gonna kill it. break a .... never mind, MERDE! Cc @GhDMusical
In a statement Saturday, producers said the musical is scheduled to open Monday, with further performance information to follow. They declined to address the question of whether Karl would appear.
The show must open by April 27 to be eligible for the Tony Awards, according to The New York Times. On Instagram, Karl posted that he tweaked his knee after a “poorly landed leap frog” and intended to see a medical specialist before going back on stage. People tweeted from the performance that it appeared that Karl was injured when a stunt went wrong. The show was briefly paused after Karl’s injury, and he returned to the stage, slightly tweaking a line to quip about his injury, according to the Times.
He finished Friday’s performance despite the injury, with help from a cane and his fellow actors.
The California music and arts festival this year features as headliners Radiohead, Lady Gaga and Kendrick Lamar
All the biggest moments from Sunday's 52nd Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas


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Hong Kong tourists injured as wooden bridge collapses in Jiangxi

About 10 Hongkongers travelling in Jiangxi province were injured after a wooden bridge at tourist spot Dujuan Mountain suddenly collapsed on Saturday. The Hong Kong Immigration Department has confirmed the accident and is verifying the number of tourists hurt. It is understood that the injured Hongkongers are in stable condition. A source close to the matter said the bridge located at the ticket checkpoint at Dujuan Mountain, part of the Jinggang Mountains range, suddenly fell apart at about 4pm on Saturday. “There were around 20 Hongkongers at the scene. Some had minor injuries while others were taken to hospitals for medical treatment, ” the source said. He added that the tourists belonged to a tour group led by a Tai Po district councillor. “The councillor was taking a group of 200 to visit the Jinggang Mountains. It is unclear why 20 of them were at the accident spot, ” the source continued. An Immigration Department spokesman said the authority was following the situation closely.


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How does YOUR pay package compare to everyone else's? The surprising average salaries for 145 jobs revealed (and train drivers earn MORE than architects)

If you've been in the same job for years without seeing any great increase in your earning potential, you might be tempted to consider a change of career.
But just how much can you boost your pay packet by if you opt for another career?
Researchers from the Office of National Statistics have analysed the earnings of 21, 563, 000 people to assess the average wage for dozens of professions.
And some of the findings might surprise you, as it reveals that senior police officers earn more than solicitors and barristers, while train and tram drivers are better off than architects.
While the highest earners - brokers, chief executives and senior officials - can expect to take home six figure salaries, the average wage in the UK was found to be £27, 271.
Meanwhile, those at the lowest end of the scale - cleaners, waiters and bar staff - all earn less than £8, 000 a year on average.
According to separate research by Instant Offices, you'll be in your 30s by the time you start earning the average UK wage.
People in their late teens can expect to earn an average monthly salary of £1, 270 to £1, 361.
Those aged 22 to 29-years-old can expect to take home £1, 829 to £1, 924 a month.
In your 30s the average salary is £2, 331 to £2, 535 a month putting you in line with the average yearly UK wage.
And in the 40s, people usually take home £2, 258 to £2, 830 a month.
It's bad news if you're a woman, with the average salary peaking at £2, 331 per month when you're in your 30s.
Meanwhile, while men can increase their earnings into their 40s, where they peak at an average of £2, 830 a month.
Cleaners, lollipop ladies and men and carers have the worst paid professions in the UK, while pilots, chief executives and air traffic controllers have the highest monthly wages.


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Lions' Kriel cited for late charge

Cape Town - Jaco Kriel has been cited for alleged foul play during the Super Rugby encounter between the Lions and the Stormers at Newlands.
Kriel is said to have contravened Law 10.4 (o) Late charging the Kicker as he came into contact with Stormers flyhalf Robert du Preez after attempting to charge down a clearance.
The referee for the match, Jaco Peyper, awarded a yellow card for the incident which occurred in the 26th minute.
Upon further review of the match footage, the Citing Commissioner deemed in his opinion the incident had met the red card threshold for foul play.
The Case is to be considered in the first instance by the SANZAAR Foul Play Review Committee which will take place on Sunday, April 16 at 09: 00 via video-conference.
All SANZAAR disciplinary matters are in the first instance referred to the Foul Play Review Committee to provide the option of expediting the judicial process.
For a matter to be dispensed with at this hearing, the player appearing must plead guilty and accept the penalty offered by the Foul Play Review Committee.


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If Hong Kong can’ t become ‘Asia’s Israel’ , future may rest on leading role in Greater Bay Area plan

“One Belt, One Road” and are mega projects that may sound like abstract slogans to some, but others are starting to embrace the concepts. Thousands of miles away, in the volatile Middle East, Israel is now actively looking for opportunities in China, including the, we discovered during a recent trip to the country arranged by its diplomatic mission in Hong Kong. Israel, steeped in religious history and mired in turbulent, modern-day geopolitics, may be a remote and exotic destination for many Hongkongers, but two of the city’s leaders have visited it for an entirely different reason – to learn from its high-tech development experience. Tung Chee-hwa was there in 1999 on a trip that he said had inspired him to better develop policies for a high value-added economy. And, 16 years later, in 2015, Leung Chun-ying made his in the middle of his lengthy battle with a divided Legislative Council to secure funding for his pet project at the time – setting up a new. Unfortunately, Tung’s vision met a premature end with in the middle of his second term. For Leung, although the new bureau was eventually born in late 2015, there’s still a long way to go before the city can claim any significant high-tech achievement in the current political and social environment. Neighbouring Shenzhen, meanwhile, has taken up the role of southern China’s “Silicon Valley”. That begs the question: does Hong Kong have what it takes to be transformed into an innovation hub? It remained unanswered throughout our short stay in Israel, where a regular topic in meetings with various start-ups, academics and officials was how Israel could further strengthen economic ties to benefit both sides. That included its participation in Beijing’s belt and road initiative to revive land and maritime trade along the old Silk Route, and in the as a founding member. Meanwhile, Chinese capital and investment has been pouring in over the years. A new port in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod is being built by a Chinese company in a project seen as a big push for the “New Silk Road”. In Tel Aviv, we were introduced to a Chinese company that provides incubation facilities to qualified start-ups aiming for the Chinese market. Then we were told that the majority shareholder in one of the “must buy” skincare brands for many tourists, including those from China, was Shanghai-based Fuson, one of China’s biggest international conglomerates. This is not to suggest that Israel, known as a “start-up nation”, is a prototype for Hong Kong to imitate, given the totally different DNA of the two business and holiday destinations. Legitimate questions have been raised as to how Hong Kong can play the role of a “super connector” for the belt and road scheme when many countries have already linked up directly with mainland China – like Israel has. However, regardless of the scepticism, the outgoing chief executive still believes in the by the city’s financial and legal services. Now comes a new plan for Hong Kong – Leung is leading a major delegation later this week to six Pearl River Delta cities to learn more about the Greater Bay Area, an ambitious development plan announced by Premier Li Keqiang in March. Leung’s successor, , who has just received her official appointment from Beijing as the city’s next leader, was also reminded of the significance of this project by the premier in a face-to-face meeting. Some mainland academics have even described it as Hong Kong’s “last chance”. If it is doubtful whether Hong Kong can some day become the “Israel” of this region as a high-tech hub, then can the city capitalise on its strategic strengths, with its unique “one country, two systems” features, by taking a leading role in the Greater Bay Area initiative? As cliched as it sounds, we’ ll have to wait and see.


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NFL Rumors: Seattle Seahawks Could Stall Marshawn Lynch’s Signing With Oakland Raiders

Marshawn Lynch’s return to the NFL could hit an unexpected snag. The Seattle Seahawks could stand in the way of Lynch signing with the Oakland Raiders. If that were to happen, Marshawn Lynch going to the Raiders might take longer than anticipated.
Although Marshawn Lynch going to the Raiders seems like a sure thing, what does not get talked about much is the fact the Seahawks own the running back’s rights. Lynch was under contract with the Seahawks prior to retiring from football. Since the Seahawks essentially control Lynch’s fate, if they want to ask for compensation from the Oakland Raiders, they can.
Marshawn Lynch headed back to Oakland like
— SI Extra Mustard (@SI_ExtraMustard) April 14, 2017
It is conceivable to believe that the Seahawks have allowed Lynch to negotiate with the Raiders. Perhaps the Seahawks are of the belief that the Raiders will attempt to offer some form of compensation. Marshawn Lynch to the Oakland Raiders could have various layers to it.
Marshawn Lynch was born and raised in Oakland. And it is the idea of playing for his hometown team that has lured him out of retirement. At only 30-years-old, Lynch has something left in the tank. Given the fact that the Raiders have a need for a featured running back, their interest in Lynch is an obvious one.
Breaking: Marshawn Lynch and Raiders agree to terms, Seahawks still hold rights, per @nflnetwork
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 14, 2017
With Lynch in the fold, the Raiders could have a team that can threaten the New England Patriots for AFC supremacy. That is because Lynch brings more to a team than his rushing ability.
Marshawn Lynch has a certain edge and swagger to him that he brings to a team. When football fans last saw Lynch prepare for a game on the gridiron, he was helping the Seahawks compete in the 2015 Super Bowl. The aforementioned attributes were on full display in spite of a loss.
When he decided to retire from football, his love for the game was waning and injuries were piling up. Unlike most football players who retire, Lynch appeared to have stayed away from the game doing things other than football.
Retirement has suited him well, as he has taken his penchant for being the best Marshawn Lynch can be and monetized it.
Lynch has done guest appearances, commercials, and television, all the while embracing the role as the anti-hero. Some will remember Lynch for not wanting to speak to the media, others see the charismatic side to him, along with being a leader behind closed doors. It is that side of Marshawn Lynch the Seattle Seahawks would lose for nothing if they allow him to sign with the Oakland Raiders.
If the Seahawks want to add a snag in the contract negotiations between Lynch and the Raiders, they can seek out a draft pick in return for the former Pro Bowl player. It would be similar to the Dallas Cowboys decision to let Tony Romo speak with other teams in an effort to work on a trade. The difference being that Marshawn Lynch is definitive about his interest in returning to football. What simplifies things is that Lynch only wants to play for his hometown team.
Look for this to come to a quick conclusion. First, Marshawn Lynch must file his reinstatement paperwork. That has to happen before any contract between him and the Oakland Raiders can take place. After that, the Seattle Seahawks have to let Lynch go.
Will the Seahawks seek compensation for Marshawn Lynch?
The answer will be revealed soon.
[Featured Image by Jag Gundu/Getty Images]


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54 houses destroyed, 4 damaged in Iloilo City fire

ILOILO CITY—At least 54 houses were destroyed while four others were damaged when fire hit Barangay Lopez, Jaena Norte in La Paz District, Iloilo City past midnight on Sunday.
The fire broke out at 12: 30 a.m. on the second floor of the house owned by the couple Marlon and Tessie Jaena.
“An electric wire sparked and the ember fell on the roof which caught fire that spread so fast because the house was made of light materials, ” one of the witnesses said at the fire scene.
Supt. Jerry Candido, Iloilo City fire marshal, said they had difficulty penetrating the area because of the narrow road.
The affected area was densely populated by mostly informal settlers whose means of livelihood were to sell delicacies.
“It was so difficult for us to penetrate. What we did was to connect our water hoses so that we could reach the inner part of the fire scene, ” Candido said.
Evelyn Olano, City Social Welfare Officer III assigned at Lapaz District, said 276 individuals were rendered homeless by the fire.
“We provided the fire victims with relief goods. At least P5, 000 would be given each to those whose houses were destroyed and P2, 500 each for those with damaged houses, ” she said.
Most of the fire victims were housed at the barangay gymnasium and at the Aglipayan Church while the others stayed with their relatives. JE/rga


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Best Horror Movies Streaming Legally For Free [April 2017]

With a wide variety of movies and series and a few original titles of their own, Crackle continues to build an audience. The streaming site has three of the best horror movies that are popular among audiences and critics alike.
It was hard for the anthology to live up to the high expectations that some horror fans had, but the film received great reviews by the majority of critics and audiences alike. Those that have never seen it are better off watching the original version, also on Shout Factory TV, before listening to the audio commentary featuring Carpenter.
[Featured Image by United Film Distribution Company]


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Public toilet paper theft spreads to southwest China

Seven days was all it took for 1, 500 rolls of toilet paper to be snapped up in a public park in southwest China, after the park started providing free toilet paper for visitors, a local newspaper reports. It all started this month when the city of Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province, launched a “toilet revolution” aiming to improve people’s toilet-going experience at scenic attractions by providing free toilet paper and soap. But already the goodwill campaign has been tarnished by rampant toilet paper theft, the reported. The People’s Park in Chengdu started to provide free paper in 128 toilet cubicles on April 8, but they were consumed much faster than expected at a rate of 1, 500 roles in just seven days. To find out just how fast the paper was being consumed, the park installed new rolls in 30 cells – which were all gone in 90 minutes, the report said. A washroom cleaner in the park said she often saw people stuffing wads of toilet paper in their pockets. At other times, whole newly installed rolls were gone after only a few visits. Not only was toilet paper targeted – a hand soap dispenser was stolen from the wall in a toilet the day after it was installed, the report said. “Light-fingered visitors can cost us more than 100, 000 yuan (US$14, 500) per year, ” a park manager told the The manager said if the theft and waste did not stop in a few months, the park would stop providing rolls in every toilet cell and instead dispense at the entrance of each toilet block. And if that didn’ t work, the park would follow the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, which also suffered severe paper theft and resorted to using dispensing machines equipped with facial recognition technology that ration the amount of paper and the number of times a person could use a cubicle within an alloted time. A user in need of tissue paper must stand in front of the machine for a face scan, which dispenses only 60cm of paper every nine minutes to the same user.


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LEADING OFF: Bucs can sweep Cubs, Chapman deals vs Cards

A look at what's happening all around the majors today: ___ NEW YEAR After going 4-14 against the Cubs last season, the Pirates can take a three-game sweep from Chicago with a win at Wrigley Field. Andrew McCutchen hit a go-ahead, three-run homer during a five-run seventh to lead Pittsburgh to an 8-7 victory Saturday. Right-hander Jameson Taillon (0-0, 1.38 ERA) leads the Pirates' effort in going for the sweep, while lefty Jon Lester (0-0, 1.64) is up for the Cubs. NOT THEM AGAIN Cleveland right-hander Carlos Carrasco will hope for better luck when he faces Detroit. Two of his four starts against the Tigers last season ended with injuries. He pulled a hamstring covering first base April 24 and missed six weeks. Carrasco's start on Sept. 17 ended on the game's second pitch, when he broke his right hand after being hit by Ian Kinsler's line drive, an injury that forced him to miss the Indians' run to the World Series. SIZZLING STREAK Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman has gone 30 straight appearances against the Cardinals without allowing a run. The streak began in 2012 and spanned 30 1/3 innings, during which he's struck out 51 and allowed just seven hits. Chapman and his 100 mph heat might get a chance to extend the longest consecutive-game shutout string ever vs. St. Louis in the Sunday night game at Yankee Stadium. MONEY'S WORTH Jose Ramirez looks to lift Cleveland again in the finale of a series against AL Central foe Detroit. Ramirez had a pair of three-run homers among his four hits in a 13-6 win over the Tigers and ace Justin Verlander on Saturday, setting a career high with six RBIs. The Indians locked up Ramirez with a five-year contract in March and he's playing up to it, batting.341 with three homers, 12 RBIs and a 1.014 OPS. KID ROX The Rockies are off to a strong start thanks in part to some impressive performances from their young starting rotation. After Tyler Chatwood threw a two-hitter to beat San Francisco 5-0 on Saturday, rookie Antonio Senzatela (1-0, 1.50) will look to build off getting his first major league win last time out. The 22-year-old righty has shut down the Padres and Brewers in his first two starts. Colorado is 8-5 this season and can win its four-game series against the Giants with a victory in the finale. ANOTHER CRACK Toronto faces Orioles righty Dylan Bundy for the second time this season, and the first go-round wasn't encouraging. Bundy (1-1, 2.70) struck out eight and allowed a run and four hits over seven innings on April 5 in a 3-1 Baltimore win. The 24-year-old has started well in what's expected to be his first full season in the rotation. J. A. Happ (0-2, 5.40) is set to pitch for the Blue Jays. Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Political Road Map: There's not a single California congressional district with Republicans in the majority

When it comes to California’s 53 congressional districts, first impressions are deceiving. Republicans have held tightly to their seats in the House of Representatives, but the latest data beg the question of whether the party’s grip could be loosening.
Fourteen congressional districts are represented by Republicans. But in none do they comprise a majority of voters. Their highest concentration, nestled in the Sierra foothills district of Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Elk Grove) , is slightly less than 44%.
That Republicans aren’ t dominant in congressional districts isn’ t exactly breaking news. Arnold Schwarzenegger was in his first term as governor the last time any California district broke the 50% mark in Republican registration. But last month’s state registration report reveals an accelerated erosion of GOP strength.
“There are a number of Republican incumbents who are sitting on ticking time bombs, ” said Eric McGhee, a researcher at the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California.
Democrats, too, hold a number of congressional seats with only a plurality of party voters. But elsewhere, they have commanding majorities — in some districts, four or five times the number of Republicans.
The GOP’s statewide brand was once lustrous enough to carry six straight presidential elections, from 1968 to 1988. Compare that with last November, when President Trump lost half of the Republican congressional districts. In eight of the nominally Republican districts, Democratic voter registration has risen since 2013. How many of those saw an uptick in Republicans? Zero.
Two Republican pluralities have shrunk more than others in the last four years: those in districts represented by Reps. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) and Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) .
“There’s a long-term trend for Republican registration to be sagging, ” McGhee said. The reason, as he and other researchers have found, is that young Californians coming into the political mainstream are registering either as Democrats or as unaffiliated “no party preference” voters. While some still occasionally choose GOP candidates, voters from days gone by — the ones being replaced — were reliable and registered as Republicans.
Political Road Map: The California Republican brand has become radioactive »
“That replacement process is just inexorably driving Republican numbers down, ” McGhee said. “And it’s not clear where the bottom is.”
The data explain why the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has set up shop in Southern California in hopes of knocking off a few GOP incumbents in 2018. But it’s no sure thing. In 2016, 97% of House members seeking reelection won, according to the University of Virginia Center for Politics. The fact that incumbents rarely lose has probably helped mask the thinning of the Republican base.
Others think Democratic candidates in congressional battleground races haven’ t resonated with voters. Eric Bauman, chairman of the L. A. County Democratic Party, said during a Bay Area event last week that national party leaders pick candidates and have been “carpetbagging them in to districts where we have perfectly good candidates of our own.”
Still, the Republican wall could crumble in the next round of political map drawing. In 2001, a bipartisan closed-door agreement gave 19 House seats to the GOP, a gerrymandering that sparked the creation of an independent redistricting commission. When the commission ignored political party registration in 2011, Republicans lost five House seats. The commission will again draw districts after the 2020 census. If demographics truly are destiny, the Grand Old Party has work to do. And fast.


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That $52-billion road bill just made California's next climate change move a heavy lift

It took late-night cajoling and nearly $1 billion in deal sweeteners for Gov. Jerry Brown and top Democrats to muscle through a $52-billion tax-and-fee plan just over a week ago to repair California’s roads.
Now they have to do it all again. Brown and legislative leaders have another daunting battle ahead over the fate of the cap-and-trade program, the centerpiece of California’s efforts to combat climate change.
The program requires companies to buy permits to release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and just like the road plan, it’s expected to require a two-thirds vote. That’s a tall order, even for Democrats who hold supermajorities in both chambers; the transportation legislation squeaked through without a vote to spare.
The looming question in the Capitol, said California Chamber of Commerce President Allan Zaremberg, is, “How many two-thirds votes is the Legislature capable of doing?”
Facing legal uncertainty over whether cap and trade can continue past 2020, Brown has urged lawmakers to act quickly to reauthorize the program. But the lingering hangover of a hard-fought battle to pass the road repair bill may make consensus on a controversial climate program harder to reach.
“I think it is going to make the whole thing much harder, ” said Amy Vanderwarker, co-director of the California Environmental Justice Alliance.
Complicating the issue will be the potential impact on gas prices. The transportation package included a 12-cent hike in the base excise tax on gasoline. Extending the cap-and-trade program could mean an additional gasoline price increase of between 24 and 73 cents a gallon by 2031, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office.
Here's what you should know about this year's debate over California's cap-and-trade program »
The program’s supporters dispute that any specific cost increase can be attributed to cap and trade. But politicians are keenly aware that their votes can be weaponized by their opponents and depicted as a source of more pain at the pump.
“A lot of my families in the district do have to drive long distances to work, ” Assemblywoman Sabrina Cervantes (D-Riverside) said, adding that “it’s hard for my district to get access to clean vehicles” that require less gas.
She acknowledged that climate change is an “existential threat, ” but said she’s uncommitted on cap and trade right now. Cervantes was one of the last Democrats to back the road bill April 6, signing on only after negotiating $427 million in additional transportation projects in her county.
Dangling money to woo reluctant lawmakers is a time-honored tactic in the Capitol, and political veterans predict there could be a feeding frenzy over cap-and-trade money. The program has produced billions of dollars from the sale of pollution permits.
The vote “gets slightly tougher because of the wheeling and dealing with transportation tax, ” said Steven Maviglio, a Democratic strategist who worked on the transportation bill, which has yet to be signed by Brown.
On climate, Maviglio forecast that “there will probably be an auction for a vote.”
There are some political factors working in cap and trade’s favor. Unlike the gas tax, which consistently draws stiff opposition in polls, California’s climate programs typically score highly among the state’s residents. A Public Policy Institute of California survey last year found that a majority supported the cap-and-trade program.
There’s also potential for bipartisan support. One Assembly Republican, Catharine Baker of the east Bay Area city of Dublin, supported setting tougher targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions last year. In addition, extending the cap-and-trade program would continue an existing policy, which could be less politically poisonous than a new tax.
“This is an opportunity for many people to show that they can make programs that are already on the books better, ” Zaremberg said.
But climate policy tends to trigger bruising Capitol battles, especially in recent years. A measure to increase the state’s reliance on renewable electricity and make buildings more energy-efficient passed in 2015 only after a controversial provision to slash oil consumption for transportation was dropped.
In that case, the legislation required only a majority vote. For cap and trade, supporters are aiming for two-thirds. The push for the higher threshold is the result of complicated rules governing — some critics would say strangling — California’s budget process.
The law that provides the foundation for cap and trade was passed by a majority vote in 2006. The Chamber of Commerce charged that the program functioned as a tax on businesses, making it unconstitutional because it wasn’ t approved with the two-thirds vote required by Proposition 13, California’s landmark tax law approved by voters in 1978.
A state appeals court recently rejected their argument, handing a victory to environmentalists and the Brown administration.
But there’s another hurdle from a 2010 ballot initiative, Proposition 26. Under those rules, regulatory fees also require a two-thirds vote, a standard that could apply to extending cap and trade.
“In order to remove that legal uncertainty, a two-thirds vote would be required, ” said Ross Brown of the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office.
The governor, who has staked his legacy on fighting climate change and is counting on cap-and-trade revenue to help finance the bullet train from Los Angeles to San Francisco, wants the higher threshold.
“To remove any cloud of perceived legal uncertainty about the continuation of cap-and-trade beyond 2020, we are seeking a two-thirds vote, ” Deborah Hoffman, a spokeswoman for the governor, said in a statement.
As the effort to cobble a supermajority takes off, so does a ferocious lobbying battle.
Oil companies kept a low profile during the debate over the gas tax, saving their clout for the climate issue. The industry backs cap and trade, particularly in comparison with stricter proposals to reach the state’s emissions targets.
Catherine Reheis-Boyd, president of the Western States Petroleum Assn., said in a statement that her group is “committed to making significant improvements to cap-and-trade.”
The state’s victory in appeals court this month reduced the industry’s leverage. Still, the potential that lawmakers will be skittish to take back-to-back votes affecting gas prices could help oil companies rally support for a more business-friendly policy.
The environmental lobby, meanwhile, is split between national organizations that want to continue cap and trade and environmental justice groups that are concerned the program isn’ t doing enough to alleviate local pollution .
Those groups felt particularly burned by the transportation deal, which gave the trucking industry a break on future antipollution regulations.
"Are all the trade-offs going to be constantly at the expense of environmental justice?" said Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) , who is working on climate legislation.
Brown asked for the issue of cap and trade to be resolved as part of the state budget in June. But the difficulty of threading the needle has led some advocates to say it shouldn’ t be rushed.
“We don’ t need it this year, ” said Parin Shah, senior strategist at the Asian Pacific Environmental Network. “If we’ re able to get it, that would be great. It’s one more thing we don’ t need to worry about.”
Others say a hard vote only becomes more difficult with time.
“If we don’ t do it now, are we going to do it in an election year?” state Sen. Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) said. “It’s a much tougher vote in May 2018.”
The governor holds one other potential advantage in negotiations. He could launch a climate-focused ballot initiative next year, the last year of his final term, and bypass legislators altogether. Brown has $15 million left over from previous campaigns.
Going directly to the voters offers no guaranteed victory. Rob Lapsley, president of the California Business Roundtable, which represents the state’s largest corporations, said the campaign could prompt a surge of oil industry money.
"They wouldn't hesitate to spend what it takes to defeat it, " he said.
Ultimately, the fate of cap and trade may come down to Brown’s knack for eking out big wins on his priorities.
“The governor bats last. That gives him enormous leverage, ” Maviglio said. “Whether it comes to influencing the votes of legislators or putting something on the ballot, he — despite his lame duck status — still is king of the hill when it comes to this issue.”;
Follow @melmason and @chrismegerian on Twitter for the latest on California politics.
How will California battle climate change? A new proposal revs up debate over cap-and-trade program
California Legislature votes to raise gas taxes, vehicle fees by $5.2 billion a year for road repairs and transit
Updates from Sacramento


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Indie Focus: Adventuring with 'The Lost City of Z, ' 'A Woman, A Part' and Locarno in Los Angeles

Hello! I’ m Mark Olsen, and welcome to another edition of your regular field guide to a world of Only Good Movies. The L. A. Times’ Festival of Books is April 22 and 23, and it is not only a great way to interface with publishers and booksellers but also features a wide variety of guests. The Times’ editor and publisher Davan Maharaj will be in conversation with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Mary McNamara will be talking to Sherry Lansing and Stephen Galloway. Sarah Rodman will be in conversation with actor Stephen Tobolowsky, while Lorraine Ali will be talking to actor Bryan Cranston.
And I will be moderating a talk with Tippi Hedren for her new book “Tippi: A Memoir.” And you know that the “Roar” years will be a topic of conversation.
McNamara will also be moderating a talk with author Margaret Atwood and show runner Bruce Miller for the upcoming TV adaption of Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.” The Times’ Meredith Blake recently talked to the series’ star Elisabeth Moss .
The LAT Events team has had its hands full with the Festival of Books, but we will get back to work on our screenings and Q&As soon enough. (Movies never stop!) Keep on the lookout for future events at .
‘The Lost City of Z’
Among the most exciting films released so far this year, James Gray’s “The Lost City of Z” examines the fate of Percy Fawcett, the early 20 th -Century adventurer who disappeared while looking for ruins of an undiscovered civilization in the jungles of the Amazon. The film stars Charlie Hunnam as Fawcett, with supporting turns by Sienna Miller, Robert Pattinson and Tom Holland, and manages to be at once grounded and mystical, with a restless, seeking quality all its own.
Reviewing the film for the Times, Justin Chang wrote “’ The Lost City of Z’ is the kind of picture whose classicism, a term often confused with conventionality, feels increasingly like a radical statement of intent. Fawcett’s journeys into the Amazon, each one drawing him a little further into his heart of darkness, provide the film with a steady rhythm and a clean three-act structure, but its hauntingly lyrical final scenes deliver the very opposite of closure. The movie may, in the end, frustrate your desire for straight-up thrills and clear answers, but its irresolution is masterful — sincere, generous and entirely appropriate to the deeply searching story it has to tell.”
The Times’ Steve Zeitchik interviewed Hunnam at the West Hollywood deli Greenblatt’s, where the actor said “For me, Fawcett represents the search for meaning we all have — that terrible and wonderful and ordained quest. He wasn’ t finding any answers in society; he found life wholly unsatisfying. So it was this voice asking questions: ‘What are we doing, and what is this desperate dark hole and how do I fill it?’ Most of us fill it with total nonsense — with consumerism. And he thought this quest would help quiet that voice.”
In her review for the New York Times, Manohla Dargis noted the sense of adventure and discovery within the movie itself with, “Mr. Gray opens this world gloriously. As a director, he has an old-fashioned belief in cinematic beauty, in the charm and necessity of the perfectly lighted and framed face, the hauntingly darkened room, the grittily coarsened street. He’s a sensualist, and in ‘The Lost City of Z’ he turns the Amazon into a ravishment for the senses.”
At Vox, Alissa Wilkinson added, “it feels like a movie from an earlier era. That’s not surprising, given that it’s written and directed by James Gray (“The Immigrant”) , who normally trains his classical sensibility on small, intimate stories. This is a different sort of movie: a stately, elegant epic paced like an elegy.”
I’ ll be publishing my own conversation with Gray soon. To the question of why make movies at all, he responded with passion and precision, saying, “It’s the perfect combination. It’s like dreams, a movie is like a dream. So that’s beautiful. Why shouldn’ t I be committed to something so magnificent?”
‘A Woman, A Part’
The filmmaker Elisabeth Subrin has long worked in the avant-garde/experimental space and makes her narrative feature debut with “A Woman, A Part.” Subrin’s new film concerns a television actress, played by Maggie Siff from TV’s “Billions” and “Mad Men, ” who attempts to get back to her roots by reconnecting with friends from the New York theater world played by John Ortiz and Cara Seymour. The film creates the same high-wire tension between its on-screen and off-screen worlds as recent films like “Clouds of Sils Maria” or “Kate Plays Christine.”
In her review for the Times, Katie Walsh called the film “an astute character study that is analytical but never unemotional… Siff is wonderful, but Ortiz and Seymour nearly steal the movie out from under her. For Subrin, it’s not just a promising entry into the world of narrative filmmaking but already a fine achievement.”
At the New York Times, Jeannette Catsoulis called the film a “sophisticated take on female friendship and professional frustration.”
For the Village Voice, Kristen Yoonsoo Kim added “Siff gives a modest but poignant performance that rings true for women of a certain age and career.”
For NY Magazine, Anna Silman wrote about the movie last summer, where Siff told her, “It’s one of my goals as an actress to keep trying to find projects that are helmed by women. Not just because of how I feel about it politically but because of how I feel about it as an actor inside of it. It just feels really different and it feels really good. And it should be 50 percent of my experiences working, instead of one in 10.”
Subrin posts to the lively tumblr site Who Cares About Actresses, including part of this manifesto: “Actresses matter profoundly. It is a political act when they (and we) question the patriarchal Hollywood (i.e. global) media machine, when they (and we) fight for and choose roles that offer the world a broader and more diverse understanding of what it means to be a woman, and when they (and we) have the courage to present alternative images of women to the world.”
‘Locarno In Los Angeles’
Spearheaded by local critic/programmers Jordan Cronk and Robert Koehler, the inaugural Locarno in Los Angeles festival will bring a selection of films from last year’s Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland to audiences in L. A. The program is being presented as a collaboration between the local Acropolis Cinema, the Locarno Festival and the Swiss Consulate General of Los Angeles.
Among the titles which will be screening are opening selection Matías Piñeiro’s “Hermia & Helena, ” Theo Anthony’s “Rat Film, ” Dane Komljen’s “All the Cities of the North, ” Yuri Ancarani’s “The Challenge, ” Angela Schanelec’s “The Dreamed Path, ” Eduardo Williams’ “The Human Surge, ” Milagros Mumenthaler’s “The Idea of a Lake” and closing selection Radu Jude “Scarred Hearts.”
I will be part of a panel on Saturday afternoon entitled “How to Get Art Cinema in Front of Los Angeles Audiences” along with exhibitor Gregory Laemmle, distributor David Schultz, critic Michael Nordine and programmer KJ Relth. It’s a topic I have a lot of questions about myself and should make for a lively, engaged discussion.
Email me if you have questions, comments or suggestions, and follow me on Twitter @IndieFocus .


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If you're looking for authentic Hawaii, away from neon lights and crowds, look no further than Lanai

Graceful 80-foot-tall pine trees line the streets of tiny Lanai (Lah-na-ee) City. The trees, imported from the Cook Islands in the South Pacific, lend a lush green appearance.
Lanai, 13 miles wide and 18 miles long, is one of the smallest islands in the Hawaiian chain, with 3, 100 residents and only 30 miles of paved road. For the most part, it's covered with dry scrub brush.
"People arrive and think it's totally barren, " said Alberta de Jetley, editor and publisher of Lanai Today, the island's newspaper. "They probably think, 'Oh my gosh, what have I gotten myself into?' " she said, laughing.
"But it doesn't take them long to see beyond that."
I've visited Lanai three times, most recently in February, and knew I wasn't going to find Garden of Eden scenery. But tropical rain forests aren't the only feature that commend an island.
Beaches, surf and marine life rate high. Add tranquillity and Lanai's score rises sharply. It isn't for everyone, but it's heaven if you're looking for a more authentically Hawaiian experience away from Waikiki's neon lights and nearby Maui's crowded coastline.
Another reason to visit Lanai has surfaced recently, thanks to island upgrades by billionaire landowner Larry Ellison, founder of the Silicon Valley giant Oracle and one of the richest men in the world.
Ellison bought 97% of the island for $300 million in 2012, turning it into a private playground and pumping millions into improvements.
One of his first projects was to revitalize Lanai's flagship hotel, Four Seasons Resort Lanai (formerly Four Seasons at Manele Bay) . The seaside resort emerged last year from a $450-million renovation that has turned it into a billionaire's vision of paradise.
Paradise, indeed, I thought as I walked the grounds. The rest of Lanai might not look like Bali Hai, but Ellison's landscapers and gardeners have worked wonders with the grounds of the resort, adding lavish tropical plants, grotto-style pools, waterfalls, Hawaiian flowers and ponds full of koi.
During my stay, I marveled each morning at the phalanx of gardeners tending the plants as they weave their way through the greenery .
The resort's silhouette has changed too. Some structures were removed, opening up more ocean views. Rooms and baths were remodeled, 75-inch TVs hang on teak and zebra wood walls and an iPad Air makes it easy to call for room service.
In the bathroom, a computerized Toto electronic toilet awaits to warm your tush.
Another big change: The brightly colored Asian decor that formerly decorated the hotel is gone. In its place are rich woods and exquisite Polynesian-themed artwork in hallways, gardens and public areas.
With nightly rates that start at more than $1, 000 and cap at $21, 000, the 213-room hotel isn't for everyone. But for those who can afford the tariff, it's pure opulence: beach boys to clean your sunglasses and bring you sunscreen, chauffeured rides to the air strip in a Mercedes bus, and a hotel room or suite that's so lovely you'll feel as if you walked onto a movie set.
The super-luxe ambience — aimed at super-rich guests — serves a purpose, according to a company news release: It “will allow the resort to operate profitably without being reliant on large visitor numbers which the island does not have the infrastructure to support.”
Those who can afford it will find plenty of activities to charge on their platinum cards. There are golf and tennis, a Hawaii-themed spa, plus two pools and water sports.
Snorkel in the bay just below the hotel, where a pod of spinner dolphins often frolics, or hike to Sweetheart Rock, an iconic 80-foot-tall red rock that juts from the sea. Along the way, you'll see tide pools, volcanic cliffs and swirling, chaotic waters.
Another option: Hop on a 4x4 and explore the island's beaches and mountains, where dusty lowlands give way to forested hilltops.
Here are lava-cliff overlooks, red dirt trails and secluded hideaways. You can rent a vehicle or take a guided tour, which is what I did.
Accompanying me were two girls who were staying at the resort with their parents: Sesi Kouyoumdjian, 8, and her sister Ani, 6.
They laughed as the vehicle hurtled over bumps in the road, watched solemnly as a huge antlered buck grazed in the distance, and cheered as a hawk soared overhead when we stopped at an overlook.
Did they enjoy the trip? "I want to go again, " said an obviously impressed Ani. Not Sesi. "I'd rather go back to the hotel and swim, " she said, frowning.
Luckily, this small chunk of Hawaii has something for almost everyone.
You don't have to be a one-percenter to enjoy Lanai. With a little planning, you can explore the island on a budget.
The least expensive way to see it is on a one-day trip from nearby Maui, just nine miles across the sea. A ferry makes the hourlong crossing several times a day from Lahaina Harbor, Maui, to Manele Harbor, Lanai ($60 round-trip per person on Expeditions, [800] 695-2624) .
Once you're on Lanai, take a $10 shuttle bus ride into Lanai City from the harbor for lunch and shopping. The town is small but colorful and fun, and you'll meet friendly locals at the cafes and markets.
Then pop back on the shuttle to return to Manele Harbor, where you can enjoy Hulopoe Beach Park, one of the most scenic spots on Lanai and the island's best swimming beach.
While there, take a hike to Sweetheart Rock, named for a Hawaiian legend that tells of two star-crossed lovers. The picturesque landmark overlooks the sea.
Expeditions, the ferry company, also offers guided tours and Jeep rentals that start at $180 person for a half-day tour.
You could also take a guided tour from Maui.
My first visit to Lanai was on such a tour: It was ridiculously expensive, the boat was small and wallowed in the waves crossing the sea to Lanai and my guided tour took me only to a designated quarter-acre picnic area. I saw nothing of the island.
My advice: Be your own guide. The ferry and shuttle make it easy.
If you want to spend the night, there are a few choices other than the $1, 000-plus rooms at Four Seasons Resort Lanai.
There's one other hotel on the island, Hotel Lanai, with 11 tidy rooms and a restaurant. Its rates start at $180 per night.
There are rentals and small B&Bs, which offer a way to get to know the locals. Rentals are listed on several services, including Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway.
Or try to get a $15-per-person campsite at Hulopoe Beach Park, the island's only designated campground. Details are available on the community website. Click on non-resident camping. You’ ll need to bring your own gear.
History hasn't always been kind to Lanai Island.
Legend has it that Polynesian settlers were reluctant to establish homes here because it was said to harbor evil spirits.
In the 18th century, King Kamehameha I, known as the warrior king, killed most of its inhabitants with weapons he received from European visitors.
Then in 1922, James Dole arrived and bought the entire island for $1.1 million, building plantations, importing workers and growing pineapples.
At one time, Pineapple Island, as it was nicknamed, produced 75% of the world's pineapples.
But the booming economy fell apart when Dole Corp. moved the operation to other parts of the world where the fruit could be grown less expensively.
Besides the job loss, Lanai was left dotted with irrigation tubing and small black plastic remnants of material used to keep weeds out and moisture in.
You can still see these bits floating through the air and lying on the red dirt ground anytime you hike or drive through the former pineapple fields, which covered most of the island's flatlands.
Lanai residents are hopeful that Larry Ellison's reinvention of Lanai will have happier results. His plan: to transform the 140-square-mile island into a sustainable tourist destination, thus creating security for its 3, 100 residents.
"So far, so good, " I was told -- in those exact words -- by everyone I encountered when I asked residents about his efforts in town, at the community beach and at the renovated Four Seasons Resort Lanai.
When Ellison, founder of tech giant Oracle, purchased the island in 2012, he acquired two Four Seasons resorts. He closed both, reopening the flagship Resort Lanai last year after extensive remodeling.
During its eight-month closure, he kept everyone on the payroll, finding other jobs for them.
He has helped the community in other ways too, reopening the town's movie theater, repainting homes and businesses and adding football and soccer fields at the high school .
Eventually, he plans to reopen the other hotel, the Lodge at Koele, as a wellness facility, locals say.
"I’ d give his company an A+, " said Alberta de Jetley, editor and publisher of Lanai Today, the island's newspaper. "They've done a lot to extend the island's hospitality to visitors.
“We need that. People don't realize that we run shops and restaurants and other businesses dependent on tourism. The only way we can make the island sustainable is to improve tourism."
From LAX, United, Delta, Hawaiian, American and Virgin American offer connecting service (change of planes) to Lanai. Restricted round-trip fares from $790, including taxes and fees.
By boat from Maui: Expeditions, (800) 695-2624. Expeditions ferries make the nine-mile crossing several times a day from Lahaina Harbor, Maui, to Manele Harbor, Lanai. $60 round-trip per person.
Four Seasons Resort Lanai, 1 Manele Bay Road, Lanai City; (808) 565-2000 or (800) 321-4666. Recently renovated luxury resort on a hillside overlooking Hulopoe Bay. Nine bars and restaurants, plus a Jack Nicklaus Golf Course, tennis facility, adults-only and family pools, spa. Doubles from $1, 025 per night.
Hotel Lanai, 828 Lanai Ave., Lanai City; (808) 565-7211. This simple, 11-room hotel is in the center of Lanai village. Built in 1923 by James Dole as housing for Dole Plantation executives, it was the island's original hotel. It is well maintained, charming and has a restaurant and small bar. Doubles from $180 per night.
Nobu Lanai, 1 Manele Bay Road, Lanai City; (808) 565-2000 or (800) 321-4666 i. Celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa, with more than 20 Nobu restaurants worldwide, now has an outpost at the Four Seasons Lanai. The dining room, which has panoramic views, features Japanese fusion cuisine. The menu is pricey, with individual dishes from $8 for edamame to $65 for lobster tempura.
Lanai City Bar & Grille, 828 Lanai Ave., Lanai City; (808) 565-7211. Fresh fish is a constant on the menu of this recently remodeled bar and dining room inside the Hotel Lanai. The bill of fare changes daily depending on the availability of ingredients. Entrees from $18.
Blue Ginger Cafe, 409 7th St., Lanai City; (808) 565-6363. This low-key cafe is a favorite with locals and doubles as a bakery, where you can pick up freshly baked bread, cookies or other sweets. The mixed plate lunch is $19, but the portions are large enough to share.
Hawaii Tourism Authority


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Despite Bohol clash, Bato says Holy Week ‘generally peaceful’

Despite the firefight between government forces and members of the bandit Abu Sayyaf Group last week, Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa on Easter Sunday said the country’s commemoration of the Holy Week was “uneventful” and “generally peaceful.”
In his Easter message, Dela Rosa assured the public that security measures remain in place as travelers who went home to the provinces for the short break return to the metropolis.
“The Philippine National Police joins every Filipino family and the entire Christendom in joyful celebration of the mystery of the Resurrection of Christ to redeem mankind from sin. As the nation culminates the traditional Holy Week retreat, police security forces remain in their posts to provide assistance and public safety services to travelers returning to their homes in the urban centers, ” Dela Rosa said in a statement.
“As the nation returns to the normal working week routine tomorrow, Easter Monday, rest assured the PNP will be ever present and ready to serve, ” he added.
Dela Rosa also lauded the military and police force for “successfully thwarting” a terrorist attempt last week, in a firefight that left six suspected Abu Sayyaf members dead, including leader and subcommander Abu Rami.
“Earlier on Holy Tuesday, military and police security forces successfully thwarted an attempt by terrorist elements to disrupt an otherwise peaceful and meaningful observance of Holy Week in Bohol, ” he said. “Elsewhere across the country, PNP and AFP troops continued to implement rigid security measures in transport terminal, convergence areas and places of worship to maintain order and security.”
“I congratulate everyone for their vigilance and cooperation with security forces that ultimately resulted in the uneventful and generally peaceful Holy Week, ” Dela Rosa added. JE/rga


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Labour Department considers harsher penalties for contractors flouting safety rules amid spate of workplace deaths

The Labour Department will discuss with justice officials the possibility of beefing up penalties for contractors who flout construction safety rules, Commissioner for Labour Carlson Chan Ka-shun said in the wake of a spate of fatalities this year. Chan said on Sunday that 11 workers had lost their lives at construction sites across the city in the first four months of this year, compared to the total of 18 deaths for the whole of last year. The top labour official made the remarks after two workers were killed and three others injured last month at the sea-based construction site of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge. The platform they were dismantling underneath a viaduct outside Tai O suddenly collapsed. The workers were hooked on with harnesses and fell into the sea along with the platform. “We will discuss with the Department of Justice to see if there is a need to strengthen [the penalties] and, if so, by how much, ” Chan said on a TVB talk show. “If all of society and the Legislative Council think that beefing up the punishment will bring about better deterrence, we are definitely happy to study the matter.” Under Hong Kong law, the commissioner for labour has the power to issue improvement notices and suspension notices against contractors. Failure to comply with the notices constitutes an offence punishable by a fine of HK$200, 000 and HK$500, 000 respectively and imprisonment of up to 12 months. Since construction began in 2011, a total of 10 workers have died and more than 600 have been injured while working on the bridge, in a total of 275 incidents. The Association for the Rights of Industrial Accident Victims earlier accused the government of disregarding worker safety, saying it had consistently turned a blind eye to non-compliance by contractors.


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Oregon woman emphasizes humanity of recently cut drug court

Michelle DeBord rifles through a binder stuffed with homework assignments and personal papers to find a dozen photographs illustrating her troubled past.
Each picture tells the story of a woman struggling with addiction and the sudden death of her husband. They reveal numerous trips to rehab and lost custody of her two oldest children. Her eyes well with tears as she confronts the painful memories.
DeBord, 39, is a heroin addict.
"A little piece of heaven on Earth, " she described the drug recently. For years, it was the only way the Oregon woman felt she could get out of bed, but came at a price.
"I became a slave to it, " DeBord said. "It was always about getting more."
Now two years clean, DeBord insists her saving grace was Umatilla County Drug Court. When 13 other inpatient treatment centers failed, drug court succeeded. Through the program, DeBord said she learned how to take accountability for her actions and responsibility for her future.
With drug court set to be eliminated June 30 due to a half million dollar budget shortfall, DeBord is putting herself front and center in an attempt to keep the program alive. She is helping spearhead a group of advocates, including former drug court employees, meeting with state lawmakers and circulating an online petition to raise public support.
Perhaps more importantly, DeBord is encouraging her fellow drug court graduates to speak up, share their experiences and put a human face on the program.
"I think humanity is the most important part of this, " DeBord said. "I need to share that wisdom. I need to get that story out there."
For DeBord, the photos she keeps are a sobering reminder of her own journey. It has been two years since her last hit, and she plans to graduate from Blue Mountain Community College this winter with majors in sociology and anthropology.
None of that would be possible without the structure and support provided by drug court, she said.
"It did change me. It changed my life, " DeBord said.
Growing up in Pendleton, DeBord was one of five kids raised by a single mother. They were poor, and the stress at home ultimately led DeBord to drop out of high school when she was 15 and move in with a friend.
Around that time, DeBord said she began experimenting with drugs and alcohol. Four years later, she met Christian, the man she would marry and who convinced her to go clean.
Slowly but surely, she said they got out of poverty and had two kids together — son Bailey and daughter Addison.
"It was wonderful, " DeBord said.
Things changed, however, after the couple was injured in a hit-and-run car crash. They became addicted to opioid painkillers, and on April 1, 2002, Christian died after mixing Valium and OxyContin, which caused him to lose consciousness and asphyxiate. He was 27.
The death was especially damaging for DeBord.
"I fought all my life to find the stability we had, " she said. "I couldn't do it anymore. I didn't want to do it anymore."
In her grief and guilt, DeBord turned to heroin to blot out the pain. In the short term, she said the drugs helped her to function. But in the long term, they consumed her life.
DeBord sold everything she could — her furniture, her kids' belongings, her wedding ring on more than one occasion — to buy heroin, running with a group of 11 other addicts. Bailey and Addison were eventually adopted out to DeBord's parents in Milton-Freewater, and DeBord gave birth to her third child at a methadone clinic in Eugene. She did not even know she was pregnant until 24 weeks.
"Heroin keeps you so numb, you can't put it together, " she said.
Over the years, DeBord cycled in and out of 13 different rehab centers, but none worked. In hindsight, she said she did not want them to work.
In 2012, DeBord was convicted of felony assault of an officer while high. The incident took place during a welfare check at her home. The court sentenced her to three years' probation and more than 300 hours of community service.
As part of Measure 57, DeBord's probation officer also got her into drug court, despite not having a drug-related charge.
"I fought it for a long time, " she said.
Umatilla County Drug Court was established in 2006 as an intensive treatment program that blends counseling, group treatment and community service to put medium- and high-risk offenders on the right track. Participants also need to have a job or be enrolled in school full-time to graduate.
At the time, the county Local Public Safety Coordinating Council applied for and received a grant from the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission that covered 100 percent of the program cost. Since then, state funding has declined to the point where, next biennium, the program would be $516, 000 in the hole.
The county says it cannot make up that gap, and the public safety council decided to ax the program in its current form. However, the council will discuss potential alternatives for providing drug court services.
Dale Primmer, director of Community Corrections and a Pendleton city councilor, said that could take a number of forms, depending on size, scope and funding.
"It all comes down to what model we can afford, " Primmer said.
The big question now, Primmer added, is what exactly the state budget will include for justice reinvestment. Currently, Gov. Kate Brown's proposed budget calls for $32 million statewide. But if the Legislature can agree on a plan to stave off the opening of a second women's prison, it could bump that number up to $50 million.
DeBord said she plans to get as many drug court participants as possible to attend the council meeting about drug court alternatives.
"This is something that can't be overlooked, " she said.
Nicole Morris, a drug and alcohol counselor who began working with drug court last year, said the program not only provides steps for offenders to succeed, but gives them a safer place to fail. Offenders tend to be very artistic and intelligent, Morris said, but just haven't been shown a better way to live.
"We were able to be there for them, and advocate for them, " Morris said.
Mike Breiling, a Pendleton attorney and former public defender, said drug court can be beneficial for addicts who need that level of care and intervention. The program is cheaper than putting offenders in jail for six months or a year, he said, and no less effective in getting them clean.
Breiling does, however, caution against overusing the system.
"I have seen, in the past, people who would seem to me to be a poor fit, " he said. "We should really reserve it for people who truly need it."
It took three years for DeBord to embrace and eventually graduate from drug court. The biggest wakeup call, however, had nothing to do with the program.
Two years ago, teenage daughter Addison was flown to a Portland hospital with a life-threatening condition that affected her pancreas. DeBord said it reached the point where doctors said there was nothing else they could do.
"I'm just out in the parking lot, screaming at God, " she said. "I said if she dies, I'm going to lie on this floor and die too. I'm not leaving without her."
Addison did not die, but spent three months in the intensive care unit before they were allowed to return home on Christmas Day 2015.
DeBord swears that, in the face of death, her daughter chose to live.
"I decided that day that I would choose life too, " DeBord said.
DeBord said she has not touched drugs since that time. Meanwhile, drug court staff stuck with her throughout the ordeal, and helped her to see a life outside of addiction. She hangs her framed drug court diploma proudly on her wall, among her paintings and family portraits.
"I never want to forget that, " she said.
DeBord now lives in a home with her sister and 2-year-old niece. Bailey, now 18, graduated last year from McLoughlin High School and Addison, 17, will graduate later this year.
Drug court affects more than just participants, DeBord said. It also has a profound impact on children, families and loved ones.
"I want them to look at $516, 000 as 516, 000 people, " she said. "You can't put a price tag on a life."


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Kindness, courage endure 2 years after devastating accident

With a weight lifter's grimace, Todd Duitsman focused on exercising his arms. Like most everyone else using the Marysville Family YMCA's fitness equipment, he was hard at work.
But Duitsman isn't like everyone else. The Stanwood, Washington, man is a quadriplegic.
It was July 2, 2014, when he suffered spinal cord injuries while body surfing at Big Beach on Maui. He and his wife, Tammi, were in Hawaii with their three children to celebrate daughter Hailey's graduation from Lakewood High School.
Also along on the trip with friends was Bary Gould, Marysville Pilchuck High School boys' basketball coach.
"We had just gotten there, " Duitsman, 48, said. "I love being in the water. I was up on a big wave, it was perfect." But in short order, he said, his head was slammed "like a human dart into the sand."
Duitsman couldn't move. He said his first thought was "God, is this how I'm checking out?" And without the ability to flip over and get out of the water, he feared that time would run out.
When Gould and Duitsman's son Tyler, now 23, came to the rescue, "Bary thought I was joking, " Duitsman said. He spent about two weeks at Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu before being transported on a medical flight to Seattle. He shared those experiences on a Facebook page, "Big Daddy's Big Adventure."
Since those devastating days, Duitsman has made extraordinary progress. And with unfailing grace and good humor, he inspires others.
"Being nice matters, " he said, telling of how a long-ago classmate from Lynnwood High School sent him balloons in the hospital. He said she later told him, "you were always nice to me."
Duitsman spoke about his challenges at a YMCA of Snohomish County event in March celebrating the Y's 2017 Annual Campaign, which raised $1, 552, 536. The money will support Y programs including child care, teen services, water safety, mentoring and summer camp.
"My whole world was rocked. You can't even scratch your face, " he told the audience in the conference center at Xfinity Arena in Everett. He shared how the Y became a lifeline after insurance coverage for physical therapy ran out. "I met friends — they have special challenges, " Duitsman said. "I'm staying positive because someone always has it worse."
With injuries to his C3-C4 and C6-C7 vertebrae, Duitsman is affected by partial rather than complete paralysis. With help, he is able to stand. And at the Marysville Y, supported by others, he moved his feet for several tentative steps.
Amid quips about "Todd the odd quad, " Duitsman was helped to his feet by Kacey Walker, his friend, assistant and driver. Duitsman calls the 22-year-old Walker, "my right-hand man." The two met at the Marysville Y.
Duitsman works out with the encouragement of Scott Ballenger, a part-time diverse abilities trainer at the Marysville Y. Ballenger, 59, has been in a wheelchair since being injured in a shallow diving accident at age 15.
It was Ballenger who contacted Duitsman about wheelchair rugby at the facility. More than a year after his injury, Duitsman began working out regularly there.
From his wheelchair, Duitsman used his arms to lift weights using an Uppertone exercise device, which was designed by a quadriplegic. With his hands anchored by upright guides, and with Walker's help, Duitsman was able to push forward, raising the weights behind him.
Before his accident, he worked in real estate with Keller Williams Realty in Marysville. The company has been supportive, he said, and he'd like to get back to his real estate career. Duitsman also knows that through his adversity, he can help others. Duitsman is working on a book. He uses his cellphone, which is tethered to his wheelchair, for dictation.
"Todd can be an inspiration, " said Ballenger, who has watched Duitsman work out at the Y with his children.
Duitsman, too, has found inspiring people at the Y, including Quinton Morris. Also in a wheelchair, Morris has cerebral palsy. He has raised money for the Y campaign by dragging a weighted box, lap after lap, around the Marysville YMCA gym.
Duitsman said his Christian faith, his wife and family have kept him going through the toughest times.
"My wife is the real trooper. And I love Jesus Christ, " said Duitsman, who belongs to LIFEchurch360. "The week before this happened, I was running 10 miles and playing basketball with high schoolers. This is all just a journey. I want to be running and playing again.
"I'm super blessed, amazingly blessed, " Duitsman said.
And then, he and his right-hand man were off to their next stop — a hot yoga studio for another workout.


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Water shortage warning for 8M from Orlando to the Keys

A water shortage warning has been issued to 8.1 million residents from Orlando to the Florida Keys.
South Florida Water Management District Board Chairman Dan O'Keefe said Thursday that residents' voluntary efforts will help the water supply last through the region's dry season. If those efforts prove insufficient, mandatory water restrictions may be considered.
Drought conditions have prompted the district to prohibit fires on its lands and prepare to close navigation locks on Lake Okeechobee's north shore.
Officials said rainfall across the district's 16 counties since Nov. 1 has been 6.75 inches below average. Water levels in Lake Okeechobee have dropped to 12.04 feet.
Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department Director Lester Sola released a statement Thursday reminding residents about year-round, twice-weekly watering restrictions. Sola said individuals in Miami-Dade each use roughly 134 gallons of water daily.


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Washington dad pens fantasy adventure about teen with autism

Power chords have never been more powerful than when they're blasting out of Joel Suzuki's guitar in waves of glowing color.
Joel is a typical teenager in many ways. He feels awkward around girls. He loves rocking out on his electric axe and dreams of making it big, but suspects that might not be realistic. Really, he's more of a "private virtuoso" who's most comfortable playing alone.
But Joel is also supremely gifted. He's great at memorizing data and tracking details. He's "on the spectrum" — living with a mild form of autism called Asperger's Syndrome. That's not usually considered a gift — it makes him a magnet for bullies — but through a series of amazing adventures, Joel learns to cast magic spells by combining his unique brain waves with his awesome guitar chops.
All of that is established in "Secret of the Songshell, " book one of the Joel Suzuki saga, a growing series of fantasy adventures for teen readers by devoted Vancouver, Washington, dad Brian Tashima. Protagonist Suzuki is a mashup of Tashima, who's a working musician as well as a writer, and his 18-year-old son Torin, who lives with Asperger's.
Reviews of the first two Suzuki books have been positive and even grateful: "Brian Tashima has succeeded in creating a great fictional 'aspie' hero, and I would recommend this book to people both on and off the autism spectrum, " Gavin Bollard wrote on a blog called Life With Asperger's. "It's quite a good story."
The Suzuki books join a growing chorus urging understanding and acceptance of autism and Asperger's. Tashima pointed out that a new Muppet with autism recently joined the cast of "Sesame Street, " and that Billy the blue ranger in the latest "Power Rangers" film is also on the spectrum.
Tashima donates one dollar from each book sale to Autism Empowerment, a grass-roots nonprofit agency. Tashima is on the board of directors.
"My commitment is to give back to the community that supports and enjoys the book, " he said.
Portraying Asperger's as a talent, not a disability, helps pave the way to better lives for people with autism, he said. "I would love to make Joel the autism community's own Harry Potter, " he said.
Tashima grew up in Hawaii and came to Vancouver for family reasons. Plus, Hawaii's not the best spot for aspiring rock bands, he said; the Portland area is better.
He always loved to read and tried to write, he said, but his own creative projects never fascinated him. Until his son, who was deep into Harry Potter and Percy Jackson adventures, surprised him with a request: "Dad, can you write me into a book?"
"It was the right kind of inspiration I needed to see it all the way through, " Tashima said. He knew his story would be fantastical, focus on music and shine a light on Asperger's as "the source of magic, " not an obstacle or problem.
He's always seen his son that way, he said. Torin was teaching himself — and his dad — about computers at age 2. Since then, he's built his own. He can memorize staggering amounts of detail — strings of numbers, shopping mall layouts.
"That always seemed like superpowers to me, " Tashima said.
Tashima worked with writing groups and editors on his book but couldn't get a publisher interested. So he went the self-publishing route. The first Joel Suzuki book, "Secret of the Songshell, " was a fantasy finalist for the self-publishing USA Best Books Awards in 2012.
Since then, Tashima has finished two more Joel Suzuki books — and made plans for many more. His architecture for the whole series used to be seven books, each one based on a color in the visible light spectrum, which plays an important role in the saga; but lately he's realized that he'll need 11 installments in all.
No problem. Tashima did some research and discovered that there are plenty of invisible wavelengths too. It all lines up neatly.
While he may not have climbed onto the best-seller list, Tashima has gotten noticed by the autism community. He gives readings and visits classrooms, either in person or via Skype, to talk about his writing and his parenting, he said.
He finds nothing more satisfying than connecting with young readers who tell him that Joel Suzuki's adventures and abilities "make me feel so much better about myself, " he said.
The only thing that's comparable is when readers who aren't on the spectrum also enjoy the books, and tell Tashima: "Now I understand so much better."


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TV tonight: Bee Gees salute, 'Leftovers' premiere

The Real Jesus of Nazareth Smithsonian, 8 ET/PT
Smithsonian has one of the more intriguing Easter specials with this four-part series that compares the all-star 1977 miniseries Jesus of Nazareth to what we know of the real story. It’s hosted by Robert Powell, who starred as Jesus in the miniseries. If you’ d rather, TCM is dedicating the day to Easter-themed films (some religious, some not) , including Godspell (8 a.m. ET/5 a.m. PT) , Ben-Hur (2 p.m. ET/ 11 a.m. PT) , Easter Parade (6 ET/3 PT) and The Robe (8 ET/5 PT) .
Stayin’ Alive: A Grammy Salute to the Music of the Bee Gees CBS, 8 ET/PT
Bee Gees founder Barry Gibb and Saturday Night Fever star John Travolta headline this salute to the Grammy-winning group. Among those scheduled to perform Bee Gees hits are Keith Urban (To Love Somebody) , Ed Sheeran (Massachusetts) , John Legend and Stevie Wonder (How Can You Mend A Broken Heart) , Celine Dion (Immortality) and Little Big Town (How Deep is Your Love) . And, of course, there’s Gibb himself, who will perform Jive Talkin, You Should Be Dancing and — ooh, ooh — Stayin’ Alive.
The Leftovers HBO, 9 ET/PT
There’s a lot of big comings and goings on HBO Sunday. You get the third and final season return of The Leftovers, followed by the series finale of Girls (10 ET/PT) and the return of Veep (10: 30 ET/PT) .


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Report: Taxpayers donate more to homelessness than education

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Utah taxpayers donated twice as much to fight homelessness than to support education and seem to have a soft spot for body armor for police dogs, according to the most recent report examining donations on tax returns in 2015.
With Tax Day approaching, Utah residents have their annual opportunity to make donations to charitable organizations when they send in their tax returns. But if the last 25 years are any indication, the state may see a decrease in these donations.
Overall, there has been a clear downward trend in the amount of money that residents have donated through their tax returns. In 1990, residents contributed about $450, 000, but by 2015 that amount had decreased to about $191, 000.
These numbers could be influenced by a variety of different factors, including the economy and how well the charitable organizations spread awareness about the donation opportunity, said Charlie Roberts, spokesman for the Utah State Tax Commission.
There is also a wide array of charitable organizations that people can donate to these days, he said. “These are just a small sampling of the number of charities that are available, ” said Roberts.
Some people may simply not know that they can donate this way, said Billy Hesterman of the Utah Taxpayers Association, a nonprofit taxpayer watchdog group.
“I don’ t think that this section is maybe highlighted well enough in the state income tax portion for people to know, ‘Hey I can actually give more to the state education fund or I can give more to certain school districts,’ ” he said.
About 9, 200 taxpayers made a donation in their 2015 tax returns, and the average donation was about $21.
Out of the eight donation categories, taxpayers donated the most money to fight homelessness, contributing about $70, 000, while handing off about $35, 000 for education.
Hesterman said that could have a lot to do with the fact that all of Utah’s income tax is already slated to go to education, so taxpayers may want to diversify their contributions. But it could also simply be because there tends to be more information advertised about the opportunity to donate to fight homelessness.
State residents also contributed about $15, 000 for body armor meant to protect police service dogs from bullets, which was less than the nearly $28, 000 donated for spaying and neutering.


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5 Fashion Pieces You Need to Let Go

It’s a hard thing to do, but it must be done: wardrobe detoxing. Do you really need everything in your closet right now? Short answer: No. But what do you give up exactly? Ah, there lies the challenge.
Aside from getting rid of clothes you haven’ t worn in years, outfits that no longer fit you, and pieces that have reached the end of their life span, there are certain things you need to let go of. Trendy pieces and remnants of your fashion experiments gone wrong are just a few things you need to bid good-bye. Is it hard to look at right now? There, there. What has passed should stay there and you’ ll completely put them behind you once you’ ve purged your closet of the evidence.
If you’ re not ready for that kind of purge, we at least urge you to let go of a few items so you can make way for more functional pieces that will see you through the coming months.
The minute you find out everyone you know has worn a choker, is a telltale sign the trend is approaching rapid decline. From the more common versions of the necklace made out of suede, velvet, and leather, to do-it-yourself options using ribbons, lace, and shoelaces, it looks like all possible styles of this item have been exhausted. Parting ways with this accessory may be tough, but it’s for the best.
With all your escapades lined up for the months to come, uncomfortable footwear isn’ t an option. Opt for classic white sneakers or mix things up with an embellished pair. For a more polished look, low block-heeled sandals should do the trick. Shoes that are practical, yet stylish are a necessity this season. Trust us, your feet will thank you!
This one is a no-brainer. With the temperatures continuing to rise, tough fabrics such as suede shouldn’ t see the light of day. Unsightly sweat marks are a big no-no. Do yourself a favor and make fabrics such as cotton and linen your new best friends.
After having their fair share of the spotlight last season, corsets and waist trainers are given a minimalist approach. Emphasis to the waist is still all the rage, but in a more subtle way. High-waisted, drawstring, and foldover looks are the way to go. Don’ t worry, the Kardashians will understand.
The subtly sexy and bedroom-inspired vibe is given a more chic and polished makeover. Instead of babydoll dresses in silk layered over a shirt, the look is now all about frocks in sheer fabric and tulle as well as button-down pajama tops and tailored pants. This new iteration of the trend makes for an effortless look that we just can’ t get enough of.
Photos courtesy of Vogue
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Warriors ready to start another special post-season run

OAKLAND, Calif. — That chase for 73 wins and breaking the Chicago Bulls’ record last season generated so much scrutiny when the Golden State Warriors failed to win it all at the end.
How might have that taken a toll come playoff time? Did fatigue factor in when it mattered most?
Nah, Steve Kerr refuses to think about it that way. Stephen Curry’s injury sure did, though. Absolutely.
The two-time reigning NBA MVP sprained the MCL in his right knee when he slipped on a wet spot just before halftime of a Game 4 win at Houston in the first round of the 2016 playoffs.
“Steph gets banged up the first game of the playoffs which affected his whole run, ” Kerr said. “You can’ t account for that stuff. You try your best to keep your eye on guys and to keep them fresh, but honestly Steph was pretty fresh going into last season’s postseason. So this year we’ re doing what we can to make sure guys are ready to roll, but you never know what’s going to happen.”
Now, the Warriors – who at 67-15 had the NBA’s best record for a third straight year – and Trail Blazers prepare to face off in the playoffs for a second straight season after Golden State beat Portland in a five-game Western Conference semifinals last year.
Kerr rested players down the stretch as needed, he mixed Kevin Durant back in after a 19-game absence with a left knee injury.
“We’ re chasing something, we’ re not protecting anything this year, ” Curry said. “… In theory, we’ re not the hunted. Obviously, we have the best record but we’ re not defending a championship. There’s really no pressure. Two years ago we were trying to climb the ladder again and now we’ re in that kind of same mentality. It’s good for us to go just go in with all the confidence in the world that we’ ve built up this regular season and understand that every round’s going to be different, every round’s going to be just a dogfight. We understand how important every single game is on that journey.”
The Blazers lost all four regular-season meetings but went 17-6 down the stretch.
Curry was sidelined for the first three games of that series last year before coming off the bench in a playoff game for the first time in his career in Game 4 and scoring 40 points, with an NBA record 17 in overtime of a 132-125 victory.
All of that is in the past, Durant assures.
“Last year’s over, ” KD said Saturday. “Just trying to move on. We know this is a different season, a different team, just a different year. We’ re not coming in saying, ‘Because of last year, we’ re trying to get revenge or we’ re trying to show everybody what we got.'”
Here are some things to watch for leading to tipoff Sunday:
Damian Lillard typically brings his best when he comes home to the East Bay to take on the Warriors, and he fully expects to win this series.
“We feel we can do it, ” Lillard said. “If we don’ t, we shouldn’ t even go out there and lace up our shoes.”
Lillard and CJ McCollum make up one of the league’s best backcourts, one that rivals Curry and Klay Thompson.
The Blazers hope to have their big man healthy, too. Portland center Jusuf Nurkic was listed as questionable Saturday after he missed the last seven games with a non-displaced fracture in his right leg.
Portland must pick who to try to stop, and that’s a daunting task with the Warriors’ loaded lineup.
Durant averaged 29.3 points against Portland and Curry 27.3.
KD returned from a 19-game absence with a left knee injury to play the final three regular-season games.
“The main focus is health, and KD getting his legs back and relatively healthy, so that’s a good start for him, ” key backup David West said.
The Blazers would prefer to forget that 135-90 debacle of a defeat at Oracle on Dec. 17 – the largest Warriors’ margin of victory in the rivalry.
Golden State has won the last six meetings overall and 15 of 18.
Portland coach Terry Stotts can look to last year’s playoffs for some guidance, though he said Golden State’s defense is far better now.
“Both teams have a lot of the same players from last year, styles of play are similar, ” Stotts said. “Obviously when you add Durant on to the team it adds another potent scorer who fits in well with how they play.”
Thompson picked up the slack with Curry sidelined last year against Portland, leading the Warriors in scoring in three of the five games – with 37 points, 27 and 33.
Now, Thompson isn’ t afraid to say it: The Warriors plan to be playing for another two months.
“We want to redeem ourselves and we have a golden opportunity, ” Thompson said. “It’s a new year. We’ ve got to forget about last year whether we won or lost. It’s a new slate and we’ re chasing that trophy. We want it back oh so badly.”


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Sindi Dlathu - A star with a conscience

Johannesburg - Few people remember Sindi Dlathu’s real name.
The 43-year-old's TV character, Thandaza, has taken over her life and identity for two decades because of the popular SABC2 TshiVenda drama, Muvhango .
Many people also don’ t know that Dlathu will have been in the acting industry for a whopping 30 years next year.
“In 1997, when I started acting in Muvhango, I never thought I’ d be in the show for this long. But my acting career has gradually grown in the show, ” she says.
The show has grown from one episode per week to a daily soapie.
“Thandaza and I grew with the show. It’s been a dream come true to be in the same soapie for two decades, ” she says.
The first Muvhango series had 13 episodes and premiered on April 7 1997.
Twenty years later, with at least 6 million viewers, it still claims the number one spot on SABC2.
A quest to bridge the divide
“It all started as a concept in a quest to bridge the cultural divide between black communities and also [to eliminate] language superiority, ” says Muvhango’s creator and executive producer, Duma Ndlovu.
But it has not always been smooth sailing for the show. It has gone through difficult challenges, but managed to pull through, Ndlovu says.
“We will continue to come up with authentic stories that talk to communities and create interaction among our viewers. They are the lifeline of the soapie’s success, ” Ndlovu says.
Dressed in a green blouse with a black blazer paired with black jeans, Dlathu looks drained. “Work has been hectic — I haven’ t rested since the beginning of the year, ” she says.
'God planned my path'
Nevertheless, she is looking dashing and is ageing gracefully. She ascribes this to her “good genes”.
“I never planned to be where I am today. God planned my path. The reason I’ m still with the show is because I relate with the story line.
"It’s the first show that accommodates all the African languages. It speaks to us black people, ” she says.
She describes Thandaza as a woman who has been through it all. She lost her first love, a multimillionaire husband, forcing her to pull herself up by her bootstraps and start her own business.
“She loses her loved ones all the time. Her [new] husband betrays her by impregnated her niece.”
She says although people close to Thandaza say she’s a strong woman, she doesn’ t look at herself as a strong person and feels vulnerable.
“The strong personality is what Sindi and Thandaza have in common.”
Two years ago, Dlathu had health scare while on set. She suffered from severe fatigue and was admitted in hospital.
“When you have three months of an emotional storyline, your employers need to give you a break to recovery emotionally. It really takes a toll on you, ” she says.
Asked if she ever felt she needed to leave Muvhango, Dlathu gives an emphatic no. She has rejected many offers before.
“I wouldn’ t trade acting for anything. It is my first love and that’s why I’ ve been doing it for this long.”
More than one talent
Although she has been acting all her life, she believes people can have more than one talent.
She enrolled for an IT course after matric, but gave it up in her first year to pursue her acting career.
She has acted in Sarafina, Khululeka, Justice for All and the SABC1 drama series Soul City.
She has also acted in theatre productions such as The Game and The Suit, which earned her an FNB Vita Award for best actress in 2003.
Will she ever venture into working behind the scenes, perhaps as a producer?
Not interested, she says. “Acting is my calling.”
And how has she managed to live a life without drug abuse like most stars?
“It’s the glory of God. I remember my granny used to say a person needs to have a conscience. It just resonated.”
Temptations have always been there, but her conscience has guided her and she counts her blessings.
She is also grateful to the supportive people who are always around her.
Why should Sindi stay on Muvhango?
SMS us on 35697 using the keyword THANDAZA. Please include your name and province. SMSes cost R1.50


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LeBron James helps the Cavs avoid an upset in play-off series opener

LeBron James scored 32 points as defending NBA champions the Cleveland Cavaliers survived a scare to win their opening play-off game 109-108 against the Indiana Pacers.
CJ Miles missed a jump shot in the final second which would have snatched victory for the Pacers.
Cleveland relied on their star names, with Kyrie Irving scoring 23 points and Kevin Love 17, but only James tallied more than Indiana’s Paul George, who contributed 29 in a losing cause.
The Cavs lost their last five regular season games to finish behind the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference, while the side that finished second in the west made a far more convincing start to their play-off campaign.
The San Antonio Spurs thrashed the Memphis Grizzlies 111-82, with Kawhi Leonard leading the way with 32 points.
There was an upset in Toronto as the Raptors were turned over 97-83 by the Milwaukee Bucks.
The side who finished sixth in the Eastern Conference beat the team ranked three places higher on their own patch as Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 28 points.
It was Toronto’s eighth consecutive defeat in a play-off opener.


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‘Pretty Little Liars’ Star Lucy Hale Teases ‘Dark Aria’ For Season 7B

Could this mean that Dark Aria will actually turn out to be Uber A?
“I was so excited because they finally gave Aria something really dark to do, ” Ms. Hale says. “So these last 10 episodes are my favorite, at least for Aria. You get to see a not so nice side of her. She may or may not betray her friends. So it was cool to get to do something a little different.”
“I don’ t know what they’ re talking about. I can’ t say anything, ” Lucy replied.
“Of course, there may be some new questions, but you’ ll get the answers you’ ve been looking for, ” said Ms. Hale. “It’s long, too. It’s two hours, so there’s a lot that happens. And there’s a wedding.”
So, there will be a wedding, but we don’ t know if Hale was speaking specifically about that proposal from Ezra (Ian Harding) to Aria, or if another couple will be tying the knot. After all, it seems entirely likely that Haleb is back on course. There’s also the chance that Spencer and Toby (Keegan Allen) could find their way back to each other before the end.
[Featured Image by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]


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A look at hit singles that don't mean what you think they mean

You might want to think twice about singing these songs at the top of your lungs.
Music is something that can have many different interpretations, but sometimes an artists’ message gets lost in translation. Songs that are really about drugs become pop hits, while track about stalkers gets looped in with love songs.
Here’s a look at some hit tracks that have meanings most aren’ t aware of.
“Doing crystal myth will lift you up until you break.”
Third Eye Blind’s “Semi-Charmed Life” sounds like a happy summer song with it’s steady poppy “do, do, ” lyrics throughout.
However, when you take a deeper look at the lyrics the song isn’ t what it seems. The hit single is actually about crystal meth addiction, but it’s hard to catch if you’ re not paying attention.
Not only did singer Stephan Jenkins name drop crystal meth, he also sang the lines “The sky was gold, it was rose, I was taking sips of it through my nose.”
The fact the radio-edit blurred out the line about the drug didn’ t help people see what the song was really about either.
“If you're having girl problems I feel bad for you son, I got ninety nine problems but a b---h ain't one.”
When Jay-Z released “99 Problems” as a single, many believed he was referring to his wife when he said a “b----“ isn’ t a problem in his life, but it’s actually not what the rapper means.
Each “b----“ he drops actually refers to something different. In the first verse it’s the music industry, the second he’s referring to the police’s K9 dog and in the third it’s someone trying to get one over on him.
If he was really calling Beyoncé a “b----“ it probably wouldn’ t sit well with the beyhive.
“Closing Time” is everyone’s favorite last song of the night and for years has been the go-to song to close your tab at the bar and head home for the night.
Despite the band literally singing “One last call for alcohol so finish your whiskey or beer, ” the song actually had a deeper meaning.
Singer Dan Wilson actually wrote the song about the expectation of becoming a father. The song is written in a series of metaphors, especially with lines like “open all the doors and let you out into the world.”
The Foo Fighters consistently write rock songs that turn into anthems and rule the charts. In 2003, “All My Life” was one of the biggest tracks around, but it’s meaning flew over the heads of many.
Taking the song at face value, it appears it’s about someone about to seize a moment in their lives. In reality, it’s actually a song about oral sex.
Frontman Dave Grohl told Q magazine in 2003 that the real meaning of the song was “a little dirty.”
“I’ m very fond of giving oral sex to women. It’s a pleasure-giving experience — giving someone something that they’ ll remember for the rest of their lives, and if you do it right they will.”
Knowing this and going back to read the lyrics, the meaning easily falls into place.
The 90’s were loaded with songs with hidden meanings so it should come as no surprise that one of the big bands of the era, the Goo Dolls, had a track that was more than it seemed.
“Slide” has probably been used as a wedding song before, but it’s not really a love song even if some interpret it that way.
The hit single is actually about a girl who gets pregnant, was raised by a religious family and has to decide whether to get an abortion or get married and keep the baby.
“Don't you love the life you killed? The priest is on the phone, your father hit the wall, your ma disowned you, ” frontman John Rzeznik sings on one of the verses. He also asks several times throughout the song “do you wanna get married or run away.”
“Every Breath You Take” sounds like a sweet song that could be found in a romantic comedy right? Wrong.
Turns out, the track is actually better suited to accompany Jason or Michael Myers.
One of The Police’s biggest hits is actually a song about a stalker, not that of a romantic.
“Every breath you take, every move you make, every bond you break, every step you take, I'll be watching you, ” Sting sings in the song.
When you know this about the song, it sends a chill down your spine instead of making your heart melt.


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Indian metro probes porn screened at busy station

Hardcore pornography that flashed onto a giant screen at one of Delhi's busiest metro stations has prompted red-faced rail authorities to launch an investigation, an official said Sunday, after footage of the incident was shared widely online.
Commuters were stopped in their tracks at the station in the Indian capital's central business district of Connaught Place last weekend when the x-rated footage began playing on a large screen that normally broadcasts advertisements for luxury property or credit card schemes.
Scores of people captured the moment on their mobile phones and the images have since gone viral on social media.
Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) spokesman Mohinder Yadav told AFP Sunday that authorities were trying to identify three suspects believed to be behind the incident last Sunday.
DMRC said the offending screen was operated by a private company and had an unsecure WiFi network, leaving it accessible to others.
"As per CCTV footage, three men have run (the) porn clip through their mobile on this TV, " the DMRC said in a statement late Saturday, adding that the contractor in charge of the screen would be required to have password protection from now on.
The incident made headlines in a country where talk about sex or even public displays of affection are seen by many as taboo.
Mainstream cinema is stripped of raunchiness by India's socially-conservative censor board, which muted the word "lesbian" from a Hindi-language film, blocked the release of a toned-down version of the erotic movie "Fifty Shades of Grey" in 2015, and deemed two James Bond kissing scenes unsuitable for an Indian audience.


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Three dead in Colorado mountain home in apparent triple homicide

Two men and a woman were found dead from traumatic injuries inside a mountain home in Colorado on Saturday in a suspected triple homicide, police said.
Three bodies were found in a house in Coal Creek Canyon, about 30 miles northwest of Denver, the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
"The initial scene investigation suggests each victim suffered a traumatic injury, ” the sheriff’s office said, without elaborating, adding that a murder investigation was under way.
The victims' names and their relationship to one another have not been released, the office said.
The cause and manner of the deaths will be determined later by the county coroner.
Police were called on Saturday at about 7: 30 a.m. by a man who said he had not heard from friends living at the house for several days. Authorities, acting under a search warrant, found the victims later in the day.
No suspect was identified, and police are continuing their investigation.


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Zlatan Ibrahimovic admits Manchester United schedule taking its toll

Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic admits he is feeling the effects of a hectic first season at Old Trafford.
The Swede has already made 44 appearances this campaign, scoring 28 goals, with United having reached the latter stages of three cup competitions during Jose Mourinho's first season in charge.
Mourinho's side have also been involved in an ongoing scrap for a Champions League place, and head into today's game with Chelsea six points adrift of fourth-place Liverpool with two games in hand.
And Ibrahimovic believes the Premier League leaders have benefited from their lack of European football.
"We have one month to go, it's many games we play, " the 35-year-old Swede said in quotes reported by the Daily Telegraph.
"I have been playing almost all the games. But we are still grinding, we are still pushing because we have this Europa League and the end of the Premier League. We fight for it."
Asked about Chelsea, he added: "I think they are a good team.
"Overall a good team and then of course they are playing once a week which makes a difference also because at the end of the season, I don't know how many games we have in total but I think we have much more than them.
"They haven't been playing in Europe this season and they went out from the League Cup early. But they have a great team, or else they would not be number one."
United are unbeaten in the league since a 4-0 thumping in the reverse fixture against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on October 23, but Ibrahimovic insists that run counts for little.
"I would prefer to be first in the league and not having this record, " he added. "It doesn't give us anything, this record."


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CY Leung slams lawmaker on Facebook for saying Hong Kong officials lack Singapore’s tech mindset

A war of words erupted between Hong Kong’s outgoing chief executive and pan-democratic lawmaker Charles Mok on Sunday after the latter penned a piece criticising the administration’s lagging policies in innovation and technology. Incumbent leader Leung Chun-ying launched an unexpected counter-attack on his Facebook page, saying that the pan-democrats, whom he accused of slowing down government policies, should instead be blamed. His post came just hours after Mok’s remarks went on air. In an article for RTHK’s programme, Mok said the city had been relatively late to get on the smart city bandwagon as Leung had not taken the lead until his policy address in 2015. The lawmaker representing the information technology sector lamented that local officials lacked the mindset of the city’s rivals, such as Singapore, when it came to using technology to solve problems and improve citizen services. “Our government likes to fund research and build science parks, but not adopting new technologies and applications itself, ” Mok wrote. He also said that Leung’s administration did not exercise any self-critique on its policies, in sharp contrast to Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who understood his city state’s weaknesses. Leung was quick to shift the blame to the pan-democrats, saying that the proposed establishment of the had been delayed for three years by the opposition bloc in the Legislative Council. “It is regrettable that Mok, as a lawmaker representing the information technology sector, did not stand on the government’s side in advocating technology, ” Leung wrote on his Facebook page on Sunday. “I would like to ask Mok: does Singapore have any? Does Mok oppose filibusters? Does Singapore have opposition lawmakers like the ones in Hong Kong? Would Mok be willing to give the SAR government power similar to that of the Singaporean government?” Mok slammed Leung for exploiting every opportunity to split the city and for placing all the blame on filibusters. “His remarks are meaningless, and I hope he will read through my whole article to understand what I was talking about, ” Mok said. The lawmaker said he had no expectations of Leung but that hoped his successor, , would not follow his combative approach and would be willing to listen to others.


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Trump’s inauguration rabbi to be first non-citizen honored on Israel’s Independence Day

Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, is slated to become the first non-Israeli to light a torch during Israel’s main Independence Day ceremony in Jerusalem. Hier, who in January delivered a prayer during the inauguration of President Donald Trump in Washington, D. C., is one of three individuals selected for the honor by the Ministry of Culture and Sport, the Calcalist financial supplement of the Yediot Acharonot daily reported Friday.


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Blitzboks crash out in Singapore

Cape Town - The Blitzboks are out of the Singapore Sevens having lost 19-17 to Australia in a quarter-final encounter.
Follow the action LIVE from Singapore
South Africa led 10-7 at half-time through tries by Siviwe Soyizwapi and Chris Dry and extended their lead to 17-7 with just three minutes to go.
Australia cut the lead to just five points with two minutes remaining thanks to a try by captain Tom Lucas.
A Dylan Sage yellow card didn't help matters and Australia made full use of their numerical advantage with Lachie Anderson getting over the line and John Porch kicking the vital conversion to knock the Blitzboks out of the running. They will now face Fiji in a fifth place match at 10.26 (SA time) .
Upsets continued in the quarter-finals with the USA beating Fiji and Canada downing New Zealand.
South Africa
Tries: Siviwe Soyizwapi, Chris Dry, Philip Snyman
Conversion: Cecil Afrika
Tries: Tom Lucas, Lachie Anderson, Simon Kennewell
Conversions: Tom Lucas, John Porch


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So just dance for me! Mary J. Blige flaunts her curves as she joins the likes of Patti Smith and Billy Bragg performing at Bluesfest in Byron Bay

It's one of the biggest festivals in Australia.
And taking to the stage at Bluesfest on Friday, were the likes of American singers Mary J. Blige and Patti Smith.
Mary, 46, looked stylish in high-waisted jeans and a skintight top, no doubt thrilling fans as she performed and danced on stage.
Mary wore a pair of dark-tinted sunglasses and chunky chandelier earrings, with her jeans being baggy and ripped, looking edgy.
The hit maker - who is known for songs including Family Affair and Be Without You - has been touring Australia before hitting Bluesfest.
This year marks several milestones for Mary, with the singer releasing a new album and single with Kanye West, titled Love Yourself.
Patti meanwhile, has been playing shows in Australia and is known for her hit 1975 album, Horses, which is considered one of the most influential in rock history.
According to, at one of her Sydney shows earlier this month, Patti had no qualms about telling a fan where to go when she spotted them playing on a phone during her performance.
'Go take a f***ing photo over there', Patti reportedly told one fan, 'banishing' them.
'If someone wants that spot more than you, you don't deserve it, ' she added as the crowds moved towards the stage ready for her show.
The publication adds that this is Patti's last tour in Australia due to 'bronchial' problems, with the travel time from the US to Australia being a little to long for her.
Also performing at the festival on Saturday was British singer Billy Bragg.
Other musicians making an appearance at the festival were the likes of Roy Ayers, Gregory Porter, Corinne Bailey Rae and Jimmy Buffett.
The Festival has drawn in a celebrity crowd, with the likes of Chris Hemsworth, Elsa Pataky, Matt Damon and Jason Momoa enjoying the music.


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Actor Clifton James, who played a swaggering, tobacco-spitting sheriff in two James Bond films, dies at 96 from complications due to diabetes

The actor Clifton James, best known for his indelible portrayal of a southern sheriff in two James Bond films, has died at the age of 96.
His daughter, Lynn James, said he died Saturday at another daughter's home in Gladstone, Oregon, due to complications from diabetes.
'He was the most outgoing person, beloved by everybody, ' Lynn James said. 'I don't think the man had an enemy. We were incredibly blessed to have had him in our lives.'
James often played a convincing southerner but loved working on the stage in New York during the prime of his career.
One of his first significant roles playing a southerner was as a cigar-chomping, prison floor-walker in the 1967 classic 'Cool Hand Luke.'
His long list of roles also includes swaggering, tobacco-spitting Louisiana Sheriff J. W. Pepper in the Bond films.
His portrayal of the redneck sheriff in 'Live and Let Die' in 1973 more than held its own with sophisticated English actor Roger Moore's portrayal of Bond.
James was such a hit that writers carved a role for him in the next Bond film, 'The Man with the Golden Gun, ' in 1974.
James, this time playing the same sheriff on vacation in Thailand as the epitome of the ugly American abroad, gets pushed into the water by a baby elephant.
'He wasn't supposed to actually go in, ' said his daughter. 'They gave him sugar in his pocket to feed the elephant. But he wasn't giving it to the elephant fast enough.'
She said her father met with real southern sheriffs to prepare for his role as Pepper. Of his hundreds of roles, it was the Louisiana sheriff that people most often recognized and approached him about.
His daughter noted that her father sometimes said actors get remembered for one particular role out of hundreds.
'His is the sheriff's, but he said he would have never picked that one, ' she said.
George Clifton James was born May 29, 1920, in Spokane, Washington, the oldest of five siblings and the only boy. The family lost all its money at the start of the Great Depression and moved to Gladstone, just outside Portland, Oregon, where James' maternal grandparents lived.
In the 1930s, James got work with the Civilian Conservation Corps and then entered World War II in 1942 as a soldier with the U. S. Army in the South Pacific, receiving two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and a Silver Star.
Lynn James said one of the Purple Hearts came when a bullet pierced his helmet and zipped around the inside to come out and split his nose. The second Purple Heart, she said, came from shrapnel that knocked out many of his teeth.
She said her father rarely spoke about the war and never described events leading to his receiving the Silver Star.
'He lost too many friends, ' she said.
After the war, James took classes at the University of Oregon and acted in plays. Inspired, he moved to New York and launched his acting career.
Later in life, he spent the fall and spring of each year in New York. In the winter, he lived in a condo in Delray Beach, Florida. During the summer he lived in Oregon.
James' wife, Laurie, died in 2015. He is survived by two sisters, five children, 14 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
Lynn James said a celebration of her father's life will be held in Gladstone in August, but there are no other plans so far. She said some of his ashes will likely be spread in the Clackamas River in Oregon, in which he swam as a boy, and in New York Harbor, where some of his wife's ashes were spread.


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Enjoying the fresh sea breeze! Joanna Burgess takes newborn son to Boston to the ocean as she watches husband NRL star husband George swim laps

She's been out and about with her husband NRL star George Burgess and their newborn son.
And on Saturday, Joanna Burgess took to Instagram to share a snap of what seems to be her Friday morning, taking in some fresh sea breeze with Boston in her arms.
The mother-son duo stood a safe distance away from the cliff as they watched George swim a few laps in the sea ahead of his game against the Canterbury Bulldogs.
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Joanna captioned her post: 'Shade and fresh air while Daddy goes for his morning swim #GameDay, ' and tagged her husband.
In the snap, the 28-year-old looked every bit the nurturing mother as she cradled her little boy swaddled up in baby blankets.
Her pal and dietitian Susie Burrell commented on the post: 'are you bringing Boston to the game?'
To which she replied back: 'little man is only 6 days old- I'll wait a little while. Will be watching on the telly x'
Former Miss Universe Australia and contestant on I'm A Celebrity Tegan Martin, who is currently at the Coachella music festival, wrote: 'So perfect ❤️'
While another one of her friends said: 'Gorgeous babe. Congratulations to you both xx.'
That same Friday, Joanna took to her Instagram story to share a video of herself enjoying a cafe outing with her husband and their baby.
While sitting down at the outdoor section of the cafe, the blonde stunner captured a short clip of herself wearing a glamorous pair of sunnies and a loose fitting pinstripe top.
She then pans her camera to her football playing beau George who awkwardly smiles at the camera as his appears ready to take a sip from his coffee.
Joanna turns the camera towards to the pram to show little Boston, who appears fast asleep and snuggled up.
This short clip appears to be the family's second outing since they brought home the week old bub from the hospital last week.
'Late lunch with my boys. Little Boss snoozing the whole way through, ' she captioned the post, which showed little Boston fast asleep in his pram.
Boston Mark Burgess was born last Saturday night.
In an official Instagram post, George announced in his caption: 'Boston Mark Burgess April 8, 2017 @ 10: 51pm 56cm / 4.08kg.'
The couple dated publicly in 2014, and tied the knot in a ceremony December 2016 in an intimate ceremony in Noosa, Queensland.
It's been quite the start to the year for the Burgess clan with George's older brother, Sam and his wife Phoebe welcomed their first child daughter Poppy.


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California governor Jerry Brown pardons 72 criminals and commutes sentences ahead of Easter

Gov. Jerry Brown announced Saturday that he has pardoned 72 ex-convicts, continuing his tradition of timing his decisions around major Christian holidays including Easter.
Brown, a former Jesuit seminarian, limited most of his pardons to people who were convicted of drug offenses and other lower-level crimes and who have already completed their sentences. He also issued seven commutations.
Those pardoned included three men who served in the U. S. military but were deported to Mexico after completing sentences for various crimes and a teenage mother who killed her newborn child after giving birth in a bathtub.
One of the men, Hector Barajas Varela, was expelled from the country after serving more than one year in prison for shooting at an occupied home or vehicle.
He founded the Deported Veterans Support House in Tijuana, Mexico, to help deportees adjusting to life there and has advocated to allow deported veterans to return to the United States.
'I'm very humbled, ' Barajas said in a video he posted on his Facebook page. 'There are days when I feel like giving up, but it's because of things like these... that I still believe, that I still have faith that eventually we will go home.'
None of the decisions were as notable as his pardon of Robert Downey Jr. in December 2015 for a 1996 drug conviction that sent the actor to prison for nearly a year.
Downey was imprisoned for violating his probation after he was convicted of felony drug possession in Los Angeles County. His life and career have since rebounded.
Such pardons don't erase the convictions. But state and federal law enforcement agencies are informed, and pardons become public records.
California's longest-serving governor has now issued 1, 330 pardons, including 404 during his first two terms as governor from 1975 to 1983.
Pardons were rare for his three immediate predecessors.
Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger gave out 15, Democrat Gray Davis granted none, and Republican Pete Wilson granted 13.
Brown's office says earlier Republican governors were more generous, with Ronald Reagan granting nearly 600 and George Deukmejian more than 300.


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Barrett performance lauded by pundits, sends warning to Lions

WELLINGTON, April 16 (Reuters) - British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland should take note -- All Blacks flyhalf Beauden Barrett is on a different planet right now and might be even better than three-times World Player of the Year Dan Carter, New Zealand rugby pundits have said.
The 25-year-old Barrett, last year's World Player of the Year, was instrumental in the Wellington Hurricanes' 28-24 win over Auckland Blues at Eden Park on Saturday, scoring one try and setting up their other three.
New Zealand Herald columnist Chris Rattue said he had seen few better than Barrett, comparing him to All Blacks great Christian Cullen, whose electric pace and vision was credited with changing the role of the running fullback.
"Since I've been watching rugby, since the early '70s, the only player who is on Planet Beauden Barrett is Christian Cullen, " he wrote on Sunday.
"He's already a better No. 10 than Dan Carter, apart from kicking, which means the British and Irish Lions are in a lot of trouble."
Gatland brings the Lions to New Zealand in June and July for a 10-match tour, which includes three tests against the All Blacks.
Carter made his test debut in 2003 but truly announced himself on the international stage during the Lions tour of New Zealand in 2015, most notably in the second test.
Carter totally overshadowed opposite number Jonny Wilkinson in the match, driving the All Blacks around Wellington Regional Stadium and scoring 33 points in a performance described as the most complete ever seen by a flyhalf.
In a scrappy game on Saturday, Barrett grabbed the match by the scruff of the neck and his searing pace and ability to exploit space led to all of the Hurricanes points.
He scored his try by anticipating a Blues lineout move that broke down and outstripped Auckland's outside backs to run in untouched from 45 metres out.
Barrett's pace also got him outside the Blues' drifting defensive line to provide Ngani Laumape with his try, while his vision to kick into space and then regather the ball set up lock Mark Abbott's second, and match-winning, try with seven minutes remaining.
Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd said Barrett's influence had been key.
"We talked about that we had to win those big moments and he singlehandedly does that, " said Boyd. "And he is regularly responsible for seven or 14 points for us each week."
Blues coach Tana Umaga, who played Super Rugby with Barrett's father Kevin, said the flyhalf was only going to get better as the season progressed.
"He's just unbelievable at the moment and playing with that much confidence and vision, with time on the ball, " Umaga said.
"He is the world's best player at the moment and he's still showing that."
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Peter Rutherford)


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Rebels victory a release from stressful week, issues remain

MELBOURNE, April 16 (Reuters) - The sense of relief for the Melbourne Rebels after fullback Reece Hodge landed a 35-metre penalty goal with time virtually up on the clock against the ACT Brumbies was palpable and could not have been better timed for the embattled Super Rugby team.
It not only gave the Rebels their first win of the season, a 19-17 victory over the Australian-conference leading Brumbies, but also ended a week in which they discovered they were essentially playing for their futures.
"I'm delighted for the players... and everyone involved with the Melbourne Rebels really. It has been a big five or six weeks on and off the field, " coach Tony McGahan said.
"To come out and get a result against the number one side in Australia was great. It wasn't pretty but we stuck to the task and found a way (to win) ."
The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) said on Monday that either the Rebels or the Perth-based Western Force would be culled from Super Rugby as it contracts to 15 teams from 2018. Two of the six South African sides also face the axe, however, a decision would not be made until the end of June.
The cuts come against the backdrop of falling revenues and fan interest after the expansion to 18 teams in 2016 following the addition of Argentina's Jaguares and Japan's Sunwolves as well as the return of the Kings in South Africa.
The Australian sides have refused to take the decision lying down, with the Force launching legal action against the ARU.
The management of the privately-owned Rebels, who had been mostly silent since the decision, released a tersely-worded statement late on Friday condemning the ARU and said they would be seeking compensation for the 'significant damage' the governing body had caused.
They also indicated they had not ruled out legal action.
Rebels players said they were anxious about their playing future while captain Nic Stirzaker termed the uncertainty as "frustrating".
The team, however, had been told by assistant coach Morgan Turinui to 'control the controllables' and to put out a performance that was worthy of their small but loyal fan base, some of whom unveiled banners condemning the ARU on Saturday.
The players responded with an aggressive display, however, at times the pent-up emotion bubbled over with three of them -- Colby Fainga'a, Lopeti Timani and Fereti Sa'aga -- yellow-carded.
Timani could be in more trouble with the towering loose forward ordered to front a SANZAAR disciplinary hearing after appearing to knee Brumbies lock Rory Arnold in the head.
The challenges facing the team and the Australian conference, however, were also evident.
The Rebels are in a constant battle for attention from fans, corporate and the media against two A-league soccer teams, a highly successful NRL rugby league side and nine sides from the heartland of the Australian Rules competition, something not lost on former Wallabies fullback Matthew Burke.
"You only have to look at the Melbourne Storm. They have dominated in the NRL, yet still can go relatively unnoticed in an AFL-mad town, " Burke wrote in the Sun-Herald on Sunday.
"So where does that leave a fledgling franchise such as the Rebels, which is battling this season... and has never experienced any meaningful success?"
Spreading the player base across five teams has also weakened the Australian conference.
Halfway through this year's tournament the top Australian side, the Brumbies, are fifth on 17 competition points in the 10-team Australasian group, which includes the five New Zealand teams.
"Culling a team will benefit Australian rugby purely because the talent pool has clearly become too diluted, " Burke wrote. "Good skills and a strong player base will produce good games and, yes, a good product." (Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)


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From a 'passion project' to the label worn by 'every third woman on Bondi Beach': How Seafolly came to dominate the world of swimwear... and sell $200 MILLION worth of beachwear annually

It's an archetypal rags to riches story. A family with a love for beach culture founds a swimwear brand that prides itself on fashion-forward prints, cuts and good quality and that brand goes on to become a cult label at home and abroad.
But that's just the tip of the iceberg for the Australian swimwear label, Seafolly, whose campaigns have featured the likes of homegrown talents such as Shanina Shaik as well as hugely successful foreigners like Gigi Hadid.
In the wake of the announcement that Seafolly's partners have acquired South American beachwear label, Maaji, earlier this month - making the pair a bikini behemoth - FEMAIL spoke to the Vice Chairman of Seafolly, Anthony Halas.
Mr Halas discussed the origins of Seafolly, and his career highlights as well as sharing his advice for other budding entrepreneurs.
According to Mr Anthony Halas, the origins of Seafolly were simple:
'My father, Peter Halas, arrived in Australia as an immigrant from Hungary in 1956. He immediately fell in love with the beach culture in Sydney and even met my mother, Yvonne, in Bondi Beach, ' he told Daily Mail Australia.
'Peter was working as a salesman for a swim label when he decided to start his own swimwear business. The brand you know today as Seafolly actually began as "Peter's Folly", meaning he didn't take it too seriously at first, it was more like a passion project that turned into something much bigger.'
Originally Mr Halas's parents were in control of the label, after they founded it in 1975:
'They built the brand by staying true to the original mission of sharing the Australian beach lifestyle with the world, Mr Halas said.
'Seafolly was the first company to notice the fitness trend, and launched activewear in the mid 70s. In the Jane Fonda-fuelled 80s, Seafolly was actually a leader in the category, ' he added.
Mr Anthony Halas took over the brand as CEO in 1998, even though he said he had worked in the business from a young age.
For him, this - as well as the opening of the label's first international store in 2013 in Newport Beach, California - have been among many career highlights.
'Any great brand starts with amazing product. If you care deeply about design, fit and quality, the customer demand will follow, ' Mr Halas said.
Speaking about his own plans for the future, Mr Halas said:
'We [want to] create a unique swimwear and beach lifestyle customer experience around the world. We seek campaign ambassadors and influencers who are naturally beautiful, aspirational and spirited - just like Seafolly.'
Currently, combined with Maaji, Seafolly sell more than AUD $200 million of body-hugging beachwear annually, according to recent figures sourced by the Herald Sun .
The managing director at L Catterton Asia, Seafolly's owner, Shantanu Mukerji, said the labels want to become a 'multibrand swimwear company like the global cosmetics retailer, Sephora'.
'Seafolly has 20-30 per cent market share in Australia, ' Shantanu Mukerji said.
'That means if you went to Bondi Beach, almost every third woman will be wearing Seafolly.'
For more information about Seafolly, click here. To follow the label on Instagram, click here.


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'Harper loves the fresh air': MAFS' Zoe Hendrix and Alex Garner spend their first Easter with 5-month-old daughter camping

Of the whopping twenty-four couples to have given it their best shot on Married At First Sight over the years, they're one of only three that remain together.
And after Zoe Hendrix and Alex Garner welcomed an adorable daughter late last year, they've never been stronger.
On Sunday, the three amigos celebrated their first Easter together with an adorable family camping trip at Sandy Point in Gippsland, Victoria.
Taking to Instagram to document the experience, Zoe, 27, snuggled charming Harper into a comfortable blanket, before she herself cuddled up to her reality star hubby.
While the couple looked like the definition of true happiness, Harper seemed confused by the presence of a photographer spoiling her moment with mum and dad.
In spite of her raised-eyebrows, the 5-month-old looked comfortable, well taken care of, and very warm indeed.
It seemed the blanket was a two-person-only deal, as Alex instead chose to keep warm in a grey linen hoodie.
'CAMPING at Sandy Point with some friends and our little Easter bunny, ' Zoe began the caption.
'So far so good! Harper loves the fresh air.'
Later, the personality shared a close-up snap of Harper looking confused and yet undoubtedly comfortable once again.
In response to her daughter's charismatic reaction, Zoe was seen flashing a proud smile in the snap.
'5 MONTHS of this gorgeous girl, ' she wrote in the caption.
'Harper-Rose you were worth the wait and we love you beyond words.'
Zoe and Alex have been together since the first season of the show and in addition to sharing a daughter have gone into property development together.


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Janelle Monae kisses Stevie Wonder and presents him with Key of Life Award at ASCAP Expo

Janelle Monáe gave R&B legend Stevie Wonder a kiss on the cheek during their one-on-one interview at the ASCAP 'I Create Music' Expo in Los Angeles on Saturday.
The 31-year-old soul songstress was clearly in awe of the 25-time Grammy winner, who turns 67 next month, as they shared the Loews Hollywood Hotel stage.
The Hidden Figures and Moonlight actress - who boasts 3.4M followers - anxiously wrote before the event: 'Do U know how NERVOUS & EXCITED I am?!'
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ASCAP president Paul Williams joined Monáe to present Wonder (born Stevland Judkins) with the inaugural Key of Life Award named after his 1976 classic album.
For his keynote session, Stevie rocked a do-rag, aviator shades, and a bull-branded blue jacket with leather sleeves.
Janelle - who relies on stylist Maeve Reilly - sported a red beret with a black sweatshirt dress featuring some of the piano-playing prodigy's 30 US top 10 hit song titles.
Despite the six-time Grammy nominee's PDA, Wonder will soon walk down the aisle for the third time with the mother of his two youngest children, Tomeeka Bracy.
MailOnline reported Tuesday that Elton John and Sam Smith are among the celebrity guests attending Stevie and his 42-year-old bride's nuptials in Jamaica on June 17.
The twice-divorced crooner - who became blind shortly after birth - has managed to father an eye-popping nine children with five different women.
Meanwhile, Monáe - who remains coy about her sexuality - just suggested to Marie Claire that all women go on a sex strike until they have complete equal rights.
'People have to start respecting the vagina. Until every man is fighting for our rights, we should consider stopping having sex, ' the Venus Fly singer told the mag's Fresh Faces issue.
'We have to realize our power and our magic. Because I am all about black-girl magic, even though I'm standing with all women. But this year? This year, I am so carefree black girl.'
Janelle tweeted that she was 'endlessly grateful' to serve commencement speaking duties at Dillard University on May 13 at the Avenue of the Oaks in New Orleans.
The Kansas City-born belter is also recording her follow up to her third studio album The Electric Lady (2013) , which is due out later this year.
'I miss the people, the stage, performing my songs, ' Monáe explained to People last month. 'Singing is just part of my DNA. I was working on four albums when I stopped to film [Hidden Figures and Moonlight] , but acting gave me clarity on which album I need to put out.'


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Cute as a button! Dannii Minogue shares adorable Easter throwback photo of herself as a child

She's busy gearing up for the Logie Awards as the event's first ever ambassador.
And Dannii Minogue has wished her fans Happy Easter.
The 45-year-old took to Instagram to share a throwback photo of herself dressed up as a child.
In the snap, she can be seen posing with her hands up to her shoulders, as if she were to start dancing, in front of what appears to be a very small field of corn.
The young Dannii wears a black top and a colourful red skirt and a bunny rabbit on her front and a multi-coloured bonnet on her head.
She captioned the post: 'Happy Easter, little bunnies!'
Her legions of fans liked the post, with many of them also wishing her and her six-year-old son Ethan, with whom she shares with model Kris Smith.
Dannii recently revealed that she and her 48-year-old Kylie sister still watch her Gold Logie win from 1988 to this day.
She told The Fix this week: 'We still love watching that back, the whole moment!'
Dannii was by her sister's side when she picked up the award and in old footage, can be seen hugging a shocked Kylie.
Explaining why they love watching the old footage, Dannii said: 'The night, it sort of becomes a whole blur, ' adding they have it on a VHS tape and it was an 'incredible moment.'
She also saw a picture of her and Kylie from the evening, with big eighties hair and loved the throwback.
'I've got red hair, some of it's straight, some of it's curly, some of it's up, ' Dannii said with a laugh, saying she couldn't remember if she had a scrunchie in her hair or a clip.
'I still love a scrunchie!'
Dannii is an ambassador for the Logies, with the awards ceremony taking place later this month.
Dannii - who is known for hits including I Begin to Wonder and This is it - recently appeared on 60 Minutes alongside good friend and fellow singer Tina Arena.
The women were recording a cover for Tina's new album and spoke about their days together on Young Talent Time in the eighties.
Dannii said she saw Tina, 49, as a mentor on the show.
'She's a cracker. She's naughty, she' got a filthy mind. She's outspoken, outspoken (and) very kind, ' Dannii said about Tina.
Tina said on the show, she saw Dannii as a 'beautiful, beautiful little spirit with stunning smile.'


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WWE News: Maryse Nude Photo Selfie Accidentally Sent To WWE Locker Room?

A few weeks back, several former WWE Divas and current female WWE Superstars had nude images of them leaked to the internet, and it seems as if Maryse was not immune from this, sort of. As previously mentioned, several women in the WWE now and from the past were affected by a mass nude photo leak a few weeks back, and it truly was a terrible time for them. These women of WWE were not alone, however, as several actresses had their photos leak too.
This was not a mass leak on the scale of what we saw with the “fappening” a few years back, but it was a lot of people that were affected by the situation. Naturally, seeing this happen again would be terrible as no woman should ever see her intimate images leak to the world. However, it can suck just as much to see a photo leak to friends and co-workers when you never intend it to.
On this week’s WWE Total Divas show, it appears that E! Network had an incidental idea that worked out for them randomly. The synopsis for the show this week reads as follows.
“Trinity and Renee get fed up with Lana’s behavior and an epic fight ensues; Maryse accidentally sends a nude selfie to a bunch of WWE Superstars; Brie debates if she wants to have a kid.”
Brie is pregnant right now and could be delivering her and Daniel Bryan’s first child literally any day now. At the end of the day, we all know what Brie Bella decided to do…so that part is pretty much easy to know about. However, the big story that stuck out to everyone when they saw the synopsis was clearly Maryse having a nude selfie leak around the WWE locker room.
Incidentally, Maryse and Miz are big on acting and like taking on as many roles as they are offered. Playing characters is what they enjoy, so playing who they play on television is ideal. The issue is, WWE may go too far and some would say they did this time around. The nude photo most likely was supposed to go to her husband but ended up going to various people in the WWE locker room….so drama will ensue from there it seems.
That does not seem to be the case this time for WWE, however. Obviously, WWE fans know about all of the leaks the last number of weeks because it became such a huge story when it occurred. However, no one had heard anything about a Maryse leak. If this did actually happen to Maryse, and it is not something WWE made up for a storyline to work on the show, then WWE has done a great job hiding it literally for months now. However, it is doubtful that it happened for real.
[Featured Image by WWE]


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Soccer-Japanese championship results and standings

April 16 (Gracenote) - Results and standings from the Japanese championship matches on Sunday Sunday, April 16 Consadole Sapporo 1 Kawasaki Frontale 1 Shimizu S-Pulse 1 Omiya Ardija 1 Ventforet Kofu 0 Albirex Niigata 2 Standings P W D L F A Pts 1 Vissel Kobe 6 5 0 1 9 4 15 2 Urawa Reds 6 4 1 20 7 13 3 Kawasaki Frontale 7 3 1 9 7 12 4 Kashima Antlers 6 4 0 2 6 4 12 5 Gamba Osaka 6 3 2 1 11 6 11 6 Cerezo Osaka 6 3 2 1 6 4 11 7 FC Tokyo 6 3 1 2 10 8 10 8 Yokohama F-Marinos 6 3 1 2 9 7 10 9 Shimizu S-Pulse 7 3 1 3 9 8 10 Vegalta Sendai 6 3 0 3 11 9 11 Sagan Tosu 6 2 9 8 12 Ventforet Kofu 7 2 3 6 9 8 13 Consadole Sapporo 7 2 3 6 10 8 14 Jubilo Iwata 6 2 1 3 6 7 15 Kashiwa Reysol 6 2 0 4 7 9 6 ------------------------- 16 Albirex Niigata 7 1 2 4 7 12 5 17 Sanfrecce Hiroshima 6 1 4 3 7 4 18 Omiya Ardija 7 0 1 6 2 11 1 16-18: Relegation Still being played (GMT) : Sunday, April 16 Cerezo Osaka v Gamba Osaka (0500) FC Tokyo v Urawa Reds (0500) Next Fixtures (GMT) : Sunday, April 16 Jubilo Iwata v Sagan Tosu (0600) Vissel Kobe v Kashiwa Reysol (0700) Sanfrecce Hiroshima v Yokohama F-Marinos (0800) Vegalta Sendai v Kashima Antlers (1000)


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Documentary ‘True Conviction’ features 3 Texas exonerees

DALLAS (AP) - Blinking neon lights cast luster across the faces of three men as they clamber onto a Ferris wheel at the State Fair of Texas.
“It’s all about the view, ” one says as they rise and Dallas and its people below fall away.
The Dallas Morning News (http: // reports “True Conviction, ” a new documentary, tells the story of three Dallas County exonerees who now search for others still locked up in Texas prisons for crimes they did not commit.
The film captures their approach to their investigations, and their lives in the wake of wrongful conviction: Perspective is everything.
The men - Christopher Scott, Steven Phillips and Johnnie Lindsey - served nearly 65 years combined for crimes they didn’ t commit. Scott for capital murder. Phillips in a string of sex crimes by a man whose name authorities knew all along. Lindsey for a rape committed by another man.
After five years of filming, “True Conviction, ” by filmmaker Jamie Meltzer, officially debuts later this month at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. The movie was shown recently in Dallas as a fundraiser for the nonprofit House of Renewed Hope, which Scott founded as the umbrella organization for their investigations. Scott rented a theater at Alamo Drafthouse in the Cedars to give family and friends a sneak peek of the film.
“We want the world to see that people are wrongly convicted, ” Phillips said. “We want them to know there are innocent people still in prison.”
Their viewpoint is vital when combing through hundreds of inmate letters proclaiming innocence. Who is most likely innocent and how do you determine the truth? Sometimes the missives don’ t provide enough information. Sometimes they indicate guilt. But many remind Scott, Phillips and Lindsey of how they felt going to sleep each night in prison, knowing they were innocent.
The exonerees’ experiences are why the people of small towns in Texas open their doors and offer cookies and lemonade. It’s why a prosecutor who believes in the guilt of a man the trio is looking into sits down for the inevitable confrontational interview. It’s why they travel around the state searching for a witness or an expert to explain the evidence.
It’s why they do what they do.
Scott, a former Dallas Morning News Texan of the Year, formed House of Renewed Hope to bring the trio’s unique outlook to possible claims of innocence. He wants to give others the gift he received: “a second chance at life.”
As larger-than-life images of themselves filled the screen, all three men sat in the front row, eyes glued to the screen, chins in their hands.
In the film, Scott returns to prison to meet with a man he believes might be innocent. The man, dressed in prison whites, scrunches his face and sobs as Scott talks to him.
“It’ ll be OK, ” Scott tells him, his voice calm and clear. “We here to try to help you.”
He looks down, clearly moved by the man sitting on the other side of the glass in the prison visitation room.
The Dallas theater viewing was the first time the three had seen a fully edited version of the film. Just like the audience, they couldn’ t help but wipe away tears with their fingertips.
More than a detective agency, the men are brothers within a larger brotherhood of more than 30 Dallas County exonerees.
They’ ve long had the ear of the Dallas County district attorney’s office because of its role in helping clear their names. Its tiny but busy conviction integrity unit has been lauded nationwide, but exonerations have slowed and it no longer has a supervisor.
District Attorney Faith Johnson, a Republican who took office in January, has said it is a priority but the position to head the unit remains open. Wrongful convictions are becoming a battleground leading up to the 2018 election. John Creuzot, who is seeking the office as a Democrat, has detailed plans to expand the unit in size and scope.
The movie isn’ t just about the three men’s efforts to free those they believe were wrongly convicted. The camera also captures the men as they wrestle with the reverberations of their years behind bars. Lost chances for love. Their kids growing up without dads. The pain of proclaiming your innocence when few, if any, believe you.
Texas compensates those wrongly convicted with $80, 000 for each year behind bars. But there’s so much that money doesn’ t buy. It doesn’ t mend relationships with those left behind. It can’ t heal what’s broken.
They’ ve found a place in the world together. Scott heads the group and is the epitome of health - he doesn’ t eat vegetables but he works out five times a week. He’s raising his toddler grandson who shares his name. Lindsey lost his chance for a family but finds peace in quiet moments. Phillips internalizes so much and surrounds himself constantly with people except when he fishes or works in his yard.
Phillips ‘and Scott ’s bond began right after Scott ’s release. Scott had nowhere to go and Phillips paid to rent an apartment and loaned him money.
One thing they didn’ t lose in prison is hope that one day the truth would be known.
The dream of someone who truly listens and a chance at freedom is what the men bring to the inmates whose cases they work.
Assisting “the guys, ” as she calls them, is attorney Michelle Moore. Her work freed Scott and Lindsey, now 46 and 64, nine years ago. She tried to free Phillips, now 59, but she couldn’ t quite get there and the Innocence Project in New York won his freedom the following year.
Now, Moore advises them pro bono about the law as they follow leads. She said some people, who wouldn’ t talk if a lawyer or investigator knocked on their door, chat with Scott, Phillips and Lindsey.
Moore is a constant in their lives and not just as an attorney. A pal when needed. A mom when required. And always a fan.
To the exonerees of Dallas County, said Scott, Moore is “one of our main heroes.” And they have many, including a prosecutor and investigator from the DA’s office who have worked on exonerations, Cynthia Garza and Jim Hammond, who watched the film from the back row. Two Dallas County felony court judges, Hector Garza (husband of the prosecutor) and Brandon Birmingham, attended as well.
Despite seeing so much of the lives firsthand, Moore’s eyes filled with tears as their stories unfolded on the screen.
“It’s all the stuff we know, ” she said. “But to watch it, to hear the men in prison, to see the guys struggle. I can see them fighting tears.”
After the Dallas screening, Scott headed home to look at the files from their current case. The movie doesn’ t mean their work is over. They’ ll head to New York for five screenings of the film and then head back to Dallas County, where their mailbox overflows with envelopes from Texas inmates asking for help.
“We’ re going to keep doing what we’ re doing, ” said Lindsey .
How else, the guys ask, would they keep hope alive?
Information from: The Dallas Morning News, http: //


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Interest grows in YWCA’s community garden in Corpus Christi

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) - The tomato seeds Estela Smithwick planted in the YWCA’s new community garden didn’ t make it.
The Corpus Christi Caller-Times (http: // reports the 67-year-old lamented the week-old vine’s shriveled end, but was asked not to give up and instructed to replant the fruit.
With professional guidance, the garden will yield tomatoes, as well as cucumbers, squash, peppers, basil, sage, corn and beans, said Ronda Dizney, a Nueces County Master Gardener.
“I don’ t have a green thumb for this here. All of this I have learned, ” Smithwick said as she pointed at the 4- by 8-foot raised bed garden.
As a volunteer and having undergone the Texas A&M; AgriLife Extension Nueces Master Gardener program, Dizney was asked by YWCA of Corpus Christi ’s president and CEO, Nancy Wesson-Dodd, to lead the first community garden at the Corona Drive site. Twelve seniors signed up for six classes and planted four gardens.
The group, whose oldest participant is 85, recently graduated from the program’s first phase. They planted their last bed.
The once-a-week lessons covered how to choose a garden location; soil and compost basics; how to set up raised beds and container gardens; garden maintenance; diseases and insects and the harvesting process, said Nueces County Horticulture Extension agent and course administrator Kevin Gibbs.
The classes are open to anyone, Gibbs said, adding a second class will kick off in the fall.
The biggest takeaway for Gibbs has been contributing to the “joy of people coming together to participate in something they love, ” he said. And besides gaining authority over healthier food choices, the seniors’ gardened goods will actually taste better.
“Allowing vegetables to ripen on the vine yields a higher sugar content, which enhances the flavor, ” Gibbs said.
Fresh-picked vegetables also are more nutritious, said Dizney.
“ (Produce) has 400 percent less vitamins an hour after you pick it, ” Dizney said. “ (YWCA’s gardeners) get fresh food right out of the garden.”
Information from: Corpus Christi Caller-Times, http: //


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The song of Henry VIII’s final mother brought to life

Music, with difference created by Henry VIII’s final wife, Catherine Parr, is being achieved this Friday, for a initial time in some-more than 470 years.
If follows complete investigate carried out by Dr David Skinner, from Cambridge University, who spent months resurrecting a fragmented measure found in a late 70s.


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Did he visit Jasmine? Karl Stefanovic beams as he touches down in Sydney from his girlfriend's hometown Los Angeles with Christian Wilkins after a week-long break from the Today show

He took the last week off from hosting the Today Show.
And on Sunday in Sydney, Karl Stefanovic was spotted at the airport after a trip to Los Angeles with Christian Wilkins.
The 42-year-old beamed as he walked through the terminal, with him and Christian being picked up by Christian's father, Richard Wilkins, 62.
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Karl cut a casual figure wearing a black jumper, jeans, brown boots, and a black hat, and hurled two suitcases with him.
Christian also wore a black outfit and wore straight leg jeans with a ripped shirt and brown boots.
Richard greeted the pair with a 'welcome back' balloon and had a newspaper tucked under his arm.
Last Sunday, Karl came under fire when it was revealed he'd be taking a week off from hosting the Today Show, amid reports of low ratings.
Ben Fordham soon defended Karl, with Ben filling in for him while he was away.
Ben told News Corp: 'I wish people would leave him alone because his family is going through a tough time and he's still showing up for work at 5.30 every day ... Give the bloke a break.'
A Channel Nine rep confirmed to News Corp that Karl is taking a holiday but will also continue to work while he's away.
'Karl is away for the week for work and holiday, then Lisa will be off on holidays for a week from this Friday, ' the rep said.
Explaining the reason for Karl's absence, Ben wrote on Instagram, 'Old mate @kstefanovic is taking a well earned rest so I'm returning to @todayshow for a week.'
Karl only returned to the show in January, in the wake of his split from ex-wife Cassandra Thorburn, 44, late last year.
Since his return, Karl has kept a busy schedule, and was seen recently looking weary as he traveled to various parts of the country, as part of his hosting duties.
The news of Karl's week off comes just days after entertainment reporter Peter Ford told Kyle and Jackie O that Today was losing viewers, and alluded to Karl's public split from Cassandra.
In February, Karl went public with his new girlfriend, Jasmine Yarbrough.
While in Los Angeles, Christian caught up with Jasmine, who is based there.
Christian shared snaps of himself with the blonde beauty on Instagram.
In the past, the long-haired Chadwick model has even been used as a 'decoy' to trick paparazzi trying to take photos of Karl and shoe designer Jasmine, 33, together.
It has previously been reported that Karl is considering leaving the Today show and relocating to America.
According to New Idea, 'Karl met with lawyers to explore options around leaving the breakfast show and becoming Nine's US bureau chief so he can be close to his girlfriend.'


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EU rules may ruin aerial message business beloved of football fans

For the modern football manager, it is the circling of a small plane above the stadium on match day, rather than the traditional vote of confidence once offered by the club’s board following a string of defeats, which now signals that their job hangs by a thread.
Rather than besieging the chairman’s Jag in the club car park, today’s disgruntled fans hire a plane trailing a banner demanding the hapless manager quit.
In recent weeks, Arsenal fans both supportive of and opposed to Arsène Wenger have made their views clear in this high-profile manner.
But now the body that represents pilots of the small planes that trail the aerial adverts has warned that new EU rules coming into force later this month could put them out of business.
The new regulations apply to all commercial operators conducting “high-risk specialised operations”. These include aircraft used for activities such as agriculture, construction, photography, surveying, observation, patrolling and aerial advertisement.
The pilots of single-engined aircraft had believed they were excluded from the new regulations, but have learned that only twin-engined planes, classed as less risky, are explicitly exempted.
As a result, the pilots say they will have to seek authorisation from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) each time they take to the skies, unless it gives them legal confirmation that the new regulations do not apply to them. If not, the pilots say that before each takeoff they face having to complete a lengthy form detailing information on everything from oxygen to crew rest times, something they claim will prove too burdensome for them to continue operating.
Simon Moores, president of the Association of Aerial Work Operators (AAWO) , who runs Airads, an aerial advertising company, called on the CAA to clarify its position urgently.
“The immediate problem is that the CAA, on 21 April, will introduce a series of European regulations on general aviation, ” Moores said. “These will immediately impact small and specialised one-man operators and threatens to put them out of business.”
Some European countries, such as the Czech Republic and Denmark, have opted not to introduce the regulations in full.
“Towing banners and even aerial photography have been arbitrarily defined by CAA as ‘high-risk’ operations, and, with some 20, 000 hours and 20 years of accident-free service among my pilots, I wonder why the CAA has chosen to implement this description, ” Moores said. “EASA (The European Aviation Safety Agency) has said the definition is left to the local regulator. Other EU countries clearly don’ t perceive these ‘high risks’ in the way the CAA does.”
Moores said his organisation was working with the CAA to achieve a compromise. “Without this small compromise to the new rules we are requesting, no banners are likely to ever fly again over Britain’s big football grounds, ” he added.
It is not just football managers who may have little sympathy for the imminent threat facing the pilots. The planes are becoming a popular way of getting political messages across. Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage was injured in 2010 when a plane he was in trailing a party banner crashed in Northamptonshire.
One campaign is looking to charter a plane above Wembley next weekend, when Arsenal meet Manchester City, to trail a banner calling for Ken Livingstone to be expelled from the Labour party and for Jeremy Corbyn to quit as leader.
One of those involved in the campaign, who asked not to be named, said hiring the plane, which costs around £6, 000, was a novel way of getting a message across. “A lot of things have been tried already, but when Ken Livingstone wasn’ t expelled from the party, well, that’s an absurdity. Sometimes an absurd situation requires an absurd response.”
A spokesman for the CAA disputed the AAWO’s claims and said pilots of small planes had the maximum three years to adjust to the “minor change”. “We are working with the small number of stakeholders to help them move to European regulations, ” he said.


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Gaffe-prone press secretary Spicer is Little Gag doing work of Big Gag boss

T he first commandment for public relations officers (aka communications directors) is: “Don’ t become the story you’ re trying to manage.” So, perhaps shortly before his move to run communications at United Airlines, it’s instructive to grease the White House slipway for Sean Spicer .
He makes huge mistakes of the “even Hitler” never stooped to using chemical weapons on “his own people” variety. But it’s the countless little mistakes – the “Joe” Trudeau, or the Aussie PM called “Malcolm Trumball” – that have sapped Spicer so. He has become a running gag. If he served a popular boss who was pursuing popular policies, that might be survivable. But Spicer is really Little Gag doing Big Gag’s botched work. He’s a bargain-basement version of his boss.
When he goes, Trump will need a grey, competent, utterly forgettable secretary in charge of the press. The difficulty, out on the Trump right of politics, is knowing whether such a tedious paragon exists.
The longtime editor of the Sunday Telegraph, Ian MacGregor, becomes its editor emeritus, charged with “acting as a bridge between the editorial and commercial arms of the business”. (Which is what I thought modern editors did already.) MacGregor’s deputy, Allister Heath, takes over while remaining “head of business”. One foot forward, one tap-dancing on the spot. And simple old questions of yesteryear – such as, who edits this paper? – disappear further into the mists of emeritus murk.


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How factions in South Sudan’s war took shape on British campuses

A mong the South African, Palestinian and other young exiles debating revolutionary politics on campuses across early 1980s Britain, there was little at first to mark out Riek Machar, a twentysomething student from what is now the troubled young country of South Sudan.
Yet within a few years – while pursuing a philosophy PhD at Bradford – he was to establish an underground student grouping in contact with rebels in his homeland and lead a delegation to Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya on behalf of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) . Distinguishing himself as a field commander during one of Africa’s longest-running conflicts, Machar formed a new and more personal relationship with Britain in 1991, when he married Emma McCune, a young English aid worker who subsequently died in a car accident in Kenya.
Nearly three decades on, Machar, a former vice-president of South Sudan, is a rebel leader in a brutal post-independence conflict in which both insurgent and government forces have been accused of atrocities.
The legacy of those British links, and those of a generation born in Sudan when it was still a British protectorate, endure. Machar, other rebels and senior government figures are all UK citizens, having taken the option to upgrade their status from British protected persons (BPPs) – a fact that human rights activists say places an unique responsibility on the UK.
“If British citizens are suspected of involvement in some of these atrocities, the UK should certainly do its bit to ensure they’ re not in any way shielded from justice, ” Amnesty International told the Observer .
Redress, an organisation campaigning on behalf of victims of torture, said the 2001 International Criminal Court Act gave Britain jurisdiction to prosecute war crimes allegedly perpetrated with the involvement of UK nationals abroad.
Last week, international development secretary Priti Patel said after a visit to South Sudan that the killings and other atrocities there amounted to a genocide. This was a step up from the UN’s warning that a genocide “could happen”.
“It is tribal – it is absolutely tribal, ” she said. “So on that basis it is genocide.”
Now a new chapter is opening in Britain’s involvement with a territory it once governed. In the coming months, hundreds of British troops are to join an initial contingent already there as part of the UK’s single largest deployment to a UN mission and a major re-engagement in peacekeeping.
Back in Britain, meanwhile, members of the South Sudanese diaspora are looking on with increasing exasperation as the death toll rises from ethnic strife and a human-created famine. Benjamin Avelino, chair of one UK-South Sudanese community organisation pushing for Britain to take a more “forceful” approach to promote peace and rights, said the British citizenship of those he described as “despoilers” of the peace process could be used as leverage.
“They are here or travel here frequently. They have property and – I’ m saying this because I’ m desperate and we have had enough of these people – they come for treatment when they are ill, ” he said. “In some case there are those who still have council accommodation.”
In South Sudan – where the UN last week said a further million people are on the brink of famine after warning in February that 100, 000 people faced starvation – the conflict breaks down largely along ethnic lines. President Salva Kiir, of the Dinka tribe, has been pitted against Machar, a Nuer, since accusing him of plotting a coup in 2013.
But a UK government source familiar with Britain’s engagement in South Sudan pointed out what they believed to be the difficulties of using British citizenship of protagonists as leverage, taking the case of Machar. “He’s a British citizen because he qualified to be one. The British government can’ t take responsibility for the actions of its citizens in quite the way people would like it to. If he asked for consular assistance, we would provide it because he has a right to it, but we do nothing else for British citizens when they travel.”
Nevertheless, the source said that Britain’s influence on both sides was strong and it was well-regarded for the “honest broker” role it played when a 2005 peace agreement with South Sudan’s former Sudanese rulers in Khartoum was reached. “It’s striking how close the Sudanese and South Sudanese feel to Britain in comparison with how we feel about them. In some ways we have forgotten. It comes, for example, from people whose fathers and grandfathers worked in the colonial service. You still hear a lot about it.”
Amid pessimism elsewhere about the hopes for peace, British officials are still understood to be expecting to meet Machar, who is now residing in South Africa in circumstances that are unclear. Reports suggesting he is under house arrest are rejected by some sources.
Others suggest Britain is viewed rather differently in South Sudan, and are concerned about UK troops being put in harm’s way in a country where the government has an increasingly belligerent stance towards UN forces.
“There is gratitude for the UK’s role in the peace agreement with Sudan, but among others there is a residual sense of betrayal dating back to the 1950s. There is a sense that Britain sold the South Sudanese down the river to the Arabs, ” said Mawan Muortat, a London-based South Sudanese analyst.
That said, he added that British troops – mainly engineers who will reinforce fortifications around camps used to protect displaced people – were likely to be welcomed and seen by some as a more professional force in comparison with other UN forces, which are seen as impotent or untrustworthy.
The troops’ arrival comes as atrocities continue, including last Monday’s killing of 16 civilians in attacks blamed on a government-aligned militia. Such brutality is a far cry from the hopes invested in South Sudan’s independence in 2011, and the dreams fostered decades earlier by the UK-based students who absorbed ideas of black power and took inspiration from other liberation movements.
More recent British links may yet turn out to be pivotal, ranging from the role of Anglican church leaders to significant state expenditure. While the most high-profile example of the latter is an aid package of £100m distributed via the UN, NGOs and others, other smaller amounts of funding could be important.
South Sudan has benefited from a little-known £1bn UK government fund designed to build stability overseas – the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) – details of which have been seen by the Observer. More than £500, 000 was spent by the Foreign Office on a “Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative” pilot, while more than £2m went to conflict prevention programmes that also involved Sudan. The Ministry of Defence was involved in smaller (£200, 000) spending in Sudan listed as “South Sudan – Defence Engagement”.
British officials appear eager at least to emphasise that the UK has a stake when it comes to the search for peace, and to explain why troops are being sent into a war zone where the UK’s interests appear hard to determine.
“Having troops on the ground is as much about our recommitting to UN peacekeeping as it is to specifically South Sudan, ” said one.
“But obviously East Africa is also an important part of the globe and we would want to ensure it remains stable or indeed improves. We don’ t have huge economic interests there right now, although South Sudan has potential. Somalia is next door as well, so it’s really beholden on us if we want to see a stable east Africa that we resolve South Sudan’s conflict.”


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Paulinho admonished by Chinese authorities for betting ad

HONG KONG, April 16 (Reuters) - Former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Paulinho has been asked by Chinese football authorities to end his involvement with an overseas betting company, urging all players in the Chinese Super League to "be strict with their public image".
Paulinho, who currently plays for CSL champions Guangzhou Evergrande, featured in the advert for a Philippines-based gambling company alongside Tsukasa Aoi, an actress and model who has appeared in adult films in Japan.
Gambling and pornography are illegal in China and the Chinese Football Association issued a statement on Saturday evening warning Paulinho about his future behaviour.
"Following an investigation, the representation was the player's own decision, and he has not reported it to his club, " said the statement.
"Guangzhou Evergrande have criticised Paulinho and asked him to stop the commercial activities with the betting company immediately in order to put an end to any similar activities in the future.
Paulinho joined Guangzhou from Tottenham in a deal worth 14 million euros ($14.85 million) almost two years ago and since then the likes of Carlos Tevez, Oscar and John Obi Mikel have signed for CSL clubs as the country seeks to turn itself into a footballing power.
The CFA said foreign citizens living in China should comply with the country's laws.
"Recently, FIFA and the AFC have been working hard to protect the integrity of football and have explicitly forbidden professional players from any involvement in the betting industry, " it said.
"In addition, it is against the conscientiousness of a professional player to be involved in any betting business. We hope professional players can respect and comply with the regulations, and respect their own career.
"We here again urge that, as role models for youth and the public, professional players be strict with their public image, take a positive lead and maintain a healthy football environment."
Chinese football has had major problems with illegal gambling in the past, with the league blighted by match fixing prior to the game's recent resurgence, which has seen clubs investing significant sums of money to lure some of the sport's biggest names to the country.
($1 = 0.9426 euros) (Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)


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Hong Kong man, 44, cheated of HK$3.3 million in phone scam

A 44-year-old Hong Kong man has become the latest victim of a phone scam, losing three million yuan (HK$3.3 million) to con artists claiming to be mainland officials. The victim, surnamed Lam, received a phone call on April 8 from an unknown male who claimed to be a “law enforcement official” and accused him of having committed a criminal offence. The caller passed the line to another person, who claimed to be an official and ordered the victim to follow their directions and provide the password to his mainland bank account. Lam, who lives in Causeway Bay, later discovered that three million yuan had gone missing from the account in question. He reported the incident to police last Thursday. Police said preliminary investigations pointed to fraud. The Wan Chai Criminal Investigation Department is following up on the case. Such tactics are common. Victims are typically accused of breaking mainland laws before the calls are transferred to someone claiming to be from the mainland police. They are told to prove their willingness to cooperate by transferring money to a mainland bank account as a surety. The force recorded 1, 138 telephone deception cases in 2016, down 60.5 per cent compared to 2015 figures. The total financial loss from phone scams also fell by HK$96 million to HK$220 million in 2016. Police Commissioner Steven Lo Wai-chung earlier this year said fraudsters posing as mainland officials was still the main method of deception, accounting for more than half of all cases in 2016, with victims losing HK$203 million in total.


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Newly-single Tyga hangs out with Brooklyn Beckham at Interscope Coachella House... as ex Kylie Jenner slithers away at different festival party

Tyga partied at Coachella with one of the hottest up-and-coming teenage stars.
But it wasn't Kylie Jenner.
The 26-year-old rapper was spotted hanging out with Brooklyn Beckham at the Interscope Coachella House on Saturday.
The Rack City rapper may have been enjoying some male bonding with the 18-year-old son of soccer superstar David but his ex girlfriend was at the same festival hosting an event of her own at the same time.
Tyga was dressed for comfort in a plain white T-hirt, with baggy black basketball shorts.
He accessorized with a purple Bape snapback with matching designer shades and a Louis Vuitton monogram scarf tied around his neck.
No doubt the young rapper had to flash his fortune as he wore plenty of platinum and diamonds including multiple necklaces, ring, watch and bracelet.
Brooklyn was dressed perfectly for the festival as he sported a black cut-off shirt and distressed jeans.
The too seemed to have a good time as they posed up with Taco Bennett from the Odd Future hip-hop crew.
Meanwhile Kylie rocked a sexy snakeskin outfit as she hosted a Bumble event alongside sister Kendall Jenner on Saturday.
She also debuted her brand new purple-dyed, shoulder grazing locks on social media.
Kylie took to Instagram to post a snap of her laying out at the event with the message: '@Bumble party we are hosting is so cool! It's snowing n the desert! Having the best time at the #winterbumbleland party! #ad.'
The trip to the desert comes just a week after reports that Kylie has once again split from Tyga, after she allegedly ended the romance earlier this month after two years together.
She has been dating the rapper on and off for the past two years, but a new report now suggests they have walked away from the relationship again.
Despite this, a source told People that there is still hope they may be able to patch things up and get back together.
The insider told the publication: 'They tend to take little breaks all the time and then get back together. It’s definitely possible they’ ll work things out again.'
Kylie was first linked to Tyga in 2014, although they did announce their relationship until early 2015. They previously split in November 2015, but they later got back together, and then split again in May last year.


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College Roundup: UCSB defeats UCI 8-7 in Big West baseball

SANTA BARBARA – The visiting Anteaters scored six in the seventh inning to take a 7-3 lead, but the Gauchos scored three in the eighth and two in the ninth to claim the Big West Conference game Saturday.
The Gauchos (15-18, 4-5 in conference) won two of three in the series, dropping UCI to 13-19, 2-4.
Mikey Duarte was four for five with three runs batted in, Matt Reitano was three for three and Keston Hiura was three for five with one RBI for UCI.
Jake Hazard was two for two and Evan Cassolato was two for five to help UCI amass 16 hits.
But senior closer Calvin Faucher blew the save and absorbed his fourth loss in five decisions, allowing two runs on three hits in 1 1/3 innings.
UCI plays host to USC on Monday at 6: 30 p.m.
Orange Coast 11, Ventura 5
VENTURA – The visiting Pirates, ranked No. 2 in the state, claimed the nonconference game Saturday.
OCC improved to 27-7.
No statistics were immediately available.
UC Irvine 8, UC Davis 2
Annika Nelson tied a season high with 12 saves to lead the host Anteaters, who set a school record with their 10th straight win in the Big West Conference game on Saturday.
Mary Brooks and Gabby Pierandozzi both had two goals to lead the No. 6-ranked winners (19-6, 4-0 in conference) .
No. 12-ranked UC Davis is 14-16, 2-3.


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Former Miss Venezuela sues United after she was HANDCUFFED in the middle of a flight when her husband 'slapped her and they began arguing in a fight over a pillow'

A former beauty queen has filed a lawsuit against United Airlines claiming that she was brutalized and handcuffed aboard a flight in 2013.
Carmen Maria Montiel, who won Miss Venezuela in 1984, alleges that she was restrained with plastic zip ties and dragged to the back of a plane following an argument with her now ex-husband.
She was motivated to tell her story after the high-profile incident that took place with United this week when a doctor was bloodied and rendered unconscious as he was dragged off of a plane.
Montiel faced charges following her fiasco with United four years ago, as she was flying to Bogota, Colombia from Houston with her teen daughter and husband.
'I never felt so powerless in my life, ' Montiel told the NY Post .
The family was on a red-eye flight, and she asked a flight attendant, Samuel Oliver, for a pillow. He reportedly told her they no longer provide pillows to passengers, and she complained about the customer service.
At the time, Montiel was engaged in a bitter divorce proceeding with her husband, pulmonologist Alex Lechin.
She claims that when she tried to then take a nap on his shoulder, he slapped her, and told the flight attendant that Montiel was 'invading his personal space'.
An argument ensued, and Oliver gave Montiel a written incident report warning that her behavior was 'violating federal law', which she refused to sign.
Instead, she switched to a different seat in the first class area where they were residing to distance herself from her husband.
She alleges, Oliver tried to make her move to the coach section of the airplane, which she also refused to do.
Then, she says, two large men handcuffed her and carried her by her shoulders to the back of the plane where she sat for the remainder of the flight next to an off-duty Houston police officer.
Her husband allegedly spoke with the flight attendant and told him he was 'intimidated' by his wife's behavior.
When the flight landed, Montiel was arrested and faced charges of felony interference with a flight crew and misdemeanor assault aboard an aircraft.
At that time, she was on probation for a 2011 incident involving domestic violence, DUI and eluding police. She conceded that she drank less than a glass and a half of wine, and witnesses aboard the flight testified that they smelled alcohol on her breath.
Following a three-day trial, a jury found her not guilty.
She's now seeking an unspecified amount in damages from United Airlines for malicious prosecution, mental anguish and defamation in the suit filed in a Houston court.
'It's about the culture of United, ' Montiel said. 'They treat the customer as the enemy.'
'They've done it so often, it's gotten worse to the point of what happened with Mr. Dao, ' Montiel said. 'There is something terribly wrong here.'
Vietnamese-born doctor and father David Dao was the source of an enormous controversy for the airline this week when footage emerged of him being forced off of an overbooked flight by security - bloodied and then knocked unconscious.
After the footage circulated online, Montiel said that her three children showed it to her, saying that it was the same thing that happened to her.
Dao, a 69-year-old grandfather, has since been released from the hospital after the incident last Sunday with a concussion and two missing front teeth, and also plans to sue the airline.


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Warmongering cannot be allowed to damage continued progress made in global trade

Even on this Easter weekend it is probably premature to hope that US President Donald Trump has had a sudden “Road to Damascus” revelation that will call off his dogs of trade war, receding the January fears of imminent and potentially catastrophic. Instead, I suspect, his testosterone has been distracted by the challenge of pummelling Syrian airp bases, northern Afghanistan mountains – and waving a big stick at Kim Jung-un. I suppose I should be mightily anxious about this military muscle-flexing, but in spite of the extraordinary paranoid unpredictability of Kim, I sense there are a lot of experienced adults in the military strategy rooms in Washington, Beijing and Seoul, and so I can’ t yet get myself to panic of any imminent nuclear conflagration. And I had better be right, because this time next week I will be flying to Seoul for the year’s second meeting of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) . The worst war that I was expecting to discuss there was a trade one. And on this front, there is much to be encouraged about. Trump has tasked Wilbur Ross to spend from now until July drafting a detailed report on the true trade challenges facing the US, and how to address them. Some of his more extreme tweets have been softened by what seems to have been a modestly constructive meeting in Mar-a-Lago a week ago with China’s President Xi Jinping. Trump has at last agreed that China is not after all a currency manipulator. This has given some of the adults in the room on global trade an opportunity to put their heads together to begin the process of building what I hope can be a robust defence of the overall merits of liberalising international trade and investment. These include three leading global economic institutions – the World Trade Organisation, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank – which last week released a dull, dense but powerful and not too lengthy report delivering some important messages about the broad and deep benefits of global trade. Of course, these are experts, and we know what Trump acolytes like Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro think about experts that do not hold their views. But I am encouraged nevertheless and think their report will provide useful support and comfort to ABAC members as they gather in the South Korean capital, and prepare to express concerns to the region’s trade ministers who will meet in Hanoi in three weeks time. The report, entitled “Making Trade an Engine of Growth for All”, provides a valuable reprise of the gains arising from trade and investment liberalisation over the past three decades and cautions that the world economy is at a critical juncture, following a decade of weak trade growth since the 2008 crash. It warns of the harm that would be done by a slowdown in trade reform and an uptick in protectionism. It illustrates in a sometimes painstakingly dull yet expert way that trade liberalisation has generated higher living standards worldwide through greater productivity, increased competition, knowledge exchange, more choice for consumers and better prices in the marketplace. At the same time it has lifted into the global consuming classes, communities in many developing economies that would otherwise today still be struggling with severe poverty. In the words of the WTO’s director general Roberto Azevêdo: “Trade has had a very positive impact on the lives and livelihoods of many millions of people in recent decades. I recognise that there are very real concerns, but the answer is not to turn against trade, which would harm us all.” Apart from showing that trade leads to productivity gains and to significant benefits for consumers, especially the poor, the report recognises that technological change is responsible for the lion’s share of job losses that advanced economies have seen in recent decades. The report at the same time acknowledges something that trade officials, economists and a large body of business leaders engaged in international trade have until recently failed properly to recognise: that the benefits of open trade have not been shared widely enough, and that adjustment to more open markets has hurt certain communities and workforces quite harshly. At the same time, it reminds us that trade is just one factor contributing to economic change and labour market disruption, alongside other drivers such as technology and innovation. At some length, the report calls for governments to review labour practices and “transitional programmes” that can help the unemployed get back on their feet and mitigate adjustment costs due to trade, and technology change. Drawing on research by the 31-economy OECD, it notes that economies with comparatively generous policies towards the unemployed, and on adjustment back to work – like the Scandinavian economies – show very positive attitudes to trade liberalisation and regional economic integration. By contrast, those with limited unemployment and adjustment funding – like the US and Britain – have seen the greatest level of recent public disquiet over open trade. The US ranks 29th out of 31 in terms of transitional adjustment, for example. The report reminds that when the US in 2009 slapped punitive tariffs on Chia for allegedly dumping tyres in defence of US tyre manufacturers, the cost was US$900, 000 for each US job saved – equivalent to 22 years of salary for an average tyre worker. In other words, the US could have gifted a 22-year payout to those tyre workers, and saved American tyre-users the punishing cost of having to buy more expensive tyres. The report called for well-structured active labour policies, such as training programmes, job search assistance and wage insurance, that can facilitate the reintegration of displaced workers into the job market, and passive labour market programmes, such as unemployment benefit and income support, which help to stabilise working families in the short term until those who have lost their jobs can get back to work. While Hong Kong is nowhere specifically mentioned in the report, I reckon the points it makes are as relevant to us as they are to anyone. Our transitional stress due to technology change, and the radical transformation occurring in the Pearl River Delta, call for much more clever attention than we have seen from our recent leaders. Our ABAC meetings in Seoul could be more than usually instructive – so long as we can keep the dogs of war at bay.


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Sizzling beauties! Bikini bloggers Natasha Oakley and Devin Brugman ditch swimwear for furry coats and boho-style at desert festival Coachella

They're the bikini blogging moguls who successful launched their A Bikini A Day brand in 2012.
But despite the searing heat of the Californian desert, Natasha Oakley and Devin Brugman ditched their swimwear while partying at Coachella on Saturday.
The fashionable duo wore figure-flaunting outfits in shades of brown and pink, while providing glimpses of their ample assets in their festival get-ups.
The Insta-famous pair appeared to coordinate in the similar dusty tones, while also shielding their eyes with round-lensed sunglasses.
Natasha, 25, embraced the bohemian spirit of the festival in a breezy long frock that showcased plenty of side boob.
The dress also had a large side split, which revealed her lithe pins when she raised her legs when seated.
Devin, 27, highlighted her curvaceous figure in a low-resting cami and white crochet short shorts.
The brunette beauty drew attention to her trim pins, stomach and cleavage in the revealing outfit.
She added to her laid-back look with suede cowboy boots, while Tash opted for white Converse sneakers.
The friends and business partners both chose to accessorize with multiple choker necklaces, and stacks of rings.
They also added to their ensembles by wearing the same furry jackets in different colours.
Their locks fell effortlessly around their faces and shoulders, drawing attention to their glamorous makeup palette.
Both ladies documented the day on social media bu posting numerous high-spirited photos and videos together as they attended parties and watched bands on the grass of the annual musical festival.
The day prior, Devin also documented on Instagram Stories a trip to 'the hydration room' where an IV drip was inserted to improve her 'hydration' levels.


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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf may move sideways as investors await fresh Q1 results

DUBAI, April 16 (Reuters) - Stock markets in the Gulf may trade sideways on Sunday as investors await a fresh batch of first-quarter results and because most other markets were shut for the Easter holiday.
Brent crude June contracts closed at $55.89 a barrel on Thursday. Last week the commodity recouped more of March's losses on increased hopes world supply and demand were nearing balance. The contracts did not trade on Friday in observance of Good Friday.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.2 percent on Friday, though many markets in the region, including Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong, were closed.
European, and U. S. markets are also shut for the holiday.
Last week stock markets in the Gulf saw some positive momentum as first-quarter results, especially from banking firms, encouraged some institutional funds to buy up shares in that sector.
"For the momentum to be extended into this week, asset managers will be waiting for more positive surprises but will be very prudent with their allocation, " said a Riyadh-based fund manager.
The Dubai-listed shares of Bahrain investment firm GFH Financial Group may attract buying interest after the company said one its units had signed a deal to acquire a U. S. based data centre, in partnership with a New York Stock Exchange listed real estate investment trust, with a market value exceeding $100 million.
The subsidiary plans to offer the investment for private placement. (Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)


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Here's the scoop on Cassper Nyovest’s hot new clothing line!

Johannesburg - Popular rapper Cassper Nyovest will officially launch his clothing line on 26 April.
Nyovest, whose real name is Refiloe Phoolo, told City Press that people should expect simple, wearable designs starting with caps and T-shirts, at least for now.
"The demand was great, so I wanted to have my own store, " he said, adding that this would enable fans to buy directly from him.
Fashion stores wanted to stock his designs, but Nyovest said he preferred doing his own thing. “I don’ t want to chase people for my pay cheque.”
The rapper, who owns Family Tree Records, plans to also use his yet-to-be-named store to promote the designs of some of his record label’s talented artists, including Nadia Nakai, Carpo and Tshego.
The first store will be located at the Newtown Junction Mall in downtown Johannesburg.
Nyovest spoke to City Press on Thursday night at the launch of another milestone for him: his selection by luxury vodka brand, Cîroc, as its brand ambassador.
And, early next month, the rapper will release his fourth album, Thuto – named after his older sister.
“It is coming out on May 7, which is her birthday. My first album was named after my little sister, Tsholofelo, then Refiloe [his name] and now Thuto. All my albums are in a family order.”
He said the new album reflected his maturity.
“I am no longer about making hits, but making music that takes you down memory lane.”
This man of many talents owns a variety of vehicle brands, including Bentleys.
Asked about his penchant for luxury cars, Nyovest jokingly blamed money, saying: “I think I made my first million when I was 21. And I was just losing my mind wanting to be rich, you know. My story is from rags to riches.”
Asked if he was investing his money wisely, Nyovest said: “People are different. Some invest in houses, music, cars and everything. The most important thing is not to go broke in life.”
What do you think of Cassper’s latest single?
SMS us on 35697 using the keyword MORAL and tell us what you think. Please include your name and province. SMSes cost R1.50


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'It's boring': Sam Frost FINALLY addresses fan concerns over her weight as she flaunts her trimmed-down frame while dancing around with Easter eggs

Sam Frost has finally addressed fan concern over her fluctuating weight this week.
Unfortunately for increasingly worried supporters, her response likely isn't what they'd been hoping to hear.
'It is what it is, ' the 28-year-old told the Herald Sun, before taking to Instagram on Sunday to flaunt her trimmed-down frame as she danced around with Easter Eggs.
Proudly flaunting her makeup-free complexion, the blonde bombshell wore a black tank top and track pants, exposing the trimmed-down frame that's been the subject of fan concern.
While using the playful dance to celebrate the fact the Easter bunny had stopped by her place and her landscaping had been completed, her decision to show off her figure echoes her long-awaited opinion on the matter.
Adopting a surprising bluntness despite the genuine fear expressed by fans, she told the publication the subject was 'boring.'
'Sometimes if I am eating food with a lot of sugar my face gets puffier, if I am eating really healthy and eating lean my face gets skinnier, ' she reasoned.
It is what it is, ' she said. 'I don’ t know what else to say about it.'
Her delayed response comes after a debate was sparked in the comments of one of the beauty's Instagram posts last week.
'To be honest this post does not look like healthy and cheerful Sam to me xx, ' one follower wrote.
'Shocked to see this pic. What happened to the happy healthy glowing Sam?... Hope you get healthy, ' another one commented.
'Honestly love you to death @fro01 please eat a burger. Much love, ' one other added.
Meanwhile, many of Sam's fans thought that the radio presenter looked unhappy.
'Where is the spark in your eyes gone...?: -/ In the future, with time & space, this will no doubt be a time that you reflect back on as a tough time where you were clearly not healthy or happy. I wish you well, ' one wrote.
'@fro01 I think you are such a beautiful soul but I look forward to seeing you happy and healthy again. You are looking far too thin and anybody who has your wellbeing at heart would agree. This is not meant to sound offensive but there are many of us who genuinely care about you, ' another wrote.
But many of Sam's fans also took to the comments page to defend the star.
'_____Just read the comments. What is wrong with people. You look great the way you are! Even if you did look too thin, which you don't, it's no ones business, ' one wrote.
While the radio star's blunt response to the hot-button topic may seem unwarranted out of context, her apparent attempts to downplay the concerns come at a time when she's been struggling with a great deal of stress.
'I reached breaking point last year. I was like, "Oh my goodness I am really, really struggling with my mental health, ' she told The Herald Sun.
In a year that's already seen her Sydney radio show dumped from its breakfast slot just weeks after her split from Sasha Mielczarek, it appears the drama surrounding her weight isn't something she wants to involve the public in.
Thankfully, she revealed she is taking steps to seek help, admitting she's been seeing a Psychologist once a week.
If you, or someone you know, needs support please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit


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Tunisian Islamist party says time to 'bury' democracy

Tunis - The Tunisian branch of the radical Islamist Hizb ut-Tahrir movement, which calls for Islamic law and wants to unify Muslims into a caliphate, said on Saturday it was time to "bury" democracy.
"Democracy no longer attracts anyone, " the movement's politburo chief Abderraouf Amri told its annual conference.
"It is time to announce its death and work to bury it."
Hizb ut-Tahrir is banned in several countries and Tunisian authorities regularly accuse it of "disturbing public order".
Hundreds of party members took part in the congress near Tunis, praising "the caliphate, saviour of humanity" and denouncing "persecution" by the democratic system.
It said it was the victim of "attempts to prohibit and hinder" its activities.
Mehdi Ben Gharbia, a minister overseeing relations with civil society, said he had filed a request earlier this month for a one-month suspension of the group's activities over its "attacks against Tunisia's republican system".
Tunisia's government in September asked a military court to outlaw the movement, created in the 1980s but only legalised in 2012 following the overthrow the previous year of longtime strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
Interior Minister Hedi Majdoub has called the group "a party that does not recognise the civilian character of the state".
Hizb ut-Tahrir's 2016 Tunisian conference was banned for "security reasons".
Tunisia has been in a state of emergency since a deadly 2015 jihadist attack against presidential guards.


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Oil pipeline to Myanmar ‘at risk from rebels’

Although a crude-oil pipeline from Myanmar to China is finally running, its operations still face serious risks from the conflict in northern Myanmar, observers said. Analysts said the pipeline – which began running last Monday and extends for 2, 520km from Kyaukpyu through Muse in Myanmar before entering China at Ruili in Yunnan province – is vulnerable during conflicts. Three armed ethnic groups in northern Myanmar launched simultaneous surprise attacks on government military outposts and police stations in Muse and Kutkai townships last November, temporarily halting cross-border trade and prompting thousands of Myanmese to seek asylum in China. “During extreme fighting, the pipeline’s service might be halted or even stopped, ” said Peng Nian, an international studies specialist from Hong Kong Baptist University. Peng said such attacks could be used in a bid to get Beijing’s attention by hurting its economic interests, since China had recently taken a harsher stance towards Myanmar’s rebel groups. The Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, which has clashed with government forces for years, said last month that the Agricultural Bank of China was no longer accepting funds into an account it used to receive donations from supporters. There are also signs that negotiations between Myanmar’s government and rebel ethnic groups are breaking down. State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi’s government won only half of the seats contested in by-elections on April 2, with the losses concentrated in remote areas, including ethnic minority regions in northern Myanmar where violence has flared before. “The operation of the pipeline hinges on the progress of peace negotiations between ethnic rebels and the Myanmar central government, ” said Han Enze, a Southeast Asian affairs specialist at the University of London, However, Myanmese rebel groups also had an incentive not to attack the pipeline, since their proximity to the border with China made it in their interests to stay on Beijing’s good side, Han said. Anther potential problem for the pipeline comes from how it is perceived by local communities in Myanmar. “China has to carefully operate the pipeline by preventing oil leakage and promptly addressing other environmental concerns, and all the while provide more transparency in decision making, ” said Peng. An insider from Southeast Asia Gas Pipeline Company, which built the energy link, said protests had helped delay its construction. “When protests became serious, local people directly circled the site, making construction unable to proceed, ” he said. The pipeline project was fraught with delays before finally starting up, and two other major Chinese projects in Myanmar, the Myitsone dam and the Letpadaung copper mine, are stalled.


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NSW police announce first bomb amnesty – but just don't bring them in

Police set to run Australia’s first amnesty on illegal bombs have hedged their appeal with a warning that “under no circumstances are materials to be transported to a police station”.
New South Wales police will seek to cut the volume of dangerous explosives in the community by giving a six-month window of legal immunity to those who hand them in.
From 1 May, police will respond to calls from the public reporting unlicensed collections of bombs or hazardous materials, ranging from homemade explosives to those smuggled out of commercial or military facilities and even fireworks.
Those involved in the illicit collection or making of explosives have ranged from criminal gangs to curious individuals, in addition to what authorities have alleged were a number of foiled bomb plots by would-be terrorists in recent years.
NSW police told its officers in a memo that the amnesty, codenamed Operation Fragor, was “a safe and proactive way to reduce the amount of dangerous explosives in the community”, News Corp reported .
But the force in a media statement spelled out some risks associated with the campaign, which brings a new dimension to illegal weapons amnesties previously run by Australian state police.
A NSW police spokeswoman said it was “critical that these materials are not moved or transported”.
“Under no circumstances are materials to be transported to a police station, ” she said. “Simply call police, who will inspect and ultimately dispose of the materials.
“Do not tilt, touch or tamper as older explosives can become unstable over time.”
The work of bomb squad officers is backed by temporary changes to the state’s Explosives Act.
An amendment states that person without the necessary security clearance or licence to possess or store an explosive would be exempt from related offences under the act for six months from March 15 if they notified police.
That person was also exempt from certain offences against the Explosives Regulation 2013 around the possession or storage of the reported explosive.
High-profile illicit explosives arsenals have included 17.5kg of Powergel explosives and one of 10 rocket launchers stolen from the army, which were handed back by convicted murderer Adnan Darwiche in a bid to bolster his legal negotiations with the NSW government.
By contrast, a Sydney carpenter pleaded guilty in Manly local court to setting off homemade pipe bombs in a national park last year, in what his lawyer said were “foolish” acts not meant to harm anyone.
Police reportedly tracked the man down via his purchase of galvanised pipe from a Bunnings hardware store.
The NSW police spokeswoman said the amnesty covered materials including “commercial explosives and detonators, homemade explosives, pyrotechnics and signal flares”.
“Police will be undertaking an education process in local communities in the coming months on the amnesty and collection process, ” she said. “In the meantime, the advice is simple. Do not move the materials, call police and they will come and inspect.”


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For the Record

Corriganville Park: In the April 15 Saturday section, an article about walking at Corriganville Park in Simi Valley included directions that said to exit from the 188 Freeway. It is the 118 Freeway.
If you believe that we have made an error, or you have questions about The Times’ journalistic standards and practices, you may contact Deirdre Edgar, readers’ representative, by email at, by phone at (877) 554-4000, by fax at (213) 237-3535 or by mail at 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012. The readers’ representative office is online at .


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Sporting KC beats the Timbers 1-0 in Portland

Dom Dwyer got the goal and Tim Melia preserved the win for Sporting Kansas City.
Dwyer scored in the 53rd minute and undefeated Kansas City won its first game on the road this season, a 1-0 victory over the Portland Timbers on Saturday night.
Melia was able to tip a hard shot from Darlington Nagbe in the 79th.
"I thought from the opening whistle we came to play, I thought we worked really hard and I thought we were very intelligent in the game, " Sporting coach Peter Vermes said. "I thought we managed the moments of the game really well."
Kansas City remained one of just two teams in Major League Soccer without a loss. It was the team's fourth shutout of the season.
Sporting's stout defense, which has allowed only two goals through six games, slowed a Portland side that leads the league with 16 total goals. Fanendo Adi and Diego Valeri have five goals each but neither was able to get anything going.
It was Portland's first loss of the year at Providence Park.
"That's a very good team, " Portland coach Caleb Porter said. "This game will help us. We'll learn from it. And we'll have a chance next weekend to show we've learned some lessons from this type of soccer game."
The Timbers (4-2-1) were coming off a 3-1 victory at Philadelphia. Adi scored his 46th goal as a Timber, setting a new club record dating back to 1975, when the team was part of the North American Soccer League.
Sporting KC (3-0-3) was coming off a victory at home last week against the Colorado Rapids. The game has gotten attention in recent days because Colorado goalkeeper Tim Howard was suspended for three games and fined for using profanity directed at the crowd during the match and getting into an altercation with a fan following the game.
Dwyer broke out with his first goal of the season against the Rapids.
Dwyer pestered the Timbers throughout the first half and Kansas City appeared to dominate possession. A corner kick in the 37th minute led to Ilie Sanchez's header from about six yards out that sailed just over the goal for a close call.
A short time later Dwyer's attempt from some 20 years out was off the mark.
Dwyer finally came through with a goal on a header in the 53rd minute off a cross from Jimmy Medranda and got around Portland's Marco Farfan out in front.
"He (Medranda) just whipped it across and I just redirected it into the corner, " Dwyer said.
Vermes couldn't believe that Medranda didn't shoot.
"Then Dom, to be able to athletically get himself into position to stick that into the back post — because it's away from home, and it's not their goal, it doesn't get the notoriety it should in the stadium — it was a very, very good goal.
Sporting defender Ike Opara was shown a yellow card in the 25th minute for delaying the restarter after teammate Graham Zusi was called for a foul. Kansas City's Seth Sinovic was shown a yellow in the 52nd minute for unsporting behavior.
Portland turned up the pressure in the final 15 minutes. Darron Mattocks tried unsuccessfully to chip a shot past Melia. Sporting's goalkeeper really came up big moments later when he tipped Nagbe's hard shot from distance, which caromed off the crossbar.
"The message to the team was, 'We've got to find ways to win games when things aren't going our way, '" Porter said. "And part of that is putting the game on our terms. Part of that is finding a way to win, no matter what. Part of that is managing the emotion of what's happening in the game and keeping your composure."


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From lavish boat parties to wild bucks celebrations: Meet the young women being paid up to $150 an hour to mingle with men in their bikinis for extra cash

Young women are being paid up to $150 an hour to party with men to supplement their incomes - many who still hold down a full-time corporate job or while they are travelling as tourists.
These women can choose to appear topless, in bikinis or fully clothed at these events.
Jordan, 26, says the service is great for picking up last minute hostessing roles and that she always has a great time.
'My girlfriends and I will monitor the site and apply for jobs together usually before a night out for extra money, ' she told Daily Mail Australia.
Despite being in an environment with alcohol and organisers paying for her to be there, she said it's strictly business.
On a typical night the striking model, who has more than 31, 000 followers on Instagram is expected to pour drinks, serve food up, mingle, party and have a good time.
'There's always a creepy one in the bunch after a few drinks but nothing that's disrespectful or ever gotten out of hand, ' Jordan said.
She said she does not do topless or lingerie.
Another woman cashing in on the website, Tori, has appeared at a range of parties - including working in a bikini - while maintaining full-time job at a boutique stockbroking firm.
'I get to meet new people and do things I wouldn't do normally like go on a boat on the harbour. I've done bikini parties, but never topless, ' she told Daily Mail Australia.
Through Partistaff she has made lots of friends - including her now roommate who she met doing a party for an art gallery.
She has been working for Partistaff since October of last year when she arrived in Sydney from Los Angeles and says the extra money is fantastic.
'I've probably done about 25 parties. I love it, ' Tori said Daily Mail Australia.
The jobs pay cash in hand with hourly rates that vary from $20 - 150 an hour dependent on what is required.
The service connects party planners with waitresses and hosts who can link with one another when a party is posted. All of the girls are over 18.
Bianca, who moved from Brazail a month ago, raves about the opportunity it gives her to meet new people.
'Every body is super nice - you don't even think you are working. It's always so much fun. I've met a lot of people, I've become friends with the girls, friends with the boys, ' the 30-year-old told Daily Mail Australia.
'Everyone's happy and always enjoying themselves. It's so easy and simple. It's so fun and it takes zero effort to party so why not get paid while you do it?'
She said most of the parties are lavish experiences with many on boats or 'amazing' houses.
Bianca said she was recommended by her other friends when she first arrived because they said she was beautiful and could meet new people easily.
She makes between $35 - 50 an hour for a party and most jobs are five hours long although she jokes she almost always get asked to stay on longer - for the hourly fee of course.
'I have a big personality, I always try to talk to everyone, even the quiet people, ' the brunette beauty said.
'At the end of the day I am working and I want it to be the best experience. It increases my confidence but I wouldn't ever go topless.'
Founder and managing director Sydney's Richard Macphillamy said the idea evolved from hosting his own parties and never being able to find staff.
'Trying to find staff was impossible, unless you wanted to pay agency rates which were expensive. I used to use Gumtree so I did that a few times and started hiring hosts for bucks parties, we'd hire 10 - 15 girls just to use as party hosts, ' Mr Macphillamy said.
'Because it was so successful we thought we not put it online so people can just choose people, which is what I had been doing through Gumtree and other methods but it was totally unreliable'.
The website has now been split into two with the private party waitresses separated from women who will appear in lingerie, bikinis or topless.
'The private party market which usually is made up of thirtieths or fortieths or parties looking for wait staff and bar staff and the party host market is bucks parties or guys wanting girls to go party with them whether that's topless, bikini or party hosts, ' Mr Macphillamy said.
Mr Macphillamy told Daily Mail Australia the major seller was the party hosts.
Partistaff now get about 240 jobs a month and are relocating to LA in September to launch there.
For girls like Leti, 24, - who moved to Sydney a year ago from Brazil - it helps with picking up English while giving her away to make extra money and new friends.
'We meet people - most of my friends are from Partistaff and we all have fun, ' she said.
She has never had any incidents with the party organisers.
'The guys are respectful and we will just talk and have a drink, ' she said.


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Robredo’s Easter message: Be agents of joy and peace, not hate

In celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection, Vice President Leni Robredo on Easter Sunday called on Filipinos to be “agents of joy and peace” instead of cultivating hate and division.
In her Easter message, Robredo also highlighted the Risen Christ’s message of “hope and courage” and urged Filipinos to live up to “what He stands for and what He represents.”
“Jesus died on the cross so that we might live. And as we remember His resurrection, let us also remember what he stands for and what He represents. Let us be guided by His sacrifice and grace—choosing to be agents of joy and peace instead of hate and contempt, ” Robredo said in a statement.
“The message of the Risen Christ is one of hope and courage. May we all be reminded that the grace we receive from Him is not for us alone, but a gift we must share with others. A blessed Easter to everyone, ” she added.
Easter Sunday, which is celebrated across the Christian world including the predominantly Catholic Philippines, marks the end of the Lenten season or the Passion of Christ.
In his Easter message, President Duterte said he was hoping that the commemoration of Christ’s resurrection would “be a reminder to Filipinos that our country deserves salvation from drugs, criminality and corruption that have long plagued this nation and that our people will rise and triumph over society’s ills.” JE


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'These people are obsessed with me': Constance Hall opens up about the public backlash she's faced since she split from her husband, as she reveals it has been suggested that she hire a personal BODYGUARD at one point

A mere 18 months ago, Constance Hall was just another mummy blogger sharing her daily trials and tribulations in the hope it would help other mothers like herself.
However, just over a year later, the Perth-based writer is one of the biggest names in the mummy blogging business, having written a bestselling book, gained 1.1 million Facebook followers and toured Australia in sellout gigs.
All of this has not come without a public backlash, however - and one which reached its nadir after the 33-year-old split from her estranged husband of six years, Bill Mahon, earlier this month.
Speaking to Perth Now on Sunday, the blogger revealed that things have become really 'nasty' since she split with Bill.
'They are photoshopping my name and my photo and mocking up these messages saying I have been bitching about these bloggers that I haven't even heard of and writing all these horrible things about bloggers as if it’s coming from me and sending that viral, ' Constance told the publication.
'I find myself just rocking in the corners going, "They are going to win".
'These people are obsessed with me, ' she continued.
The controversial blogger added that the online backlash she has faced has seen her pull back from her writing in recent months.
According to Perth Now, the chief executive of her company suggested she hire a personal bodyguard and take out a restraining order on one particular woman whose comments have become excessively nasty.
'We never went through with it because my lawyer works with a lot of public figures and he said historically, it just gets so much worse the further that you take it, and you just need to avoid it, ' Constance said.
Speaking about the recent vitriol she faced when Bill accused her of cheating with another man 'she has only known for six weeks', Constance said:
'I just don't understand why the public looks at women as calculating and manipulative whereas the men are always these easily played victims.'
The popular author has entirely dismissed claims that she was seeing another man, Denim Cooke, while she was with Bill Mahon on her blog and elsewhere.
'A lot of trolling has come out and a lot of lies are being spread about the way my marriage ended and the way I am treating my ex, ' she said last weekend.
'... The other man that I have supposedly "run off with" Denim, I can wholeheartedly say that Bill and I were well and truly over well before I even developed any feelings for him.
'I warned my ex husband many months ago that if he wanted to try and reunite he should do it before I give up completely. He did not reply.
'I absolutely never left Bill for anyone. I didn't cheat on Bill with Denim. I tried and tried and tried with Bill, so many tears and so much trying. My family and friends know the truth, ' the blogger concluded.


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Nina Dobrev, Orlando Bloom Not Dating, Hooking Up [Debunked]

“There must’ ve been love in the air in LA, because Orlando and Nina looked like that wasn’ t the first time they’ d taken a sweet walk together, ” the report said.
A post shared by Nina Dobrev (@nina) on Mar 14, 2017 at 2: 01pm PDT
The website held that Dobrev and Bloom did not look “extra friendly” and “pretty cozy, ” pointing out that the two were not even next to each other in that supposedly “sweet walk” photo the paps took after the premiere.
“They’ ve known each other for a while. Recently they’ ve been hanging out as more than friends. It’s super casual, ” the insider revealed.
conscious clothing, how bout that for a game changing 2017 we all buy too much stuff move.
A post shared by Orlando Bloom (@orlandobloom) on Mar 30, 2017 at 11: 12am PDT
“Nina has known Orlando for a few years now. She’s been out with him in social settings with mutual friends. She’s always thought he was an attractive man, ” a source told the website.
“We’ re friends. It’s good. We’ re all grown-up. She happens to be someone who is very visible, but I don’ t think anybody cares what I’ m up to. Nor should they. It’s between us. It’s better to set an example for kids and show that [break-ups] don’ t have to be about hate, ” he explained.
“Before rumors or falsifications get out of hand, we can confirm that Orlando and Katy are taking respectful, loving space at this time, ” their reps explained.
[Featured Image by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]


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Four injured in shooting at Alabama church carnival

Their injuries -- all from gunshot wounds -- weren't life-threatening, Center Point Fire District Chief Donnie West told CNN.
The shooting stemmed from a fight shortly before 9: 30 p.m. in the parking lot of the Cathedral of the Cross church in Birmingham, West said.
About 800 people were attending the carnival and 100 others were trying to buy tickets outside the entry gate when the shooting occurred, West said


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Parties butt heads on Bong case: Are pork testimonies ‘facts’ ?

Do the testimonies of pork barrel scam whistleblowers in 2014 count as “admissions of fact” in the upcoming plunder trial of detained former Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.?
Revilla’s camp, led by lawyer Estelito Mendoza, maintained that the witnesses who already testified during his 2014 bail hearing should again face scrutiny for their earlier statements in his trial.
In a 12-page memorandum, Revilla asked the Sandiganbayan First Division to exclude the gist of the bail hearing testimonies from the list of “stipulations” in the pretrial order governing the presentation of evidence during trial.
State prosecutors, however, objected to the request as they consider this to be a turnaround from the defense’s earlier moves before Mendoza hopped on board this January.
Stipulations are meant to avoid the unnecessary presentation of proof and speed up the trial. Jurisprudence holds that stipulations are essentially a waiver of the right to present evidence to counter the agreed-upon facts.
Bail hearing testimonies
The prosecution had moved for the inclusion of the testimonies of whistleblowers Benhur Luy, Merlina Suñas and Marina Sula regarding the dubiousness of the non-government organizations tapped by Revilla to implement the projects funded by his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) proceeds.
The three had also testified that the six NGOs were controlled by alleged scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, while another whistleblower Mary Arlene Baltazar also stated that she forged the signatures for the PDAF transactions alongside Suñas and Sula.
Other contested stipulations include the previous statements of Anti-Money Laundering Council lawyer Leigh Vhon Santos and Commission on Audit assistant commissioner Susan Garcia regarding the inquiry into the defendants’ bank accounts and the PDAF transactions respectively.
Another opposed stipulation pertained to the statement of Department of Budget and Management director Lorenzo Drapete regarding the processing of special allotment release orders drawn from Revilla’s pork barrel.
No agreement on veracity
The proposed stipulations were phrased this way: “If asked, ” the witness “will testify/will answer” regarding the plunder allegations against Revilla.
The Revilla camp considered these veracity of these testimonies still open to dispute and not yet “removed from the field of controversy.” The defense stressed it had not agreed to the veracity of the statements.
Even if the stipulations were phrased in such a way that emphasizes the testimonial nature of the statements, the motion stated that including these matters will be “highly misleading and will result in confusion.”
Prosecutors claimed in their 17-page memorandum that the Revilla camp is already bound by the “stipulations and admissions made during the bail hearing” (which, it may be recalled, ended in the denial of Revilla’s petition as the court found the evidence so far to be strong enough) .
They said that Revilla could not escape the “binding effect of judicial admissions” unless it was made through a palpable mistake or it was not done at all.
Don’ t blame the former lawyer
Citing the Supreme Court’s 2002 Bayas ruling, the prosecution noted that a new lawyer cannot justify the withdrawal of stipulations by passing blame on the previous counsel (During the time of the bail hearing, Joel Bodegon was still leading Revilla’s defense) .
Revilla’s camp, on the other hand, maintained that at the time, he “expressly reserved his right to cross-examine these witnesses.”
“This clearly negates any intention on the part of accused Revilla to waive the presentation of proof or production of evidence as to the truth of the matters which these witnesses would testify upon, ” his memorandum read.
Are ‘ghost projects’ irrelevant?
Through the same memoranda, the prosecution and the defense also butted heads on the relevance of the issue of “ghost projects” to the allegation that Revilla amassed P224.5 million in kickbacks from his PDAF allocation.
Revilla’s camp reiterated that the alleged non-implementation of his pet projects should be set aside from his plunder trial—or at least, limited only for the purposes of proving “coaccused Napoles’ alleged receipt and misappropriation of PDAF proceeds for her personal gain.”
This was because Revilla was accused of obtaining the kickbacks “in consideration” of his endorsement of the Napoles-linked NGOs, and not necessarily during the implementation of the projects.
“The alleged ‘ghost or fictitious projects’ … does not, in any way, refer to accused Revilla’s supposed act of amassing, acquiring or accumulating ill-gotten wealth in the amount of at least P224, 512, 500.00 or to ‘the [purported] scheme employed by the accused, '” Revilla’s memorandum stated.
It added that the prosecution should be disallowed from presenting “77 witnesses and voluminous documents for such irrelevant purpose, ” especially as Revilla “continues to be incarcerated for almost three years in relation to this case.”
Part of ‘modus operandi’
However, the prosecution argued that the diversion of Revilla’s PDAF proceeds to ghost projects is relevant because it “forms part of the modus operandi.” They said the nonimplementation of the projects precisely enabled Napoles to give the senator kickbacks.
“It enabled accused Napoles to pocket the PDAF proceeds and recompense herself for the kickbacks/bribes given to, and received by, accused Revilla for every project he endorsed to a Napoles NGO, ” the prosecution said.
It added that proving the fictitious nature of the projects “tends to establish the probability or improbability of the pattern of repeatedly receiving kickbacks” in the overall scheme.
Revilla’s trial is currently scheduled to begin on April 20, although the finalized pretrial order is yet to be released as of press time. The actor-politician also has a pending appeal on the court’s denial of his motion to quash the case on the grounds of the violation of his right to be informed of the accusations. CBB


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Tattooed inmate convicted of exposing himself to children escapes from a Victorian prison

Police are hunting an inmate convicted of exposing himself to young children who escaped from prison in rural Victoria on Sunday morning.
Barry Dettman, 51, broke out of Langi Kal Prison and was last seen making a break for freedom east along the Western Highway in Trawalla about 10am.
The tattooed flasher had so far eluded authorities who were scouring the area, with residents warned to call 000 but not to approach him.
Dettman was serving time for indecent acts in the presence of a child and willful and obscene exposure.
He was described as 178 centimetres tall with a thin build, cropped grey hair and blue eyes and was wearing green tracksuit pants and a flannelette shirt.
He has numerous tattoos on his upper arms and forearms including an eagle on his right upper arm.


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Watch Easter 2017 Mass From Vatican Live Online: Start Time, Streaming Video As Pope Francis Delivers Mass

Those who want to watch Easter 2017 mass from the Vatican live online will be able to find streaming video so they can follow along the service from St. Peter’s Square from anywhere in the world.
Pope Francis will be saying mass before thousands expected to gather at the Vatican, delivering his annual Easter message. The service will start at 4 a.m. ET (10 a.m. in Rome) and can be seen in the video below.
Given the messages Pope Francis has delivered during Holy Week, it’s likely that the message will cover some timely topics, including terrorist attacks, war, and immigration. Pope Francis has always given a socially conscious bend to his sermons, and given the rising conflicts both in the Middle East and in Europe — where there has been a growing anti-immigration movement — it’s likely that this will continue for Easter Sunday mass.
In the last week, terrorist attacks against Coptic churches in Egypt left at least 45 people dead. That has led to high security not only at the Vatican, but also at other Easter Sunday church services in Europe.
Pope Francis used his Easter Vigil message to decry violence against innocent people, especially migrants.
Pope Francis prostrates himself in prayer during a solemn Good Friday service in St. Peter's Basilica. https: //
— The Associated Press (@AP) April 14, 2017
Earlier, at a service on Good Friday, Pope Francis called on Catholics to be strong and resolute and proud in their faith.
There was also a special presentation of the Stations of the Cross, which showed the story of Jesus’ death on the cross, the report noted.
“At each of the 14 stations, the cross was carried by different people – both religious and lay – from countries around the world, including Poland, Italy, India, Africa, Egypt, Portugal, Colombia, France, China, and Israel.
“At several stations, the cross was held by a family with young children.”
Pope Francis: "O Christ, we ask you to teach us to never be ashamed of your Cross…" https: //
— Catholic News Agency (@cnalive) April 16, 2017
Those who watch Easter 2017 mass from the Vatican live online will see a much more joyful service, with St. Peter’s Square already filled with bright flowers in anticipation of the service.
It’s likely they will also see Pope Francis make a direct appeal to Catholics to do a better job of carrying out Jesus’ ministry in the world. That was a theme in his Holy Week messages, including a call for Catholics to “break down all the walls that keep us locked in our sterile pessimism, in our carefully constructed ivory towers that isolate us from life, in our compulsive need for security and in boundless ambition that can make us compromise the dignity of others.”
Those who want to see the Easter 2017 mass live online can follow along in the video below.
Those unable to watch the embedded video above can click here to watch live streaming video of Easter 2017 mass from the Vatican.
[Featured Image by Franco Origlia/Getty Images]


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Montreal scores in stoppage time for first MLS win

MONTREAL (AP) - Anthony Jackson-Hamel scored in second-half stoppage time as the Montreal Impact beat 10-man Atlanta United 2-1 on Saturday for their first Major League Soccer victory of the season.
Jackson-Hamel deflected Hernan Bernardello's shot from distance off the post and just past the outstretched Alec Kann in Atlanta's net. Jackson-Hamel came into the game in the 83rd minute.
Ignacio Piatti scored for Montreal on a penalty kick. The Impact, playing their first match at Saputo Stadium and second in Montreal, got their first victory after a winless three-game road trip.
Atlanta went down a player in first-half stoppage time when defender Leandro Gonzalez Pirez shoved Matteo Mancosu in the back in the penalty box and was given a red card. Piatti, in his first game back from injury, converted from the spot for his second goal of the season.
Kenwyne Jones scored in the 40th minute for expansion Atlanta.
PORTLAND, Oregon (AP) - Dom Dwyer scored in the 53rd minute as undefeated Sporting Kansas City won its first road game this season over Portland.
Kansas City remains one of just two teams in Major League Soccer without a loss. It was the team's fourth shutout of the season.
Sporting's stout defense, which has allowed only two goals through six games, slowed a Portland side that leads the league with 16 goals this season. Fanendo Adi and Diego Valeri have five goals each but neither was able to get anything going.
It was Portland's first loss of the year at Providence Park.
Adi scored his 46th goal as a Timber, setting a new club record dating back to 1975, which the team was part of the North American Soccer League.
ORLANDO, Florida (AP) - Cyle Larin scored in stoppage time and Will Johnson had a goal and an assist as Orlando City beat Los Angeles to remain unbeaten at home this season.
Larin scored on a sliding volley off Johnson's corner kick in the 91st minute for his fourth goal of the season. Johnson opened the scoring in the ninth minute.
Romain Alessandrini, a 28-year-old designated player acquired by Los Angeles on Jan. 31, got the equalizer in the 83rd minute with his fourth goal in three games.
Joe Bendik had five saves for Orlando City.
HARRISON, New Jersey (AP) - Alex Muyl and Bradley Wright-Phillips scored and Luis Robles had his third shutout of the season as New York beat D. C. United to end a four-game winless streak.
Muyl opened the scoring just seconds into the second half, heading home a corner kick by Sacha Kljestan from the top of the 6-yard box. It was the first goal of the season for the 21-year-old homegrown player and the third of his MLS career.
Wright-Phillips perfectly timed his run, took a pass from Felipe Martins near the right corner of the 6-yard box and fired it through the legs of Bill Hamid into the net in the 62nd minute.
Robles, who led MLS last season with 11 shutouts, had three saves - including a diving stop on Lamar Neagle's shot in the 86th.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Justin Meram and Ola Kamara scored, and Zack Steffen made four saves to help Columbus beat Toronto.
Meram put Columbus (4-2-1) in front for good in the 44th minute, poking Alex Crognale's header - off a corner kick by Federico Higuain - into the net with the outside of his right foot.
Jozy Altidore gave Toronto a 1-0 lead in the 21st, heading home a corner kick by Victor Vazquez. Kamara got the equalizer about 16 minutes later, tapping in a perfect feed from Niko Hansen.
Steffen matched his career high with four saves - including a sliding stop of Altidore in the 24th minute and a diving, right-handed save moments later.
BRIDGEVIEW, Illinois (AP) - Nemanja Nikolic scored twice and Bastian Schweinsteiger added a goal as Chicago beat New England.
Schewinsteiger split a pair of defenders and, from just beyond the top-left corner of the 6-yard box, side-netted a low finish for Chicago to open the scoring moments before halftime.
Nikolic made it 2-0 early in the second half, poking Luis Solignac's deflected entry past Cody Cropper from point-blank range, and capped the scoring in the 73rd minute.
New England played a man down after Je-Vaughn Watson was sent off in the 27th after receiving a pair of yellow cards just minutes apart.
HOUSTON (AP) - Johan Venegas and Christian Ramirez scored, and John Alvbage came off the bench and held Houston scoreless in the second half as Minnesota rallied for the draw.
Venegas put away an attempted cross that deflected off a defender to level the match in the 59th minute.
Mauro Manotas opened the scoring in the 14th minute and a goal by Alberth Elis gave Houston a 2-0 lead heading into halftime.
But Alvbage, who hadn't played since allowing 10 combined goals in Minnesota's first two games of the season, started the second half in place of Bobby Shuttleworth and United rallied.
Ramirez, who missed wide right on a one-on-one attempt in the first half, put Minnesota on the board in the opening minutes of the second, heading home a corner kick from Molino.
COMMERCE CITY, Colorado (AP) - Yura Movsisyan and Brooks Lennon scored goals moments apart in the closing minutes as Real Salt Lake rallied to beat Colorado.
Lennon capped RSL's comeback in the 88th minute, dribbling around a pair of defenders before blasting a right-footer from well outside the top of the box into the back of the net.
Kevin Doyle opened the scoring for the Rapids in the 29th minute. Movsysian slipped in a penalty kick, after Colorado's Jared Watts was shown the red card for a hand ball on the line, between the left post and Zac McMath's outstretched arm to get the equalizer in the 85th.
Colorado goalkeeper Tim Howard has been suspended for three games and fined for using profanity directed at the crowd during a match against Sporting Kansas City last week and getting into an altercation with a fan following the game.


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DNA leads to arrest in murder of jogger in Massachusetts

PRINCETON, Mass. (AP) - DNA evidence and an attentive state trooper helped find the man authorities believe killed a New York City woman last summer who was out jogging near her mother's Massachusetts home, authorities said Saturday.
"Good afternoon. We got him, " Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. proclaimed at a news conference Saturday outside the police department in Princeton, a small community of about 3, 500 residents in central Massachusetts. It's about 40 miles (64 kilometers) west of Boston.
"We're very comfortable that we've got Vanessa Marcotte's killer, " Early said.
The body of 27-year-old Marcotte was found Aug. 7 in some woods about a half-mile from her mother's house, where the young woman was visiting family. Marcotte, who worked as an account manager for Google in New York, had gone out to run several hours earlier.
Police said throughout the investigation they believed Marcotte fought her attacker and the suspect had scratches on his face, neck and arms. On Saturday, Early said DNA taken from Marcotte's hands during an autopsy helped solve the case. The DNA was used to help create a profile of a suspect, which was released two months ago. It also matched the DNA of 31-year-old Angelo Colon-Ortiz, who lives in nearby Worcester and who police believe was working in the area at the time of Marcotte's attack.
"It's through her determined fight and her efforts that we obtained the DNA of her killer, " Early said.
Colon-Ortiz was charged Friday with aggravated assault, aggravated assault and battery and assault with intent to rape. Early said more charges are expected.
The district attorney credited "an alert state trooper assigned to the detective unit" with recently spotting a dark SUV, the type of vehicle witnesses reported seeing in the area. He said that trooper also noticed the driver matched the profile released in February, which determined the suspect in Marcotte's killing was a Hispanic or Latino man, about 30 years old, with light- to medium-toned skin, an athletic build and is either balding or has short hair.
Unable to find a piece of paper, Early said the trooper wrote down the vehicle's license plate number on his hand. He then looked it up, visited the home of Colon-Ortiz and left a business card, asking him to call. When Colon-Ortiz didn't respond, the trooper later returned to the home and obtained a voluntary DNA sample from Colon-Ortiz. That sample was determined to be a match on Friday and Colon-Ortiz was subsequently arrested.
He was being held Saturday at the state police barracks in Millbury on a $10 million bond and is scheduled to appear in Leominster District Court Tuesday. Early said Colon-Ortiz, who speaks limited English, has requested an attorney.
This story has been corrected to indicate Colon-Ortiz was arrested Friday, not Saturday.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Dallas model lands 'Vogue Italia' magazine cover

Bedford teen's Italian coup
A little bit Audrey Hepburn, a whole lot Sissy Spacek, it's hard to believe 17-year-old Sara Grace Wallerstedt didn't feel very "pretty" growing up. The Bedford teenager now epitomizes "the new beautiful" on the cover of April's Italian Vogue, widely considered by many style types to be the most prestigious fashion publication in the world.
Wallerstedt showed up a year ago at an open casting for models by Dallas' Wallflower Management. Founder and creative director Tammy Theis (a former Dallas Morning News fashion reporter) says they signed her immediately. "We knew when we met her she was special, " Theis says.
Wallerstedt quickly began walking the runways for major labels such as Prada and Proenza Schouler, and is now under exclusive contract with Calvin Klein. When she's not modeling, the self-described "nerd" volunteers to help rescue dogs. Next month, she walks her most important runway yet: high school graduation.


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A walk down memory lane! Kourtney Kardashian shares sweet childhood photos of her and Kim hunting for Easter eggs

She's excited for the upcoming Easter Sunday holiday.
But on Saturday Kourtney Kardashian took a look back as she shared several throwback photos of herself as a little girl during the celebrations.
The photos Kourtney, 37, shared were of herself as a child hunting for Easter eggs alongside her sister Kim Kardashian, 36.
The little girls and future super stars wore white hats and ruffled dresses as they scoured by a garden of flowers for eggs.
In the second snap, Kourtney was clad in a violet pair of sneakers as she grabbed the prized Easter egg beside her younger sister Kim during a separate hunt.
The holiday holds a special place for the Kardashian family.
'Easter has always been important to my family, ' the reality star recently wrote on her blog, . 'I have so many great memories of celebrating the holiday.
'When we were little, we always used to start the day by dressing up and going to church, followed by an Easter egg hunt. Some of my favorite childhood photos were taken on Easter, ' she wrote.
It's not the first time fans have seen such cute photos of the ladies celebrating the Easter holiday.
Kim also recently shared photos of her and Kourtney over Easter when they were little girls.
'Easter has always been such a special time for me and my family, ' Kim explained on her website, . 'Growing up, I loved going to visit my grandparents in Palm Springs and doing Easter egg hunts with Kourt.'


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BYU men's volleyball: Cougars cruise to a straight-set win over Stanford to advance in the MPSF tournament

PROVO — The No. 3-ranked BYU men's volleyball team seemed to have it in cruise control from the get-go in earning a straight set win over Stanford (25-19, 25-21, 25-18) in the first round of the MPSF tournament on Saturday.
Short rallies, a lot of service errors by the Cardinal, along with stellar serving and passing by the Cougars defined a match where BYU hit at just a .200 hitting percentage before upping it to .315 to finish out the match.
"We were really aggressive from the service line, " head coach Shawn Olmstead said. "Once we got (Stanford) in certain positions passing, we had a good idea of what they were going to do and had good touches from there."
The Cougars tallied seven service aces in the match against just 13 service errors while the Cardinal had just one ace as opposed to 17 service errors.
"Seven aces against 13 errors — that's big-time, " Olmstead said.
Also serving the Cougars well was building and then maintaining comfortable leads throughout the match.
Olmstead's team never trailed in the first set and immediately set out to an 11-6 lead before cruising to a relatively comfortable 25-19 set win.
Stanford proved tougher in the second set, until a 7-1 run by the Cougars put them up 15-12 before taking the set 25-21. The third and final set followed the form of the first set with the Cougars leading throughout and then taking it by a healthy 25-18 margin.
"Anytime Stanford would creep (up) a little, or score a point with their serve, we would be good about just turning the tide, " Olmstead said. "We figured out what we could do to stop (them) offensively, and I credit the guys for doing that. They didn't allow any runs of above a couple of points, and you don't see that often in the course of a volleyball match."
Defensively, the Cougars showed as well as they have all season in both receiving the ball and getting big blocks at the net. Overall, the Cougars had 8.5 team blocks to Stanford's two, with Joe Grosh leading the way with a match-high six block assists.
"It was really good tonight, " Olmstead said of the team's block. "Again, it starts with our servers, and we got them out of system. So we felt really comfortable with what (Stanford) would do in certain passing situations. We were able to make early moves because of the pass that they saw."
Leading the way in kills was Tim Dobbert, who put down a match-high 13 of them from his opposite hitter position. Dobbert got the nod over Ben Patch, who recently returned to action off of a groin injury yet was held out by Olmstead on Saturday.
"We felt comfortable in the situations with Tim out there, and Tim did a phenomenal job, " Olmstead said. "But Ben is available."
With the win, BYU advances to the semifinal round where it will take on the winner of Hawaii vs. Pepperdine. Due to No. 1 seed Long Beach's win over USC in the first round, the 49ers will host the rest of the tournament.
But according to Olmstead, where his team plays and who it plays isn't a concern, as his players are focused just one what's ahead.
"I told the guys you've got to go be able to win championship on the road in every sport, " Olmstead said. "So don't go hope and wish that something's going to happen. We can't have that mindset."
Twitter: @BrandonCGurney


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‘Big Brother 19’ Schedule: Fans Enjoying ‘BB19’ Rumors As Summer 2017 Season Premiere Approaches

???????? Sliding into #EasterWeekend like…
— Julie Chen (@JulieChen) April 14, 2017
Happy #FirstDayOfSpring????…one season closer to #summer and #BB19 !!! RT if you’ re counting down to @CBSBigBrother
— Julie Chen (@JulieChen) March 20, 2017
The most red-hot moments when #BigBrother houseguests reached their boiling point: https: // ????
— Big Brother (@CBSBigBrother) March 20, 2017
[Featured Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]


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Phil Jackson is the one who should be getting run out of MSG

Phil Jackson says that Carmelo Anthony would be better off somewhere else and at least Jackson is finally right about something in New York other than Kristaps Porzingis. If Jackson is going to stay here for two more years and finish off the kind of bad contract he generally awards to coaches and players, then Anthony is absolutely better off somewhere else. Including the moon.
It is ironic, when you think about it. So often when Jackson is talking about Anthony he sounds as if he is talking about himself. Starting with how stubborn he says Carmelo Anthony is. You’ ve got to admit. That’s a good one.
But the one who ought to be somewhere else is Jackson himself.
It is worth pointing out again that if anybody else in town had his record as an executive, they would already be on their way out of town. His greatest success as an executive isn’ t drafting Porzingis, after everybody in the league knew how hard he’ d tried to peddle the fourth pick in that draft. It is taking James Dolan’s money.
You wonder now if Irving Azoff, the manager of the Eagles who brokered the deal between Dolan and Jackson, still has the run of Madison Square Garden the way Jackson does. Maybe Dolan’s long game is that if he sticks with Jackson long enough, he will eventually get the Knicks to the NBA Finals the way Glen Sather finally got the Rangers to the Stanley Cup final. Good luck with that.
Jackson’s record with the Knicks now stands at 80-166. He says the fans see the Knicks getting better. But why wouldn’ t he think he can sell fans his particular brand of snake oil, as he looks around night after night and sees the Garden full of people who continue to support a team that has become one of the two biggest losers in the sport (along with the Timberwolves) over the last 15 years? Maybe these are the same people who still buy into the laughable notion that the Garden is still a “mecca” of basketball. Ask the question again, loudly, and even from the cheap seats, if you can still find any of those at the Garden:
Mecca of what, exactly?
Either Dolan continues to be star-struck by the mere presence of Jackson in the building, or he is still desperate to use Jackson as cover for the biblical mess that the Knicks have become since Jeff Van Gundy walked away from Dolan and the Knicks in December of 2001. We hear constantly about how much Dolan wants to win. As he stays with Jackson after 80-166. And is told that the real plan over the past three years was getting to the next plan.
Scott Layden would never have survived a record like that. Donnie Walsh wouldn’ t have survived. Isiah Thomas survived his own various calamities, on and off the court, until Dolan finally kicked him to the curb. Glen Grunwald was the guy in charge when the Knicks won 54 games and the Atlantic Division, and he didn’ t make it to Opening Night the next season.
Jackson is three awful seasons working on four. At least Woody Johnson, no beacon of enlightened ownership, had seen enough of John Idzik after two seasons to get rid of Idzik. Now Jackson stands up on Friday and talks about how three years into his rebuilding program he’s starting another rebuilding program. This is the part where it becomes official that Dolan’s basketball emperor isn’ t wearing any clothes.
Jackson: “I didn’ t come here just to particularly win a championship but to do things that were directed by my instructions by Dolan — let’s have something that is identifiable in who we are and how we play.”
Well, they’ ve certainly done that, haven’ t they? In that moment, the Knicks moving further and further away from a championship wasn’ t just Carmelo’s fault… it was actually Dolan’s, too!
But if Jackson wasn’ t brought here to win a championship, then why did Dolan throw $60 million at him three years ago? Getting better? No, the Knicks are getting worse. And if you still believe this is somehow all Anthony’s fault, then you also believe pigs can fly.
Around nine months after Jackson began going through Dolan’s wallet, the team built around Carmelo Anthony, the old ball holder who finished third in MVP voting that year, finished a season that saw them win 54 games and the Atlantic Division title and the only playoff series the new York Knicks have won since they made it to the Eastern Conference finals in 2000. Think about that. One playoff round won, 17 years. At the “mecca” of basketball. The Nets have won as many playoff series as the Knicks since they moved to Brooklyn. Maybe they should start calling the Barclays Center the mecca of basketball in New York.
Somehow, through it all, Jackson continues to act as if he still exists on some higher basketball plane than everybody else. Somehow the guy who is clearly obsessed enough with the media that he essentially hid from them for an entire season acts as if his problems with Anthony were created by the media. No, he is the one who created those problems by giving the guy $120 million and a no-trade clause in his contract and then acting shocked that Anthony was the exact same player he’ d always been.
“We can’ t win with him on the court, ” Jackson says.
Actually, the Knicks can’ t win with Jackson anywhere near the court at Madison Square Garden. He is the guy who gave Joakim Noah $72 million. He is the guy who thought that Derrick Rose could somehow thrive in a triangle offense that fit him about as well as a pair of basketball shoes about four sizes too small. He is the guy who has hired Derek Fisher (at $25 million) , Kurt Rambis and Jeff Hornacek as his coaches.
He is playing Knicks fans for suckers. Doing the same with his boss. But he is the one not going anywhere. He’s handed out some bad contracts since he got here. The worst is the one Dolan gave him. Carmelo would be better off somewhere else? No kidding? Look who’s talking.
- Yeah, who wouldn’ t want the chumpwit who says he no longer dates hot women?
If you watched just the third period of Rangers-Canadiens Friday night, you know this the way you do your screen name:
It felt as if the Canadiens spent about a week in Henrik Lundqvist’s lap.
Mike D’ Antoni will probably win Coach of the Year in the NBA.
Brad Stevens of the Celtics is as good a basketball coach as there is anywhere, college or pros.
But raise a hand if you thought Quin Snyder’s Jazz were going to win 51 games this season and be the fifth seed in the Western Conference.
- You never want to get behind your own story, or your own news cycle, even though that’s obviously happened with Eli Manning.
But it’s hardly too late for him to explain what he meant with that email about two helmets that “could pass as game used.”
By the way?
Ed Werder made a good point the other day on ESPN, when he asked how many helmets an NFL quarterback actually uses across the course of a season, and what these people think they’ re buying.
Sometimes – a lot of times – you get the idea that the whole sports memorabilia business in this country makes telemarketing seem like church.
Eventually we’ ll likely find out that this case with Eli might not rise to the level in Jersey of something as bad as — oh, I don’ t know — having your aides snarl traffic on the George Washington Bridge and those aides getting jail time as a result.
Something like that.
- No Jordan Spieth in the mix on the back nine at Augusta last Sunday.
No Rory McIlroy.
No Dustin Johnson, who withdrew on Thursday after saying he fell on some wet steps.
With all that, Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia, a major champion and a guy desperate to finally become one, provided one of the great last two hours any Masters Sunday has ever seen.
And it is worth remembering that after Rose seemed to have taken control of the final round after Sergio made bogeys at 10 and 11 starting the back nine and then seemed to have shot himself in the foot and out of things with that errant drive on No. 13, Sergio Garcia’s ball-striking was almost flawless from 14 tee on.
Birdie on 14.
Eagle on 15.
Knocked it stiff on 16 even though he missed the putt.
Even though he missed his first birdie putt on 18, before they played it again in sudden death, he hit a beautiful iron shot to give himself a chance.
Played like a major champ, on the day when he finally became one.
Had played 73 majors without winning.
Then finally won one on the 73rd hole at Augusta.
Very cool.
The Boston Red Sox miss David Ortiz even more than they thought they were going to, no matter how much young talent they have up and down their batting order.
- It was nice to hear Phil Jackson, by the way, admit that there might have been a few holes in the Knicks’ defense this season.
Well, at least until – in the Zen Master’s view – Ron Baker practically became Defensive Player of the Year in the last two weeks of the season.
CNN’s Fareed Zakaria seems like one of the good guys, but if he gets any more defensive about saying that Trump became president because he hit Syria with those missiles the other night, he’s going to show up on TV wearing a helmet.
- I know what the Warriors’ record was during the regular season when Kevin Durant was healthy.
I know how they turned it on down the stretch, even before Durant came back.
But now we will see how he and Steph Curry make it work in the playoffs.
Clyde and Earl the Pearl did it a long time ago with the Knicks, after they went from being basketball adversaries to teammates.
Now we see with Curry and Durant.
Oh, good, let’s play a game of nuclear chicken with the little nut from North Korea.
I honestly do believe that when they remove Steve Bannon from the White House, the scene is going to resemble the doctor getting removed from United 3411.


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‘Islamic’ kindergartens cause a stir in Austria

VIENNA, Austria — A debate is raging in Austria after a study suggested that Islamic kindergartens in Vienna were helping to create “parallel societies” or even produce the dangerous homegrown radicals of the future.
According to its author, Ednan Aslan, a Turkish-born Austrian professor at Vienna University, some 10, 000 children aged two to six attend around 150 Muslim preschools, teaching the Koran much like Christian ones do with Bible studies.
At least a quarter are backed by groups propagating arch conservative strains of Islam like Salafism, or organisations that see religion not just as a private matter but integral to politics and society, Aslan believes.
“Parents are sending their kids to establishments that ensure they are in a Muslim setting and learn a few suras (chapters from the Koran) , ” Aslan, a respected researcher into Islamic education, told AFP.
“But they are unaware that they are shutting them off from a multicultural society, ” he said.
The study, published last year, has been jumped on by critics of immigration — not least the far-right Freedom Party — in the wake of attacks such as Paris and Brussels perpetrated by Muslims who grew up in Europe.
But many reject Aslan’s findings, questioning its methodology.
The magazine Biber, which writes for and about minorities, sent a veiled Muslim reporter undercover posing as a mother looking for a place for her son at 14 Muslim kindergartens.
She found no evidence to back up Aslan’s suggestions that they were churning out “little Salafists” or that things like the children singing — frowned upon by ultra-strict Muslims — were banned.
But around a third were according to the magazine “problematic”, “cutting off or isolating children” from mainstream society. It also voiced concerns about the “openness” of some staff and the level of German spoken.
Vienna City Hall has since sought to calm the situation by commissioning an in-depth study involving a six-strong research team which will be published later this year.
But the first problem is establishing how many Islamic kindergartens there are. Vienna has 842 registered kindergartens, 100 of them Catholic-run and 13 Protestant, but the number of Muslim ones is not known.
Part of the reason is that there has been an explosion in the number that are privately run, stretching the ability of the authorities to keep tabs and allowing some to operate under the radar.
Vienna is home to 1.8 million people, half of whom have a parent born abroad or who were born abroad themselves. Ever since it was the capital of a vast empire, it has been a magnet for outsiders, not all of them always welcome.
“But what is new in recent years has been the religious aspect of the debate about integration, ” said Thomas Schmidinger, political scientist and Islam specialist at Vienna University.
Austria, a nation of 8.7 million people, has received more than 130, 000 asylum applications since 2015 following the onset of the European Union’s biggest migration crisis since World War II.
T he Freedom Party is riding high in the polls. Surveys suggest that public attitudes to Muslims have hardened. Attacks on migrant shelters soared last year.
The ruling centrist coalition has moved to the right with plans to ban full-face veils in public and oblige migrants to sign an “integration contract”.
Organizations representing Austria’s 700, 000-strong Muslim population say that in this context, Aslan’s flawed report has only fanned the flames.
“This study feeds populism and forces Muslims to justify themselves constantly, ” said Murat Gurol from newly created pressure group the Muslim Civil Society Network.
The 45-year-old IT worker said he sent his own son to a Muslim kindergarten in order to learn “the values of solidarity, humanity and responsibility”.
As a child he went to a Christian preschool, and “I don’ t see why that should be allowed for one religion and not for another”, he told AFP. CBB


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Sofia Vergara totes 'Modern' purse out of Saks Fifth Avenue... after recovering from 102-degree fever

Sofía Vergara appeared to be fully recovered from her recent illness while leaving Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills on Saturday.
The 44-year-old Modern Family diva toted a purse appropriately labeled 'modern' with her white tank top, cuffed skinny blue jeans, and tan heels.
The four-time Golden Globe nominee - who relies on stylist duo Jill Lincoln & Jordan Johnson - finished off her ensemble with a chic white trenchcoat.
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Sofía flashed her mega-watt smile with her signature minimal make-up and blown-out brunette locks.
Vergara gave her 31M social media followers her last health update on Thursday, admitting: 'Still feeling [sick] .'
The Colombian bombshell suffered a 102-degree fever after shooting a rain sequence on the chilly Rome set of Robert Moresco's film noir Bent alongside Karl Urban.
In the movie - due out this year - the Simpsons guest star plays a ruthless and seductive government agent called Rebecca.
But first, fans can catch Sofía as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett on the eighth season of mockumentary sitcom Modern Family, which resumes May 3 on ABC.
Noticeably missing from Vergara's side was her second husband, Smurfs: The Lost Village star Joe Manganiello.
It's hard to believe the lovely Latina is old enough to have a 24-year-old son, attorney Manolo, from her first marriage to Joe Gonzalez.


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Fedorable! Jenna Dewan Tatum looks stylish in deep red hat and sexy maxi dress as she shops at Whole Foods

She's juggling a new TV show, a three-year-old daughter and a hunk of a husband.
And Jenna Dewan Tatum still found time to make her supermarket shop look like a fashion show.
The 36-year-old dancer looked summer-ready in a stylish maxi on Saturday in Studio City, California .
She added a wine red fedora, which shaded her from the bright Los Angeles' sunshine.
Her cat-eye glasses matched perfectly, as they had a deep red tinge to the lenses.
The star carried most of her belongings in a suede bag and she wore matching tan sandals.
She had a hold of her cell phone, keys and what appeared to be an efficiently prepared shopping list.
The wife of Channing Tatum emerged with a cart bulging full of groceries.
Jenna was not with the pair's daughter Everly, aged three, for the expedition.
The star will appear as a mentor on Jennifer Lopez's new competition show World Of Dance.
The busy mom has had her dance card full with shooting and promoting the new series with J-Lo, Ne-Yo and Derek Hough, all who will appear with her on World Of Dance.
Jenna got her start by dancing in a Janet Jackson music video before landing her breakout role in 2006's teen dance movie Step Up alongside the man who would become her husband, Tatum.
They fell in love on the set, became engaged in 2008 and married in 2009.
The dancer/actress is now looking to share her industry wisdom with hopeful hoofers.
Jenna and Jennifer's show will launch on May 8.


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Salt Lake Bees defeat Fresno Grizzlies on Ryan LaMarre's walk-off walk

SALT LAKE CITY — It was just that kind of night. Tied at five runs apiece with the visiting Fresno Grizzlies in the bottom of the 10th inning, the Bees' Ryan LaMarre found himself in the batter’s box with the bases loaded and zero outs. The right fielder subsequently batted to a full count against Fresno relief pitcher Jordan Jankowski. The final Jankowski offering sailed in low, Eric Young Jr. strolled to home plate, and the Bees walked away with the 6-5 victory.
It was the first walk-off walk win by Salt Lake since May 14, 2010, and couldn’ t have come at a better time.
After 10 innings of back-and-forth baseball, there were four lead changes and a tie. The Bees had worked their way through all their available relief pitchers, and were primed to send infielder Sherman Johnson out to the mound in the 11th.
Johnson was one of four Bees with RBIs, including Shane Robinson, Matt Williams and LaMarre.
Relief pitcher Justin Miller got the win for Salt Lake.
2016 SPLIT: Salt Lake and Fresno split the season series in 2016, with both teams proving the victor eight times. Interestingly enough, each team won five games on the opposition’s home field. The Bees were led offensively by a trio of players, Nick Buss, Kyle Kubitza and Quintin Berry, none of whom are with the club this season. Of those left on the roster, Johnson was the best against Fresno. The infielder hit.276 and had a .405 on-base percentage in eight games against the Grizzlies.
MOVING ON UP: Alex Blackford got the start on the mound Saturday night, his first as a Bee. Perhaps more memorably, especially for Blackford, the outing was also his Triple-A debut. A native of Centennial, Colorado, Blackford was drafted by the Angels in 2013 out of Arizona State University. Over three years, the Sun Devil played his way through every level of minor league baseball, culminating in a season-long stint with the Angels' Double-A affiliate, the Arkansas Travelers, in 2016. Blackford went 9-7 in Arkansas, with a 3.07 ERA through 22 starts. The 5-foot-11 right-hander is predominantly a fly ball pitcher, as evidenced by his.042 ground-out to air-out ratio that led all Travelers pitchers.
THE DEBUT: The most important debut in the history of Major League Baseball, if not all professional sports, happened on April 15, 1947. Jackie Robinson made his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers 70 years ago, ending about 80 years of baseball segregation. In 2004, Major League Baseball instituted Jackie Robinson Day to commemorate the breakthrough. Throughout the major leagues, players, coaches, managers and umpires all wear the number 42 on April 15 to honor Robinson.
The Bees commemorated the day with a series of video clips, the highlight of which was an interview with former Utah Jazz head coach Frank Layden. Layden was among those in attendance at Ebbets Field in 1947.
Bees — 6
Grizzlies — 5
In short: Ryan LaMarre drew the game-winning walk, with the bases loaded and no outs, in the bottom of the 10th.
Record: 4-6
Up next: Fresno RHP Francis Martes (0-0, 0.00) vs. Salt Lake RHP Alex Meyer (0-0, 4.50) , Sunday, 1: 05 p.m.


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Utah gymnastics notes: Baely Rowe concluded her career with her best season yet

ST. LOUIS — Utah made its 20th appearance in the Super Six Saturday, which is tied for second all-time with Georgia and UCLA, and behind Alabama’s 23. The Red Rocks were the only non-repeat in this year’s finals as Georgia qualified in 2016. Rounding out the finals group were champion Oklahoma, Florida, LSU, Alabama and UCLA.
Utah’s bid for its 11th championship, and first since 1995, ended with a fifth-place finish and marked the third time in its last four finals appearances the Red Rocks have finished fifth (2011 and 2012) . In 2015, the team finished second.
Troubles out the gate
Utah had worked all season on starting strong out the gate. But the group struggled to produce a strong start in either of its championship outings. In Friday’s semifinal, it was a sluggish start that put the Red Rocks behind early. Saturday, it was the opposite, with the team amped up and two gymnasts landing out of bounds on floor in Utah’s opening event.
Saying goodbye
The Red Rocks will only lose Baely Rowe for next season, as the Washington native is the lone senior on Utah’s squad. Rowe concluded her career with her best season yet, earning All-American honors in the all-around and on beam. She was also the 2016 Pac-12 beam champion, and finished as a four-time All-American and seven-time All-Pac-12 conference honoree.
“We are so proud of Baely, ” said Utah co-head coach Tom Farden. “From her freshman season, she’s done nothing but get better, and the results have shown that. She will leave Utah as one of our most memorable athletes.”
Former Utah gymnast Breanna Hughes trained with Oklahoma standout Maggie Nichols in Minnesota. Their coach was Hughes’ dad, Mike Hunger. The freshman Nichols was the regular season’s best all-arounder and guided Oklahoma to its second-straight championship Saturday.
“I watched Maggie for two weeks and knew this kid was something special. She was doing stuff at 9 that most of our 13-year-olds couldn’ t do, ” said Hunger. “I’ m rooting for Utah in the Super Six, but I’ m also rooting for Maggie.”
The coach went from heartbroken on Friday after Nichols fell on beam and lost her bid for the all-around title to elated